Despite the Downturn: New Track (#10) & More News

A new track — the tenth — has been added to the compilation project Despite the Downturn: An Answer Album. This one is by Simon Lott and the ensemble Beta Collide, coordinated by Beta Collide member Brian McWhorter. It’s up now at, with additional information here: This track, titled “That’s a Traum! [Brontosaurus],” is the third to be added to the album since its release — extensions that helpfully show how the idea of an “album” has become more fluid in the age of the Internet. It’s also just a great tune (MP3), complete with the compilation’s first proper horn section:

[audio:–10-Lott-Beta-Collide-Thats-A-Traum.mp3|titles=”That’s a Traum! (Brontosaurus)”|artists=Simon Lott and Beta Collide]

Despite the Downturn is the various-artists collection (housed at that I put together in response to an article written by Megan McArdle in the May 2010 issue of The Atlantic (“The Freeloaders,”at about the current challenges facing the music industry. Each of the album’s tracks interprets the illustration that accompanied McArdle’s article as if it were a musical score. (A detail of the image, by the talented artist Jeremy Traum, appears at left as the “cover”of the album.) The other participating musicians are Sighup (Steve Hamann), C. Reider, Moldilox (Joseph Luster), Mark Rushton, NQ (Nils Quak), He Can Jog (Erik Schoster), Tom Moody, My Fun (Justin Hardison), and Jettatura (James Rotondi).

Continued coverage of the Downturn project this past week included:

The site does a more detailed, clause-at-a-time reading of the original story, and notes our Despite the Downstream project: “[T]he musicians recorded an album based on the notes. Is this ethically unmoored? Is this the result of ‘freeloaders’ creating less works? It doesn’t seem that way. “

Alan Wexelblat (at gives the project a listen: “Ambient music is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition for me, but I really enjoyed playing the album while reading [the] thoughtful response. I encourage you to do the same.”

Even the Irish Times (at covered it: “Megan McArdle shakes a fist at file-sharers, while a bunch of musicians deliver their own riposte at her article in The Atlantic.”

And here are two solid responses to McArdle’s article that make no mention of Despite the Downturn but come from a similar perspective:

Ryan Chapman provides a corrective reading list at

And Michael O’Hare at notes: “What libertarians could usefully get exercised about in this area is the assaults on individual freedom that outrage Netanel and Lessig, not a bunch of kids who intuitively understand marginal cost pricing downloading their music.”

Here’s the previous post noting coverage of the project from and

And here’s the first coverage roundup, noting mentions in,, and

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