Record Labels Pressure Spotify Into Being Worse; Driving Users Back To Piracy

from the golden-geese... dept

I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe, over the past few years, at various music industry events, and one thing has become clear: all sorts of folks tell me that they stopped file sharing once they started using Spotify. It’s uncanny. It shows, once again, that if you actually offer a good service, you absolutely can compete with file sharing. But there’s no golden goose that the record labels can’t kill, and they’ve been grumbling about Spotify for a while now… despite the fact that Spotify is making them more money than iTunes, in countries where it’s available.

However, as we’ve seen, the entertainment industry has a special talent for screwing up a good thing, and their latest target is Spotify. Spotify still hasn’t been released in the US, in part because some of the record labels (cough Warner Music cough) are demanding ridiculous restrictions on users, limiting any “free” parts to make the service a lot less appealing. Now it appears that the labels have also pressured Spotify into seriously cutting back on their free offer in Europe.

This will, undoubtedly, drive many of the users, who were making the industry money, back to unauthorized file sharing. In fact, many of the comments on Spotify’s blog post about this say exactly that. For an industry that keeps claiming stamping out piracy is the number one goal, you would think it would know better than to take away the best tool they’ve had to compete with file sharing in a while. Spotify certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s amazing how quickly the recording industry seeks to destroy anything that starts making them money. They tried to do it with iTunes as well, but Steve Jobs fought back. Spotify apparently doesn’t have the same clout just yet.

Really, this is symptomatic of the mentality of many of the bosses in the recording industry. They do absolutely nothing themselves to innovate. Instead, they resist and/or sue any innovation that comes along. Then, when an innovation finally breaks through and works, just as it’s starting to really take off, the record label bosses get jealous and start complaining that these innovative services that are making them money are getting too much of the credit (and money) and demand a larger cut, making claims about how the service isn’t the thing that’s important, it’s the music. Of course, if it were just the music that was important, these innovative services wouldn’t be catching on. The service is important too, and each time the record label bosses overvalue their own music and undervalue the service, they end up killing off innovative offerings and driving users back to file sharing…

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Companies: spotify

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Comments on “Record Labels Pressure Spotify Into Being Worse; Driving Users Back To Piracy”

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134 Comments
Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

New Thought

In view of all the label’s attempts to kill anything and everything that makes them money and makes their content more valuable (not more pricey, they do that enough on their own) I have had a new thought.
They in fact want us to download music. They try their hardest to make sure that is the best option available to us. Downloading is no longer immoral in any way because they try so very hard to make sure that is what we do, that they just have to be condoning it even while they speak against it.

It is the last logical explanation I can think of that can allow them the thinking capacity above the bacteria that lines the inside of my lower intestine.

Anonymous Coward says:

It's not about money, it's about control.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – money has nothing to do with it.

Here’s how the music labels think:

The music labels are gatekeepers. They don’t care about money, they care about control. If they allow services like Spotify to succeed then Spotify will become the new gatekeeper, and that scares the shit out of them.

If Spotify is allowed to become the new gatekeeper, then the labels have no reason to exist – artists can make new deals directly with the gatekeeper, and cut the labels out of everything, and the gravy train disappears.

What they’re doing everything in their power to ignore is that this has already happened.

Nicedoggy says:

Everyday more and more I think that, copyright should be about the guy setting a value to his work before releasing anything and when he gets paid he releases it and have no further claims, that solves most if not all the problems with copyright and enforcement. Not to mention that is workable and people could accept something like that.

The current system gives to much power to a class of people who are not interested in nothing but conflict apparently, they don’t won’t to find a solution that everybody can live with it.

If Ford had to the rights to claim payment from others from every use of their vehicles would we have mass transit? would it be affordable? would people be able to build business? I doubt it.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Overheard by a fly on the wall

[Record Company CEO] What’s on our agenda for today?

[Record Company Executive] Well, we have Spotify on our radar sir, it seems that they are doing very well selling our music.

[RCC] But…but….that’s our job!

[RCE] I know sir, but they are making us money.

