How Artists Who Support “Piracy” Can Avoid Looking Like Hypocrites…

Once in a while, an artist tells the media that they don’t care about their music being pirated.  Though it doesn’t happen often, it tends to garner a lot of attention — which could be why they say it — in particular among pro-piracy/anti-copyright proponents.

jamesblakealbumcover

The latest one to do so is James Blake, in an interview with the Guardian.  He said he expects the majority of people to download his new album for free, adding: “And why wouldn’t you?”

“My label [Universal] is hoping that on April 8th you’ll do the right thing and click the ‘Buy’ button,” he says.  “You should see what they’re doing online just to get people to look at the ‘Buy’ button.  I’m starting not to care, to be honest. Things are changing.  The ship” — he means the music business — “isn’t just going down.”

“There are people trapped inside, bashing on the windows trying to get out.”

Later in the article he describes the people working at his label as “door-to-door salesmen trying to sell doors”, as they streamed and previewed much of the album online before the release in an effort to stir interest, and then “sought to squeeze” (the journalist’s words, not Blake’s) extra songs out of him.

Now, I’m a huge fan of Blake’s latest album.  It’s one of my favourites in the past six months, leading with the breathtakingly melancholic single “Retrograde” — a track begging to be the theme tune for the next Scandinavian crime drama — but after reading this interview I’m not so sure what to think about him.

It’s possible that his sentiment may have been misinterpreted — maybe he said it in a despondent rather than carefree way that didn’t translate into print — but I wonder how the marketing and promotions people at his label, who are breaking their backs to make his album a success (and most likely ensured he’d be interviewed by the Guardian), feel about being described as “door-to-door salesmen” trapped inside a sinking ship, that he doesn’t care about.

After all, Blake had the choice to not sign to a major label.  Those who do sign tend to do it for the marketing power such a label possesses, including tour support — and, possibly, the bigger advances they offer.  (Speaking about his first album Blake reflects: “No one bought the album initially.  Then I did tours and tours and tours, and eventually it started selling.”)

If an artist chooses to sign to a major in order to get that sort of financial investment, surely he or she must realise that part of the bargain is that the people working at the label will put in a big effort to make that money back.

I’m all for an artist’s freedom of choice, so I have a proposal for those artists that wish for their music to be available on pirate sites (and I’m not saying Blake does, as he says he’s simply “starting not to care”): make an album without any help from non-featured songwriters and producers, who rely on royalties for their survival, and release it without any help and investment from a label.  Then you can announce to the whole world that you want fans to download it for free from a pirate site.

Alternatively, if you choose to use outside help but still want your music to be “pirated”*, announce your wish — and then compensate those people who worked hard to help you realise your dream in the hope of seeing some sort of financial reward if people liked what they heard and decided to download it.

It’s not too difficult to find out how many times a track has been illegally downloaded.  Multiply that with the songwriters’/publishers’ share of an iTunes download — which is around 8 pence (12.5 cents) in the UK — plus the 2-4% on the retail price (pro-rated for dealer price) that the producer traditionally gets per download.  Finally, pay the label back, say, 50 pence per illegal download until they’ve recouped their investment in you.  That way you haven’t stomped on someone else’s freedom of choice in order to serve yourself — and you’ve avoided looking like a hypocrite.

* The description of piracy is: “the unauthorised reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television programme, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.”, so authorising it would in effect mean it’s not pirated.

Written while listening to Charli XCX’s debut album True Romance.

105 Responses

  1. Fact

    I’ve had two #1 singles in the electronic category in 9 countries for at least 3 months in 2011 & 2012 released by a label you know of.

    Fact: There’s little money in selling mp3s, unless you get gangnam style or have an adele breakout. I’m all for free music, in fact it’s the only way to harness your power as an artist and eventually monetize.

    Reply
  2. Fact

    I thought I’d post this because it seems there’s a lot of theories coming from bedroom musicians. I just told you the facts, I have the statements.

    When I saw my #1’s on itunes that held for months, I thought I’d get a huge check, at least 50K, but I didn’t even recoup. In fact, as of 2013, I’m still recouping a 10K advance! I used to make 10K in 2006 selling vinyl online from my house, and now I have #1 tracks on itunes that can’t even recoup that amount?

    I even performed the song on network tv, with jay z and gaga playing the weeks before me on the same show. I had all the publicity a major indie could give. The performance did help push the record to #1 on itunes, but the fact is #1 doesn’t mean much these days, especially if it’s not on the POP chart. If you sell 20K mp3s, you could get #1 in some cases. Selling mp3s is something I no longer do personally. I won’t stop a label from doing it if I work with them, but I don’t expect anything from it.

    The #1 goal for every artist is to DEFRAG your fan base. I have millions of fans, my videos on youtube have millions of views, I’m even up for a UK video award this year for my own indie release (that I never sold and made available for free), yet, only a couple thousand people follow me on twitter. This means, the mp3 now works best as a business card, the more people who have it, the better. It’s the first step (not last) needed to getting a listener to follow a path of actions which ultimately lead to monetization.

    Reply
  3. Visitor
    Visitor

    “It’s not too difficult to find out how many times a track has been illegally downloaded”
    Is it? What’s the best way to count locker shares like rapidshare, mediafire, etc? What’s the best way to count growing VPN shares? Dropbox? Flash drive parties?

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      There isn’t one.

      Music piracy has become so widely adopted that it has become second nature. People don’t even realize they are doing it anymore.

      Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            18% can certainly do a lot of very serious damage.
            But you’re right, things are improving — a lot — as we speak.
            Thanks to new anti-piracy measures all over the place, an increasing number of illegal sites taken down or blocked and a population that doesn’t accept piracy anymore.
            I’m sure the musician in this story will come around as well, eventually. Most people do.

  4. excelllent
    excelllent

    definitely important to point out that artists should do the right thing and give all their work away for free. In fact, anyone who wants to be an artist should be forced to do so by law, and be forced to work for free until they die of starvation. and that will be pure, unadulterated freedom.

    Reply
    • vis-i-tor
      vis-i-tor

      it’s the free market and shit! nah mean, dawg!? just make everything free and somehow, someway, people will pay for it! maybe we can use, like, bitcoins or somethin man! oh wait…

      Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “artists should do the right thing and give all their work away for free”
      Indeed.
      And why stop at artists?
      Think of all those other greedy bastards out there, demanding ‘pay’ for this & that…

      Reply
  5. Visitor
    Visitor

    He said he expects the majority of people to download his new album for free, adding: “And why wouldn’t you?””
    It’s perfectly natural to give your music away if you think it’s worthless. Anything else would be pretty unfair, wouldn’t it?
    My music, on the other hand, is very valuable. So I sell it.
    Whatever floats your boat.

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      Oops, sorry — I posted this before I read the rest of the story.
      One thing is that this guy thinks his own music is worthless, but it’s not cool that he encourages thieves to steal other people’s work.
      That’s just disgusting.

      Reply
    • GGG
      GGG

      You again. You always talk about how valuable your music is. Please post it, so we can see the true beauty you create.

