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So Google has finally got round to doing something about music piracy on the Internet. By blocking the word ”torrent’ in searches it sort of half hopes the problem will go away.

Unfortunately it’s a sticking plaster over a gaping wound as a million musicians livelihoods drain away.

It’s not that the musicians want to make millions. Many just want to make music and pay their way and survive or just pay for the rehearsal room, studio etc.

The most bizarre thing is the disdain musicians are held in. Like they don’t deserve to scrape any kind of living in the filthiest business known to man. Somehow it’s deemed ok to spend a grand on a laptop from some big corporate company but somehow wrong to pay for the music you play on it. Many non musicians have been sat on line saying all music should be free. ‘Why don’t they just record an album in their bedroom.’ They type from their seafront condominiums on Brighton seafront forreting that many young bands trying to start in council estates don’t have spare bedrooms or laptops.

There still seems to be a residual mindset that musicians live like the Rolling Stones and are rolling in money and deserve to be fleeced but that’s nowhere near the reality. It seem odd that the Pirate Party can paint themselves as modern day Robin Hoods, folklore heroes helping give away all this music when it’s actually the opposite.

The Internet could easily stop this situation but there are darker farces at work and the value of music hits rock bottom. It should be up to the musician if they want to give their work away for free and many do. The days of the fifteen quid CD are, thankfully over. It was a hideous format and somebody was making a lot of money from it but there has to be some sort of bottom line as many creative people are giving up and releasing new music becomes a pointless exercise.

Alec Empire blogs on music piracy for Louder Than War

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Livelihoods are draining away same as they ever were, because of the greed of the big record companies. That’s where the disrespect for musicians lies, not with the people who listen and share and discuss and generate enthusiasm. Steve Albini’s rant on the music industry isn’t obsolete yet: httpss://www.negativland.com/albini.html
    Projects like Bandcamp are fantastic: there are so many ways in which fans can get their money directly to musicians without going through middlemen. Look at the way Jane Siberry or Kristin Hersh or Amanda Palmer fund their lives and their music: it’s brilliant and it works. You can’t turn the clock back: the fact exists that once something is digitised it can be shared. It’s time to be creative. People who want to make music will still do so if they love it, but now getting it out there is much easier; that should be celebrated. All attempts to stop copying and sharing are doomed to failure, it’s just big business trying to claw back some power. But this is a transitional time, a time to reassess how things work and how music can be funded. No-one is saying that musicians should have to work for free or deserve to be fleeced, but there do need to be new strategies to take account of new circumstances. The Pirate Party stand for freedom of information and sharing art digitally is part of that; they’re part of the same wave as Wikileaks, where new technology is changing the way we have to think about morality and freedom and art and money and politics. It’s actually a very exciting time to be alive if you can get your head around the fact that the old order is redundant.

  2. I’m all for musicians making money, but not if the only way they can do so is to arbitrarily kick people off the internet with the minimum of evidence. In any event, how do you know piracy is harming anything? Despite a recession, sales of legal digital music increased this year.

    Google blocking the word Torrent is unfairly penalising all the legal uses for Torrents – such as downloading Linux distibutions. It’s also bizarre because searches for The Pirate Bay – a site only used for illegal downloading – aren’t blocked at all.

  3. Lucy obviously doesn’t know the reality of indie musicians and labels these days. I wrote an article about this issue two years ago: httpss://www.eyho-blog.com/2009/07/01/alec-empire-article-about-pirate-bay-music-industry-philosophy-2nd-world-war/

    this is a very complex issue and I hate when people give these easy answers. (“bands should sell merch”, “you can reach millions of potential fans”, “myspace is great”)

    censorship or control by governments or corporations is NOT the solution. it will lead to censoring music as well.

    reality is that young musicians can only survive if they come from a upper middle class or rich background these days. that’s wrong in my opinion because we don’t get the best possible music this way. (if you like Amy Whinehouse, Mark Ronson, Lilly Allen, then you might not have a problem with that. I think the music scene should be about the music itself and not about who can afford to do it or who has a sponsor. The means are here, AND people even listen to the music!)

    It is so important to divide between indies and majors (which hardly nobody does! Can Louder than War get onto this? ;)

    also let’s get rid of the charts systems. they are manipulated and corrupt (especially in the digital world). this is not a competetive sport, this is music. And what most ‘pop’ musicians do these days was done (in my opinion better) by innovative underground musicians decades earlier.

    We live in times where the rich steal from the poor. That goes for musical ideas as well. That is what the argument should be about. (and about the majors being greedy. Sony music and Universal don’t even bother about losing millions. they write it off.)

    we need to make the indies more powerful again, and we can only do that, if everybody every once in a while pays for music they like.

    I personally don’t care because I come from a different decade (white labels selling up to 20.000 via indie distribution channels.), but I see many young bands who started enthusiastic stopping music because there is no way forward for them. That is bad and will bring down everything at the end.

    I don’t want music to be provided by the state or some big corporation, I also don’t want musicians to sell me something else. I want them to focus on what they can do best: music.

    In this whole debate nobody really supports the musicians. Filesharers AND majors are equally greedy. the same thing will happen to film (it is already, but it hasn’t come as far).

    We need to establish a different mind set before censorhsip and other forms of control technologies are kicking in.


  4. I’m afraid that to most folks record companies,musicians and music all blend into one. The case brought by Metallica,rightly or wrongly,just muddied the waters further.It’s interesting that this piece seems to be laying the blame/fault/cause at the feet of the downloader instead of at the record company. For far too long,the record buying public have been fleeced,ripped off,strung along and duped by record companies,(and not just the majors either)…
    The age of the £15 CD might be over-i don’t think it is,but the age of releasing the same album twice in the same year but with bonus tracks on the later issue,or the age of charging over the odds for festivals is still very much with us…
    What is the answer-A maximum price for a CD,a fine for all of those downloading illegaly? I’ve not got the answers,but then again neither has anyone else or so it seems

  5. Hi Alec! I’m wondering what aspect of the indie world you think I’m mistaken about? I am not totally ignorant of what’s going on for small bands and independent record labels and you’ll notice that I purposefully didn’t give the usual glib answers, just mentioned that Bandcamp seems to work and gave three examples of independent artists who, in three different ways, fund their music-making (and make a living) in new and effective ways. It IS a complex business, but it’s also a time of huge creativity and change. I think we’re not too far apart on our positions on big record companies and censorship: what I suggested is that there needs to be careful and considered rethinking of the situation, given that the environment in which music is made and distributed has changed forever. The genie is out of the bottle. Speaking for myself, I have bought more music these last two years than I ever have before: I buy CDs from bands sitting at their merch stall after gigs; I buy from Bandcamp and from bands’ own websites; I buy from my local independent record shop (which, by the way, is busier and buzzier than you’d think possible, given that the death of music as a physical artefact has been proclaimed endlessly). I also download music and use Amazon. If I love something that I’ve downloaded out of curiosity, I buy the CD itself, preferably from the band themselves. It’s more than a kind of courtesy gesture to do this: it’s a connecting, conscious and direct support (and effective feedback loop) of the bands themselves. The point you make about class is interesting: the days in which creativity could effectively be state-funded (Arts Council grants, the dole etc.) are long gone and of course that has had an effect on the music that is being made (I haven’t read the original article featured in this BBC report about the poshness of most pop musicians these days, but it’s a pertinent point: httpss://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9373000/9373158.stm).

  6. Lucy, there’s a reason that livelihoods are draining away, because people are not prepared to pay for this artform. People are not stealing music as some kind of protest against the majors, they’re doing it because they’re selfish, because they don’t care about musicians or the economy that buying music supports, and because they can.

    I know the impact of this selfishness, this ‘I can have it for free so I will’ attitude, I have seen literally dozens of friends lose their livelihoods, their jobs, their businesses as the record music industry contracts entirely because of piracy. You talk about artists like Hersh, who is able to leverage a reputation built on the back of previous investment through a ‘mega-evil’ record company, who probably make landmines for fun as well. Your argument that people ‘will still make music if they love it’ is essentially saying that musicians don’t deserve to earn a living. A recording costs money to make, people like you and the awful, one-dimensional Pirate Party who think that artists should shouler that cost for your pleasure.

    Do you have any idea how many people and skills it takes to make a recording? Or do you live in a fantasy world where everyone can make a beautiful sounding masterpiece on Garage Band?

    Meanwhile the people who suffer are the rehearsal studios, the session musicians, the engineers, all the people who have been able to earn a living from the record music economy.

    Miles: in terms of blocking the word torrent I see your point that this also censors legitimate uses. However, if you agree that people who create records I’d be open to other suggestions for which sticks can be used with, what I believe should be vastly improved carrots.

    The major labels, and to be honest the indies, are a long way from perfect, they often lack ethics, they’ve created a problem through narrow-mindedly sticking to one model, vying for market share when there were genuine threats to the whole industry and then tinkering whilst Rome was burning. I am not suggesting they are perfect in any way. However, the system subsidised literallh hundreds of thousands of unprofitable bands, helped them create records and have careers and the likes of the pirate party want to crush this creativity in some childish rebellion against ‘the man’.

    And as you can hear, the thing that’s suffering is creativity. Give yourselves a big, long, slow clap.

  7. The essential thread of the article is true – many otherwise sane people would see stealing a phone by apple or nokia from carphone warehouse as wrong, but nabbing the latest album by an unknown artist as justified.

    Which is odd.

    It makes me really pissed off that people I otherwise respect nab stuff they have no need to not pay for. I’m not talking about the personal exchange of music, the copy of a favourite album or the mixtape, I’m talking people who hear something new on the radio and then fucking download it and go and buy a fucking costa coffee with the money saved. PRIORITY FAIL!!!

    I don’t know where you are Lucy, but most (not all) of the record shops I’ve been in recently have been pitiful and resolutely un ‘buzzy’. Like seeing a much loved family member in the throws of long illness. And I don’t have a local one :(

    However, I am very glad to see somewhere online like boomkat which I remember as a stall in afflecks palace doing so well and being just about the best place to buy odd, curious and genre bending stuff in the world. It’s clearly a site with the ethos of a decent indie store and more power to it’s elbow. Personally, I would always buy off them over amazon. Just as I would always buy in an indie store over HMV.


    The boy Noel Gallagher made a point in one of early interviews about how without the dole, there would be no Oasis – he said something like the GDP of the Oasis sales would pay for the dole for the whole of Manchester for 3 years or something or other. I always thought that was a wise point.

  8. Asking whether filesharing is good thing is like asking whether the moon is a good thing: completely academic. Music can be freely copied, now. It’s just a fact.

  9. I’m in Brighton: there are several small but thriving record shops here, as well as a big live music scene, loads of music being made and some good little local record labels putting it out… I just don’t see the evidence that the music-making is in decline. What I DO see is the majors grumbling about their profits and putting pressure on other agencies (the police, Google etc.) to try to stem the flow (the same record labels who drop young bands after a single album because they didn’t turn out to be Kings of Leon. Again.) and generate absurd media fluster to try to help their case. The point about the loss of funding music NOT on the majors (indirectly through the dole; directly through Arts Council grants) is relevant: once upon a time musicians in this country could give themselves a good few years establishing themselves… not much chance of that now. And that is much more about the consequence of political choices than the malign influence of peer-to-peer networks.
    I could make a good case against the idea that those who download music illegally despise musicians and couldn’t give a fuck about their well-being (go to p2pnet.net or httpss://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policies/ for some context on this: there is considered, humane and progressive thought here: don’t believe the SonyCorp hype), but actually their attitude is irrelevant to the fact that times have changed and no amount of political and financial pressure from the majors to restrict web traffic is going to alter that. Taking back control from big business with ingenuity and political savvy is where it’s at.

  10. I had very interesting discussions with many of the German pirate party guys and I was shocked about how full of shit these guys were. where did all the hate for creative people come from I asked myself?

    I think we need to redefine the current copyright laws because they only protect the powerful publishing companies and stop new music from happening.

    The guys from the German pirate party told me musicians lose any form of rights over their creative work. I asked if they think that it would be ok for McDonalds or Google to print Karl Marx’s Capital and change parts of it, leave parts out, even rewrite and so on. The Pirate Party guys all thought this should be ok. I said this would also mean that them and their party are ok with censorship in China or the way historic photographs used to be manipulated in former Eastern Germany or Russia, people been taken out if their weren’t going along with the party’s politics etc.
    They said they didn’t see me my point and China was ahead of our society in terms of filesharing and discarding copyright. For me this was the end of the discussion right there.

    These guys enjoy having the power over other people’s creative work. Everybody has read all the negative bullshit on the Pirate Bay page about musicians who asked for their unfinished material being removed being attacked verbally and threatened by those who ran the site. They share the same amount of disrespect as the heads working in major record companies. There is no difference. (And both don’t even have a taste in music! Which is the worst thing)

    We as musicians must stand up. In Berlin I brought up the idea to many musicians to invade the next Pirate Party conference and take their laptops for a day because we want to have the ‘freedom’ to access the internet. Let’s see if they would call the cops. To my disappointment nobody had the guts because they feared they looked bad in public.

    Musicians behave like sheep who would do anything to be loved. This has to radically change. Take the power back.

    Any hacker or cracker has my full support, so does wikileaks. But the pirateparty? They have chosen the way of regulations by governments – that always leads to something bad. always. If they would offer real solutions for musicians, authors and film makers, things might look different. But that’s not the thinking behind their politics. They want to use creative content to make profits from that. (Pirate Bay and ad revenue…this whole talk becomes a joke when I see a Nokia ad next to a link to an underground release by an independent band.)

    in a fascistic society/tyranny/police state there are no independent labels or musicians who are critical to those in power.
    The music industry of today is just reflecting where we are all heading.

    It’s weird to hear the German conservatives speaking about how great China’s economy is, their eyes sparkle, they love it. And they try to keep up.

    Music has to be seen in a wider context than pop charts and radio 1 playlists.

  11. music is a business and with the amounts of profit involved it quickly became an industry built to generate more money for the management from a major label the artist see’s little return, creative control or rights to their work. Roger daltry wants copyrigt law changed to stop some of his early work becoming public domain this i disagree with and if it’s an artist making music that appeals i will always support the artist, buying the cd at their gig is my prefered method, in a perfect world every artist could release their work under attribution, non commercial, share and share alike creative common’s licences but we don’t live in a perfect world and banning the word torrent will only help the downloaders as it will remove alot of spam from the search results.

  12. Alec, I really would like to hear your perspective on the secondary market. Does the availability of a musical work of art have any impact on the decision to download? Some of the bands I love have extensive back catalogs with a bunch of one off eps and tour cds that they no longer sell and can derive a profit. Take the band Aereogramme for example. They have their main discography, which can be found on their indie label’s online store, but an acoustic tour ep wil run a pretty penny from someone on ebay looking to make a profit off of a now defunct band. I always try my hardest to support these artists who give it their all in their performances, but if the purchase clearly isn’t going to the artist does that change the situation?

  13. i am a musician myself just like alec only lesser known yet =P

    to be honest i do download a lot of music.. and i do love the fact that i can find just about any music online and put it on my ipod and listen to them for free.
    BUT what i download are not what i can find in any record stores.. i am into very obscure music and i do my best to buy whatever i can find locally, online and whatnot. most of stuff i download are almost impossible to be bought nowadays, because they are old, out of print and foreign.
    but i do buy them when they are found, unless they are insanely expensive like a 4 songs ep being over 100 dollars..

    yes it is true that it’s easier to get our shit out there and be “known”and piracy is freedom just like wikileaks? i don’t think so. wikileaks stands for freedom of speech and revealing the wrong doings of the people who are supposed to stand for justice, not freedom of robbery.

    piracy is killing all artists and yes as well as record companies too.
    as a rather “rebellious” musician, i stick to no genre nor certain style and i have released 5; 3 albums and 2 eps. i tried every single “indie”/”underground” label i could, and nobody answered. you could assume that my music plainly sucked or whatever, but i don’t think i am the only one who’s getting rejected and ignored.

    i know plenty of great underground musicians who can’t seem to make ends meet, because record companies (including “indie”/”underground” ones) simply reject them for they can’t afford to lose any money than they already have.

    i can’t afford to press mine so i made all my music downloadable freely, and then i started to get a lot of response from people which is what exactly i aimed for.
    there were great whom i call my friends who ordered cdrs and supported me, but that was only 6 people out of hundreds of people i know and tell me that they love my music. i am not too bitter about it though, because i want to be heard, however those who purchased my music they will always be in my heart and prayers.

    also getting places for gigs are not that easy either. people think musicians make tons of money from doing tours but that’s not really the case for most “real” indie/underground musicians. in place like japan where i have a certain crowd and wanted to perform because of them, i asked my friend and apparently it would cost a thousand dollars to just rent the place even without PA/lighting system.

    i know it’s not the same in other countries, like where i am currently at- but when i did get asked for playing gigs, it didn’t mean i was getting paid for it.

    musicians are suffering a lot.

    i know some artists who were dropped from major label, and what are they to do? all they have been doing is making music for more than 20 years of their life, and suddenly now they have to go out to the “real world” and do what? drive a cab? wash dishes?

    musicians do need money to live and make music, even if a lot of it may go to the “evil” record companies.

    i remember when radiohead released their latest album “in rainbows”, and a friend of mine actually paid 15$ for the digital downloading, while me who knew it will be released onto a cd didn’t pay a cent.
    a lot of people thinks radiohead “sold out” and were disappointed by their action, but the fact is simply, they did not get enough money from digital sales.

    it’s quite sad. i mean radiohead is 1 of the most popular band ever and they have a religious cult, yet most of them refused to pay like me.

    it was possible to purchase cds,lps and the whole set, but it was way too expensive, and i don’t even have a record player so why would i bother?
    maybe they wanted to own it on cd like i did, whichever the case may be, i still think it’s quite sad. if radiohead no chance, what the fuck kind of chance do other artists have? (i don’t mean to underestimate other artists, it’s just an example)

    about bandcamp…. it’s funny. i set up my bandcamp long ago, and i made no sales whatsoever because i made my music available for free. should i have not done that? if i didn’t i wouldn’t have sold any of my cdrs.. which is funny, don’t you think?

    what i seriously can NOT understand is, if you really do like the music or the film.. why wouldn’t you want to buy it?
    i am so sad that i actually can not buy what i want to buy, because they are not available anywhere unless i come across them in some used shop by a real big stroke of luck. i am not saying this because i am rich either. i live off welfare and my parents because of my “handicaps”, but i do buy music and support my fellow artists because they deserve it and need the money.

    artists have right to get furious about piracy, i can’t say it should be banned because otherwise i wouldn’t have found new music either.
    i think if you like the music, support the artists.
    it’s quite simple as that.

    i also think the artists should decide whether their music should be able to be downloaded for free or not, not the pirate party,
    of course unless they are posting music that is almost impossible to find…. as for other musics that can be easily purchased, they should be purchased.

    i don’t know if what i said is any helpful or makes sense, but just wanted to share my thoughts…

    ps. about chinese piracy though, i think china should be banned. fake hello kitty merch, fake rolex, fake dvds, fake cds, fake fake fake…….. one friend boasted that he got over 50 cds that looks exactly the same as real one for like 10$ in china, i told him to go f@#$ himself. if you like it, want to have it then why not buy it? i just don’t understand it.

    you are “saving” your money so that your favorite artist can starve?

  14. To clarify, Google is NOT blocking the term ‘Torrent’ from search results. It is only removing the related terms from it’s auto-completion and suggestion services. You will still be able to search for torrents through Google.

    Google really isn’t in the censorship business, just look at all the battles it’s had with the Chinese government.

    Let’s not also forget that it wasn’t long ago that no-one needed a search engine to find pirated content, and the notion of using one to do so was laughable. Private FTP and other DarkNet’s will always exist and are still much better resources than public access internet sites.

  15. I think filesharing is a great thing. I love the fact that people no longer have a music collection of 2.000 song but more like 200.000 songs or more. Because of this major labels are losing their grip on people’s taste. It’s fantastic that music isn’t pre-filtered by labels but post-filterd by listeners. This movement comes from 2 things filesharing and affordable recording (DIY). I agree with Alec that the sharing thing should be the artists choice, but I love how the current way things are going is killing radio (aka the buy your hit machine).
    That’s basicly my view to mp3’s, I see it as replacing radio. There are more reason for the colapse of music sales then p2p. Things like price policy, albums full of “fillers” and substitudes (if you buy a game you’ll be entertained by that as well). There is simply more bullshit to spent your money on. Fortunatly online music sales have been increasing ever since they first started. I also really like things like Spotify. The concept of letting go of ownership and making everything available for a flat fee sounds great to me.
    I am however worried about how litle chance people that are not connected have to come
    along with these movement. However I think reaching succes in music actually is getting less capital intensive. That should actually decrease the economic/social class issues.

  16. Kilburnmat: first time I’ve ever heard 4AD called a mega-evil, landmine-making record company. I mean, I know they signed Clan of Xymox, but come on!