[RCC] I don’t care. It’s OUR job dammit. Shut them down!

[RCE] But sir, isn’t that like shooting ourselves in the foot? The customers will go back to pirating.

[RCC] We are fine, just fine, we have 3 more toes left, see? And I don’t care about customers. Now, I have to go make my presentation to the stockholders about how much we are spending on fighting infringement to make them money.

alephen says:

it is their property thye have the right to do what they want with it. you people act like they are robbing you because the arent giving you the access to their property that you want.

you are common theives. make whatever justification you desire, you are no better then the person that sees a wallet on the street and decided to grab the cash.

you wanting something does not equal you deserve to have it. why dont you actually create something instead of steal? it doesnt matter how much something costs them to make it, it doesnt matter if they could make money on it. all that matters is THEY OWN IT.

Zach says:

Re: Re: Re:

They own the rights of the master recordings that people obviously want to listen to but not pay for. Most people have no idea how much it actually costs or how many people are involved in breaking/establishing an artist/band. The costs are enormous. It’s a huge risk, huge reward industry, unfortunately, the risks are only getting larger and the rewards are continually getting smaller.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s not the producing of music costs that have increased, it’s the marketing and promoting of music costs that have increased.

The musicians and artist’s always get paid, they have something called a musician’s union that guarantees their payment from the major record labels, and the artists/bands always get an advance on future earnings, that is non-refundable by the label.

The fact is, if artist’s don’t sell more music, then they can’t recoup their advance or earn more in royalties, and thus likely won’t make another album.

Big Al says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Unfortunately you seem to have the entitlement mentality that so many display today.
From the beginning, music was and is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. It doesn’t matter how much it cost to produce, how many hours went into the marketing and promotion, how much went on flashy ads in NME or whatever.
If the music is not good it won’t sell. If people think it isn’t worth the then they won’t buy it.
No-one ‘deserves’ payment for work. That is negotiated between you and your employer – your employer being, in this case, the music buying public.
File sharing seems to be the case where you have lost out in the negotiations…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Unfortunately, you don’t understand copyright law. The owner/creator (labels/artists) of a copyrighted work can choose any price they want to license or sell their creative work for. This is the legal and economic benefit provided to the creator/owner for creating said work.

The fact that a song is available for free makes the “negotiation” no longer relevant. If I own something and I think it’s value is $2, and my consumer thinks it’s value is $1, but can get an exact copy for free, what do you think will happen? They’ll get it for free 9 times out of 10.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Yeah, because there’s SO much similarity in bottled water and mp3’s. Unlike bottled water vs tap water, there’s no “better” taste in mp3’s, mp3’s aren’t sold in vending machines/store shelves/refrigerated sections, there are no purified mp3’s, and mp3’s aren’t necessary to live. The argument of “convenience” doesn’t hold water, no pun intended.

Josh (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

There is definitely better tasting digital music than mp3. Most people just can’t tell the difference, but those that can are often willing to spend more.

The general public is fine with the audio quality presented to them, but those that can tell the difference often value lossless recordings over the lossy recordings of MP3 and AAC encoded files (the most widely distributed formats).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

No way! You’re kidding right?! I never could have figured that out by myself! Thanks so much!

Or the buyer can (and does) download the music for free, hurting everyone in the record industry, (musicians, engineers, songwriters, artists, marketing/promotion/label folks, music publishers, publicists, etc.) and spends their money supporting everyone in another industry, all the while still benefiting from the entertainment provided by the record industry without supporting it.

Yeah, that seems fair, ethical and economical.

techflaws.org (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

> I never could have figured that out by myself!

Obviously. That’s why I mentioned it.

> Or the buyer can (and does) download the music for free,
> hurting everyone in the record industry,

Right, because he wouldn’t pay the price demanded that means not pay in the first place. So what’s the hurt again?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

They’re benefiting (enjoying the music created by someone else) from other people’s work without compensating them for their work. It’s like going to dinner and then skipping out on the bill.