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        “You always talk about how valuable your music is”
        Is that interesting? That’s just what any professional artists feel about his/her work.
        Again — if your work is worthless, then by all means give it away.
        (If you do own all the rights, of course…)

        Reply
        • GGG
          GGG

          Comment was purely regarding how you never share your incredible work, despite how great you say it is. Just one song, then we’ll be enticed to buy all your CDs for $20.

          Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            I’m not in the spam industry, I’m here to provide facts, sources, numbers.
            And you’re here to provide… what?
            Opinions? Hearsay? Weasel words?

          • GGG
            GGG

            LOL, first of all, the only “facts, sources, numbers” you’ve ever provided on here are those two links from like 7 years ago, which you’ve posted probably 6 times now.
            Secondly, it’s not spam if I’ve asked you multiple times. It’s marketing to a potential fan.

  6. Visitor
    Visitor

    This argument is getting so old. Why doesn’t anyone offer ANY sort of solution? We know piracy is bad… Some artist’s care and some just don’t give a shit.
    Obviously James Blake is doing SOMETHING right… He just finished playing Coachella and is embarking on a world wide tour. How many pissed off artists/songwriters on this blog have any major festivals or major tours coming up? I’m sure Yves is playing Bonnaroo and I heard Helienne just turned down Outside Lands, but those are anamolies anyway.
    In all seriousness though… The major labels have become nothing more than a bank for the artists. They get their loan and hope that the investment the label puts forth helps them get more exposure and so they can have a reason to go out on tour. The labels are in the business of selling the RECORDING and artists are in the business of selling MUSIC.
    Just because Blake doesn’t care that people pirate his music doesn’t mean he thinks his music is worthless, it’s quite the opposite. He knows it’s incredibly valuable and realizes he has a great product. In that case, why not open it up to the world? Why regulate where it’s available and restrict access when he’s probably not going to make that much off of recording sales anyway? Especially after recouping the advance?
    That’s the great thing about the internet. For the first time, the consumers are choosing what a good product is, rather than major corporations dictating and controlling what is listened to.
    I personally don’t believe in piracy and do not contribute to it. I’m just really tired of hearing two-bit artists and songwriters complaining about this issue. Either make a better product and adapt or at the very least offer a solution. If you want to blame piracy on you not being successful, you’re probably doing something wrong with your art in the first place.

    Reply
    • Yves Villeneuve
      Yves Villeneuve

      I don’t think Hellienne and I consider ourselves unsuccessful. Our earnings are not tabulated by the music industry accountants. I don’t think this is an option for Helienne as a published songwriter but for me, I choose to be discreet. Just because you don’t see sales bars on iTunes, does not mean they do not exist. 😉
      You must be new here. I’ve often offered reasonable solutions to piracy, here in this space and to governments around the world.
      I also think this pro-piracy artist, whom I’ve never heard of until now, is a hypocrite for using a label’s services to become supposedly popular and then turn around and piss on them for whatever reason. Once he’s done his record contract, he’ll again be anti-piracy, most assured. Maybe he is mad at the label because is not more popular than he is deserves.

      Reply
      • Orleans
        Orleans

        I tried looking for you online. Don’t you work for a carpet cleanin/salsa service? Just curious of its the same Yves Villeneuve that I saw working for Orleans carpet… Anyhow, keep it up chorus man. Piracy has really set you back a peg.

        Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “Just because Blake doesn’t care that people pirate his music doesn’t mean he thinks his music is worthless”
      That’s a weird statement.
      I don’t know anybody who gives valuable property away to strangers, unless we’re talking charity.
      Do you?

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        Well he is signed to Universal, so it’s not technically all of his property. His brand however, his image, is.
        but to answer your question: Radiohead is a great example of giving away valuable property to strangers.

        Reply
          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            Couldn’t access your links because of the margins.
            The way I remember the event is Radiohead released a pay-what-you-will for the In Rainbows download album. They admitted at the time it was a failure in generating revenues therefore released it on CD with a definite price tag attached this time.
            I do hear nowadays Radiohead is trying to rewrite history with the help of some established music publications. Honestly, if the experiment was truly successful, they would continue using the same formula…but they did not as history has shown ie King Of Limbs.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Here’s a snippet from one of the links: In Rainbows made more money before the the album was physically released than the total sales for the previous album, Hail to the Thief.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Not sure why you find this interesting today…
            Artists (including Radiohead) abandoned that model years ago.
            2/3 of the ‘customers’ never paid a dime.
            And it didn’t even prevent piracy: In Rainbows was illegally downloaded more than 2 million times during the first 3 weeks.
            Gene Simmons from Kiss said it best:
            “That’s not a business model that works. I open a store and say ‘Come on in and pay whatever you want.’ Are you on fucking crack?

          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            It just tells me that Hail To The Thief was a very bad album while In Rainbows was Grammy-nominated and possibly won Grammies if I recall.
            Btw, what is the source information of these album sales? Radiohead or independent music industry accountants?
            Like I said, Radiohead appears to be in the process of rewriting true history with the help of established music industry publications.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Indeed.
            Radiohead’s Thom Yorke recently commented on the situation in The Guardian:
            “Having thought they were subverting the corporate music industry with In Rainbows, he [Thom Yorke] now fears they were inadvertently playing into the hands of Apple and Google and the rest. “They have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions. And this is what we want?”
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/feb/23/thom-yorke-radiohead-interview
            No, that’s not what any musician wants.
            That’s why everybody — Radiohead and Reznor included — abandoned the ‘give-it-away’ idea a long time ago.

    • GGG
      GGG

      Because music, especially digital music, of which there is literally an infinite supply, that you can get people to like and then make money off of by licensing and touring, is not the same as giving away a diamond ring, which you have one of and it’s gone when it’s gone.
      The fact this concept eludes you is hilarious and depressing.
      PS-Don’t take this as advocating piracy. It’s merely pointing out an extremely flawed argument.

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        “digital music, of which there is literally an infinite supply”
        No.
        See, music recordings are like dollar bills:
        Both are very valuable — both can for instance be traded for diamonds and other nice stuff — both come in limited numbers, and both are extremely illegal to copy.
        If the existing amount of recordings/dollar bills exceeds the officially released amount, we’re talking about counterfeit.

        Reply
        • GGG
          GGG

          No. There is no argument. Digital music has a literal infinite supply. End of story. Unless you somehow call up iTunes and say, “Hey, only allow my album to be downloaded x number of times.” And then they’ll laught at you and hang up.
          If you don’t pay for it is it stolen? Sure. Counterfeit? Absolutely not.

          Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “Digital music has a literal infinite supply. End of story. Unless you somehow call up iTunes and say, “Hey, only allow my album to be downloaded x number of times.” And then they’ll laught at you and hang up.”
            You seem to think there’s some kind of strange difference between ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ records?
            Here’s how it works:
            I have written a number of songs and released them on iTunes.
            I’m independent, so I’m the only person in the known universe and beyond who may copy or license others to copy these songs.
            If I don’t want iTunes to sell these songs anymore, I remove them from the store.
            From that exact moment, nobody is allowed to sell or distribute the songs anywhere for any reason in any media anymore.
            This means that the amount of copies of my songs is limited.
            Hope that helps.

