Band Says: If You Want To File Share Our Music, Cool, But Please Share It Widely

from the and-that's-how-you-share dept

Don Bartlett, who manages a variety of music acts, and who has guest posted in the past, alerted us to a recent blog post by a band he works with, called Skybox, explaining their views on file sharing. Like many smart music acts these days, the band is totally cool with people downloading their stuff, but they add one addition to it: if you’re going to share it, then really share it and spread it to others:

So here is our win/win proposal to people who download the record from a filesharing site: If you like the album, pick your favorite song and email it to 10 of your friends. Simple as that. That way you get to enjoy the record AND our music gets promoted. If you’re feeling really ambitious, post a link to our new video on your twitter or facebook. Or use the “share” button on all of the players on our site… they’re easy as hell to use and are a simple way to have your friends check out our music. You get the idea.

It’s nice to see a band not just recognize that file sharing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but also recognize the increased benefit from the actual sharing, while encouraging more such sharing.

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Comments on “Band Says: If You Want To File Share Our Music, Cool, But Please Share It Widely”

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Anonymous Coward says:

This is actually what I think should be the mentality of not only the content creators but also the fans as well. If you’re going to download something, whether it’s a song or a movie or a book, and you like it, you should be an advocate of purchases that content. I’m not saying you should berate people into buying it (or insult them if they don’t), but rather act in such a manner that encourages people to purchase it. In some cases people may not even be aware that they can purchase such material online, and you can also direct them to places where the creator may get more of a cut of the product (like their own webpage or something).

Anonymous Coward says:

real creativity

I’m creative when it comes to programming and algorithms, but not so much music and art. The open source initiative I think has a lot of similarities to where the “open” sourced music is going to end up, with the same type of “feeling” obviously there will be differences because of the desired outputs, and different end results. Usable software vs enjoyable experience. But neither of these have to be done for “free” or not for profit, just ask Red Hat or Canonical

Ian says:

So how exactly are the band going to earn a living if they are to give away ALL their music? My feelings are that there will come a day that music is never sold, but always freely available to download. I mean, these days with high speed 100m/bit networks, I can download entire albums in less than a minute!

I’m guessing bands will have to make money out of live concerts, and therefore pushing the price of attending such an event SKY HIGH – maybe that’s already happening? I’d like to go and see P!nk, but with ticket prices into three figures for decent seats, I don’t think I will!

I see advertising and product association sadly becoming a reality. Bands getting paid to get seen in their Nike trainers, wearing the Gucci sunglasses, etc. And then, perhaps even products mentioned in the lyrics…Mercedes paying to get a mention of their Mercedes cruising down the street…Marmite paying for the product to be mentioned in every verse. Seriously, if it’s not through record sales, then how will they make money?

Perhaps it’ll even be a case of sponsorships? “Toyota are proud sponsors of Anouk” announced before each radio airplay?

Ah, the internet has got a lot to answer for!

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

remember please that (assuming my memory is correct from previous articles on this subject), for most bands, the vast majority, if not only, money they ever SEE is from live concerts, and sometimes merchandise. not CDs and such.

the rest gets eaten by dodgy record label contracts, or doesn’t exist in the first place.

(there are, of course, exceptions)

cowardly anonymous says:

Re: Re:

why does a band have to earn a living? Most don’t. I have barely made £100 a year for the last 30 years of making music. The difference is that in the 80’s it cost a fortune to record and not be heard, and now it costs nothing to record and i get roughly 10,000 downloads a month. Sure it would be nice to sit about all day playing guitar and not have to work. But i do know this – i am still trying to make better music. I doubt i would be bothering now if i had had hits in the ’80’s.

SeanG (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

My thoughts exactly. I have a day job so I can afford the time and money to make music. Fortunately my day job is music so I can stand it. But I only make about 1/5th of my income from my own music every year. It’s freeing to remove the stress of putting food on the table. This band has some good ideas. I made my first experiment in free about 2 years ago. The torrent has been downloaded thousands of times, but I’ve had no feedback. All the downloads are nice, but I have no way of knowing if people like it, or even listen to it. Next time, I will have to do something like this to encourage more interaction.

Wayfinder (profile) says:

Makes sense to me

In this current age, we are in a position that peer-to-peer sharing is largely illegal… and largely unstoppable. Business 101 concept: an unenforceable policy is a useless policy.

This places performers between a rock and a hard place: either have their music ripped off against their will… or have it ripped off with their blessings. So, it makes sense to have music ripped with blessings.

This band seems to have their head on straight. While at this time I know of no good overall solution to this situation, I think that online music companies have proved that people ARE willing to pay for easily-accessible, downloadable music. They will also “trade” easily copyable music. So… it pays for bands to realize what they can’t control, they can use for advertising.

Music goes beyond the “this is mine and gimme money for it” category. Music is universal… and unstoppable. Anyone who can hum a tune can “swipe” music in a manner of speaking. The major recording studios turned music from personally-performed to pre-recorded… and wrongly believe because they know how to use a recording system that entitles them to ownership of the music. This is a pox on our society. For thousands of years musicians were paid for PERFORMANCES, not some ethereal concept of “intellectual property rights”.

