File-sharing

I don’t know if you’ve been following the story, but there have been various musicians speaking out recently both for and against the Featured Artists Coalition, a group set up to represent the interests of recording artists.

Nick Mason (Pink Floyd drummer, just in case you don’t know), who is on the FAC’s Board of Directors, has publicly criticised the UK government for suggesting that those who illegally share music should have their internet accounts suspended (albeit temporarily, as a last resort).

The record companies have been lobbying government for tough action on music piracy for some time, calling for increased penalties.

The FAC, backed by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, as well as the Music Producers’ Guild, want commercial and private file-sharing to be treated separately.

That’s not to say that Nick Mason, or any FAC member, condones illicit file-sharing. Far from it. The FAC (David is also a member), believe that artists should be paid for their craft by way of royalties.

People might well, but shouldn’t, forget that the creative process is often a painstakingly long one. It takes time to a write a song, to record it, mix and produce it, to manufacture it, distribute it and promote it. A lot of people are employed in the process along the way and they all need to be paid.

So, the FAC wants the industry to focus on making money from file-sharing, rather than on criminalising the file-sharers.

The response, from Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry: “We could hardly have more legal download services than we already do, and they have not eliminated piracy.”

Enter Lily Allen, a young and often outspoken singer/song writer: “These guys from huge bands said file-sharing music is fine. It probably is fine for them. They do sell-out arena tours and have the biggest Ferrari collections in the world.”

The crux of her argument, which seems perfectly reasonable to me, is that file-sharing is disastrous for upcoming talent, because there simply isn’t the funding available to support them because so much money is lost to file-sharing.

It’s been said that more than six and a half million people in the UK illegally access and distribute music. How can that not damage those that make music?

But is peer-to-peer downloading exclusively holding back such investment?

Many more questions arise from this issue, of course, not least concerns for the state of British music. Frankly, is it worth buying any more? Are CDs and downloads too expensive? Of this, more later.

The FAC agrees that file-sharing affects sales, yet maintains that it also encourages people to buy concert tickets and merchandise, which accounts for much of a musician’s income. (Their record labels get rich from record sales.)

The tremendous success, some might say overload, of music festivals in recent years can be seen as proof of this: the new generation of music fans find what they like online and support the music-makers financially in other ways.

Nick himself said that “File sharing means a new generation of fans for us.”

What do you think? Do you feel bad for, presumably, having acquired music at some point without paying for it? I’m thinking particularly of all those bootlegs from David’s 2006 tour that I often notice. Or is that completely different, inasmuch as live concerts are one-off events that should be recorded for posterity (and probably wouldn’t be secretly recorded in the first place if a professional recording were guaranteed)? Plus, the cost of a ticket with all its fees is astronomical…

And didn’t we always record music? We taped the charts off the radio on a Sunday evening, we’d hold a microphone to the television set when The Old Grey Whistle Test was on. We’d lend tapes to our friends and we’d borrow theirs in return. We’ve always been able to listen to music for free, in shops, on the radio, on MTV.

Another question is, how can anyone possibly justify charging more for downloading an entire album than purchasing the plastic-heavy CD? I’m all for being green and shunning unnecessary packaging, but why shouldn’t the price of downloads be considerably less than the physical product?

Are there not legitimate ways for people to discover music online, not including taking it without asking or paying – which is, by definition, theft? There are plenty of sites streaming music on demand, where you look (well, mostly listen), but don’t touch. You can’t go into a music shop and leave with a handful of CDs. You’d be stopped and prosecuted. How is downloading torrents any different?

Look at MySpace, if you dare, and you’ll notice a gaggle of songs that people have gathered together and offered to others, as though they’re theirs to offer. (I think Stewie Griffin said it best when he spoke of MySpace as being a place for things that other people have created but are used to express one’s individualism.)

Yes, you find something that you like online, as you would on the TV or radio, and may be inclined to buy a CD, concert ticket or T-shirt, but the potential for stealing hundreds, if not thousands, of songs is currently far too great online. You’d have to make an awful lot of trips to a music store to equal that vast digital stash.

It’s not about the ease of accessing music, either. If it’s convenience you’re after, now that nobody has time to visit shops or even friends, you can pick up your CDs at the supermarket. Or order them online and have them delivered to your door. No time to wait? Then download them. Legally. It’s very easy.

It’s purely about the cost and this avaricious desire for more, more, more.

Are the record companies not the real problem here? Do they and the other often exploitative forces surrounding musicians make too much money off the backs of the act and its talent? Are they the ones complaining now because they’re not enriching themselves quite as fully as they once did?

When they should have been embracing the internet, they were trying to fight it, and now they are seeing their profits shrinking.

They have given us one manufactured band after another, each with a shorter shelf-life than the last. They’ve been heavy on the merchandise (everything from lunch boxes to duvet covers), milked the moment like their lives depended on it (forgetful of the fact that there’ll always be a new line of pretty boys and girls willing to replace the current flavour of the month, so they’ll get to do it all again ad infinitum) and they had the bare-faced cheek to for so long charge £15 for a rushed-out CD with two or three good tunes and half a dozen examples of bland, instantly forgettable (if you’re lucky… or maybe not) filler.

Then there are the Best of and Greatest Hits compilations. Are they not something of a record label rip off? It’s true that nobody makes you buy them, but an awful lot of money appears to be spent advertising them. Money that record companies perhaps ought to be pumping into new talent, as per Lily’s wishes.

CDs have never cost much to manufacture. Now they’re finally about half the price and, crucially, musicians have other means of getting noticed: digitally, via the internet. People can write and record songs at home, get them online and cut out the middlemen. Their path to fame is suddenly clearer, if not much longer.

Would Lily Allen have so successfully traversed hers were it not for the wonders of the internet (or, forgive me, a celebrity father, for that matter)?

Indeed, if more artists chose to go it alone, this would mean more competition for the manufactured acts and their inventors. It would mean fewer executive chancers. It would mean more money and power – and headaches – for the artist.

Things are certainly different in these technological times, and I know that the age of those reading this is likely to vary considerably, but how did you discover Pink Floyd? Courtesy of John Peel playing them on the radio, or were you intrigued by those fantastic gatefold LPs and curious to find out what they housed? Did you borrow a friend’s copy, audio or video, or did you find all the audio and video that’s ever been produced lined up and waiting for your mouse clicks at YouTube?

How did you discover On an Island?

Have record sales dropped because the music is generally of poorer quality these days, or because more people are helping themselves to it? Bear in mind that Radiohead made a profit in 2007 when they chose to allow fans to pay whatever they wanted – yes, even nothing at all – to download their In Rainbows album.

They also, at the same time, invited pre-orders for an exclusive deluxe edition costing £40. They received some 70,000, which were then manufactured to order.

Nine Inch Nails did something similar in 2008: offered an album, The Slip, as a free, permanent download and followed it with a limited-edition CD/DVD version, which sold enough copies to cover the whole project’s cost.

The Arctic Monkeys burned their own CDs and gave them away at their early concerts so that fans would know the words to their songs at their gigs, plus it was a good way of increasing exposure. File-sharing is, after all, free publicity.

So, will the industry collapse if the product is given away freely? Maybe not.

Would people pay to legally download if the price was more reasonable – whatever that means – and DRM abolished, do you think?

Consider also, if you will, the Pirate Bay. The founders of this notorious Swedish file-sharing site, reported to have had an estimated 22 million users, were jailed for a year earlier this year for breaching copyright and ordered to compensate representatives of the movie, music and video game industries. Unrepentant, they remain confident that others will continue without them. Certainly, illicit music downloads did not stop when Napster was forced to change.

Can the internet ever be policed and those who indiscriminately and unlawfully share music be criminalised without creating a backlash against the music itself?

And do you even accept that unauthorised downloading is a form of theft?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this and more, but no links to file-sharing sites and no need to brag about your huge collections of RoIOs, please.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

123 thoughts on “File-sharing”

  1. Hi FEd,

    interesting topic! Here some thoughts from me:

    – Each downloaded song doesn’t mean that it would have been sold. I know a lot of people with large MP3 collections that just gather more and more songs without having listened to them. Therefore I’m very sceptical about music industry’s numbers…

    – I like good music and I want the artists to keep doing it, so I buy records, concert tickets, DVDs, et cetera. I’m sure they are not getting a fair amount of the paid sum and I would rather buy them directly from the artist, which I do whenever it is offered (Phil Manzanera, for example).

    – When a friend asks me for a copy of a song/album I make when I know he/she can’t afford it. It is legal here in Germany and the word is spread for that artist/group.

    – I already downloaded a couple of songs from AMAZON, it’s good if you need only one track. Downloading albums leaves out the nice packaging and booklets, which I like to hold in hands…

    – Music industry claim is that they need lots of cash to invest in new groups, which they do not do. I think they are obsolete, at least with their actual business model.

    Anyway, we’ll need a mind change regarding copyright in general, and start to pay the author/artist/producer directly instead of paying the copier/distributor/printer.

    BTW: who’s Lily Allen. 😉

    Regards

    Taki (who’d love to buy a new DG record)

    1. This is a touchy subject today!

      I must have bought nearly all Floyd-Roger-Dave’s albums in the past and rightly so, I still own a lot.

      But I have in the past done copies for in the car/MP3 etc.

      I think the way forward here is to cut out the bigger corporate producers and favour the DIY. It’s not like all my idols don’t have studios of their own to use this to cut out the wage for the producers.

      I love Pink Floyd and the members but without file sharing I would be without a few of my favoured albums due to damage of my original CD needing to replace it.

      Another way forward is for the big companies to open a commercial based file sharing site of their own. Full of adverts or one off payment to remove. Like a lot of other sites today use to cover revenue.

      Would it be such a problem to see new talent sponsored rather than signed by a label??? I know if I was to be able to obtain music with a big advert on it then it wouldn’t bother me.

      I personally heared of On an island from an advert on one of the Pink Floyd fan sites so if that advert worked why can’t others?

  2. Hi FeD… long time, etc!

    Well, what an interesting topic and one that, if I’m totally honest, sometimes leaves me trying to sit very uncomfortably on a very narrow fence!

    Personally, as far as I am aware I have only once illegally downloaded an album – it was a soon to be released affair that got leaked onto the net and I weakened. The fact that I then paid for both the standard release and a ‘special’ edition I suppose made me feel better, but I didn’t feel at all comfortable with it and I’ve not done it since.

    Cannot say the same about ROIOs though, and it appears to be no defence for many artists when you say (as I do) that you have bought and paid for every commercially available product, sometimes more than once (how many copies of Dark Side have you owned!?). Just using Floyd as an example, most of us know full well that there are some fantastic performances out there – BBC Sessions for instance – that where they to be released officially would sell by the bucket load and I would be at the head of the queue but, until that day, how would it materially affect the artists income if I were to acquire an ‘illegal’ copy?

    As for present day ‘live recordings’ you are perfectly correct when you mention that, were recordings made available for each show the majority would go for the official product – I’ve done it with Peter Gabriel, Marillion and Metallica and happily paid for the privilege.

    Maybe a separate argument though, ‘live’ rather than leaked studio stuff?

    I cannot argue with the artists who are concerned that illegal downloads of their studio or other officially commercially released product is detrimental to their income – it must be! But you mention the counter argument about inspiring people to see the live shows – maybe a good point, and certainly explains the rapid rise in ticket prices over the last few years.

    With the arrival of Spotify things may have changed for those that think like I do – I can now listen to an artist/album and if I like it, buy the product. But that’s because it’s how I experience music – I come from a time when you bought the physical product and still want to do that – I’m a sucker for the special multi disc editions! Both my teenage kids buy CDs I’m pleased to say – they rarely download anything – so not all their generation is into online musical theft – but obviously many are and can see no reason why they shouldn’t do what they do. It’s how the industry deals with these people that may have a huge bearing on how we obtain and listen to music in the future I guess.

