The Last Thing A Musician Wants These Days Is To Appear Anti-Fan

from the guns,-but-no-roses dept

Last week, when we wrote about the FBI's decision to arrest a Guns N' Roses fan who leaked the band's long awaited next album, one of the common responses in the comments was that because GNR had the legal right to do this, it absolutely made sense for the band to have the FBI track down and arrest this guy. While we've pointed it out before, it's worth pointing out again that just because you have the legal right to do something, it doesn't always mean that it makes sense to actually do it.

In the case of GNR, this point is expressed quite clearly by music industry observer Bob Lefsetz, who discusses how badly this whole ordeal is reflecting on GNR:
Fans. They're the hardest thing to acquire. You can buy publicity, you can pay off distributors. There's mutual self-interest. You want to sell and they want to profit. Newspapers don't do stories on acts no one cares about, and television is only interested in stars. But fans are not doing business. There's no financial payoff for being a fan. It's an end-user application. You don't build up your fandom and sell it. You own it. At least until it fades away when the act does something heinous, like stand up to Napster.

That's haunting Metallica nearly a decade out. Metallica was right, but their fans thought they were wrong. And you always want to come out on the side of your fans. Metallica has learned its lesson. But the record labels have not.
And neither, apparently, has GNR. We've discussed in the past how difficult it has been for Metallica to regain the fans it lost as a result of standing up to Napster, and it will be interesting if something similar happens to GNR in this case. Having your biggests fans arrested tends to make people question why they are fans in the first place. It's basically the opposite of the concept of engaging your true fans. These types of actions push them away, and that's never good for business.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 4:26am

    "Metallica was right"

    Uh . . . no, they werent? I think GnR will suffor some back lash from this, but they really dont have that much to lose at this point. This is largely a "come back" for them anyway. While this certainly wont help them much, they are not in nearly as good a position with fans as Matallica was when they got things so terribley WRONG.

     

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  2.  
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    hsdfjkla, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:01am

    Re: "Metallica was right"

    WHOOSH

     

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  3.  
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    Jim, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:02am

    Re: "Metallica was right"

    Metallica was LEGALLY right.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:04am

    Re: "Metallica was right"

    They had it mostly right just handled it the wrong way and look how they have learn from their mistakes. Here a quote from Lars about the bands newest album that got leaked just a few days ago.

    "Listen, we're ten days from release. I mean, from here, we're golden. If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days. Happy days. Trust me. Ten days out and it hasn't quote-unquote fallen off the truck yet? Everybody's happy. It's 2008 and it's part of how it is these days, so it's fine. We're happy."

     

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  5.  
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    another day another death, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:46am

    actually bob rock killed metallica and lars buried the body.

     

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  6.  
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    another sorrw another breath, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:52am

    then i stopped listening to them for years until i realized the music that came after was actually good to.

    now im old and my 12 year old daughter loves em. she is learning guitar so we by the tab books. going to see them in socal in december. looking forward to their new album.

    maybe there is still hope for them recapturing old fans like me.....

    GNR HAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH!!!!!! Stupid Asses! They obviously have evolved like their music. NOT AT ALL!

     

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  7.  
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    deborah Schankler, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:58am

    having your biggest fans arrested

    Metallica was more than legally right, they were morally right. The actions of the "fan" were wrong. Artists must protect their work. This is not a true fan, just some yo-yo who cannot write music himself. He or they should have been arrested. And get a clue.

    I hope that the fans who did this are prosecuted to the full extent. They truly do not care about the people making the music. We risk losing truly original music if we let so called fans get away with these stupid actions. Pretty soon it will all sound alike and be crummy.

     

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  8.  
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    whargoul, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 6:15am

    Re: having your biggest fans arrested

    Wow...spoken like a true corporate shill. Have you even listened to todays music?? It DOES all sound alike and it IS all crummy.

     

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  9.  
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    Tom The Toe, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 6:24am

    Re:having your biggest fans arrested

    "Pretty soon it will all sound alike and be crummy."
    Yeah, like it is now.

     

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  10.  
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    mobiGeek, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: "Metallica was right"

    Metallica had a legal right. But that isn't them being legally right. Being allowed to use the law does not mean that it is right to use the law.

    Way more not than often, invoking your "legal rights" is way, way wrong. You have failed to negotiate a more streamlined solution; you have failed to effectively communicate with your peers and/or neighbours.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 6:47am

    Re: having your biggest fans arrested

    "We risk losing truly original music if we let so called fans get away with these stupid actions"


    I think its truly sad that people believe humanity will lose quality music if record companies can no longer make money. It strikes me just how far these people are removed from the actual process of creating music and how far removed from art, that process is viewed to be . . . its really sad.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    The Customer Is Always Right? Is this really what we're all about?

