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music "piracy" - bad or good for the artist?


Witmer

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As musicians, some of you professionally, what do you all think about the file-sharing of music, and the general "take it if you can" mentality toward recorded music?

 

Does it hurt musicians and prevent creativity? I tend to think it does, to the extent that I won't keep music that I don't pay for. (Not opposed to streaming it from YouTube or a radio-type site, though.)

 

The issue of what to do about all the copyright infringement is sticky and volatile, and I don't have much of an opinion. But it begs the first question - does the copyright infringement hurt artists? And I think most people head into that argument already assuming one thing or another. (ie: "get a real job if you want money" or "it's theft!")

 

What do you think?

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There are three schools of thought:

 

Music downloads harm the artist/songwriter/etc. by taking away a revenue source

 

Music downloads help the artist/songwriter/etc. by exposing them to new fans

 

I'm too cheap to pay for music, regardless of how much I "love" the artist

 

 

You don't often hear the third one from musicians.

 

 

Free downloads are capable of exposing fans to new artists. iTunes Discovery Download and Free Single of the Week have been very successful in doing that... but those are songs that are being advertised as free downloads. How many nationally-unknown artists are being discovered because people are searching for random things on the filesharing networks? People I know, who regularly cite that reason to justify why they do it, are only searching for and downloading artists they're already familiar with.

 

If an artist wants to give away free music, be it a single or their entire album, I support it entirely, but it should be their choice - not the fans who decide to give it away to whoever wants.

 

 

Personally, if I have an album (which I currently do not, thanks to a studio computer crash...), I'll be selling it. Maybe I'll give away a single or a few copies of the record, but a majority of them will be sold. I can't afford to invest in CDs and make it all back in "performance pay." I'd lose money doing that.

 

 

What really bothers me is that when it's music or movies that are being pirated, it's socially acceptable, but when companies steal each others' code for software, which has happened a few times (high profile, at least) in the past few months, it's suddenly copyright infringement. Intellectual property is intellectual property. Those that don't create don't seem to think those of us that do deserve compensation.

 

I have a lot of issues with a large majority of the arguments presented... I try to stay away from these conversations out of sheer frustration... I can't argue with every flawed argument presented or I'll go insane.

 

 

[EDIT] To clarify, "downloads" in a majority of my statement here refers to "illegal downloads offered to one user by another user, neither of which own the rights to distribute the contents of the file(s)." Apply that as makes sense.

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This is a complex issue, some artists like having their music circulate on the net to get exposure but established artists do get hurt by piracy.

 

A lot of people see piracy as a victimless crime, (like punching somebody you do not know in the dark) what I do hear is that it hurt Nashville quite a bit but now is more under control since you can buy tracks on the net so easily.

 

A lot of people used to use the excuse of "I only want one song in that album why should I pay for the whole thing?" well now that you can actually buy a clean virus-free download for $1 or so there is no reason to download music illegally.

 

In my experience when the file-sharing was going around on the net the quality was really crappy 75% of the time, I never care for that or the way some of those sites messed my computer with viruses. I have never looked back, I did not even know there where still sties sharing music until last week when Rocky posted something.

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As a child I was in the very fortunate position of having a well stocked music dept in our local library.

 

I could take out up to four discs at a time, which I did pretty much non-stop.

 

This meant I was able to spend a week with albums I'd never, ever have bought to see if I liked the player/genre etc...etc...

 

This is how I started to appreciate listening to all sorts of jazz and helped me realise the jazz I didn't like.

 

Ditto every other music style from C&W, Metal, Opera, and most importantly for me, the original blues pioneers.

 

I went on to buy vinyl, compact-cassette and CD's numbering many thousands - probably a hundred times more albums than had I not been priviledged enough to have the blinkers of 'pop-music' removed from my eyes through sheer ignorance.

 

As a side effect I was able to awaken enthusiasm for these 'new' (to us) musicians to all my jamming mates and they, in their turn, went out and bought music that they, likewise, would never have bought. They returned the compliment to me. This is one example of how different music is disseminated.

 

Some of the Youtube clips posted on this site have made me go into town to buy the Artists' discs.

 

It's not all bad.

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I am not sure whats so complex about stealing. Walking into a supermarket and walking out with a loaf of bread without paying is stealing. So is illegal downloading. I dont allow my kids to steal music and neither do I. If you cant afford or are unwilling to pay .99 for a song then, you have more serious problems then whether or not to pay for music. Its a matter of integrity. And theres no degree of integrity, you either have it or you dont.