    Sorry wibbled on there! Will probably do a bit more later but have to dash back to work!

    Nice to be back by the way. 🙂

    1. Hi Neil, good to hear from you. Hope all’s well.

      Good points, particularly concerning the unreleased material that we know exists. Personally, speaking as a fan, I’d much rather see that released officially than yet another re-mastered anniversary edition – and am sure I’m not alone.

      Although, and perhaps this will be misinterpreted and put a nose out of joint somewhere, I have to admit that I feel I have quite enough in my Pink Floyd collection. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be interested in, and grateful for, a new album (be it ‘Pink Floyd’ or solo), but when it’s the same thing over and over again, and knowing that David is more interested in the music that’s recently been made, currently being made and yet to be made, I often prefer to find something and someone new to listen to instead of another slightly different version of ‘Careful With That Axe, Eugene’, for example.

      As for how many copies of Dark Side of the Moon we each own, I asked that very question a few months back. Don’t know if you ever saw the answers, but this was the post.

    2. Thanks FEd – things so so here, I’ll try and catch up with you in a chat sometime?

      Hadn’t seen the DSotM thread, very interesting! Think my total would be 5: twice on vinyl (wore one copy out!), CD, 20th Anniversary, SACD.

      Take your point about re-releasing stuff ad infinitum though I did like the Piper release and would probably run over my granny to get to a 5.1 of Wish You Were Here…

  3. Good afternoon FEd,

    Long time no blog for me, but it’s nice to return to such an interesting topic.

    I’m incredibly interested to find out how this issue will settle in a few years. Clearly, the world needs music, even if it may not be as important as it was 40 years ago or so, due to today’s age of a thousand TV channels and viral internet entertainment.

    I don’t think that file-sharing will ever be eliminated completely. I think that there is scope to police it to some extent, but who knows what will be done. However I think that the music industry will be able to survive alongside it, just in a very different way to before.

    Most of the money from a CD purchase will have gone to the record companies and their employees. In my opinion, the way that things will work out will be by the professional recording studio being a lesser used luxury. Perhaps it will become the norm for artists to use their own computer software and a collection of microphones, and do their own projects. As they get wealthier from tour revenues, bigger and better things will be able to be achieved.

    Yes, that theory would introduce a big handicap for newer artists to compete with the older more accomplished ones, but management agencies will still survive… And hey, maybe like the band Hamfatter, as featured on Dragons’ Den, investors will be able to financially support new acts and help them with advertisement, allowing them to compete with the big boys.

    1. Thanks, Liam.

      It’s certainly something to follow with interest: the death of the studio as well as the death of HMV and all the others if people no longer want CDs and the occasional novelty vinyl item.

      Will the music stores go the same way as our high street butchers (I’d say bakers, but you can’t go far without spotting a Gregg’s these days) and ironmongers if people no longer choose to collect hard copies of music?

      And haven’t eBay, Amazon Marketplace and such like wiped out many of those quaint second-hand record shops and stalls that you no longer pass with such welcome frequency? I spent many an enjoyable afternoon at those wonderful places, straining my eyes at the dimly-lit chaos. Ah, that worn cardboard smell…

    2. I agree that the CD and vinyl market is going down the pan, particularly when it comes to actual stores, due to the delivered-to-your-door ease of Amazon and HMV’s online arm and so on. Going into a big music shop isn’t even the same as I remember in 2003 when I very first started listening to music religiously and felt the buzz of going over to browse at a band’s back catalogue, while umpteen people are trying to squeeze past you to get to the 2 for £10 aisle.

      (It seems odd that a 19-year-old who ‘discovered music’ only 5 years ago can say ‘Those were the days’-esque comments, doesn’t it?)

      I like to think that HMV and its competitors won’t completely die out, nor those little boutique-type shops with a man behind the counter in a worn out Velvet Underground T-shirt and the distinct scent of vinyl on wooden shelves. My reason being – there are quite a lot of us folk who like the physical disc in our hand and a booklet full of artwork and liner notes to look through.

      Yes, probably a majority will take music any way it’s given to them, but I’d say even amongst people my own age, there are quite a few who would be able to salvage at least something that we’d find satisfactory from the moribund industry of the humble CD.

  4. An excellent article.

    I think looking back over the history of recorded music shows that people sharing music amongst friendship groups actually encourages the growth of the music listening public, spreads the news about new bands between friends by lending a tape of two, and encourages a greater participation in music in general. Extending the “net” of bands to capture a greater audience that they would have by relying on sales of albums alone.

    I think nowadays, record companies have a lot more competition out there in the wider market of “Entertainment” which includes PS3, DVDs, going to the movies, eating out etc. and they are trying to pin the blame on people sharing MP3s? A foolish mistake. They should – and often do nowadays – give music away virtually for free and get more people going to live events, buying merchandise etc.

    The big squeeze on the music industry within the wider Entertainment industry is leading to the cruel pursuit of profit by attempting to monetise more and more recorded music.

    I think the music industry should realise this: it is best to have 50% of the revenue from 1M album sales than 100% of 100,000 sales. People sharing music encourages people to get into new bands!!!!

    1. Thanks, Keith.

      It does make you wonder if the record labels’ failure to move with the times and embrace developments in technology is the biggest reason why they are now seeing their profits shrink.

      Were you surprised that Radiohead had such success with In Rainbows? It would be interesting to see some figures concerning their ticket and merchandise sales following the release of that album.

  5. I don’t argue with the power and freedom of file sharing, either as promotional tool, or as fanbase building tool.

    However we can’t compare it with the good old days of tape recording, simply for the fact that digital media doesn’t deteriorate and doesn’t require any effort to be duplicated and instantly distributed worldwide.

    Sharing for free or for a fraction of the cost is something I can encourage, but just for the initial “let’s taste if it’s good” stage. After that every consumer should take the responsibility to pay for what they are using. As you said, musicians don’t produce for free, it’s a long and expensive process.

    I don’t know if I ever told you, but the way I was exposed to Pink Floyd music the first time was thanks to a couple of very illegal tapes, manufactured in Naples in the mid 70s, and sold in the street for a few bucks. I didn’t even buy those because I was too young, I just had the luck to find them in our old rented house.

    Well, that made me buy later anything released by Pink Floyd and triggered my interest for guitar and music. I have to thank those illegal duplicators I believe.

    Ideally it should be a similar process nowadays: kids have the luck to access to anything digitally and basically for free, but they should more importantly take the effort to understand the value of what they’ve found.

    And lastly I’d like to say that if the illegal digital duplication has become uncontrollable, it’s not for the kids but in the first place for shameless host providers.

    1. However we can’t compare it with the good old days of tape recording, simply for the fact that digital media doesn’t deteriorate and doesn’t require any effort to be duplicated and instantly distributed worldwide.

      Doesn’t that apply to record labels, too? Why do they charge so much (CD or MP3)?

      And lastly I’d like to say that if the illegal digital duplication has become uncontrollable, it’s not for the kids but in the first place for shameless host providers.

      As the roads are responsible for getting killed in car accidents, or power plants for getting electrocuted. You can’t seriously blame providers without accepting/risking censorship.

      Taki

    2. You can’t seriously blame providers without accepting/risking censorship.

      I think you can, if that’s their sole reason for being.

    3. Do providers advise on copyright or safety of the content? They started doing it only recently.

      For a long time the digital world has been a profit boom based on broadband traffic, and still is, any sort of traffic, no matter if the content is copyrighted, legal or what, as long as it’s on demand.

      I think that should be just regulated. I’m not talking about censorship, I’m talking about paying their share of taxes, just like we do when we download from official sale channels, or buy a new CD from a shop.

  6. I suppose this is the biggest problem facing anyone with an old school approach to becoming big in the music industry. I don’t want to sound bashful, but the days of the huge, worldwide phenomenon rock band are somewhat over, right?

    In the days of The Beatles they rose to fame because of the media getting behind them and creating enormous hype, but we didn’t have access to any band we wanted to, just what was promoted, and I think that really enabled them to achieve maximum attention. Things are the exact opposite now.

    I do not know enough about the industry to actually comment, so bear with me. But I think for bands to succeed and make money with music, they will have to turn back the clock and do what all bands had to go through to get a record contract. Tour like hell, cut costs on recording, and most importantly be original.

    If it was my band (I wish I had one…) trying to make it, I would make a low budget 4 track EP, put it online as a free download and tour. No point chasing a contract these days. There are many reasons to disagree with that game plan, but so many more point to it being a half decent idea.

    Does anyone agree that at least the record label manufactured band era that has been going for at least the last 50 odd years might be over? I know the Jonas Brothers are the epitome of a ‘manufactured band’, but to me their days are numbered.

    Thanks for the interesting topic, I’ll leave it to you guys!

    1. I do agree to an extent, Kevin. Then I see the kind of acts that, as Lily Allen pointed out, Simon Cowell is mass-producing. I know they’re hardly ‘bands’, but they do make a lot of money – mostly for Simon Cowell – and don’t seem to have to put in the hard graft you mention to get a contract and reap the rewards of it, which is a pity.

      I think, like most failing businesses where time is running out, resistance to change and an inability to move with the times is the problem. Sometimes you need fresh, dynamic people to push boundaries and try new things, and you’d think that the record industry would be buzzing with such people. Instead it would appear that they’re mostly kept down by those who are stuck in the past, refusing to adapt and halting progress, most likely because they’re doing too well out of whatever it is that they do (probably not much, even though I’m sure they like to think that they’re vital to the operation) to consider something different. God forbid that they might end up with bruised egos or dented bank balances.

  7. I think p2p download basically is stealing.

    I think p2p download does not help young talents to sell records.

    I also believe that music industry should change, no doubt record companies should revise their business, but on the other hand there is no other way how local talent would become an international star. Read biographies of musicians, bands, they became real stars, got audience after they signed contracts with record companies, publishers, promoters and other people involved in industry. Before that they played in local pub for a free beer.

  8. Hi,

    Great topic and writing FEd!

    Yep, I taped music when I was younger (Wim v. Putten Symfo hour, Thursday night, late 70-ies early 80-ies – there I heard the Mandalaband for the first time and other great proggy bands, I bought a lot of those elpees and CDs he played).

    Yep, I downloaded ONE album, because I wanted to know how it was, never burned it… Yep, 1…

    Yep, I downloaded some singles I had on vinyl and wanted to have on CD…

    Yep, sometimes I copy a CD from a friend, most of the time I listen to it a few times, is it good? I buy it (I want to have the booklet and see the artwork, read the lines), is it “lala”? I put in wardrobe and there it stands, catching dust…

    So yep, I’m against file sharing if artists don’t allow it.

    I know a few musicians who struggle and try to make a decent living of it. I think the illegal downloading makes their lives difficult. And yep, maybe the music industry was and is only interested in one thing; Money.

    Now you see that bands are trying to make money to go on the road more and often. Here in the Netherlands the live market is over crowded already.

    I don’t see YouTube or MySpace as a problem, the quality of MySpace is not very great. MySpace and YouTube is great, there you can explore a band see them live catch glimpses of their DVDs and decide if they are worth a buy.

    On An Island? Read it on the web. I was looking for a new David Gilmour album, where must I look FEd?