I’m not saying that musicians don’t deserve their wage. But instead of trying to pull that wage from the end-party who is simply listening to the music, perhaps those fees should instead come from the same source they have come from for centuries: live performances and work-for-hire (for example, if a business uses a piece of music for advertising). Perhaps the idea should be to use CDs and MP3s as “advertising” to get people to concerts.

As a musician, I’ve been on both sides of the issue. After years and years I’ve come to recognize this: my music belongs to those who enjoy it. Yes, it’s my property. But like a painting that hangs on a wall for everyone to freely view… my music is there for people to listen to. I don’t care whether they’ve paid to listen or not. If I want to make a living from my music, I can do so via live performances or work for hire. This whole concept of “copyrighted so you have to pay to listen” seems to be totally out of whack.

That doesn’t mean I can’t sell my CDs to whomever is willing to buy them. That’s totally legitimate. It doesn’t mean some other clown should rip me off by selling my music. It does mean I’m not going to send someone to jail because they downloaded a song of mine from a friend. If they like it that much, well… that’s why I wrote it in the first place. 😉

Kudos to the bands that understand reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

sure they are happy to give it away because they have nothing to lose. they had no record deal, they have no income, they have never seen where the money comes from. in the end, they are just missing one of the most important parts of being able to be in the music business, earning enough money to stay in it long term. now they can go work their butts off playing 300 shows a year for beer money while the label bands do it and make a very good living thanks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

nope, notice i didnt say they get rich from cd sales. but they do get rich from the exposure that comes with it. instead of playing 300 shows a year for beer money, they end up maybe playing 400-500 seaters, maybe opening for a larger band in 1000 seaters, etc. they pay their dues but they also make a living. just tossing your music out there for free doesnt make you any money or any more likely to make more than beer money doing it except in very exceptional cases.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

nope, notice i didnt say they get rich from cd sales. but they do get rich from the exposure that comes with it. instead of playing 300 shows a year for beer money, they end up maybe playing 400-500 seaters, maybe opening for a larger band in 1000 seaters, etc. they pay their dues but they also make a living.

Unfortunately, this isn’t actually true. Most bands signed to a major label DO NOT “make a living” from anything involving the label. We’ve gone through the math before, but the typical band on a major label barely makes any money at all, because all the money that comes in goes to the label. They are given an advance, but most of that is spent on the recording, which the band then needs to “repay” anyway. I forget the specific numbers, but I recall band members making on the order of $10 to $20k on a label deal. And that’s it.

They don’t get “exposure” from the labels, who rarely have much to do with touring any more.

I’m not sure where your numbers come from (I’ll note, of course, that you don’t provide any actual numbers), but they’re wrong.

The ability for bands to make a living is not enhanced by signing to a label.

meyek (profile) says:

Re: playing for beer money

i played in several bar bands over the course of about twenty years, for “beer money” but there wwas always enough to take some home, and it actually was a useful extra income. i was married for most of this time and had four kids to feed. had i been single, i could have lived on it.

established artists really don’t make that much more (they do, but they pay for a lot of services that whittle the take down to less impressive values). some artists or acts obviously command a higher price, but many of the financially secure artists also work for hire, either as studio sidemen, sound engineers, producers, etc, which might indicate a need to put bread on the table as much as creative genius.

playing music isn’t an oilwell or a goldmine, but if you need to play music, may as well do it.


i think tp punish we need to say NO TO ALL MUSIC FOR A YEAR

we need to reboot
we need to restart

PROOF you say

hard working johny winter played a simple down town bar last night
outside for over an hour was another 65 year old
passed out freezing and cold
people thought he was dead
people walked on buy did nothing
imagine that oh a dead guy move along

sick world, worse no one cared

Tony D says:

What we need are ways to monetize "free" music

It seems pretty clear that the music industry can’t stop people sharing their music. CDs are still selling, although that may change with time (or it may not. iTunes sells a lot, and has minimal costs…)

But what I’d love is to be able to download and share a song from Skybox that comes with metadata about usage and performance fees. It should include a paypal (or equivalent) account, with some sort of reasonable encryption (and ONLY the metadata should be encrypted) to ensure that it’s the right band.

And then if I own a restaurant, I should be able to pay a flat monthly amount to be allowed to play my “freely downloaded” music in the restaurant. The amount I pay should depend on the size of the restaurant. My playing software could keep track of which songs are played, and split up the fee across the right artists. Only a few cents (if even that) each, but they’d be getting something. And, since it’s part of the cost of the business (and a very small cost) and convenient for me to follow the rules, I’d happily pay that, where I might not be willing to pay for a song for my personal collection.

Similarly, let me use the music on podcasts once I’ve paid a reasonable fee.
My phone company should have a service where I can choose what mp3 my “on hold” music should be.
For a small fee I should be able to use my mp3 as my phone ringtone.
If I buy a CD I should also get a “download code” that lets me get the same songs as mp3 from itunes (I might want it on my ipod) – I should also get a code for the songs on rock band, guitar hero, and singstar. Then I’ll feel like I’m getting more for my money than just songs I could have downloaded on my own.
And so on.

We’ve got the technology. We should embrace it. Let the people using the music for commercial gain take the cost. They’ll accept the cost since the music will help them profit more. Then let the fans share it freely, to increase exposure.

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