Friday, May 1, 2009

UNAUTHORISED DOWNLOADS - A DISCOURSE

the following is a response to the blog 'a-special-plan-for-this-world.blogspot.com'
http://a-special-plan-for-this-world.blogspot.com/2009/01/navicon-torture-technologies-dripping.html?showComment=1241160660000#c2240805798680780332

well, it's an argument that i have a difficult time resolving, even within myself. with that said, this is something i have wanted to blog about for some time, and i'm happy to have the opportunity to at least attempt to explain why what you're doing has the potential to hurt the artists, while you and others like you may perceive that your activities are 'promoting' their works.

first off, an answer to your question regarding how many people have discovered my work via the internet:
as an artist who uses the web almost exclusively to promote my activities, i would say that the majority of my listeners/fans have discovered me online. i have always made it easy to communicate with me directly, and my online presence is spread fairly wide between various domains of my own, in addition to several myspace profiles, a yahoo group, and other profiles such as last.fm (a site which i detest from the bottom of my heart), virb, and most recently - facebook (which i am preferring at this point to keep as more of a personal space for close friends and/or people i've not seen in decades.

therefore, it is not a difficult task for someone to contact me directly in order to procure any number of my releases if they so desire.

your assertions regarding this concept that people shouldn't need money to enjoy music are a symptom of our times, and i think it's an issue that people such as yourself don't really take the time to consider in depth.
the music and recording industry has been trudging along since its inception straddling a thin line between art and commerce.
on the one side, you've got your artist who works very hard to achieve the simple act of having their work put out into the world. this can require an incredible level of personal expense.
gear costs money. internet access costs money. producing releases costs money. printing merchandise such as stickers, shirts, posters, pins, all cost money.

if my computer dies or i have a hard drive failure, that costs money to fix.
for an individual such as myself, or the many other underground artists who are my peers, a single release that costs 'X' amount to produce, will very likely never generate a profit, but i do it because i am compelled to create art. without it, my life would be devoid of meaning.
the labels i have worked with and will continue to work with are all run by people like me. people who may not ever see a profitable return on the financial investments they make in order to release the music about which they are so passionate.
for many, the best they can hope for is to break even, to allow their labels to sustain themselves without the need for additional investments from their personal funds. personally speaking, i have yet to achieve this goal after twelve years of running a label. granted, i have yet to take full advantage of what is available to me, but it takes time and energy to reach that goal, and when the circumstances of ones life tend to get in the way, it's a far more difficult journey.

your statement that 'music should not be something you have to be moderately rich to enjoy' is both right and wrong. again, it is the symptom of our times, and there seems to be an almost generational, societal concept that states that music SHOULD be free. however, the chief point that is being overlooked is that, if every single person in the world started 'illegally' (i prefer the term unauthorised) downloading and trading music and refused to pay for it - ever - then the music would cease to exist. not the music that is being traded/downloaded, but anything that had the potential to come out after that.
now, you and people like you who believe that you are doing the artists some great service by posting their work, are actually taking a risk that the people who you claim to be supporting will someday no longer be able to produce this music.

for example, my most recent release, the gospels of the gash 2cd from malignant records, has been out for roughly two months. in my regular google searches for reviews of this release, i have found an ever-increasing number of torrents and blogs offering free downloads of the album, in full quality and for free.
the people who have posted these have gone so far as to state that they are promoting the music and profess to believe that what they are doing helps the artist.
however, i personally have not sold a single copy of the album - yet - meanwhile, it is available for paid download via digstation, from which the money from every purchase will go directly to me. how does making the album available for free, preventing me from seeing any revenue in return for my hard work, help me as the artist?

so, you and others like you can feel free to make as many philosophical arguments stating that music should be free, that there is more to music than money, and that art should be considered first and foremost in deference to commerce, but these arguments fail miserably when they are taken into a larger context where producing art is the way that an artist makes their living, and by 'stealing' or 'trading' that art while removing the artist from the equation ultimately dooms them to failure.

to answer your question about whether or not i personally have downloaded music, i can say that i have never torrented anything. i have gotten copies of leaked releases from friends, and on those few occasions, i have always done so with the knowledge that i'd be purchasing the album upon its release.
but, here's what has happened after i got those leaked albums:
i bought the domestic release, the japanese import, the double vinyl, the tshirt, and then went to see the live performance, where in all likelihood i purchased items at the merch table.
i have supported the artists i love because i want them to be able to keep doing what they do, so i can continue to enjoy their work.

it's true that underground music was less accessible on the same scale that it is now prior to the internet, but a perfect example of the fact that this potentially makes very little difference in this argument is metallica. they started out in a very small local underground scene and rose to this hideously grotesque, monolithic corporate monstrosity, who ultimately led the mainstream record industry's witchhunt against file sharing. they achieved this success primarily without the use of the internet, before the internet even existed in the form we know today.
how much of their rise to fame lent itself to underground tape trading? to endless touring, to self-promotion, to the trappings of the traditional music industry?
all of it.

word of mouth is a tool, the value of which is impossible to properly assess, and small obscure scenes like the 'noise' scene would not be what they are today were it not for connections having been made across long distances via the internet. i'm not sure if that's necessarily a benefit. even a band like swans, as influential and seminal as they have been to so many artists, never came close to achieving mainstream success - certainly nothing even resembling what metallica have seen - and michael gira and jarboe continue to work in relative obscurity in spite of their artistic statures.

for people such as myself, whose work is even less accessible or palatable for the greater masses, the most that can be hoped for is the ability to make my art support itself without going broke in the process. nearly everyone i know who does this stuff has a day job; i personally have been unemployed for two years now and when my benefits run out, the only income i'll be able to count on, if i continue to be unable to find a job, will be piecemeal monies that come in from cd sales.

in 2007, i had an exchange via ichat with a 19 year old fan who told me that he 'might actually buy' the ntt album that was forthcoming at that time. when i asked where he'd gotten my other releases (he'd previously said he owned all of my albums), he told me flatly and seemingly with no sense of shame, that he'd gotten them from soulseek.
i was shocked more by his unflinching sense that he'd done nothing wrong by admitting this to me. as we conversed more, i was able to explain to him something which, by conventional thinking should be a forgone conclusion - that by downloading my albums from third parties who have no relationship to me whatsoever, he was essentially pulling money out of my pockets, which potentially could lead to an end to my activities altogether. subsequent to this discussion, he purchased a few limited cdrs from me.

so, it's a difficult topic that doesn't have any easy answers for any of us. i can tell you first and foremost that i'm not some corporate entity with a legal department that can aggressively go after the hundreds of sites where unauthorised - paid and free - downloads of my albums can be found. i don't get paid royalties on a regular basis, i don't receive payments for publishing, my work is not being considered for use in car commercials or films or television series. i don't sell millions of copies of my records, the largest pressing i can hope for is 1000 copies worldwide, and the chances that i will see more than a few hundred dollars in the time before any one of these releases goes out of print are very slim.
i am just one guy, whose only sense of purpose comes from creating art, struggling to live my life and failing miserably at doing so.

what if i'd been planning to re-press dripping with the power of her flesh? what if i went through the effort and expense of doing so and didn't sell a single copy, not because nobody wanted the album, but because they'd already downloaded it from your blog? should i not hold you, or others like you, personally responsible?

i have no quarrel with you personally, i appreciate the support of those who follow my work and i rely on that support in many ways, but i think that you and others like you fail to realise that posting free downloads of entire albums by underground artists potentially does more harm than good. your argument that if people were not downloading from you they could do it elsewhere is simply not good enough to justify the practise.

i'm not going to tell you to remove the download if you feel you're doing me a service, but i do ask that you think about what i've said and consider whether you are legitimately doing a service to the artists you claim to be supporting. ask yourself if you are not instead causing them serious harm by contributing to a larger machine that will eventually ruin them. ask yourself, how exactly are you and others like you helping these artists by giving something away for free that they have put their blood and sweat into, that may or may not have been the result of a tremendous sacrifice on the part of everyone involved?

55 comments:

Kevin I. Slaughter said...

Mr. Energy: WHAT? You want tax money to go into a fund for equipment for musicians?!?
Do you realize that a) most of the money would go to people who are in some protected minority group, or are doing more palatable mainstream fare, b) money will be taken from small checks gained from the crappy low paying jobs a LOT of struggling musicians hold and then given back to them after the cost of employing thousands of people to implement that removal and disbursment of money.
Experimental/noise/industrial musicians would not fare well in a government run, tax funded musical instrument disbursement program.