 

By the way, Happy New Year.

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If the material is posted as a free download I don't see any issues. Otherwise it's theft, period.

 

Having said that, way back in the day I used to make custom reel-to-reel tapes by request. You know the routine. I'd charge a small fee for my time/materials, but that was it. Never any consideration that we might be doing something to harm the musicians whose material we copied over and over to share among friends. We're not talking about millions of copies or even a real business. But I wasn't the only guy who did this when it was the only technology available. Is that any different than what we're discussing here? The misappropriation of intellectual property? I don't wanna have to jump off a chair or anything, but I'm starting to feel kinda guilty here. :-k

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I disagree with file sharing. However, Napster was quite cool when it first came out. It opened the doorway to so many artists people had never heard of. The upshot for me was that on listening to the songs I would go out and buy the album, so in the end my CD collection quadrupled in size.

 

However to rip off an album with no intention of paying for the download or buying the CD is wrong. I use Amazon for all my music, it's very easy to use. Also Spotify is a good thing for music.

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To clarify, in case anyone misunderstood, "downloads" as I referred to it in many cases, refers to downloads where neither party (the host nor recipient) have rights to the contents of the file.

 

I don't suspect any of you did, but I figured I would cover my tracks. Obviously, that statement doesn't apply to those where I specifically said "free downloads offered by the artist."

 

 

As a radio host, especially one who focuses on songwriters, particularly those not well-known, I rely heavily on free downloads - but they're sent to me by artists and labels specifically for use on radio. I download them and they go onto the radio station computer - I don't have any of them in my own library.

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Some folks claim that music sharing has existed for a long time and it has but it was in a much minor scale, you had to know somebody that had the album and that would be willing to lend it to you then you could record it on tape if you had a way to do so. Or a similar setup. It was a big hassle that would make you wnat your own music if you liked it enough.

 

With the internet the sharing is way more expanded, you do not need to know anybody and you have access to thousands of people's music.

 

Years ago I dated a girl that asked me once "where do you get your music?" (meaning MP3s) I said from my CDs, I had 300 or so at the time. She thought I misunderstood the question so she asked again. I had to explain that illegal music sharing websites were not the only way to get digital music. Isn't that sad when something is so popular even when is wrong.

 

The "everybody is doing it" mentallity.

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They make the technology and we use it....Too bad. I feel ripped off for having to buy a whole cd for one good song.

 

You can buy just the song you want nowadays, iTunes, Amazon, etc. around $1.00.

 

I have bought a few songs that way myself.

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To clarify' date=' in case anyone misunderstood, "downloads" as I referred to it in many cases, refers to downloads where neither party (the host nor recipient) have rights to the contents of the file.

 

I don't suspect any of you did, but I figured I would cover my tracks. Obviously, that statement doesn't apply to those where I specifically said "free downloads offered by the artist."

[/quote']

 

 

Just a word of caution here... "Download" is a generic term, and would not generally be associated with an illegal activity by the populace, as you describe. I mention this only because my youngest son, who owns nary an illegally gotten song, has downloaded 100% of the tunes he listens to from iTUnes. My eldest son frequently buys tunes from online resources as well, all downloaded to his Zune. Perhaps using a more accurate term would avoid confusion... like "stolen contraband" or "pirated music"?

 

Not trying to be a "word nazi"... just seeing an opportunity to , perhaps, help clarify [biggrin]

 

 

For the record, I salute your honor for not taking those artist provided radio tunes and keeping them for yourself. Character is what you do when no one is watching!

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They make the technology and we use it....Too bad. I feel ripped off for having to buy a whole cd for one good song.

 

 

So... you only want one egg... that makes it ok to waltz into the local supermarket and take one without paying?

 

I'm sorry man, I'm just not gonna be able to buy into the whole "I want it, but I don't like the packaging, so It's ok to steal it" mentality....

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Free Music' date=' no stealing involved

 

http://50footwave.cashmusic.org/freemusic/

 

http://www.archive.org/

 

[/quote']

 

The first site is exactly the kind of legal DL site that newer artists would utilize to gain recognition.

 

But the second site... this isn't "downloading" in the traditional sense, either. The Archive states :

 

"Our terms of use specify that users of the Wayback Machine are not to copy data from the collection. If there are special circumstances that you think the Archive should consider, please contact info at archive dot org."

 

 

so I'm not sure it applies here, technically, as they are specifically forbidding downloads. However....

 

If folks have things so readily available... and free anytime they want via bookmarks... why steal?

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So... you only want one egg... that makes it ok to waltz into the local supermarket and take one without paying?