    I’ve made music, I’ve written about music, I’ve promoted gigs, I have many friends who’ve laboured to build up independent record labels, to varying degrees of financial and critical success, from fizzling out after a couple of releases to global domination; I also know plenty of musicians who put their music out there for free, and do so for considered reasons, not out of desperation: you make massive and misplaced generalisations about the motivation of people who download illegally, but in reality, downloaders are as likely to be musicians and musicians to be downloaders as they are to be fishermen or politicians or plumbers. You can’t assume that everyone has the same attitude, because they don’t. (Or taste, as Alec suggests: how peculiar to say everyone who file-shares despises musicians and has awful taste in music! It simply isn’t true.) You think it’s selfishness that makes people download illegally: it could as well be enthusiasm for new music, a craving to hear things, a desire for immediacy. But as I said before, the various motivations are irrelevant because the fact is that people will not always pay for bytes any more; their value is hard to determine on all sorts of levels, not least financially. People will pay for CDs and, weirdly, increasingly, vinyl; for tickets and packages and merch and even for sponsorship of recordings, but selling digital files that are available elsewhere for free is problematic. WE (that is, musicians, indie record companies, listeners, fans, music-lovers, people who are INVOLVED) need to come up with new thinking to deal with that fact. Ask Billy Bragg, who set up a forum for musicians and file-sharers to discuss this; there are many people with a foot in both camps who want to think creatively about solutions. The raison d’etre of big record companies – producing, manufacturing, distributing and promoting music – has entirely changed now that most bands can do much of this themselves: THEY are the ones who have most to lose, they are making the biggest noise and they are calling in the law to help them keep their profits. So they can fuck off and we can work it out ourselves.

    I’d also suggest that piracy is not the main reason that the industry is contracting, if indeed it is. There is a global financial crisis, the arts are at the bottom of the heap. If you talk to dancers or theatre actors you’d hear the same story about studios closing and work getting scarcer, and those are people whose art cannot be digitised and shared.

  17. @ Pieter – two things strike me about what you say -I’ve had music on all day (Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra right now – a ‘pay what you like’ purchase on Bandcamp Fwiw) and managed 5 albums brand new albums of interesting and varied stuff, some free downloads, some paid and I don’t see filesharing as part of my life. I havn’t used it for a long time.

    – I love blogs, sites like bandcamp, and I LOVE radio… places like WFMU or dandelion radio or resonance fm aren’t the enemy – fair enough, hits fm is but again, please don’t make ‘radio’ as a whole into an enemy. Some people in radio, like the distinction ALec makes about major/minor labels spend a lot of time trying to spread the word of decent, interesting music and doing it in ways that artists get their royalties where possible and do it without making a penny of profit (or even at a loss). To me, the internet revolution should be the future of radio, not the end of it.

    Without it, I’d never have heard DJ/Rupture or any of the stations above. Without some kind of guide through those millions of files out there, who would ever find half of the insane brilliance that exists?

  18. Bryan Mackay says £15 is a lot to pay for a CD. I’m assuming he thinks a CD is just a bit of plastic and doesn’t appreciate the costs, skills and number of people that are involved in producing a record. You don’t care about being fleeced, you’ve not even thought about the economics involved. You just want something for nothing.

  19. Lucy, (and I’m not saying this as a boast, just to contextualise where I’m coming from) I launched what was recognised as the world’s first legal, fully-licensed sharing mechanic, so I’m not arguing against bending with behaviour.

    You were the one that blamed record company greed, I was responding to that particular point. Now you’re making more reasoned points I’m agreeing with some of them,

    I happen to believe that more carrot is need, more innovation in business models is needed but also that stick needs to be applied too. I will continue to do all I can to enable the music economy to strive.

  20. why not use the internet to build something better? do we really want to come to this point where all the indies are gone, the internet is controlled by big government and ad campaigns control and create the public opinion even more???

    I know this guy who complained to me the other day about how bad the music scene has become, that guy is downloading tons and tons of stuff without even listening to it. That he fails to see the connection between his own actions and him not liking most new stuff, seemed absurd to me.

    It’s about a mind set. It’s like “Do you respect women?” of course you don’t have to, but you just do it because it makes sense! I could go out and kill other people’s pets and would probably get away with it. Does this mean I have to do it? No, because I find it sick and it doesn’t make sense because it creates negativity that nobody needs.

    Right now there is a lot of negativity going on behind the scenes and creates bad music for all of us. I want to meet a new band again and see them succeeding and having a great time with what they do, because I find it a great thing! If you witness a band that nails it, and people truly love it, and things work for everybody, amazing music is happening. It can be only for a short time, but when it happens it’s magic. These days everybody compromises because they fear bad sales. Fear kills creativity. The brain can’t be creative. (That’s why mass media and politicians constantly use fear to manipulate the masses but that’s another discussion)

  21. “The Internet could easily stop this situation”

    Citation needed.

    I suppose you could apply the Egyptian solution.

  22. It’s really depressing to hear artists towing the major label line in this debate – it’s pretty worrying that it’s even still a debate as I’d much rather discuss solutions than go over irrelevant old ground after ten years of this. I’ve dedicated my life to music. As a fan and then a DJ I spent every spare penny on vinyl & CDs for well over twenty years then as an indie record label manager & artist manager I made a career out of selling the stuff. No amount of wishing or fighting will turn back time, the internet might be a threat to ‘the industry’ but it should be an artist’s best friend. There is no god given right for anyone’s career choice to earn them a living. I’ve discovered tons of amazing music over the last few years through p2p that isn’t available to buy or be heard elsewhere which probably does mean I buy less of the crap in the charts. This is bad for the clueless majors, old school ‘hit’ radio & the now meaningless Top 40 but a good thing for independent music & real creativity. In a free market if you don’t like the fact someones making money by placing nokia adverts on a market satisfying website there should be an easy solution – set up a rival site. It has been the industry’s reluctance to meet consumer demand that ceded control to the ‘pirates’ and wasted ten years worth of potential commerce online. There has to be some realism and perspective here rather than just cowardly hiding behind an ill-suited & out-dated ‘law’. On the ‘free market’ I can get the entire back catalogue of the Motown or Stax labels at 320kbs for free with one click if the best you can offer me instead is 190kbs via hundreds of separate transactions for tens of thousands of pounds that’s clearly not even a discussion. However I’m unlikely to want thousands of tracks I’ve never heard before even for free so instead I’ll use Spotify or a playlist on YouTube to discover the forgotten gems. Personally I think even the age to make money from digital files has passed. From now on it will be about distributing for free & finding ways to best reward ‘plays’ not ‘copies’

  23. […] Here we see punk rocker John Robb declare it necessary to reshape the Internet to save the music industry as it was in the 1980s. […]

    • nope.
      That’s not the case atall.
      Just wondering how the fuck musicians can survive as it all bites deeper and deeper.
      I’m all for the music industry getting reshaped and I can see lots of advantages in the internet- we have been giving stuff away on the internet for a long time.
      But like lots of bands we can really feel it now. The up side is that a lot more people worldwide can hear our music and that is definitely happening. The downside is that every non major label that releases that kind of music is fucked. most of them will only deal in back catalogue now and very few of them have money to record new stuff which means that like most bands we have to pay for our recordings. Musicians are really struggling now, I know people losing their houses etc.
      We never earned a fortune off records, most musicians don’t. But we earned enough to pay for rehearsal rooms, upgrade equipment, go on tour etc because non of that stuff you can download for free.
      We know that everyone wants music for free now and music has no value to people. That’s just the way it is. We also know that the only way you can make any money to keep going is to sell your music to ads and films and get accused of selling out! or charge more for getting into gigs or for you merch and get accused of selling out!
      The new system of everything for free is ideal if everything is for free and everybody gives up their goods and services for nothing- free rehearsal space, free petrol to go to gigs, free van hire, free food, you go to work and don’t get paid, I go to work and don’t get paid- this is a utopia! but lets not do it in a half assed kind of way!

  24. OK, this one is annoying me.
    Note the quote “The Internet could easily stop this situation but there are darker farces at work and the value of music hits rock bottom.” The “darker forces” are the unforgiving hand of microeconomics – basic business – as marginal cost goes to zero.

    Here’s a nice article from Cracked, written by an author subject to this effect, laying out the grim reality of a world in which we have replicators: httpss://www.cracked.com/article_18817_5-reasons-future-will-be-ruled-by-b.s..html

    I am not rightly able to apprehend the confusion of ideas that leads people to propose a Chinese-style firewall on the whole internet just to preserve the old record industry. I want some musician holding this view to explain, in a manner that doesn\’t treat computers as incomprehensible malevolent magic, how precisely “the Internet” could easily stop this situation. In detail, showing their working. What is the origin of such notions, apart from magical thinking? Give me something to work with here.

    I have a blog post asking the question here too: httpss://rocknerd.co.uk/?p=1267

    Really. It may be obvious to you, it isn’t to me. What is your precise programme of action, that makes any sense at all in the context of the rest of the world?

  25. Oh, this question as approached by authors may be of interest. There’s been a bit of kerfuffle lately about just how privileged a first-world problem it is to be able to complain that “oh no, people are copying my art!”:

    httpss://kanata.dreamwidth.org/1393254.html – link collection
    httpss://colorblue.dreamwidth.org/60441.html – why the entire intellectual property regime is best understood as a mechanism of empire, and why its utter destruction is a moral imperative
    httpss://karenhealey.livejournal.com/917552.html – author whines in a manner comparable to your post, is slapped upside the head with her own privileged cluelessness as to the world not actually revolving around her books

    There may be food for thought in that lot.

    Meanwhile, zero marginal cost of production continues to be the case.

  26. Tweets that mention Internet music piracy- google finally act- is it a good or bad thing? | Louder Than War -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Louder Than War, incendiary magazine. incendiary magazine said: Absorbing debate on file-sharing: @louderthanwar httpss://tinyurl.com/4w382p6 How GOOD is LTW getting? Like the good bits of the "old days". […]

  27. I gave up on music industry years ago. I used to be a music journalist. May I say, THANK GOD that job title is obsolete. It deserved to die so very much.
    Now I have a day job. As, ahahaha, a computer system administrator. As Mel Brooks put it: “Fuck! Even in the future nothing works!” I fully expect to be in work as long as machines exist.
    I’ve known many musicians over the decades. Almost all were on the dole or had a day job. Most artists do. Artists have *never* made a living because there’s such a vast oversupply of them.
    Everything is fucked, and we should all be a hell of a lot richer. That said, 2011 beats 1986 hollow, and nostalgia is brain rot. We’re healthier and better-fed. Music and art are *not actually important*. We’re addicts of aesthetic drugs.
    The hard part is, as you note, going to be spreading the lack of scarcity. Wong’s article sets out the conceptual problem in transitioning to zero marginal cost on *almost*, but *not quite*, everything.

  28. Dave says “musicians from now on will be volunteers in ‘the big society’ – There are for example, loads of posh kids without jobs who have expensive guitars and can write self indulgent sub coldplay shite we can all download without feeling at guilty”

    In a more serious question which I ask as someone whose skills as a musician extend to playing about 12 chords – to what extent does is above comment about paying for recording albums tempered by the fact that the technology and software required to record is as affordable as ever. How vital is (and I ask this in total niavety) the recording studio in the 21st c?

  29. I’ve been following this great debate with some interest and thought it was time to make a few points.

    So how do the pro downloaders propose musicians make a living? Or are they saying musicians shouldn’t make a living or have a fuzzy idea of how musicians make a living by ‘you know, doing other stuff.
    2It’s all very well say musicians should tour and sell merchandise to make a living but that not always that practical if musicians have kids etc?..or should musicians have no kids?

    3. guess the pro downloaders themselves would be quite happy to work for no money or give away the sweat of their labour for free? Maybe they could give their wages away to a fund for musicians.
    4.People keep saying where is the new punk in these tough recession times…but what is already happening is that making music is a posh kids hobby. They are the only ones who can afford to rehearse and tour and not care about making any money from selling their music.

    5.I’m a bit confused about what is exactly ‘punk’ about giving all your music away for nothing apart from the stupid notion of ‘selling out’ invented by middle class journalists during the punk era.

    6.If musicians are to be happy giving their music away for free are people going to stop complaining about them using their music in adverts etc? You just can’t cut it both ways.

    7.Or are people going to be happy paying more to get into gigs? Remember there is no pension fund in rock n roll

    8.The people who seem to be confused about being anti downloading and mixing it up with being pro Google are a bit slow. Google and apple and the big corporates are perfectly happy to let you download other peoples music for free- it means you are using their services and products more meaning they make millions more and the musicians make nothing. If that’s what you are happy supporting then I suggest you check your values.

    9. It’s a bit like Crass saying pay no more than 49 p for a song…it also means pay no less than a certain amount for a song.

    10Who is going to pay for the bands to rehearse? Record? Travel? Feed their kids? Pay the rent? Or are the underserving of such luxury items as this

    11. It’s all very well saying this is the future but I sure someone once said that about the Nazi party once!

  30. Again, I’m seeing people argue that albums don’t cost much to make any more. It’s totally dependent on the album and often the biggest outlay is on personnel, you know, people’s wages.

  31. John: I’d question your statement “music has no value now”. Music has plenty of value; music is being made, uploaded, shared, played, sung along to, danced to, loved and hated and discussed as much as ever. Possibly more than ever; certainly the potential for an unsigned math rock band from Plymouth to be heard by teenagers in Minsk or Kyoto or Sao Paulo is something almost entirely new. And wonderful, no? Blogs reach the places fanzines never could and MP3s freely shared by bands and labels find audiences and fans in corners of the internet that would have been unthinkable even five years ago. So, I’d say the value of music is flying as high as ever.

    What is less easy to pinpoint is the monetary value of infinitely copiable digital files. In a US file-sharing case last year, the judge decided that someone who had downloaded 30 songs from Kazaa should pay $22,500 per song; it’s now been reduced to $2,250 on appeal, but is that how much the bytes are actually worth? Is that a true representation of what the record company might have lost in sales? Impossible to tell: they’re plucking these figures out of the thin air of the era of the megacorporate dinosaurs whose business model is no longer viable. In Alec’s example, someone downloaded thousands of tracks he didn’t listen to: if not listened to, how much are they worth? I’d say nothing at all: he’d never have bought them anyway. They’re valueless bytes sitting on a hard drive.

    When bands set up a pay-what-you-like system, some people pay nothing; some people pay five quid; most pay something (there are books written about the honesty box effect: it works). Certainly, the idea of allowing the consumer to decide how much a file (not a physical product) is worth to them appeals to me, given that no-one can decide what a copied digital file is worth objectively. I’d say that the high cultural, social and emotional value that people still place on music will always translate into monetary value in some way or another. This is a transitional time: maybe in ten years time it will all be clear and obvious how musicians can make money from their labour. Until then, I don’t see the point of teaming up with the forces of law and order to use strong-arm tactics against individual file-sharers when what is needed is creativity and the letting go of old and obsolete structures.

  32. I’m not a musician, so perhaps I would say this. It seems to me that the sad, simple, and rather obvious truth about all this is that if you can’t sell enough of your art, then maybe it just isn’t worth selling.

    Really, if half – hell, MOST – of the artists who exist today disappeared tomorrow, would anyone even notice? Music as entertainment existed just fine before the music industry was invented. So perhaps what we’re seeing here is the great wheel of history turning. Face it: music is not important, but important music will happen regardless of computers, money, or even Alec Empire.

  33. I wasn’t arguing that anyone shouldn’t be paid if it was my comment you were commenting on Matt, I was just wondering if recording an album was cheaper and therefore if that made self financing easier. I’m not a musician and have no history with deals or contracts, so therefore am wondering as an outsider if the self financing label-less model could work or if its doomed from the outset. One of the factors that obviously prohibits this is the ‘advance’ from the record company wouldn’t be there, this much I understand. Presumably this is why cornershop are taking pledges towards their new album? (also, clearly a concept that could only work if you are established and no use at all for a new artist without rich sponsors)

    I suppose my second question is – how good is ‘bedroom’ recording now – It’s clearly come a long way. How good could a bedroom studio be? How much could a musical collective pool resources to create a glorified bedroom studio they could all use? I don’t know, cos I can’t even work garageband very well…

    Hotel2Tango recording studio – was this a genuine product of some kind of anarcho post rock thing, or are GYBE! just people with rich parents and talent… Is the Hotel2tango the kind of place that can be replicated? Is it just an illusion? The impact on montreal of places like that seems incredible. Is their similar here?

  34. Jonathan : I can only speak for myself, but I think that you are wrong. Music is important. I don’t feel like I’m frittering my life away on something trivial when I go and see stunning gigs or hear beautiful, rich life enhancing albums. I see it as a vital part of my world and it has also brought me into contact with many of the people who I’m closest to. Frequently the music I seem drawn towards is the product of artists who don’t necessarily sell enough of their work to make a regular (or any kind of) income from music. These are acts both local (to Manchester where I live) and international, who usually have to self fund transport and book time off their day jobs for tours etc. These arn’t acts in any one genre, they could be punk, dubstep, ambient, metal, electropop, noise, whatever. To me they make fantastic art that is certainly no less worthy of a sale than U2 or whatever. I pay in at the door to small shows and buy merchandise (often home made CD-Rs) to give a little back and show that I support them. These are tough times of course, and I hear more and more music all the time that doesn’t sell “enough” yet that touches and insires me a great deal. So yes, I agree that important music will happen regardless, however quality is often not a massive factor in music sales. This isn’t inverse snobbery, and I wasn’t really having a pop at U2, I love plenty of medium to massive selling artists too, but I think that you often can’t equate actual sales with talent and worth.

  35. Tweets that mention Internet music piracy- google finally act- is it a good or bad thing? | Louder Than War -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alec Empire and Southern Records, Music Industry Rules. Music Industry Rules said: RT @southernrec: Excellent debate on @louderthanwar about music piracy incl. contribs from @ALEC_EMPIRE httpss://bit.ly/eeDWwv […]

  36. “How vital is (and I ask this in total niavety) the recording studio in the 21st c?”

    That’s the point, it depends on the style of music! Many people say Johnny Cash’s last recordings were simple…just a man with a guitar singing into a microphone. Well, it’s much more than that. Those tube microphones (I don’t want to get into too much tech detail here), the room sound, the sound of a great analogue desk, his guitar, the guys who position the mics, the producer who finds the right moment when to nail the recording with the artists…the list is so long…I can’t even go into that. That was the same with Punk. People thought, hey, let’s quickly put this down, but the great punk records have captured an intense atmosphere in that moment in time.

    I personally love diversity in the music world. So if a million people love hearing Frank Sinatra singing to an orchestra, it should be possible to make that happen without getting McDonalds or Springles on board for sponsoring. (because everybody from the 1 million pays a fraction. and because Frank takes the risk and gambles, he should also see the profits from it. And ideally even share a percentage with the rest of his team. Then takes a part of that and invests into the next project. It is more complex than that, but you get the idea)

    I find that the quality of pop music has clearly declined (and I am not even a fan of pop music, so I look at it from a far distance.). When musicians had to put more time aside to get the take right, now you get autotune to do it. I am not against new technology at all, but when it starts to lower the quality of music because the budget is not there anymore, then it does damage and is used in the wrong way.

    Do we want music only to be recorded in bedrooms, done on on laptops provided by corporations? Yes, but I also want to hear Stravinsky to be played by a real orchestra.

    Also I have to point out how amazing the input can be from sound engineers, record producers, managers, A&Rs, music critics, small or big companies who build instruments or write software, etc. etc. People have to start looking at the bigger picture. I have witnessed recording sessions in which even the assistant engineer had such an excitement about the music that he vibed up the band to play better.

    “Face it: music is not important, but important music will happen regardless of computers, money, or even Alec Empire.”

    I find music can bring people together and solve social problems MUCH BETTER than anything spend in National defense or the police.

    If it wasn’t for the early Hip Hop from America in the 80ties I would have thought as a kid that the USA was about John Wayne and Walt Disney. Many people these days are racist because of the image MTV spreads about hip hop. If it wasn’t for independent hip hop and diversity, we would not see the other side (That other side will soon NOT be there anymore. Make no mistake about that. Don’t take it for granted. If you don’t believe me, travel to other countries and see for yourselves.)

    This link triggered a similar discussion on my facebook page. Someone pointed out the history of music, and that we should be grateful for what we have even if it gets worse. I argued that we could also accept girls not going to school or all that madness that was ok for centuries.

    We are talking about the future here. And I have joined the discussion many times because I see new and mostly young artists struggling so bad that they stop making music. The current system is NOT working for future generations.

    I don’t care about my own music so much because I got a very solid fan base that we have built over 2 decades now. I can afford to give away my music for free to them most of the times. But new artists can’t even get started and don’t survive.

    I think we are actually MISSING out on the best possible music right now. I see amazing musicians out there and if they could just keep developing their own vision a bit longer, they wouldn’t all sound like something that happened 20 or more years ago. (I am exaggerating a bit, but you know what I mean.)

