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Artist and music business entrepreneur Blake Morgan spoke with MTPM’s Chris Castle about the I Respect Music movement.
MTP: What’s up with that #irespectmusic hashtag?
Blake Morgan: It’s become a way for people to make a simple but powerful statement about how they feel. I posted a 7 second video in which I wrote it on a piece of paper and held it up to the camera. And since, hundreds and hundreds of people have done the same. If you go to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you can see what’s happening by just searing for that hashtag.
MTP: I have to say that the selfie photo was a brilliant idea, the first one I saw was by the Phillippines artist Joana Marie Lor who posted a very moving photo. Who else do you have doing selfies so far?
Blake Morgan: Thanks! I was talking to a friend of mine about what we were going to do after the inspiring response to my last HuffPo piece, and he suggested that I post that video and the see what happened. I could never have imagined how big the response has been, from music makers and music lovers alike. From major names like David Byrne and John McCrea to “middle-class” working musicians everywhere, the response has been stunning. And from non-musicians too! Even Sir Patrick Stewart did it a couple of days ago! But it’s the bass player in Scranton, the drummer in Toledo, the singer in Omaha–it’s these hard-working artists and musicians that have done it that bring tears to my eyes, hour after hour.
MTP: Did you get any blowback on your Huffington Post piece Art and Music Are Professions Worth Fighting For? The positive response to it was absolutely gripping, you clearly touched a nerve with thousands of people. I would think that the Google’s of this world would not want to promote the idea of music as a career, at least not recorded music that Big Tech can “commoditize” as Thom Yorke might say. [Ed. Note: Blake’s post is reproduced below.]
Blake Morgan: I honestly didn’t. Not even a whiff, even after it hit 40,000 likes. So either that’s a great sign that I made an effective argument…or…it’s that the Big Tech people haven’t quite figured out a way to discredit artists and musicians everywhere yet. You know, those pesky artists and musicians who’s only desire is to honor their professions by getting paid for the work they do.
MTP: Tell us a little about ECR, how did you come to be there and how does it work?
Blake Morgan: ECR Music Group is a company I launched off my laptop 12 years ago, after I’d had to fight to get out of my seven-album multi-year deal with Phil Ramone’s N2K/Sony Music label. A decade or so later, we’re a global music company that sells music in 110 countries around the world. But most importantly, we’ve achieved everything we have while operating under an elemental principle, unprecedented in the music world: all of our artists and labels own one-hundred percent of their master recordings. Turns out that doing what’s morally right also makes the best business sense.
MTP: Who knew?
Blake Morgan: How ’bout that.
MTP: If people want to sign the petition, where do they go?
Blake Morgan: It’s simple, go to: IRespectMusic.org. Take action. Speak up. Make History.