3 Things That Make It Clear That You Don’t Understand The Music Business

This anti-downloading argument irritates me. It’s a popular argument for those that advocate file-sharing, and it’s wrong for the following reasons:

#1 – It assumes that the only people responsible for making the music is the band

In fact, a crap-load of people were involved in bringing that music to you. First there was the AR person who waded through tons of crappy demos and live performances to find this band. Then there was the record label who invested in the band to hire a producer, engineer, studio musicians, and any number of things to get the band sounding like they weren’t recorded in a bedroom (technically and performance-wise) and to get the record done. Then there was the marketing crew who helped position the band in an overcrowded music market. Then there was the guy who got the band a spot on The OC, or in a commercial, or in a movie, or whatever. Then there was the record store owner who had to use valuable store space in the hopes that somebody would come and buy the CD.

Why should the people who helped you find that music not get compensated? Because they’re from a big, evil company? Are you making that judgement call on a case-by-case basis, or are you following along with the general anti-big media line and applying it to everything you can download?

#2 – It robs the marketplace of good music

Why do talentless, over-produced artists keep making music? Because people are buying their records.

When you sidestep the label you don’t vote with your dollar. When money talks, the only thing that ends up being represented in today’s recorded music industry is stuff that gets purchased. And the only music getting purchased is American Idol singers, Fergie, Maroon 5, Paris Hilton, and a lot more artists who most music fans hate. So now we’ve entered an endless loop of garbage because the suits think you love the hell out of bubblegum pop stars.

It’s the result of a declining music market. Whether that state was caused by P2P or competition from other forms of entertainment is irrelevant.

You want to get rid of that? Vote with your wallet, not your apathy and unwillingness to pay for something you can download for free. Soundscan doesn’t know what you like if you aren’t buying it. BTFCD.

#3 – You’ll never actually do it
Music is not like software…yet. Indie software developers rely on the Paypal button on their website to get donations and license sales. You may see this same button on a few websites, but most completely lack that button.

Here’s a list of bands with links to their websites. Next time you download music from them through P2P go ahead and find the Paypal button. No Paypal button? Better write a check and find a mailing address.



Best you’ll be able to do is find an email address that you’re not even sure goes directly to the band. Why go through the effort of finding the means to pay like this and use such an unreliable method when you can just buy the CD or iTunes download?

The truth is, you won’t. You somehow believe that you don’t need to pay for art, whether that art is for commercial purposes or not. You believe that the joy musicians get when they play their songs and tour around the country is enough.

Joy doesn’t pay the bills nor does it feed families.

2 thoughts on “3 Things That Make It Clear That You Don’t Understand The Music Business”

  1. Another important thing is demographics. If I’m an artist/musician and I notice that my music is selling like hotcakes in Paducah Kentucky then I’m going to schedule them on a tour date. If someone is downloading my song via P2P I haven’t a clue where so I cannot make good decisions about where I’m going to tour. CDs are just promotional overtures for people to come out and see the live performance.

  2. I don’t think CDs are always just for promotional purposes to support touring.<br/><br/>If you’re somebody like Andy Partridge touring isn’t a big part of what you do. But you release a lot of music. New distribution methods make it possible for bands and groups that don’t even have a stage show to sell their recordings.<br/><br/>Touring is an important part of it, but it isn’t the only part.

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