          • GGG
            GGG

            Um..because there is from a product standpoint…? One is a thing you can hold and touch and break, one is a series of 1s and 0s. If you want to wax poetic about music floating around in the universe, than sure, they’re the same thing I guess. But c’mon, man, you can’t possibly be this dense. Sure, take your music off iTunes and create a finite supply (sort of). But for however long your music is up on iTunes it is infinite. You can sell 3 copies one day or 10 million. All for the $40 or whatever Tunecore charges. Meanwhile, try paying $40 for 10 million CDs to get manufactured.
            Hope that helps.

      • Yves Villeneuve
        Yves Villeneuve

        Here is the correction to your flawed argument:
        You gain a free song when pirating, saving yourself money in the process.
        The creators of that song lose part of their livelihood as a result of this piracy or theft of ability to legally earn a livelihood.
        You do understand that in theft and other crimes, one gains and another loses?

        Reply
        • GGG
          GGG

          Nope, there’s still a fundamental difference. For starters, though, I agree with all your points, so there is that. I’m not trying to say piracy isn’t stealing. But say you have 100 CDs and I steal 1. You now have 99 CDs; so that’s lost income from the one, plus can only sell 99 albums now.
          Now let’s say I illegally download your album. You still have an infinte supply of music. You lost sales, I gained from stealing, absolutely. But your potential sales is still exactly the same.

          Reply
          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            No, the potential sales is not the same because you stole a copy therefore will I will not receive your sale. Every time someone steals a copy potential sales decrease by one copy.

          • GGG
            GGG

            Physically, yes, that’s what I said.
            Digitally, no, it’s stolen, no longer a potential sale. It’s a lost sale (maybe, if that person actually would have bought it in the first place). But you don’t have to manufacture another digital copy of your album. It just exists already.

          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            Copying = Manufacturing
            There is a finite number of music copies because there is a finite number of storage devices.

          • GGG
            GGG

            This is silly. If we were to theoretically create an infinite amount of devices, we could fill them all with your music from the same 1 file iTunes has in their database. It is infinite. You need nothing else. Ever.
            You can create an infinite amount of CDs in theory to play on an infinite amount of stereos, but you have to do just that; create each and every one.

          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            There is no point in arguing with you. You’ll never accept logic when 3 people are explaining it in very simple terms.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Hey GGG, you are fuckin’ idiot. It’s a good thing you don’t smoke Marijuana or else you would believe you are 10 times smarter than you actually are instead of the 5 times smarter you already feel you are.

          • GGG
            GGG

            Ok, so now try a response with actual substance. Or are you too busy smoking Marijuana? Also, you missed the ‘a’ in your first sentence. Always helps to do a grammar check before calling someone an idiot.

          • steveh
            steveh

            sorry to intrude Mr GGG but you neglect the crucial fact that the CD manufacture price, particularly if printed in bulk, is negligible compared to the full cost of writing and producing the record and promoting a full-scale project.
            Also you neglect the fact that, if the demand is there, physical CDs can be repressed almost infinitely – because a CD is just a vessel for digital tracks.
            Your argument is bogus. There is no essential difference between stealing a download and stealing a CD.
            The crucial factor is authorisation. The rights holder does not grant you the permission to take the musical content without authorisation. This is unversally the case be it CD or be it digital file.

          • GGG
            GGG

            The original point of my first response was just because someone chooses to give their work away for free or is fairly indifferent to piracy of it doesn’t mean they think it is worthless. I’ve gotten free CDs/downloads through work and/or pirated music before that has an infinite amount more value to me than some shit I paid $15 for years ago or even $10 last week. And that’s show in that I’ve gone on to buy more music from those artists, and see their shows, and buy merch, and tell friends. I’m not saying you should only ever give your music away for free, but in 2013, putting your stuff up for free for a day or week or month can have very positive returns. It does not mean you have no value in your work. That notion is incredibly stupid. “Visitor” probably loses a number of potential fans by keeping his brilliant work in Fort Knox and not out where people can actually hear it.
            Secondly, and I’m not even sure what the point of us arguing this is, but you can’t compare anything to the cost of recording, it’s irrelevant. Just like a ticket to a $100M movie costs the same as a $100K indie, it has no bearing.
            And third, there is a huge difference. Here’s an extreme example; If I find 200 people that have no interest in your band whatsoever, tell them to pirate your record, you lose nothing. They were never going to buy to begin with. Supply is still the same, you don’t need to restock, don’t need to do anything. If I tell those 200 people to steal your CDs, you’re now out physical merch. You need to re-print 200 discs to get back to square 1. Now you have lost money, twice! Do people who in normal circumstances would pay for a record steal it and lose sales? Absolutely. I will never disagree with that. But people have to understand that in a culture of listening to as much music as possible, hiding all your work behind a too-steep paywall before you have a good size, loyal fanbase, is suicide.
            To your last part, yea, stealing is stealing. But when was the last time fighting technology/culture won? Spotify should have been invented and implemented with a higher cost years ago by majors and indies alike. Instead they sat their moaning and suing people.

    • steveh
      steveh

      (well you didn’t reply to this one so I’ll post it again)
      yes but as soon as you started using the argument that nothing was “lost” when a digital “copy” is “stolen” you crossed the red line and entered the realm of the Dotcom crew. Because this is one of the many tedious arguments of the anti-copyright brigade (I won’t use the “f” word).
      These arguments have been banging around since the 90s – perhaps you are new to the game.
      Check the header of this thread – we are discussing artists’ attutude to piracy, copyright violation call it what you will.
      You seem to bizarrely conflate this with the use of free downloads for promotion stategies and the pricing of record sales in the current climate. No-one is complaining about that.
      Very silly.
      And when you talk of selling “special shit” to your “fans” you skirt dangerously close to the “give away your recorded music and you can sell T shirts” argument that is frankly pretty much anathema round here.

      Reply
      • GGG
        GGG

        I actually clearly said in one post there’s a possibility of that being a lost sale, but it’s hard to be certain. Obviously many people that pirate music would have bought the song/record otherwise, but many are only listening to the music BECAUSE they can pirate it. Whether you want to admit to that fact or not is up to you, but it’s absolutely true. Spotify is certainly helping change that, and we’ll see if it brings the culture to a more legal mindset.
        My argument is always simply meant to point out that you cannot succeed by purely fighting piracy. If you want to try and build a career around record sales in 2013, you’re going to fail. Plain and simple. Unless you’re in that very lucky group of Adele’s and M&S’s. Or you just have a low expectation and not much overhead, which is certainly possible, too.
        And you can certainly try all you want to fight piracy, but you cannot ignore the positives that can come from it. It’s about finding a middle ground between what you think is right and what Dotcom thinks is right, which is where I’d like to think I fall. Though, I’ll definitely admit I don’t have the right answers, and I’ve never claimed to have the right answers, just a more open approach to looking at piracy.
        And it’s really not that bizarre to conflate promotion and pricing. This is another of my overreaching points. They are unfortunately becoming one in the same, and this is what you can’t ignore. Again, certainly put some effort into fighting it, but the goal is to have a more even financial distribution. Is this hard? Of course! But it’s certainly possible.
        As for the last bit, this is where you hurt yourself. By being opposed to this sort of thing, for some reason. Why would you not want your fans to buy other shit? It’s not about recording a $30K record to sell $15 tshirts because you can’t sell records, it’s about finding ways to make up for the money you will inevitably lose by both lower sales in general and piracy. It’s just a new business hurdle, it’s not admitting defeat or anything.

