Phil Elverum is notoriously quiet and the man behind two works- Mount Eerie and The Microphones. He releases music on two independent labels, one of them his own- (PW Elverum & Sun). We contacted him personally for a statement on the matter of file-sharing. Phil was quick to reply, and we thank him for that:
It’s not a subject I have super strong opinions on. I like what Andrew WK said. I pretty much agree with him. It seems pointless to try to stop the practice because it’s a reality of the world we live in. People will find a way. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, I probably owe like 80% of my success to the fact that people can hear my music for free to see if they like it.
My approach to the question of making a living off this “work” has been to make physically attractive objects that seem worthy of purchase. Of course there will be people who don’t care about owning an object, or maybe don’t have any money, or maybe who live in Siberia, and so they can just find a way to hear it for free if they want to. I don’t think there’s an inherent moral duty for the listener to support the singer. In the broad historical perspective music is frivolous non-work and we are lucky to have time to make it at all. Those of us who are temporarily feeding ourselves by this activity are even luckier. The internet changed the world. Old ways need to adapt. There is a new way taking shape that no one knows yet. Trying to impose the old model of lucrative systems of parasitic labels, managers, agents, distributors, etc., on the new reality is a little blind. For me, the simplest is best, so I am putting out my own records, mostly ignoring the internet, and doing as much as possible myself. It’s working.
Phil has uploaded his own music online for free, notably his previously rare EP now called Seven New Songs Of Mount Eerie.