    A band's biggest fans will do things like break into someone's house and steal their underwear, stalk, etc. The fans don't automatically deserve every little thing they might want. And if all a musician has to sell is their celebrity, the quality of music is pretty much optional.

     

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  13.  
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    Brad, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:33am

    Really?

    Musicians make money off tours more than they do sales. The record companies make the money of the sales. Back in the days of Napster I was downloading music that I already owned just to make a mix cd instead of having to rip and convert to mp3. It was just so much faster to download. But I do want to know the difference in buying blank cassettes and dubbing a tape or recording off the radio? Nobody was crying then. I guess the ITunes, Rhapsody, and other things work. But .99c per song is a little steep. Considering you could get a 16 track CD for $12. And even worse it costs them essential nothing to transfer the media. They cut out the cost and time of burning it to cds over and over again. And still charge more? The music industry is lame!

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Bands don't make a nickel off an album. By the time the album is released they're lucky if they don't owe the label money. They make money by touring and selling T shirts and crap with their name or picture or autograph on it. Don't believe that? Go to Wal Mart and count all the Hannah Montana crap. Miley Cryus is a moderately talented singer who regurgitates corporate bubblegum pop but her face is on everything. I mean EVERYTHING. I even saw a freakin' Hannah Montana life jacket!

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re:having your biggest fans arrested

    What's it called when you predict the past?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:53am

    Re:

    the quality of music is pretty much optional.

    Until you realize that it's the quality of their music that earns them their celebrity in the first place.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:54am

    The Last Thing A Musician Wants These Days Is To Appear Anti-Fan


    TOO LATE!!!!

    RIAA, NOT 1 CENT!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:57am

    Re:

    I love people who think Metallica sucks after Bob Rock became their producer.

    I'm sorry, but making the music less redundant (3 minutes of the same two measures is boring) and improving the recording quality did not ruin Metallica.

    Kicking Dave Mustaine did more damage to Metallica than anything next to Cliff Burton dying. Face it, a lot of those early Metallica songs were co-written by Mustaine the most recognized being Four Horsemen.

    Couple that with Hetfield and Lars losing their best friend and you got a lot of kickass metal influence missing from the band.

    Note this is not to shootdown Hetfield and Lars. They, and the rest of the Metallica lineup, have always been badass rockers. They make good music, and play better than most top bands.

    You'd also be hard pressed to find a band that has influenced as many newer metal bands as Metallica. And I'm talking Black Album forward, not just Kill 'Em All and so on.

    So they took some bad advice when they sued Napster. Grow up a bit. People also always forget they went after Napster because of the bootleg concert footage/recordings and not the recorded albums themselves. That's what set Lars off, and well that IS how they make their money.

    Always remember what James Newsted said once:

    "Hell yeah we sold out. Sold out every seat of every concert we ever play in any country."

    And its true. Regardless of your personal opinions, they're one of the best metal bands of all time. They've made their share of mistakes, just unlike most it wasn't heroin.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re:having your biggest fans arrested

    hind sight. as in, looking out your hind.

     

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  20.  
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    YoMamma, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    Yeah, let's use the most extreme example as a basis for the entire argument.

     

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  21.  
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    mobiGeek, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:01am

    Re:

    By the time the album is released they're lucky if they don't owe the label money

    No, they most certainly do owe the label money when the album is released. They hopefully don't owe them money after the album is into its fourth or fifth print run.

     

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  22.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:03am

    It's been said, but bears repeating:

    "Metallica was right, but their fans thought they were wrong."

    No they weren't, that's the whole problem.

    The fans wanted certain things (digital files, instant and easy access to a wide variety of music, reasonable prices) that the record companies refused to offer. Metallica wasn't standing up against anything that was causing to lose them money, they were "standing up" to the fans themselves, in direct violation of trust that allowed them to become successful in the first place (Metallica's early success was due to tape trading and bootlegging).

    Metallica made some bad decisions and they were called on it.

     

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  23.  
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    YoMamma, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: "Metallica was right"

    ...it hasn't "fallen off the truck yet", because no one wants to hear it.

     

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  24.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Re: having your biggest fans arrested

    "We risk losing truly original music if we let so called fans get away with these stupid actions. Pretty soon it will all sound alike and be crummy."

    Back in the normal world, outside of opposite land....

    The major labels think they're losing money so they cut any act that doesn't fit a pre-conceived demographic. They sell homogenised crap because anything new and interesting doesn't fit the marketing tactics they use. Major labels depend on numbers, so they try to control the music, stripping it down to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    It's been that way in major label land since at least the mid 90s. If you listen to the less money-driven independent music labels (the ones where millions of dollars are not produced and many acts still have day jobs), there is a lot more interesting music being produced because they don't care about demographics and focus groups. They care about the music.