        Reply
  7. GGG
    GGG

    Ok, so instead of attaching ‘tard’ to a word like a 12 year old girl, how about you point out the flaws in my statement like a grown-up?

    Reply
    • steveh
      steveh

      It’s pointless debating with you dude.
      We’ve heard it all so many times before. More times than you would believe…
      You’re just copying and pasting from the “freetardism for dummies” handbook.
      You think it’s cool to illegally take music on the internet for free.
      OK just carry on and do it – but for fuck’s sake don’t try to justify it – because you can’t.

      Reply
      • GGG
        GGG

        There you go using ‘tard’ again. Seriously, grow up. Not even about being offended, if you’re an adult calling people tards you’re just embarassing yourself, trust me.
        Anyway, you clearly missed the entire point of why I even responded to “visitor.” Too busy on your high horse to take a second and comprehend what’s going on. I have stated numerous times in here that piracy is stealing and it’s not right from a consumer standpoint. I’m not justifying it at all. Not to mention I purchase or legally stream 90% of my music. But from the artist side, the idea that any artist who gives their music away and/or doesn’t fight tooth and nail against an inevitable fact of life does not value it is ridiculous.
        For example, if you, steveh, personally make music it has literally 0 value to me as a consumer. I don’t care about you, I’ve never heard this, I can assume it’s terrible like most other music. But if I heard a song and enjoyed it maybe I’d buy a lot more or go to your show. There is a case to be made supporting that risk. Is there a case against? Of course! That’s why this issue is such a double-edged sword. So the point of bringing up the difference between digital and physical is that distributing digital files has 0 cost. It’s not making 400 CDs for hundreds of dollars to give out, it’s not spending 5K of PR and marketing, etc.
        So please, this time, refute my points without using the word tard. I know you can do it!

        Reply
        • Yves Villeneuve
          Yves Villeneuve

          The cost of distributing a free digital file is a LOST SALE, which could have paid towards music production, CD mfg, marketing costs and radio promotion.
          Giving away music is not that easy if no one knows you. This would mostly only work for popular artists, but in the end popular artists don’t need to give away music to increase popularity.
          I’m an artist with music on iTunes, MySpace, YouTube, etc. Guess what? I didn’t have to give away my music to you so that you can check me out… and if you like it enough to buy it at least I did not lose a sale by giving you a free copy. MySpace only has two full length songs for preview. If you don’t like what’s there don’t bother checking me out further on iTunes. See how easy that is? Zero marketing costs except the time spent writing this (time is a cost). Zero loss in potential sales whether or not you are a fan.
          You don’t have to manufacture 10 million CD’s for the first week. In the case of Justin Timberlake, no more than 1 million has been manufactured thus far in the USA. The money from this first million can easily pay for the next 9 million CDs.
          A digital file is more than just 0’s and 1’s. You have to store them in a file on a CD or hard drive using software for these 0’s and 1’s to make any sense. You can’t create or store more files than what your storage capacity can hold, which means the supply of files is limited by the supply of storage. Streams are limited by the supply of bandwidth. Supply of digital files and streams are NOT infinite while storage and bandwidth costs money that can be theoretically tagged to digital files and streams.
          It costs time and money to create and produce music. This time could have been spent working overtime at a regular job earning extra revenue. In this “time” case the artist experiences an “opportunity cost”, a common term used in economics.
          Contents in Digital Files do have a cost whether you like it or not.
          You can make 20 million digital copies, but you can only recoup your costs if sales are being made. If your potential fan base is 20 million fans and you give away one digital album to one of these fans, your potential sales drop by one to 19,999,999. Simple math. I am not interested in selling T-shirts or other merchandise. At this time, if ever, live performing and videos are not in the cards. I only market/sell music I create. There is no valid reason for others who offer additional goods and services to give away their music either, when the public perceives their music to have value.
          So yes, you have been refuted, many times. If you refute any of this, I assume you did not read and think carefully.
          Blake is possibly in love with his music and himself for wanting to screw his label in order that he becomes insanely popular by giving away this music. Usually the case, if the music has no price tag, it is perceived as having little value to the public therefore will not entice the public at large to download it on a massive scale. In contradiction, Blake may have very little faith in his music being massively accepted with a legitimate price tag therefore wants to resort to a massive giveaway to achieve his desperate personal security goals. A combination of both the former and latter seem to be the likeliest scenario. Those of us who choose not to give away our music, have confidence in our work as having real value from everyone’s perspective, except the freetards, as SteveH calls them, who find nothing of value unless it is free.
          On a last note, Visitor chooses to be anonymous (like you do) for many reasons and I would not blame her or any artist for not giving music information to someone who initially demonstrated hostility towards her in their demands to hear the artist’s music. She does not use DMN as one of her sales pipelines but as a means to advocate anti-piracy messages without the fear of retaliation from PIRATES, SOCIOPATHS and PAEDOPHILES. You already may be aware, I am less restrictive and concerned in these issues.

          Reply
          • GGG
            GGG

            Yeesh, having trouble sorting through this mess, so I’ll keep this short.
            Basically, the fact you think “giving away music is not that easy if nobody knows you” is an actual argument against why you SELL your music as someone nobody knows, shows your lack of modern music business acumen. It’s counter-intuitive in ways, sure, but if you think any substantial amount of people will buy your album by hearing 1 or 2 songs (unless they are undeniable hits) you are dreaming.
            It’s also not even worth going into the digital vs physical argument again. But you certainly didn’t refute me. Agree or disagree with the lost or potential sale argument all you want, but you not understanding the difference between manufacturing a CD and “manufacturing” a digital file is actually pretty scary.

          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            Based on my own experience, I can assure you, all it takes is two full-length previews, no radio releases are necessary, and only short previews are required for the rest. You do realize you don’t have to buy the album outright on iTunes? They have a feature called “complete my album”… Buy tracks based on the best previews until you come across a track you don’t like.
            What you don’t seem to understand is there is no point in giving away your music if your music is perceived valuable by the public… It doesn’t matter if you are popular or not. Fans will spread the word even if the music is not free. This refutes your position on this.
            What you don’t seem to understand is, it doesn’t matter if CD mfg requires an initial investment, because all you need is a small initial order to collect the funds/profits to pay for a much larger order the next time. The cost of mfg is less than 10% of a $10 retail price for a CD in decent scenario.
            What you don’t seem to understand is, you are arguing with 3 people who are at the very least somewhat successful in the music industry without the help of radio. We managed to create and record music at our expense or past music revenues without need for supplemental income to finance our promotion efforts to generate sales…we are self-sustaining.
            I’m sorry to inform you but you do not know how to be a good businessman in the music industry. Do you even work in the music industry? To me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, you are speaking like an obnoxious know-it-all when you know nothing. Because you can’t help yourself, I will let you have the last word, but I won’t agree with you. And yes, I did effectively refute all your arguments but you don’t have the humility to admit it or seriously counter my detailed points.