    Have a happy legal download. 😉

  9. Hello FE’d

    hope all’s well at DGHQ?

    personally I’ve never downloaded a single illegal file/music. having been in a band or two I can understand how an artist would want to be paid for their hard effort and work.

    but society is changing, you will have to find a new way to change with it or you will lose out.

    maybe a ‘try before you buy’ per song, who knows?

    can I ask Mr Gilmour a question?

    it’s a very interesting cover to Dark Side of the Moon. very interesting indeed when you look, listen, to the songs on that album and what they are saying. were you trying to say something else with the choice of a pyramid on the cover?

    it is popular now to talk openly about certain societies and what they have planned for the world, personally I am beginning to view society as being thoroughly controlled from cradle to grave from waking hour to sleep, and by that I mean EVERYTHING is controlled regardless of how free you feel you are.

    was the cover to Dark Side of the Moon a warning?

    (ok, two questions)

    many thanks
    andy.

  10. While I don’t have a problem with sharing music that I have bought, I’m not comfortable with the idea of going to a file sharing site and getting stuff for free. And although as a fan, I like watching ROIO videos on YouTube, etc. I also believe that the artist should have control of their work and decide what is released.

    At the same time, if a video is taken down from YouTube because it is not “authorized” I think that the artist ends up looking a bit foolish (even if it was the record label who got it taken off).

    FEd, you specifically asked “how did you discover On an Island?” I’m sure that it was via one of the many Floyd fan sites that I visit. I watched video of DG playing Smile on YouTube (one video was a beautiful tribute made by a fan) and I eventually bought the song on iTunes. I plan on buying the entire release when I have the spare cash, showing a direct link between an unauthorized broadcast of licensed music leading directly to a purchase.

    Amanda

  11. On one hand… it isn’t as if the record companies their very own selves haven’t ripped off both some artists (see the sad, sad tale of Teena Marie and Motown for just one example) and the fans time and time again. They have.

    These are just random, unconnected thoughts:

    I have some friends, one a band which has been together since the mid 90s and a brand-new(ish) and shiny solo artist who are definitely of the indy variety. The band have recorded, produced, manufactured and sold their own CDs first at concerts then via their website. What worries me is when music vanishes… there are five records which simply do not exist any more. What also worries me is that they aren’t even a blip on the radar.

    My solo artist friend is good enough to have recorded with Leon Russell. She is also waitressing and hosting karaoke nights to get by. She doesn’t actually sell CDs or EPs and simply cannot afford to put together a band and tour. Her entire output is on iTunes. If either she or the band have people lifting their mp3s, which is so simple sometimes even I could do it (though I won’t) their careers could be ended by this practice. It’s not just Metallica being stung out there.

    But then we get to the old and new restrictiveness. Would the Grateful Dead fandom be what it is without bootlegs of every possible version of those songs? Would they have been promoted more by their label if more money went to the label?

    OTOH, what about exclusionary releases?

    TBC

    1. Does restricting release of a song to, say, iTunes for a time help anyone but iTunes?

      No, I don’t have an iPod. I will not bow to the iPod monopoly. And I haven’t downloaded straight from the internet to my mp3 player. I have a pretty good selection from my own collection which I paid money for, so I rip from my CDs via my PC. TOO MANY INITIALS.

      I miss LPs. During dinner one night we began talking about the way they smelled even if the vinyl wasn’t infused with patchouli, one of the worst ideas anyone ever had. They had a unique smell and, yeah, I used to bend the jacket and stick my nose in it to breath in.

      So when you have people ripping off mp3s, I agree with some people: it’s just collector mania and maybe the music isn’t being listened to. Not so different from people in the 1980s attending every arena show near them not for the music but just to hang out and add to their T-shirt collection.

      But the labels haven’t often openly embraced change or new ideas or new artists until someone puts up a giant “there’s gold in them thar hills” sign… even they can read. There are exceptions to this, Rick Rubin off the top of my head, but on the whole the big labels don’t catch on to new sounds until the wave has almost crashed.

      I don’t know, but I like the tactile experience of packaging and holding the music in my hands. I’m a Luddite. With a PC and a lot of toys, though no game system. If I had RockBand I would never accomplish another thing in my life.

      Sorry for the ramble.

    2. Her entire output is on iTunes. If either she or the band have people lifting their mp3s, which is so simple sometimes even I could do it (though I won’t) their careers could be ended by this practice. It’s not just Metallica being stung out there.

      You’ve said it all right there, Jill.

      It’s all well and good saying that people will get the songs for free and then maybe buy concert tickets and merchandise on the strength of the songs, but if there’s no concert tickets or merchandise…

  12. Another thing about downloading single tracks, it’s something that Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree has really got a bee in his bonnet about!

    He’s mourning the loss of the album as a piece of art – the sleeve, the lyric, the whole experience of listening to the music. I’m a huge admirer of him and of PT – even if he does bang on about his dislike of the mp3 player generation a bit too much sometimes. Whatever, their latest album just wouldn’t work if you downloaded a couple of tracks, whereas sit and listen to the whole 55 minute ‘song cycle’ and it’s a whole different experience!

    He bemoans the fact that (the majority of) the youth today don’t buy or listen to an album in its entirety, just cherry picking odd tracks and therefore missing any conceptual or thematic point.

    1. I agree that many albums don’t quite work when broken down into individual tracks. I much prefer to listen to the full thing.

  13. I’m not convinced by the ‘File sharing has lead to a drop in sales’ argument, at all. I think there’s just less music being bought generally. It’s easy to dip in and out of sites like YouTube – I’m a boring, middle-aged housewife and I do it.

    Whether record companies like it or not, we live in an age of digital media, which makes them a whole lot less relevant.

    If they want to survive they need to find a way of working along with that, rather than trying to fight (a losing battle) where it doesn’t suit – presumably free publicity isn’t seen as a problem.

    They did themselves no favours with DRM either, that’s a two-way street, you want people to play fair – then don’t take the p*ss.

    As for Geoff Taylor’s comment, I wonder if he’s ever considered that the prices legal download sites charge might be a big part of the problem.

    1. That’s another thing.

      The record labels say that variable pricing (where individual tracks are no longer charged at a fixed rate, which is something else that they lobbied for) is best because songs can be priced according to fans’ perceived value.

      Eh?

      Which is worth more: ‘Take a Breath’ or ‘Raise My Rent’? Each lasts for approximately six minutes.

      According to Amazon UK, they’re both worth 69p.

      Yet ‘Dark Globe’ is the same price and that lasts little over two minutes. Likewise 90-second-long ‘Breathe (Reprise)’.

      Then there’s ‘The Journey’ from the Pretty Things’ SF Sorrow (featuring David), which somehow costs 79p even though it falls short of three minutes.

      ‘Comfortably Numb’ from Gdańsk, by the way, costs £1.89.

  14. I’ve been collecting music since I was a kid and have always been a bit divided on this topic.

    When The Beatles Let It Be album came out we all knew it was a sham because we’d been hearing the acetate of the Get Back album on the radio stations. That was the real album to own and even when The Beatles issued Let It Be… Naked, that was a sham too because it still wasn’t the real album that Glyn Johns mixed. If EMI had just gone back and released the real Get Back album like they were supposed to do then collectors wouldn’t be searching for it anymore and the band would make their royalties.

    Now some artists like Frank Zappa and King Crimson have been releasing their own bootlegs on their websites for the past few years and this seems to work better. We the fans get what we want and the artists make their royalties, no laws get broken and everyone seems happy with this.

    As far as the RIAA goes, they will never be able to prosecute or stop each and every collector who is downloading music. They choose one every so often and make an example of them and fine them some extortionate fine that they’ll never see collected, but it solves nothing. It wastes a lot of time and money but people go right on trading and collecting anyway.

    I’d like to see more artists release their own rarities to give fans what they want. But as long as people keep procrastinating about why they can’t do that the longer the collectors will keep on trading music. And nothing will stop it either.

    1. Now some artists like Frank Zappa and King Crimson have been releasing their own bootlegs on their websites for the past few years and this seems to work better. We the fans get what we want and the artists make their royalties, no laws get broken and everyone seems happy with this.

      The Who do something similar; I believe they still record each of their concerts and fans can immediately order a copy of the recording on CD or DVD. Must cost a fortune to record, but then the CDs and DVDs are not cheap. The DVD’s about $35, shipped from LA, if my memory is working well today.

    2. I have done just that with the two Who gigs I’ve been to. Obviously the shows aren’t very overproduced, due to the huge volume of DVDs that have to be created, but I think it’s quite a good buy. More or less the ultimate souvenir of a concert other than an object coming from the actual artists themselves.

      Plus, the profits all go to charity. 🙂

    3. Genesis did the same thing (as FEd describes for The Who), for their reunion tour not long ago. I went to 2 of those concerts and have both on CD recorded directly form the main soundboard. Now I can back up my boasting to friends with these as concrete or should I say plastic evidence about how good it was!

    4. I’m (unabashedly) a bootleg collector. It’s given me the opportunity to hear and see things that I haven’t been privy to due to my age and when I started concert going.

      I agree that there is a mixed philosophy with regards to “stealing” proprietary rights by releasing demos/out takes/or even live cuts that exist in the musicians (or, more than likely, the recording companies vaults). However, by now things CAN be done differently to give the fans what they want, too. King Crimson, Genesis, The Who, Pearl Jam, Cheap Trick and many more artists are releasing their rarities and live recordings to their fans. Zappa did it best… BEAT THE BOOTS! The Dead have always had the greatest outlook on this. They openly allow recording (even patches to the soundboard, for cripes sake!), and many other bands are doing this as well. Townshend offered rare demos downloads on his own (defunct) website!!

      I take umbrage to the shady practice of sweetening the pot of yet another best of CD with merely a rare song or two. Now, I’m all for the whole remastering, reissuing thing. But sadly, after purchasing the Shine On box set, as well as the original Zeppelin box sets, and then having them all remastered again (!!!) I think the record company could go much father in NOT screwing the fans (like myself) who would shell out the money for a CD full of out takes or a live concert from the archives.

      (Uhhhh, BBC radio’s simulcast of the Wembley 11/14/74 Dark Side concert… anyone??!?!?!) 8|

  15. Hi, FEd.

    Oh, interesting topic and I like to talk about it.

    During these years CDs prices became prohibitive and I don’t know why. For this reason, I prefer to buy CDs when I see “nice price” offer, otherwise I can’t buy them.

    In my opinion, concert tickets are also too expensive for who loves music. When I go to concerts it’s a big trouble for my wallet, so I can go only to cheapest concerts.

    Music and culture would be for all people, or not? :/

    Should the price of concert tickets be more available for all people?

    Yes, I think they must cut out the middlemen.

    At least I agree the price of downloads must be considerably less than the physical product. I also agree with carbon neutral packaging CDs.

    Bye, Hydrea

    1. Yes, I think they must cut out the middlemen.

      Me too. We all pay more and more for CDs, downloads, concert tickets or whatever so that the middlemen can get their cut.

      I bet half of them do nothing at all!

    2. Hydrea, I couldn’t agree with you more! The DIY philosophy is starting to take off.

      Take, for example, Pearl Jam’s latest effort on their own label. Personally, I think we have had SO much stuff rehashed to us with more exorbitant costs affixed to this product, and frankly I abhor this practice! OK, someone went in and remastered or remixed the original tapes. However, isn’t this the same material the company has had all along? OK, so now the recording sounds better… but why the higher price tag affixed to it? The liner notes? An extra picture or two? The record company have been raping the consumer for far too long and a lot of the middle men and fluff should be cut out of the equation. It’s not like redoing a classic album over again should cost that much. The tapes were already in vaults.

      I think the prices should come down, as was promised lo those many years ago when record execs said they would (using the excuse that the CD was not the accepted format of choice, versus the LP). Well, how is it YET that CDs are now MORE expensive! What gives!??!

