The same debate has gone on for almost as long as the first people who realized they could get copies of music WITHOUT PAYING THE ARTISTS WHO CREATED IT started to do so. I wrote my Open Letter about this four years ago (back in 2009), and after mailing it to people around the world, I posted it on my website. (To see my Open Letter, go to my website www.leighharrison.com -- it's on the "Copyright Protection" page.) Nevertheless, even though many of us have taken a stand about our right to control what happens to our music, the problem of unauthorized copying still is prevalent. Most of us are in the rank of the 99% -- we're struggling to get by. The fact that the internet makes piracy easier will never change the fact that decency and morality have not changed. It is STILL fair -- and correct -- to pay someone for their work.
Forget about the internet, forget about everything else that you ever heard. Tune into KALX Berkeley at 90.7 FM
This issue should be a hotbed of controversy. As an artist myself I can appreciate ones desire to make a living creating music. The problem is everyone wants to become filthy rich from a one hit wonder and live happily ever after. That is not reasonable!!!!!!! The general population works hard everyday hacking out a living. Why should artists demand a life of luxury, on the backs of the listening public, in return for their craft. That is so absurd. Why do lawyers charge $350 an hour? Get real! We all contribute an important element to society if we honestly invest genuine effort and passion in what we do.
What makes us artists so special?? Really!!!!!
When others make money off of our art, that is where the boom should fall!
I say let the listening public share freely our creations among themselves in a kind of advertising/promotional sense.
Then hit the TV/Movie/Corporate entities mindblowingly hard! Charge those greedy bastards through the roof.
If we are really gifted as songwriters, then we should practice our craft daily and be prolific and earn a decent living as others in this world doing what we love. If corporations latch on to what we do, then some of us will become wealthy. So be it.
I've wondered why digital music cannot be programmed to make each successive copy be more degraded, the same way cassette copies get worse with each generation, until eventually the copies are worthless, sound quality wise. I think that would do a lot to stop the massive free sharing of music. I believe a big part of the problem is that once someone posts a digital song on an illegal site, it can be shared forever with no loss of quality.
Not seeing the big picture of consequences for choices, words and actions results in people wanting cheap and free. I speak to people who have never made the connection between wanting to buy as cheaply as possible and not wanting a wage cut or to see businesses shut down. As a speaker and author I am often asked why I don't speak for free as it "gets my name out there." They have a hard time getting that I don't want my name out there as a free speaker. My writing is also of value so getting paid for it is not unrealistic. We need to educate people to see their free is someone's loss of income.
While I broadly support the points made by the film, I don't think they've got a snowflake's chance in hell of changing a damn thing. And while piracy certainly did make a big dent in things during the noughties, it's not the only issue here. A number of factors supported the old model...
1. Restricted supply of music due to high production and distribution costs.
2. Restricted number of musicians able to 'get known' due to limited number of promo channels.
3. No internet. Few computer games (none till 1979) therefore few other distractions or ways for the 'youth' to identify themselves, except through music consumption... and purchase.
4. Limited options for unregulated copying - cassette was real time, each further iteration losing quality.
5. Relatively high profit margins on the product, meaning relatively low sales could generate relatively high income.
ALL those factors have gone, and we've pretty much got the opposite situation. Where we had (relative) scarcity, we now have saturation, most of it of very dubious quality. There are almost no restrictions of any kind, when it comes to production or distribution - even if that means music that 'sounds' good (because the software will get it that way at a low price) even if the writing and performance aren't so good.
The 'middle class' of musicians who survived without being that well known for the period, broadly 1975-2000 - of which I was one - only managed that because they either sold enough of their own DIY CDs (maybe 10-20k sales average) to survive, or manage to persuade a label to fund their work, even though the chances of that label making a profit were slim - something on the order of 94% of ALL records made never made a profit - but the big sellers subsidised the low sellers. This meant low sellers could get an advance - and survive - even if the records didn't get into profit. Now, that won't happen - no label can afford to 'take a punt' on an artist who isn't obviously - very obviously - 'commercially viable'.
These days that middle class of musos need numbers that were pretty difficult to get even in the boom times - at least 100s of 1000s, preferably millions. In an era when getting 'above the noise' needs MASSIVE promo efforts - and budget. Yet their market always was relatively small, even in the old model. You really think they're going to pull the massive numbers they need now ?
It's not going to happen. The gravy train has gone, brothers and sisters. This ISN'T GOING TO CHANGE.
So best of luck out there. Personally, I've just about given up making 'music for the consumer' and releasing it as 'records'. Yes, I've got a Bandcamp site and iTunes distribution for older catalogue, but it's just beer money, at best.
So now I'd better going on with the current work -knocking out music scores for TV. It isn't glamorous, it's not very well paid - but it is some kind of living....
Until IP creators of one form and another, the world over, come together and begin an intellectually aggressive but legitimate assault, the corporates will continue to exploit. Offence is the best defence.
Join the STOP WORKING FOR FREE Facebook group... nearly 5000 members in four months!
Music is property.
If it's not YOUR creative property, how did you acquire it?
Did the OWNER/CREATOR grant you permission?
Did the OWNER/CREATOR sell it to you?
"Sharing" is a cute term for lifting things that don't belong to you and not paying.
These "discussions" amaze me in how intellectuals spend time and energy debating the issue of: will I pay or won't I pay, for goods and services rendered.
Quite simply: PAY for the music and films you enjoy.
PAY in the same spirit by which you expect to be PAID when you perform your JOBS and/or CRAFT.