You actually think a significant percentage of people wouldn’t pay for the music they download for free if they could no longer get it for free?!

techflaws.org (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

It’s like going to dinner and then skipping out on the bill.
That’s utter bullshit and you know it.

If I go to a restaurant I’m occupying a table so no other customer can sit there and pay. Not the same with CDs, if I download a copy of the internet you can still sell it to anyone who’s willing to pay.

If I skip the bill the restaurant owner actually lost money for food and drinks consumed that can’t be sold anymore. If I skip the bill by downloading you still have the CD and can sell it to anyone who’s willing to pay.

It’s embarrassing that you even try to make a point with these obvious fallacies. Not that I hadn’t already taken your two degrees with a grain of salt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

Wow, you’re still not addressing the main arguments, just the analogies. I’ll post it again, maybe this time you can come up with a good counter argument.

They’re benefiting (enjoying the music created by someone else) from other people’s work without compensating them for their work. Any other industry that was being taken advantage of this way would be just as upset.

You actually think a significant percentage of people wouldn’t pay for the music they download for free if they could no longer get it for free?!

techflaws.org (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

Since your anology was deeply flawed it seems your main argument is as well. And it is, you simply cannot compare this industry to others since it does not produce tangible goods that could be missing afterwards.

However, all changes in law are based on the assumption of (gigantic) losses and I for one am opposed to that given the clear evidence. Despite “rampant downloading” of movies the movie industry had another box office record in a recession no less.

You actually think a significant percentage of people wouldn’t pay for the music they download for free if they could no longer get it for free?!

I think that it’s always been like that. Some people pay cause they can or want to, other people borrow the disc from their friends if they must hear/watch it.

The only difference now is that the internet gives you a rough estimate on how much sharing actually has been going on all these years. And despite of what the industry claims it’s still here cause as you say it adapted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Radio does not exist to sell or pay for their use of sound recordings. Radio is all about advertising revenue. Radio claims they have no obligation to pay for their use of sound recordings because they’ve been giving the music industry “free promotion” for years. The only problem with that argument is that the promotion has been far from free, and yes payola still goes on to this day.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

If I own something and I think it’s value is $2, and my consumer thinks it’s value is $1, but can get an exact copy for free, what do you think will happen? They’ll get it for free 9 times out of 10.

And yet the labels still don’t seem to get that they would be better off charging $1, which the customer will pay, rather than $2 which they won’t, and then also spending a bunch of money fighting the people who would have given them a dollar. It’s crazy.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

The labels seem to work like this:

Our work is ‘worth’ $2. 10 people have shown an interest (according to ‘surveys’). So we are ‘due’ $20.

The customer thinks it is ‘worth’ $1. So those 10 will only give us $10, which after our $2 base and marketing costs means we will only have $8, instead of $18. Therefore they are ‘depriving’ us of $10 profit! (Or ‘stealing’ $10!)

Because only 1 in 10 customers will pay that ‘deserved’ ?2, we only get one person buying, so we only get $2 – we’ve been stiffed $18 by those 9 others not giving us $2 each!

Even worse, because it is available for ‘free’, 90 other people have gone out and got it (even if they never had any intention of getting it before, and are only doing so because it’s free), which means that we’ve ‘lost’ another $180 (that we would never ever have got in reality)! So instead of profiting $18 (or $8) we have been diddled of $198! These rampant losses (OMG we only covered out costs!) will ‘drive us out of business’!! Oh NOES!!!!

That seems to be the **AA thinking in a nutshell. Oh, and don’t forget this last afterthought:

“Daddy Government! There’s $198 not been spent on us which will somehow miraculously not go anywhere else in the economy and will fall down the back of a sofa somewhere and will cost ‘Mericun jobs and ‘Mericun businesses just because it wasn’t given to us!!!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Yeah, that’s why I have two degrees in music business and work for Universal Music Group, the biggest music company in the world. I’m not saying that the industry isn’t changing, but that the basics will always stay intact in some form. What music company do you work for again?

techflaws.org (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

If you actually think that every major label will go out of business, than you’re truly naive.
I think it’s rather naive of you to make up things that I said where anyone can just as easily look one posting up and see what I actually wrote. Which is that I doubt Universal will stay the biggest group given all the changes we’ve seen in the past years (EMI, etc).

