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."

"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."

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

I for one can most definitely understand the argument that Mr. Jones makes, I've been in the music business for many years, and decided to focus more on publishing, licensing music for film and TV, which I've been very successful at. In most cases the average artist is not operating at the level of top artists like The Black Eyed Peas, Lady GaGa, or Taylor Swift, who frankly should attempt to make every song a hit, because that's what they get paid for (hits!). The old business model of the record business has really taken a hit because of the internet, none of the labels were prepared for it, and some people who have built their careers based on this model are upset, simply they have the most to lose as a result of it. I was one of those consumers who bought a entire album based on one hit single, and after listening to the rest of the music on the album, I found that the most of the songs were mainly fillers. Consumers got tired of the old bait, and switch, so record labels truly only have themselves to blame. Of course that's just my opinion!

November 21 2010 at 4:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@ohsopronto: Not quite, it will be a matter of what the internet DOESN'T show! What Mr. Jones is lamenting is the simple fact that misbehaving, second-rate, untalented media blitzes like the artists he mentions not only won't get paid, in the end, they won't be remembered at all. And what is this about a song not being a hit? Hits aren't that great. Let's see some equalization between the music for people with no taste, and the songs that artists need to work on before they toss it onto an album and just force us to listen. Maybe the typical album should consist of 5 solidly structured songs and cost half the price of a full album? Then EVERYBODY can be happy! Mr. Jones, reading your comments, I think your speaking on behalf of much better artists than the ones your thinking about, and the internet is not that big of a problem for them.

November 20 2010 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

History will show that the internet's lasting reputation will be just the opposite of what Mr. Jones asserts.

November 20 2010 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With all due respect to Quincy who I love and admire. I would say the decline in the industry has more to do with the record companies desire for profit as a bottom line goal. They stopped focusing on finding and promoting real talent. They've discovered the stupidity, sex, and vulgar obscenity sells and that's what they've promoting. I would never buy an album by a lady Ga Ga what in gods name could this sick freak produce that would be worth listening to. I would never buy an album by some degenerate pants sagging scumbag like a Little Wayne or any other of these low life scum rappers. He and the rest of them are best kept in a cage with the rest of these filth peddlers. And I'm a Black American. I hate that filth and there is nothing of any musical value in that Garbage, Period. And why in God's name would a man of your stature even work with or produce anything with these non talent scum rappers. Quincy with all due respect you need to reexamine your own priorities. You're 77 yrs old and you certainly didn't hone your incredible skills listening to or studying anything done by some degenerate talking into a microphone.

November 20 2010 at 10:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

who would steal rap ? ..no really .

November 20 2010 at 10:25 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Wake up Quincey. It was bound to happen. Music is supposed to be enjoyed by everyone and not just the musicians or artist. This is the 21st century many old guys like quincy jones havent left the 60's 0r 70's or even the 80's man!

November 20 2010 at 9:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to joejteacher951's comment
rotten rollin

I am glad to see the teacher respecting property rights.

November 20 2010 at 10:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Q's complaint that albums sell less is true, however how many times would an album have crap other than 1 or 2 good tracks? The other problem is that the radio stations never or rarely play medlies of tracks from a same album unless there are several "HITS", thus we never have the chance to find out if we can enjoy other songs. Stations only play the same songs over and over again and actually create hits, that otherwise might only be another song. Producers are also complicite with this as well based on the deals they make with the stations for rights to play their songs.

November 20 2010 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Darn. I guess all the poor destitute musicians, actors, record executives, and artists will have to make due with last years model of expensive sports car, or only a gulf stream 3 instead of a gulf stream 4, or only 2 million a year instead of 3 million a year. Ya, my heart bleeds for them.

November 20 2010 at 7:33 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to notreven's comment

They need the $$ because the Coke, Crack, Bling is getting more expensive. Paying lawyers to get them out of jail is also expensive, especially for those Rappers, Hip Hoppers and Gangstas...

November 20 2010 at 8:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

it's always been hard to get the truly talented to participate in the music industry, cuz a lot of them are too smart to waste their time in a field in which historically corruption has mostly eclipsed talent, but now, though there is a some work of quality (Kid Rock, awesome!), there is more and more filler & less and less killer...one of my old producers had the gall to parrot the "music wants to be free" line to me recently, but didn't offer to refund the money I paid him over the years...I guess he wanted to adopt the stupidity of the young in order to feel young himself. I replied that Jaguars and Bentleys want to be free, too, and he totally didn't get it. As for myself, I'm still recording, but I'm keeping it all to myself and will let my executor deal with it later.......enjoy your GaGa, kids, and try not to gag!

November 20 2010 at 7:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scottie B

Or maybe the music industry just hasn't figured out how to turn the internet into profit, yet.

November 20 2010 at 1:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply