Janis Ian on the Music Industry

Janis Ian – singer-songwriter of “Society’s Child” and “At Seventeen” – did a really interesting and appealing Q&A with Slashdot back in 2002 which I just stumbled on.  She discusses business arrangements in the music industry, what kind of profits artists typically receive and the RIAA, as well as her own history and experience, and she does so with the same honesty and intelligence that she’s brought to her songwriting – I liked it so much that that’s really the only reason for this post, that and the impact “Society’s Child” had (on me, on others, at the time). I’d be interested in a follow-up with her, specifically looking at the impact of the recent epidemic of file-sharing on the music industry.

For those of you who don’t remember “Society’s Child” (probably anyone under the age of 40) – a song about an interracial teen romance – check out a 16-year old Janis performing it:

It’s funny to think how far we have come, for the most part, on interracial relationships in the last three or four decades.  And now we have an interracial couple (Obama/Biden) running for the White House… which is great. And yet, when I think about black representation in Congress, I can’t believe Obama has a chance.  He is the only black Senator at present; since reconstruction there have only been three black Senators. And currently, less than 10% of the House is African-American… [see Wikipedia for a full list].  So the political parties and voting public haven’t given us much reason to believe a black man can be elected President. Maybe the voters will be singing in November that they are “only society’s child,” too.

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