What you're saying, in effect, is that your music is so good that every taxpayer should be coerced into paying for it, and those that actually like the music should pay for the privilege twice. The people that don't like it only have to pay once, and don't have to listen to it.

Do you really think that the government handing out drum machines like blocks of orange cheese is going to make the musical landscape better?

Todd Durrant said...

Your discussion repeats many of the same struggles and arguments that I face on a regular basis running an independent label. I've discussed this at length on my own blog as well. There is a new generation of music listeners that is completely ignorant of their actions in file-sharing the music they claim to love. They don't understand the consequences because those consequences are not immediate and do not seem to directly effect them.

I've often made the argument very clearly that if the fact that they love something "artistic" means they have a right to take it, then why can't they walk into a book store, or a designer clothing store, or even a luxury automobile dealer and simply take what they want without paying? "Well, that would be theft!" they declare. Of course, they understand THAT, but then they fail to make the connection that it is nothing less when they take the music that people have created without paying even the minimal asking price.

I believe the difference is the relative ease and lack of immediate consequence, aside from the fact that much of the younger generation feels a sense of entitlement, to have whatever they want whenever they want it. It is very easy to take music without paying, and there is no immediate consequence, so they do it. In their own minds, the fact that they CAN makes it "legal" and "OK", and no matter how you explain it, they can't wrap their minds around the idea that it is wrong. If it were so wrong, somebody would stop them from doing it, right? Or if it were wrong, it should be difficult to pull off! Heaven forbid that the controlling factor in their own lives should be their own self-control or self-restraint (something they've never considered).
-Todd

leech said...

todd, you've hit the nail on the head. it's such a bizarre disconnect that these people have, here's a prime example that my friend kevin posted on the offending blog:

I was listening to the radio the other day, an "exposé" on the concept of brick and mortar record stores. The callers-in all espoused the "EXPERIENCE" of fingering through LP's and the excitement of songs to come... One young man responded that he TOTALLY understood what the show was talking about, as he would go to the comic book store for the same tactile moment as the record purchasers sought. He said he could P2P the comics he bought but wouldn't because he knew and WANTED the writers/artists/inkers to continue to make hard copies for him to consume. He sounded totally geniune. He really believed it was important for him to buy the books. When asked where he buys his music, he GUFFAWED and said with all sincerity " I DON"T BUY MUSIC! I have every Clash record, every U2 record, every....WHY WOULD YOU BUY MUSIC?!"

The correlation was completely lost on him. very odd....

Llort said...

Hi leech, for anyone who is unacquainted with me I run http://a-special-plan-for-this-world.blogspot.com/

I both agree and disagree with you on various points. I do not consider myself the criminal or the "villain" in this scenario, even though I am aware what I'm doing is highly illegal. The country in which I reside has recently passed a law which allows for private companies to get personal information from ISPs on an IP who they think have broken a copyright, this in order to extort them for money, basically "pay up or we go to court" and sue them for possibly even higher amounts of money. Anyway back on topic. Like I said I don't consider myself the villain, I do buy music even though I also illegally download plenty. I rarely buy an album from an artist I've not heard before, and most of the artists I've supported I found through illegally downloading their music. I listen on an average to perhaps 2 previously unheard albums per day, sadly CD albums are today very expensive most oftenly ranging from 15 to 25 american dollars including possible shipping, there is just no way I could afford all that (20x30=600 dollars a month) perhaps you can, I probably won't even ever re-listen most of these albums, and some of these I would even regret buying if I had bought them instead of illegally listening to them. The thing is though, I do buy the music I adore, I've grown quite a collection, I'm especially fond of buying vinyls. Leech I found Navicon Torture Technnologies by downloading "The Church Of Dead Girls" online, if I hadn't done that I would never had heard your music and I would never had bought "Dripping With The Power of Her Flesh". Perhaps it is indeed rather naive to think that there are other people like me out there, but like I said I consider the ignorant downloader to be the villain, the one who downloads but never gives back.

I do realize that we are of different philosophies, but we are both noise/industrial whatever musicians. The difference is I do in fact release my albums for free on the web and my pressings I burn on CDr's on my own computer with EAC and sell extremely cheap like two dollars each. The only reason I sell them at all is because if I just gave them away for free people wouldn't listen to it at all, they simply take it because it's free without any interest in the actual content. I buy gear in order to be able to create, not to be able to sell what I create, I could possibly be happy without ever releasing any of my material. Don't misinterpret me though, I do not say this because I feel that I am better than you in anyway or because I think you should do the same, I don't, I say this to clarify our differences in philosophies, I have no interest in the industry or business at all, while I do think it's a beautiful thing when an artist is able to support themselves with their work alone. The reference to metallica is however irrelevant, I have no respect for metallica whatsoever, the only reason they are able to live by their music is because of their mainstream accessibility a commercial perk, I don't consider them artists, they are strictly commercial.

I do not consider myself doing you favor by sharing this freely. I consider myself doing the music lovers who can't afford each and every album they want to listen to. Cursing these passionate people, which I hope support music, would be double morality. By denying free download for the ignorant downloaders, we could perhaps force a few into buying the album instead, but we would also deny the ones like myself who support music their passion. By denying the spread of music through the internet we would limit ourselves more to bands such as metallica, who actually have the commercial perk to be able to get themselves signed on a major label and therefore be able reach our ears. That is in my eyes almost dystopian.

Llort said...

Oh and one more thing. Thinking that every person that downloaded your album would've otherwise bought it if it wasn't available pirated is pure ignorance. That is the kind of argument a money blind corporations such as Warner would've used.

fitzInabox said...

"I listen on an average to perhaps 2 previously unheard albums per day, sadly CD albums are today very expensive most oftenly ranging from 15 to 25 american dollars including possible shipping, there is just no way I could afford all that (20x30=600 dollars a month) perhaps you can, I probably won't even ever re-listen most of these albums, and some of these I would even regret buying if I had bought them instead of illegally listening to them. The thing is though, I do buy the music I adore, I've grown quite a collection, I'm especially fond of buying vinyls."

And those artist who cannot AFFORD THE COSTS of generating and distributing vinyl?
the King of Capitalism is FREE.

for all our socialist tendencies, greed still reigns.

Kevin I. Slaughter said...

I think it's a nuanced topic, but from my perspective it should have come down to this:

Llort posted leech's music on his blog, because he really liked NTT.
Leech found it and asked him to remove it.

He should have removed it, and pointed people to leech's website where they can obtain the album direct from the source.

Doesn't matter what anyone's social or political views are... it should be as easy as one man giving respect to another.

leech said...

thanks kevin(s). i think the primary problem with Llort's argument is that he's coming into this thinking that his philosophy justifies his actions. if we were all free to act solely based on our philosophies and without any consideration of the consequences, the world would be far worse off than it is. this is not necessarily a matter for philosophical discourse, but of legality. Llort knows what he is doing is illegal, he has stated it repeatedly. he claims he is 'helping' the artist to get their work out to the masses. he claims he is helping the masses gain access to the music.
my question is, if i, as 'the artist' don't find that what he's doing helps anyone - certainly not me - and he has to then argue his point in order to convince me, of what real benefit are his activities to me? of what validity are his activities?
from where i'm sitting, not much.
to argue with me that by giving away almost 100 free downloads of an album that was pressed in a run of 1000 copies, meaning that 99 copies of that cd might never be sold, is not ignorance, nor is it blindness or a strictly corporate argument. it's simple math.
if warner brothers loses 99 sales, they don't even flich, because there are another 999,901 copies out there. if i lose 99 sales, that's equal to the same number of copies that i would receive from the label as part of the standard agreement, in which i receive ten percent of the pressing, typically with no royalties to come after. because the label will most likely never recoup their expenses.

for the particular release that is in question, the label no longer exists specifically for financial reasons.

i submit that it is Llort who is coming into this from a very ignorant stance; he has stated that he himself records music, but rather than releasing it and selling it, he opts to give it away for free or to hand-burn cdr copies to sell for cheap. therefore, he's not making any sacrifices. he's not making the same investment that the people whose art he is giving away for free with no compunction. he's got nothing to lose, so it means nothing to him to steal and redistribute with impunity. there's no sense of accountability, he is content to hid behind his philosophical arguments while bleeding people who work for their entire lives in the hopes that someday they will be able to sustain themselves through their art.

fitzInabox said...