          • GGG
            GGG

            I don’t have the humility to counter your points? I’ve been countering everyone’s points with lengthy posts, not to mention explicitly stating I’ve agreed with some of your points a few posts back. So admitting you are correct about some things has not been an issue at all. And I was the one called a ‘tard,’ remember?
            Secondly, I do work in the music industry and have since 2005, but I’m not going to turn this into a dick measuring contest about that.
            So now I’ll take most of your points again, I’m well aware a song or two or a preview can lead to sales. It’s been the lifeblood of mainstream music sales for decades. But completely hiding behind a paywall in 2013 is usually not the best course of action, no matter how much it sucks to admit that.
            I understand this perfectly. The issue is with such a crowded music market, most people’s music has little to no value to most people. The game has unfortunately become getting people to hear you, and then getting people to buy your stuff.
            I’m not sure what you consider success on your end, and maybe you’re extremely happy with your sales, but I can tell you right now between your basically non-existent web presence, your 250 youtube views, and the fact you still use MySpace as the main hub of discovering your music shows you have a technological disconnect and I guarantee you are nowhere near what most people consider successful as a musician. If you’re happy, fine, you’re successful. But monetarily, I guarantee you’ve made very little money unless you live somewhere with a very low cost of living and have a huge fanbase that doesn’t exist anywhere on the Internet.

      • Visitor
        Visitor

        Here is one of several dozen contradictions: you measured Yves’ YouTube dick. I believe Yves’ major base of operation is his official website, not MySpace and to a much lesser extent, YouTube based on activity.
        I bet you come back with another contradiction.

        Reply
        • GGG
          GGG

          Haha, nice stretch. First off, I didn’t say anything about myself being any better or worse, so I’m not comparing to anything other than a general idea what even moderately successful artists’ online presence looks like. It’s not about saying I’m any better, it’s about showing how his staunch defense of a pay system is very potentially hurting him. If he has thousands upon thousands of album sales with that little online promotion, than great for him and he should write a book on success in the 21st century. But I highly doubt it.
          What else have I contradicted?

          Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Another contradiction.
            You measured his YouTube dick because you wanted to demonize him but asking him at the same time not to compare dicks. Of course you didn’t measure your own dick, because you don’t work in the music industry and have nothing to compare. Since you measured his dick, it’s only right and fair that we measure yours.
            Another contradiction.
            You were hostile to Visitor because she was anonymous and was not revealing her music to you. Where can I get a free copy of your music so I can check you out, and possibly become a fan?

          • GGG
            GGG

            Again, you’re stretching…haha. I didn’t ask him not to compare our careers or even ask me about mine. I just stated I’m not going to put my resume out there after saying I worked in music. But if you must know, I’m a 25 year old who works in artist management and can pay my $1700/month NYC rent from that job.
            And I was hostile to Visitor because he/she (not sure why everyone is assuming it’s a she) and I have a bit of a history on this site of arguing about piracy, and he/she has been hostile back to me plenty of times. This is not a first time thing.
            I’m not currently an active artist, so I have no music to show you. I also don’t constantly talk about how great any artist I work with is like Visitor alludes to about their music, so don’t try to say it’s a contradiction I don’t post any of that either.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            What you said is you weren’t going to turn this into a dick measuring contest, but you went ahead and measured his YouTube dick… A contradiction.
            You’re not active artist because you are unable to become a successful artist. According to you, all it takes is giving away your music, but obviously it did not work for you…gee, I wonder why?
            You are in artist management? Where can I get free copies of their music? Remember, according to you, you and your artists will benefit from giving away free copies. Actions speak louder than words.
            Your 25? You still have lots to learn, son.

          • GGG
            GGG

            Actually, I never really tried to make it as an artist, but nice try on that burn haha.
            And then we get to the square one, ridiculous part of the debate again. I don’t understand why you people can’t grasp that there is a compromising side to things. Why is it you’re either staunchly anti-piracy or you’re Dotcom? For the billionth time, piracy is stealing, I agree. I’m not on the Dotcom side. I am on the side of understanding piracy is an unavoidable (at least until streaming becomes ubiquitous) aspect of music consumption. My position has NEVER been “all it takes is giving away your music.” I have never said anything more than it CAN be extrememly helpful in growing your fanbase and that it’s not in your best interest to hide all your music behind a paywall. The fact that you, and others on here, continue to misrepresent my stance and fail to understand that difference is absurd.
            At this point, I’m not going to tell you what artists I’ve worked with because your dislike of me will carry over to them (ps-you can call me hypocritical here, I’ll own up to that one), but I can tell you right now all of them are available to stream on Bandcamp and Spotify, one has an album currently available to download for free on Bandcamp, and I think 4 of the 7 are on torrent sites. The remaining 3 aren’t yet because they aren’t big enough for anyone to care I guess. And for the record, it’s not me or the bands that have torrented their material, we just don’t waste time fighting it.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Now you are making lame excuses for your failures as an artist.
            Fine, don’t share your clients info. It just tells me they are unable to sell records ie their music has little value, people are not willing to spend money on it.
            So then you agree, you don’t have to give away music to be hugely successful (see major labels). Yves Villeneuve, SteveH(label owner) and Visitor could possibly be more successful than you or any of your clients…likely the case, in my opinion.
            I noticed you couldn’t refute your dick measuring hypocrisy, either.

          • GGG
            GGG

            Wait, not trying is a lame excuse for failure? haha. It’s actually pretty much THE perfectly good excuse for failure. Can’t succeed at something if you don’t try. And I never tried to become an artist in any reasonably meaningful way, so…yea I failed I guess….? Whatever makes you feel better.
            Sure, you can say that for most of them because none are too, too big at this point, (ie, as a random arbitrary figure, all under 15k FB fans.) That’s how I look at it, actually. How do we build value in a culture that requires you to prove your value as an artist. But two of them have actually sold quite a few records for their size (~7k) and more importantly can stay in the black going on the road and selling merch. They’ve also had placement in primetime TV and major films. Which is, again, why my goal in management and their goal as artists is to build value in the ARTISTS, not in a 12 track recording. If you still want to think in 2 or 3 year album cycles as the main way to finance your career and put all your value in that, go ahead, but you’ll most likely hurt yourself. And I’m not saying this is ideal. Obviously I’d love to go back to a time when people bought $18 CDs at The Wall because of one track. But it’s not gonna happen. You have to put all aspects of your career more or less equal nowadays.
            Correct, I agree with that, as I always have. My stance has always been that pirating or free music CAN, not absolutely DOES, have a silver lining, that is worth looking into. And yes, perhaps they all are more successful financially or emotionally. No matter how many records they do or don’t sell, maybe they are extremely content. And if that’s the case they are infinitely more successful than I am. Because I believe in my acts and think they can get much bigger. I am happy, but not content.
            And I avoided it because you just will not get it. No post I’ve ever made has talked about me, or my success or lack of success. It’s been about looking at the issue. Yves brought up his “success” first and I doubted it using fundamental modern criteria. Still never said I’m any better or worse.

          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            I’ve been reading intently.
            GGG said his clients have under 15000 fans. I’ve got 30000 MySpace fans but not using MS much these days. Very Recently started to build FB following but my base of operation IS my official website.