    Think Beatles…if they had stopped after their first few singles. (I personally would prefer to use Miles Davis as an example…but not sure if people listen to him on this page)

  37. Alec: “The current system is NOT working” I agree with, but it is not because digital files are being shared; the problem is not going to be solved by majors tracking down and punishing downloaders; not by tightening intellectual property laws nor restricting the availability of art (which, surely, should be seen/heard/experienced by as many people as possible, especially given all you say so passionately about how very important music is to you and so many other people). That is all about mending something that DOES NOT WORK. And will only work less well in the future. The problem actually lies with making sure that people (butchers, bakers and electropop makers) are ALL adequately and fairly recompensed for their labour: same old problem that has been kicked around for centuries.
    I commented in the first place because I was pretty surprised that apparently politically clued-up, liberal and left-leaning music makers are calling for repressive regulation/action by big corporations: there’s loads of properly progressive debate about this out there; it’s worth exploring.

  38. Been reading this great debate with some surprise and now its time to pitch in!
    I’m surprised that left leaning people are perfectly happy to support the ripping off of hard working musicians also are happy to see google allow the piracy to continue. Google are doing very well out of the current situation…you don’t work for them do you?
    The only young people who can afford to make music now are the rich kids…a world of Coldplays, great.

  39. Thanks for that answer Alec – I see the obvious point about the ambition and scope of the music being dictated by the means at the musicians disposal. I also find it interesting as someone who has never recorded a song that you credit the wider process with playing a total part in it – like you say, that’s something the humble listener probably doesn’t appreciate.

  40. Google shouldn’t interfere: they were wrong about allowing censorship in China and they reconsidered. Good for them. (FYI they aren’t actually censoring searches for Bittorrent etc.: they’re just not including them in the autosearch.) “Doing well” is not exactly how I’d put it: they are paid by (pretty resentful by now, I’d imagine) music sites who are trying to sell legitimate downloads in amongst all the illegal, free ones and they’re getting heavily leaned on by various different entities. It would be easier to comply.

    Musicians aren’t the only ones whose labour is being “ripped off” – that’s how capitalism works – but it’s one way of looking at it, rather than seeing the sharing of art as a positive thing that the internet enables. Do you think second-hand bookshops “rip off” still-living authors whose work they make money from? How do you determine how much a digital file (that in itself costs nothing to copy) is worth once you’ve calculated the value of the determinable (wo)man hours worked in writing and recording a song (plus whatever hours of production, engineering, promotion etc. that may or may not have been part of its creation)? How much is it worth if the download is followed up with the purchase of a T-shirt or a gig ticket or back catalogue? It’s much more complicated than you make it seem.

  41. After rereading all the comments twice, I feel (!) Alec Empire has summed up the solution to the problem (and this solution is to the key to many problems, not just the illegal downloading one) in his first comment. This solution, in my optimistic (!!!) opinion applies to at least 60% of the entire Earth’s population: ” We need to establish a DIFFERENT MIND SET. ” Or as i say: simplicity is genius.

  42. PS: I am a musician of 29 who has been prof. in the arts scene for over 25 years now, who is seriously considering to become a farmer … have a house in nature, grow wonderful organic stuff, make love all day and…. play songs on my guitar now and then. Seriously considering this!
    If i am not going to make any money from music alone (and trust me: i do NOT want to have to sell any other other stuff besides my MUSIC, nor do i want to be a part of some cosmetics brand who put dangerous chemicals in their ingredients “cause we are all worth it”. My integrity will stand in the way… and i never do anything that is not / or does not feel right) … then: FOOD will ALWAYS sell.
    When i read all that was said on Alec’s facebook page about the illegal downloading, i couldn’t sleep that night. The hatred and ignorance of the audience upset me big time, for you hear the intention in their words.. Some of my reactions have been emotional…
    Oh, by the way, one of the reasons i can not find a place to perform, is because i am ‘not selling enough albums’ (the first one is that i am ‘not signed to a major / or a big indie record label’…)
    One of my fears right now, is (apart from burning up on the inside, because i don’t make my music as means of therapy, it has to be heard/shared/energetically circulated), is what if suddenly i will have a BIG performance? And i am simply NOT PREPARED because i haven’t been able to get a good foundation from performing at smaller venues??? Surely, i’ll just DO it, i have enough guts, as the past witnesses… but it’s just a pity.
    And Lucy…. major labels do NOT have a taste in music.
    And frankly…. i doubt whether the audience does have that taste as well…

  43. nice… my PS just seemed to have vanished into thin air…
    what i added:

    – have been in the music/arts scene for 25 years now
    – considering to become an organic FARMER, live in nature, grow apples and make love all day (heck! why not?) and then pluck my guitar and sing from my entire chest….
    (for after all: we all need to buy FOOD, don’t we?)
    – one of the reasons venues give me for not booking me as a supporting act is “you haven’t sold enough records” (the other is: “you are not signed with a major / or a part of a big indie company)
    – my current fear (apart from burning up on the inside, for my music is not meant as therapy, it needs to be energetically circulated with an audience, plus it makes me grow as an artist, this exchange via LIVE contact) is that what if i will suddenly land some big show? And i am NOT PREPARED??? Surely, i will just DO it, i have enough guts, as my personal history shows… but i am realistic as well.
    – I left some emotional comments on Alec Empire’s discussion on this topic… Couldn’t sleep that night. Was upset with how audience thinks… In the end all i did was laugh loudly when some man ‘in complicated relationship’ as his facebook profile reads, used Alec’s page as a venue for venting his frustration…. Naturally, onto the musicians… The day after he confessed ‘he never buys anything anyway’ I already had a hunch..
    – Lucy: major companies do NOT have taste in music. I despise what nowadays is being labeled as ‘music’ and i also do not like pop, even though i am being put in that same box (for no one knows WHERE to put my music)
    And frankly… the audiences have very poor taste as well. And not only in the music department…

  44. Lucy said above : “Alec: “The current system is NOT working” I agree with, but it is not because digital files are being shared”

    I want to make that absolutely clear to everyone….I never said that file sharing is only responsible for causing the problem, BUT it is part of the problem. AND it could also be part of the solution, but we have to identify the problem first. And we have to look at it from the musicians viewpoint and not only from the record companies or files sharers perspective.

  45. A solution could be to dispossess Google.

    What does Lucy think about that?

    It’s time to ask that question. The banks are doing it with the majority of the population, we could do it bottom up, too. Any time….

  46. Alec, could you expand a bit more upon you “disposess google” comment, please ?

    In relation to a part your previous post, I think that, whilst Rick Rubin produced Cash in a beautifully lavish yet minimalist style, that presence would have sounded just as brilliant (if admittedly not as commercial) recorded on a dictophone tape. Having said that, I don’t know how many takes were made of the Cash recordings, and obviously he was put in a comfortable. well equipped space to record. The mic placement and room sound is superb, yes, but I’m pretty confident you could replicate a lot of that sound with a crap mic and some decent vsts on a laptop if you spent a bit of time on it. How do you record your stuff these days, by the way ?

  47. Sorry, the last bit was just out of personal interest, I’ve been a big fan of ATR and your work for ages, but it’s a bit off topic…

  48. I think it is not that relevant how I record my music. To put it simply…I make it a creative decision (when it’s within the budget. If I do an independent film score and there is no big budget, and the producers ask for an orchestra, well, then they got to put that in the budget, otherwise they can’t have that. If the producers want a famous singer on the lead track, we have to convince her or come up with the right amount, so she can afford to do it.).

    And that is what I try to explain… people have that arrogance to think they can judge and decide over the artistic process.

    “I\’m pretty confident you could replicate a lot of that sound with a crap mic and some decent vsts on a laptop if you spent a bit of time on it.”

    So how come you haven’t made that record yourself? If it was that easy? Do you think those guys are that stupid? So if the technology was out there for that cheap, they wouldn’t have used it?

    If Rick Rubin decided with Johnny Cash this would create the best recording possible, people should accept that and enjoy the music.

    Believe it or not, it is actually not only the gear that creates the value, it is the brainpower of those who make the music. It can be a subconscious thing. (This is why studying at university doesn’t make one a great musician. Neither does taking heroin.)

    It is about connecting the dots, coming up with interesting combinations of people, equipment and musical ideas.

    So if everyone would record over a ‘shitty’ microphone via an Apple laptop, we would lose the diversity and I guarantee you music will start to really suck.

    oh, am I talking about most R&B records in the top 40? or hundreds and hundreds of dance tracks which come out digitally every week? Put an expensive car and bikini girls in the video, that will make people believe they are buying something which is worth it. It hasn’t come that far yet, but it will. Everybody can see where it’s heading, that’s why Louder Than War wrote this article above. Certain types of microphones make certain voices sound amazing, they capture the voice in the best way. We would miss out on those artists!

    Watch Black Swan – that explains it a bit. Johnny Cash’s life was probably the most important factor in why the recordings are special sounding. And that is not even worth 12 Dollars for you? I think I will never understand that mindset of those who argue this way.

    To me music was always so important, it was priceless. The value and quality that music brought to my life couldn’t match any price tag.

    ps: I think it’s easy to understand what I mean when I say “dispossess google”.

  49. here is a link to a recent interview about how we are recording the new record… but would that influence your taste? I hope not. ;)


  50. also one thing…those who know me are aware of my tone when I speak English. When I write, things can come across a bit harder than they’re meant to. It’s this translating from German into English thing.

  51. […] debate about downloading on the site has been fascinating (Link here) Alec Empire has been pointing out that the funding and survival of bands is just not that simple. […]

  52. I’ve argued with people on swedish sites about the pirate party. they argue they are cutting out the middle men, the evil major labels, but when u ask about small independent labels and artists that self release that are also being downloaded on torrent sites, they are suddenly silent. they have no answer. pirate party when will u learn, f**king the major labels is ok, f**king the musicians is not cool.

    The gatekeepers have changed. google and the isps are the ones profiting from p2p/torrent piracy. google could easily erradicate 95% of torrent searches tomorrow but are sitting back and waiting as the labels slowly go out of business. sure they are doing something about it now but half heartily. watch and see when google comes in with its own music service and cleans up. spotify is a good idea but the artist again seems to be the last in the equation and gets paid miniscule amounts for each play.

    lets face it though there is a generation that assumes music is now free, my own 12 year old bluetooths on the playground tracks they like to each other (mostly r+b urban stuff),he has bought 1 cd in his life and sometimes buys from itunes but its a rare occurence. that is the future of music, like it or not.

    whoever can crack the code to monetize the chaos will be hated/loved in equal measure, I just think its sad that the youth have unwittingly given away the one thing they have that can seperate generations…….music. its become devalued and disposable.

    u can only make so much selling t-shirts, doing gigs in an ever crowded live market. try getting a live agent/booker in the uk now, very hard. someone recently (alan mcgeee?) said being in a band now is like some gap year school exercise, its true, where are all the crazies gone? ultimately rock n roll will be seen to have been this thing that happened after the 2nd world war and was popular until the early 21st century when technology killed it off.

    …..but music is more popular that ever, its good the majors are being f**ked and their model is crumbling but with it the whole edifice is coming down. MUSICIANS HAVE TO BE PAID FOR THEIR TALENT.

    there is a confusion between the powers that be controlling the web/piracy and copyright. the 2 things are seperate, until this issue is addressed nothings gonna change. end of morning rant.

  53. btw i like record labels i like the fact that a label does act as a filter, its saying here is an artist we think is good, here is their artwork, maybe u will too and if u like it buy their songs. 4AD, factory, warp, rough trade, mute, all great labels (and all olde labels too…). (even though if u look behind the scenes some are financed by the majors), the artist should not waste their time having to market, do social networking all that time consuming stuff, they should be making music.

  54. Alec, Thanks very much for the link to that absorbing article and your in depth response. Apologies for going a bit off topic.

    “So how come you haven\’t made that record yourself? If it was that easy? Do you think those guys are that stupid? So if the technology was out there for that cheap, they wouldn\’t have used it? ”

    Hmm…well I’m not Rick Rubin and don’t have his personal musical vision or the access to that kind of equipment for a start. I don’t think they are stupid at all, he’s a genius producer and Cash was a legend with one of the greatest voices ever. Don’t get me wrong, I love those Amerian Recording albums that I’ve heard (1 to 4 only admittedly) and I didn’t mean to sound arrogant or dismiss the fine work done on them. I’d be in the minority that would argue those results could be replicated on a cheap setup, but I still stand by my comments that it could be done. Music software has also come along considerably since 2002 when American 4 came out, so it would be easier to attempt that now too.

    If I was going for that sound though, granted, it would be much easier and better to do it in a great studio with engineer who really knew the equipment well. I agree with you that Johnny Cash’s life was what made the recordings great though, and I bought the albums because I love the guy. I would have got them whoever produced them and however they sounded, but that’s just me. I’m going to listen back to them again. Perhaps my original comments were dumb and irrelevant to the debate anyway. I’m curious about your Black Swan reference, I haven’t been to see the film yet but I’m looking forward to it and I’ll keep what you said in mind.

    I guess I grew up making music cheaply on old computers, rubbish guitars and four tracks and no kind of professional microphone, so developed work arounds to the limitations and I have an interest in that kind of thing. I like artists that use cheap technology to make great music and work small scale too. As I was saying earlier I like to go to these shows and buy stuff to support artists working like this as long as the music is great, obviously !

    As you say yourself, it’s more about the brainpower involved and the right combination of people and musical ideas. I don’t really think gear matters too much, you can make great or rubbish art using absolutely any equipment at all. I got my own stuff played on John Peel and Radio 1 shows quite a lot and even sold a couple of records using really quite a terrible setup. I don’t currently make my living from music, but I have done before and hopefully will do again. To go back to the original debate, I think it’s very inspiring and I have a lot of respect for all artists who can work full time from music at the moment. It is a difficult time and I do think it’s very important that artists get paid and supported, especially those producing music of quality working outside of the mainstream. I understand the pressure of it…we still record, put on live shows and DJ nights and run a net label for pretty much no money on top of having full time day jobs. It’s not ideal and can be very tiring, but from my perspective, it’s still better than not doing it. You meet a lot of cool people and network and have fun. We could do so much more if we could put all our time into it and actually make a living from it, and I’d like to hope that will be possible at some stage. Making money from art generally is just the problem right now, though I personally think the current economic situation is more to blame than google or filesharing. There is an artist business model for the future and I am an optimist, though of course I haven’t cracked what it is yet. Anyway, I’ll shut up now as I’m rambling on. Great debate here anyway, fantastic site.

  55. I think if musicians make three crap songs then their instruments should be taken away until they can prove beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law that their songs aren’t crap. They should also be charged an arbitrary amount to compensate the listeners for money they may or may not have forked out, including all future purchase that may or may not happen of the crap songs.

  56. Alec Empire said: “also one thing…those who know me are aware of my tone when I speak English. When I write, things can come across a bit harder than they\’re meant to. It\’s this translating from German into English thing. ” <——- i had to laugh so loud about this….. same problem here. and no – it's not the translation thing at all, it's just having a 'sharp pen'. you have no idea how many people i met, who were only familiar with my way of written communication online, like facebook, to name one, and that all convinced that they were expecting some piranha! hahahaha! they were relieved (and also disappointed?) that was not the case… it just illustrates how quickly humans judge. (and how little they know themselves… chuckle)
    SPEAKING OF MICROPHONES AND RECORDING PROCESS! Absolutely true. In the past i used to do those little videos, where i explained a bit how a record is done. All of my work i have recorded myself, simply by trying to reinvent the wheel… I let the record be mastered : big bucks! But it's like a painting: you need a shiny layer on top of it, to give it depth. I visualize music, how to explain……? My friends have become fascinated with the process. They had no idea how much blood, sweat and tears are involved. For after all: you get on that stage, and it all sounds/ looks so easy… As if you were BORN with it.

    By the way: that Pirate Conference idea is great! As i said: sign me up. I can so envision it! FUN!
    And about the fact that ATR blew the roof off the building… MAN! I am PROUD!!!! It has always been my dreeeeeeaaaaaam, hahaha!!! Awesome.

    Anyway, good news today! I can do groceries… KEEP ON TALKING, people!! In the meantime, if you don't mind, i've got MUSIC to CREATE!!!!!! :)

  57. By the way, buy my latest record, you GOOD people: httpss://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/eudemonia/id372577550 Muses like to be worshipped… ;)

  58. we should all start a ground up musicians boycott of google until they totally eradicate any trace of links to pirated files or torrents on their search results. it could be done with a colour on twitter like during the iraq riots or pages on facebook or badge. They originally said in their manifesto ‘not to be evil’, decimating a whole generation of jobbing musicians is considered evil in my book. sure their will always be darknet file sharing but it would be a tiny amount compared to people using bittorrent.

  59. ” also…they say it takes about a hundred bad songs before you write a good one… ” <—- true. And it takes guts to decide whether you will unleash that one good song onto the world, for it is so incredibly polluted anyway….

  60. this news story on Microsoft ripping off Arcade Fire couldn’t come at a better moment to make my point… httpss://stereogum.com/629931/microsoft-blatantly-rips-off-arcade-fire/franchises/commercial-appeal/

  61. As leader of Pirate Party UK I am often asked, ‘Well how are the musicians going to make a living?’ i suppose it is inevitable being the political face of filesharers. Or as Louder than War puts it
    “Just wondering how the fuck musicians can survive”
    The oddest thing about this question is that it is often put to me as if I had never thought or it, or as if I don’t care. The truth is, is that it is the question that stares at me each morning as I pour the water on the coffee grounds. I have a confession, or revelation, or coming out if you will.
    My name is Loz Kaye. And I am a composer.
    I’m not a folklore hero. I don’t help to give any music away free other than my own.

    Most of you will recognise the real everyday questions about making a living as a musician. They are ‘how do I get the money off that gig promoter who screwed me over?’. It’s ‘why are my commissions for the same kind of work suddenly coming in at a grand or two less than a couple of years ago?’. Or ‘how come it’s alright for that local authority to be months late paying me for workshops so I’m 2 grand out of pocket?’ . This is the real life of ordinary musicians, music teachers, song writers and composers. The people who are the back bone of our bands, venues and orchestras in the UK.

    As you’ll notice, copyright, intellectual property, PRS or industry bodies don’t really come in to these questions. And certainly not a question about whether someone has hypothetically not paid for something that was not on sale. The stark truth is that new initiatives and laws which are branded as being about helping musicians, are in fact about a desperate attempt to shore up profits of the music industry. Through legislation like the Digital Economy Act recording industry bosses want to pursue individual file sharers. But it is only those who have resources or a label behind them who will be ‘championed’ by this law. Personally, I am not expecting anyone to run to the defence of my soundtrack to the show ‘Veil’ about the Iraq war any time soon. Perhaps most disappointing of all is that the Musicians Union seems impotent in the face of these everyday concrete concerns of musicians, and spends time and money lobbying for industry instead. Many of you may be concerned about where the next payment is coming from, but what is on the table is not going to help. And whether the word ‘torrent’ is googlable or not will certainly make no difference. It’s this that occupies our minds at the Pirate Party- the types of law and crackdowns that will come to affect us all.

    At the heart of the ‘Well how are the musicians going to make a living?’ question is an assumption that there is a crisis. From the sound of it, a life threatening one. But that is far from the case. Actually, the average income for artists as a whole has risen 114% since the advent of file sharing. Even industry reports acknowledge that digital download income has increased. Income leveraged by recording sales has always been just a fraction of artists’ income overall, so the fixation on this stream is in fact a worrying distraction for us. The real threat to our incomes are arts funding cuts hitting projects and venues, education cuts blighting the future of young musicians.

    As composers and musicians we have never had so many opportunities. We can sell direct to fans through sites like bandcamp, and nurture our support through offering free content and ‘pay what you dare’ offerings. We can open up a real dialogue with our fans through social media, and involve them in our music making in a much more profound way than simply hitting them with a bill. If you offer some content for free that is not the same as meaning “music has no value to people”.

    We are constantly hearing about file sharing as a kind of theft. But this is not accurate as nothing has been taken, and is just plain wrong legally. Anyway, these days, I’d like to see the musician now who has not burnt a CD, photocopied a score or made a mixtape. Instinctively to us it feels no different to teaching someone a song, that magic moment when you transmit a piece of art on to another human being. The only way to steal from me is to take my instruments- or take my audience.

    Sadly that is exactly what is being proposed as the way to ‘get a living’ for musicians. Or at least the Lady Gagas of this world who have lawyers and PR folk to fight for them. The Digital Economy Act would target individuals for their downloading habits. First expect narky, sorry, explanatory letters. Then your bandwidth could be restricted, and as things stand you could even be chucked off the Internet for downloading three short songs. Studies show that people who ‘pirate’ content are also 10 times more likely to be paying for content too. So in other words, the plan is to exclude the best customers from the shop- stealing our audience.