They will obviously adjust and adapt
Again, there is nothing obvious about this as we’ve seen them fighting change for more than a decade now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

I think it’s rather naive of you to make up things that I said where anyone can just as easily look one posting up and see what I actually wrote. Which is that I doubt Universal will stay the biggest group given all the changes we’ve seen in the past years (EMI, etc).

First of all, Warner Bros and EMI both are in significant debt, unlike Sony and Universal. I will admit though, I was presumptuous in assuming you thought that all labels will go broke. Although, given everyone’s “dire” assumptions and hatred for the record industry these days, I think you can understand my initial assumption.

They will obviously adjust and adapt
Again, there is nothing obvious about this as we’ve seen them fighting change for more than a decade now.

They’ve been doing it for decades now. When phonographs hit, piano players and sheet music sales dropped and the industry panicked, when radio hit, phonograph sales dropped and the industry panicked, when television hit, record sales dropped and the industry panicked. When every new technology format came along, sales of the previous format always dropped and the industry panicked. The industry is cyclical and has always panicked and always recovered.

techflaws.org (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Although, given everyone’s “dire” assumptions and hatred for the record industry these days, I think you can understand my initial assumption.

What did you expect given how they try to chip away basic freedoms based on alleged losses they never once managed to proof?

The industry is cyclical and has always panicked and always recovered.

Given the fundamental change the internet presents I think they won’t ever be able to recover and become the old gatekeepers – which is a good thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

I’ll be the first to admit the industry missed a great opportunity to take advantage of the digital downloading business model. I was one of the few folks in the industry screaming for us to take advantage of this and I caught hell for that.

I’d also say those “alleged losses” have been proved numerous times at this point. Just ask any of the judges or defendants involved in any of the recent music piracy/file sharing cases.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

‘Kay. What should I do in this instance:

Someone owns a master recording of a song (or whatever) that had once been but is no longer being reproduced for sale.

Another someone happens to have access to this master recording, sees it isn’t for sale anywhere but believes it important enough to be out there for others to hear, and makes exactly one digital copy available for download (via copying, of course, since that’s how downloading works) for free, all at no expense to the owner of the master nor anyone else but his/herself.

If it isn’t being sold by anybody, where is the harm in anyone having a copy of a copy? How is the ‘owner’ of the master being harmed? Why should I or anyone else who’s interested NOT avail ourselves of this download? Why is anyone expected to Just Say No! to something that is only available to them in this way?

If the ‘owners’ of a song demanded that the song never be sung in the shower, are we expected to respect those wishes? It seems the same to me, ‘don’t do something because I said so even if it’s stupid and doing it won’t harm me in the least’.

alephen says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

difference 1) the item is stolen from its owner. in itself that is harm, not just to him but to society.

2)the value of his master is lowered because instead of someonehaving to pay whatever insane price he charges for this song, they can get it for free. (the price of fine pieces of art is absolute proof.)

3) you should not steal this music because our democratic society has said it is wrong. you should value the society you live in and if you think a law is wrong try to change it. violating the law in a country where law is decided by the people means you do not value democracy except when it agrees with you.

4) singing in the shower is different because society has said it is different. we the people have narrowly defined what is protected intellectual rights property, even if you individually think it is not narrow enough.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

1) Its only a harm to the ego of those who think they are entitled to have serfs they euphemistically call consumers.

2) Piracy is akin to radio if radio couldn’t stop sales of physical items related to music then piracy won’t to.

3) We should absolutely steal all music, and all the people I know agree with that, mind you those people are all around the globe, so I don’t know what society you are referring to. Nobody I ask about “sharing” music think it is wrong. Even in very educated societies people “steal” not only music but videos and books and if you want proof of it just go to any bookstore and watch people start stealing books by reading them without paying.

4) Society is now redefining what IP property means, and I can tell you is not going your way though.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You see I have to see yet an graph showing a decline in artists revenues for any top hundred. Bonojerk just got the biggest payday last year just touring, that I can respect, but trying to criminalize people for sharing music, yah right dream on.

