Copyright - Copywrong

Copyright  - Copywrong. Would you work 20 days for 3 days pay?
It's been well over a year since I last blogged but I thought I take a break from mixing and hammer my thoughts down. And yes it's that old chestnut "Illegal Downloads", a topic well discussed online, but when I read most of the articles I note the comments are generally posted from two opposing camps with some of them written from pure ignorance. So I thought I'd have my say.
When I wrote my first album I was in full time employment and Focal Point was a bit of fun. As I started to consider writing my second album I lost my real world contract and money was tight. I decided to take the gift of time I'd been given and build my studio and record my second album, p'dice, using money I borrowed from my family and also money that I raised by selling pre-orders to fans that showed faith that I could deliver.
When you lose your job and find there's no work out there, your confidence takes a beating. But the faith shown by family and fans in my music helped me through the dark days.
With time to focus on my music, and dare I say my "music business",  I scoured the interweb looking at business models or ways and means to encourage sales. In all this reading I saw a common statistic that 85% of all music is illegally downloaded. Yes 85%.
So for every 20 songs downloaded only 3 are paid for. OK to put it another way...

Imagine personally working for 20 days and getting paid for 3. How would you feel?
Now my issue with illegal downloaders is that they try to justify their action using the following (and I paraphrase) statements, and I want to address their arguments from my personal point of view.
1: The big record companies had it coming, they were ripping us of, its a level playing field now.
I don't give a monkeys about the plight of the big record companies. Illegal downloads of my songs are theft from me. I didn't rip you off, so why rip me off?
2: I use illegal downloads so I can hear the full tracks and decide whether to buy the music.
All my music can be previewed in full on my website and the various online streaming services.
3: Buying music is just too expensive.
Making music is also very expensive. Equipment, musician hire, manufacturing costs etc and also keeping food on the table while I'm writing and recording for months on end.
Most people who can afford a PC and broadband can afford to buy music. I am well aware that some people may be a bit strapped for cash and occasionally I give my music away for free. All I ask is for a small donation of what you think it is worth and many people do. I receive donations ranging from a few cents/pence up to significantly more than it costs to buy the CD. But every penny counts and it shows appreciation.
You have to remember that giving away my music for free is not actually free to me. I have to cover the costs of the services/bandwidth used via the host website.
4: I've bought more music because of illegal downloads because I've been introduced to more artists.
OK but if you have been introduced to me by way of an illegal download and you have kept a copy of my music on your player and you listen to it for pleasure, have you rewarded me? The use of an MP3 as a marketing tool can be great and I do it myself, but if my music adds any value to your life then you should add value to my life and and support my work.
5: I get illegal downloads and share them with my friends which helps promote the artist
You could send your friends links to my website or my streaming music player. That would be better promotion.
The list of these type of arguments goes on and on but;
a: I like MP3s and think they are a great marketing tool but it should be down to me to give my MP3s away not some peer to peer site making big bucks from 3rd party advertisers.
b: if my music adds any value whatever to your life then support me directly so I can make more. It really is what I would love to do for you.
c: if my music adds no value to your life, then delete it from your life, and take yourself of my mailing list / fanbase. We are of no benefit to each other.
Anyway I've had my say and I feel better for it. Back to mixing my music.


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