    That's what's been missing from the mainstream - putting the music first above the profits. Listen to independent music and support them, and you'll see how the music industry should work. There is plenty of great, original music around if you look outside the RIAA-controlled major labels and ClearChannel radio.

     

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  25.  
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    Michial, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:23am

    Don't worry even if they dont go after the leaks

    These days if a band does anything to fight THEFT by PIRACY they will be made into scapegoats and ridiculed by sites like this...

    People have become too damn lazy to create on their own and feel that they have rights to everyone elses hard work without paying for it.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:26am

    In response to #11

    think its truly sad that people believe humanity will lose quality music if record companies can no longer make money. It strikes me just how far these people are removed from the actual process of creating music and how far removed from art, that process is viewed to be . . . its really sad.

    REALLY?! You know what's sad, people wanting something for nothing, that's sad. What do you do for a living? Whatever you sell, I want it for free! Let's see how long you continue to do your job if you aren't getting paid for it. I realize you are probably a student but in the real world merchandise, ideas, and services are exchanged for MONEY. Money is the motivating factor that causes people to want to become musicians and keeps them creating new music. Without money you have limited music. More money = MORE MUSIC CHOICE, it's that simple!!!!!

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re:

    Metallica never made money from recordings of their live shows. There's a big difference between watching a show and being there.

     

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  28.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Re: having your biggest fans arrested

    What does being a true fan have to do with an ability to write music? Although I agree that yo-yos, lacking ears, cannot be fans of music.

    :)

     

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  29.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:53am

    "Money is the motivating factor that causes people to want to become musicians and keeps them creating new music."

    That's not why I write or paint. It's not even why I design web sites, although I do make money at it. Just because money is your motivating factor does not mean that it's everyone's motivating factor. If money was the motivating factor for musicians, they would have ditched the labels long ago. It took Lyle Lovett 20 years to do so and he didn't make a dime from his record label.

    *sigh* I guess I really shouldn't be feeding the trolls.

     

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  30.  
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    Monarch, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:58am

    Re: In response to #11

    "Money is the motivating factor that causes people to want to become musicians and keeps them creating new music. Without money you have limited music. More money = MORE MUSIC CHOICE, it's that simple!!!!!

     

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  31.  
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    Locke, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 9:18am

    Re: In response to #11

    In the real world merchandise doesn't include digital bits. Anything that can be digitally copied is not merchandise. At best it's intellectual property.

     

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  32.  
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    You never know, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 9:48am

    I can’t bereave what I am reading. Metallica was right? What kind of crap are you smoking?
    I am seeing people here defending a group or groups who implemented taking anybody and everybody by the throat and ruining their lives. The RIAA used their cases to create a precedence and pounce on anybody who they even thought had illegal music on their PCs. And in some cases fabricated evidence. Here a decade later they still are after the little guy trying to squeeze every last drop of financial blood out of them! Groups like Metallica and GNR didn’t care about the Fans back then and they sure in the hell don’t care about anybody now! In my way of thinking, they have proven how little they think of the people who support them and listen their product. Why be a fool and put myself in line to get crapped on again!

     

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  33.  
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    whargoul, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    I can't bereave what I am reading. Metallica was right? What kind of crap are you smoking?

    Yup, that's the result of the RIAA's propaganda campaign hard at work.

     

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  34.  
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    Greg from Cornfedtech.com, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 10:06am

    What GNR has really lost

    I wrote this in reaction to the Huffington Post's piece on this last week. Here was part of my reaction which I think is proper to the argument.

    According to the Huffington Post, there was this quote from the Prosecutors:

    ”the leak could result in a "significant" financial loss for the band”

    If this was 1989 that statement would make sense. If this was 1993 it would still make sense. But this is 2008. This statement makes no sense.

    Allow me not to just to throw out mean comments but talk about the passage of time. I was a junior in high-school when ‘Appetite for Destruction’ came out. My friends and I played it so much I wore out my first copy on cassette (that should tell you something right there, but I digress). By the time Use your Illusion 1 and 2 came out, I was well through college, working in its radio station and discovering that other music was actually made since GNR came to my attention. By the end of college, I had heard whispers of ‘Chinese Diplomacy,” but nothing materialized. I then proceeded to go on with my life.

    Well it’s 2008. And although there are a number of bands that continue to record and be somewhat viable through the years, you have to wonder if the kinds of fans and crowds that catapulted GNR to stardom have done the same. Sure, the name will sell records and as the Huffington piece adds, a track from the new album is going to get on Rock Band 2, but I think the supposed revenue lost by a guy throwing their music on the internet pales in comparison to the time they’ve wasted between albums.