      One outlier in the playing field is Cheap Trick. In the late 90s they remastered some of their more classic albums – In Color, their self titled LP, Heaven Tonight… remastered, added a bevy of bonus demos and live cuts… and I recently purchased all three of those disks for (gasp!) $7.99 each!!!! Yeah, listen up record companies… IT CAN BE DONE!

      (Off my soap box in Speakers corner now)…
      Dirwood

  16. The same guy who said ‘which one’s Pink?’ is now saying that if record companies don’t get their 90% share then people will stop making music, and artists sick with fear and Stockholm syndrome back them, not realising that they would pocket plenty of those 90% if the record industry would just go belly up.

    Great music creates great culture, and culture is when that music inspires those who hear it to make their own music, or just play the same music they heard, or even just share what they heard with other people.

    And, no, I personally would never have spent a cent on Pink Floyd if I hadn’t been able to download their entire catalogue so I could hear for myself that they are one of the finest bands in history, and not just another bunch of pretentious wankers.

  17. I don’t like downloading. I don’t know enough about computing to do it or file sharing. I would listen to things I’ve found on the internet or radio or TV or friends or (preferably) live, then buy my own copy if I like it.

    I really hope the record shops don’t go out of business. Maybe this is evolution we are witnessing and we must adapt.

    As for young artists struggling, well, the competition is tough, if they are good enough, (and so far I don’t like anything Lily Allen has done in the four years she’s put out two albums and done one and a half tours, if that), they will make it big. They need to gig. For example, Kaiser Chiefs’ debut album came out a year before Miss Allen’s, they don’t appear to have suffered from the problems she describes. I’ve bought all KC’s albums and so has my 16 year old niece, we’ve seen them in concert and bought T shirts. (You’d think I’d know better by now.) :))

    I think the lack of success for young artists is because of poor quality, as you wondered Fed and not because of illegal downloads.

    I’d heard Floyd’s early singles on the radio, maybe some album tracks, no albums. I discovered Meddle at a bi-weekly club held in a back room of a pub that two (capitalist) hippy guys organised. That was it, I was hooked and have been a fan ever since. I sought out the earlier stuff as I mixed more in that crowd of people.

    I think I discovered On An Island because someone e-mailed me a link to this site.

    ash X

    1. As for young artists struggling, well, the competition is tough, if they are good enough, (and so far I don’t like anything Lily Allen has done in the four years she’s put out two albums and done one and a half tours, if that), they will make it big.

      I’m almost tempted to wonder if the likes of Lily Allen (James Blunt is another) are maybe less confident than Radiohead or Nine Inch Nails and perhaps are beginning to fear a sudden end to a possibly short career in music. That could explain why their comments are being cynically interpreted by some (cynics, mostly) as a call to shut out their more open-minded and adventurous competition.

      What do you think?

    2. I think if an artist is good enough and committed enough, they will succeed. What they do should be their passion not a means to get rich quick but if they do get rich, so much the better.

      It’s a risk an artist takes if they paint, sing, act, write, the public vote with their purse. I buy young artists’ stuff if I like it.

      I think young people simply listen to downloads or fileshares as a means of discovering what they like. Their world is very different to the pre digital technology one the rest of us knew as record buying teens. I know teenagers who download/fileshare but they buy CDs and DVDs too. Only the technology is different to the world when I made tapes or listened to friends albums.

      Whatever happened to cafes with jukeboxes? 20 youngsters could meet there and talk about what was playing, now they do it on social networking sites instead. Maybe the site should have to pay royalties when a music file passes through their site. (Is that possible? is that an idea I should patent?)

      ash X

  18. As much as I respect the artists who give us the music, I think that now in the age of the internet that this was bound to happen and I have file shared myself, but over 30 years I have spent a lot of hard earned money on Vinyl, CDs and many many concert tickets and merchandise to keep many a musician in the lifestyle they are accustomed to. So in an age when we are hit with recession, I don’t think this applies to most famous musicians.

    If we, the fans of rock music download music by artists we are not that familiar with or new music, we are just familiarising ourselves with that talent, if I like what I hear I go and buy their product and go to see them live.

    On my earnings of roughly £1000 a month, I cannot afford to buy much music these days and keep a mortgage going and everything else and yet I still manage to go and see live music, but when certain artists charge £50 plus booking fees, where is the justification? And yet when we download music we are made to feel the guilty party. I just don’t get this.

    I agree with up and coming new bands being against it but, as I stated, if I like them I’ll go to the gig and buy their stuff, the existing already well known artists don’t need the money. Get in the real world and remember when you started out.

    Cheers,
    Aly from Liverpool

    1. I fail to see any justification whatsoever for the endless booking, processing, printing and pointless paper-shuffling fees that are added to already inflated ticket costs. They’re yet another example of too many people getting involved in music when they don’t need to be, looking for a slice of the pie when they shouldn’t be, I feel.

      However, I can’t imagine a system which makes it almost acceptable to illegally download something that Nick Mason has helped create (because he has a collection of Ferraris), slightly less acceptable to illegally download something of Lily Allen’s (she has a collection of designer handbags) and thoroughly unacceptable to illegally download the work of Jill’s friend, mentioned above, who is juggling jobs so that she can follow her dream. There would have to be a level playing field, surely.

      Or would there?

  19. Long post FEd, it must be an important subject for you guys in the industry.

    I don’t download music, except for “Live in Gdansk” which I have a digital download webpass.

    There is something that I’d love to download but I don’t think it’s available and that’s the parts of the Gdansk concert that are not on the official DVD. Yes, I’ve watched them on this site and listened to them with my crappy computer speakers but I would like to watch them on my TV and listen to them via my Hi-Fi system and I’m willing to pay for that.

    I still buy music, but mostly on vinyl and yes, that does mean that I don’t listen to a lot of new stuff. I did buy a new release CD the other day but it’s recorded (or whatever) miles too bright and doesn’t sound good.

    If you were to do an eBay search on “Pink Floyd” there are about 20000 items for sale world wide at any one time. Does the band make any money from this?

    I’ve bought about 8K worth of Pink Floyd (DG) items over the last year and I feel bad that SOME of the money is not going to the right people. What can be done about a guy selling sunglasses with PF on them from Hong Kong or somebody selling PF coasters from the UK and so on? Has the internet made it too easy to make and sell somebody else’s product?

    How did I discover On an Island? I heard one song on the ABC. What’s wrong with the Australian music industry, I’ve only ever heard one song off this LP in this country, why? Now I have it on CD and LP. Heaviest single LP package that I have.

    1. I think the internet has made it too easy to make and sell somebody else’s product, but that’s why the musician hires people. If they really want to stop it, they could get the best lawyers to make it stop right now. They know it would cost them money and they’d probably lose, so they lobby government to protect their interests instead and get some kids sent to prison so they can make an example out of them.

      They want to criminalise but they’re the real criminals for building the beast. They’re only out for what they can get, so I think it’s quite funny seeing them crying about unfairness.

      Music executives are no better than the bankers.

      Good post FEd.

  20. Wow, FEd, quite a topic.

    Music sharing and downloading is here to stay I’m afraid. Downloading music illegally is no different than going into a shop, grabbing a disc or album and walk out without paying. Stealing is stealing. A lot of artists lose a lot of money that could make or break some due to this issue.

    Whatever happened to getting new music off the radio? That is where I heard most new music in the 70s and 80s. I understand this costs money as well but is there not a fee or a tax that stations pay to broadcast the music? Is there something like this for the internet? Would this even work for the internet? I think clubs and bars with jukeboxes also have to pay fees for the music.

    I think that with today’s technology a lot of artists could tell the record companies to kiss off. The problem would be in the distribution of the music.

    This is an issue that will probably be around for a while.

    Hoss

    1. Without wishing to be picky, music sharing is not quite the same as shoplifting.

      Stealing a physical product is taking something that has a marginal cost to produce and that has been paid for by a distributor.

      Copying a friend’s CD, which has been paid for, is more akin to sharing a slice of a pie that they bought. There was only ever an intention to buy one pie, only one pie was made but two people consumed it… or is it illegal pie-sharing? If you like the taste of the pie, you’ll probably buy another (or if you are tight you’ll keep eating your mate’s pies).

      There is the problem of a second permanent copy… but who’s to say listening to the CD does not create a permanent memory? (Or indeed the pie create a permanent inch on my hips?)

      The essence of this debate is that the nature of the problem is distinct and I think that, unjust as it will sometimes be, the industry needs to figure out a product that people will happily pay for, or go and do something else.

      Just played the Beatles “Rock band” by the way and that’s a gas… now that IS an example of fresh thinking and will make a lot of people a lot of money…

      When’s the Floyd version coming out? 😛

  21. Fed, interesting topic, and for sure, LPs (yes, I am that old that I know what LPs and Singles are, LOL) and CDs have been much too expensive. We music fans might have been fleeced, but I am not the jealous kinda person and only bought records of the singers/bands I really loved, and those mostly were worth any penny.

    Actually I am so dated that I need to have a CD in the hand, have to touch and see it, so needless to say that I never “stole” copied files of music I really love. And I still prefer playing the CDs on my old CD player than on my iPod, but that is a different topic.

    So we music fans paid too much for records decades ago, but then the tickets for live shows were a fraction of what they are today. I know that I only paid 50 DM (25 EUR) for the last Pink Floyd gig here in Cologne in 1994! Imagine that, such a fantastic show, those mesmerizing sights and sound for so little money. And now one is rarely getting a good seat for any gig for less than 100 to 200 bucks.

    Speaking of gigs, shouldn’t we celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the Premiere of RTN from September the 8th? Time is flying for sure! And any concert of David is worth any money in the world! But he is never fleecing his fans!

    1. You raise a fair point about ticket prices, although I suspect that some may disagree with your closing sentence.

      After all, if musicians are making most of their money – royalties aside – from merchandise and ticket sales, I wonder how many are genuinely concerned about how greatly these costs have increased in recent years.

  22. I personally download music, however not extreme. Only to find a song that I’m interested to learn on guitar.

    Am I violating rights to downloading music, structure of it and sharing? You guessed rightly so.

    My point is, the cyber age era is to blame wholeheartedly for this predicament to happen. However, again, how can you eliminate this?

    There will always be someone to find a new avenue to pursue, good or bad.

    The economy and people without income have at least a chance to listen and be heard through music. Are you going to put them in jails that are obscenely sated with people waiting in line? That would be ALL OF US! I don’t care who you are.

    1. I personally download music, however not extreme. Only to find a song that I’m interested to learn on guitar.

      Am I violating rights to downloading music, structure of it and sharing? You guessed rightly so.

      …and are you violating rights by playing it on your guitar? The big companies would rather charge you for that if they could. They only dropped DRM because real life overtook them and they had to.

      Taki

    2. You can play it on your guitar all night long without violating anything (you’d better play it right… though).

      The moment you publish your guitar cover playing, even just file sharing, which is just like publishing, you violate a bunch of recording and performance rights, the same way you do when you distribute a ripped song from a CD.

      The difference is in distributing the copied/reproduced material.

    3. You can play it on your guitar all night long without violating anything

      I’m not so sure that is 100% correct.

      I believe that you are OK to play and get paid to play cover tunes in a venue as long as that venue has also paid their annual royalty fee to ASCAP which allows them to play live or recorded music in their premises.

      So while you may not be violating anything, where you play may have a violation. Plus I think it also has to do with how successful that tribute band becomes.

      So I am going to ask a thorny question here. Are the major PF tribute bands (and we know who they are) violating copyrights unless they too pay an annual fee to an organization like ASCAP? After all, they are making good money off of someone else’s material. Isn’t it a similar issue as with illegal downloads?

      Thanks.

      Andrew

    4. Are the major PF tribute bands (and we know who they are) violating copyrights unless they too pay an annual fee to an organization like ASCAP? After all, they are making good money off of someone else’s material. Isn’t it a similar issue as with illegal downloads?