"Llort posted leech's music on his blog, because he really liked NTT.
Leech found it and asked him to remove it."
intially, yes, then Lee said he wouldn't ask him to remove it. hmmm Lee are you LLort??

leech said...

i asked him to remove it but then gave him the benefit of the doubt because of his response. it means less to me that it's taken down and more that people like Llort consider that their activities are potentially causing more harm than good. it's been an interesting exchange, and a topic that has been on my mind for several weeks now, so i'm glad to have had the opportunity to explore it further. whatever Llort decides to do, maybe he will reconsider his stance in some small way.

Llort said...

A restaurant suddenly decided to serve food for free. 100 people shows up and eats for free. Would've those 100 people otherwise eaten there paid 10$ each for their meal if the restaurant wasn't serving free food?

That is part of my argument. 99 downloads =/= 99 lost sales. This is the part which leech doesn't seem to understand.

Another argument is that by hearing someone's music for free might create a will to support this artist. This was the case for me, I had downloaded a NTT album, liked it, and therefore decided to buy one. Of course not ALL downloaders do this, and some are content with never supporting any artists even though they have the economy to do so, they are the real villains here. But then again would've those kind of people bought the album if it wasn't available online? Personally I don't think they would.

Anyway, I don't know how much clearer I can get than that.

Todd Durrant said...

Restaurant gives away 100 free meals... That's one thing, but doesn't fit this case. Let's look at what REALLY happened, based on your own example:

Man breaks open door of restaurant and lets 100 people in, and they steal 100 meals without paying. Restaurant must therefore absorb any possible cost of those 100 lost meals.

Sure, those 100 people might not have purchased meals anyway. Maybe down the road, 2 of those 100 people say, "you know, I really liked that food I stole that one night...maybe I'll eat there tonight and actually buy a meal this time..."

Was that a net positive for the restaurant? Do they WANT that guy in their establishment?

There is a difference between the restaurant CHOOSING to give away meals as promotion, and having their meals STOLEN without permission.

hmm.

-Todd

leech said...

Llort, it doesn't matter how many comparisons you make, or how many euphemisms or abstractions you come up with to illustrate them. the fact of the matter is that you freely admit to knowingly engaging in an illegal activity. your philosophy notwithstanding, what you and other people like you are doing is WRONG. there are no two ways about it. i don't care what your excuses or explanations, justifications or delusions for what you do are. it really makes absolutely no difference.

the artist - in this case, me - should be the one to make a determination of their albums should be available for free. there is a tremendous difference between what you do and the hypothetical restaurant scenario, because it's the restaurant that is giving their food away for free. not you.

what you fail to see here is that you are not the restaurant in this scene, you're the guy who walks into the restaurant, buys the food, figures out the recipes, goes home, makes the food and then gives it away for free, taking money away from the restaurant and potentially causing them to eventually go out of business. 'why should i pay ten dollars to eat there when i can go to Llort's and have it for free?' the masses ask. the answer is very simple. because when the restaurant has no more customers and shuts down, everyone who loved eating there will be so sad when there are no more new delicious recipes for you to steal and redistribute to them.

it is YOU who have absolutely zero understanding. i understand completely that you who has taken something that IS MINE TO DO WITH AS I SEE FIT, removed me from the equation, bypassed me, and subverted my own wishes while pretending that you're doing me some great service.

you keep pointing the fingers at these imaginary people who download without giving anything back, like somehow you are the great re-distributor of music, and THEY are the 'real villains.'

you are convinced that through YOUR actions, you are somehow supporting these artists, but the truth is you contribute nothing. you're not giving me anything, all you're doing is taking things away from me and giving them away.

Christopher said...

Llort - arguing about whether 99 downloads equals 99 sales is splitting hairs. If ANY of the 99 people who got the album from your site might have bought a copy otherwise, then you have taken those sales from leech.

And if none of them would have bought it...then who exactly are you helping?

BTW: the restaurant analogy fails, because YOU don't own the restaurant.

Dude, if you like the work enough to buy it then you should respect the wishes of the artist who created it. It's great to have free music, and sharing it is great too. I'm all for more music in the world!

But ultimately, it needs to be done with respect. If you don't like the way the Majors handle their artists' business, then you should boycott them completely - not surreptitiously take the product and then claim some moral high ground.

Supporting an artist means actually SUPPORTING their efforts - it's nice to say how cool you think it is, but REAL support enables them to continue creating.

brien said...

Leech,

I'm sorry your album has been made available in such a manner. I always feel really bad for Tim and Phil when they discover their album has been leaked before it is even released, and they can see people listening to it on lastfm. I know how upset they get. This has happened consistently with each Synapscape release since I've known them.

As a working artist, albeit for a huge, evil corporation, it really pisses me off when the general public thumb their collective noses at artists' efforts with the whole "money is evil and tarnishes the purity of art" argument. These people are obviously not artists. Whether we want to admit it or not, art, and I am using that term to umbrella everything creative that defines our culture, is not a luxury that should be free. It is integral to the fabric of our culture that deserves the respect and compensation that one would expect from a doctor's services or chef's culinary creations. It's rooted in a horribly pragmatic American/Roman attitude.

The above argument produced by the misguided individual is horribly flawed, and reveals why he does not understand what he is doing to you. With his argument, the restaurant chooses to render its services for free of it's own accord. A more appropriate analogy is he has opened the back door to the kitchen without the restaurant's permission and is handing out plates of food to every tom, dick, and harry waiting in the alley.

If he really and truly wanted to help you, he would have respectfully requested your permission.

I'm sorry your life has been affected by such a naive individual.

All the best.

~bri3n

ps~ I see you've come to the same conclusion rendering my comments redundant, but I'll post this anyway. Newscorp paid for it. :-P Goats!

Llort said...

It is technically impossible for people who've downloaded the album from my blog to have otherwise bought it, since it is no longer available, unless perhaps from a third party, which would profit neither leech or the label anyway. There is of course always the question of leech might wanting to re-press the album however.

The point of the restaurant comparison was not related to that I was the restaurant, rather that 99 downloads =/= 99 lost sales and that's it. Perhaps 1 to 5 sales were lost, perhaps none. We don't have any statistics.

I personally know some of the people that frequent my blog and know that they are, like me, big consumers of music and culture. Therefore by introducing your album to them they might end up buying something from you in the future. Perhaps you might gain 1 to 5 sales, perhaps none. We don't have any statistics.

But yes, in the process of doing so I am showing you a great deal of disrespect, taking something that is yours (which I do legitimately own however) and giving it to others without your permission. In that sense I don't think I'm a saint who is just doing "the right thing". I present myself with a dilemma. By approaching me personally you strongly enforce this dilemma towards one certain end, and I feel an urge to take the post down strictly due to respect. But that would be like admitting I was wrong all along and I should take down my entire blog. Of course I feel reluctant towards such dramatic change in my own opinion.

Please allow me for further thinking on this for a while.

leech said...

actually, it is in fact still available:

http://store.tesco-distro.com/cgi-bin/shopper.cgi?preadd=action&key=CDXNIMMCD001

leech said...

oh, and Llort, it's not necessarily my intention to guilt you into taking your blog down. however, it is something that people who do what you are doing don't really seem to grasp. it's a larger issue that seems to have spread across the world where some people think that art (music) should be free.

i guess because music floats in the air, and can be easily reduced down to mere information, it's easy to look at it as something that isn't 'real' and therefore can be looked at like the air we breathe and passed around with little thought.

there's a significant difference between making a copy here and there for your friends, and posting an entire album in full quality for anyone and everyone to pull down at will.

if your goal is to genuinely help promote these artists, you could always contact them all directly and ask their permission to offer temporary streams of their tracks.

or, you could do what i do, start a podcast and feature mixes of tracks by different acts as opposed to posting full albums. you can write reviews and do interviews, there are plenty of legitimate ways to help promote that don't take anything away from the musicians and that will actually bring new fans into the picture, people who are more likely to go and purchase the releases directly from the artists or their labels because that is the only way they can truly lend their support.

Llort said...

The point of my blog is definitely not to promote the artists. But I believe that the sharing of music is healthy for underground artists and indie-labels. I could write an essay as to why / how, but we just can't seem to agree.

reachingtowardthelight said...

