Wednesday, November 17, 2004

And now for a micro-rant!

I agree with this:

Wired News: 'Music Is Not a Loaf of Bread'

Now some questions for "those in power":

If I buy a CD used, how much of that sale makes it into the pockets of the recording executives or, to a lesser extent, the artist? Yet it's still legal to buy used music, right?

If I listen to a song in a friend's car and enjoy the sound of it, but never buy the album that it's from, is that a lost sale? Am I committing some kind of crime by listening to and enjoying music without buying it?

What if I borrow that CD from that friend and then listen to it on my own player, with no intention of buying a copy for myself? Am I stealing the music then? Or do I actually have to make a physical (or purely digital) copy first? The original disc is still there. I give it back to my friend. Where does the property lie? In the noise or the plastic?

If borrowing from a friend is a crime, then what if I borrow the same CD from the library? What then?

Now some statements to all:

This whole brouhaha about people stealing music via P2P filesharing is not really about lost sales or "stealing" music. It's about greed. The greed of the people who fear they will lose everything if this isn't STOPPED! The greed of the millionaires suing college kids for the HIGH CRIME of not having the money to spare on CDs, yet still wanting to be able to listen to a song they like when they feel like it.

It comes down to this, execs: If I like the music that you are selling, I will buy it, even if I can get it for free.

If I find music that I enjoy online I will buy the CD.

For example, I first ran across the Aquabats on the old-school Napster back "in the day". I probably downloaded....mmmm... 20 or so songs. I was hooked to their sound. Since then I've purchased, at full price, two of their CDs, their DVD, and I took my son and girlfriend to their concert in Denver and spent around $150 on tickets and merchandise. This is for a band that I've never heard on the radio (I hate to listen to the radio), and would likely have never heard of if it weren't for file sharing and the internet.

The same with the Bloodhound Gang. I first found their music on Napster as well and I now have all three of their CDs, and their DVD. Purchased legally, although one of the CDs was used. And I've heard they have an upcoming CD that I will be buying as well. Because I know I like them (although the DVD was a bit on the nasty side). Because I was able to listen to a wide range of their music without an initial investment, other than my time. All thanks to file sharing.

And finally, to The Industry:

Stop fearing P2P and discover how to use it to your advantage. Offer the consumers music that isn't cookie-cutter, formula crap. Test new bands on P2P servers first to see who is worth a recording contract and who isn't. Provide some incentives that you can't get by file sharing for people who purchase the actual CD, like concert tickets or discounts on band or label related clothing. Stop suing your customers. I can personally say, as someone who doesn't buy that many CDs anyway, there are at least six bands that I now listen to and have bought from that I never would have found if it weren't for file sharing.

Yes, there are people that will leech everything for free and never pass along a dime to you and your artists. But do you really think that outlawing P2P file sharing will make them realize what they are doing is wrong? Make them say, "Okay, fine. Here's my $16 for the one or two songs on the CD that I like and the rest of the crap." Not a chance. They'll just steal it a different way. You are trying to destroy a fantastic opportunity for everyone, you greedy, short-sighted, litigious, rich, out-of-touch "men in suits".

It seems to me that you people won't be happy until we each have specially encoded earplugs implanted at birth that won't allow us to hear any music that may be playing anywhere until we've put a dollar per song in your pocket.

I'm not even going to start talking about the fear that pirated movies will ruin the movie industry. It's all one and the same.

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