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Downhill Battle at the Conventions

In case you haven’t noticed, the Democratic National Convention is happening in Boston, which is about an hour from Battle HQ in Worcester. In some ways, the convention is the belly of the beast: it’s a big money affair and there’s lots of music industry dollars flowing to try to buy influence. But among the younger generation of democrats and para-democrat activists, there are a lot of people who really understand how the internet is tipping the scales, wrestling control over our culture away from corporations. Unlike the old guard, they don’t owe the entertainment conglomerates anything, and are completely on our side.

On Monday, we had a very interesting and exciting meeting with Music for America, a new, left-leaning group that’s working with independent musicians and venues to get music fans more interested in politics. They came out to Worcester, we bounced on a trampoline, and talked about how in online political organizing simple economics is actually on the good guys’ side. Filesharing vs. the major labels is the clearest example of that.

Tuesday night we met back up in Boston at a benefit show they’d organized (Ted Leo, Dalek, and others) and passed out a ton of Downhill Battle flyers to a very receptive crowd (if you want to flyer shows in your area, click here).

At the end of August we hope to be doing some workshops in New York around the time of the Republican convention. As with the Democrats, dedicated activists are on our side, while a lot of the establishment is not. Republicans are extremely skeptical of Hollywood and have serious moral problems with the corporate record industry– certainly fertile ground for advocating serious reform. But on the other hand, many powerful, elected Republicans are so blindly devoted to giant corporations that they don’t let values get in the way of propping up the music industry (see Orrin Hatch). We’ll see what we can do. So if you’re going to be in New York that week, stay tuned for dates/times/location. And if you know any way that we could get tickets to the convention itself, email us.

We’ve said it before: ending the major label monopoly, supporting filesharing, and creating a fairer music industry are not liberal or conservative issues. Instead, it’s a struggle between people who are committed to certain values vs. a value-absent industry that serves only to enrich a small group of lawyers and executives. So whether you care about artists’ rights, privacy rights, cultural morals, corporate-free music, or all of the above, the most important thing is that you care about something. Downhill Battle is going to win because it’s everybody who cares vs. a few people who don’t.

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