Swizz Beatz: “Technology Brings Freedom To Musicians; Those Not Embracing It Are Greedy” [Video]
Swizz Beatz, one of the most well-known, well-respected music producers around — who was very briefly listed as the CEO of Megaupload right before it was shut down by the US government — was just interviewed on MTV about Megaupload, technology, file sharing and music and made a bunch of good points. When asked why the industry has been so slow to adopt what technology enables, and specifically about file sharing, which the interviewer notes is “so important in hip hop,” he sums it up simply: it’s all about greed by the labels.
I think the only reason why people wouldn’t embrace technology is because of greed. And because of the old way of doing business, which is also greed. And then you have people running the business — no disrespect — that’s 80 years plus. They don’t even know how to operate an iPad, and they’re making decisions on the younger generation’s future.
And my association with forward thinking technology is very deep. And it came up a little bit with Megaupload — which still, today, is a big misunderstanding of technology. And the day that you mix the old business with the new technology, we’ll have a better place. It’s actually going to be a time when artists can come out and do 10 million records their first week. Because the technology is going to be so locked in tight globally. You have billions of people, all over the world. Why can’t artists that everybody likes do 10 million a week? It’s just that the communication and the technology and the old way of doing business is off. But once that catches up, which is going to happen in the next three years, it’s going to be amazing.
And the cool thing is that technology equals freedom for the artist. And that’s the best thing that could ever happen for artists that work hard and that really want to get their career off the ground.
He’s then asked a bit about “piracy” and actually getting people to buy, and he notes that if you make good music, people will support you. He says the problem is that people have gotten away from making good music. But when there is good music, people want to support “great music.” He notes that people have no problem paying for those “timeless pieces,” because they know they’re supporting the artists. It’s just that when musicians today are “bluffing,” the public knows it, and isn’t so interested in supporting it.
It’s a good interview, and it’s good to see more people — especially in the hip hop world — speaking out about this, rather than merely accepting the lines from the 80 year old execs at the music labels.
Update: Apparently, Swizz is feeling talkative these days. He also did a nice longer interview on a radio show where he talks a bit more about all of this, again saying that the Megaupload situation was a misunderstanding — and talked about how he had figured out a way for musicians to make “wow money” but it won’t happen now because of the “miscommunication” that has the US government making it look like they were breaking the law.