The digital music revolution has been compromised, according to Kid Rock, because digital music stores and record labels still manage to hoard the lion's share of music revenue.
He advises fans to download his music for free from P2P services, although he himself doesn't have to. "I don't steal things," he told the BBC. "I'm rich." As for everyone else, he says, "Download it illegally, I don't care. I want you to hear my music so I can play live."
Rock's tirade was apparently precipitated by a request from his record label, Warner Music Group's Atlantic Records, that he publicly denounce file sharing. His response: "Wait a second, you've been stealing from the artists for years. Now you want me to stand up for you?" Ouch.
It seems there's no one way that artists are responding to the opportunities and challenges presented by the internet. It's official now: They're all over the map when it comes to downloads, DRM, file sharing and the rest of it, no longer offering the same rationales for completely different conclusions.
"ITunes takes the money, the record company takes the money, and they don't give it to the artists," added the country rock rapper. Instead, he says, the internet offers a "great opportunity for everyone to be treated fairly, for the consumer to get a fair price, for the artist to be paid fairly, for the record companies to make some money."
This makes a lot of sense, and it's the sort of thing that the digital music optimists among us have been saying for years. However, Rock expands on the idea, positing that anyone who needs something should just take it: "I don't mind people stealing my music, that's fine. But I think they should steal everything. You know how much money the oil companies have? If you need some gas, just go fill your tank (up) and drive off, they're not going to miss it."
Kid Rock's iTunes boycott is in full effect. As of right now, none of his Warner-era albums are available on iTunes, where only his rarely heard debut -- 1990's Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast on Zomba Recordings -- is available (clicking the link spawns iTunes).
Meanwhile, Metallica has been busy apologizing for its management company's testosterone-fueled deletion of early reviews of their upcoming album -- more on that soon.