Hi Leech. Just wanted to ask you this semi-related question: do you believe that downloading rips of vinyl that you own is doing injustice to the artist? The only reason I bring this up is because the individual is still downloading music, but they in turn own the vinyl itself.

leech said...

this is less an issue of downloading and more an issue of people taking something that isn't theirs and making it available for free in a way that potentially subverts the best interests of the artist, while at the same time operating under the unfathomable notion that what you're doing is actually helping them.

in a small scene where individuals operate at great personal sacrifice, it seems ludicrous to imagine that someone could believe that they are aiding an artist by giving their music away for free - and this is not an issue of someone just giving a record to a friend by making them a single burn of an album, something we've all done countless times, but an issue where you take an album and post it in full audio quality on a public website which requires only a simple google search to locate so that an innumerable quantity of people may then turn around and download it.
we're not talking about a mainstream corporate release pressed in a run of over one million copies, we're talking about releases that are produced at great personal expense by small labels run by one or two people, who struggle to release music about which they are passionate. we're talking about artists - like myself - who are struggling as well, and for whom even a single lost sale is a significant one.

as i've said above somewhere, i have gotten leaked albums from friends prior to their release date, and when those albums came out i have bought not just the domestic release, but the japanese import, the limited vinyl, the tshirt, and gone to see the live shows where i have purchased merch.

what you are talking about is really unrelated to the issue at hand.
if you're asking me if i think it's wrong if you purchase a vinyl release and then download the digital files for free because it's easier to listen to those than to take the record out of its jacket and put it on the turntable, the answer is no. but if you buy a limited vinyl album, rip the contents and then post them to your blog for the world to download for free, then you are technically committing a crime and you are potentially doing the artist and/or label a great disservice.

let's say that record was pressed in a run of 1000 copies, which cost a total of $3000 in production costs, not even counting mastering, graphic design, or any pre-release advertising the artist or their label have paid for.
you buy one copy of the album, then upload it, and 1000 people download the album for free from your blog. if you approach it from a some misguided philosophical standpoint that what you're doing is helping the artist, and the other 999 copies of the release go unsold, then how exactly can you think you're doing anything but preventing that artist or label from continuing to produce releases?

leech said...

Llort - with your last comment you've just reversed your whole argument about how you're providing me with the possibility that people will potentially buy something from me if they like what they've downloaded for free!

so, for all of your previous philosophical meanderings, you still fail to comprehend the heart of the issue.
what you and others like you are doing does not benefit anyone except the people who get to download entire albums for free with no remorse whatsoever.

regardless of what you believe, 'sharing' music, ie; STEALING music does not - by its very nature - 'help' underground artists of indie labels any more than BUYING their releases would.

so, you establish now that your purpose is not to support (promote) the artists as your previous comments have seemed to infer:

"By denying free download for the ignorant downloaders, we could perhaps force a few into buying the album instead, but we would also deny the ones like myself who support music their passion."

you are not in fact altruistically seeking to facilitate the 'support' of music, but rather you're simply facilitating the THEFT of music while hiding behind some utterly skewed, labyrinthine logic which you seem to alter at will in order to make justifications for what you're doing.

what is particularly interesting is that, of the other comments that have been posted on this blog about this issue, there is not a single one which supports your particular point of view.

among the people who have posted comments are recording artists, engineers, and label owners - all of whom stand to suffer due to the activities of people like you because those activities could potentially subvert what they do for a living.

the music industry and underground scenes have all existed and flourished for decades without the benefit of file sharing and free downloads. hundreds of thousands of artists and labels have managed to make modest careers for themselves without the 'benefit' of illegal downloads, so your concept that by providing free downloads, you're helping the great machine move along is entirely without basis.

i'm no luddite, who refuses to adapt to the future, but my adaptation should be on my own terms and i shouldn't need to go to great lengths to explain to a complete stranger about why i don't want them giving MY art away for free.

reachingtowardthelight said...

Leech- I have never uploaded rips of vinyl onto a blogspot or anything like that for the masses. I have only ever sought after rips of albums that I have purchased so that I don't have to carry my record player to the park etc. I see what you are saying exactly and agree that it is wrong. I am an artist myself, who just sent away money to do a split lathe in an edition of 40 copies. I agree that I would be upset if someone uploaded a rip for 10000 people to hear, when the edition of 40 was to be for those 40 people, and only those 40 people to be a part of. Thanks for answering my question, and I hope Llort comes to their senses.

Llort said...

"By denying free download for the ignorant downloaders, we could perhaps force a few into buying the album instead, but we would also deny the ones like myself who support music their passion."

What this means is that people like I who purchase a lot of art/music/culture but cannot afford every album we listen to, won't listen to it, even though we would've loved to and even supported the artist.

Leech you say yourself that if you listened to an album illegally you later bought something from them, do you think you're the only fucking one? Do you really think you're that special? Without file-sharing I would never have bought your album. Underground scenes have always existed indeed, but they've been extremely localized.

Don't you think that most of the people that ONLY downloads your music and never buys anything would've even come in contact with you if it wasn't for filesharing?

Oh oh Llort everyone is against you. Even the law says you're wrong. Yeah I'm sorry if I'm not such a pathetic conformist.

By file-sharing you get a much bigger crowd with people interested in supporting you by buying their stuff. But all you ever see is, oh oh, my latest release hasn't sold out yet and you're looking for a scapegoat. Without filesharing you wouldn't be nearly as well-known as you are today.

I do however agree with you on one point, I don't really have the right to do this with your creation and I will therefore take it down. I would like to continue this discussion, but you're trying too hard to be condescending with your narrow-minded perspective, completely ignoring the point of my arguments, I've grown tired of you.

leech said...

Llort, the truth is that i don't need to care about your point of view because it's indefensible.

to be frank, if my fanbase were made up entirely of people who illegally download my releases for free and refuse to understand that by doing so they are crippling my ability to continue to produce those releases, then i would gladly dispense with all of them. what would be the point?

people who understand the definition of the word 'support' will continue to do so, and the rest of you can go fuck yourselves. i don't want fans who will pretend to be supporting music while parasitising the artists and gutting their very means of existence.

additionally, i have said numerous times throughout this exchange that there's a profound difference between one person handing off a burned cd to another person and what you and others like you are doing, which is distributing someone else's intellectual property en masse via the internet for any number of people to download for free, thereby POTENTIALLY subverting the label and the artist's capacity to function.

as for being condescending, of course i've got every right to talk down to you like the parasite that you are. you continue to hide behind this psuedo-philosophy, 'i'm sorry i'm not such a pathetic conformist' yeah you're right, you are leading the great non-conformist revolution of fucking people over while pretending that you are just a cog in the mechanism. what a hero you are, what a martyr.

it costs people money to produce their releases. they can go through intense personal and financial struggles in order to do this.

it's irrelevant if you want to consider yourself as some great non-conformist, because all you people are doing is providing others with the means to steal something that isn't yours to give away in the first place. it doesn't matter if you think this is out of some selfless act of 'support' because the facts speak for themselves.

my point of view is hardly narrow-minded because i'm simply giving you some insight into an alternate point of view - it is YOU who are trying very hard to convince ME that somehow your actions are providing some great service when the truth is that you're doing nothing to contribute and everything to detract from the efforts of the artists whose work appears on your blog.

the bottom line of this is, this discussion has gone on as long as it has because your initial response to my request that you remove my album from your blog was to expresss your philosophy, and i was willing to entertain the idea that in some ways you may have been right, while attempting to give you some insight into why what you and others like you are doing causes more harm than good.

in fact, it is your own narrow-mindedness that prevented you from doing what i asked in the first place.

"But that would be like admitting I was wrong all along and I should take down my entire blog. Of course I feel reluctant towards such dramatic change in my own opinion."

Llort said...

Oh so the people buying your albms are parasites now, yeah that's great. Nice logic.

What I am trying to say is not that I personally am some great favor for you, but I believe that file-sharing has helped you sell more albums.

Please answer just this one question seriously. Do you believe no one who've downloaded your albums without previously knowing anything about your work has bought one of your albums?

nexialist.com said...

the downloading scenario is something we've been discussing among musicians for a while. it is not going to go away. people will always find a way to post audio material online. there is no real way to stop it. the only course of action that a musician or a label can take in my opinion is: maintain control to a limited degree by posting the album online yourself (in an edited version, different versions, outtakes, etc.) and that way taking the initiative away from everyone else who might post the material online. if you put it online first, there's no necessity for others to follow suit (again, they probably will, but at least you will be able to monitor downloads). there is no way of making music "un-downloadable", even if one decided to use dvd as a format or combine audio with film on a comprehensive level (as we know the same thing happens to films). the only way out is playing live and emphasizing the physical action of the live experience (of which the physical experience of conventional audio media, cd's, vinyl, is a derivative) and selling your merchandise on the occasion. making music accessible has been on a decline ever since cd's came up - the attempt of the music business to cheaply distribute a market product with inferior quality to vinyl. and mp3's are a further step down the spiral - yet, with current bandwidths it doesn't even matter if its mp3 or flac...

leech said...

again, you're twisting my logic in order to distort the issue at hand and make your actions justifiable.

either you're confusing the issue intentionally or you're simply so bogged down in this concept that you're making a contribution that you can't see the forest for the trees. this seems to be the crux of our discussion, since you're relying heavily on philosophy, hypotheticals and abstractions while i am dealing with facts.

and - let's be clear here - i never called the people who have bought my albums parasites. that is a term i reserve for people who post illegal downloads.

