BUZ LIVINGSTON: It was winter time in Nashville

Buz Livingston

It’s been decades since Kris Kristofferson wrote “To Beat the Devil” and he could have stopped right there; Percy Shelly couldn’t do better. In “To Beat the Devil,” Kristofferson talks about getting a free drink from the devil “then I stole his song." I don’t know if Taylor Swift knows who Kris Kristofferson is, but she gets upset if someone steals her song. Moreover, even when they don’t.

Ms. Swift recently wrote an op-ed telling Spotify to take this job and shove it; her fans could no longer use Spotify to listen to her music. While she can afford such a stance, most artists cannot. Her choice of The Wall Street Journal instead of The Music News puzzles me but she is a marketing Phenom, and no one can argue with her success.

Piracy on the high seas was never as lucrative in the Gulf of Mexico as it was in the Caribbean Sea and piracy ended when it was no longer economically viable. In a sense, that’s what Spotify tries to do. Before we bash pirates, remember the pirate Jean Lafite fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, a pivotal victory for America. In the last dozen years, digital sales have dwarfed physical sales. Swift is wrong though when she says music via Spotify is free; Spotify has paid artists over $3 billion in royalties. Sure, Spotify sells commercials but so do terrestrial radio, still my favorite, and YouTube, a close second. For the record, I only spend money at Pandora’s in Grayton Beach and haven’t bought an online version of anything since Obama’s first term. I like CDs, the ones with music and the ones with money. Hayes Carll came up with a great idea. He sold his new CD at the Songwriters Festival BEFORE releasing it publicly. Foolishly I didn’t take advantage earning a musical demerit.

The internet changed how music is sold and how artists get paid. Should copyright/royalty laws be changed in light of new technology is a question for the industry to handle. The MP-3, formally known as the MPEG-1, Layer III Format, let the genie out of the bottle and the paradigm has shifted. Apple’s iTunes music found itself supplanted by streaming from sites like Pandora and Spotify.

Innovation rocked the investment world, too. While anyone with a computer and an internet connection, can buy mutual funds or stocks, individual investors still underperform the market before computers hit the scene. While individuals can get advice from “robo-advisors” without the internet, I wouldn’t have a job.

Newspapers seem to be anarchisms, but people who read papers are more informed than folks who get their news from cable or Facebook. It’s nice having a record store like Central Square hosting musical guests. Sometimes you get Charlie Mars performing a song live for the first time. It’s even better when it’s a song about winter time at the beach which, don’t tell the TDC, is the best time to visit.

While you can’t always get what you want, Buz Livingston, CFP can help you figure out what you need but don’t consider this personal advice. For specific recommendations visit us online at or come by our office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230. Follow us on Twitter @BuzLivingston