    Copyright crackdowns and Internet exclusions are not the answer to our everyday problems as musicians. But even if they were, do we really want to hand the power of Internet surveillance and regulation to the government and courts? All that has happened in the Middle East recently should show we should be wary of such a move. To be honest I prefer my freedom to my PRS paycheck.

    I have no doubt music will survive. It is stronger than any one of us. I suspect I will continue to find a way to make a living. The Internet far from causing suffering in creativity that KilburnMat refers to has opened up a myriad of new possibilities, discoveries and influences. What does worry me is the kind of society we open up by calling for laws that ask for surveillance just to check what tunes you might be listening too, or what words you want to look at. It is this that we should be fighting against as musicians, it is the opposite of creativity. That is truly music becoming a pointless exercise. Or giving in to the “darker farces” …

  62. Great debate going on so here’s my two penneth. Evolution is taking place, debate and complaints are essential, without discussion there is nothing. United we stand divided we fall, back in the early 1900’s through to the 60’s the cooperative movement provided a great resource to help the under privileged to make money by working together. There’s a resurgence in this with local villagers saving their local pub or buying wind farm together etc. My point is that by getting together a change can be effected, a mass can grow, momentum can build. So how do we get all these people together? There were so many anti x factor campaigns in December 2010 that Cowell would have been guffawing into his gold lined tea cup. Divided they fell. If they’d all come together (as happened in the first rage campaign) then they may well have defeated the beast a second time. Everybody needs to put food on the table and there will always be Poeple out there who will take advantage but with a cooperative movement the beneficiaries are the members, these could be the musicians and the fans. Utopian? Idealistic? Maybe but it’s the nearest solution I can see towards building a foundation fr progress. Band camp is a great place and if the greedy middle man can be eradicated and the business strategy and profit division made transparent then maybe we can rebuild trust from the consumer that will make it worth paying for the effort and cost that goes into making and distributing music.
    Also lobbying the media for better platforms for exposure for undiscovered artists and the debate on new music would be beneficial as it would help the general public to understand what is going on in the music industry and what’s behind the music.
    Working towards solutions is progress, debate is valuable but point scoring is futile.

  63. This is a great debate!
    what interests me the most is the subtle change of meanings that’s going on. The way that the Pirate Party like to present themselves as rebels , fighting the good fight whilst they are giving away other people’s property and becoming a corporate company far worse than any major label of the past- at least those bastards would pay to rip the bands off! Imagine if the majors had been giving away all your music for free!
    And the other point that makes me chuckle is this notion that it’s not punk rock to want google to stop this petty thieving of music. The notion that this is somehow censorship! The people who don’t want google to try and stop the freeform flow of other people’s music are complicit in the destruction of the young musicians livelihoods and are infact supporting the big corporate companies like google who are perfectly happy for this to exist. It’s more punk rock to stand up for the rights of the musicians instead of supporting their constant ripping off, a ripping off far worse than any major label would have dared to do.
    The Internet giants are the mill owners of these times and the musicians are the workers lucky to get paid a pittance for their efforts and you are quite happy to support the daylight robbery of their wares.
    Shame on you Pirate Party and shame on you supporters of the torrent thieves under the guise of being ‘modern’.


    Google ‘close’ to unveiling music service to rival iTunes;


    when this GOOGLE MUSIC SERVICE service is launched, wait till you see hey presto, all the pirated torrent links will disapear from google. I’m suprised there aren’t more labels suing google for loss of earnings for the last 5/10 years. Don’t know why they want to rival itunes, spotify, we7 and streaming services are the future.

    btw no matter how many do-gooder lefty types say stats show pirating isn’t affecting music, look around you, musicians and small labels are giving up, its an unsustainable model, no one buys your music, u cant finance the next release. its actually playing into the hands of the majors and conglomorates. soon clueless arseholes like simon cowell will br dictating what u hear and see even more. he already has some crap pop show waiting to go in the uk.

  65. As far as I am concerned, the Pirate Party ARE the progressives here; anyone who is lining up behind state forces to protect profits (which is what is happening; do you really think Sony etc. care a fuck about rank and file musicians getting their measly PRS cheques?) needs to ask themselves whose interests are being served. The PP is not actually giving away music or ripping anyone off: they are enabling music fans to swap files: they are not complicit in the destruction of anything. Maybe re-read Loz Kaye’s post and think again about what is actually happening, because, as most people who work in the arts already know, there are many other ways of making a living as a musician than selling CDs. If you have the hard statistics that show that p2p has had a greater negative affect on individual musicians (not the industry as a whole) than the recession, the cutting of arts budgets, the shrinking economy, the fact that people don’t buy CDs any more (or vinyl or cassettes!) because they listen on i-pods now, THEN I might have more sympathy with your standpoint.

  66. Statements like this one here are why the Pirate Party reminds of bankers declaring the end of the recession last year….

    “At the heart of the \’Well how are the musicians going to make a living?\’ question is an assumption that there is a crisis. From the sound of it, a life threatening one. But that is far from the case. Actually, the average income for artists as a whole has risen 114% since the advent of file sharing. Even industry reports acknowledge that digital download income has increased. Income leveraged by recording sales has always been just a fraction of artists\’ income overall, so the fixation on this stream is in fact a worrying distraction for us. The real threat to our incomes are arts funding cuts hitting projects and venues, education cuts blighting the future of young musicians. ”

    Don’t we love it when politicians mention numbers and tell everybody how great things are, and you take a look in your community and see the exact opposite.

    We are talking about a future here where musicians don’t need big brother to finance art and we are dealing with a global issue here, not a national one.

    Loz Kaye dreams that one day the Pirate Party is in charge, so everybody pays taxes so the party can decide over who’s art is getting financed. Thanks, but no thanks.

  67. Alec, I don’t see where Loz Kaye says that everything is great: he says there are cuts happening now which affect the future of young musicians and he describes in his post how he is himself affected as a composer by changes within the industry. Where he disagrees with you is over much file-sharing has contributed towards the situation and whether there is cause to be optimistic about creative solutions.

    And, really, what on earth makes you think that the PP want to decide whose art gets financed? As far as I can tell, they are all about freedom of speech, net neutrality and freedom of information. Worthy goals, but nothing to do with wielding power to make aesthetic choices. You’re in danger of setting up straw pirates to argue against.

  68. Once you lay that into the hands of government, it will distort the market. Look at France. It’s just the beginning.

    “As far as I can tell, they are all about freedom of speech, net neutrality and freedom of information.”
    You see , that is exactly where the problem is. They don’t know / care about the reality of how creativity can flourish in a capitalist society.

  69. you seem to be confusing web freedom/copyright with musicians music being stolen. I am only interested in musicians and small labels getting paid for their hard work and talent. I am talking about mp3s/audio files, not cds/vinyl, they are fetish objects now and bought by real music lovers that support the artist that created them. if you want to take a stance against THE MAN or the powers that be censoring the net, doing it by giving access to musicians audio files is not the way.

    the swedish guy who runs pirate bay said in a nutshell the pirate bay is about cutting out the middle man i.e the record labels that are all redundant, musicians can now sell their own music. sure I hate the major labels as much as the next guy/girl, sure bandcamp and twitter/fb are great for promo, but tell me how is giving acccess to links that people can download music that a musician has self released at their own cost good for the musician??? the musician is losing out. stats and honour systems can be quoted but the reality is human beings will download something if it is free, the shortfall is not being made up with legal downloads or merch sales or gigs or whatever bollocks is trotted out. musicians are being turned into poets, not renumerated for their talent. music lovers my arse.

  70. “You see , that is exactly where the problem is. They don\’t know / care about the reality of how creativity can flourish in a capitalist society.”

    Ah, that’s interesting. Putting aside the fact that the PP obviously care enough to think very deeply about that very question and devote considerable amounts of time and energy to campaigning about it, I wonder what you think IS the reality of creativity under capitalism? I think it stinks that what matters most about art under this system is what price you can get for it.

  71. “People don’t buy CD’S anymore?” What nonsense! What utter white washed, libellous, PR friendly nonsense! I buy CD’S, so do most of my friends, and despite all this talk of “digital revolution” and “old order”, the fact remains that there are some people in this country who, shock horror, DON’T have access to the internet! Scary thought eh lucy? Sat in your cushy executive suite, mercilessly thinking up ways to screw whatever may remain of the record labels. The fact is, I think your laughably titled “pirate party” is even more soulless, corrupt and greedy than any other label operating in the UK today. Whilst I’m not anti file sharing on principle, to plan to stamp out record labels completely in favour of downloading is a wholly totalitarian, black and white and ultimately FASCIST idea. Don’t try and enforce your way of thinking on an entire nation, we won’t stand for it. The Pirate Party needs stamping out, long live the people.

  72. The selfishness of people in tis debate is outstanding. People like Lucy and the Pirate Party think it’s ‘cool man’ to give away someone elses music. They say why don’t bands tour and sell merchandise.
    Music is now a rich kids game. No one from where I live has a spare couple of grand to record an album so they can give it away for free to prove how ‘against the man’ they are.
    At least the major labels would pay for stuff and give bands some money and promote their records, I doubt any of the young bands round where I live have a chance of getting their music heard and Pirate Party won’t help, too busy patting themselves on the back.
    When everyone works for free and no one gets paid then their system is fair. For now it’s a bunch of Swedish rich kids robbing from the working class musicians- how ‘progressive’ is that?

  73. “if you want to take a stance against THE MAN or the powers that be censoring the net, doing it by giving access to musicians audio files is not the way.”

    What is certainly not the way either is to enlist the help of The Man to restrict that access.

    If giving away music for free doesn’t help the musician, why do so many do it?
    Despite your pessimism about human behaviour, the honesty box effect DOES work, there are plenty of studies that say so. And there are plenty of musicians who are make a decent living despite giving their music away for free. It might be worth you checking out how Amanda Palmer (httpss://amandapalmer.net/afp/) and Kristin Hersh (httpss://www.kristinhersh.com/strangeangels/) have worked that one out.

  74. Brian: you’re really not getting what is being said. What is “selfish” about wanting to share music (and information) with EVERYONE, regardless of social or financial status?

    Few people I know have a couple of grand to make an album either: they make it how they can, as they always have. Have you read Steve Albini on the record industry? Look at his arguments and ask yourself again whether it is worth selling yourself out to those particular devils: httpss://www.negativland.com/albini.html. Albini wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole and explains why in his own precise way.

    And OF COURSE bands have a chance of being heard now: that argument is a complete non-starter. Getting out there and getting heard is indisputably hugely facilitated by the internet, blogs, online zines, MySpace, Facebook, LastFm, Spotify…

  75. that’s why I wrote somewhere above, let’s dispossess these corporations. But now you are trying to question musicians ideals again. That is that old trick those guys always come up with. “Hey, musician, you are so greedy, work for free.” They made a generation believe the lie, but independent music is vanishing more and more.
    If we are having a debate about capitalism and what’s wrong with it, I’d love that, but that goes way further.
    How about free food, electricity, petrol, water, clothes for everyone? You can try to present it any way you want, you have to come up with a solution that works for unestablished/new/young musicians, or we will lose out on a lot of potentially amazing music. The guys from Louder Than War are not stupid, they didn’t write what they wrote because they are on the side of Sony or EMI.
    Accept that we all have a problem which is growing and growing.
    A decade ago I said in an interview with W magazine in the States that in the new century pop music will become so fragmented, it will eventually die. Everybody was pissed off with me, even friends from indie bands. Now you can read it everywhere.
    Let’s call the filesharing thing what it is: a promotion tool. Nothing else.

    Right now I think musicians should be in control of that tool. Do I find that Major labels should sue filesharers? No. Let’s go back to Jamaica in the early 70ties, those MCs and DJs just went over to those who stole their lyrics or instrumentals with a gun and sorted it out? I was talking to some kids in the neighbourhood a few weeks ago, they once were excited about making hip hop music, now they told me they’re into selling drugs, because you can’t make money with music. So I am looking at this 14 year old and got sad somehow…I was actually curious what these little big mouths would come up with. And they are smart. The education sucks in that part of Berlin but they have figured it out they are being lied to by politicians and went into another direction.

    This system as it is right now DOESN’T work for new artists. Let’s agree that we have to work on finding a solution.

  76. many people now give music away for free becasue they have no choice, it is stolen anyway so they give it away in the hope they might be heard, build up a following and make some money playing gigs. if they could sell it they would of course. but it is being pirated.

    are any of the pirate party actually musicians? they seem to actually loathe them.

    you can therorise all you like with stats and links to articles about giving music away for free but this is about the artist/musician getting renumerated for their hard work / talent not some thesis that has been written about capitalism and the man in a socialist worker meeting, student union office……if u want to discuss the evils of capitalism read animal farm, any 12 year old can tell you socialism doesn’t work.

    don’t be naive, people download music if its free, the old models are gone, new ones in place, but still answer me this, how is giving acccess to links that people can download music that a musician has self released at their own cost good for the musician???

    kirsten hersn. radiohead etc are established artists that WERE signed to god forbid……records labels, they were known via the old model.
    this is not some thesis written whilst you grow your dreadlocks for a few years, and then go and work for daddys company, it is important……it is making people give up creating music.

  77. Lucy, you bring up Albini in this discussion? Yes, he was right at the time. Did you look at the date?
    The Pirate Party in Germany used to use some of my statements for their politics, until I explained the other side. Two examples: Atari Teenage Riot versus Sony in Asia in 1999. Sony took a song without our permission, added it onto a camcorder commercial and aired a bunch of times on TV. Fans sent us VHS copies of that. I was furious! Now, try battle Sony in Asia in court. That was a complete nightmare. (And Asian copyright laws is what you guys want right?) Next example: In Germany the Neo-Nazi party NPD has a new strategy since a few years. They want to win over pissed off kids who are flirting with leftwing ideologies. So they disguise themselves wearing Che Guevara t-shirts when they do their marches on Hitler’s birthday and so on. They even play all kinds of rock music, even reggae, or hip hop. People witnessed Rage Against The Machine being played, Jay Z, Muse and many others. So one day I get sent this link. Neo-Nazis used one of my songs in a clip on YouTube. In your world there would be NO WAY to shut this down. I got my publisher onto this, 24 hours later, they were shit scared and it got removed and we received a letter saying how sorry they were. (Very entertaining read by the way.)
    Now do a google search and check out who was financing Pirate Bay.

  78. “Many people now give music away for free becasue they have no choice”.
    This is just not true. And it’s pretty dismissive of all those musicians who upload their music for free as part of an informed and considered choice. Go and ask them why they do it.

    “it is making people give up creating music.”
    This is also not true. People are making and recording music at an unprecedented rate: the editors at Drowned In Sound wrote recently about the amount of music that they get through their inboxes daily, far more than an equivalent-sized paper magazine would have got ten years ago. There’re so many new bands out there, making such brilliant music!

  79. i don’t get. Money has been a vitual good since i can remember, our bank acount balances are just as virtual as anything that can be found around the net and still these values seems to be so strangely save and protected. but our ideas, sounds, words, universes, lives can be stolen and shared without a thought. how high do we rate what seemed to be most precious to us really?
    (yeah shoot as i am just being emotional)

  80. Alec: yes, I realise Albini’s piece is OLD! I think it still has some pretty relevant things to say about the way record companies work and where the money goes.

    I am much more interested in the way you look at things than people who are simply battling hopelessly to hold onto the past. I don’t know where I questioned musicians’ ideals, or told anyone they were greedy to expect to be paid: I certainly don’t believe that. I think labour deserves fair reward, but I am also aware that making music doesn’t work in exactly the same way as making toasters. There is a satisfaction, a necessity even, in making music that has nothing at all to do with financial reward (even while I appreciate Mark E Smith’s view of making records as a job, pure and simple, nothing to get up-yer-own arse about).

    And I do share your frustration with the situation you describe: that’s a pretty grim scenario.
    Yup, the things that aren’t working need to be fixed: I suppose I might be overly-optimistic in getting excited by the enormous potential for music that the internet offers now, the connection with fans, the immediacy, the feedback loops between maker and consumer, the collaborative possibilities… but better that than dismissing the future because it will not run on the same lines as the past.

  81. Patrick is right about the majority of musicians these days. That is also what I witnessed and heard everywhere I went and talked to support bands or or bands in small clubs, at parties. 4 years ago it was still a bit different, but now it got so out of balance. It’s a downward spiral when you look at the bigger picture. Lucy, remember that a lot of musicians want to keep some dignity in this situation. When you look behind the scenes (or work there) you see the reality.

  82. yes, the past is done. And I love it! Me playing a show in Taiwan last year and kids going totally nuts and knowing all the lyrics AND politics. That happened because of the internet, in the 90ties it was hard to get records out there.
    I am writing here because I hope I can add a little bit to finding a solution. Usually in public you get the idiot version of the filesharer (long hair, glasses, etc., the majority of viewers would think “this guy should rather get a job and not steal things.”) and the record company business man in a suit, and then some Pete Doherty type musician who doesn’t really add anything else than what Fred Durst would have said in the Napster debate. (Where is that guy now by the way…Metallica is the biggest band in the world.)
    Some of the programmers, hackers, crackers etc. out there were great in weakening the Majors (ok they almost wiped out the indies at the same time.). It would be awesome if they could help build an alternative that works for independent musicians too. Every time I talk with people from that scene, they totally understand, but because they work and live in a different world, they lack knowledge of what’s going on in the music world. While the Pirate Party guys, oh dear, they are on the wrong path. Sometimes it’s easier to build something new instead of getting the government to regulate and make new laws everytime technology changes. We moving towards very exciting times and I think musicians should be on board.

  83. The Internet is great for communication and getting music out there but that should be the choice of the musician and not a bunch of post Swedish kids stealing other peoples music.
    I have read Albinis notes on major labels and have often wondered if being on Blast First record label with his band which was part of Mute if he is qualified to talk about being on an independent label. Also producing Page and Plant and Nirvana are hardly the acts of DIY underground are they? I met Mark Smith once and he was the most up his are musician I have ever met!

  84. There are two sides to this story. Firstly as a musician who would kinda like to be paid if I ever get enough fans who’d be willing to pay for my stuff, and also as an erstwhile student of economics, I appreciate that artists MUST be paid for their music, else the artform will die, or at least become much reduced.

    The vast majority of musicians are doing it for the love of it, and as Metallica said all those years ago, their case against Napster was, from their point of view only about having creative control over how their music was presented, but for THOUSANDS of other, smaller, less well known artist, having half of their 5’000 sales vanish because of piracy can make the difference between another record being a financially viable option.

    There is a sad dichotomy here that it actually seems that the more literate, questioning, alternative music fan is also the more likely to ‘steal’ vast amounts of music, compared to their programmed, neautered commercial music consumers, creating an even wider gap in the willingness of the mainstream industry to fund riskier or alternative acts – not only will they never be as guaranteed to succeed, never be as popular as the pop clones, but a higher percentage of their fan base will choose to ‘steal’ the music.

    In this scenario, alternative music will surely be pushed ever further to the fringes.

    On the other hand, if it wasn’t for the tehft of music, I wouldnt be the fan that I am today. manby years ago, I had first one record and then the entire Metallica back catalogue copied for me by a friend (onto old C90 cassettes, which shows how old I am) – in theory this was a theft of around £120 worth of music.

    However, I’ve since become a huge fan, and bought every record again through conventional means, as well as everything released since and also bought hundreds of pounds worth of liuve tickets and merch. It started with theft, but Metallica have certainly profitted from that initial illegality in my current mega-fan status.

    There are SO many artists where the first thing I’ve heard from them came as a copy from a mate, either a borrowed CD copied to tape or burned onto my PC, and those who didn’t set me on fire, didn’t get any more sales. However, if an act gets my interest, I’ll tend to buy their entire back catalogue in as direct a manner as possible – from an artists own webstore is the prefferred medium, to ensure the maximum profit goes to the artist.

    Bottom line – in my eyes, wholesale piracy for its own sake is effectively disrespectful to the music, the artists we profess to love and will result in the eventual demise of alternative music as we know it, but a limited amount of theivery & sharing can help to spread the word of a band and the love of music in general.

    It’s a fine line, but an important one.

    In this day of mass communication, digital recording and file transfer, it is SO easy to make music, to distribute music and to find music. I could easily not actually dig into my stored music catalogue for DAYS by using the likes of Spotify and Last.Fm, but I still like to have a copy stored away somewhere…

    I firmly believe that modern technology has freed musicians from the control of big studios, major labels and all that evil stuff, but it also threatens the small scale FAIR livelihood they could make from that freedom.

    A consensus on some degree of intellectual porperty for digital music MUST be agreed and enforced. It’s one thing to give tracks away for free as teasers, but it’s another thing for someone to put your entire back catalogue – effectivly your entire income and body of work – online for people to download for free.

    If we have no respect for the products of our artists, for those artists ability to continue producing by denying them fair financial recompense for their art, then our society will become an even grayer, more bloodless place in the name of such wholesale, thoughtless theft.