"Please answer just this one question seriously. Do you believe no one who've downloaded your albums without previously knowing anything about your work has bought one of your albums?"

what we're talking about here is not whether people have bought my albums or downloaded my albums, or some hypothetical scenario where pretend individuals may or may not have gone on to purchase one of my releases after downloading another for free. you're stuck on that because this is how you personally acted. you've said that you downloaded dead girls illegally, then purchased dwtpohf based on the fact that you gained an appreciation for ntt. fair enough. thanks for that. does that excuse the person who posted dead girls so that you could download that album? absolutely not.

what separates you from the hypothetical people in your scenario is that you then took the extra step and posted a FLAC to your blog for other people to download for free.

if we multiply that by 1000, we have 1000 people who bought that album and then posted it online for 99 people to download. in your eyes that constitutes something positive.

by your logic, i should be pleased by this viral marketing strategy, and leave it at that. i should accept that 99,000 people have now downloaded my album for free, while 1000 people bought the album and the label that released it has gone out of business because they couldn't afford the costs of pressing cds.

what i am saying - what i have been saying this entire time - is that you, and the people like you, who post unauthorised downloads of albums are apparently incapable of seeing that what you're doing has the potential to do more harm than good.

you are knowingly facilitating theft, in full awareness that you are committing a crime, and contributing to a climate of theft that has the potential to prevent artists and labels from continuing to function.

YOU do this under the belief that your personal 'philosophy' is a justification of your activities, and you have continued to rationalise it, suggesting that, 'if they weren't downloading from me they'd be downloading from somewhere else'

which somehow serves as an excuse for your actions.

you're saying because you've put in your ten bucks and say hey, don't worry, it's okay because i've paid for this so now it belongs to me, and now i'm giving it away to people who can't afford to buy it. in your mind that makes it perfectly excusable and defensible.

in reality, you and the people like you are giving something away for free that doesn't belong to you, and are complicit in fostering a general belief that this kind of behaviour is acceptable.

you think that filesharing helps sell more albums, so that serves as another justification for what you're doing. you think this translates into some sort of contribution to the artist, that you're simply 'doing your part' but it makes no difference whether what you're doing helps artists sell albums, because you are giving albums away for free and taking potential sales away from the artist by doing so.

it's a conundrum, definitely, one that has led us around in circles during the past few days.

the bottom line here - again - is that what you are doing is illegal and you know that. the fact that thus far you haven't been held accountable is irrelevant. your philosophical arguments are irrelevant. any excuse or hypothetical examples you may come up with are irrelevant.

i wish you good health and good luck.

Llort said...

'if they weren't downloading from me they'd be downloading from somewhere else' I never said that. That is just idiotic. Did it cross your mind that it's perhaps not because of illegal file-sharing the label went down, rather just lack of interest in their releases? And without file-sharing they wouldn't have sold more anyway?

brien said...

I think it is apparent at this point the offender is more concerned about status amongst his fellow fans, rather than serving the artist. Whether we all are willing to admit it, or not, we want to feel special in some sort of way. This person obviously feels special by acting as a "maven" to reference Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point. He feels special and obtains respect by making recommendations. I believe that because this is how he feels special in this world, through his blog, of course, he is not willing to admit that he is riding your coattails, Leech. To do so would mean to admit he really has nothing to offer at all, other than his own opinion. However, his opinion and ability to connect with people definitely has value.

Where he unfortunately errs is to selfishly not respect your request to not use his services. He will never admit that his actions are parasitic. That's why people get sued.

Ultimately, I think he could give a rat's ass about you. He just wants to feel special.

leech said...

Llort -

"'if they weren't downloading from me they'd be downloading from somewhere else' I never said that. That is just idiotic."

since you have removed the original post from your blog, here's a quote from your original response to me that i am happy to share:

"Even if I take it down from here, do you think that these people would've bought it instead? Do you think that my blog is the only place they could get it without paying? Are you going to hunt down each and every source where this material might be availible?"

leech said...

oh, and to answer your other question, i never said that the label went defunct directly as a result of file-sharing.

what i did say is that all of those potential lost sales due to free downloads directly correlates to money that could have come in and potentially allowed the label to sustain itself.

it's not for you to determine whether there was sufficient interest in their releases, nor do you have any direct knowledge of why the label folded, because you are not friends with anyone involved, unlike myself.

Llort said...

"Even if I take it down from here, do you think that these people would've bought it instead? Do you think that my blog is the only place they could get it without paying? Are you going to hunt down each and every source where this material might be availible?"

Yes I said this, but it's not really my excuse for doing it, I was just curious what your stance is to file-sharing overall.

The rest you and brien has said is not even worth responding to.

ps said...

i'm an artist and label owner. i agree with Llort on his point of view.

I love NTT. Haven't gotten around to buying any records yet simply because i haven't ran into them for sale anywhere. And yes, i haven't really bothered hard enough to hunt them down on the internet, they are probably findable for afordable prices, and yes i deniflty should have bothered by now (it certainly would help my point shitloads right now).

But I would defnitly buy some NTT if i would run into them at a store nowdays, as would i also go and check a gig if i happened to see it announced somewhere affordable. As i have done with many other artists and projects in the past. I have vinyls stacked away, which i never even played, since i don't even own a vinyl player, and i have cds stacked away at home in a corner still in their plastic wrappings, i don't need to unwrap them, i already have the mp3s, my stereo won't even play cds properly anymore anyways. i just bought them for the sake of supporting the artist and the label i adore. Unfortunatly i'm not a rich person, wish i could support all projects imediatly with free kudos, i try to do this by passing word of mouth. I don't have time to run a sharing blog but i never usually mind passing a folder of an album to a friend who is curious to know a project. You should probably be aware that this has been happening since the dawn of music age, way before the industry was ever invented.

But one thing is for sure: I would never even consider buying your records if i hadn't downloaded and listen to them first on the internet when that friend of mine recommmended it to me. And i would probably not ever be looking out for your name in a venue nearby. Or telling my mates NTT is fucking awesome when they ask me for projects in the vein of your work.

So, i'm sorry, i really love your work, but your speech is BS, if you can't afford a life as a musician 9 to 17, either get a day job or sell out occasionaly to make ends meat. Whining on the internet that no one is paying you for your work will only get you backlash, for each sale you'll make you'll have lost quite a few others.

Sorry for being blunt, i would also prefer you would do music 24/7, but your style is not sellable, and the real hardcore consumers can't afford to pay you for everything all the time. This is just how our society is like in this day and age. Not much you or i or much of anyone in this earth can do about it. It's called capitalism, you were born in it, you will probably die in it, it's unfair to loads of people, loads others try to play it smart as often as they can, all you can do is get used to it.

I will defnitly buy a couple of cds from you, for the sake of personal moral karma, since i really did love your work when i discovered it and still ocasionaly play it back again. But like Llort, i believe you're doing yourself a diservice when you prefer rather not let anyone listen to your sounds unless they pay you.

I asure you there are others like me, even if they won't bother to come in here and claim so.

But i concede to you in a point, as should Llort if he truly respects you as an artist: if you don't want your work distributed for free without your consent, we should not distribute it. I will delete all of NTT from my harddrives, and not share it with anyone ever again in the future until you inform us of otherwise. Not out of spite for you or your work. A certain disapoint for sure, but plain respect for your wishes.