What if your boss decided to "share" your paycheck with strangers, without any consideration for you and your family?
Would you mind if a stranger "shared" your wife?
Quite simply: PAY.
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@Jonathan Out of the 7 years or so I have been howling about this stuff you are likely the only person who has not only made some valid points worthy of debate but, likely the only person capable of any semblance of nuance as well. I applaud you for that!
I have to get a few work things out of the way today but I shall respond accordingly asap.
"We have had copyright for over 300 years, and it has been supported because it benefits society by encouraging creativity and it is fair to the creators."
What its designed to do and what it actually does are two wildly different things. Keeping things that rightfully belong in the public domain(like freaking mickey mouse) out of it, is not useful, period..... in any way shape or form.
"The internet does not render the basic laws of Economics, ethics, or constitutional rights obsolete"
No exactly. no. It does, however, stand it on its head and give the rest of us creative folks a fighting chance.
I would suggest you start here..
With that said, proponents of trying to lock down or otherwise gatekeep things lose the argument at the starting line by bandying around terms like pirate, illegal, theft and so on. Because, in reality(read...the law) those terms are not even germane to the conversation.
Disclaimer: I can play a pretty mean guitar. I know most of my theory (usually lol...) I played in band for years. I had and have no desire to make a bunch of money doing it really, because it begins to conflate art with work... rendering it not quite as cathartic for me.
That and 5 nights a week in a bar is a bit much for me at my age lol...
The way I typically see it is folks on the other side of this debate can roll up their sleeves, listen to the tech sector(who arguably has provided you with all the free tools you would ever need to do whatever the hell you want with your work) and move forward... Or, folks can continue to get their panties in a bunch and accomplish nothing but pissing off fans and looking like complete heels.
It seems that those who embrace technology and are human about things do just fine. This is not restricted to music either. This fellow, for instance, got it right http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090219/1124433835.shtml
I will pop back in asap.
About time some one put Fairfield on the map, and you did it with class. I saw you on 106 & park. I enjoyed your interview a lot. Your mom did a great job with you...
You know that the majority of artists who are not making money are not associated with the major labels (who also own stock in Spotify, by the way... that's how they got the deals to use the music, it was in exchange for equity.) The majority of independent artists who were able to make a meager living in the past are the ones who have been since moved into the level of making next to nothing. This includes small studios, independent engineers, mastering engineers etc. I think the point of this film is that, not that some corporate level officers make money. The only artists making money for the themselves and the "suits" are the very top 1%, same as the US economy, oddly...
Hi, Will. I am more than happy to debate things on their merits, unfortunately there are literally zero metrics to back up your position. Unless they were funded by the RIAA. That is not an exaggeration.
Artists don't get paid fairly because the rubes in suits keep all the cash, and spend it on trying to ram legislation down uninformed throats... the sole purpose of which is to ultimately line the pockets of a handful of people.
That will hopefully keep you busy for a bit.
As a fan, I find this particularly offensive.. http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/07/10/us-lovett-idUSN1030835920080710
Do you ever stop to think why the labels cant throw up Netflix, Spotify, what have you? Its because they don't give a flip about you(assuming you are a musician) or customers/fans. That much is abundantly clear.
There is no difference with Hollywrong either http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/09/how-hollywood-accounting-can-make-a-450-million-movie-unprofitable/245134/
Same shit, different rubes in suits. https://www.google.com/search?q=hollywood+accounting&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
but I digress,
Well 2 out of 4 intelligent comments is far better than we would have had a few years back. There really is a shift happening where musicians are finally speaking up against a tech world that tolerates piracy and a digital world that treats artists work like road kill.
The Billy Bragg post is particularly stinky, because comparing making a cassette for a person is radically different than uploading a song and having 50,000 people download. And this is the really good part, Bragg was in Sweden when he wrote this and rumored to be at the Spotify offices. Now there's a coincidence?
Oh, yes. It was the first 2 comments I found intelligent. Perhaps the other fellow had to many Crackers before his meal.
As I was cooking some food.... it occurred to me that not only is this post devoid of fact, it seems wildly hypocritical of this fellow to whine about "disruptive business modalities" when he is using indiegogo to fund a project.
I guess forward thinking technology is only ok when you it suits YOU.
Additionally, you lose any semblance of credibility when you mention the vitriolic turd that is David Lowery within the context of trying to be reasonable.
Artists would get paid if their corporate overlords bothered to pay them....
Nice luddite propoganda piece though. Unfortunately, as soon as you look at the facts, it falls flat on its face.
"Spotify pays out 70% of its revenues to music rightsholders, and has said that it expects those payments to exceed $500m (£310m) in 2013. How much of that money gets passed on to musicians depends on the terms of their contracts with labels."
As any reasonably minded person would agree, said contracts are utter sheeeeet.
I'm surprised how much illegal downloading is mentioned, and how little ad-supported streaming "services" are in this article. Services such as Pandora and Spotify do the same damage as illegal downloading but in a more severe way: they train people to think they are not paying for music and that to do so is unnecessary. At least the illegal downloaders have to opportunity to feel a sense of shame!
In the ad-supported model, not only do musicians essentially not get paid (fractions of a cent per stream), but music is no longer what generates value, instead it's the listers that are being sold to advertisers.
In the end, we all pay for the music we listen, the TV we watch, the social networks we log in to, and even the East Bay Express. Less of the money, however, goes to the content we love, and instead goes to the companies that are spending so much to create all that we try to tune out.
Good and necessary conversations.
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