Can you commoditise a commodity?

G Beato in The Guardian laments file sharing’s commoditisation of music. The piece is heartfelt but unhistoric. Music is ancient – older than language – but has changed more in the 75 years since recordings became available than in most of its history. More still in the fifty years since the 45 became pop’s day-to-day currency. Commoditisation began when songs could first be pressed into wax on an industrial scale. Music has been a commodity ever since.

File sharing, at worst, commodifies more efficiently. At best (and this is just me speculating), by ripping music from those nasty physical tokens, it may improve its status. What I like about the article, though, is Beato’s rhetorical alignment of the file sharers with the record labels against the increasingly marginalised artists. If he were honest with himself, though, Beato would admit that we have no idea how artists and music will really be affected.