Good luck for your project, hope to see you perform live sometime in the future.

leech said...

to ps -

sorry to disappoint you, but your essay speaks volumes of your ignorance of the situation.

like Llort, you've glossed over the core of the issue and applied your particular personal experience to an issue that is not about the random individual who downloads an album and then 'might' go ahead and buy more releases by the same artist.

the primary argument of people like Llort is that by posting albums for free, they are supporting the artists and their music by doing so.

what you fail to recognise is that while you may have found out about ntt because of illegal and unauthorised free downloads, you have not (or have you?) gone the extra step of posting albums for others to download for free.

furthermore, people who post unauthorised downloads are contributing to an environment that removes all sense of accountability and respect for the artists' best interests, such as your comment:

"So, i'm sorry, i really love your work, but your speech is BS, if you can't afford a life as a musician 9 to 17, either get a day job or sell out occasionaly to make ends meat. Whining on the internet that no one is paying you for your work will only get you backlash, for each sale you'll make you'll have lost quite a few others."

again, you've completely missed the point. this isn't about whether i can 'afford a life' as a musician, this is about the fact that people who post illegal downloads and subvert the interests of the artists, while under the delusion that what they are doing in some way 'promotes' or 'helps' or 'supports' the music/the artists are fostering an atmosphere wherein labels and artists could potentially be forced to cease their activities.

additionally, there is a PROFOUND difference between 'word of mouth' and 'illegal downloads,' just as there is a PROFOUND difference between burning a copy of a cd for a few of your buddies and posting an album in it's entirety to a blog or torrent seed within weeks of its release, as has been the case with my most recent album.

to tell me:

"Haven't gotten around to buying any records yet simply because i haven't ran into them for sale anywhere. And yes, i haven't really bothered hard enough to hunt them down on the internet, they are probably findable for afordable prices, and yes i deniflty should have bothered by now (it certainly would help my point shitloads right now)"

- a ludicrous statement in and of itself - (labels and distributors are just as easily located through a single google search, which in fact points to multiple points of purchase before any links to download sites even appear).

yes, it would have helped your (and Llort's) point a hell of a lot more if you had actually paid for anything, and the simple audacity you show by posting this comment on my blog while portraying yourself a 'fan' when you've never done anything that genuinely supports my work confounds me, ESPECIALLY because you yourself are an artist and label owner.

"But like Llort, i believe you're doing yourself a diservice when you prefer rather not let anyone listen to your sounds unless they pay you."

again, to correct you: this is not a question of telling people they have no right to listen to an artist if they don't pay them.

the entire point of this discussion is the fact that people who post unauthorised, illegal, free downloads of albums and believe that what they are doing 'supports music' are operating under a fairly obvious delusion, while contributing to a scenario in which they could be doing more harm than good for artists and labels.

i found one of my albums on Llort's blog and asked him to remove it. rather than doing so, Llort opted to explain his personal philosophy, and why what he was doing by offering something that was not his to give away in the first place, was somehow 'supporting' me, when in fact what he is doing is the polar opposite of 'supporting' anything, other than his belief that he is lending his helping hand to the great cause of music...

by letting people steal it.

leech said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leech said...

"This is just how our society is like in this day and age. Not much you or i or much of anyone in this earth can do about it. It's called capitalism, you were born in it, you will probably die in it, it's unfair to loads of people, loads others try to play it smart as often as they can, all you can do is get used to it."

oh and by the way, i'm not sure what economics degree you hold, but capitalism boils down to this:
i make a product, you buy it from me. i continue to make the product.

i make a product. you steal my product. i can no longer afford to make the product. no more product.

there's no room in capitalism for people buying something and then giving it away for free to thousands of people. that in fact subverts the very notion of capitalism.

capitalist societies even have a word for it. it's called theft.

leech said...

i received an email from niko of Some Place Else, referring me to the following post on his blog:


"On unauthorized downloading


Leech of Navicon Torture Technologies blogs about something I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few months. Myself, acting as all three roles of the artist, the record label and the consumer, I’ve yet to come up with definite answers on how to deal with the issue. But what I know is that while our (being myself and fellow artists on Some Place Else) music is apparently more and more loved, respected and listened to than ever before, the actual record sales are getting noticably worse than before. Something is wrong with the equation.

It’s not that we’re making the art for money. But as long as the world is run by money, some amount of it is also required in order to be able to create and produce the art in question. It seems music is underrated these days: For many, it’s too much to pay 10-15 euros for a music album, but at the same time one has no problem spending more than that for beer in a bar. (And end up with a hangover…)

Not that I’m eager on blaming “illegal” downloaders. In a way it’s understandable: as long as it’s faster and easier to download something via a blog or p2p than actually taking the trouble and ordering & paying for it, people will do it regardless of whether it supports the artist or not. And of course there’s the bonus that the easy way doesn’t cost anything. Let me add I’ve downloaded a handful of albums myself, however most if not all of them have been out of print for years and otherwise only found on ebay for three-figure sums (none which would go to the original artist of course).

Personally, I don’t know how to solve this thing. I’m considering, among various other ideas, the option of going the free download route for my musick, but that is likely to prevent me from affording to produce the physical edition. How then satisfy the people who still prefer the physical product? How to fund the various things required to keep on making music? Double the prices? I don’t think so. If there’s anyone with ideas regarding the issue I’d be eager to hear about them. Comments welcome."

Connexion said...

I've kept quiet for most of this discussion for the simple reason that I don't have much to add to it anyway and others have put things quite eloquently already. I fall into the "if I like it and if I can afford it, I'll buy it" category and have been for ages now. I used to fall into the "download and if I like it I buy it, otherwise I delete it" but have stopped doing so because I already get more than enough music samples due to my extra-curricular activity as a webzine manager.

So, picking up a few random points here... If an artist does not wish to see his works distributed for free without his explicit consent, any 'public distribution' links should be closed. Simple as that and there shouldn't even be a philosophical argument about it. It's the artist's work, to be distributed as he/she sees fit.

Now, whether there is any usefulness to free download distribution, personally I think that in some cases it can be a mixed bag. While there was research that showed an increase in sales correlated with an increase in illegal downloads (Dutch article, don't have the link, sorry) there seems to be a growing mentality of entitlement (well described in Todd Durrant's blog) as well a mentality that culture and art are a 'right' and, as such, should be 'free' - interpreting 'free' as "free beer" instead of "freedom" - and, consequently, should not be restrained by the shackles of capitalist society (or some other crap). Which, let's faced is just crap reasoning to feel morally justified at doing something which is, effectively, wrong (avoiding the term illegal here).

Art and culture are not essential goods and services (like healthcare, etc) so why should they be free when basic services (water, electricity, etc) aren't? The restaurant analogy (not Llort's version, mind you) is more than apt. Unfortunately, artists can't live on air and good intentions alone and their work functions like the business model of many other liberal profession (doctors, lawyers, consultants, store & restaurant owners, IT technicians, etc): artist sets up shop, artist advertises his work, public likes => public pays, public doesn't like => public doesn't pay and artist may have to find some other line of work.

Bottom line: if one likes an artist's work which is available for a price one should pay to enjoy it. If one can't pay, save to afford it or live without it. It's not essential to one's well-being. Simple as that.

Additional point here (since I seem to be going into a diatribe anyway) is the "chewing-gum mentality" of consuming music as background noise (sort of like listening to the radio). There's so much information one can process and that applies to art as well - appreciating a work of art always requires some time and dedication no matter how little. Taking the example of music downloaders, it is possible to quickly accumulate much more music than can be listened (and appreciated) comfortably by any sane human. Speaking from my experience downloading netlabel releases and from watching the MO of a couple of acquaintances who were pretty hefty downloaders, most of the downloaded stuff will be listened to once (if that) and just sit on a harddrive gathering electronic dust. So much for art in there...

Just an aside, perhaps someone should point out that ps is not a label owner, he's a netlabel owner, if one wants to be precise about it.

ps said...

i think that more important than if i truly get the point behind this discussion or not, is making a stand in an attempt to have you realize that you should be adapting to a new reality instead of complaining about an archaic model that never worked to begin with. a reality in which you already have been living for quite a few years now.

there is no control of information exchange.

there isnt. people will exhange data, it will happen, you cannot control it.

there are people with alot more political and economic power then you who been trying to impose that exact ideal. and still fail. they fail, not because we're all shameless criminals, but because information exchange in itself tends to be spread.

culturally you seem to accept it between two friends and call it word of mouth, but you don't yet accept it between two strangers, and call it theft. i accept it openly, as does llort.

i urge you, as a fan that i truly am of your work, to please consider other models of making ends meat out of your music creation passion.

if you are identifying your main problem as people prefering the easy way to access things for free and directly download between them instead of having to hunt down and pay you instead, then why dont you endorse p2p services and online radio? get your revenue instead from exclusivity work. devise sponsorship programs to pool for a new album release. there are a myriad of new ideas brewing around on this subject matter.

havent you learned anything from nin, radiohead or neubaten? depending on old models where you expect control over information exhange is just plain being naive in 2009.

be invented, original and subversive to the original capitalist model of the industry that clearly is failing you. fans will like that and be much more eager to support your endeavour.

people are more inclined to contribute to a creative act, not a distributive method. use that to your advantage.

i am merely hoping to see more of your work in the future. and not watching you still being bitter over people trying to discover and promote your work regardless if you are the one in control over the process or not.

just a couple cents, take them or drop them, up to you.

