I love Derek Webb. Not in the “I’m attracted to him” sense, but in the “this guy has some incredible ideas he’s living into” sense.
I love Derek for his lyrics and musical style which never cease to challenge me (even after I’ve listened to the song twenty times), I love Derek for his honesty about his relationship with his wife (beautiful, but tough…which means its a real relationship), I love Derek for the musicians he hangs out with (other musicians not co-opted by the Religious Right like Steven Delapoulos, Jars of Clay, etc)…
…but in specific for this post, I love Derek for his vision of connecting the artists with their current and potential fans. His influence is very subversive both to the Music Industry Copyright Hounds and to folks who Illegally Pirate Music Because They Don’t Care About Copyrights (though this is immoral). Derek and friends have launched a site called NoiseTrade.com where artists offer their CDs for free if you tell folks about their music or let you name a price you want to pay for the right to download the album. This is amazing. Some of the aforementioned Copyright Hounds may weep at this subversion, and some Pirates may take advantage of this gift to feed their habit and enable their arguments; yet I think the vision is wholesome and will foster relationships on a much deeper level between musicians and fans, and that’s a sweet thing.
The deeper you get in Derek’s circle of musical influences and folks he hangs out with, the more you find the depth of commitment to honesty and flat-out talent his fellow musicians carry (especially Matthew Perryman Jones).