Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

The not so sunny Bono

It’s a shame that when a lot of people get filthy rich, they don’t act like proper rich people. They just buy ridiculously expensive stuff and hoard it all until whatever law they broke to get that rich is discovered, and then they get hauled off to jail.

Which is not to say that I wouldn’t buy a bunch of crap. I would certainly own a yacht large enough to have a gigantic swimming pool. That swimming pool is where my smaller yacht would be harbored. Still, I like to think I would still do the community minded charity stuff that I do now after I hit the mother lode, in addition to all the excess and philandering.

Two people who have done a good job of being what I consider properly rich are Bill Gates and Bono. By “proper rich” I mean that since they don’t really have to work too much anymore, they spend their time attempting to improve the lives of people who aren’t nearly so rich as they.

Mind you, I have long resented Microsoft for having enormous market share and trying to use it to change industry standards for the worse (looking at you, IE6), but Bill and his wife Melinda Gates appear to be trying to do a lot of good in the world. I support this.

Can you imagine having a charitable foundation named after you and your wife? I have a joint movie rental account with my ex girlfriend and I haven’t set foot in the place since we broke up. Bill must be pretty sure he and Melinda are going the distance.

Of course, I am not rich. Girls, as it is well known, tend to stick to money like magnets to a fridge.

I also like U2 a lot, despite their last world tour being performed under what looked like an alien crab with an expanding and contracting sex organ of some kind.

2009_U2_stage

It seems, though, that Bono is calling for increased controls over internet downloads. In the AFP article I read, he says:

“A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us,” Bono noted.

From my perspective, the system we’ve just broken free of was only slightly less overbearing than I imagine the Spanish Inquisition to have been. Independent artists now have global distribution and make far higher margins on their music than even Bono probably ever has. When I sell a song on iTunes, I make most of the dollar that it cost. Under the old system, Bono would have been lucky to make a dollar on a whole CD of his music.

Fortunately for him he sold a fornicate-ton of them over the years. He’s certainly sold a few to me.

File sharing may be hurting the creators of music who are still doing things the old way. Of that I have no doubt. It’s probably bitten largely into Bono’s lifetime wealth.

As a small-time artist, I want people to share my music. I want everyone to like it enough to get their friends to listen to it so I can go out and play gigs all the time, and I don’t mind if my CD sales suffer because the end goal for me is just to get to play.

So thanks for the concern on my behalf, Bono, but I think I like the way things are right now. I know I like them better than when the record companies were in charge.

Go back to feeding the hungry, buddy!