 

All eggs taste the same. I know before I buy them what theyll taste like. I can count dozens of times I have

bought an album simply for one song. The rest were crap

I understand thats the way music is sold, but it doesnt make it right.

 

I say take what you can if you can get it...Big companies like Sony etc invent all of these toys that copy

music, movies what have you...then when we use whats available to us they scream foul.

 

I make no bones about the fact that I have well over 4000 songs that I got 100% for free.

Ill burn anyone a copy who asks me....no charge, thats just the kinda' fella I am.

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The recording industry has reacted and you can buy only the songs you want though, and with a better quality than the usual pirate download.

 

I still buy CDs, since another adjustment the industry made is that CD prices went down to make them more appealing.

 

I have been expanding my music taste for 2 decades now so I get to buy a lot of compilations. When I buy a CD I also like more than 1 song from that CD. If I like 1 song only there's iTunes.

 

I bought the Best of Ten Years After, then I realized the I am Going Home version even though is 10 minutes long is not the Woodstock version. Easy a pie, I bought the Woodstock version at Amazon, $2 but well worth it.

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The recording industry has reacted and you can buy only the songs you want though' date=' and with a better quality than the usual pirate download.

[/quote']

 

iTunes files are usually 128 kbs files, most torrent downloads are 320 kbs, iTunes offers higher quality files, but you pay more for them.

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All eggs taste the same. I know before I buy them what theyll taste like. I can count dozens of times I have

bought an album simply for one song. The rest were crap

I understand thats the way music is sold' date=' but it doesnt make it right.

 

I say take what you can if you can get it...Big companies like Sony etc invent all of these toys that copy

music, movies what have you...then when we use whats available to us they scream foul.

 

I make no bones about the fact that I have well over 4000 songs that I got 100% for free.

Ill burn anyone a copy who asks me....no charge, thats just the kinda' fella I am.[/quote']

 

Thanks!

 

Here's a link you'll need to be familiar with in the future!

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All eggs taste the same. I know before I buy them what theyll taste like. I can count dozens of times I have

bought an album simply for one song. The rest were crap

I understand thats the way music is sold' date=' but it doesnt make it right.

 

I say take what you can if you can get it...Big companies like Sony etc invent all of these toys that copy

music, movies what have you...then when we use whats available to us they scream foul.

 

I make no bones about the fact that I have well over 4000 songs that I got 100% for free.

Ill burn anyone a copy who asks me....no charge, thats just the kinda' fella I am.[/quote']

 

I've never downloaded music files. Never. So I don't really know much about it. But, in spite of the corporate aspect of the packaging, I wonder how you feel about the musicians. If there's a way to see to it that they receive the revenue for their work...assuming that's what they want, how do you feel about pirate downloads that bypass the artist?

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I've never downloaded music files. Never. So I don't really know much about it. But' date=' in spite of the corporate aspect of the packaging, I wonder how you feel about the musicians. If there's a way to see to it that they receive the revenue for their work...assuming that's what they want, how do you feel about pirate downloads that bypass the artist?[/quote']

 

Yeah! Jay Z only made $162,000,000 last year. His poor wife, Beyonce, only brought in $160,000,000

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Yeah! Jay Z only made $162' date='000,000 last year. His poor wife, Beyonce, only brought in $160,000,000[/quote']

 

I'm not into hair-splitting, really. If a person's economic status deprives them of their basic rights it should be written into law. I remember some people thinking my own parents were "rich". They worked their butts off for everything they ever had. Honest work. Should they have been subjected to less than honorable treatment because they were successful? If someone decides *I* have "too much" does it entitle them to confiscate my property? Seems a bit strange.

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Yeah! Jay Z only made $162' date='000,000 last year. His poor wife, Beyonce, only brought in $160,000,000[/quote']

 

 

Ahhh... so it's ok to steal from them?

 

For the record... what exactly is the minimum annual income for it to be ok to be stolen from?

 

Oh... and does that apply to other crimes as well???

 

 

THIS could get interesting....

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I am not sure whats so complex about stealing. Walking into a supermarket and walking out with a loaf of bread without paying is stealing. So is illegal downloading. I dont allow my kids to steal music and neither do I. If you cant afford or are unwilling to pay .99 for a song then' date=' you have more serious problems then whether or not to pay for music. Its a matter of integrity. And theres no degree of integrity, you either have it or you dont.

 

By the way, Happy New Year.

 

[/quote']

 

+1 to everything you just said.... i couldnt have said it better #-o

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