      I don’t think there’s a problem, as long as the venue where the tribute act is performing has paid its annual ASCAP – BMI in the UK – fees. The venues are responsible for paying royalties to cover public performances of copyrighted songs.

      Selling CDs and DVDs of the songs is another matter, obviously.

      As is the case with illegal downloads, you could strongly argue that tribute bands encourage sales of the original artists’ music, merchandise, etc.

      Traditionally, anything that is widely recognisable as being ‘Pink Floyd’ (such as a circular screen on stage, specific aspects of the light show, band logos, maybe The Wall font, for example) are protected by trademark law, so there could be problems on that front. You mustn’t give the impression that you are the genuine article.

      Bon Jovi looked to protect its trademark rights recently.

  23. I’ve always wondered about whether downloading music for free of music that you’ve already purchased is considered illegal or even morally wrong.

    For example, let’s say that many years ago in the vinyl age before CDs, I bought DSOTM and now wish to own it on CD. Is it okay to download it from a free source and burn it onto a blank CD? It seems to me that I’ve already bought the license to listen to it but I’m just not sure about the legality of it all.

    Please advise. Anybody?

    1. I wouldn’t imagine that it would be encouraged, but that’s obviously because everyone but you would prefer to see another copy sold.

    2. OK cool FEd, thanks for the reply and realise that your answer is your best guess so the following is not an argument with you, just another scenario that gnaws at me.

      I have a turntable that has the capability to link up to my computer via USB connection. So now I can play my Dark Side Of The Moon vinyl LP that I bought so many years ago, and while listening to it, copy it to my computer. Then if I want to, burn it to CD or just listen to it directly from my computer. Am I a naughty lawbreaking pirating scumbag for doing so?

      Certainly that cannot be illegal by any logical standards. So why cannot I retrieve that same music that I paid the rights to listen to from any other source?

    3. I wouldn’t say that’s any different to Rob taking the music from a DVD that he has purchased and making a CD that he can play in his car – and I’m sure has no intention of copying, lending or selling. Yet that’s still classed as theft by some. Have a look at this article, although it’s a few years old now.

      Copying music you own is stealing, say Sony BMG.

      My understanding was always that, if you own the original, you’re allowed to make a copy of it for your own personal use – ‘fair use’. Copying from a copy is a no-no, but copying from the original is OK. That should apply to an original CD, DVD, LP, video or cassette tape (not least because the latter deteriorate so rapidly).

      However, Section 1008 of the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act – which applies to the USA only, I hasten to add – states that private, non-commercial home copying is perfectly acceptable.

      An interesting case is that of the Recording Industry Association of America v Diamond Multimedia (who made the Rio, the first commercially successful personal MP3 player), where it was ruled – in 1999 – that ‘time-shifting’ of copyrighted content – i.e. TV to VCR, or CD to PC – constitutes fair use under copyright law.

    4. Read the article FEd. All I can say is that this is a reference example of someone who is only speaking on behalf of their employer because this person wishes to remain employed.

      Dollars to doughnuts that this person has the largest collection of illegally acquired music than anybody else has… alive or dead.

      However, if this person is actually delusionally serious about this point of view, who nominated this person as the ultimate rulemaker of what is legal or not legal of what we do with a product that we paid for using our hard earned cash? Does this mean that Levi Strauss can sue me for loaning my jeans to you… (not that I would ever imagine that you would want to, just making a point).

      Wish I could transport myself back to the 70s when things were so much simpler, music listening wise… on second thought, maybe not. I was in university then… too much mental work… been there, done that, don’t want to go there again… sure was fun though!!!

  24. Bloggers!

    I taped the Charts. Recorded “music” vinyl to tape and later radio to tape, CD to CD etc. And have also spent a small fortune on purchases. And LIVE shows!

    Sorry to shout.

    Has Music died? No! Some bands have, some haven’t, but generally, the ones that die, they are “not unique enough” to make the most as the next man.

    Miss Allen, good upstanding Citizen, and role model for our incredibly greedy future. I prefer the real thing.

  25. This is the first time I’ve replied here, but I’ve been reading for a while, as a quite long term Pink Floyd/DG fan.

    Anyway, I have a few problems with file sharing that don’t often come up in these arguments.

    Firstly, I think that there’s a generation growing up now (I’m not sure exactly of the age, but it covers teenagers and probably early twenties), where the idea of buying music isn’t part of their world. So even though we, as possibly older or more committed music fans, will use the internet like radio used to be used – to listen to songs and artists that we plan on buying if we like it enough – younger consumers use that as their entire experience of music.

    I remember as a kid, of course I mostly experienced music through D90s taped from friends’ and family’s records, but those tapes had value to me – I still had spend a couple of dollars on them, and look after them, not to mention actually find someone who had the record that I wanted. There was work involved in listening to the American top 40, tape recorder at the ready, waiting for that new song to come on.

    I believe that once music became just another type of file on our computers – along with our tax returns, school essays and pictures of celebrities – it stopped being valued by most of (younger) society. And I don’t know if that’s something that can be fixed.

    1. Thanks for taking the plunge and leaving a comment, David.

      I thoroughly agree with you: the internet has certainly fostered an easy come, easy go attitude in many users, particularly the more youthful. I expect it’s exactly the same for magazines and newspapers, with people choosing to read freely online instead of buying. That’s why Rupert Murdoch wants to start charging everybody for perusing his newspapers’ websites, but I don’t hear the journalists complaining about the potential for broader readership.

      I also feel that music has been devalued, but I’m sure that if I listened to the Top 40 this weekend (is the Top 40 singles chart even on the radio on a Sunday afternoon these days?), I probably wouldn’t value much of it.

      Why has it been devalued, do you think? Because concert tickets are too expensive; festivals have become too common and commercialised; there are few decent music programmes left on TV; reality TV produces a conveyor belt of mindless pop pap where image is of greater importance than actual musical talent; too many obvious marketing opportunities are being shamelessly exploited by the routine release of compilation albums and over-elaborate special editions…?

    2. Totally agree here – both points – and it is basically what I have been struggling to put down on paper – or on blog. (Is that a phrase? It is now.)

      The point is clear isn’t it? Are we all just overlooking this one huge point? Not for me personally you understand, but for all those who do download illegally.

      If I can download a song for free – a literally endless supply of music – why on earth would I even consider buying it? Whether it is illegal to do so or not, if you can get something for free, then why wouldn’t you?

      Especially now as music in digital form is just worthless, I mean, it doesn’t even physically exist does it? It’s just a file on a PC.

      But who is the real criminal in this situation, the person downloading, or the person offering the download?

    3. But who is the real criminal in this situation, the person downloading, or the person offering the download?

      Two wrongs don’t make a right but three rights make a left.

      I believe both are criminals.

      Thanks.

      Andrew

  26. Reading all of these thoughts, and constantly dwelling on your original outline of the premise, I cant help thinking that the wider issue or ‘core’ of the issue in general is a little embryonic at this time.

    I keep thinking that the whole of the music dissemination industry has to change it’s paradigm.

    It will probably happen anyway, down the track, under a combination of gentle guidance and some good or dubious control, but I am a problem solver, and I can see that the current situation does not in fact address the current market quite like a cog in another.

    Forgive me, I am a dreamer.

    I dream about freedoms and most of all: the little guy, to whom a single track, however procured, can become such soul-food as if it is the lifeblood of a good 10 years. Music can have that effect! Pink Floyd always did for me!

    I can relate to what you say about the smell of warm cardboard in the store shelves too. For me, and many others, music is such magic that everything that comes with the package is copiously covered in a metaphorical pixiedust. And I would hate to break your heart, but I suggest that the days of CDs and vinyl may one day be a thing of the past.

    Memory stick format, yet still bought as unit, was recently explored by a company, including still the album cover and more!

    Perhaps, as with other joys of my youth that were ubiquitously available, we may see music bought iTunes-style from a kiosk at every local candy store or 711, for a reduced fee and captured on memory stick.

  27. funny, how this discussion has been going on for so many years, and yet the record industry hasn’t come up with a sensible solution.

    my opinion is: on principle, artists should get paid for the work they do. that is on the one hand. we all know the story, and the arguments and respective bands involved.

    on the other hand: any band these days, be they supergroups from the old times, or new acts emerging through filesharing sites, myspace, or their own retail services/possibilities are profiting hugely from free access to music. they lose some, sure, but in the long run, likely platforms gain them new audiences.

    I myself am a sometimes user of non-legal file sharing, mostly for records I really try to snatch in advance, but, I always, if possible will get me the actual record on the day it gets properly released. now I remember getting for instance rick wright’s first solo record, or the two records nick mason’s been involved in in the late 70s and early 80s. I don’t feel any regret downloading these, since these are virtually impossible to obtain legally these days.

    especially in regard to floyd and members’ solo works, there’s a huge well meaning community out there, sharing concerts and other rare stuff. IMO this keeps up the spirit of the music, some outstanding work, e.g. certain floyd podcasts, are being produced, and I honestly believe that this work is there to be embraced.

    myself, I am eternally thankful that these platforms are around!

    cheers,
    bernhard

  28. Do you know i have written out about four different replies to this sodding thread – and none of them ever really got anywhere.

    Damn you! 😛

    I used to download music back in 99, using Napster, and it was brilliant. A whole world of music I just couldn’t afford to buy, and I could get whatever I wanted – and I did.

    Without Napster I wouldn’t have discovered as many bands/songs as I have, and I was sad to see it close (in its original form) although I had stopped using it a long time before it did.

    I think the media paints the picture that the main culprits of illegal downloads are teens and those in their early 20s. Maybe that is true, but I also know of at least 2 professional DJs who regularly download music from torrent sites to use in their gigs – who is the bigger criminal in that scenario?

    (To be fair I also know at least one DJ who refuses to do that and pays for everything.)

    The issue really is massive, and as fast as the producers can come up with ways to stop piracy – DRM for example – the pirates can find 100 ways around it.

    What about this situation –

    I have a concert DVD, if I use my computer and audio software to make a copy of the audio in mp3 format to listen to in my car – am I breaking the law? If the concert is also available on CD? Am I taking revenue away from the artist if I have no intention of buying the CD as well as the DVD?

    1. I agree with this post: many artists missed a point about Napster… it allowed fans to rediscover things that were just not officially released or were to difficult to find – things I would have been perfectly happy to buy had the been available.

      Two examples: in 1999 very few people remembered that David Lee Roth had recorded his album “Eat ‘Em and Smile” in Spanish. I thought it was a great piece of trivia and an interesting album to buy if you were a David Lee Roth and Van Halen fan. Well, it was nowhere to be found and some records store clerks thought I was crazy to ask… but there it was on Napster. I downloaded it, of course. Later, when it was finally re-released I purchased the hard copy CD because I wanted to own this little piece of music history.

      The same applied to Billy Idol’s LIVE version of “Mony, Mony”… that guitar solo by Steve Stevens rocked – but finding a CD single at a record store for this in 1999 was nearly impossible (for the record, I was too young to buy these albums when they were originally released). When I found the single on Napster, I downloaded it.

      If artists found ways to release things officially – and more things at that – for a smaller price, more fans would just buy it. In all truth, it’s the price that bothers me most. If the albums and songs were inexpensive enough I would buy in the volume I used to when I had a bit more disposable income.

    2. Napster was brilliant. I found fairly rare songs on there featuring DG, like the Rock Aid Armenia “Smoke on the Water”. It would have cost a fortune to buy them all and I couldn’t find them anywhere else, not even on CD.

      I’ve bought every PF and DG album, merchandise and tickets. I only download the stuff that isn’t available.

