May 2008

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The music industry, from artists to recording companies to distributors including iTunes believes that the public exists to serve them and put money into their pockets. Then when the aren't fleecing us, they are treating us as criminals. They forget that they are in a service industry. They exist to serve the public by providing a quality product and providing good customer service. If the industry would start doing those things, perhaps this whole discussion would become unnecessary.

Manoj Jacob

I live in India, and fancy my skills as a singer-songwriter. I too tried to record music and try to sell it. Two years ago I tried with a first album. Sold a few hundreds. Broke even.

Then I decided to try plan B with the next album. Offered it as a free download on my website
The rave reviews flowed in. My orkut page and my mail box are full, but the coffers aren't. The live gigs haven't even started, leave alone pay. If you like you can go to the site too.
No you don't have to pay a thing. Just right click and save target as ...
Thankfully I have another means to earn a living, while I try and figure out a plan C.

Gregg Fraley

Free music is unsustainable. I like what Chris Isak said, you can have my songs for free as long as I can come to your house, walk in and eat from your refrigerator.

Abbi Vakil

As a follow up to my last comment, let's say that all the music was available on the shareware principle... Download any song you want from any artist anytime... listen to it for a set number of times for free after which you have to make a decision: either Im keeping it and therefore have to pay for it or I don't like it, and therefore it's not playable anymore. Anytime you want to play it after the trial period has expired, it'll only play a 30 second preview and then it nags you to buy it. This way you sample way way more music than ever before, you buy what you want to listen to and discard the songs you don't like. No greedy music labels coming in between fans and their music. How many people would pay for all the music in their library? Answer: Same as before, because as long as free music was available easily, many people will take free over doing the right thing. Sad...

Abbi Vakil

Reading all the comments on this post, Im struck by how many people feel a need to justify their song stealing. If the artist puts out a record with just a few good songs, how is that the fault of the label? Shouldn't the artist get some blame for that too? And the argument that increased availability of free music encourages concert sales only works so far as you have a gatekeeper: don't you think that if those same people could somehow sneak into the live concert for free that they would? The truth is that everyone is a free loader at heart- if somehow you could shoplift from Macy's with the same ease (and lack of consequences) as you can download a song, the percentage of people doing so would skyrocket. All the apologists who condone/ justify file sharing are using "the ends justify the means" arguments to avoid facing up to the fact that they're shoplifting, plain and simple. Perhaps we should be outraged that department stores sell shirts for $20 that cost them less than $2 when made in China. Too bad you can't download clothes- I've had my eye on that Armani jacket for months now...

Keyser Soze

I attend many concerts and buy many CDs so perhaps I'm not a representative sample. I've gone to see several bands this year that I heard of for free through the internet.
Breaking Benjamin, Little Charlie and The Nightcats come to mind AND I subsequently bought ALL of their CDs.

Likewise I went to see many bands who got famous the old fashioned way AND bought their CDs including Rush and ZZ Top.

By contrast I've boycotted Metallica since they were such douchebags about the whole thing. Overall I'd rather buy direct from an artist because the RIAA and the record industry at large are such scumbags. Arrest kids and single moms for downloading music. Way to go assholes. Can't wait unti you're out of business.

DISCLOSURE: I'm a recording artist and I give it away because I make more from people coming to my concerts than from CD sales as a whole.


Mike Blume

2-They Might Be Giants, and Weird Al Yankovic


If we extend it back a while, I've attended two Barenaked Ladies concerts, a group I discovered by downloading their music for free (though I eventually bought all their albums as I realized how much I liked them)


Meerkat - it's worse than you think. These days one can easily have 1000 CDs professionally manufactured for under $1000. That's less than $1 a copy. And that's for only 1000 - it's important to note that CDs/vinyl/etc. are priced like printing in that the majority of the costs are in the set-up and don't change much in relation to how many you make, meaning that the more copies you make, the cheaper your cost per unit is. Obviosuly there are a lot of other costs that go into making an album (recording, promotion, etc.), and it is true that vinyl costs more to make than CDs, but even lower-run major-label CDs costs well under $1 a piece to manufacture.


Saw the Danish band Mew this year. I first heard them from a free MP3 download on


"What live musical performance have you attended in the past year because you heard the band’s music for free on the Internet?

How many musical performances have you attended in the past year that featured musicians who got famous the old-fashioned way?"
Two and zero.

Joshua Jacobsen

I've gone to two "unknowns" (to me at least, bands that don't get radio play) in the past two years that I'd heard on the internet, but neither of them were through file sharing -- both were bands that I'd heard on MySpace videos that friends had on their profile pages. That's a form of viral marketing, but not quite the same thing.

In the past two years, I also went to two concerts from bands that were famous through more traditional methods.

I use "two years" because I haven't gone to any concerts since I got married. My wife has young kids. I didn't go to concerts all that often before the marriage, either.


