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Pirated Music -Yes or No?


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In an attempt to clear my name' date=' I know that downloading is a sketchy thing to do. However, I buy 90% of the albums after I download them. If there's a website where I can listen to the entire album before I buy it, I'll skip the downloading step altogether. [/quote']


Didn't mean to slam you...believe me, I am no saint. It was how you are justifying your actions that made me chuckle. You might be right that the artist doesn't seem much of the money...but you are taking the money out of somebody's pocket and that isn't right.

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I hate to admit this, but given what I tend to listen to, I have a program that allows me to download vids from Youtube - and another that allows me to record audio directly.


Most of what I listen to, however, is apparently older than most of the folks who respond on the list - and quite frequently even older than I am.


I also have the computer set up so I can record my own stuff or to record old tapes and vinyls. I listen to my recordings of myself about 1/3 of the time to figure what I'm doing wrong, to memorize lyrics if I want to, figure timing and arrangements, etc.


The other 2/3 of the time I guess you could say I'm mostly listening to people long dead. But then given how much I'm in the office stedda home... compared to most folks I really don't "listen" to much at all.


Current stuff isn't really my schtick. Some of that's preference, some is lifestyle and - let's be blunt, some is because there's so much stuff out there I don't have time to look to see what new stuff I might like.


So... any exposure I have to currently active musicians outside my little corner of the U.S. "outback" is on the Web. Is that good or bad? I dunno. I have bought a dozen CDs, perhaps two a year, the past half dozen years.


So there... you've got an antique picker who's pickin' and mostly listening to antiques. <grin>


As for the economics of picking and making a living from stuff? Even a lot of the "big guys" seem at this point to make most money from actual performances, whether in the local saloon or on "tours" if they have that big a name. Heck, even the big names have somebody hawking their stuff.


The problem is "how does one become a big name" to make more bucks than playing local saloons.


In the olden days <grin> there was payola on the radio stations everybody listened to - pay to play by the big record companies - and then the artist sold a lotta records and made extra bucks touring.


Nowadays? I dunno. I think the Web has almost made it a "given" that there will be "downloads" of music of any genre once it's on line. Heck, I even have a voice recording of Buffalo Bill Cody I downloaded, and he died in 1917 before my Mom was born.


The point is that once something's on the Web, there are two things the artist can do with it. "He" can use that as a public relations/free advertising medium, or complain that people don't always have to open a web site to hear the stuff, or "he" can spend a lot of cash trying to do promotion in other modes.


As a journalist and PR guy, heck a lot of my writing and photo work has been used variously too; usually without permission. But that work has done some good (not often in my checking account, though) in terms of reputation as a professional. I see the same thing for music.


BTW, ASCAP certainly made pests of themselves and cost us more than a little cash when I was running a small magazine from an office in an urban area. No, I wasn't using any music "illegally" at the time, but it cost a lot of time and therefore money to get them off my back.


But I'd agree that the various sorts of "download this illegally produced album" software can be tricky and dangerous to one's computer. Hell, I can't listen to that much stuff simultaneously anyway, and I tend to listen to the same stuff over and over. So... maybe I don't count. <grin>

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Okay, I probably shouldn't play devil's advocate, but here we go.


Along with being a news reporter of a number of variations, I've also done more than a little public relations work.


Bottom line is that since the Web arrived, a lot of the old "rules" of PR have changed.


That's not all bad, but what is bad?


Very few people today are functioning as public relations professionals. Again, P-r-o-f-e-s-s-i-o-n-a-l-s.


There are no royalties for music unless music is sold. No music is "sold" unless somebody is selling it.


Nobody buys music unless they are aware it is for sale. Nobody "steals" music unless they're aware it's available.


Now we're at the nitty gritty.


With the Web tossed into the mix, the bottom line is that musicians and other artists can use it to promote and potentially sell their work, or they can litigate. Or... they can stop any recordings of their material, and the most frequent example of that in today's world is to stop creating, at least in public.


Litigating, passing laws and such simply puts ruts in the road of good public relations, good knowledge of a given artist's material, and ... sales.