    By all means give your mate a copy of that band you love’s best record – but encourage them to buy it for themselves, and the other two that are really awesome as well…

  85. I’m a big Alec Empire fan,I own ton of ATR stuff, the recent solo stuff, and even a few rare records, but the reason I’m even a fan is because i downloaded all that stuff illegally way back when! Not that I’m trying to justify anything, but I’m just mentioning sometimes piracy actually leads to sales. But I’m not a musician so I’m not well qualified to talk much on the matter.
    Really though I’m shocked that people want Google to censor and filter results. We should understand if Google blocks torrent searches, we don’t know whats blocked next. Freedom on the internet is an incredibly important issue and to demand censorship is awful, the internet is the only platform where people can be as important as major corporations, and people trying to give away that freedom isn’t gunna help the people in the slightest. Artists losing money is still not a reason to call for censorship.

  86. CJR, you have some balls to say that when I have so clearly explained where I stand on the issue. Did you even read what I wrote up there? To mention me in one reply with a call for censorship is plain crazy. Please read what I wrote first then judge.

  87. I’m all for subscription based music, and I would think as the cost comes down considerably that most people would choose to pay a small fee and have access to whatever music they like—whenever they like—instead of the hassle pirating provides. Sites like Rdio or Spotify should be kicking back far bigger chunks to artists than former labels ever did, plus it’s accessible, shareable and recommendable. We’ll only see a drop in pirating when it becomes easier to do it legally.

  88. There is another issue here for young artists, and that’s money. I think that file sharing is good for artists in the respect that bands are free from the clutches of labels when it comes to releasing and distribution. File sharing has become an incredible way for upcoming artists to share their art with the world, without having to pander to industry suits or pay thousands of dollars to DiscMakers and distributors.

    I agree, for major artists that release million dollar releases like My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ need to be purchased to fund the creation of more records of similar quality, but at the same time- those are artists that have taken the risk of going through a label and being in the position of HAVING to sell records to sustain their art.

    With the ease of recording and the abundance of young talent trying to spread their wings, now is the time for budding musicians to get creative and collaborate! The labels were middlemen to rally the troops for those collaborations, but with the internet musicians have no need for label interference.

    It has been proven that masterpieces can be recorded in bedrooms and modern home studios. It has been proven that an artist can still become a success without having to go through a label. We are the tape traders of the 20th century. Pandora and Last.Fm are our answer to terrestrial radio (and owned by CBS ironically). Let’s harness this power and overtake the labels.

  89. I thought my answer was a long set of text so I decided I would put it here & link it in. I hope LTW don’t mind & well there we go. httpss://hr-de.blogspot.com/ some cross linking there. There we go. keep up the discussion guys. Thanks john for starting/writing this. It’s getting people TALKING at least.

  90. First of all, I have to say that artists deserve to make money on their work. I absolutely believe in this, and I am willing to pay. Thing is, I prefer paying for a concert or a gig over paying for a record for which only a fraction reaches the people that would deserve it. Yes there are record companies and labels that do it differently, but in my view, record companies are something of the past. There are numerous recent examples of bands that thank their success not to the promotional work of a record company, but to the internet and buzz created around it. A group also doesn’t need need them anymore for distribution. Sure – the recording-studios still have to make money, and artists can get a lot of help from a record company, but they are losing a lot of their major selling points. An artist that is really good, and willing to do what it takes doesn’t really need a record company anymore. This phenomenon will only become bigger, and it scares the big giants.

    Recently, I read a very interesting article on artists making money from record-sales instead of live performances, which I currently can’t find back (sorry). It pretty much pointed out (with facts and numbers) that the time-frame in which artists were making money more on records than on live performances was very limited when looking at the complete history of the music-industry when they started selling records. Artists have always depended on live performances, and it still is a major part of their income. As you stated, the time of expensive records is gone. That golden age is over.

    Now I have to admit, I am a lazy person. When I can’t find music I’m first looking for on iTunes and if I can’t find it there, I check out various fixed places where I know I will be able to find it, slsk, torrents, … whatever. It’s easy and simple. Now I tend to listen to quite obscure music, which is not always readily available through ‘normal’ channels. I discovered loads of artists by downloading their stuff, and I can honestly say, I saw the majority of the artists I discovered and like live, or plan to do this as soon as possible. I discovered Aphex Twin’s more obscuure works, Autechre, Boards Of Canada, ATR, EC8OR, Venetian Snares, Amon Tobin, Plaid, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Clark, Kid606, Limewax, Dylan, Tech Itch, Current Value, Bong-Ra, Kettel, The Black Dog, … this way, and the list goes on and on. Now I can assure you, each and everyone eventually made money on me, which they would never have seen if it weren’t for me pirating their music. I paid for their work in one way or another, mostly by going to performances of parties. It’s these small artists that have more to gain by piracy than the big-ones, and it are the big-ones that are complainging, and actually shouldn’t complain. The problem is that they’re used to the system being in their favor.

    But there you have it: piracy for me is mostly a way to discover new music. It’s the new “pirate radio” or late-night shows featuring some obscure (sub)genre. I’m not saying there aren’t people pirating just so they don’t have to pay money. I also have been guilty of that in my student years, but all I’m saying is that it is not as bad as most artists tend to represent. Now piracy certainly is not the only way, the internet here also provides some answers, if you look at things like httpss://www.last.fm/ – which has an excellent recommendation engine based on the tracks you play. In the old days – a lot of my ‘music discovery’ happened through pirate radio, white-label vinyl, live performances on tapes or later on cd and obscure radio shows. I am also a huge admirer of open-mindedness that John Peel had when it came to music, and it was amazing how he promoted music that would otherwise never been heard off. I discovered a lot of different music styles and artists through recordings of the famous John Peel Sessions (which has also featured ATR) I found on file-sharing networks. I only know one thing: piracy has cost me – as a ‘listener’ – a lot of money. And I do not care.

    What currently enrages me the most is the fact that here in Belgium, I pay “copyright taxes” on just about everything that could potentially be used to hold an illegal copy of a movie or music, or be used to copy ‘copyrighted material’. This being CD’s, pc’s, harddisks, my cable subscription, … regardless of the thing I actually use it for. And yet, it’s still illegal to copy movies or music…

    Anyway, the current situation is just screwed – and for this reason alone – you need things like ‘the pirate bay’, torrents and other file-sharing networks. They are a reaction against the greedy fuckers in the ‘media’ industry, and sadly they do create collateral damage amongst artists hoping to make a living out of it. Personally, I know quite a few ‘small’ artists in the drum’n bass and dubstep genres – and most of them – even the ones I think are really great, can’t even dream of making a living out of it. They know they will never be able to do this, there is no future in their sub-sub-subgenre they love, and yet they continue. Every penny that comes in is invested in their equipment, organising parties themselfs, … They do not care about this, they have a daytime job, or are poor students – they’re willing to sacrifice every second of their free time, there’s only one thing that drives them: the passion for the music. And that’s what music is about: passion. Not Money.

  91. With all due respect, I have to disagree with you Lucy. The whole model has shifted to a place where music is nothing more than a promotional tool for shows. The value has been completely wiped off of recordings due to the scale of file-sharing. I’ve been making music for 10 years so I’ve seen the shift happen. Unfortunately, for someone starting out this is the new normal. You say people are recording music at an unprecedented rate but how many actually sustain careers? Like I said, recorded music is now just a tool to promote shows. But what if someone just wants to record? There won’t be an internet era Kate Bush or even Beatles because both found careers mainly with their recordings rather than performances.
    It doesn’t matter how many tools like Soundcloud and Spotify exist, if “fans” can spend £20 on a Friday night on beer but can’t even spend 79p for a song on itunes then music will face a very bleak future.

  92. Comparing the Pirate Party to Wikileaks? You do realize the Pirate Bay and other such sites profit from their stolen content due to advertising revenue?
    And by the way music is not “information’, it’s somebody’s work no-matter how good or bad and I believe that deserves at least basic respect. I’m guessing you work for free, right?

  93. Right, so to all those that mumble something about DIY, my band’s first EP cost us about six hundred quid to do. I’m in a punk band as well, and yeah, we did some home recordings for that, but if you want a genuinely well-produced finished work, then at some point you’re going to pay an expert.
    As sad as the musicians losing out is are the talented studio engineers, producers etc., that were previously getting paid for a very hard and highly skilled job, and now are not. I worry about those people getting put out of work because a lot of these jobs are highly specialised and (e.g. in the case of sound engineers) take years to train for; that these skills earned should go to waste really pisses me off.
    Yes, we can’t close the door after the horse has bolted, and it has now become necessary to restructure the industry (or indeed, save what we can); but let’s not forget what got us to this point: people stealing.
    It’s a fact of basic economics that the music industry will probably die; once marginal cost is zero a business model collapses, simple as.
    Finally, comparing Wikileaks and the Pirate Bay is just dumb. Wikileaks are dealing in freedom of information in order to re-establish what is essentially a politcal power discourse in favour of the man on the street; the Pirate Bay steal intellectual property. It isn’t a political act, and the wage structures in the music industry have to be less stratified than say, banking or even fast food franchises, so consequently I’d bet that more value would be re-added to the economy via disposable incomes of employees as well.

    I’ll end on a positive note though: I’ve started an indie label using my student loan, and (touch wood) that seems to be going okay so far, but then I do have rather modest aspirations for it.

  94. BY THE WAY: Trend of twitter at this insomniac hour —> #musicmoneymagnums #femmefatale and #famouslies —>Do coincidences exist? : DE-ACTIVATE!

  95. back before this technology excisted I played in bands signed to indies and majors and never made a penny on either (and didn’t really give a toss). When signed to a major I was given a load of dosh to spend but never made any money so I guess nothings changed in that respect.In recent years I’ve managed a couple of artisits and set up a label to release their music and you know what if I thought a few thousand file sharers/bloggers got behind the release and helped raise my artists profile ..share away.Back to the question is it a good thing google act , my answer is it’s probably good for google because thats the way big business works and further down the line it’ll be bad for the rest us (for the same reason).The technology is ours we have a choice.Much love xxx.

  96. What the guy up there said about the moon. Technology leaves people behind. Usually poor people. But not this time. Now it has left behind rich people, and a bunch of egotistical pale withering flower artistes who feel they should be rich because their art is oh so important and precious. Back in the day I was at the mercy of the music industry. Overworked and underpaid, I had to pay out lots of money. I bought thousands of musical artefacts, because I loved music so, at the rate of one a week. The technology did not then exist for me to do otherwise. The only reason people worked out how to copy music was because it was hideously expensive back then. If it had ever been reasonably priced, which it has never been in my lifetime, I doubt anyone would have even bothered to work out how to so-called “pirate” it.
    (PS yes I have made music yes it is available freely on the internet and no I don’t feel irked at being “robbed” – technology leaves people behind, it is what technology does).

  97. A few random points…
    Music is far cheaper to produce and distribute these days despite what Alec says, the means to do it, the technology is far more affordable, that’s why there is a lot more music out there produced by a lot more people and why it doesn’t have the same value in monetary terms or culturally that it used to.

    The model for getting paid for recorded music has to move towards getting paid per play via something like spotify than for “selling copies” of either a physical product or a digital product because the universal availability of music, and they way in which people consume music, have rendered it next to valueless on the open market.

    Piracy has always had a valuable place in the music industry. I can’t start to count the number of albums I’ve bought cos someone had put a track on a compilation tape/CD or (more recently) a spotify playlist. The value of piracy in bringing music to a wider audience is something which has been factored out of the debate, but should be considered in part as a positive tool for creating an income stream for artists.

  98. “Technology leaves people behind” mmmh….I always felt that people leave technology behind. Mainly because people have a choice and make a decision which technology works best for them.

    “Music is far cheaper to produce and distribute these days despite what Alec says”
    Of course a certain type of music is cheaper to produce, that’s why I described above how it will lead to less diversity at one point because we will lose out on music that cannot be produced with that technology.

    I want to point out here, that I did a double vinyl album on a gameboy in 1998…it can’t get cheaper than that. Actually a lot of my music was produced totally d.i.y. – still I like the option to put on that Johnny Cash recording I mentioned above. Don’t underestimate the effort and cost it takes to get to that.

    I think the discussion that great music doesn’t have to be recorded in an expensive studio is over …since maybe over 20 years or so? Why have it now? I explained that when everybody pays a fraction of the costs, even music that is expensive to produce, can exist. And I prefer that over conformist laptop produced indie rock or dance music. You do realize that you are talking like those hedgefund managers? What I am trying to say here is if we think like that we will lose out on some of the best music. In the internet age, the listener has even more influence on which music is produced/continued. I want to point out that power here. But it will mainly come from paying a fraction OR corporations (advertizing/sponsoring) or government funds will dictate us what we listen to.

    I also want to make another point. Over the past 20 years I often had talks with musicians and composers, producers about how important the actual instrument itself is when creative ideas start taking shape. Musicians write and perform very different over certain instruments (the wood a 50ties Gibson guitar is made of sounds deeper and more intense, because of its quality and it feels better when you play on it, compared to your new mass produced cheap guitar coming from China – of course you can write and play amazing music on that too, but the well built instruments become less and less affordable to musicians these days. This has more to do with the negative side effects of globalisation.) If everyone will use that same logic piano vst plug in, you basically end up with a lot of that uninspired music you hear in bad movies.

    Already a real handbuild piano is an instrument that only the upper middle class can afford. That gap will get wider. I want to live in a society where everyone can have access to an instrument like that, so we can hear the real talent.

  99. I’ve spent all afternoon reading through these comments and what i fail to understand is the moaning of the musicians. I’m firmly on the side of Lucy and that chap from the Pirate Party- they are the true outlaws in these times. How dare anyone try and charge for music. It should be free. I’m a musician and I’m happy to give my music away for free. I don’t understand why people say it’s so difficult to make music- we rehearse in our parents extension and made a great recording in there. I bought myself some really good mics and recorded through my computer set up. It was only about ten grand to record. Surely every band with a bit of nous can do this? and with such low costs it’s easy to give away.

  100. In the meantime: on my way to an appointment i come across this at the railway station: httpss://plixi.com/p/74554280 Contents alone are sheer entertainment. Will chew & digest (then recycle). Actually, a year ago i already had this idea… And since i’ve been able to predict trends and the like in the past 10 years… i have a hunch i am onto something. But since few ‘famous ones’ got away with many of my ideas (ain’t that nice!), i am simply going to keep this one to myself… Time will tell if i was right.

    Oh, and Luke…. about ‘moaning’. Many musicians give their music away for free, because no one will ever buy it…
    But ah well – this world is focused on quantity and not QUALITY… and not just in the music department.

    “How dare anyone try and charge for music.” ? you say?
    don’t quit your day job, Luke…

  101. In the meantime: on my way to an appointment i come across this at the railway station: httpss://plixi.com/p/74554280 Contents alone are sheer entertainment. Will chew & digest (then recycle). Actually, a year ago i already had this idea… And since i’ve been able to predict trends and the like in the past 10 years… i have a hunch i am onto something. But since few ‘famous ones’ got away with many of my ideas (ain’t that nice!), i am simply going to keep this one to myself… Time will tell if i was right.

    Oh, and Luke…….. about ‘moaning’. Many musicians give their music away for free, because no one will ever buy it…
    But ah well – this world is focused on quantity and not QUALITY… and not just in the music department.

    “How dare anyone try and charge for music.” ? you say?
    don’t quit your day job, Luke…

  102. … and yeah…. a real breathing piano reacting to the touch of my fingers is NOT to be compared to a logic piano. i have found a keyboard that is considered best… but i still dream of recording on a real concert piano. the LINES that i can draw then! MAGIC! but yeah…. pecunia non olet…

  103. This is a nice analysis: httpss://mashable.com/2011/02/04/music-industry-digital-natives/
    Summary: the kids were never trained to treat music as scarce, and they’re not going to start now.
    Old buggers like us (is anyone reading this blog under forty?) are not even in the running for consideration.
    Our teenagers look at my 400kg of vinyl like I’m some sort of CRAZY PERSON.

  104. @billyboy: “another hobbyist.”
    Yes, it’s called “anyone can do it” and “music belongs to everyone.”

  105. I’m under 40. I know a lot of 20 year olds who love music which is only available on vinyl.
    the format doesn’t matter so much, it’s just that Lucy and the Pirate Party haven’t converted those
    records into mp3’s yet because they don’t know them. I noticed that nobody has pointed out how bad mp3’s sound in comparison to vinyl.
    And those who can’t hear a difference, should not think so much. Try to feel music again for a change.

    Can somebody get photographers into this debate? Or real journalists? Film makers? Independent software programmers?
    Anyone who is producing content is under attack. The corporations who make their profits from that should also s h a r e .

    How about the politicians (yes, also the Pirate Party wants your tax money) work for free and don’t mafia up with the corporates and rob everyone else ? It isn’t a coincidence that Cameron & Co want to change the copyright laws in the UK in favor of those big US companies like Google, Facebook, etc.

    There will be a time when your intellect is the only thing left that belongs to you.

    Don’t give it away for free.

  106. @David – Vinyl is the BEST sound quality that i have come across in my life. (I am under 30)
    @Alec: tried poking a film distributor for this debate, but he is smarter than i am at times: he knows that speaking is silver, and silence is golden, quoting his exact reaction.

  107. oh yes, DAVID: kids describe music as ‘water that comes out of the tap’ But i refuse to blame them for it…

  108. BY THE WAY: ***writers*** should also join this debate. They are next in line to get ‘digitalized’ (and wiped out…)

  109. I personally think that these techies who created the hardware in the first place to rip, copy & record music should be fined heavily for assisting in this whole piracy debacle.
    In the 70’s, we had a logo on our record sleeves saying “HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC – AND ITS ILLEGAL….. Of course, that was just the beginning of what was to come wasn’t it. So I say the likes of Microsoft, Sony & whoever else sell music playing hardware with the ability to record or copy – they get fined heavily!!!! Oh hang on, Sony deal with a lot of the musicians works anyway…..hmmmmm….

  110. Phil: “I personally think that these techies who created the hardware in the first place to rip, copy & record music should be fined heavily for assisting in this whole piracy debacle.”

    The Internet is the greatest force for free speech in history. There’s a reason the Egyptian government switched it off at the first sign of trouble. It’s why the recent student demonstrations in London – a whole genersation of kids learning the natural match of the words “Tory” and “scum” – came together at all.

    Compared to that – and I’m speaking as a lifelong music addict – fuck the music industry. Really, fuck the music industry.

    Phil, you need to get a grip. There’s a whole world out there that isn’t the music industry, and it’s actually much, much, much more important.

  111. @Alec – “Independent software programmers?” – httpss://www.opensource.org/ – people doing stuff on the basis of “give it away, sell extras off it” is actually how software works these days. Not on the iPhone, but damn near everything else. This is why your *television* comes with a written offer of Linux source code – that’s how deeply into real industry the “give it away” attitude has gone. Free has won.

    “The corporations who make their profits from that should also s h a r e .” The trouble is that economics is difficult because it’s not a zero-sum game – it’s a sum of flows, not amounts. The music industry of old relied on taking a percentage from massive inefficiencies of production and distribution. Now distribution is fatally easy and there’s no inefficiency to live off – the marginal cost approaches zero. Anyone who’s ever run even a tiny business (e.g. an indie label) will have experienced this one – it’s basic microeconomics.

    There is actually no-one taking the money, because the money was a flow (not an amount) and that particular flow has *gone*. This is called “increased economic efficiency”. And this is not comforting, and it sucks dingo balls to be at the sharp end of it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    The scariest thing for working musicians – you won’t convince the kids (c.f. link above) that there’s a problem, because they see that music is still being created in huger and huger amounts. You would need to show that without full-time musicians this flow of music would stop. Not just assert it – but actually prove it to them, because they’re the people you want to get money from, and they’re not going to give it to you just because you berate them. Funnily enough, that doesn’t tend to get money out of people. I wonder why that is.

  112. Please see my comment as an extension of ALL my comments above. I was talking about the future and the negative consequences for independent musicians that are REAL. Music has always been open source. But the craft is putting it together and playing it, yes the frequencies already exist in the universe. Finding them, that’s the work part. People mention recording costs are near to nothing now. No software that kids use to record music that is open source. They use Ableton, Protools or Logic and a few others. That was my point about Pirate Bay, if you offer this service (links to files) DO NOT put ads on your site and make millions while pointing your finger at musicians and recordlabels. Fuck the music industry is like saying fuck all black people or something. We must see Pirate Bay as a part of today’s music industry. I said above that the music world is way more complex than that. We will lose diversity in the long run if the current system is kept in place. And I said that conformity is death to music. (we will lose diversity because it’s not fun to record a song on a laptop, put it up online and have 10 strangers listen to it. Artists will give up creating.) I always wanted an Internet which is not like TV. The future of google, apple, facebook and the others are heading towards that.

  113. hey I thought both topics should be merged (Lucy’s new article ((rant)) & this one. Yet maybe they’re better separate. here’s some views for you. I got unvirtual world things to do.