          • GGG
            GGG

            MySpace has been irrelevant for half a decade and it’s pretty common knowledge Myspace ‘fans’ are as real and engaged as Twitter followers.
            Facebook fans aren’t much better necessarily, but at least people still use Facebook.
            And if you’re using your website as your main engine, here’s some free, unsolicited advice to make a point we’ve been dancing around; Where is the value of YOU that people are supposed to get out of this? You don’t even have one snippet of music to hear without leaving the page. Not even a live video? You have 3 five year old reviews of a 5 year old album and two photos. How is someone supposed to connect with that if they randomly come across the site? This is where the disconnect is. I think staunchly anti-piracy folks like yourselves see the album as THE product still. That is not true. You, Yves Villenuenve, are the product. People have to value you before they drop money on what you’re selling.

  8. Yves Villeneuve
    Yves Villeneuve

    It still amazes me that you can’t fathom my success. Your loss, you could really learn something.
    At the moment, I engage my fan base via emails, twice monthly.
    I’m not much into personal vanity.
    Some useful information, if they don’t leave the page to listen to the previews they are not interested in buying music in general. At this time, my focus is the buying public.
    Trust me, I don’t believe music is the only product. I’ve written countless blogs and status updates on MySpace.
    Like you said, Facebook also has inactive and fake accounts, totalling 1 billion users out of two billion registered. I personally requested friendship to most of those MySpace fans so most of them are real and were active at the time.
    You keep saying we can’t prevent piracy. The fact of the matter is we can, by telling our fans we are antipiracy. Your true fans will respect your wishes…I am living proof that anti-piracy sentiment can be administered effectively ( see home page of official website).

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      Btw, I’m the visitor who has been conversing with you today. Was only trying to get real information out of you.

      Reply
      • GGG
        GGG

        I can’t fathom your success on what I, and most people in the music industry, would consider success because there is literally no evidence of it online. And sure, it’s possible to have an extremely un-internet savvy and non-vocal fanbase I suppose, but I don’t believe it. I could certainly believe you have a perfectly content career based on lower expectations, and if so, more power to you and I am envious of that contentedness.
        To your useful information, not necessarily true. I’ve been involved in studying/implementing SEO and online habits, and it is pretty much scientific fact at this point that every click necessary to get to a destination loses a significant amount of users. Put just one stream under your music tab, and then compare it to iTunes previews. You’ll see a pretty big difference, guaranteed.
        And here’s the fundamental difference again. In the micro sense, sure you can prevent piracy to an extent. But you aren’t going to see a massive culture-wide shift in the near future. And the fact that nobody has pirated your music says something, as well…My artists that are on torrent sites, for example, didn’t get put up until after something of a certain level of exposure happened, ie TV spot or fairly positive Pitchfork review or over a certain amount of active fans. It takes a certain amount of people actually caring to have real pirating problems. You know you’ve made it to step 1 when a pirate sees value in your music…haha.
        But anyway, telling your fans not to steal your shit isn’t the problem. They’re already fans. Again, that’s why crowdsourcing can work so well. There are people that truly value you and your art. But it’s everyone else that’s the issue. How do you reach all those potential fans? You have almost 0 content online to reach people before you make them pay. I’m not saying you CAN’T do it that way, I’m just saying it’s pretty dumb. I have the entire spectrum of music fan friends, from hardcore pirates to people like you, and I guarantee if I say to them, “hey, go check out Yves Villenueve” less than 5% will actually make it to iTunes to preview your music. Probably 75% will google you, see there’s nothing on your website, and leave. The other 20% will see no media pop up on google and not even get to your site. You severely overestimate the attention span and determination of people with new music. There’s just too much of it.

        Reply
        • Yves Villeneuve
          Yves Villeneuve

          Well, I’ve got the data, you don’t. My experience has shown that 30% of American unique visitors click on the external preview links. NPD Group estimates there are 80 million CD buyers and 45 million download buyers in the USA. Taking the larger number, roughly 30% of population over 13 are music buyers.
          One click is all it takes to preview on iTunes…same if I were to install a stream in the music tab. So I guess your click theory is not that relevant here.
          Where do you expect to see vocal adulation on the Internet? On MySpace I controlled comments and only approved unique ones. On YouTube I disabled comments. I don’t publish comments in the Say Hello tab at my website. On iTunes, well I urge everyone to “be very critical when you preview, rate and review.” (See my home page.) So tell me, where are you looking to find this sought after adulation or criticism?
          You say it is possible to prevent piracy in a micro sense (it can be done in a macro sense too.) I am living proof it can be done. You could do it if you wanted. But I know you won’t because that would mean admitting to being wrong…and you want to appear smart to your clients.
          I’m telling everyone before they preview, before they become fans, not to steal (see home page). Potentials Fans is limited to how many people like the music. Sorry, you can be the nicest bunch of guys, but people won’t buy music because your nice…they may give your music a listen if your nice though.
          At this time, I am focused on FB fans. Have roughly 100 fans. Added more than 35 fans just today. I know you will be watching.

          Reply
          • GGG
            GGG

            The click theory is relevant because as soon as you leave a page, people lose interest. You’ve never clicked a link, had a page pop up or change, say “fuck this” and close it? I think we’d all be millionaires if we had a nickel every time that happened. If you’re REALLY interested in finding something, sure you don’t care, but why risk that loss of uninterested people. It’s a painless step to take and you already stream two songs on MySpace.
            Notable evidence to support success or potential success of an artist can be found in all sorts of places. I don’t really feel like going into everything I’d look for but if Band X emails me tomorrow wanting represenation, the abridged version of what I’d look for would be googleability (ie, top results, having entire front page, non artist created links on first page, etc), Facebook fans, facebook fan interaction (ie, does an artist with 2k fans avg 5 ‘likes’ per status or 40, do people comment, share, etc), twitter follows vs followers (ie, did they just spam a bunch of people or do people actually seem to care), youtube videos (both play counts and if the band actually sounds good live on video), photos (see if they have a decent aesthetic, PR shots, and see size of crowds at live shows), press (reputable, not Joe Shmoe’s music blog though small stuff is still something), popularity bars on iTunes (evenly distributed sales or not), etc.
            As for preventing piracy, I’m not avoiding stauch prevention measures to avoid admitting I’m wrong…lol, gimme a break. I’m avoiding strict prevention measures because I’d rather have more people in possession on the music than less. If you take a random sample of people who heard a band, I think the number of people who are willing/want to pay for it will be similar no matter what.
            For example, if you play 100 people a song and say “here, you can buy this.” Following the 1-9-90 rule, most will have no action, a few will buy. Say “here, you can pirate this” a few true fans will still buy, a few previous buyers will steal, but a handful of non-actioners will now steal it. Back to the very first argument we had on this topic, those are not losses because they were NEVER going to buy in the first place. The couple that switched were losses yes, and that is certainly the dark side of piracy. But there is now more consumption of your music. And many of those won’t go any further. But many will also buy tickets, buy merch, buy the next album, etc. And before you pull a steveh and say it’s the “make a record to sell tshirts” argument, no, it’s not. It’s an understanding the reality of culture now.