Maybe i'm just repeating stuff elsewhere, but piracy has got nothing to do with copyright/morals/etc. It's pricing, plain and simple. The music company's are hell bent on stuffing worthless songs at obscene prices, and justify it based on 'expenses' they incur on signing up the artists. I support p2p and sharing solely based on this fact.
As for the fact of people downloading music for free, did u check up how many ppl download music from allmusic/russian/other 'illegal' paid music sites. Maybe people should spend more time making good music/ finding a better price point to sell music than suing people and discussing non-issues.
Just my 2c


Back in the late 1980s when CDs came out, I remember record companies encouraging people to switch because "CDs cost far less to reproduce than vinyl, so once there are a lot of them, album prices will drop dramatically."

At that time, I was buying new records in Boston for around $7.50 U.S. Thirty years later, CDs still cost twice that. Yes, I know there's been inflation and the real cost has gone down. My point is that the dramatic price drop prophecied by the record companies never happened. That's because they decided not to MAKE it happen, but kept their old high-cost-per-item business model.

If CDs cost $2, I would probably buy several per week. The cost of making a mistake would be so low that it basically wouldn't matter. At $15+ a pop, I buy new CDs maybe once a year, usually directly from the artist or band. Most I purchase used at garage sales. I'm happy to pay artists; I just hate subsidizing rip-off music conglomerates. Let's hear it for internet radio!

The same applies to buying mp3s. At $1/song they cost the same as a CD, but cost even LESS to reproduce, and there's no brick-and-mortar store overhead. So it's another rip-off, and there's no way I'm buying. At 20¢ per song, I would buy loads of new music because the value would be high and the risk factor low.

An EASY way to donate money directly to bands we really like (bypassing record companies altogether) would be a great help. Download or burn an mp3, and it automatically includes a link to the band's website page on PayPal.

For many years I have donated to radio stations I listen to, bought shareware I use and donated to good freeware, etc. If there was an equally easy way to donate direct to the artists whose songs I listen to, I would do it. But so long as the big music companies keep gouging, I'll avoid paying into their business model and find other ways to listen.


3 for the free musics, 1 for the traditionalists

John P

I download music all the time, and your absolutely right -free is better. I dont really feel the need to justify it, but here's my viewpoint:
Technological advancement changes the face of all business. The music industry is no exception. That doesn't mean we should stop technology. "Stealing music" (if that's what you want to call it) is nothing new. Back in the 80's, I use to purchase blank cassette tapes and record songs right off the radio. industries change all the time. The industry I am currently employed (print media), is dying due to the advancements of the internet.
I don't like it, but I'm not crying that we should shut down the internet either.
If I do purchase a song,book,movie,whatever- I feel I should have the right to copy and share it, providing I'm not trying to profit off it.


Music? What's that?


So I found Bishop Allen online. At the time, they had one free download from each of their 12 EP's from last year. They also had like 4 songs for download from their site from their full length album they produced and distributed.

After downloading these 16 songs, it prompted me to buy their full length album and 4 of the EP's. They were coming to Austin in a month so I went to that show, bought a t-shirt as well. They then came thru town two months later and I attended that show as well.

I've done this with several other bands I've discovered online. Most of the time if they offer free downloads of their songs and I like them, I'll buy their album to support them. I'm big on indie bands, their music is better than the mainstream crap that the RIAA endorses most of the time.

However, when Radiohead did the name your own price, I downloaded it with a price of $0.00. It was so good, I went back and paid them for it, more than what most cd's cost in the local store. Perhaps to prove a point but mainly to support Radiohead to keep making great albums.


I don't know what everyone say here.


Free Download Software


This sucks ....

Matthew Kovich

Over the past couple of years, I'd say (not counting people I know professionally as a musician), I've seen four artists as a result of online file sharing (either hearing a tune downloaded onto someone's computer, or hearing someone play a burned CD of a tune which they downloaded for free off of the internet).

As for people who gained popularity "the traditional way", it has been dozens.

I do want to point out that, simply because the traditional way has existed for much longer, the vast majority of the performing artists gained their notoriety before the advent of online file-sharing.

In other words, including Barb Streisand, Metallica, and Neil Diamond in these calculations is misleading.


none, and none.

However I did buy an album I heard for free in a pub. By a band I'd never heard of before, which we found for sale on the internet. I think that's a marginal win for free music...


A lot of music and movies are now released simultaneously worldwide. This is probably commercially sound if you don't want to waste good marketing buzz but it also bypasses a reason for sharing those files illegally. Whereas globally syndicated TV shows are shown months apart in different countries. It occurs to me that the makers of South Park and other globally popular TV could make every effort to ensure that everyone can watch latest episodes legally at around the same time. It is very much in their interest. I say this very guiltily, because I have several times succumbed to the temptation to watch those episodes ASAP online and not to wait months for the UK broadcast.


I paid to see Gogol Bordello, live at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park last month. Without the internet, I wouldn't have gone to the show.


I went to see Sons and Daughters live last night after hearing one of their songs some time ago someone had copied for me. I've also bought both their albums.


Those of you who are watching the RIAA, and its most vocal member, Sony, should know that one of the products Sony advertises in the Crutchfield catalog IS A CD DUPLICATOR!

Can you say, "SONY SUCKS!?" I can!

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