My opinion is that PR has become the sinecure (that's a job with a paycheck and no functional duties except to make the employer happy somehow) run by young folks who were either secretaries or had a mass com degree - and an "employer" who needs stuff written in decent standard English to convince a customer (or bureaucrat) that some sort of work is being done.


But that's not "public relations."


It's only "public relations" if somebody actually reads/watches the stuff and sees sufficient motivation to be interested in following up with cash in hand.


Think about it.


Nobody every bought anything they didn't know about prior to plunking down money.


So... the thought shouldn't be so much "how do we stop 'stealing,'" but rather, "How do I make a buck from wider publicity for my work?"


Sure, there are other factors. We all know about companies who developed "bad public relations" because of shoddy products or services at some point in corporate history. "Good" public relations can help tell the corporate story in such a way that mitigates the bad and emphasizes the good in order to make the company itself (and its sales potential) look good and helps keep customers and others with a good image of the company.


The same goes for artists.

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I use Rhapsody I guess I rent music for $12 a month. I've put all my cd's on I tunes I'm still going through my LP's to record the one's you just cant find anymore.


But I do really like Rhapsody there isn't much they don't have I just can't take it with me.

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I Use the zune Marketplace and Itunes. I like to support the Artists and I want Quality. However, if what I want isn't availible for legal download, I'll go find in somewhere. I got Evanescence first EP Origin straight from an HTML website.

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In an attempt to clear my name' date=' I know that downloading is a sketchy thing to do. However, I buy 90% of the albums after I download them. If there's a website where I can listen to the entire album before I buy it, I'll skip the downloading step altogether. [/quote']


I'd like to see you use that same rationale in a store...walk in grab ten cans of beer...stick one in your backpack and then try to explain it to store security that "hey...it's not stealing...I buy 90% of the cans I drink".

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I'd like to see you use that same rationale in a store...walk in grab ten cans of beer...stick one in your backpack and then try to explain it to store security that "hey...it's not stealing...I buy 90% of the cans I drink".


Wouldn't do that. I would, however, go to a beer tasting or wine tasting event before i decide to buy a whole case. If a friend of mine had a party and gave me a beer to try, and I enjoyed it, I'd definitely go buy some. However, I saw some glossy full-page ads for Heineken and bought a case, and thought it tasted skunky -- didn't get what all the hype was about. It ended up sitting in my fridge for months until I used it to cook brats.


I understand that not everyone shares my philosophy. I just feel that an album is more than just a bunch of songs on a medium - it's a work of art that's put together in a certain order. I want to hear the big picture before I buy it, just as I'd want to see anything in detail before I put money down.


Take a Gibson for example. There are a bunch of them out there on eBay, but I wouldn't buy any of them without playing them. I need something tangible, not just sound clips and pictures. Along the same lines, if I like an album, I need something tangible, with lyrics and artwork and something I can put in my stereo. I just like knowing that it's worth spending money on first.

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I find it funny that these music corporations who are outraged at songs being ripped from the internet

and burned onto cd's.....are the same companies who designed and manufacture the equipment that allows us

to do it.


We all get ripped off in one way or another. Music companies for years have been promising to drop the price

of cd's...hasnt happened yet. Untill that happens I say rip 'em, and rip 'em good!

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I believe in paying for what I want. It isn't fair to the artist to steal their music nor is right to expect the artist to make up the loss at a concert. Most major concerts are money losers. I always buy CD's or vinyl.


Agree 100%. I am not downloading yet but buy ALL my music.



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Dear RogerGLewis...


I think you missed my point, which essentially is that the paradigm of 20 years ago simply doesn't work today in terms of intellectual property rights.


I'd also suggest that almost nobody really knows how the Internet will affect those concepts regardless of what in the U.S. is referred to as the "Digital Millenium Copyright Act."


Some 15 years ago or more a friend was a U.S. Senator largely responsible for a major and far-reaching telecommunications law. Some years later I asked, "What did you not foresee when it was written? "


"The Internet," he responded. That's also where copyright law entered a new world as well.


Whether we are writers, painters, sculptors, musicians or whatever, we need to reconsider how we might interface with a new world where intellectual property rights are as important as 20 years ago, and yet where there is a strong need worldwide to relitigate how those rights are to be both protected and "used" for the profit of the creator.


