How do we let people pay for music – Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on the dignity of asking

As technology changes, irreversibly altering the ways in which people experience and enjoy music, it also alters the economics of how music is made, distributed and sold. And that changes the incentives for artists, the livings musicians can lead, and even their prospects for living a long an healthy life.

Readers of Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll will have encountered my thinking on how recording, radio and television changed music in the first six decades of last century and how that led to the musical eruption of Rock. It also made music a dangerous place to be, especially for musicians.

These themes are touched, in a very twenty-first century way, by musician Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on the dignity of giving and of asking. It’s a wonderful video that makes some simple but often obscured points about human contact, intimacy and dignity. And she evokes a way of returning to the local intimacy that music had in the lives of our ancestors.

Rob Brooks

I am an evolutionary biologist who thinks about sex for a living. Things I have thought and written about include the evolution of mate choice, the costs of being attractive, the reason animals age and the links between sex, diet, obesity and death. Follow @Brooks_Rob on Twitter.

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