Besides if all music was free to maybe we would have more joints playing that music creating more interest for it, maybe we would find more stores selling customizable music, the way things are going, you people are killing the market.

People are angry, the same people you call thieves are the ones that hold the money ultimately and they won’t give it to people like you ever.

Have you visit your competition?

Go to Jamendo and see how wonderful that is, I can go there get a song put it in my video and upload that to youtube and nobody will mute my video, I can distribute it to my friends and you can’t do squat about it.

That that punk.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

difference 1) the item is stolen from its owner. in itself that is harm, not just to him but to society.

Not to be pendantic, but the master wasn’t stolen, it was copied. If it wasn’t being sold anyway, how is the owner harmed by society having new access to it? How is society harmed by having access to more art?

2)the value of his master is lowered because instead of someonehaving to pay whatever insane price he charges for this song, they can get it for free. (the price of fine pieces of art is absolute proof.)

That is not what I posited. Copies of this work are not being sold, neither by the owner nor by the person who brought it out to the public. How does that lower the value of his master in any way? The owner still has a very valuable item: the master. All else are copies of copies. How is his ownership devalued? He’s the only one who’s got the original.

I take a picture of the Mona Lisa and hang it on a wall in my restaurant’s restroom. How is the original devalued?

3) you should not steal this music because our democratic society has said it is wrong. you should value the society you live in and if you think a law is wrong try to change it. violating the law in a country where law is decided by the people means you do not value democracy except when it agrees with you.

I am not stealing anything when I obtain a digital copy of a digital copy of something that is not being sold by anyone, anywhere, in any form. Digital copies of something are made and physically cannot be taken, stolen, or borrowed anyway, if we want to get technical.

Has society said the situation I’m presenting is wrong? Have we polled all of society? Up to now society is what has permitted copyright to exist at all, since it is a wholly unnatural human situation, preventing communication and sharing as it does. Is the scourge of ‘piracy’ that is being claimed as the killer of the _________ industry merely society deciding that it is not beneficial to permit copyright to exist anymore in such an overreaching and untenable fashion? Facets of coyright, anyway.

4) singing in the shower is different because society has said it is different. we the people have narrowly defined what is protected intellectual rights property, even if you individually think it is not narrow enough.

If society told you to jump off a bridge…heh, kidding.

If society deemed it unacceptable to sing in the shower, even passed laws to that effect, and it was something you decided would harm no one if you did, would you do it?

If someone offered you a copy of something new, that you’d never heard before, that came highly recommended, that was as innocent as a lullaby, that could expand your personal world, that could broaden your life experience…or that could be crap, could be minutes of your life you won’t get back, that you might hate, that you could destroy in seconds, that was not stolen nor being sold by anyone anywhere, that would cause no harm whether you had a copy or not…

…would you have a listen?

And if you liked it enough to keep it, are you a criminal?

techflaws.org (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

2)the value of his master is lowered because instead of someonehaving to pay whatever insane price he charges for this song, they can get it for free. (the price of fine pieces of art is absolute proof.)

Proof, my ass. It only proofs there are dumb suckers out there that will pay ridiculous prices for crap. There’s no way you can expect regular people with some common sense to do the same.

DH's Love Child (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

2)the value of his master is lowered because instead of someonehaving to pay whatever insane price he charges for this song, they can get it for free. (the price of fine pieces of art is absolute proof.)

Um, I’m gonna call bullshit on this one. The prices of fine pieces of art actually proves the opposite. The originals of fine pieces of art command ridiculously huge amounts of money to collectors, because they are the ORIGINAL.

I can find digital copies of manuscripts of Mahler symphonies for free, but the original physical manuscripts will never be available to someone of my meager financial means.