Connexion said...

"adapting to a new reality instead of complaining about an archaic model that never worked to begin with."

Bullshit. It's the same business model that underpins all human interactions and which is based on honesty and trust between those who supply goods and services and those who may which to benefit from said goods and services. This new 'model' which you refer to, which passes in great part for not respecting an author's rights to his work is paramount to theft.

Also, one might find it funny (or perhaps hypocritical) that someone that has arguments such as yours paradoxically releases work (yours and other people's) mostly under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0. To be coherent with this 'new model' of yours, you should dedicate everything to the public domain because not only does information tend to be spread freely but people have a tendency to modify it, regardless of the author's wishes...

"get your revenue instead from exclusivity work."

If you see it objectively, print runs of 500-1000 copies are hardly massive editions and are pretty exclusive already.

"havent you learned anything from nin, radiohead or neubaten?"

It seems you could use some perspective yourself. The only reason NIN, Radiohead and Neubauten managed to pull those stunts is because they are established artists with extremely wide fanbases. Wide enough to make this kind of market stunts workable and live off them. Not to mention that, as a consequence of being established acts, all of them have publicity networks that the average underground artist could only dream of.

It's not about 'information exchange', it's about an artist's rights to decide how his work is distributed.

I bet you wouldn't like it (and perhaps even would cry foul) if someone slapped one of your tracks, without your knowledge or consent in a compilation or if it was used as soundtrack in a successful film and you didn't see a single penny for your work. But hey, information travels freely, doesn't it...?

leech said...

Connexion - thanks for the incredibly insightful and intelligent post. you show a clear comprehension of the subjaect at hand, while ps - whose post unfortunately comes after yours - shows an utter lack of understanding.
and yes, i was prepared to make the same point in regards to his status as a so-called label owner. since his releases are made available on a strictly digital basis, he is not capable of comprehending the nuances involved in having to pay to produce albums. what he refers to as an archaic model that never worked in the first place is in fact a model that has been working for the entire span of history in which music and art have been made commercially available.

"Bottom line: if one likes an artist's work which is available for a price one should pay to enjoy it. If one can't pay, save to afford it or live without it."

precisely the point. this idea that music should be free, no matter how staunchly supported by these self righteous justifications, is absolutely incorrect. if i am putting the effort and expense into producing releases, and people don't purchase them, then the entire reason for producing these releases is subverted, and i should cease to continue.

ps uses the examples of radiohead and nine inch nails, both acts are million-selling, mainstream artists with tremendous financial machines behind them.
they took the initiative to remove themselves from the common model of major label oppression after decades of having functioned within that realm and generating tremendous amounts of income with the benefit of nearly limitless merchandising and advertising budgets behind them.

making a financially-based comparison between ntt and nin is as ludicrous as the belief that art should be free because it can be transmitted as information.

i defy you to walk into a gallery and tell the curator that you're going to walk out with one of the exhibits because, as a work of art, it belongs to everyone.

ps continues to operate under a delusion wherein it is more difficult to 'hunt down' a release from its original source - whether it be the artist or the label - which is so absolutely absurd i am at a loss for how to respond to such a phenomenally nescient perception of reality.

ps said...

goods and services != information and data

goods and services cannot be replicated. information is copied inherently during the distribution.

there is a large difference. i urge you to read the work of lessig for example.

i believe you are accomodated to the notion that capitalism is the only way of interaction, while there are plenty of social interactions operating beyond capitalism already. some of which would be terribly tainted if money was even involved in the equation.

sharing culture, for me atleast, is one of those scenarios. you obviously disagree and it's your choice to do so but you should atleast note that a great majority of the population in this world equally disagrees. and we're not all criminals without a sense of honour, sorry to break it to you.

ps said...

"ps continues to operate under a delusion wherein it is more difficult to 'hunt down' a release from its original source - whether it be the artist or the label - which is so absolutely absurd i am at a loss for how to respond to such a phenomenally nescient perception of reality."

perhaps you should reflect upon it instead of reacting to it.

i am howhever interested in a little social experiment which i been conjuring in my head for a few months now:

how much would you charge a label to conceed them rights for life rigths to distribute your music non exclusive and non profit? i would be interested in promoting your work and am curious how that action it would affect your sales of other work you have available for purchase.

eitherway it would be a good promotion for the other artists in my label and i would be personally willing to pay you for the test.

perhaps it could even help you realize my point of view. even if it doesnt, it might be worth your while to have more people legally listening to your music then not buying copies of limited editions. as in, your work is being more heard, legally, and you still got paid to make it available.

please consider it seriously and let me know your thoughts on the matter.

ps said...

leech: and perhaps someone should also enlighten you that we have pressed limited physical copies on enoughrecords multiple times, most of them to give away during local concerts and festivals i co-organized.

one does learn a thing or two about producing and promoting an album after a 7 years or running a label.

i'm sorry if you cannot grasp the concept of someone sanely running something non profit for years on end. or if it might seem completly oposite to your ideal of a real music industry. but it exists.

some people do want to distribute music just for the promotional sake. not for money.

i dont want to convert you, just make sure you're aware we're not all clueless tree hugging commie hippies on drugs.

leech said...

"i believe you are accomodated to the notion that capitalism is the only way of interaction, while there are plenty of social interactions operating beyond capitalism already. some of which would be terribly tainted if money was even involved in the equation."

sorry to break it to you, but this is not a philosophical matter, but a matter of cause and effect. the trouble with your side of the argument is that it relies heavily, and almost entirely, on hypotheticals, abstractions, and ideologies in regards to how things SHOULD be, as opposed to the reality of the situation at hand.

unfortunately for you, we're not dealing with abstract concepts of how the capitalism modality can or should be altered. in fact it's indicative of a fundamental lack of comprehension of the entire basis of this discussion.

this concept, that you and those like you who are so strongly supporting, that music can be transmitted and replicated as mere information, so therefore it MUST be 'free,' is at its very core an indefensible position.

let's say you manufacture a product, which requires a particular financial investment to do so, with the strict intention of selling that product.

a customer purchases that product and then very easily makes a series of copies of that product, which are identical to the original product in every way -except for the fact that they were not manufactured by you - and then gives that product away for free to an exponentially larger number of people (i won't call them 'consumers' because that is a title reserved for paying customers) than to whom the original product could have been sold.

as a result of this, because it was subsequently impossible for you to recoup your original financial investment, you can no longer continue to produce your product, or any like it, and have to terminate your business.

it is a simple matter of cause and effect.

this isn't about your opinion that, if what myself and the hundreds of thousands of millions of people who engage in the capitalist modality are doing isn't working for us, that we SHOULD go and make an attempt at altering our methodology.

goods and services most definitely CAN and ARE replicated in every corner of life.

for every lawyer there are ten thousand other lawyers who can do the same job, possibly for more, possibly for less.

for every dishwasher there are millions of other dishwashers.

for every car dealership there are a million other car dealerships.

if you don't like the prices at your local large grocery store chain, you go down the road a few miles to the next one. or you go to the mom and pop organic market on the highway.

if you don't like the particular brand off coffee that your wife buys, then you go and buy another brand of coffee.

for every tangible good and every service available, there are a trillion more out there that could potentially serve your purposes.

the most overwhelming difference between all of these goods and services is the fact that none of them can be transmitted via the internet and recombined into something physical on the other side that can then continue to be passed round and round ad infinitum.

the failure of your side of the discussion, what you and others like you fail to comprehend to such a bizarre depth, is that 'art' does not inherently fall under the all-encompassing wing of 'information,' simply because it can be extracted from its physical medium and tranmitted, does not make it the intrinsic right of everyone who comes into contact with it to become a distributor of that information.

similarly to what i've said earlier, you can't walk into an art gallery, take a photographic print off the wall, and tell the management that you're just going to take it to the local copy shop to run off some large format prints for your mates. they'll have you on the ground before you get ten feet from the door.

the fact that myself and a great many artists of varying stature don't have the benefit of a highly-paid legal department standing behind them to go after offenders does not justify the actions of those who post unathorised downloads.

a vast majority of artists simply feel helpless against this ever-expanding sphere, where people such as yourself will so staunchly stand their ground, making irrelevant and ludicrous arguments, while flying in the face of the obvious and twisting logic to suit their own ends.

there is a profound difference between 'sharing culture' and taking someone's intellectual property and making it available while subverting their own best interests - all the while providing yourself with empty justifications based solely on your own perception.

leech said...