    I didn’t see this/replies here till now. There are good points & there are bad points (or disagreeable points shall we say) Yep. Yet people are just saying the same old points. It’s great to have a discussion. Yet people getting together & making A SOLUTION. Eg you don’t have money or a big budget yet you want to make an album? Is there an INTERACTIVE online way to do that? Think RPG here. I know people could build forum boards & all. SInce we’re discussing this, why don’t people get together, get ACTIVE & throw ideas around.

    I don’t want to be rude to people, that’s not in my nature, yet please LOOK at the future, be looking forward. I see people (not everyone & or in music, as it’s NOT just musicians, it’s ART here, it’s a craft). We all have skills. Things we can do we are good at, why can’t those be shared or used to teach others. There is some kind of credit scheme, like in poker or something, for your knowledge or skills being shared? Just an idea.

    Yet the future world isn’t now free or gonna get any easier. My observing & objection is that kids want to be like everyone else. I’m sure kids are intelligent, yet to be given a chance, 1 chance & an opportunity, for some that’s respect, that’s a dream, that’s all they have, whatever their background is. It shouldn’t be wealth or importance or money or governments that determine the future. Kids, adults, artists, jobs, economy, shouldn’t it be THE PEOPLE? So why aren’t we? Why aren’t people saying “yeah lets do this” & coming together & just DOING IT? Collectively as a group. Maybe a little piece of something is better than nothing right?

    Also not to be all sun shine hippie here, there should be hope here right? Are Paris Hilton & Lady Gaga now going to define music? It just seems wrong that fake plastic bimbos are role models for even females in music. I don’t think Willow Smith’s song is good, yet she did something. I see everything having a running order, governed by charts. Radio1 did this on a sunday with it’s top 40. Lots of metal music & alternative people are wanting charts, yet this went when Top of the Pops went.

    I think this is about a future generation. Where’s the John Peel for them? Where’s the & THAT education? Will it matter in 5 or 10 years time whether art/music/creative is free or not? There’ll probably be THAT choice/decision then for all of us still doing it, Yet there has to be something in the mean time too. It’s liberating that there’s this void or dip where something new good grow, could evolve. That for me as a “creative” that’s exciting.

  114. @Alec – “Fuck the music industry is like saying fuck all black people or something.”

    Um … I’m boggling. Get a grip. Really.

  115. I used that example to explain that generalisations don’t lead to a solution. Louder Than War clearly talked about independent musicians and not major record labels. They were addressing a problem that exists for the majority of musicians today.

  116. Elektra Dekker: The writers HAVE got involved. This debate – around music, films, books and software – has been raging for a good few years now, and there have been some very in-depth, thoughtful discussions about this all over the internet, on forums and blogs and websites.
    Here’s a recent round-up of discussion re e-books etc.: httpss://elf.dreamwidth.org/385055.html

    I wholeheartedly second David on how extraordinarily liberating the internet has been as far as freedom of information is concerned: politically it’s as relevant, if not as dramatic, here as it is in Egypt. I stand by my comments linking Wikileaks and piracy and I’d add other popular movements too. Doing it ourselves, there’s some punk ethos for you if you want it and it works as well for new ways of organising music-making as it does for UKUncut, the transition movement or the free schools that fees protesters set up in occupied buildings.

  117. How anyone could even dare to link wikileaks and music piracy is painful. We are talking about the future of the internet and the reality we all face. If Lucy had made her points in 1998, fine, everybody was very excited about the possibilites of the technology (when it became accessible to more people).

    There is a very clear difference between Wikileaks exposing information that makes people see the injustices and crimes that our governments commit in our name and independent musicians keeping control over their music and deciding what can and cannot be done with it.

    Lucy, what was your job again? (Not sure if you spoke about what you do for a living in this debate.)

  118. But, Alec, the fact is that file-sharing, open-source software, freedom of information, the digitisation of books: these ARE all connected. It’s part of the same (DIY) impulse to share knowledge and art and skills, without them being being controlled or mediated by exploitative corporations or party politics or power hierarchies. It’s about ANYONE having access to EVERYTHING, regardless of status or financial situation or location in the world. I can’t see why you’d think that it was better to fight an ultimately unwinnable battle over file-sharing than embrace that and then work with it. Music will still be there and livings will still be made.

    I’m not sure why my job is relevant to the debate: would it affect my argument depending on whether I were a plumber or a teacher or a bus conductor? Can you only take ideas seriously from certain people? Jesus, I hope not.

  119. “I can\’t see why you\’d think that it was better to fight an ultimately unwinnable battle over file-sharing than embrace that and then work with it.” You keep doing that. Twisting my words. Why do you do that? Read my comments. What is it that you didn’t understand?

    I think it is very important to know what your job is, so we can understand the points you are making. Why are you holding that information back?

  120. Lucy, you missed my point – and i didn’t get yours. Plus i find your tone aggressive somehow… but maybe it’s just me..? What i wanted to add : i have a couple of photographer friends all over this tiny planet of ours, and they just have to put all kinds of huge copyright notices on their images, for it happens regularly that their work is being used for commercial purposes, without any permission. Plus everyone also thinks they should work for free – or what also happens regularly: their style is being copied by someone else, who ends making big bucks from it… I have talked to a couple of people about this debate, who are from different backgrounds / cultures / professions. And basically : none know what the solution is, but all are equally worried. By the way, i have no idea how many are reading my comments on here…. but i recommend that book about google that i posted an image of. It makes me explore new territory : and ‘think like the enemy’, haha! “Keep your friends close – keep your enemies even closer.” There’s some sense in that. This whole debate first plunged me into deep despair. I thought: “My goodness! I have sacrificed my entire life for the sake of music, dance, arts.. but especially music. And NOW WHAT? I thought people would support a young woman who decided to do it all herself, be free of anyone telling her what kind of artist to be…” But i was obviously terribly naive… Artists do not support nor help you in any way, for you make them feel less… And audience doesn’t see beyond the tip of their nose either. Terrible feeling… (I redecorated my home, haha… I was that angry with this realization that i have probably wasted my entire life, because people don’t have their act together, nor their priorities straight, and are like a herd of sheep… If someone screams “This way!” they all baaaaaa in that direction. If someone yells: “That way!” they all run in that one…NO mind of their own whatsoever.. So easily manipulated, it’s embarrassing to watch! But anyway.) So ok, the current system is not working. Definition of system: a set of connected things or parts, forming a complex (!) whole. Will we have to get to the BOTTOM of this problem or find a solution to rise ABOVE it? I keep on wondering about this one somehow…

  121. I don’t see what there is to get angry about? I’m not angry. Who are you pointing your war of words at? I feel this becoming a personal diretribe against those who are not for your view. (this NOT at any 1 individual, DO NOT fall into THAT trap). MY JOB? *Raises eyebrows in exclamation* Rolls eyes. I’m a lot of things. Right now I’m wanting to be & a wannabe trainee studio techy. What’s the word? Sensei is teacher, I don’t know, apprentice, there we go.

    For me the million dollar/pound/euro jackpot question is What’s Lucy’s job exactly? Loz’s? Throw all hammers & nails & baby out with the bathwater is the phrase: I wonder if you people want to actually feel a future, have great expectations/aspirations & instead insist of the OLD fomulaic archaic version. WHICH DOES NOT WORK!!!!!! Am I playing space invaders here & aiming my arcade point blank gun at the pirate bay (pay), at Nick Griffin (no one’s talked about him with PB coming up) Cameron? Or a brick virtual wall?

    Back to topic: music people. arts included. I wouldn’t/have no intent or twist YOUR words: they’re the ones that speak volumes, stand a part/alone & have their own voice. Consider it a compliment.

  122. “I think it is very important to know what your job is, so we can understand the points you are making. Why are you holding that information back?”

    What, so you can harass her offline?

    There’s a reason why requests like yours are bad practice: httpss://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Online_harassment

    (From this conversation, I really don’t think you ever think through even the really, really obvious implications of anything you say before posting it.)

  123. […] at Louder Than War, there’s a good old argument going on. It’s mainly between Alec Empire (who opposes the Pirate Party and free culture by the sounds […]

  124. Harrass her offline? Because she has a different opinion? What makes you think I would do such a thing…
    I am working on another article about the issue, and I think there are many good points coming from all sides.
    I find it very important that everyone is open about their identity. I had many DMs from musicians about this debate, people pointed out
    a pattern to Lucy’s comments. In Germany the debate about file sharing is highly political because politicians keep using child pornography and music ‘piracy’ to restrict and regulate the internet. The exact same technology is welcomed by dictators around the world. Obama is about to sneak in laws which give the US authorities more power so they can filter and track down blogs and websites.
    I think we must see the bigger picture here. Independent musicians feel threatened (at least the ones I talked to over the years), people like Lucy argue that ‘music should be free’ and fail to see what’s really going on behind the scenes.
    I am very open here (it’s a debate managers advise their artists NOT to get into because it is not popular with ‘kids’.). If Lucy and the Pirate Party guy won’t tell how they earn a living, how can they expect independent musicians to give away their rights for free?

  125. Oh, for crying out loud, people! Now i am ANGRY!!! I spent few years in the UN for youth while i was in high-school, and Alec would’ve been a GREAT debater!!! He is the one who is not being led by emotions here, but shows facts, cause and effect, and actually is the active member looking for a solution (as far as i can tell from the short time i’ve known his way of thinking) Read MY comment, for a change! The one i posted yesterday. Especially the LAST 1 SENTENCES. I just can’t believe this whole thing…. No wonder we are not moving forward. Seriously, SHAME on you!!! I am so incredibly disappointed… You don’t HAVE to agree with everything he says. From a lawyer’s point of view – the objections have been overruled…

  126. By the way, Alec, check my facebook page. I had a dream last night you might wanna read. httpss://tinyurl.com/ElektraFacebook

  127. It’s not so much that music “should” be free: it’s that digital data will be. That’s just how it is. I feel positive about that because of the wider picture of liberation that the digital age brings: it’s useful to join the political dots. I’ve explicitly been sympathetic with people who feel that new technology is affecting their livelihood and I’ve pointed to examples of musicians who are working out new ways of doing things, whether their reasons are idealistic or practical.

    I originally objected to the idea that file-sharers on the one side are being selfish and uncaring and musicians on the other are being ripped off: I still disagree with that picture for the many reasons I and others have already mentioned, but as much because it’s not as black-and-white as there being two opposing sides with fixed characteristics. (Re-read Loz’s piece: he’s a working musician, unlike me, so maybe you’ll listen to him!)

    (“Luddite”, by the way is not an insult: it’s as close a description of the well-intentioned but ultimately hopeless stance on radical technology that I can find to fit the situation. Luddites were trying to protect their livelihoods against industrialised processes that cared nothing for workers who were losing their jobs: it’s a completely understandable position to take.)

    I haven’t made any personal comments in this debate but I’ve had plenty of pretty unpleasant assumptions (ridiculously far from the truth) chucked at me, so I’m not going to play that game. If you really think that my points should be taken more or less seriously depending on whether I were a bus-conductor or a cellist, then I despair.


    so what do you do Lucy? I think it is very relevant, as people are expected now to have a 2nd career to finance their NON-PAYING music career. If torrent stealing impacted you the same way it affected other people on here maybe you wouldn\’t be so quick to champion it.

    how can anyone take the pirate bay seriously when you have banner ads for poker sites on it, you are profiting from other peoples creativity. And what happened with that supposed $8 million gaming company takeover by \’global gaming factory\’ you were willing to accept?
    It is all HYPOCRISY serving your own narrow agenda. not music lovers at all.

  129. Please read what other people have read on here about making a living out of music: it is not as simple as being able to live off album sales and it never has been: most musicians don’t now and haven’t in the past. (As people have already commented on here, the internet actually opens up potential for an audience, especially for smaller bands.) The global recession, no longer being able to sign on as a musician or get funded by Art Council grants: those have changed things for musicians too. I’d bet more people gave up making music full-time when the New Deal for JSA came in than have because they have actually lost significant amounts of money in sales revenue. Same is true for writers and artists.
    I wonder what agenda you think I have that stating this is somehow controversial?

  130. I think everyone out here is taking your points very serious. Ok, you might not know my music or my view of the world. But for me there is no difference between a cop, a banker, a musician or a bus-conductor. I see people as individuals and don’t believe in hierarchies.

    Yes, a stage just lets those in the last row see the show, it’s no reason for an artist to feel superior over those who are watching. That’s why I loved the early raves because it was not anymore about the rockstar. Early punk rock could be seen as a starting point, where people took over the stages of rock clubs. In 2011 reality TV, X factor and all those shows have understood this. Mirror the audience you want to sell your product to. Same strategy is applied by Pirate Bay. When George Bush did portray himself as the “average Joe” to Americans, he wanted their vote. Pop acts show themselves in their music videos driving expensive cars and having the chicks and bling, so the audience assumes they are already successful, so they can trust that product and can follow them like sheeple.

    I am very aware of the fact when I work on music, everybody who works on the project matters and is important. Perhaps that comes from the socialist background of my father’s side. To me Apple is not Steve Jobs, and Microsoft is not Bill Gates, Assange is not Wikileaks, Obama is not America, Hitler was not alone responsible for Nazi Germany (because he was elected by the majority of the people!).

    When someone from the Pirate Party is preaching about how art should be free, it is very different to Banksy. When Radiohead gives away their record for free, it is different to when Fugazi wanted their tickets not to be more expensive than 10 Dollars.

    You seem so hypnotized by the idea that the freedom of the internet will be the solution to every problem in our world. When you’re a bus-conductor, I can understand why you would believe that. When you’re a member of the Pirate Party and make a living of tax money, things look a little different. When you work for Google in one way or another,…We have entered a new phase when it comes to the internet and control technologies.

    I know people who could easily get into your network and could expose all kinds of private information. Would you like that? I guess not. This is how musicians feel when unmastered versions of their albums get leaked, or when shitty live recordings make it onto the internet (people think “oh they sound shit live” while it might have been a screw up made by the sound engineer who made a terrible flat recording which failed to capture the real energy of the show).

    You know why these people WOULD NOT EXPOSE YOU?

    Because they still have certain MORALS and ETHICS.

    So I mean …what is your job? You would tell anyone in the pub, why is it different out here?

  131. “So I mean …what is your job? You would tell anyone in the pub, why is it different out here?”
    That really is a peculiarly naive thing to say.
    And I have never said – and don’t believe – that the internet is the solution to every problem! Where’d you get that?
    Your views are not so far away from mine on many of the things you mention; I am not accusing you of elitism.
    I am not a member of the Pirate Party and I have no connection to them. I have never used the Pirate Bay and don’t have any connection to them either. I have no agenda, only a point of view. I have already said that I have made, promoted and written about music: sometimes for financial reward, mostly not. The most successful record I have been involved with (as a guest musician) I worked on for free and, really, what matters most to me is that I am proud of what I contributed (but see Linda Conboy’s take on this over in the comments on my piece for a different view: she makes the point that as a singer, she got ripped off by musicians all the time; she wouldn’t agree with you about their “MORALS and ETHICS”).
    I don’t have independent income and am not on the dole, but my job is irrelevant to this debate and I am not going to rise to your badgering. Tell me, does that make my views more or less worth considering?

  132. One example….Germany’s Fusion festival
    They have managed to keep it completely sponsorfree. You can’t even buy drinks from brands like Coca Cola there. It is an amazing festival, one of the last few of its kind (I would even argue it’s the last one). about 50.000 plus are going there every year.
    Why does it work? Because everybody who goes there knows why they are doing it and they pay the entrance. You will never see the big major label bands playing there, because they can only pay fair fees to the bands and not these outrageous amounts which are being paid by festivals that are sponsored by corporations (which still are raising the ticket prices to my surprise.).

    That is the spirit I am talking about here. It is time for independent musicians and fans of that music to join forces and build a strong community which can survive and grow without the middlemen. But music fans need to understand the effects their actions have and that they have to take responsibilty for them.(same goes for musicians of course)

  133. Alec, that is exactly the same spirit as I am talking about too: why do you think I mentioned the honesty box effect? Or Amanda Palmer’s collaborations with her fans, who are happy to fund what she does? Or Kristin Hersh’s fan-sponsors? Or highlighted the cutting-out-the-middle man positives of the internet? Or have banged on about the connection between DIY culture and the digital age?

  134. Lucy you seem to be either very young, naïve or out of touch and you certainly have no understanding of how to be creative in the modern times.
    We had a good laugh at your idea that to be in a band you need to just get \’a guitar, man, and a rehearsal room and away you go!\’
    What world are you living in?
    I\’m in a working band and whilst we don\’t demand lots of money we think it\’s fair that there is some sort of financial transaction and that if we want to give way our music that we made up with our hours of graft then it\’s up to us and not to you and your posh mates stealing it.
    We would also like to point out that you need more than a guitar to make music as a band; you need drums, amps, a vocal PA minimum and maybe keyboards and a laptop- it wasn\’t easy for us to get all the equipment (we are not as blessed in our finances as you. We are working class and we object to your deliberate misreading of an earlier post saying that the poster had said that working class people were only in it for the money when they obviously they did not say that.)
    It\’s expensive being in a band. You need to pay a driver to tour and hire a van and pay upfront for this merchandise that we are all meant o be making a living out of. You also need to pay up to £2500 to get work visas to go to America to tour and you need to pay for flights and ferries to go to Europe. In between all this you need to eat, pay rent and look after tour family. I wish we could download visas and van hires and tickets and food and my kids clothes for free but I can\’t. My bassist wishes she could download her rent for free but funnily enough the landlord wouldn\’t let her do that.
    That\’s the real world for you- the one that exists outside your cosy existence.
    We used to get money from our record label to cover these costs. They were hardly evil capitalists. They were fans of music. Now, because of downloading, they cannot afford to pay for our music and overheads and we have to pay for our own recordings.
    We also have to travel further to record because the local studios have shut down because the groups cannot afford to record in them because no-one has any money because you and the Pirate Bay lot have mugged it off us.
    We accept that this is the way it is.
    But you know what really annoys us is the way you and the Pirate Bay lot make out that you are doing something really cool, or punk rock or left wing/liberal out of robbing our music.
    Funny I don\’t remember any left wing ideology about robbing the workers.
    It\’s easy for you to make your snide remarks about musicians when you are not affected by this crisis.
    And that makes me wonder Lucy what is your job. Are you working all day for nothing?
    It\’s easy to sit there on the sidelines and celebrate the loss of work and income for thousands of people whilst supporting the new corporate companies like Google and Pirate Bay.
    Whilst agreeing with you about the Internet and its opportunities I find it hard to understand how you and the Pirate lots\’ idea that taking someone else’s work and exploiting it without paying them is ok. To me it seems like a rather Tory idea.
    Pirate Bay, as someone said, are the new mill owners- and this time they don\’t even have to pay for stealing the musician\’s music. At least the majors would pay you an advance and then they would pay to promote the music (You would probably say \’just put your music on myspace man- laughable).
    We need an update of that Steve Albini article when he ranted about major labels (whilst taking their dollars!). We need someone to point out that the likes of Napster and Pirate Bay have made a lot of money out of their theft of other peoples time and work and we don\’t need Henry Rollins celebrating the new modal of bands playing to eight friends after he has made a lot of money out rock n roll and made his name in a giiging band and signed to a major label for lots of money for his solo career.
    We don\’t want to make a fortune we want to pay the bills and celebrate our music with the people who like it.
    We don\’t want Pirate Bay to celebrate robbing our music- we don\’t even know these people- why should they be able to exploit our catalogue and then present themselves, as some sort of heroes for doing it- their hypocrisy is vile.

  135. look Lucy,

    you seem like a nice person, and thats not meant in a patronising way.
    yes digital data is/will be free.
    Because of this/piracy many people don’t see the point of making music anymore, they don’t see the point. it is not viable.

    all the radioheads, the kirsten hershes, they came up with the old model, established by a label.
    we have established that is the old model, the new model, people give away their music in the hope they build a profile and sell a few t-shirts and gets some gigs. its simply not working and things are gradually dying. Trustararians are the only people who can afford to make music for the long haul.

    I object to non-musicians (the pirate bay) taking the higher ground and saying this is the way things are, it will be better for you in the long run dears.

    just answer me this;

    how can anyone take the pirate bay seriously when you have banner ads for poker sites on it, you are profiting from other peoples creativity. And what happened with that supposed $8 million gaming company takeover by \’global gaming factory\’ you were willing to accept?

    is it not hypocrisy?

  136. Kate: please actually read what I have written.
    No posh mates.
    No cushy lifestyle.
    Yes, experience of making music and promoting it.
    Yes, practical examples of adapting to new circumstances
    No celebration of livelihoods being under threat: the opposite in fact.
    No snide remarks about musicians (not just because I don’t agree with the “musicians” vs “downloaders” opposition: there are many people who have feet in both camps.)
    The snide remarks are coming entirely from all of those who making up your own stories about me because you disagree with the points I’m making.
    That’s no way to conduct an debate.