In the scenario the OP described, it would actually make the original MORE valuable. If someone had made a digital copy of the master and released it into the wild and that recording got a lot of exposure, the master would be damn near priceless. How valuable do you think the master recordings of Beatles songs for example are. Not because whoever owns them can make money selling copies, but because they own the ONLY original. It’s the scarcity of the master recording that makes it more valuable than the digital copies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You clearly don’t understand the differences between the copyright ownership of a master recording and the copyright ownership of a song/composition. They are two separate copyrights that usually have two different owners. When you buy a CD, or a MP3/song, you are not actually buying the rights to the song or the recording, you’re buying the license to use THAT COPY of the CD/mp3/whatever for your OWN PERSONAL USE. The label is also paying the owner of the composition/song for it’s use of the song in the recording for you. You can use THAT COPY however you wish, sell it to your friend, give it away, whatever, but you can’t make more copies and then sell or give them away. It’s called copyright law and it exists to protect owners/creators and to provide an incentive for them to create their works.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

So the public is being duped into thinking they bought something?

Why don’t people just say that when they “sell” that music?
Stopping “selling” and start calling it what it really is a “rental”.

Also you people should just do what others do and ask for the money before it is released, put a price on the work done and be done with any further claims like the rest of the world do.

Why can’t artists do that? Why they need to be different from others? do they deserve those extra-ordinary rights?

I doubt they deserve it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Hmm… I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re saying. Could you elaborate more?

I actually do agree that the record industry has handled the digital download situation quite poorly, however, it doesn’t change the fact that copyright law is being violated at an enormous rate, whether willfully or unwillfully.

The industry as a whole will survive too. We panicked when radio came out, when tv came out, and when cassettes came out. We always managed to figure out a way to monetize recorded music and prevent piracy. Will the industry ever be as strong or large as it was, doubtful, but it’s just a matter of time before things will eventually settle down again.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

When you buy a truck and use it to make a living do Ford come to you and ask for money?

Why copyright allows that?
Why can’t copyright say, you can put a price on your work and once it is paid you release it and have no further claims.

So people can use that work to create new work, or to attract customers to bars, shopping malls, create games and sell those and what interests me most, people can share it and do whatever they want, the creator got paid and his work is now being used by society either for entertainment or to make more money, creating demand.

The fashion industry has no rights, how do they survive, comedians have no rights, open source give it away those rights and it is flourishing.

You want to see a glimpse of what copyright defenders will face look at open source at some point people will start migrating to legal solutions that don’t have those barriers because it is more useful to them, no matter how much legislation is put in place people can and will find ways around it.

So maybe it is time to switch to something that will survive the test of time and that is ask for the money up front, put a price tag on your work and don’t bother with any future use it is not your problem anymore once you got paid, it may even create something that you could use to make more money out of it.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

When you buy a CD, or a MP3/song, you are not actually buying the rights to the song or the recording, you’re buying the license to use THAT COPY of the CD/mp3/whatever for your OWN PERSONAL USE.

What is wrong with just stating what something is without having to create horrible analogies that don’t work and are incorrect? I don’t buy licenses to a song. I buy the song. There is no license. There is just a song. I buy it.

Steven Spielberg might buy a license to a song so he can put it in his movies. But when I go to iTunes or Amazon MP3, I’m buying a song. Copyright law prevents me from making and distributing copies of that song (fair use excepted). Spielberg has to get a license because he is going to be making and distributing copies. But I am just buying the song. Spielberg can also buy the song. But because of copyright he can’t make and distribute copies of that song, so he can’t use the song he bought in his movie. If he wants to use it, he’ll have to get a license. I’m not making a movie. I’m not asking to make and distribute songs, so I don’t need a license. I’m buying the song.

You want an analogy? I’ll give you one. This is like me buying a gun from Smith and Wesson. I bought the stupid gun. There is no implicit license from Smith and Wesson that I implicitly agree to to not murder someone with it. I can do whatever I want with it. If I murder someone with it, then I’ve broken the law and will be held liable for that lawbreaking. Similarly, when I buy a song, I didn’t implicitly agree to a license with the copyright holder that I would not make and distribute copies. No, I can do whatever I want with that song. If I make and distribute copies however, then I’ve broken the law and will be held liable for it.