"one does learn a thing or two about producing and promoting an album after a 7 years or running a label."

wow, 7 whole years.
well, i have been recording and performing music for nearly 20 years, and i've been running a label for 12 years now. i'll tell you what i have learned:

i have learned that when i make a financial investment in order to produce a release, with the intention of selling that release, and then some schmuck comes along and uploads that release as a free download from torrents or blogs, that constitutes a facilitation of the theft of MY intellectual property.

legally, i have every right to:
1) ask them to remove the download
2) sue them for financial damages

it makes no difference if they are working from behind a philosophy and send me an in-depth explanation of why they believe that my art (or rather the components of that art that can be reduced to transmittable data) should be free.

it makes no difference if they BELIEVE that perhaps i might want to look at some other ways of functioning, or suggest that changing my model to accommodate their belief system (such as you have suggested) might garner me some peace of mind.

"i'm sorry if you cannot grasp the concept of someone sanely running something non profit for years on end. or if it might seem completly oposite to your ideal of a real music industry. but it exists.

some people do want to distribute music just for the promotional sake. not for money."

the bottom line is, AGAIN, that none of this concerns me. i don't give two shits about how YOU operate your label. as i've said before, you're making no sacrifice so you don't stand to lose anything.

it's incredible how far people will go to defend a groundless point of view.
by giving something away for free that does not belong to them, the people who post unauthorised downloads are not in fact doing ANYTHING to 'support' artists or their music.

ps said...

hehehe, well, i'm sorry but i still disagree with you. not much more i can say.

for the record i do think you are completly entitled to asking for removal of a link to your material if it's infringing your intellectual copyright, and that they should comply or get sued. it's part of the current law and it should be followed as such regardless of personal beliefs. that was never a question at stake from my behalf.

but i still think you're being naive and acomodated to an overdone business model. but i guess thats why we run our labels under diferent philosophies to begin with.

eitherway, it's been an interesting discussion. good luck for your project and label. hope to see you perform live in the future. :) and be sure that i will the albums i have previously listened from you. :)

ps said...

*will buy the albums

ps said...

oh, hadnt read mig's comment properly, couple idiosincrisies with reality left to iron in there:

"Also, one might find it funny (or perhaps hypocritical) that someone that has arguments such as yours paradoxically releases work (yours and other people's) mostly under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0. To be coherent with this 'new model' of yours, you should dedicate everything to the public domain because not only does information tend to be spread freely but people have a tendency to modify it, regardless of the author's wishes..."

i never pledged for theft. there is a large difference between non profit distribution and plagiarism / commercial use without permission. the only reason i have nc-nd is to have a legal backbone to stand against others getting money off others work. (well, to you there probably isnt much i guess)

to me this is quite a different scenario than non profit online distribution. and i must also reiterate that i fully respect and urge others to equally respect when that it is the authors wish to try to control. i find it moronic but i respect it and simply dont listen or care about such music.

i just find it disturbingly naive and retrogade for 2009.

but if you want to throw hypocrisy around then i guess all of you will stop listening to releases before buying them. right?

"If you see it objectively, print runs of 500-1000 copies are hardly massive editions and are pretty exclusive already."

exclusively retrograde. yes, they are. even asking for money for making available milestones of the release would have been a brigther idea that would profit alot more then limited editions of anything in 2009.

"It seems you could use some perspective yourself. The only reason NIN, Radiohead and Neubauten managed to pull those stunts is because they are established artists with extremely wide fanbases."

i said learn not copy and hope for the best...

"Wide enough to make this kind of market stunts workable and live off them. Not to mention that, as a consequence of being established acts, all of them have publicity networks that the average underground artist could only dream of."

market stunts on the internet are so hard to pay and invest upon, indeed.

MY FUCKING GOD, ARE YOU ALL LIVING IN THE DARK AGES? AM I THE ONLY ONE IN 2009?!?

yes, you are indie, you dont control mass media, use web 2.0, use guerilla marketing, if you're investing in a product get off your fucking ass an promote it properly to the people who will want it and their mother. if you're an indie musician or label owner it's _your job_ to find ways to get the album to the person for fucks sake, be inventive.

im sorry to be the one teaching basic economics but printing 1000 copies, sending them to a few reviewers and hoping the world might send you some change your way in time for the next album is not acceptable for a business model.

it's just copying a model in an already overcrowded industry, you need to diferentiate and expand yourself somehow to survive.

"It's not about 'information exchange', it's about an artist's rights to decide how his work is distributed."

i never claimed against it. if the artist doesnt want his work distributed online i believe no one should distribute it.

"I bet you wouldn't like it (and perhaps even would cry foul) if someone slapped one of your tracks, without your knowledge or consent in a compilation or if it was used as soundtrack in a successful film and you didn't see a single penny for your work."

it already happened. it's a bitch. it does not hoewhever go against my main point as far as im concearned.

"But hey, information travels freely, doesn't it...?"

it does not apply in the same manner, you are throwing together different concepts, muddled together in your head by your devotion to capitalism and sense of rightousness.

i dont share your view on that regard. again, please consult the work of lessig, i clearly cannot explain my vision any further then what i have already tried, his videos might.

leech said...

"for the record i do think you are completly entitled to asking for removal of a link to your material if it's infringing your intellectual copyright, and that they should comply or get sued. it's part of the current law and it should be followed as such regardless of personal beliefs. that was never a question at stake from my behalf."

being that this is the core of the issue, the primary defensive position of llort's arguments, as well as the impetus for this particular blog post, then there was no need for you to proffer any other suggestions or opinions such as the ones you've displayed here.

i found my album on llort's blog, asked him to remove it, and was then drawn into an extended discourse where he defended his philosophy and 'right' to 'support' my work by facilitating its theft.

end of story.

Connexion said...

"for the record i do think you are completly entitled to asking for removal of a link to your material if it's infringing your intellectual copyright, and that they should comply or get sued. it's part of the current law and it should be followed as such regardless of personal beliefs. that was never a question at stake from my behalf."

Guess that pretty much sorts it, my dear flips... There's a few inconsistencies in your argumentation but Leech's blog is not the place for a private discussion so we can exchange ideas one of these days over some beers or black stuff, if you're up for it.

"MY FUCKING GOD, ARE YOU ALL LIVING IN THE DARK AGES? AM I THE ONLY ONE IN 2009?!?"

I'd say you're trying to force a Utopian model into reality but, for the moment, it's just a model and a Utopia, nothing more. The Dead Kennedys put it quite succintly: "Every theory has its holes when real life steps in". That's valid both for both sides of the discussion but, for simplicity's sake, I'll just say "let's see what the future brings".

One more detail here and perhaps playing Devil's advocate for a bit... Ad.ver.sary's debut album "Bone Music" was released, at the artists's request, both as a CD on Tympanik Audio and as a free 128kbps MP3 download from the artists site. According to Synctank it was a very good seller for Tympanik, one of the best sellers of the label when it came out. Jury's out on whether it was successful in spite of the free download option or because of it.

Personally? Finances allowing, I am somewhat willing to take my chances to test this in the coming months... ;-/

leech said...

"According to Synctank it was a very good seller for Tympanik, one of the best sellers of the label when it came out. Jury's out on whether it was successful in spite of the free download option or because of it."

sounds great, but as you're obviously well aware, there's a difference between someone unrelated to the artist posting a free download of a previously released album, and a label releasing a digital copy of an album for free in concurrence with a physical cd for sale.

i'd be interested in knowing how this would fit with what ps has said about having to 'hunt down' a particular release with the intentions of buying it.

as i said earlier, it's a monumentally simple task to look at an artist's website, myspace profile, blog, and other online presences (all of those links are easily found via a single google search and appear in the listings well ahead of any torrent sites), and from there to find locations from whence to purchase releases.

i wonder if potential listeners might prefer to download the free album directly from tympanik, or if they might opt to find it on third party locations.
according to his argument, it's ostensibly more difficult to track down the original source.

leech said...

just as an addendum to my last comment, i equate tympanik releasing a digital download as companion to a physical cd with labels that include a cd or digital files with vinyl releases, and i'm skeptical as to whether this cuts down on illegal file sharing. in all likelihood it makes it easier.

Connexion said...

In Tympanik's case, as far as I know, it was Jairus' decision.

My rationale for possibly trying a similar stunt in the coming months (sorry for the lack of details here but everything's sketchy at this point) is that all the material will end up in the Russian MP3 sites anyway so one might as well give it away for free and hope to dent their business while hoping that our end product, with a few extras that can't be turned into digital files, is good enough to warrant purchase.

But that's a whole other subject, to be discussed another day... :)