Mar 13, 2012 2
(Originally Published on The Huffington Post on 3/8/2012)
Most of the working musicians I know have been paying close attention to the real-life drama unfolding in the file-sharing world lately. That’s not to say all of said working musician friends agree with what I am about to say here, but the majority of them do (whether they will publicly admit it or not). Between the outcry around proposed government anti-piracy initiatives, the recent Megaupload arrests, and multiple file-sharing sites shutting down or drastically (and rapidly) adjusting their policies in the days since, there is a full-blown, game-changing spectacle underway.
The music industry has been ravaged by the digital age, the primary culprit being illegal file sharing on websites with practically zero regulation. The past two decades have been something of a Wild West on ye olde Interwebs. No rules, no accountability. By the time the music industry reacted to what was happening, it was too late.
While performing at and attending the CMJ music conference in New York City in fall 2009, I learned that at that time, 91 percent of all new music was downloaded illegally over the Internet instead of purchased. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Record stores are closing, music rags are shutting down, and the glory days of rock and roll are over… which I actually don’t give even half a shit about. In fact, I’m glad the music industry got destroyed. It was fucked-up anyway, so who cares? Poor (filthy rich) record executives making hundreds of millions of dollars on the backs of artists. Boo-hoo. I’m crying for you. Really. I am.
My beef is not that I feel bad for record labels or the talentless hacks who run them. I think it’s good that the overall priorities in the entertainment industry have been forced to change and that the powers that be have had to reexamine what it means to be of value to their consumer base. What pisses me off is having over 91 percent of my personal intellectual property stolen, often before it even has the chance to be finished and released to the world. As a professional musician, a lot of time, hard work, and money goes into making a record. As an independent musician, that money comes directly out of my own pocket. Being a starving artist honestly isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anymore, people, and getting ripped-off has always sucked.
Even when I was on a major label, I got totally screwed because Read the rest of this entry »