Friday, April 10, 2009

To a Mother Concerned About File Sharing

Okay, I have to admit I was conflicted about this one.'s blog posted the following email they received from a concerned mother:

I have a teenage son who tells me his pirating music is no big deal. Since he is a musician himself, I point out to him that someday that’s going to be his money people are stealing. But he remains unphased.

He tells me the record sales make money for the record label, not the artist. He says that the artists make all their money from touring and live concerts. He thinks the pirated music promotes the concerts and therefore helps the artist make more money. I still don’t allow pirating in my house.

But tell me what you think - as artists out there having your work “shared,” are you just glad to have it being enjoyed, or does it bother you? Admittedly, he is stealing music that is recorded by major record labels, so maybe its different than the independent musician working for his living. But I’d still like to hear what you think.


They then asked music bloggers to post a response TODAY (4/16) and email a link back to them. Here's what I have to say:

Here's my question: is EVERYTHING he is pirating on a major label? I mean, have we gone through it with a fine-tooth comb, and made sure that nothing independent or on an indie label snuck through? What if his tastes start to change and he starts to listen to a lot more indie music? Will he really be able to change the habit after he has already become so accustomed to getting all his listening material for free? I totally agree that, for the most part, most artists signed to labels, especially major labels, don't make a very large share of their income from record sales. But pretty much EVERYONE else who is a recording artist DEPENDS on this as part of their bread & butter. I am not a big fan of the major labels...I agree that they have shown nothing but greed in their reaction(s) to the file-sharing epidemic. Ultimately, though, it is all about the attitude, the attitude that MUSIC IS WORTH SOMETHING. I will, more than likely, always feel that when I put my blood, sweat and tears into making a record, creating something that I deem good enough to expose to the world at large, that record is worth paying for. How is anyone who is NOT on a major label ever expected to make a living creating art if the world decides that it should all be free? Indie artists don't always have the ability to tour to offset this lack of income, either. It's an expensive undertaking to bring a 4-piece rock band on the road (this being the ONLY reason that you have not seen a badass, monumentally awesome Dr. Pants tour...3 out of 4 of us are married, and have bills to pay. I am going to have to figure out how to put these guys on salary if we ever hope to do this).

Music shouldn't be free, not because a record label needs to make money, but because the majority of recording artists aren't on labels, and their music is worth paying for. Period.

Even then, we're only talking about ownership. We're talking about a CD, MP3 or some other type of audio file that one can listen to anywhere, not just on these here world wide webs. When we start talking about the internet, streaming audio, online radio, the dilemma becomes more complex. I have to admit, it would be REALLY great if I could get an ASCAP royalty every time someone played my song on or or any of the other online music services. It's like, in order to have a world where people have the option of finding quality music to listen to online (as opposed to the wasteland that is terrestrial radio), we've had to sacrifice the possibility of helping quality artists make a living from what they do. Please don't hear me say that I'm not grateful for these services; I am incredibly humbled by how many people have blipped Dr. Pants. I just wish that there was some sort of way I could get paid for that. At this point, I can only hope that enough blipping, etc. occurs that people will decide to pay to download my stuff from iTunes or wherever.

I hope I am not raising a firestorm (maybe I secretly, unconsciously hope that I am, but I don't think so). This is just the honest perspective of an independent artist who sincerely desires to make a living from it. If I do manage to make a living from it, the music will only get better...I promise. I will spend waaay more time working on it in that scenario.

Okay, now that I've said my peace...The sound file for my first iMix, Great Power Pop, is up and listenable. Go check it out. I'll hopefully have files up for a couple more of them by next week.

1 comment:

ilikebundy99 said...

Why don't you try the Street Performer Protocol?

I personally think that is the way things should be done. anyways, best of luck to you.