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Downloading Music from the internet

Discussion in 'General' started by Travellerman, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Travellerman

    Travellerman Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    I have never downloaded music from the internet, except that which I have paid for. However, a band I follow recently released their new album to some p2p networks seeded with a message from them aimed at potential fans. This album was released to these networks before the 'press copies' even went out!

    Curious about all this, tonight (with a little help from a friend) I downloaded a certain software and had a rummage through for any Roy Harper tracks that might be available. The result was 16 songs and two complete albums! and that's just on one of these p2p networks.

    I can't believe it really, maybe the quality is not as great as a CD, but artists must be losing so much to downloads like this. How the hell do they still exist... both the artists and the websites that enable this?
  2. pd

    pd Slightly Desperate Staff Member

    I guess this is what they call a "can of worms..."

    I am of the opinion that online downloading of music has very little or no effect on sales or revenues. My thinking is as follows:

    • The vast majority of downloaders are people that never would have bought the original product anyway (low funds, just trying out a new band...)
    • These same people would have been swapping cassette tapes or copied CDs and the like in the old days.
    • Downloads serve as a promotional tool (if you like a new band you've downloaded you are likely to either go and buy the proper CDs or go to gigs)
    • If the record companies made available high quality versions of the material on a paid-for download basis with no DRM more people would partake. People don't like the draconian nature of DRM. This is the thing the record companies still don't get; rather than punish everyone (including the paying customers) with DRM, they should reward the paying customers and ignore the "freetards".
    • People like me, who value audio fidelity highly and appreciate the packaging that goes with an album for lyrics, artwork and the like, will always go and buy the CD or other high quality product of something they really like.
    For an interesting idea, see what Marillion are doing with their next album: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7606029.stm

    I freely admit that I download music speculatively sometimes to see if I like it. If I do, I will buy. I think a lot of people are like this. It's also why I like, and use, dimeadozen (a torrent site aimed at distributing live material of bands that has not otherwise been released commercially). It's promotional! Hearing a band live is a great way to really find out what they are all about.
  3. Travellerman

    Travellerman Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    It was indeed Marillion that I was referring too, the first band I ever saw perform live :D and whilst I have been given a link to download the new album, I'd personally rather wait until the pre-order drops on my doormat (and see my name in the credits!).

    However, whilst I understand your points, I'm not sure they are all valid anymore. You and I both have probably gone out and made a purchase or several based upon a copy of something that was passed on to us, but these days people are avoiding making the purchase at all as they know they can get it online for nothing. This then becomes a habit and the preferred method. I know some people who's collections are entirely downloaded, they off-loaded all their CD's and cases long ago.

    DRM sucks. If I see a CD in my hands that has been restricted in this way I don't buy it. I avoid these wherever possible. But I was informed by one artist that he had no say in what the record company did upon the release of the album, in this case it was copy controlled in Asia, but maybe not in Canada where the artist (Rhys Fulber) was from. That seemed a little odd to me.

    Why buy Lifemask from Roy when you can download it for free? Is that a good thing?
  4. Travellerman

    Travellerman Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    I'm on the Marillion forum too. I posted your points there (unsourced / unlinked) to see what the reaction would be. Mark Kelly wrote to a fan recently with this to say:

    "I have been looking closely at a lot of file-sharing sites, as you can imagine, over the last few days. What I have found has dismayed and on occasion made my blood boil. On one site alone I found our ENTIRE creative output from the last 26 years zipped up into one file and it has been downloaded 30,000 times! Our entire life's work been given away by some motherf**ker and there are messages from people thanking him for his work in uploading it!!"

    Surely, this has to have an effect. Making a mix tape that leads to something else is one thing, but a file containing everything!!!
  5. Shane

    Shane Computer stained fingers

    it has to be having some effect on someones pocket i reckon, probably more so on small indie labels than on big majors (and who cares about them really...) but the way i see it these are the times we live in and theres no point trying to apply the old rules to the new game. free music for everyone! about time some of these rock stars got themselves jobs

    what i reckon will happen is that if you want a cd or record then you buy it the old fashioned way but for downloads then take what you want (without fear of lawsuits and drm - all a waste of time and effort) and, ideally, give back what you feel its worth to you if you like it. it will mean a change in attitude but i think most music fans will realise that you have to give something back, even if it doesnt equate to payment for a specific release. www.karmafan.com/ is the kind of idea i think will become more the norm. somebody might download all roys albums in a zip file and listen to them, like a few songs, go to a gig and next year decide to give him a tenner or something...
  6. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    The Artist Always Gets Screwed!