  137. My real latest entry on here: hoping to put out fire… WITH GASOLINE! Good luck to all! … and all that jazz…

  138. how can anyone take the pirate bay seriously when they have banner ads for poker sites on it, they are profiting from other peoples creativity.

    It is all HYPOCRISY.

  139. Interesting German clip about hidden corporate product placement in today’s pop music videos. My idea of hell. We must build a new independent community that supports new, unestablished artists. A community that is not about maximizing profits at cost of the quality of the music. Musicians, music fans, everyone needs to come together on this and find a solution.


  140. @Alec: as you know, i am on the same page here, and we share the same goal in this regard (it was good for me to know, when i found out end of January. was feeling very lonely in all of this). but sometimes the following drives me crazy: most people are only full of WORDS of action, but very little action. eitherway: someone’s got to make the first step. i am 29 now – waiting 10 years is definitely not an option… What are the ideas on this so far? Are you going to DO it??? Start it? Inspire? Make this collective?

  141. see lucy you are pissing people off now. debate???? sweetheart u dont know the meaning of this word: did u do it in school? obviously not> look it up in a dictionary. maybe google will help? see you didnt answer the question. very politician of you> you didnt tell us your job: u just scooted around it & said what its not. i know vividly what its like to not have people on ure side or drop u for no reason. u make music? nah dont think so. i may not be active or released it with a 6 figure salary. fuck music video its dead anyway. at least im “up n coming” i dont brag here i am honest i speak what i think. do u? yeah 1 major label we were pr for we didnt get paid so sued we lost the other time i watched friends & amen get dropped from virgin just coz of “new management”. that after 5 years & having ross robinson as their producer.

    u started this> now stop being silly> ooooh threats> i like threats from there. nice yet everyones so busy filing or painting their nails that im not sure if they see it as one> like elektra ive been n seen enough & am sick to my stomach of the dirge & the disabolical so i too will exit. like a dragon in dragons den im out. oh in eu we dont have tvs. if we do artes about the only thing interesting. speaking of exit, exit festival too. take care people. im sure you can keep fighting ure own & corner. just push a little harder, they ll pop eventually. pringles come to mind i forget what u had to say about that now though. bye

  142. ps for the record i compared mp3 quality to cd. what quality.. not saying dats any better or is hard disc? dunno. photographers>>>>> what about them? i made this open to ALL walks of creatives n artistic lifestyle. i got some templates of things im toying with & building. theres not i can dsay asny more. .great comment, i did put things on my page. sorry i could be rude here but i wont be cheeky. theres no t enough hours in the day to do a business make n plan an album. sort out all the daily bs of life. under 40? try under 20. double gatefolds dont do cds justice. even if its referencing certain de politics/al 1s :)

  143. elektra i am a photographer. i have done that 10 years. put it aside to make music. never was money in photos. so i club promoted until live nation/meanfiddler took away, literally bulldozed the venues, that did alright. oh n the stealing of photography still goes on. i am not naming names yet i have photos of a party/event & god knows who took the 1 on the wiki. yet its exactly like my one. also bands when ive photoed them always want them for free. not talking about friends who r musicians, im talking about the clients. yet they still get paid if they play. they dont PLAY for free. fucking nightmare.

    feel free to add/talk more on facebook if ud like. i read n i listen n i write/say/speak what i think. thats just who i am…..google wanted to censor a very interesting article on war the other day. google translate did want to translate it. i can speak 3 languages fine, yet my reading & writing skills lack practice. 2011 censorship? obamas new laws worry me. maybe wikileraks will unveil. who knows.

  144. ok, i now leave with this. httpss://tinyurl.com/OldSolutionsOldProblems Thank you all for contributing to my own flow of thoughts. I am sure solution will be found. All the best, Elektra Dekker

  145. @hr : yes, i know… i guess you read what i said about photographers in one of my previous comments.
    and your writing is fine, i understand it.
    as for facebook : i have an account that i use to maintain my own new page. but i have decided a while ago not to have any friends in the lists, for i simply love the real deal. i love TALKING to them, looking at them, smelling them, laughing and crying with them. and all the status updates usually create a wrong picture of the person anyway… I am blessed to be surrounded by a handful of friends, who always let me be myself, challenge me when needed, and we always ‘agree to disagree’, for we know all is just a matter of perception, and no one is ever right or wrong, Truth is unquestionable, but own truth are relative to that one big picture.
    By the way, i have a hunch who you are… I can be wrong… of course. But anyway…

  146. @elektra just a quick message, sure its probably obvious to those in the know. :) sorry, forgive me, it took me awhile to realize who you were on twitter. i would add u yet i get cut off @ 2k following. urgh evil bad ass side of technology. tried to add u on facebook, yet there’s no message in when you click to add someone. maybe you disabled it: huh? also don’t worry to/so much or about perceptions. isn’t being who you are & who you wanna be part of life? that vs a controlled society & closed off to everyone?

    damn that video from mtv with avril lavigne is just too damn nasty & lady gaga in this looks like peaches with the hair. the dj electro artist, not geldof’s kid. seriously, it’s aV-ril not ave-ril you muppets. it’s french for april. also i recall this vs lady soverign’s “so human” video. wasn’t there 1 with her sporting paul frank hoodies? :)

  147. I posted the tv clip about hidden advertizing in pop music videos…. Yeah Yeah Yeahs now appearing in ads as well… httpss://stereogum.com/635272/absolut-karen-o/franchises/commercial-appeal/

    This is really happening people. Anyone who still doesn’t understand the consequences should wake up.

  148. Humor is the best weapon : √ this out! httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7_s8JRiQqU (not aimed at Germans though, lol! But i somehow apply this to the Music Industry….) hahaha… Sharing!

  149. tatata! and the next one httpss://www.fredperrysubculture.com/band_profile.asp?id=938 this is getting funny almost…2011 – the year musicians became models in ads? but yeah…there is a free download here…valuable stuff…

  150. yes musicians in ads. It has reverted to patronage , like for artists like Rembrant being sponsored by wealthy mentors in the 17th century. Corporations being the new patrons. They seem to do it more by stealth now, instead of plastering their logo all over festivals and tours they get in on the ground early on.

    also product placement in videos will be big too, That crap band the script had a video like that last year, the guy is wearing certain jeans and a hot spot comes up online to take you away to a site to buy them. ( its like straight out of the minority report sf film where you walk down the street and are bombarded with consumer choices).

  151. Ladytron videos are not available in OUR country. arrrgghh. The UMG corporate video police are out to get me. Registering my ISP while I type. Hahahaha. that’s an awesome commercial. yeah sinking/thinking. I can never say certain words in German as I learnt them with a southern west accent. Funf & sechts are 2. I find specifically hard to say in english. It’s funny how we can’t make certain sounds. Is that like hearing/recognizing certain notes or pitches or tones in music? The way we recall & store sounds? I wanted to put this to people.

    I got stopped on the train today for this stupid train conductors not think i had a ticket. I was late for a meeting. Also I got told to turn my music off. Great. ATR’s not allowed here any more or just people don’t like it? Surely what we WANT to listen to & hear is our own free will & choice & decision? The fact they pulled me off the train to make me find a ticket pissed me off, yet telling me to turn my music off? Seriously. Also just coz I couldn’t find the ticket meant they spoke to me like I am a robot idiot. The music thing HURT me the most.

  152. oh i forgot, i did an art project many many years ago for a graphic arts module. i made cubes out of card & put music pictures of bands n stuff on them. Supposedly it was about “product control” what can be marketed in music. This was 2000 though. Yet even since 99 I don’t think much has changed. I worry about bands I sincerely like over the last 2 years with when a new band signs to a major record company or management, is that signing to the devil/away their rights?

    I am sure they know what they are doing & have all good intention yet I will never ever trust it. Not after the experiences I’ve had. I just want to do my own thing, my own stuff, make the future. Isn’t that so SUPER hard for people to grasp? Ive had friends’ friends ask me the last few days “oh you make music, you make events, i know this person, that person, why don’t you sign with them?” Er thanks but no thanks. For a phat big cheque & them to have my integrity, NO WAY. Give me MORE herzog convos, any day :)

    Where’s Rough Trade in all of this, sister ray? I get really really annoyed that labels can sign WHO THEY GODDAMN WANT & there’s no creative control, there’s this lottery selection of what artist will buy them their next mansion or penthouse or yacht/speedboat. Why isn’t content UNIVERSAL platform? Like apple/microsoft, blackberry/iphone. I dont want monopoly markets & I definitely don’t want conglomerates. UMG is a prime example of this. Hence why NIN got so mucked up. I see & believe ALL arts & creative professions should be parallel no matter what it is that person’s craft is. I believe in this & that new ways need to be tried, tested & all purchased/bought could/should on a credit system. x chips for x artist or film or whatever. Like top up cards? That’s an idea right?

    I really don’t want lying scum like clear channel buying everything. Thank you for taking the LA & LAII away from us & bulldozing them. Years of music photography & promotions went on there, which got taken away coz of this. So super angry about it. I’m not bringing the live nation thing here, others can talk about that. Yet are video stores (blockbuster) going bust now & obsolete? It’s not just hmv that won’t be around much longer. I think we need record stores. Not everyone can afford shows, go to gigs, see bands. That’s gonna cost money people won’t have soon. I am sure. Anyway better go do some work

  153. This is a very difficult topic for me. I am 17 years old and I will openly admit that I do download music, whether it be through torrents or through mediafire. Yes the sound quality isn’t great but it has exposed such a wide variety of genres and bands to me. I quite simply wouldn’t have the knowledge I have now if it wasn’t for this. If I really like an artist I tend to go out and buy their LP’s on vinyl or even CD’s because I do appreciate all the effort and energy that is exerted in order to make these albums.
    As I say, it’s extremely hard for me to base an opinion. The problem for me is that I do not have a job therefore I cannot afford to buy records often, but I do try to support an artist when I can. Would people consider my intentions to be malicious or ignorant towards the artist in context? I wouldn’t say so. Maybe I’m just trying to excuse myself from it, but with it being so easily accessible I would find it extremely hard to restrict myself from discovering new artists. On one hand I understand what effect this is having on musicians lives, and I think people who can afford it should pay for it, but on the other hand I don’t think music should ever be restricted for the ones who still wish to discover new material.

  154. Hi Josh! I read your comment and i decided to ‘jump into the debate’ once more, since your input has brought a new dimension to it (Can you get more of your friends to tell their point of view? Would love to read it!) First of all: thank you for your honesty! It warmed my heart somehow :) And of course, i also see your point in this… In fact: i got into a conversation with this wonderful young girl from Russia, and she also made me think: What about all those people who lead lives that can not afford to even eat normally, but they do want to listen to music / see films / and the prizes of those… just unaffordable. What do they do? Deprive themselves? I know that if i would’ve been in that same situation, i would’ve been illegally downloading (and yet, not feeling great about it either!) I grew up in the former Soviet Union. In the times of all of those changes.. When there was nothing in stores, and we had to grow our own food, make our own clothes, be creative with everything, in order to survive. Yet, people still put money aside to buy concert tickets, records, go to a cinema… Living without culture was unimaginable. No one ever went to a restaurant, but we gathered in our homes, and made a feast of it every time. Sometimes i think people in the West are spoilt and selfish… Sadly suffering makes people come together and finally enjoy things that really matter. Sadly there are many in our world who still suffer… And internet becomes their only window to the world… So they discover the music, the movies… And somehow… i do not blame them… As long as it is all moving towards an improvement of their situation. But maybe i am naive? I don’t know. You are 17. I have lived on my own since i was 16, and i remember how i had to work 3 jobs, sleep 4 hours a day and still was not able to finish my 6 days a week school, because when you are a young adult, you only earn a small percentage compared to when you are older. And i was a refugee, so… Government gave me no support, either. So yes – what do you then? I still bought cds. I just became very selective, and bought only the ones i knew i would love listening to more times. So i would just go into record stores, and luckily the owners allowed me to spend whole days there, for they liked having me around. And they always knew that i would spend my last money on that one record i adored… So they ended giving me discounts as well.
    What i was also thinking about – and this one is for ALEC EMPIRE – Imagine, you will suddenly get a great offer from a big company, let’s say: CARS. You will get that awesome car for free, plus 5 million euros, extra exposure worldwide… Would you DO it?

  155. I have been reading over things, since new people have come to the fort here. I find how “the new generation” look/view things is very idological. Not naive but simple, unrealistic, sugar spoon. I don’t believe in wealth or money must = you can do something. this IS my problem with & the “mindset” cameron is creating, america DID & HAS created. Now it’s all fallen a part. There is no solution for this revolution as a friend of mine used to say……

    I like what kate says above. lucy you started this. you hosted this so to speak. Yet you don’t care any more. Yet music is NOT about always making money. it’s about creativity. The music as an industry has gone through this shrink wrap kind of process. Just the extra body fat it acquired (major labels, share holders, etcetc on it’s way) that doesn’t fit now. Yet why can’t you be OPEN MINDED to NEW WAYS. It’s like when I talk to religious people here. friends of mine are turkish. their friends maybe from syria or egypt or all minor countries around teh black sea. anyway this is nothing to discriminate against. Yet I see music how buddists & hindus believe their religion. There’s different gods & goddesses. Yet when you compare your view, it’s like this monothestic view of there’s 1 right 1 wrong, 1 god. That’s ok. I respect that.

    Yet with music, this is about FUTURE NOT PAST & also what do you guys NOT GET? THIS MODEL RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, it’s not working. So we want to find an answer. A possibility to sort it out. Yet my problem is people just throw the argument back to that virtual brick wall. Pink floyd comes to mind. Leonard cohen’s song on natural born killers comes to mind. “Give me back the berlin wall” I am sure that MANY people in Germany. with history, to repeat itself, would want division again, let alone this, the old ways. Yet this is my point & problem. this is the MASS HERDED/CATTLE VISION & of the future. I see with all conglomerates, the ways of “big business” they or this to me is a form of controlling the state. Communism, hello. I don’t know. Wake up, open your eyes, figure things out a little, research things. It doesn’t hurt to try & try something once. Even if it’s not for you. that’s ok.

  156. elecktra: BP asked him for x for a commercial. I don’t know what. yeah I wonder about that actually. hahahaha. you stuff is priceless. may i ask u where u grew up? do u have your own actual page on facebook? I have lots of russian friends/eastern block/soviet. I went to school (high school england) which was twinned with kiev (ukraine) & latvia. I just want to state I had both state & private english education. I don’t have tonnes of money. I live doing what I want to do. I got where I am coz I wanted to do it. That I got up there & did it. It was on me, it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t not hard? I don’t eat when I’m working really hard & I don’t know if it’s coz I’m just in myself driven, passionate or completely ultimately live for this. I cant say or tell.

    The reason I ask you elecktra is coz a friend of mine asked me to perhaps do a short film with her & I consider that photography is either corporate stuff (which sucks, weddings, portraiture), modelling pays, yet thats another topic & discussion. Yet I considered lately as i would want to make my OWN music videos for my music, go into this, that I saw animation has been used recently to do this. (halo8, a few films etc, I think this should be mentioned here) I like the idea of working with my own people, getting them exposure, here within this area. I know people did it when there was the “electro” albums of people. Anyway we need visas for russia & russia(ns) for EU. I wanted to put it to people that this is control? Control on another level?

    I say a little about this just now, I did earlier, yet I think of russia, of Germany, of China, the history. Countries that have had dictatorships. Romania was the big one when I was growing up. The new LTW blog talked about politics effecting music. Maybe these 2 things should be talked about. I can’t compare it, yet China has a communist view, North Korea, East Germany did. Politics effects my music, I wrote songs on lots of issues of Cameron’s ignorance. Yet to me power/coming to power + bullying = Hitler. Stalin too yet this isn’t really talked about. Those are just some views I have & thought maybe addressed here too?

  157. “hr”: you say I don’t care? Bizarre. About what exactly? I just decided not to reply to people who were more bothered about throwing personal insults about than responding intelligently to points in the debate.
    Glad you and Elektra are getting on so well and that you are finally opening your minds to the possibility that creativity is not just about making money and that new ways of managing the production and distribution of music are what is needed, not moralistic, blanket condemnation of file-sharing.

  158. @Elektra: That certainly does put things into perspective. I’m still in full-time education and I am currently struggling to get a job. I have applied at god knows how many places. I’m beginning to feel like giving up, and I also don’t get support from the government as I’m not eligible. Don’t worry, I’m not complaining about this one bit. However, my situation is nothing compared to what yours may have been. The money I get monthly off my parents generally is spent on clothes or gigs, mostly the latter. I quite simply cannot afford to pay for music. I wish I could but I’m so caught up in listening to the latest hyped artist that I feel I would be really restricting myself by limiting what I download.
    I really wish I had a job which I could pay for the music I love, as I want to support the artists I love as much as possible. I absolutely adore vinyl and I know that I shall be buying it for the rest of my life. When I can buy a new LP or CD I tend to do this as much as possible. But as I say, with this being so easily accessible, I can’t help but find myself downloading bands, as I’m still expanding my knowledge on music. I’d feel lost if I restricted that.
    I find it a shame that there’s people that can afford music out there yet they still insist on downloading it illegally. I can name a number of my family and friends that do so, and it’s always the same answer “Why would you par for it? It’s right there!”.

  159. oh NOW you decided to talk to me? hello lucy pleased to meet you. I’m not having a slagging match here. I don’t like your tone, I don’t like your attitude. Yeah I think you don’t care coz you didn’t write back or reply. THATS JUST OUT OF ORDER PLAIN RUDE. Really I think there is something wrong with you. Hahahahahaha you are jealous of me & elektra. maybe it’s coz there is RESPECT & the treating of each other like HUMAN BEINGS. Stop having a chip on your shoulder, stop being mutually reclusive/exclusive & you started this topic. Now I think you are paying for the consequences. Also if you wanna yell at me fine, yet don’t treat me like a robot & ignore me when I ask some thing. That’s just general manners & decency.

    Also answer about your job. I agree “why are you holding that information back” he asks. We know nothing about you. Why are you ashamed/afraid/embarrased to say. You are how old & you are not forthcoming. THis is not OPENNESS. That there & this offended/offends me. That you didn’t answer & disrespect people. It’s not a clique here. It maybe louder but it’s not a war, i think you are very defensive. You can’t compare wikileaks to pirate bay. How can you? I can’t understand why you can’t open your eyes & see the bigger picture.

    I don’t like cameron’s tactics or views. I didn’t vote for either him or clegg. A coalition government will NOT work in UK like in DE. Germany has had 1 for years. I don’t know how long in my life time. I’m not quite 30 so I am still young, as people patronizingly put it. I hate England so I left. I wrote about it. How I deal with problems. I’m SICK past the BULLSHIT that “my life is better than yours” crap. That’s what I read & from you. It’s not AT YOU or judgemental, it’s observing/observance. If people don’t like what I write about fine, I don’t expect everyone too, yet it’s MY WORK, therefore I CAN write about it. I am not saying “do it this way, the future or non future must be this way” That’s another thing I feel you put out here. I think you have thought & accused & made decisions about me in haste & in error. I ask you to RE THINK those & correct them.

    See AGAIN you MISUNDERSTOOD ME lucy. Like EVERYONE here who writes. When it’s MY creativity it’s not for money. It’s always been that way. Ive done photography for 10 years WITHOUT IT BEING PAID FOR. DId you NOT GET THAT above? Is your head in the clouds some where on another planet? When it’s business, a distro, a label, an event, a promotion thing, then it’s about money. NOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND? Jesus it’s like explaining something to a 5 year & they’d get it. This is a complex topic. Yet they’d get it. I feel this virtual brick wall I am talking to here. You know maybe READ our posts, sit in the background, listen, practice observing, then write.

    I am SICK of you being so non open minded & rude & unconcerned with your lack of consideration to others. Manners don’t cost anything. Gratitude or humility either. I agree with Kate. Your world & non realistic view is a faerie tale vision & idea. Are you a working artist? We don’t know. See this is what SIMPLY so irritatingly bugs me. WE DONT KNOW YOUR JOB. Or what you do for a living. I ask politely. I ask simply & nicely. Then you write back to me like I am completely ignorant. This stuck up arrogance & evil controlling people in government or think they are going to be in power coz the sun is important & xfactor & apprentice & pop idol makes for reasons why I hate THAT uk island.

    Not to mention all politicians lie, make corporates like google facebook phone providers (bt being 1 of them) apple microsoft etc become gazillionaires. Then there’s people like Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton, people who have everything yet did nothing to get it. The point about people coming from a generation of having money. I come from a modest family. They supported me while I studied in London. Everybody told me I was rich & assumed it. They only got where they are today coz they worked damn blinking hard for it. That’s success. My mum & her family are not even english. To emigrate from 1 side of the world to the other says a lot. Not once but twice. When you love & support something or someone, whole heartedly & passionately you either do it or you dont.