    3. Yeah, I agree – you can download some really cool, very rare stuff that you just cant get on CD.

      Also you have to consider the prices for CDs – not chart ones, back catalogue stuff.

      I paid something like £30 for the white album – £30!!! and I remember paying about £16 for Wish You Were Here – my first Floyd CD, and I was very angry when i realised there were only 5 tracks (LOL, of course this changed when I played it).

      I don’t think bootlegs and concert audio is that same as downloading a chart single/album.

      A bootleg of a concert is some guy with a tape recorder – or mp3 nowadays – which is likely never going to be professionally released, and for those who couldn’t go to that concert it’s a way in – if there had been no PULSE, I would have no problem downloading a bootleg.

      Downloading Live in Gdansk for free – that is different. That has been professionally produced and all that goes with it.

      I agree with many here – nowadays the technology exists to be able to offer a digital copy of any concert as soon as it has finished, be it at the venue or on the website. But as soon as you turn a song into a digital file, it can be shared.

      I also have to say that I think Lilly Allen has just completely missed the point of what Nick Mason and others were saying. She does seem to like engaging mouth before brain sometimes though. 😉 She is quite nice looking so I forgive her. 😛

    4. What about this situation –

      I have a concert DVD, if I use my computer and audio software to make a copy of the audio in mp3 format to listen to in my car – am I breaking the law? If the concert is also available on CD? Am I taking revenue away from the artist if I have no intention of buying the CD as well as the DVD?

      I really wouldn’t like to say, Rob. I’ve no idea. My gut feeling would be that it’s fine; there’s nothing wrong in making a copy of something you have purchased for your own personal use, as far as I’m aware.

      Technically, it’s still a breach of UK copyright law (because UK copyright law is ridiculously outdated; I believe it’s still an offence to rip a CD that you have purchased fair and square to your PC or MP3 player, which is absurd), but as long as you didn’t make multiple copies and sell them or give them away, as is obviously happening with files being shared haphazardly online, it’s OK. I think.

    5. Wish You Were Here – my first Floyd CD, and I was very angry when i realised there were only 5 tracks (LOL, of course this changed when I played it).

      That’s funny, Rob. Back in the 80s I was persuading my friend to buy ‘Meddle’ and he said: “No way! The album only has 6 songs on it.” I told him: “That shows you how good the album is because it is pure music on an almost classical scale i.e. long compositions.”

      He therefore purchased the said album and understood what I was getting at. 🙂

  29. Well, I’m afraid I will be left behind on this issue as I have never file-shared in my life. I am not even motivated to do so – probably down to laziness and lack of know how, too.

    However, unlike you, FEd, I do love to hear as many versions of the same song as possible. The differences of atmosphere is amazing. I admit, I used to be a huge fan of bootleg vinyl. Once one gets over the initial hiss, pop and fan noise, one can drift off into the spirit of the concert as if one is really there and in my opinion, that cannot be beaten. It is a great time machine too.

    I remember having 62 PF and affiliated band solo artist vinyl albums in my collection (which I have since sold), because I wanted to make up for the time when I was too young to be able to witness my favourite band live in concert, I had some prized booties in that collection. I also wanted to hear every single thing that the band I loved (and still love I might add) so much ever did. I will never forget on ‘Crackers’ an American voice saying: “Hot dogs, get your hot dogs” and hearing Mr Gilmour forgetting the lyrics in “Money” which causes a laugh. You see, the live spirit cannot be beaten. BTW, I am only using PF as an example here as it could be related to any band/artiste. It all depends on how deep the love is.

    But back to the subject at hand, in my opinion, if a fan of whatever artist is really into it then they will obtain any recorded version of their choice, be it purchased or downloaded.

  30. The music industry doesn’t help itself when they’re charging too much for the old-style CD. Who would pay $18 for a CD in the store when the music is online for free?

    Any business must adapt and change with new market conditions and continue being smart about how it does things. The music business certainly failed in this area.

    But, as was said above, this makes it better for the new bands. Why bother with a record company that takes a huge cut, when you can promote yourself and keep it all? Even if you don’t sell nearly as many units, you make more money. And if online music inspires people to go to concerts, and therefore bands are more ready to play live music, I’m on board with that. And the artist is getting paid for its music, even if not for the recording that promotes it.

    The Industry was just too committed to the notion of selling a disc. They should instead have been selling music, artists. The industry should also stop peddling bland music to the masses, and work instead to help bands make the music that people actually want to listen to.

    1. Do you think we’re all guilty, in part, though? We admit to buying umpteen versions of Dark Side of the Moon, a new version each time one was waved under our noses.

    2. It is true that people paid ridiculously high prices to re-purchase music they already owned. I myself have ONLY done that with DSotM and WYWH, the only records that I purchased again as CDs. (In the case of DSotM, I also had an audiophile LP edition.) I have not purchased any anniversary or special-edition CD containing music I already had. But those who have done so have willingly been parted from their money.

      I also don’t often get music from the Net. But the point is, once the technology was there and people were beginning to use it, the industry should have embraced it rather than trying to eradicate it. If record labels had put their music online right at the get-go and charged a dollar a song, they’d have retained their standing as the main distributor of music. But because they didn’t do so, they are a minor player today. That has taken down record stores, too. It is increasingly rare to go into a store and buy a disc with music. All because the industry didn’t get on the boat before it left the dock.

      BTW, there will always be producers like Simon Cowell pumping out mass produced music. It is easier than ever, though, for a unique band to find its audience online. THAT is the real sea-change of music on the Net.

  31. FEd,

    That’s quite a few questions (it might take me more than one post – I hope you indulge me if that’s the case; I feel strongly about this) – and I think fans should take advantage of this forum to discuss this.

    I’m with Nick Mason on this and think the young singer who has criticized his views should be put in her place: as I recollect, Pink Floyd was the only – or one of the few acts – to donate the increase in sales from Live 8 to charity. She needs a bit more experience to speak as boldly as she did.

    First I will say this: I have spent plenty of money on music over the years: thousands of CDs, over 300 concerts, music merchandise and related media (lithographs of album covers, posters, etc.).

    The music industry needs to move to a new model. There’s no way around this. When I download something for “free” it’s because I am a big enough fan to want the music “now”, but I usually, if not always, end up buying the CD for the artwork and all the extras: Gdansk was a package you HAD to buy in full if you wanted all the bells and whistles. But overall, the model artists will need to pick up is: the album promotes the tour, and not the other way around. At the end of the day the true quality and longevity of the band is proven live, not on the production of CDs.

    Downloads should be cheaper – and they should also be transferable. I can’t stand it when I buy a file that works in one format but not another…

  32. The price we are paying as fans for concert tickets and merchandise is completely unjustifiable if we’re also being prosecuted as fans for downloading files – which is one reason I feel artists should also spend a bit of time with fans, signing things and paying attention to our passion for music at the most personal level possible. It’s not a responsibility, just a nice gesture. (I also feel it is wrong for fans to take advantage of that and make money on eBay with autographs, but the attention is well-deserved for those of us making these sacrifices at times). Nick Mason has always been great at this, other members of Pink Floyd have as well – Guy Pratt comes to mind.

    Concerts should always be recorded on the spot for fans to buy – the technology for this is there and invested in from time-to-time (Genesis’ last US Tour?). I don’t feel bad when I acquire bootlegs – I do try to buy albums when they are officially released, even if I have had access to a download before the official release because I want the full package. But artists need to invest some time fighting the machines that are overcharging for venues, ticket “processing”, etc., and they should begin to accept the model of the album promoting the tour.

    I discovered Pink Floyd through MTV – I was a kid when “Learning to Fly” was released. By the time “On An Island” came out I had been waiting for months for its release. By then I had already spent hundreds on Floyd-related shows and merchandise.

  33. Dear FEd,

    I hope today is finding you and everyone well.

    What an interesting and thought provoking subject. In all honesty I would have to say that our household goes both ways. My children (teenagers) are big fans of YouTube and I know have downloaded many songs. Would they do this had it not been made available? Of course not, they would have to save their money and buy albums and CDs like we did in our generation.

    Do they spend more money on music or less? is the biggy. My kids spend far more on music at their age than I ever did. They hear the music via internet and then want the CD. In my mind that means advertising still works.

    Do I see it as theft when they do this? Maybe, yet when someone puts out an offering and you accept it, is that theft?

    I think regulation would help if it is perceived that musicians are losing money because of our internet age. Why are full songs and full albums made available to these sites? Would it not be better to give just give a snip-it of the music, just enough of a sample to wet your whistle hence you want the music and you buy it? Myself, I like to have copy at hand and read all of the wonderful info there-in.

    I’m glad to see the price of CDs have become more reasonable over the years and are now in cardboard cases verses the plastic.

    I am guilty of sharing my CDs with my brother. He and I have always made gifts to each other of our music. I will purchase a CD to add to my MP3 collection and gift it to him. Yet we just spent $400 on 3 Kiss tickets. 😮

  34. Just to let you know that an anti-piracy law, called ‘Hadopi II’ (since the first one had been rejected in April after tumultuous debates and big opposition) has just been voted yesterday by the French National Assembly.

    Also called ‘3-strikes anti-piracy law’. On claim or denunciation of copyright holders, a first e-mail will be sent to the connection owner, then a second certified one, followed maybe by a suspension of internet connection. Here is a short article in English.

    A shame, in my opinion.

    – First because “Internet subscribers would be held liable if someone uses their Internet connection to illegally download copyright works — even if that happens because their computer was attacked by malware and fell under someone else’s control, or their wireless Internet access was inadequately secured.”

    Therefore, innocent ISP account holders could be found guilty of “negligence”, risking a 1,500 euro fine and a 4 week disconnection. Where is the presumption of innocence?

    And a judge (no trial) could solely decide if the person is guilty and if he wants to cut his internet connection.

    – But above all because the ‘High Authority’ (created on this occasion) will be able to obtain the IP address of any computer automatically, spy, obtain e-mail addresses, etc, etc… Just an intolerable invasion of privacy.

    On the internet, laws should protect more the rights of privacy/human rights instead of flouting them just to protect the money/interests of powerful lobbies (such as music labels in this case.)

    Michèle

  35. Great article more than a topic, FEd!

    I’m not so young to have been grown up with computers. Spent a part of my life and of my money (smiling too) waiting for a LP when I was in my 20s, and I was very proud of my music.

    Now I live with the iPod in the ears, but prefer to listen to “pure” or “rough” sound from CD or radio or vinyl.

    I download (bootlegs) sometime sharing peer to peer but very often I pay my download buying music from iTunes, to pay it’s normal if you wish or buy something!

    Never download DVD, it’s so easy to find porno-movies instead of a gig and it’s neither amusing…

    diana

  36. If the artist wants to be paid for THEIR music then they should be paid. If they want to give it for free, OK.

    However, I think that anyone that puts the music physically online should be responsible for the royalties, and downloading shouldn’t be allowed unless someone pays.

    LA

  37. I find the current plight of the record industry sad. Perhaps I am too much of a luddite to understand the modern attitude to purchasing music. I find downloading music devalues it in no small way, it seems to lack something tangible.

    I want to hear and see the music I choose to buy, as in admiring the sleeve, reading the liner notes and following the lyrics. DSOTM or Sgt Pepper without the packaging? No thank you.

    In my large local town there is now only one place to see and buy CDs, a small stand at WH Smith’s. When I went in on Saturday they had only one copy of one the Beatles remastered albums.

    I’m off to start up my own record shop.

    1. Hear, hear, Jeremy.

      I agree that it is nice to have something tangible.

      In the past, many an hour was spent looking at my long plays in detail and marvelling at the artwork, lyrics, credits etc. whilst enjoying the music contained within.

