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Episode 012: East Bay Ray – Safe Harbors and Cheap Cotton.

“People need to look at the Internet as a plantation sharecropper system – Yeah, you got your cotton really cheap but is that how you want society to go forward?”

Episode 012: East Bay Ray –  Safe Harbors and Cheap Cotton.

IMG_6634From it’s infancy in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1970s to today, the enduring legacy of the Dead Kennedys, is due in no small part to its founding member, East Bay Ray.  Ray’s Music, The Oakland Tribune cited ray as penning, “some of the most recognizable and memorable guitar riffs to emerge from the initial West Coast punk movement”, and Ray’s drive have kept the band alive and relevant for more than three decades.

So how does a self-described, “middle-class band”, one who managed to survive, Napster, The PMRC, and the wrath of local sheriffs survive in an age of the internet?

It’s not easy.  As someone who considers himself a modern, “renaissance man… someone who thinks with both sides of his brain”, Ray is worried about the future of music.  Since Google purchased YouTube, Ray argues, he has seen local artists in the Bay area’s, “income cut by half.”  He’s seen the Dead Kennedy’s music, – music he wrote, owns and preformed – misused and abused on YouTube; ”Our song, ‘holiday in Cambodia,’ there, a video of just our DK logo and our song playing, and it has I think 14 million “views and that’s money for Google is not money for dead Kennedy’s.”

As for the future?  He doesn’t see much hope for another band like the Dead Kennedy’s to break through the noise, “There will be music, but it will be blander – because yo need an audience 11 times bigger.” And thanks to the fact that some of the internet giants of the world hide behind the nation’s “Safe Harbor” laws, there isn’t much money there for the musicians in any case.

“People need to look at the Internet as a plantation sharecropper system – Yeah, you got your cotton really cheap but is that how you want society to go forward?”

Its a fascinating look at the past, present, and future of Music, through the eyes of one of the music industry giants.