          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            The click theory is irrelevant because the preview link leads them to the intended destination ie the reason they clicked on it in the first place.
            Yes ok, conventionally that is the way to gauge success. I assure, in my case, you would have made a big mistake as an artist manager on the lookout for more clients.
            It is a potential lost sale if you are from the marketing school of thought that we can encourage consumers to change their habits. It is like establishing a new law; the people will adapt to it. In effect, at my website, I state the law when acquiring my music.
            They might not buy now because they are still not in the habit of buying music in general, however they are not pirating because they are still fans respecting my law.

          • GGG
            GGG

            It’s not even really a theory, so I’m going to stop calling it that. It’s understanding SEO on how online interactions work. You are wrong because the destination was to listen to music on THAT page. Not to open up iTunes’ store to have to hear it. I’m sorry, but you’re just wrong.
            I’m sticking to my guns and saying no, I would not have by my standards. You’ve had 2 records out (which I only learned after finally going to your iTunes store after days of interacting with you, the 2nd still not listed on your website) for half a decade. Unless you could show me album sales in the thousands and/or highly attended shows, I would not care. Unless, of course, I loved your music, but I do not, so I go by numbers. I think you either have very low standards, which is absolutely perfectly acceptable, or you are delusional.
            If you want to look at it that way, you can. I choose not to.
            And yes, having that mindset is correct in the micro sense. But looking at the larger picture, all you are doing really is justifying your record sales not being where you want them.

          • Yves Villeneuve
            Yves Villeneuve

            It is not stealing if you tell people it is ok to download a free copy, contrary to your assertions.
            You also can’t say, “here is a free copy” and expect the recipients to pay for it later on.
            A culture or mindset of theft is not appropriate and is detrimental to the economy and society as a whole. SteveH is correct. If you want to give away music to sell T-shirts, this is your prerogative. However, your actions are reducing the value of music towards zero and this will repulse the hearts and minds of music creators and record labels alike which you are open to do business with.
            Take care (have a funeral to attend)

          • GGG
            GGG

            You are correct in that; I worded that argument poorly. By saying “hey, pirate our music” I didn’t mean that in the sense of the band actively saying that, I meant it just in the sense of it being available to pirate.
            Again, of course you can’t. But you can expect/wish them to pay for other things/become a lasting fan, just like you expect/wish random people who hear a 90 second preview of a song to buy your record. What’s the difference? I lost $7 and maybe gained a fan? Pretty cheap direct marketing if you ask me, ESPECIALLY since piracting music is an active, not passive, activity.
            To the last, I agree with the first part, as well. But SteveH is not correct in asserting that is my business model. That argument is such a bullshit, myopic view. I’m only reducing the value of music relative to everything else, which is what I talked about in one of my other posts. I do not put the vast majority of value of my artists in a 12 song disc. This isn’t 1998. The value is their entire existence.
            Also, look around. If you think piracy has slowed down the amount of people wanting to create music, you’re more delusional than I thought…Every asshole on youtube is an “artist” now.

          • GGG
            GGG

            Oh, also, you’re 100% right. I do have a lot to learn. But seeing as how I am making a comfortable living understanding the transmutative nature of the industry, I think I’m doing ok for the moment, old man.

  9. Visitor
    Visitor

    We all grow wiser as we grow older.
    Don’t count yourself successful or have the ability to understand consumer behavior. You have not beat the major labels with your wisdom…not as an artist or artist manager (see Scooter Braun for success story).

    Reply
    • GGG
      GGG

      Well for one, I don’t count myself as particularly successful. I’m successful in that I make enough money to contently live where I want, but I’m by no means successful in regards to many other artist managers or being any sort of important person in the industry.
      Also, never said I’m trying to beat majors. The attorney I use for a few of my acts has very good ties to majors and we’re not opposed to going that route.
      But don’t have the ability to understand consumer behavior? You’re right and wrong. There is enough fan interaction that can dictate some things we do or don’t do, or if some things work or don’t work. But most importantly, I understand that consumer culture in music can change at the drop of a hat and I have to adapt to what I don’t know. Which is why I’d rather work WITH and/or AROUND the fact of piracy than have it work against me even more than it innately does.

      Reply
  10. femine hygene nozzle
    femine hygene nozzle

    “I’m all for an artist’s freedom of choice, so I have a proposal for those artists that wish for their music to be available on pirate sites (and I’m not saying Blake does, as he says he’s simply “starting not to care”): make an album without any help from non-featured songwriters and producers, who rely on royalties for their survival, and release it without any help and investment from a label. Then you can announce to the whole world that you want fans to download it for free from a pirate site.”
    .
    AMEN, Sister!
    It’s easy for him to “not care” if he’s selling (err giving away) someone elses song. if that is the way he really feels, he should do us all a favor and quit his label and leave us songwriters (who don’t make tour/t-shirt/sponsership/etc money, and actually dearly depend on mechanical royalties…) out of any further considerations.
    He does the rest of us songwriters and musicians and artists NO favor by acting like a douche. Next time either quit or keep it to yourself.

    Reply
  11. Visitor
    Visitor

    Well there are only two songs not written by him on the album. I’m sure the songwriters weren’t forced to write the song for him either.
    One thing’s for sure, they will make more money for having participated on the album than if they had chose to pass…

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “Well there are only two songs not written by him on the album”
      Only?
      Are you actually saying that he publicly encourages criminals to steal other songwriter’s property as well?
      Gross!

      Reply
  12. steveh
    steveh

    James Blake = spoilt brat
    Seeks to suck at the teet of the major label while at the same time wishing to appear “cool” by hinting at support for free illegal downloaders.
    Total hypocrite.
    Selfish fucker…

    Reply
  13. JTV Digital
    JTV Digital

    What an hypocrite behaviour.
    He is signed to a major label (nobody forced him to do this, right?) and is talking crap about them.
    Yes these guys are sharks, business-focused only and do not really care about the artists but come on, we all know this perfectly.
    Take it or leave it, that’s what people say usually.
    If he wants control and independence, he made a terrible mistake by joining a music giant label like this one.
    —————
    JTV Digital | affordable digital music distribution

    Reply
  14. Mike W
    Mike W

    Artists disagreeing with their record label?? Hmmm. Who would have ever thought. Not right for Blake to go off the cuff publicly and call his “team” door-to-door salesmen. I would imagine he did not see eye to eye with them on how to roll out the album, and they just didn’t listen, hence his beef.

    Reply
  15. Blake 7
    Blake 7

    The marketing people at Universal working Blake’s album are pushing “product.” Next week they’ll be marketing “new product,” or someone else’s album. It is not their business to “care” about the music or decide what it’s “worth,” they have sales targets to hit and if they don’t then management at Universal will churn through employees until they find someone who can. Universal is in business of making money for its shareholders, it does not give a fuck about what it takes to do this. Please stop conflating the sounds these nice musicians make and their personal opinions with the bottom-line imperatives of UMG. Blake hardly “chose” to be on a major at all; UMG calculated it could make a profit selling recordings of his music, and that is the *only* reason Blake has a major label deal in the first place. This handwringing over how mean Blake is being to a marketing department reveals nothing more that a basic misunderstanding of how corporations are legally obligated to operate. Also, it’s quite easy to acknowledge the various benefits that wider access to more music offer, and that there are problems with existing copyright laws, without being “pro-pirate” and “anti-copyright.” Keep those as your only categories, and you’ll be bitching about all of this for the rest of your lives. Aren’t you bored yet?