    I think as fans of ROY we realize Artists almost never get the respect their work deserves.

    I agree, DRM sucks. I agree, trying out music gets you to buy more music and learn the need to support the artists we love and/or admire. Most songwriters do have other jobs. Why do anything if there is never any hope of a reward? Good bands may not be able to afford to stay together any longer. If Impressionist Artist Caillebotte didn't inherit wealth and help out his colleagues, who would've ever heard of the Impressionist movement? Artists usually make millions AFTER they're dead. The 1960s-1980s were a golden age of music, financially and artistically. Taping songs off-air was common and quietly approved by the major labels who realized it actually promoted record sales.

    Copyright protection for Authors was extended to at least 125 years in the U.S. (I consider this obscene. I remember something called Public Domain.) Publishers were the main endorsers of this protection of their Artists, because Publishers are usually the true benefactors (more than the family) after the Author dies. Big Business wins.

    The free-for-all attitude has exploded with the internet and goes far beyond music, affecting most commerce to some degree. Sadly, this arrogance hasn't translated (yet) to angry voters and consumers spending the same amount of time complaining to their government about erosion of consumer rights, abuse of variable rate mortgages, and economically destructive wars (Vietnam, Iraq) versus economically productive manufacturing.

    If you believe there is a secret society of Illuminati, ultra-rich world-movers, devaluing the Artist makes perfect sense. Why not break anyone with a compelling alternate viewpoint?

    I believe the pendulum swings, and one day the Living Artist will again become as obscenely rich as Picasso, Led Zep and the Beatles... before taxes!

    Hope I haven't taken up the whole page!
  7. pd

    pd Slightly Desperate Staff Member

    Time for an admission here then. In the early days of broadband and bit torrent I found an "everything done to date" torrent of Jethro Tull albums and leapt on it. This was because I had most of Tull's stuff on vinyl and I kind of resent having to buy the same stuff all over again on a new format. This kept me happy for a while... then Tull started releasing remastered versions of the old albums with extra tracks. I happily bought these! They are excellent.

    Was what I did wrong? I don't think so.

    Sure, most of those 30,000 downloads Mark notices are probably people that had no intention of ever buying the material. But, would they ever have bought it if there had not been a free version? I claim not. Do you see my point? The ease of downloading means a lot of people have huge music collections that are never listened to, or only once. I don't actually count that as lost revenue.

    There have been rumours for a long time of a "subscription model" being added to the iTunes music store. A monthly charge would entitle you to download whatever you wanted from iTunes, though maybe there'd be a cap on how much per month. I am a member of emusic, thanks to a recommendation from Bob Jacobs earlier this year, and that gives me a set number of downloads per month. They divide up the revenue from my subscription among the artists I partake from. Magnatune, who I also buy quite a lot of music from, have an "all you can eat" subscription where you can grab anything and everything from their catalogue whenever you want to.

    That, in my opinion, is the future of music and it is what will save the music industry. The record companies hate it because it is a complete shakeup from the traditional business model and it makes them fearful.
  8. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    Archival Rights and Wrongs

    No, PD, I don't think you were wrong.

    It's likely nearly everyone copies TV, printed work, and/or audio from time to time without paying for it. The U.S. Supreme Court had some of its most liberal rulings re: VCRs years after they were introduced. I've "archived" some of my favorite tapes to DVD format (though they cannot be copied again digitally). Your beautiful tesseract/hypercube reminds me I copy the new Dr. Who off air directly to DVD. Also "Life," which comes back to NBC next month (a wonderful quirky cop drama w/ star from HBO's "Band Of Brothers).

    If it weren't for personal archives, many of Hollywood's earliest movies would no longer be around, because so many of them were lost in fires due to cellulose acetate's explosive flammability.

    Producers will always lay a guilt trip on us, and ultimately our favorite artists won't survive if fans don't at least reward some of their favorites.