     

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  35.  
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    another mike, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 12:13pm

    Scrabulous Effect applies to music too

    Driving away your fans and customers in pursuit of your legal rights is usually not a good long term strategy.
    Of course, Streisand Effect may be at play here, too.
    "Hey, our latest album got leaked online. We're very upset about that. Don't go listen to it to remind yourself to buy tickets for our concert. Really, don't listen to the leaked album that we're oh so upset about."

     

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  36.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 5th, 2008 @ 2:14pm

    Re: having your biggest fans arrested

    Metallica was more than legally right, they were morally right.

    And for being so right they now have a huge number of folks who used to be fans and who now hate the band.

    Is that reasonable?

    The point is that no matter if they had a legal or even a moral right, it was dumb from a business perspective.

    Artists must protect their work

    Why? Seriously. Why *must* they protect their work when they and their fans can be better off if they purposely do not protect their work?

     

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  37.  
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    Pinky Floyd, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: having your biggest fans arrested

    "It DOES all sound alike and it IS all crummy." Obviously you have never heard Tool's 10,000 Days. When I put on a Tool or Staind album, something tells me that this isn't 'crummy'..Gee, I dunno..Maybe it's their music not sucking coming through. My ears say 'yum' as well... Granted, Miley Cyrus and many others in the market do suck but there are still great bands out there that don't...

     

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  38.  
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    chris (profile), Sep 6th, 2008 @ 7:27am

    Re: Really?

    But I do want to know the difference in buying blank cassettes and dubbing a tape or recording off the radio?

    recording to tape is just changing formats for convenience. ripping a cd to mp3 is destroying america.

    changing formats is ok. destroying america is not.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Tthe RIAA, Sep 6th, 2008 @ 7:35am

    Re: having your biggest fans arrested

    Nice work Deborah. We knew that hiring you was a good decision.

    In the future could you please also mention how cool CDs are, how piracy supports terrorism in your next post? Also, per your contract you need use the phrase "significant blow" somewhere in every post.

    BTW, did you get the check we sent?

     

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  40.  
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    luckybleu, Sep 6th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    its not the guns and roses we knew anyway just a bloated egomanical axel 10 years it took to put out this alblum,it should be to alblums what the mona lisa is to paintings but its not its ok axel should be happy theres even any intrest at all. As for the fan what he did is illegal theres no excuse today, there s a place where you can get your music free and its legal its called QTRAX

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2008 @ 7:11am

    Re:

    "Why be a fool and put myself in line to get crapped on again!"

    Obviously youve never been to a Iggy Pop show . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2008 @ 8:03am

    Re: In response to #11

    "REALLY?! You know what's sad, people wanting something for nothing, that's sad. What do you do for a living? Whatever you sell, I want it for free! Let's see how long you continue to do your job if you aren't getting paid for it. I realize you are probably a student but in the real world merchandise, ideas, and services are exchanged for MONEY. "

    Well I’m a software developer (and a failed musician) and I quite frequently give away my work (it’s all over the web LOL, especially regarding C# tutorials). Not necessarily to get my work out there for better recognition either (although that is a benefit). I do it simply because I like what I do, it’s fun. This stuff about ME is neither here nor there but I wanted you to see that it’s not just "pot smoking" freshman who see music and the creation of such as personal art and expression (not just a packaged product), some of us grown up corporate toadies still do as well.


    "Money is the motivating factor that causes people to want to become musicians and keeps them creating new music. Without money you have limited music. More money = MORE MUSIC CHOICE, it's that simple!!!!!"

    The fact that you think MONEY is the motivating factor that causes people to become musicians or create music tells me two things; Firstly, you don’t actually know ANY musicians (I know several, even a few pretty successful ones and I don’t know a single one who became a musician . . . ‘for the money’, frankly the idea is just ridiculous”) secondly you have very little appreciation for music at all (in general the amount of money it generates has absolutely no correlation to its quality or originality, more often actually, there is an inverse connection). I am not saying this to denigrate you, as I am sure you don’t care what I think. I just want to point it out for the people who may be reading this and are still somewhat undecided about where they stand here.
    Finally record companies do not increase music choice, by their very nature they LIMIT choice. They are the gatekeepers to radio and retail shelf space and GATEKEEPERS by definition, limit access.

     

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  43.  
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    Jazili, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 1:45am

    "Metallica was right"

    I suppose its a legally right but a stupidly wrong, but hey it's an ironic thing, you just cant fight fire with fire, sure is the metalliDude learn their lesson..., I kind rad on the internet b4 the death magnetic launch there's a copy album that already been sells in europe and the metalliDude keep their cool...

    way to go Metallca (say it with james's expreession)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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