In the 1980s I was considered something of a knowledgeable person in terms of copyright law. To my knowledge I'm the first to have figured, along with an attorney in the U.S. Capitol, how to copyright a specific type of choreography. I have to think "copyright law" daily in my "day job" as a journalist.


Today? I think it's up to courts when it comes to anything having to do with the Internet. Everything I "knew" then is rather different today and may lead to incorrect assumptions.


The case law arising from the old 1890s international copyright laws was very strong as it went with little change for roughly a century.


We lack that case law at this point. What, for example, truly is allowed under the "Fair Use Doctrine" for "journalists" in today's world? Are you not a "journalist," for example, if you place an audio interpretation of music on a blog? I don't know. I think that one has yet to arise in terms of case law. What of placing a hypertext "jump" in my Internet Web site to your site? Is that a form of plagarism and copyright infringement for me if you have a 1950s video of a rock band? Is it for you? Whence came that video... etc., etc., etc. Is it legal if it's 30 seconds? 15? 60?


So... since most of us are not going to get involved in litigation, although we should keep track of cases that may affect us, the question is, "How do I best profit from my intellectual property rights as an individual artist?"


The big corporations can and will litigate. We guitar pickers and song and story writers are in a different situation in a practical sense.


That's why I say "PR" is something we need consider for our careers as artists. Nobody buys something about which they know nothing. They come to a bar to hear our guitaring, even if it's our first show as "unknowns" in a given venue, because the venue itself has a reputation.


Our need as artists, if we are to make a living at it, is to figure how to best promote our "art," and make a living at it. That, in a sense, makes certain aspects of copyright law irrelevant. We can sit and argue that point all we wish, but such argument outside a courtroom by non-professionals doesn't pay the electric bill at home.


My concern as an "artist" is how to keep enough cash on hand to pay for supper tomorrow night, not yet what may be litigated next week. To think ahead, one needs to think in terms of promoting something that will put cash into one's pocket - and that's promotion of whatever it is will pay us for what we create.

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Granted, it's books. But Baen is one of the major sci fi book publishers. I figure it's "the" sci fi publisher.


Eric Flint and David Drake, two of the top sci fi writers in the English language are participating and figure it's good for their book sales even though they're literally "giving away" material on the web.


Yeah, you can argue that books and music are two different critters. But... basically Flint's concept is just what I was talking about: PR is the name of the game, and how you use it is the important thing. That's true "web" or not.

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It looks to me that we already have seen major change in the "entertainment" industry - but the artists have not been the ones doing the changes - it's the big corporations of various sorts.


My bottom line is that the Web is a tool that we have not yet learned to use. And we must.


The big music corporations are always going to figure ways one way or another to make a buck - or they'll simply go out of business as we have known them. Heck, when's the last time you saw an Edison platter playing music?


Again, my concern is with the artist. We need simply a new paradigm as artists to figure how to make a living in a world changed significantly the past 15 years or so that nobody imagined would exist.


The home tape recorder, when it reached the price level that nearly everyone might have one, was seen as the end of the music industry. It wasn't. One simply recorded from a vinyl disk to a cassette tape. The VCR movie also was re-recorded and that didn't kill the movie industry. Sure, some illegal copies were sold, but no big deal.


Then we had digital music that was to "save" the music industry - even as its parallel the DVD arrived as another medium for "better quality" movies. Okay, nothing really changed and you still could re-record stuff if you knew what you were doing. The music and movie industry still did well.


Right now notice that the newer "HD" televisions all come from nations other than our own, mostly non Anglophone, and are roughly 3-5 times more expensive than a tube TV. Note also that it's increasingly difficult to "copy" those movies and it's certainly impossible without an appropriate playback machine.


Music, as in straight audio? Electronic seems to be overtaking any solid media. Hmmmm.


So Youtube and such is really getting big. But big only with a certain segment of the economy.


What do we musicians do under that paradigm to make money? I dunno, but short of shutting down Youtube and similar outfits, they will remain a fact of life.


Again, how do we use that to our advantage rather than just howl?

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