    In other words, I'm hopelessly in the middle.

    When it comes to ROY, I'm hesitant to make a CD mix to introduce him to friends (I've made two for my car). I do notice many songs clip out because of the fades between songs. What are ROY's wishes in this regard? (I'm still getting caught up, about 4 discs at a time, every few weeks).
  9. Travellerman

    Travellerman Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    I think those are good points about 'archiving', but I don't think they apply to downloading a musicians work. In the 'old days', if you wanted to hear an artisit you had to make a purchase, or you got a copy from a mate, but I think now that it's all too easy to pop over to a website and download for free, and zipping a file of an entire artists output is just a little over the top!

    For example, if the tracks on Roys 'Today is Yesterday' had all been available as downloads, and we had downloaded them previously, would the CD have sold as well? would it have even been been made?

    I have about 800 cassettes, some of which I have replaced on CD, but there's no way I'm going to replace all of them again. Fortunately for me, CD quality has improved so I end up with digital remasters and bonus tracks which makes replacement a little easier on the mind (therefore pocket), but I do wonder what format is next, will my kids (ha!) ever be able to play my CD collection?

    Will the physical product itself, the CD, will become the 'limited edition'. I can see production runs decreasing, packaging of the initial release being improved and a push to sell this before the downloaders have managed to upload the files for free. Or there's the 'pre-order', i.e. the artist get's the money upfront before the music even exists. (Would that work for Roy or Nick?).

    These are all things that Marillion have tried and it seems to work for them. Not having a record company (other than their own) means they can try anything they want, which seems to put them at the 'leading edge' of the business in terms of smaller artists and keeping up with the market / fans. One of the most recent things they have tried is releasing one song from their forthcoming album as a download, and asking the fans to make a video for it.

    A bit of fun, 'viral advertising', allows fans to be creative (or not). The video with the most hits on Youtube by a certain date wins £5,000 and the one the band likes the most wins another £5,000. (results so far http://uk.youtube.com/results?searc...th+you+marillion&search_sort=video_view_count).

    At the end of the day, perhaps we all have different interpretations of 'theft' and justifications for appeasing our consciences.
  10. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    I've said before, this is my favorite (non-commercial) website. I'm not sure if it's me or my age, but I don't have hardly any interest in websites like You Tube. Sure, they are popular, but I prefer to spend my time in other ways. I don't want to insult those who like reality TV or dogs skateboarding, we all have our guilty pleasures and "waste" our free time in various ways.

    I find I agree with almost all the points made in this thread. Part of the nature of music is being "Public." We usually hear songs for free several times from one source or another before we decide whether to pay something for it.

    An Artist can make it big if only 1 or 2 percent of the public becomes a fan. I love that about music, novels, film, etc. We're more likely to become sick of any song we hear than buy it or "borrow" it.

    Just because we enjoy our work, doesn't make it less valuable or rewarding. I consider ROY's life to be well spent and of great value.

    I'm a fan, as are we all! If you've got a thousand loyal Fans, you're richer than most of us. Especially if you still have an escape in the form of a happy and normal private life.

    Way to go, TM, PD, et al!
  11. wobbly bob

    wobbly bob I've got a zappy little nappy


    i've downloaded 'free' stuff, and then in many cases gone on to buy the same album from a shop. i do like to have the 'proper' cd-i sort of miss the old buzz i used to get from new vinyl...but i'm getting sidetracked, here..

    i've also bought other albums from the downloaded artists, along with dvd's and gig tickets and t shirts..etc...

    i think it's useful in a try before you buy sort of way. 8-15 quid for an album you find you don't like is a lot of money.
    i know plenty of people who download cos it's free, and if they had to pay, simply wouldn't bother. i don't think, therefore, that artists are losing out to the extent that some people think! don't a lot of artistes these days make more money from gigs than cd's, anyway??

    i am more likely to financially support what i perceive to be a 'struggling' artist, and rip off a hugley successful one, and i'm sure there are many more who feel the same way. also, downloading an mp3 version of an album you've already bought on vinyl or cassette, seems fair enough, imho!

    was a time of course (lost now in the mists of time) when all music, stories..etc.. were passed around freely, without any thought of 'ownership'.
    creative ownership is, after all, a 'relatively new' concept!

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