    Reply
    • steveh
      steveh

      “there are problems with existing copyright laws”
      What “problems” do you refer to?
      You sound like a bit of freetard…

      Reply
      • Blake 7
        Blake 7

        GGG had you busted upthread. All you’ve got is “freetard” as your go-to? Every time? Because copyright laws are perfect in all ways, forever? It’s your own ignorance and arrogance that causes you to fail. Blame the rest of the world if you want, but your inability to grasp that there is more going on here than your wee brain can handle is why you’ll never contribute anything to the world but more pissing and moaning. And shitty music, probably.

        Reply
        • steveh
          steveh

          Definition of a “freetard”:- someone who believes that the ability to freely distribute on the internet infinite digital copies of musical or visual works deprives the creator of his right to control his creation.
          Like Kim Dotcom’s cohort Vikram Kumar, as quoted in another article on DMN:- “the very nature of copyright was based on controlling the creation of copies […] The internet allows for the creation of digital copies at almost no cost. These [outdated business models] are the legacy business models of physical distribution, which haven’t adapted to digital internet distribution.”
          Now as Helienne & Evan Wish pointed out that is flat wrong.
          “the very nature of copyright was based on creator controlling the creation.” Pure and simple.
          So where do you stand on this? Do you stand with Mr Dotcom?

          Reply
          • GGG
            GGG

            Too bad you can’t understand when people talk about the difference between supporting free work on the consumer side and on the creator side.
            At no point did I say what Vikram said, being that since piracy is possible it makes it legal. I don’t know how many more times I can type “piracy is stealing” on here before it enters your brain. And I’m certainly 100% in favor of keeping your own creative rights.
            My point in this article, and all articles I’ve commented on about piracy, is in 2013 you unfortunately have to alter how you approach your business model. When you buy a $10 album, do you send the artist $10 because CDs were 20 bucks 15 years ago? Is the value of music really $20, because it was for years. Clearly you’re devalueing their music. See how dumb that sounds? Building a following and getting fans to care about you as an artist in infinitely more important in a long term career than single record sales. Pricing yourself out of a career early is stupid. And if you’re good enough and your fans care about you, you can crowdsource or sell all sorts of “special” shit and people will eat it up.

          • steveh
            steveh

            yes but as soon as you started using the argument that nothing was “lost” when a digital “copy” is “stolen” you crossed the red line and entered the realm of the Dotcom crew. Because this is one of the many tedious arguments of the anti-copyright brigade (I won’t use the “f” word).
            These arguments have been banging around since the 90s – perhaps you are new to the game.
            Check the header of this thread – we are discussing artists’ attutude to piracy, copyright violation call it what you will.
            You seem to bizarrely conflate this with the use of free downloads for promotion stategies and the pricing of record sales in the current climate. No-one is complaining about that.
            Very silly.
            And when you talk of selling “special shit” to your “fans” you skirt dangerously close to the “give away your recorded music and you can sell T shirts” argument that is frankly pretty much anathema round here.

  16. Roland
    Roland

    Since Spotify and other streaming services came it’s not worth the time to download music. People are lazy and it’s less work streaming music. You also got all your music in one place which make it much easier. The only problem is that it still sounds way better listen to vinyl or a CD.
    Great article by the way. It is anoying with artist on major labels that think music should be free and complaining about all the lawers who don’t care absout music.
    No one forced you to sign in the first place.

    Reply
    • JTV Digital
      JTV Digital

      He’s biting the hand that feeds him…
      J
      ————————————————-
      JTV Digital | affordable digital music distribution

      Reply
  17. PMunny
    PMunny

    I’ve always scratched my head on topics like this too, but you have to consider the audience he’s speaking to. He’s an electronic artist, who tend to have the highest rates of people illegally downloading their tracks. For whatever reason, the public has convinced themselves that DJ’s music is more acceptable to be illegally downloaded. Probably because they see them touring all over the place and feel it’s fine to illegally download because they assume they’re making money hand over fist. Also, a lot of DJ’s will give stuff away for free online.
    It’s funny though, because you’re dead on. A lot of people break their backs for stupid shit like this all the time. Making sure people know who James Blake is is a HUGE priority for the labels… and he goes and says these types of things. I’m not sure if these EDM artists are just real dumb, or catering to their audience. So, Universal may have gotten him the interview with the guardian, and maybe he legitimately meant what he said. But, maybe it’s all just a shtick for his hardcore fans to say “yeah screw the man!”… it’s all about catering to your audience and keeping them happy. Then they go out and buy the record thinking they support the artist, but really supporting more of the marketing vehicle behind him.. which is deserved because the marketing vehicle busts their ass to make him known.

    Reply
  18. Adam
    Adam

    Why is every article in the publication a damn op-ed. The journalistic integrity of this publication is suffering from its lack of objectivity. Big time.
    I’m a long-time reader but I mainly only parse the headlines nowadays to find out if there is any actual news being reported. I haven’t seen any this week and haven’t seen actual news in months. You guys would rather update your subscribers on the status of your UMG-Grooveshark subpoena, like we care. We don’t. Get it together. You’re becoming increasingly irrelevant.

    Reply
    • steveh
      steveh

      But Adam the legal and moral issues surrounding digital music on the internet are so fraught with spin, debate and conjecture that it is very hard to draw a line between “news” and “opinion”.
      I fully support DMN for not being just a cheerleader for dodgy digital malpractises and just repeating senseless press releases.
      In this context the debate IS the news!

      Reply
  19. ah
    ah

    i find his sinking ship=music statement quite telling. when people get off the music ship, they get on the office job ship or the accountant ship, etc, where the rats who chew holes in the hull are exterminated promptly. the rats run wild in the music ship, with many passengers and even captains (like blake) oddly feeding them cheese and encouraging the further destruction of the vessel, hoping they will bite other passengers instead of him in the meantime, of course until the entire thing sinks.
    the future of music is unstoppable. regardless of the incessant bitching, the whiny back and forths between pro this and anti that, the fact remains that eventually, and slowly but surely, music will all but cease to be any kind of measure of profitable. we are already seeing the complete flash in the pan degradation of “youtube stars” and the like, utterly bane, stupid bullshit good for a viral view and that’s it with no lasting power. this is en vogue currently, but people will not be paying much less putting up with ads to enjoy it much longer. and when that happens, you will have neither an industry of media retards creating content, nor professional musicians making anything not worth throwing away immediately.
    it is at this point, and only then, at the very very bottom when the smoke has cleared and the city of music has been completely razed to the mother fucking ground, that we MIGHT see something that puts together an adequate compensation system for rights holders/creators. i put this at about 20 years out…. til then it’s a race to the bottom. print that.

    Reply
    • steveh
      steveh

      This quote is addressed to the dodgy tech companies – also applies to you:-
      “You tech people pretend that music is worthless, yet you’re all tripping over each others’ heels to be a part of it.”
      And I say to you:- if today’s music scene is so degraded and rotten why do you even bother posting about it?

      Reply

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