Do you normally consider all laws an implicit license? Is that where the disconnect is?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

No you don’t. You buy a copy of the song. Copyright law only says you can’t make and distribute copies (fair use excepted). You can do whatever you want with that digital copy except for what by law copyrights deny you from doing. There is no license. There is no “buy[ing] the rights”. You are simply buying the copy.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

So when Fox breaks the copyright law, or Warner does, that’s okay? Becuase they have actually done that. They should be held accountable too. But no, they pay for this crap sot hat it doesn’t apply to them because ZYX.

And you can’t buy the rights. That’s called a lease. So either change the terminology or actually let people buy it. No-one deserves to be paid. You have to earn that. That’s why working is called what it is: work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

By providing it for free you’re preventing the owner from selling/profiting off of the work that they own. The owner/creator has the sole and exclusive right to decide to sell/give away/price the work, no one else can do it for them. You’re not the owner, therefore the decision to sell/give away the song is not yours to make. This benefit and protection given to copyright owners is the essence of copyright law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Horsepoop. The owner can absolutely still use the work to somehow monetize it. The owner has authenticity on his side, and, thanks to exposure, hopefully a growing fanbase to work that monetizing magic on.

Digital copies are priced at far less than a dime a dozen. True scarcities like time, access, convenience, service, physical product can always be leveraged.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

No, they’re all about supporting a musician in a more tangible way than shelling out a buck for an infinitely reproducible (and deleteable) file BECAUSE of those MP3s.

Seriously, if you can’t think your way out of the scarce/non-scarce mine/not yours fan/thief paper bag, it would seem your reliance on copyright has made you weak and therefore doomed to fail.

Have fun with that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Unavailable By Design

Posting anon for visible reasons:

In the early 80s I worked for a Big Record Company in publishing (low gopher). One area I maintained was a spooky, blocks-long underground warehouse. Water leaks were common; no one went in there (except me, gopher); single bulb lighting, etc. Rats merrily gamboled in the wabe, chewing and making nests and turd piles. It was lovely.

Among other things in that tomb I found the original hand-annotated score for a Big Space Movie With Wookies, thrown into a cardboard box with office junk, badly-stained from water leakage and mold and still displaying the composer’s signature and notations as to changes and performance. I found stereo demo recordings of jams with Page and Hendrix, demo recordings containing some recognizable and some never-released material for a Big Name Singer who had just left a Big Name Art Rock Band and had yet to gain his status as a Steamy Sledgehammer, hundreds of reels recorded from almost every live concert 5 dozen bands had ever played…

All of them thrown willy-nilly into cheap cardboard boxes, dumped in with office detritous, papers, wire, light bulbs, crap, and thrown uncategorized, unlabeled and unprotected from mold, mildew and dust. Priceless material that any music lover would gladly pay to hear and own, warts, bad recording and all. Music history.

As a musician and music lover, I was horrified at the careless treatment of this material from a record company. It changed my mind completely about Working For The Man (that and a year’s closeup observation of the publishing, licensing and lawyerly side).

When I left, I took with me certain items. No one ever missed them; how could they? They didn’t even know or care (that warehouse was a kind of ‘tombs’ where Bad Things Went To Die).

I had to remix/eq/clean/fix many of the recordings, their deterioration was so bad. I put in all that work and love for free. I never sold any of that material; I made copies for friends on the condition that they not redistribute.

When the net came along, I put copies of that material out on the net. Who lost profit? The Company was never going to release that material. No profit was ever lost from the release of that material.

And as a cherry topping… I managed to send a copy of that Steamy Guy’s ancient demos to him with a note explaining in more detail everything I have said here… and I got a message back: “Thank you! These originals were lost from my home studio and the Company maintained that, in their buyout of the Small Publisher at the time who had these, the tapes were lost or never were there. This is the only copy I now have of a crucial period in my own development and work.”

No, I have never felt one shred of guilt for this. And I still have Mr Wookie’s hand-annotated score in a sealed and acid-paper-free frame on my wall.