    Take Lily Allen for example, who started her own boutique. Lucy in Disguise, look it up. I don’t like how she got in music or her music, yet I applaud her & she has my respect. WHY? COS SHE EARNT IT, SHE WORKED FOR IT. She worked bloody stellar hard for it. I’m not saying others do or dont. Yet please, learn something about the actual nuts & bolts of the inner workings of the industry maybe first? Just a suggestion.

  160. @elektra i have a block against you on twitter? huh? just so you know. Hahahaha. cool question/analogy. I am curious to the answer too. thanks. :)

  161. damn my laptop died, the server lost connection. i wrote a comment, yet it didn’t post. anyway work 2 be done. it was a vital “get back on topic” type post. grrrr. always happens. no i didn’t get to save it. ;(

  162. @josh great answer/point: THANK YOU! :) There’s the problem that needs to be tackled. People are split 50:50 or 40.60 We acknowledge the problem, yet there’s no solution. The whole financial crisis has shown this. That banks asked be to bailed out by the governments, yet 2 years later their bosses are still getting a 6 figure salary. This is the type of thing that needs to be addressed. Artists aren’t just a mere tool to make something for somebody else & whoever the x else is is not going to reward that person for something they are proud to have made or achieved.

    I like what you wrote. Thank you. Honesty is a rare gem in this rough world & no as a grrrrl a guitar is more my best friend, love & passion for life/music/arts over diamonds. Waits for atari new detonation……:)

  163. Back to album making, creating, pac man (woman) type munching. My server/computer/connection is doing weird things. @Josh. what are you studying & for & where may I ask you? :)

  164. @Josh: My remark might be bold… But perhaps start your own business? ;) I mean: you never know, haha! And yes… it’s a shame that people who can afford to buy music, still choose to illegally download it. That’s why there’s no balance, i guess…
    @Lucy: Well, i was pissed about that article you wrote… BUT: i always say ‘agree to disagree’… So yeah… I apologize for the sex life remark, even though i meant it in the best possible way… {cough} However, i don’t see things in black or white, i have my own opinion on things, but usually i keep it to myself, for well : most things are best left unsaid, as my experience has showed me.
    @hr: You ARE a ‘fan’ on my Facebook page. But to refresh the memory: httpss://tinyurl.com/ElektraFacebook
    And i am still waiting for the reply from ALEC EMPIRE. :) After spending a loud day in the studio, i suddenly hear the birds sing outside. This is a premiere this year! I just can’t compete with them…. ;)

  165. @elektra. ok ok ok. sorry you linked about 3 different facebook pages here. i got confused. yeah i’d like to know what his answers are on things. seems loz has been busy. theres pirate bay logos/an article on the top of LTW now. im sure mr ae is just busy & in his studio. :) there’s atari airwaves acoming, i feel it. i hope for february’s sake that spring comes early since easter is not until mid april. urgh. back to dreaming/trying sleeping/the neighbours waking me up. it’s not working. i did some art work. relaxes me. ;P

  166. Dear “hr”,
    I answered you by saying my job is irrelevant. Let it go. It’s nothing to do with you (or this debate) and harassing me is not helping your argument. It’s certainly not making me want to tell you anything about myself at all!
    You say I am rude by not answering you: I stopped answering because of the amount of personal assumptions/insults being thrown at me by you and others. It’s just childish. I’m not having anything to do with that kind of debate. You may not have noticed, but I have not made any ad hominem attacks on anyone here. Attack the points made, not the person making them.
    You’re being completely out of order with the things you are saying about and to me: I will not engage with you any more.

  167. Elecktra: thank you for your apology! I appreciate that. Of course nothing is black and white, and as I said in my article these are complex and emotive issues: being pissed off is a perfectly understandable reaction. I’m all for strong feelings being expressed, just not fine about being insulted. (I disagree that things are best left unsaid or kept to oneself: if you have a point to make, something new and interesting to contribute, then make it!)

  168. @hr I am currently studying English Language, English Literature and Media Studies at Blackpool Sixth Form College. I am looking to go to University in a years time to study Popular Musicology at Salford. My main problem is that the course requires a Music A-Level, and that’s something that I don’t have. However, I have been told that if I have relevant experience that they may accept me for the course. I think that I am working towards a career in Music Journalism, or at least something in that field.
    @Elektra I’ve been thinking recently about starting doing interviews for bands and possibly writing articles based on these interviews. The only problem for me is where to publish them, as artists will only really consider an interview if it’s worthwhile for them. But I suppose, everybody has to start somewhere.

  169. Josh, hope you are ready to make a career in journalism that involves not being paid! because like the musicians that you and others are so happy to take content for nothing from, journalists are are in the same trap- soon they, film makers and all media will be hobby work for the rich…

  170. But it’s always been like that, Pete! Who has ever made a living out of music journalism, especially in the non-mainstream field? Very few compared to the numbers who try. (You should hear some people fulminating against the rise of blogs, saying that amateur criticism is taking journos’ jobs away… )People make art or write because they love it and they can’t not. This is not a new thing. The “hobby work for the rich” accusation isn’t new either. What IS new compared to a few years ago is what’s going on with the economy. Nothing to do with file-sharing, of course.

  171. Just thought I would clarify that I am not “so happy” to take content for nothing. I simply cannot afford it, but when I can I contribute as much as possible. Do you expect me to just deprive myself from the music I love?
    Writing is something I really enjoy and I’m not dead set on the journalism idea. It’s just something to work towards as music is such a significant thing in my life.

  172. Most people wouldn’t steal a football shirt from a sports shop just because the player earns millions of pounds a year. Why do some people feel comfortable illegally downloading music because of the musician’s/record company’s etc perceived wealth? Presumably these same people wouldn’t walk out of an art gallery with a painting tucked under your arm, just because they happen to like it. Why should music be treated any different than any other commodity?

  173. @Michelle, I’m not sure people are looking at it morally though. I mean, if people could click a button and get that football shirt or piece of art without a great risk of getting caught, then they would. I do believe it’s wrong for people who can afford it. But there’s always the positive aspects of exposing things to people who just don’t have the funds to access it.

  174. @Josh I totally respect your opinion – everyone is entitled to their own view. I just think it would be a difficult call to make to decide what someone would need to earn before they start paying for their music. It’s definitely good to be exposed to new material. Personally I think that it is ultimately up to the artist to decide if they want to make their work available free of charge.

  175. Hi Michelle: re your question, it’s because they don’t see it as taking anything away from anyone else. A football shirt is a material object; if you steal it from someone then it has gone. The owner has lost something. The shirt has real, definite monetary value. If that football shirt could be endlessly copied for free and you helped yourself to a copy of it that someone was handing out on the street, then no-one has been stolen from. The debate is over the POTENTIAL lost sales. If someone has a free copy of a Manchester United shirt, then they are less likely to buy a new one from Manchest United football club (unless they want the extra package deal, the wrapping and the service and, most likely reason perhaps, to support their club).
    It’s not like anyone is advocating nicking CDS from a record shop: we’re talking about infinitely reproduceable digital data that costs nothing to copy. The argument is over lost revenue.
    However, there have been similar arguments about using samples, and about home taping, and about making mix-tapes that all have something interesting to add to why this is not as simple as theft. You also have to take into account the stimulus that downloading music can give to selling tickets for live performances, to follow-up purchases, to merchandise sales, to widening your global audience reach etc., which is presumably why some musicians are not only fine with their music being shared, but actively encourage it; it’s not even as simple as people doing it just because they can get away with it.
    It’s a complex issue and not really equivalent to stealing a unique physical object from a particular person or retailer. That’s why digital data IS different to any other commodity.

  176. Patrick posted the link above. I thought we should just read directly what the small record shop said.

    Here is the statement on their website:

    “It is with sadness that as of today we are closing down our operation. The sales have dropped radically due to all the illegal file sharing going on, and we can no longer survive.

    We have learned many things and we are proud and happy to have been able to represent so many great labels and artists, and we would like to thank each and everyone of you for a good collaboration and for the good music you have released. We wish you the very best of luck and fortune in the future.

    It is our sincere hope that all artists and musicians around the world start to speak up and fight for their professions and careers, or else we are afraid it\’s all gloom and doom from here. Unless you find a way how to monetize chaos.

    This whole scene we are witnessing is a circus where pirates have hi-jacked concepts that are too important to be misused the way they are: democracy, freedom, bright future. These entities, it seems, are beyond their grasp and comprehension, as they truly have absolutely nothing to do with piracy.

    File sharing without the permission of the owner of the copyright is a real killer. It killed us. And it is killing the labels we work with. It is a fight for our livelihoods, and for a free culture production. Because without a strong copyright law we risk to be caught in a patronage and sponsoring web (and that is a kick-back by 200 yrs). We need copyright laws. And we need people who respect the law and pay the author.

    We wish that everyone had the same respect for the creator as the many customers of Dotshop. And to all of you, our loyal music loving customers from all over the world – we thank thee graciously for your support, love and intelligence. Thank you!

    Anders Bersten, on behalf of team Dot.”

  177. These are real people speaking to us here. Anyone who says there is no problem, denies what\’s really going on.

    Now read this statement from Pirate Bay after their defeat in court:

    “We have, ourselves, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once more able to defend our Internets, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

    Even though large parts of Internets and many old and famous trackers have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Ifpi and all the odious apparatus of MPAA rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the ef-nets and darknets, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Internets, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the baywords.org, we shall fight on the /. and on the digg, we shall fight in the courts; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, the Internets or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the Anon Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in Cerf\’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.


    The Pirate Bay Crew – Now until needed.”

  178. Not one word in there about artists or those who provide content. No passion for anything.

    Their \’New World\’… will look like the dark ages.

    Sad stuff. People who disrespect others like that drive the majority of the people towards conservative governments and more regulations.

    The internet should be an experiment that lets people determine their own lives.
    The so called \’Pirates\’ should join some music scenes to learn something about that.

  179. btw some may have misunderstood me. I wanted to post an article. nothing anybody else had stated. yet i need to look for it. i think people would like it. thanks :)

  180. @elektra, can i please talk with you? preferably not here & i can’t on twitter i don’t have ANY clue on the SC stuff & u muted me back, so i can’t reply? FB ok? thanks :)

  181. @Lucy: Thank you for accepting! And yes, of course, when there’s a good point to make… but mostly people just talk for the sake of talking… I have recently discovered that 99% i ever said in my life, i could’ve skipped altogether.
    @Josh: I am sure you will find a way, if it’s your life’s calling! Just be on the lookout, dream hard – play hard – work harder ;)
    @Alec: I wish you would’ve answered my question, but i guess not. Maybe you missed it…?

  182. oh, and Hannah? No, i have no desire to engage in any private conversation with you. In fact: i don’t like the vibe you are putting out, and i do not like have a feeling someone’s on my tail, simply because i was so naive to become a part of Alec Empire’s facebook page 2 weeks ago. Because YOU have not been letting go of the image you have conjured of HIM. How SICK is that, am i asking you??? Yes, i have blocked you on Twitter (but unblocked you yesterday, purely for the sake of having respect towards your soul). But know that i will not answer to you on their either. I have blocked your Twitter because you sound like a total nut case!! Seriously, girl, get yourself ANOTHER HOBBY! Stalking Alec is just PATHETIC! And you should obviously learn some basic rules when it comes to dealing with men as well, l o l . BUT: i do NOT wish you to be a fan of me, in fact, i ask you ONE MORE TIME, ON HERE, for EVERYONE to read : PLEASE leave my Facebook and Soundcloud!!! Stop contributing on here as well, for you are killing this debate. It takes too much time and energy to get through all your comments, with contents unrelated to this discussion, where you copy-paste other people’s stuff as your own. Isn’t there a moderator of this page??? Is every NUT allowed to post anything? Or use this page a ‘dear diary moment’? I wish you all the best, girl, really, but please LEAVE ME ALONE, ok? I have talked about this with others – if you will continue to try to communicate with, i am going to the POLICE without any hesitation, for i have learnt (from sad experience) to have NO MERCY when dealing with the likes of you, So consider this as a WARNING! And Alec should also just go to the police, to be done with this once and for all.

  183. I am the only 1 who knows myself. that is a fact of life. I can’t deal with people any more. I can only do what I have to do. I supported your views elektra, now this. I am in no mood to deal with people being 5 year olds or backstab me, I am past caring now. Have your glory cake & eat it. Here suckers eat it all. Non of this affects me by the way, you just want to look good. Also at least I have the decency to not put it here, to know it’s not relevant here. What’s relevant is the discussion. I wanted to say what I had to say nicely, away from prying eyes, everyone else, be discreet. People don’t even KNOW the meaning of that word. Nothing ever IS private any more is it. That’s why trust is so thin yet so important. I’ve had enough now. You all go slate my views across the internet. See if I care. You know I do what I do & I get on with it. I know who my friends are. I am glad here friends are kept separate, the trolls are kept closer. I am not crying in my sleep about this.

    Be jealous of me. I don’t care. I’ve got other things to do. I hate when other people ask other people for an opinion & DO NOT MAKE 1 THEMSELVES. Honestly this has just become a slagging match for everyone’s assumed business. No one hurts me over this. In fact I am actually speechless that people would stpop so low. Yet that’s what happens when you DONT GO TO THAT PERSON FOR THE ACTUAL ANSWER. You believe everyone else. Friends of mine learnt this lesson a while back, they’re still close to me, they’re family. I’ve always made that clear. They know I am there for them & have their back, yet I let them fight their own battles.

    I can’t care any more, about superficious & superficial stuff. Bullying & powerplay are not the answer. Yet I’ve seen it, I’ve been through it,. I know myself. I know who my PERSONAL friends are, the ones that stand by me when there’s a crisis. the ones that make me laugh & happy when I am down. I am glad that you finally found out who I am. Well done, congratulations. Yet you had to be hurtful & publicly immature about it. Great birthday present, thank you. I’m laughing so hard. The joke’s on you, not me. Slate me & slag me off as much as you want. Karma’s a bitch. It’s easier just to ignore moles. They dig & they dig & they dig holes yet it’s like a dog looking for a bone. 1 thing for sure: I am glad & you are NOT my friend. I don’t know you. Good bye

  184. Google haven’t blocked the word ‘torrent’
    what you on about?
    atari teenage riot torrent
    and you get this as the top result

  185. @Lucy Thank you for taking the time to give your opinion on my question. It’s interesting to see how varied everyone’s views are on what is clearly a very emotive subject. I agree that the issue is about lost revenue completely. If someone downloads a track for free then they are very unlikely to go away and buy that same track at a later date. Therefore the artist has lost revenue on something they have personally produced through their own creativity.
    I agree with you that there could be other future sources of income created such as money from gig tickets etc. However, if you really can’t afford to buy a track or an album you can always listen to it at a club, on the radio or on TV to decide if you want to go to the artist’s concert. You don’t have to illegally download it to make that judgement call. Like everything else, some people are cool with illegal downloading and some people are not. I respect everyone’s views on here and think its great we all have an equal chance to contribute to the discussion if we wish.

  186. @Michelle: absolutely! It’s good to be able to explore the issue without making furious assumptions about the whys and wherefores! As I wrote WAAAY up there, my first preference is to buy CDs from bands sitting at their merch stall after gigs; second best is from Bandcamp or from bands\’ own websites; third from from my local independent record shop; fourth best from Amazon or HMV. Last on the list – but still there! – is to download it. If I love something that I\’ve downloaded out of curiosity I will buy the CD itself, preferably from the band themselves, and/or go and see them live if possible. I’ve bought more music these last two years than ever before in my life. Helps that music (especially really good, complex pop music) is going through quite a renaissance at the moment, of course, but it undoubtedly helps that I can hear stuff on Spotify, Last Fm, YouTube or download it before I buy… I don’t think this is an unusual way of going about things amongst music fans.

  187. @Dusty Bin: they haven’t. They have cut out “torrent” etc. from the automatic searches. It just means that instead of Google guessing that you mean “torrent” when you start to type in “tor”, you have to type the whole phrase out in full. It isn’t really much of a step for them to take but I suppose they think it will placate the music industry bigwigs.

  188. it’s not just the bigwigs that will be placated but also all the young struggling musicians who won’t be getting any support.Music is now a middle class hobby for trust funds kids in Brighton or Shoreditch.

  189. Dear moderator of Louder than War, I kindly ask you to remove the ‘hr’ from this page, and all pages where the debate on illegal downloading is going on, on this site. The person appears to be not in sane health, and is bothering me online ever since she has seen that i admire Alec Empire’s work. I am in no mood of dealing with such kind of people. I request a DEBATE on here, and not this. I have asked her to leave my pages – she does not answer to it. So i removed her again where i could. I kindly request an answer to my request. It’s a pity Alec Empire hasn’t dealt with the situation earlier, so that i have to experience this negativity. I believe what he told me about the person Hannah R. Wild, after i already had my own hunches on the situation.
    Kind regards,
    Elektra Dekker

  190. “it\’s not just the bigwigs that will be placated but also all the young struggling musicians who won\’t be getting any support.”
    Why would they be placated by such an ineffectual gesture by Google?

    “Music is now a middle class hobby for trust funds kids in Brighton or Shoreditch.”
    This just is not true. Who are these kids? I don’t know of any. Did working people used to complain that music was just a hobby for doleys when that was how lots of musicians funded themselves? This argument is a diversion away from the real issue. Music is still music. Making a career in music, that’s a different thing, and yes, of course it’s hard, as it always was, because as an industry, it is hugely affected by taste, fashion, personal preferences and the global economy as well as massive changes in recent decades in the actual format of the thing you’re selling, be it 8-track or vinyl or CD or digital files…

  191. Everywhere I look I see the increasing influx of posh kids into music, there was that recent survey that saw something like 60 per cent given as the figure. The Guardian is full of them. Most kids who live round here look on music as something beyond their financial reach and a rich kids game. They can’t afford to buy all the equipment and pay for rehearsal rooms just to not be able to search for a record deal that doesn’t exist anymore. Then be told it’s cool to just give your music away or let those thieving scum like pirate bay rob and then get told that’s because pirate bay are fighting for your freedom. ha.
    It’s ok for all you people who download and are not putting their lives on the line for music like you Lucy, we are trying to survive out here. It’s band enough with the Tories without this nu-tory love of releasing band’s material without paying for studio time, promotion or even an advance. it’s pitiful but oddly reflective of the selfishness of these times.
    I love the way the pro Pirate Bay people bleat on about how modern they are and how creativity should be free- next in line are the journalists and then the authors and the the film makers- and if all creativity is free how about architects, chefs and anyone who creates not getting paid. And being made to feel guilty about trying to pay their rent and scrape by by posh Guardian readers who are comfortable for life.

  192. ‘hr’ – you have till 8 am Tuesday morning, 15 February 2011 to leave me alone, unfollow me on soundcloud as well. i am going to the police at 8:05 am otherwise and letting them deal with ‘the truth’. My management and friends have been the witnesses in the past 2 weeks and i should’ve followed their advice from the very start. This is the last thing i will ever say to you.

  193. Interesting piece – Labels Lost $75 Trillion To Piracy, or that is what they say…


  194. With regards to music piracy and from an ethical standpoint, I believe an artist has every right to be angry and seek legal action when their recordings are unwillingly sold for profit or bootlegged by a shady record label or download site. It’s the intellectual property of the artist, who typically writes and composes their own songs. Not to mention, the artist has developed their own way of performing a song, which is documented within the recording.

    In 2011, a judge ruled in favor of singer Paul Collins, whose rock group The Beat lost substantial revenue from a series of unauthorized bootleg recordings released by an underground record label. The recordings were unknowingly engineered during The Beat’s tours with The Police, Eddie Money and The Cure. Although the label argued that the recordings were tracked and mixed by an independent investor during the 1970s and 1980s, Collins was unaware of these dealings and was awarded an unspecified amount of damages. Collins was granted permission to digitally re-master and officially release the live recordings. In response to backlash and negative publicity from fans accusing him of being greedy, Collins attempted to make a public statement about piracy. In 2012, Collins made the recordings available to everyone as free MP3 download tracks to fans worldwide.

    Some fans might argue that Metallica was selfish to target Napster for illegally offering their music as MP3s. In all fairness, not everyone victimized by piracy are platinum-selling, wealthy artists in the caliber of Metallica. Paul Collins had just as much right to take legal action, but he turned the negative situation into a positive one by publicly releasing the pirated material as free downloads to his fans. Case in point, not all rock stars are selfish or “only in it for the money.” Musicians have a right to be paid for their intellectual property. People who support music piracy only think about themselves. If a musician isn’t being paid for their work, how are they supposed to continue recording, writing, performing and touring? Musicians aren’t slaves and if they aren’t making enough money to function, then they might choose a different career path that doesn’t involve making music.

  195. Arctic Monkeys were on of the first bands to openly embrace and encourage file sharing of their music.

    Their fans knew every song and every lyric before a single note was physically released.

    They then had one of the biggest selling debut albums of all time and one of the biggest sellers of the noughties full stop.

    End of discussion

  196. Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”

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