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Josh Ritter is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, named one of the "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" by Paste magazine. He started out studying neuroscience at Oberlin College, but later switched[…]

Josh Ritter can’t complain about today’s recording industry: the concerts are improving and some lesser-known artists are doing great work.

Question: Are you unhappyrnwith the turbulence of the music industry?


Josh Ritter: It’srngoing through lots of upheaval I guess, but it’s also funny, the people rnthatrnare screaming the most about it are the ones who have the microphones.  You know, if you are a major recordrnlabel—and I’ve been a part of several—it must be awful because you rnhave... you’rernstill working on stuff that you love hopefully you love music and you rngot intornit for that reason, and you’re losing the ability to do what you’re rnsupposed torndo, which is sell music. 


I mean, I could complain about that myself, but I rndon’trnbecause it’s just, I think it’s not worth it and it’s also, you know, rnthat’srnthe way it is.  Millions of peoplernstill listen to the music, they may not pay for it, but they’re stillrnlistening.  And hopefully, likernthere is still a way that they will keep coming to the shows.  The shows are—I feel like, in the lastrnfour or five years, the shows have gotten incredible.  I’vern started to see so many more shows that I love because Irnthought the people were professional. rnThey’re doing it because they love it, and the show has to be rngoodrnbecause that’s the only way now. rnPeople hear a song and it’s like an advertisement for the show, rnyournknow. 


Plus I think that it’s incredible still, you can bern a partrnof somebody’s life for 3 ½ to 4 minutes. rnSo, I could—you know, it’s useless to complain about that stuff.


Question: Which artistsrnon the current music scene deserve greater visibility?

rnrnJosh Ritter:rnYeah, well that’s—I mean visible or invisible, I’d say like there’s rnstill somernpeople that are doing it like incredibly well.  Yourn know, I think that Glen Hansard, both in The Frames andrnThe Swell Season, is one of the most amazing live shows I have ever rnseen.  I think that my very impressive wife,rnDawn Landes, is amazing.  And Irnlove seeing—Ray LaMontagne is incredible. rnI love seeing him play. rnGillian Welch is proof that you can do something with two people rnthat’srnpretty life changing.  And thenrnthere’s just so, so much music happening right now that it’s hard to rnname themrnall. 

Recorded April 5, 2010
Interviewed by Austin rnAllen