I'm with you 100%, Victoria. This is the reason I do not illegally download music. The ethical thing to do is to pay people for what they create. Last night, my friend said, "It's not only what you do when other people are watching, it's what you do when nobody is watching."
When you visit the Facebook thread
, you will read a wide variety of convoluted "reasons" why illegal downloading is OK. From "the major labels charge too much," to "your business model is outmoded, anyway," to "I want to hear the album to see if I like it enough to buy it" to "music is an emotional connection, therefore I should not pay" to "people feel no connection to music in the format of a CD or download, therefore they don't pay."
I can rant all day about why this is utter crap! These are ego-generated half-truths to justify lies. My seven year old son understands that stealing is wrong, even when you won''t get caught. People need to spend time with themselves and see if they are comfortable with this statement: "I know what I am doing is harmful to artists and their families, but I do it anyway."
Yes, nobody wants to own up to their own bad.
Last night I was directed to a very interesting New York Times graphic
showing how little money is left in the music industry. Wow! On the FB thread
, there were a few comments along the lines of, "Yeah, I'm sure this affects the major labels, but Projekt fans wouldn't steal." Sorry to burst the bubble, but Projekt fans steal just like everyone else. Projekt's total $$$ is 50% of what it was a decade ago, and if it wasn't for legal download (iTunes, mainly), it would be 25% of what it was 10 years ago. When somebody steals an Unto Ashes or Soulwhirlingsomewhere or Steve Roach or Black Tape For A Blue Girl album, that means less money for Projekt, less money for the artists, and a much higher chance that someday you won't find anymore music from this artist.
People state that the compact disc, the digital file, the record label is a failed business model, and it is being swept away by "progress." While factually it is being swept away, I think this "progress" is a weak justification for theft (it's not like my job has been out-sourced, people want me to work for free!). If nobody wanted the songs anymore, there wouldn't be downloads, and THEN it would be a failed commodity. But clearly people still want the music. They just don't want to pay for it. Is that capitalism at work? Or criminal activity at work?
I want to make an obvious statement
I am a songwriter. I am a musician. I write music. I work in the studio to express my art. Just like Voltaire, Steve Roach, Shikhee, Michael, Joshua and all the rest of us. It is fine to tell me that selling music is outmoded, and I should find some other way to make a living at it. But think clearly about what you are suggesting.
The other part of this "outmoded" argument is that the music (IE: CD, file, etc) isn't enough. The argument goes that for the new millenium, artists need to create a value added connection with the fans. Is this the reality-teevee-ing of art? Every artist needs to be every fans' friend? Somehow, art isn't "enough" in the form the artist intended?
I think there is a bigger issue at hand. As Victoria wrote "I don't think the solution to theft lies with the artists - it lies with the so-called fans. We need to support the artist as directly as we can." Do you enjoy the art that your favorite artists create? Because if you do, spend some quite time with yourself. And ask truthfully if you are comfortable with taking that person's livelihood.
The fact that you are reading this PROBABLY means you are on the ethical side of the line, and you are not the "You" I addressed in the last paragraph. But if you see yourself in that "You" then think about what you are doing. It takes somebody speaking up to create awareness of this. And then it takes you to speak out and tell your friends to stop the activity.
1: One complaint is that people don't know what an album sounds like, unless they download the entire album illegally. To that, I say: "Bullshit!" We all have myspace pages where you can hear our music. For a link to Projekt artist's myspace page, visit here
2: If streaming isn't enough, you can download Black Tape For A Blue Girl's new track, "Sailor Boy," at amazon.com
3. Once again, I invite everyone on Facebook to visit this thread
, read some comments, and please post your thoughts.
4. If you missed yesterday's rant, you can read it here
Black Tape For A Blue Girl "The Pleasure in the Pain" video on Youtube.