      I used to feel the same way about the CD when it first came out; in that something was lost. It took me a while to get used to the rather small format and the meaning in the artwork which re-enforced the musical meaning appeared to be almost non-existent.

      However, to download legally or illegally, there would not be anything to compliment the music. The canvas would therefore be blank. Or perhaps, the music would speak for itself.

      So, in this respect, there would be a lot of people who would lose their jobs in the record industry like the graphic designers etc.

    2. I’m thinking of all the people in the world who have no Internet access… A world without music for them in the future?

    3. Continuing with the tangible thing and the appreciation of the physical, remember handling an LP only by the edges? Cleaning it with a lint free cloth, cleaning your (upgraded) stylus, lowering it carefully onto the groove? Never ever leaving the vinyl out of the sleeve afterwards?

      The entire experience was part of loving the art, visual and auditory.

      CDs aren’t quite as lovable, especially now my vision isn’t as good. Nevertheless, there is still that ritual if you like, of putting it in your player.

      If CDs aren’t made anymore, does this mean the end of Hi-Fi systems too? Oh dear.

      ash X

    4. You know, Ash, that is exactly what I was thinking about this morning i.e. downloading would be the end of the “Hi Fi” system. 😉

    5. I just began my own online record store business. You’d be surprised how many people still buy CDs and vinyl. To me, MP3s/iPods cater to the “lowest common denominator” who believe that “sound is sh*t” ethic. It’s a travesty on what has become the entertainment industry. We have best technology in music but many don’t use today’s tools well. The advent of 5.1 is superb. I want to live in a 5.1 world.

      When I buy CDs and LPs (be it new and/or used), I like to read the liner notes, lyric sheets and artwork. Pink Floyd, Rush and Genesis (even Beatles and The Who) albums sans artwork, forget it. Also the music scene has gone to sh*t. Thank the anti-Christs of music (Simon Cowell/Britney/Beyonce/Eminem/TRL – MTV from 1998 on) for killing music!

      Also, the world economy has gone straight to Hell in a hand basket.

      Most of groups coming out now I like are all from Australia (which spawned AC/DC) which are Wolfmother, Airbourne and Obzcure. Those three bands have assured me that rock with real singing, guitar solos and musicianship is not dead yet.

      I got into Pink Floyd thanks to my mom (may she rest in peace) and own all albums legitimately as well as David Gilmour and Rick Wright’s solo works. On an Island I waited anxiously way before it came out. I’ve owned Floyd’s catalog on either cassette or vinyl or CD or whatever. I have the Oh By the Way set (mini-LP CDs) then two Hybrid SACDs of DSotM, the 2000 remasters of WYWH, Animals and The Wall (sound better than UK EMI), the 2009 Capitol re-release of AMLoR and UK issues of DSoThunder (discontinued in the US), TDB, PULSE and ITAOT. Plus the remasters of DG’s CDs and all OAI related things. I saw PF in 1994 in Foxboro, MA (still best show) but missed DG’s OAI tour due to finances.

  38. My Dreamland… Au pays de mes rêves l’accès internet à toute forme de culture serait totalement gratuit et illimité…

    1. I should imagine that “Miss Allen” will make more money from this press release than most of us would make in a year or two!

      Acting?? EastEnders? El Dorado? I hope she settles down soon. Maybe marry a Footballer or two and have a lickle baby. After all she spends ages giving head and footballers like that! Don’t they… Great.

    2. Lily Allen to quit music? I wouldn’t bet on it, but I am sorry to learn that she’s had so much abuse that she shut down her blog. She did help get people talking about the issue of file-sharing, after all.

      Well done, Lily. I might not care for your music, but you had the guts to speak your mind. The world would be a better place if more people did that.

    3. Well, based on her statement earlier that she was “passing the baton” and not going to the FAC meeting tonight and then her subsequent attendance… looks like you’re right – again. 😛

      Not so sure about her closing down her blog due to “abuse” though. A lot of that seems to be based on her being accused of hypocrisy. Although I wouldn’t rule out that having been orchestrated to have a go at her. The website it originates from sounds a tad on the smart*rse side, IMHO.

  39. Sou brasileiro, apaixonado por boa música, e tenho um comentário a fazer. Suas músicas são o de melhor que eu já ouvi em toda a minha vida. Dentre os quitarristas que eu já vi (Bryan May, Eddie Van Halen, Hendrix, Blackmore, Jimmy Page) vc é o que me mais me encanta. Só tenho que reverencia-lo.

    Obrigado por existir e nos brindar com sua música e com seu Lendário grupo (Pink Floyd).

  40. Somebody needs to pay for the Lear jet, mansions, Ferrari, Cristal parties and heroin. And the problem is that everyone wants to be a rock star – not just the performers but everyone around them wants that lifestyle.

    In some ways it’s not wrong because effectively to be successful you need a team around you – band, manager, A&R, etc. Shouldn’t everyone benefit from the success of the team?

    So even though the artist created the music they probably wouldn’t have become successful or as successful without the support of others.

    Regarding file sharing, I don’t support websites that allow you to download music for free. However I have no issue if a friend of mine wants a copy of CD from my collection. Hypocritical? No, because I am not distributing to every Tom, Dick and Harry in the world. I also don’t support those websites cause I rather work with a reliable source like iTunes or Amazon rather than some unknown where I may also download a virus.

    The sharing between friends is a way to hear new stuff without the expense. 99% of the time if I like something, I’ll buy it myself.

    Another way I hear about new music via my local library. Back in the 70s I used to borrow LPs and I still do that with CDs. Occasionally I may add it to my iTunes library.

    What I can’t stand about iTunes is that there are situations where you can’t just download one song. They force you to buy the whole release.

    Essentially it all comes down to greed.

    Thanks.

    Andrew

  41. I believe there should be a distinction between sharing commercial releases, authorized recordings (radio/TV broadcasts), and unauthorized recordings.

    I do believe “owning” unauthorized digital copies of commercial releases is wrong. By that I mean making someone a copy of a CD or having MP3s that you haven’t paid for as part of your personal collection. (But borrowing CDs or making temporary copies of MP3s is okay – how else are people going to learn about new artists?) Personally, I try to make sure that less than 1% of my music library falls in this category. However, the cat is out of the bag. The only way to get people to buy is to make people feel they really ought to own the stuff. Part of the reason I like owning what I own is that I like to be able to share it with others.

    As for unauthorized recordings, I don’t want to hear it. They are filling a void in the market. The people who listen to those are often the biggest fans of the artists. I have quite a large collection of these things, particularly from Pink Floyd and its various offshoots. It hasn’t stopped me from buying every release that has come out (including deluxe editions of Piper and Gdansk) and it hasn’t stopped me from being disappointed that Mr. Gilmour did not perform within 300 miles of my home last tour.

    As for broadcasts, I don’t want to hear it either. Once music is broadcast, it is out there for people to do what they want with.

  42. O, I also wanted to add something regarding the overall cost of CDs lately.

    I was browsing through a major chain record shop lately and noticed a double-CD of the Eagles greatest hits. On this release they had a price of $36. So that is $18 per disc which is I guess is average when buying a single disc.

    But this is a greatest hits compilation. All of these songs appeared on other releases that also sold very well. How many millions of copies did Hotel California sell? Heck I bought it on LP back in the 70s at $15.

    Is $36 fair pricing for a double CD of greatest hits? No wonder people try to find ways to get the music they want for free.

    Thanks.

    Andrew

  43. I agree totally with Ash and Julie Davies’ comments, and of course, if there are no quality graphic designers in the future there will be no work to compare with that of Storm’s.

  44. I can see both sides of this issue, but for me personally, I will continue to pay for what I want.

    My son watched a ripped version of Pink Floyd’s P.U.L.S.E. He went out and bought it.

    He recently introduced me to that concert, and I can’t get my hands on a copy of that fast enough. None of the stores around me have it, unfortunately. So I am watching high quality videos of it on YouTube until I can get one online. I would probably pay twice as much as required to have my own copy of that fantastic, mesmerizing, quality performance.

    Sadly, I don’t think many of the newer artists out there have the talent the men and women of Pink Floyd have. As a result, I have very few CDs.

    1. If you still have a VCR, try your best to get a copy on VHS. In my opinion, it is superior to the DVD version… can’t explain it, just looks and feels and sounds better and more natural to me.

      Anyone else that have both versions share my opinion?

  45. I wouldn’t be such a David Gilmour fan had I not had the opportunity to listen to illegal downloads of his music. I went out and purchased his every album after that – including the movies Pink Floyd did the soundtracks for in the 60s-70s. I would never have even known about them otherwise.

    The majority of the music now is not that great and I’d be pretty annoyed to spend $15 on an album that turns out to have only one good song (and I’m a youngster so $15 is a lot for me to throw away).

  46. FEd… Nick Mason’s point of view on file sharing has been declared in this thread.

    Since this is David Gilmour’s website, do you have privy to his opinion on this topic, and if so, can you share it with us?

    No expectations, just asking.

  47. Outcome of yesterday’s FAC meeting to discuss illegal file-sharing – here.

    In essence, encouragement for Lily Allen (who is not a member of the FAC), condemnation of the abuse she has endured since speaking out, and overwhelming support for a three-strike sanction on those who persistently download illicit files (a warning letter first, followed by a second, more strongly-worded warning letter, then a final sanction of “the restriction of the infringer’s bandwidth to a level which would render file-sharing of media files impractical while leaving basic e-mail and web access functional”).

  48. OK, just pay already. Look at it this way. If you were the artist, would you want to give away your music for free for all?

    They do stuff with their money. It’s their money they earned from their music. So, unless they say, “go ahead and take my music for free, it’s OK” then you shouldn’t do it, because it is stealing.

    Lesley

  49. It’s been a pleasure to finally read a well-balanced and thoughtful piece about the file sharing debate after Ms Allen’s outpourings.

    My thoughts on this issue are similar to many others; it can only be good for both the artists and the fans. Not every download is a lost sale. The teenager that downloads a hundred songs was never going to buy all of them and if one downloaded song leads to the sale of a CD then it is a gain for the artist that may not have happened otherwise. Today’s teenage downloader is tomorrow’s “fifty quid bloke” that will spend decent sums in his local record shop (or whatever the equivalent is in 20 years time).

    I personally don’t mind if musicians get rich as many of them supplied the sound track to my youth and all the good times associated with that.

    If I may, I’ll quote a contribution I made to the debate over on The Guardian site yesterday as it is a point that seems lost on the music industry:

    “Another thing you have to add to the mix is that teenagers’ buying habits have changed. When I was in my teens my disposable income went on records, gigs, beer and girls (not necessarily in that order). Teenagers today seem to need to buy all of those plus mobile phones (and the running costs), DVDs (and players), computer games (plus console and/or handhelds), some kind of PC (plus connection charges) and enough drugs to make them want to download a Lily Allen album.”

    Some of the items I list above are made and sold by the same industry that is complaining about lost CD sales. Yes, they can have their cake and eat it.

    Lastly, you mention the high cost of CDs. A month or so ago I bought Animals on CD (I’ve owned it on both vinyl and cassette before) and it cost me $32 Australian. That’s about over 17 quid. You need to have a quiet word with your Australian distributors. 🙂

  50. I’ve only had a chance to read some of the comments, so forgive me if I’m repeating points made before.

    To me the biggest issue is that it is currently easier for me to get stuff illegally than legally. I can order a CD from Amazon, which they will then charge me for shipping, but they will not sell me exactly the same music as mp3 downloads because the recording industry has set up artificial barriers to prevent anyone outside the US (or UK for amazon.co.uk, etc) from buying mp3 downloads. I’m happy to pay for music downloads, but they won’t take my money. And it’s not like it’s any harder for me to rip the CD when it arrives and share those files than it is to share downloads bought directly.

