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Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian's Open Letter About The Music Industry And The Band

Editor's Note: On Wednesday, Reddit founder and Y Combinator "Ambassador to the East" Alexis Ohanian debated professor Jonathan Taplin, director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and former tour manager of The Band, about copyright, pay vs. free models, and the principals behind failed legislation SOPA—at our Innovation Uncensored event in New York City. Immediately after the debate, which seemed far from over, Ohanian posted this response to his website, referencing Taplin's arguments about The Band, whose members have run into financial difficulties due to the current state of the music industry. We're reposting it with his permission here, and we welcome those who didn't get to ask their questions to sound off in the comments section. Also, we're happy to publish Prof. Taplin's response, should he decide to respond, and keep the debate going. A video of the debate will be available soon.

Thanks for debating me this evening at Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored conference here in NY!

Like I said on stage, I wanted to offer a solution to help make right what the music industry did to members of The Band.

It reminded me of the story Lester Chambers told on reddit a little while back: "I am the 99%. Screwed by the industry."

I'm hopeful that innovations like the ones I discussed tonight and the others that are being worked on by entrepreneurs right now will continue to do right by artists and cut out those who'd mistreat them. Please take a look around kickstarter and reddit and you'll quickly find that the former is already crowd-funding projects in the millions and the latter does not in fact hurt artists in any way (quite the opposite, it's full of communities of music makers sharing tips and comedians making oodles by treating their fans respectfully and directly selling them DRM-free content).

Like I said on stage, it would be an honor to gather members of The Band together to produce one more album with unreleased content or something to honor Levon Helm — really any kind of creative project they'd like to produce — (this time funded on kickstarter) and we'll gladly launch it on the IAMA section of reddit.

I'll have my credit card ready, as I'm sure many other redditors (and music fans) will. Oh, and thank you to FastCompany for inviting me!

[Image: Flickr user Alec Perkins]