Quincy Jones: 'The Internet Enabled Everybody to Steal'


You'd think that a man of 77 years would be slowing down, but Quincy Jones is moving faster than ever. Currently traveling the country to promote a new book and a new album, Jones is reaching out to the younger generation, dispensing pearls of musical wisdom that are both uplifting and tough to swallow.

In his new book "Q on Producing," Jones gives both musical advice and historical perspective about the music business. Written with audio expert Bill Gibson, the book comes with a DVD and is the first of a three-part "The Quincy Jones Legacy Series" published by music print publisher Hal Leonard.

Jones says the younger generation doesn't grasp the significance of music history, but you wouldn't know that from looking at his latest album, Soul Bossa Nostra – a collaboration of rappers and Hip Hop artists doing re-makes of songs from albums Jones previously produced. Artists Jennifer Hudson and T-Pain, among others who perform on the album, recognize the significance of collaborating with "Q", who helped Michael Jackson's solo career soar. Over the years, Jones also had the golden touch in the film and television industries.

In a recent interview on AOL BlackVoices' "The Spark" with Amanda Diva, Jones said he has "plenty of work" now, partly due to his long legacy as a behind-the-scenes hit-maker in the entertainment industry. He said he's currently working on musical scores for several movies and producing albums with Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett.

However, despite his own success, the 27-time Grammy Award winning artist believes the music industry is in trouble -- in part because of the Internet. When host Amanda Diva tried to make a case that the Internet has opened up opportunities for artists to benefit from their work, Jones insisted it has had "just the opposite effect."

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"The Internet enabled everybody to steal," Jones argues, asserting that in many countries, as much as 95% to 99% of the music is pirated. Jones pointed to China as one of the biggest offenders, and said sales of albums have plummeted as a result. he said top artists like The Black Eyed Peas, Lady GaGa and Taylor Swift don't sell nearly as many albums as they could because of piracy.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimates that global music revenue declined by 7% in 2009, primarily due to music piracy. The Institute for Policy Innovation estimates global music piracy accounts for $12.5 billion of economic losses each year.

Jones also suggested the money-making ability of artists has been diminished because the Internet enables people to buy individual songs, instead of having to buy an entire album.

"If an artist makes only one or two hits, it's not worth it to buy the package," Jones said. "You have to have more hits (per album) in order to make money."

Jones said the industry is in serious trouble, but acknowledged that all the problems the recording industry faces are not all attributable to the Internet.

"All the major record labels are having trouble," Jones said, "but we're going to figure this out."