    I buy a lot from emusic (subscription based, legal download site), but they have also started blocking new users from outside the US, UK, Canada and EU.
    As far as I’m concerned the best thing that could happen is for the record labels to go under, and for artists to either sell downloads themselves, or put it up on a site like emusic/Amazon/iTunes where the seller takes a cut. Either way I’d suspect more money would make it to the artist than with the current record label setup.

    The only caveat to something like that is that people would have to put a bit more effort into finding good music, rather than sitting back and waiting for mainstream radio to tell them what they should be listening to… but if you ask me (and even if you don’t 🙂 ) I think that’s a good thing.

    1. I don’t agree it’s a good idea to make music only available via download sites. I for one don’t have time to sit at the computer for hours hunting out pieces of music, especially new music, I might be interested in buying.

      I do however have the radio on a lot of the time I’m doing all the other things I do.

      ash 🙁

    2. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that music should only be available by download, but if a site like Amazon is going to sell mp3s, sell them to everyone, not just those in certain locations.

      I still prefer buying on CD, but the doubling in cost for shipping the obscure stuff I like and therefore usually have to mail-order is a killer. If I can get the same stuff as mp3 downloads (and pay for it!) I’m fine with that… but usually I can find the stuff I want as mp3, but am blocked from buying it… and then a quick google will reveal the same stuff for illegal download (I should point out here, I don’t download from the dodgy sites, but it means I end up going without something I’d be happy to pay for it they’d let me!).

      And it’s a fair point that not everyone has time to sit in front of a computer hunting new music, but I would hope that in a market where record labels were either no more, or didn’t just push one or two artists (e.g. Britney Spears et al), that radio itself would become a lot more interesting to listen to and we would be more likely to hear decent new music on the radio. With the exception of internet radio, there are very few radio stations that I would bother listening to these days ‘cos they play the same stuff over and over again, and it’s nothing new or interesting.

    3. Hi Cerebus, don’t apologise, I sympathise with the problems you’ve described and I would feel disgruntled too in those circumstances.

      I feel though that there may be some ‘market research’ goes on when we express an opinion on these sorts of things and you have every right to make your opinion known. I want to make sure the powers that be know what I would like and I get in a panic thinking the world I can cope with will disappear because everything will only be on computers.

      So, I’m not arguing with you, I’m arguing for “choice”.

      ash 🙂

  51. Interesting topic.

    I enjoy the recordings I have of David’s 2006 tour.

    Before you get mad, consider this…

    I traveled halfway across the USA to see him play both nights in Chicago. It was my daughter’s first concert, as Floyd was mine. I purchased 3 T-shirts, 2 hats and the tour book. I have purchased 3 different versions of On an Island, both the standard DVD and Blu ray of RTN, The deluxe best buy exclusive Gdansk set (had to drive an hour to best buy). Does me wanting to enjoy more of David’s live performances make me bad? If they were available for sale, I would buy them too, I’m sure the quality would be better!

    The people sharing bootlegs are your die hard fans. Artists should be happy we enjoy the music they make so much that we are happy with good quality audience recordings.

    I listen to the shows I went to in Chicago on a regular basis… Is it as good of quality as what David offered officially? No, but for me to have a recording of the shows I went to has a special feeling attached to it that you just can’t buy.

    I buy all David and Floyd’s (Roger and Richard too) official work. I own Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl, cassette and 3 different CD versions. I am a fan.
    Does the fact that I enjoy live unofficial recordings bad? No. It makes me a real fan.

    Officially released music is something totally different. That should not be shared.

    Just my two pennies, hope to see it printed.

    Hi to everyone. Please David, get the work bug again, I want some new tunes!!!!

    Greg

    1. You should hopefully know by now that it’ll be printed whether I agree with it or not, no matter whose noses may be put out of joint by my doing so, and however much the mouths beneath those disjointed noses may curse me thereafter, so thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Opinions are good.

  52. Hi FEd.

    I’m a 23 year old musician from Ballarat, Australia. I play in a Progressive Death Metal band called Kaamora, on an independent label.

    The issue with people downloading music illegally greatly affects small bands that are trying to get off the ground.

    But I think the attitude of the music industry, especially for young bands, needs to be: “so what?”.

    We’re not going to ever be able to pick what our audience wants to do, and if they prefer to download a torrent, or burn a free copy, fine.

    This is the way the industry is heading, and it’s up to the young bands to embrace it rather than try to fight it. The best we can hope for is to use the CDs to promote our concerts, and we just going to have to work that little bit harder to entertain people and prey that they buy a T-shirt on the way out.

    The more we try to fight it, the further the gap between the band and the audience will continue to grow.

    It just means that us poor bands with small fan bases are just going to have to camp in tents while on tour for a little longer, before we can afford those wonderful, seedy, 2 star motel rooms. :))

    It doesn’t bother me, because I happen to like camping.

  53. I needed some time to read everything, but it was very interesting.

    Probably, all I’ll write has already been said, but this is something I was thinking about few days ago, looking at someone (not so young) I know, who illegally downloads music and movies, night and day, non stop.

    For me, more than being free, the success of file-sharing depends on two factors.

    1. The increasing people’s greed (as you said in the post, FEd) and all the false needs our society creates by mass media. To have more means for many people to count more, it rises their self-esteem, so it doesn’t mind if they’ll never have enough time to listen/watch what they download.

    2. People’s easiness to clean their conscience, saying to themselves that what they are doing is not actually theft, because everything is there, available with a click. What’s online is, often, not perceived as real as an item in a shop. That’s a problem many people have with the web, I think.

    That said, illegal download is theft and, probably, it’s negative for new talents, as Lily Allen said, but what about the quality of their “new” products? Is it worth, for example for young kids, to spend some money to have something which will be soon replaced by something else? Of course, no. But isn’t that kind of meteors what record companies are interested to promote?

    It’s also their fault if people try to get their products without paying, in my opinion.

    I personally don’t believe that music industry crisis depends on file-sharing. As written in the post, we’ve always found a way to listen to the music we liked for free and nothing bad has ever happened.

    I don’t think it’s the (normal) personal use of illegal download the problem, and I agree with the FAC on considering personal and commercial use differently.

    Have you ever looked at eBay to see how many people are selling bootlegs, illegal copies or concerts tickets? If I don’t go wrong it should be forbidden by eBay rules, so why people are still making money that way?

    And it’s also quite irritating to receive a CD with a false cover (the bar code was perfectly copied, too) and no matrix number in the back, as it happened to me some time ago.

    That said, I’m not very attracted by file-sharing, since I’m still fond of having the CD or vinyl I like in my hands, with a cover, a booklet and everything.

    I know it would be good to be “green” on this, too, and renounce the packaging, especially if plastic, but I’m still nostalgic on this point. :v

  54. No more “free” prostitutes and cocaine for the record execs… “They” will never stop two computers from communicating with each other… Filtering would slow the internet down to a snails pace… It’s impossible.

    The genie is already out of the bottle and many have already downloaded a lifetime + worth of music… Most people would never be exposed to the wealth of music out there if they had to buy it all… What’s next??? An attempt at banning libraries??? Good luck…

    Dream on…

  55. As Don Henley said it “there’s three sides to every story, yours, mine and the cold hard truth”.

    I too am a huge hardcore Pink Floyd, Genesis and Rush fan. I have all of the Pink Floyd (plus David and Rick’s solo albums) all LEGITIMATELY on CD, vinyl and/or cassette (some albums I have multiple copies). Same for Genesis (plus Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks’ solo albums) and Rush. I also have bootleg shows from those bands and have seen all of above in concert (Pink Floyd in May, 1994 in Foxboro, MA; Genesis in September, 2007 in Boston and Rush 5 times (May, 1994 Providence, RI; June, 1997 then July, 2002 and August, 2004 in Mansfield, MA then West Palm Beach in June 2007). Plus I record their radio specials.

    For the record, I bought both the Best Buy and CD/DVD combos of On an Island and two copies of the 3-CD/2-DVD Live in Gdansk (one my dad bought me from best Buy and I found a UK import new for $20 whilst on a trip back home to Boston this past July). Only the recession held me from seeing DG in concert.

    On one hand, file sharing is good to get word spread on a new band and if people like will most likely buy the LP/CD, either that or to get bootlegs and not spend cash. I just bought the new KISS album on CD and got 3 discs for $12 (the new CD Sonic Boom plus a CD of re-recorded KISS tunes and a DVD).

    On the other hand, some souls want to save an honest buck and download. The labels now care about Britney, Beyonce and Kanye more than real art.

  56. It’s all very well and dandy slating what the new generation are doing now for illegal file sharing, especially in music and how it endangers those who are making the music and not getting extra royalties for it. However, I’ve always noticed that the families concerning classical artists who are no longer with us aren’t obviously collecting royalties on their behalf. What am I talking about? Music by Mozart, Music by JS Bach. Because those composers are so old now you can pick up virtually any copy of their music simply because they aren’t alive. So what do you do then? Who governs copyright and has the right to say that because classical music is free to download, never mind scores of their music able to download freely that it is ripping money from the actual artists?

    At least with companies such as iTunes where songs can be purchased, (or Spotify where examples can be heard), money is going to those companies and artists concerned. If it is isn’t then it’s not the consumer who is at fault there.

    You can’t have it both ways – to say file sharing is wrong yet have video channels online to show off music for free.

    Somehow I don’t think the record companies will ever outlaw YT and other companies – the loss of money for the personal artist isn’t enough to tip the balance of the money lost from showing promos, free visual and music combined content on the internet for free.

  57. To answer your question, Fed, I’ve found “On an Island” in a local store (for 4 quid, as a CD manufactured under a licence in my country, instead of 20, if imported from UK). It’s a miracle, since it’s hard to find anything in record stores here, in Ukraine, since most of CDs are Russian chanson (horrible songs about ‘romantic’ life of criminals). And yes, it was Pink Floyd fan forum, where I found out about the album. If not for Internet, I’d never known about the band itself, just a distant memory from early childhood of an obscure ‘Good-bye blue sky’ clip on TV.
    Internet has made a lot of positive impact. In case of up-and-coming bands, it decreases the distance between the artist and the audience: they don’t need to fear anymore that journalists might misinterpret their words; the whole self-publishing thing etc. As for a way for artists to earn a living in a world, where audio-visual information is copied and widespread easily, as Rob stated, ‘It’s just a file on a PC’, it’s an interesting question.

    Alessandra wrote: ‘And it’s also quite irritating to receive a CD with a false cover (the bar code was perfectly copied, too) and no matrix number in the back, as it happened to me some time ago.’

    Happened to me as well. Horrendous, isn’t it?

    As stated in Nick Mason’s recent interview due to 40th anniverstary of the “Dark Side of the Moon”, with a decreasing of value of recorded music, the value of live music is increasing. Perhaps, this is it? We need to share our experiences more get out more, since we are detached most of the time, living in a little world with a computer screen, a bulk of work to be done, that ‘please, leave me alone, I’m too tired to listen to you’ thing.

    Times change, the pace of life is already much faster, with aforementioned Internet and mobile phones. I doubt that many can brag about having enough slow-paced day to put on an LP, to go to the local gallery and revel in observing the virtues of fine art.

    In the end, I’m an optimist, thinking that a change is for the better. If Lily Allen wants to quit music, then she doesn’t love creating it. Like in any crisis (if there’s any), only the most enthusiastic will stay.

    The side-effect might be in increasing number of jobbing artists, amateurs in general. Less pressure for artists, more creativity involved, hope there won’t be a fall of craftsmanship as well. And I love that idea of Radiohead. Plus it shows how loyal the fans they have.

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