Fsck the Company.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They own the rights of the master recordings
AN artificial concept of ownership with no moral basis
people obviously want to listen to …..Most people have no idea how much it actually costs or how many people are involved in breaking/establishing an artist/band.
If people “obviously want to listen” why does it cost so much to publicize?

Seems to me that you spend an enormous amount of money creating a situation that used to make money but now doesn’t. Solution: stop spend(waste)ing that money. It certainly doesn’t cost that much to make a decent quality recording these days. The internet allows publicity and distribution at almost zero cost. This is a gain. You do not have a right to veto the future.
The music business will continue to support artists – even without copyright – but it can no longer support middlemen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

AN artificial concept of ownership with no moral basis

And yet, there’s a whole set of laws known as copyright based on this “concept.” The owners and creators (labels, publishers, songwriters and artists/musicians/producers) of creative works should be compensated for use of their creative works (songs and recordings), is the foundation of copyright law and will continue to be.

It certainly doesn’t cost that much to make a decent quality recording these days. The internet allows publicity and distribution at almost zero cost.

And yet, there is still only a handful of success stories where people truly make a living or a career out of being independent artists. Whether or not most folks realize it, most of the “independent artists” have investors that they have to answer and pay back.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And yet, there’s a whole set of laws known as copyright based on this “concept.” The owners and creators (labels, publishers, songwriters and artists/musicians/producers) of creative works should be compensated for use of their creative works (songs and recordings), is the foundation of copyright law and will continue to be.

You well know that many laws have been created with no moral basis or even a negative one (for example SA apartheid laws) so that argument cuts no ice.

Morally it is unacceptable to exercise power over others in order to make money for no extra work. That is what copyright does and it is evil.

Artists can make money in other ways. Traditionally musicians were commissioned to compose. Beethoven was granted a lifelong stipend by the city to devote himself to composing. He also made money from concerts. There ois absolutely no need to cripple our technology, econoimy and legal system by attempting to enforce copyright. Therefore we should not do it.

And yet, there is still only a handful of success stories where people truly make a living or a career out of being independent artists.

I would expect that most of them would be too low profile for you to notice. That is also a feature of the new age – we are moving from an era of a few big artists back to an era of many many smaller ones. This is a natural and inevitable progression. Once the economies of scale were no longer needed for cheap copying there was no need to make a million copies of one thing – one can do better with a thousand copies of a thousand different things – in that world you inevitably won’t know all their names. Also bear in mind that a typical career lasts 40+ years – therefore 75%+ of currently working artists will have started before the era of zero cost copies.

Joe Publius (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Indeed sir, Spotify is nothing more than a common thief that happened to pay 10s of millions in Euros for the licenses to allow a service where the music could be listened without paying, and a few adverts, IRRC. This doesn’t include their paid subscription services, and individual music sales.

Now that Spotify is being hobbled, do you really think that these record guys aren’t shooting themselves in the foot? I mean if the above model did absolutely nothing for them, why aren’t they looking for ways to sue radio stations out of existence for providing free music to thieving ears such as mine?

And I guess yes, since the music is “theirs” they could limit distribution, but how does the sales equivalent to Picking up the Ball and Going Home making them any money at all? Or do you think that the AC above who said it’s about control is right, and that they may very well rather not have anyone listen to their music unless it’s presented and purchased according to some 1940s sense of distribution?

Hell, if they’re really like that, then let the silence start as soon as possible from these knuckleheads so we can start the process of making music without them!

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re:

why dont you actually create something instead of steal?

I would never steal anything. Copying is fair game though.

it doesnt matter if they could make money on it. all that matters is THEY OWN IT.

You ignore the fact that the music industry is the one doing all the hand-wringing about the demise of their profits. I’m pretty sure they care about making money on it, or they wouldn’t spend so much time and money bribing politicians to pass draconian new laws in their favor. But when we say “Hey, if you really want money, you’re going about it completely the wrong way!” suddenly people like you show up spouting nonsense about how everyone is a thief and we should just leave the poor record execs alone since it’s not about the money for them.

NotMyRealName (profile) says:

Re: Re:

A painter paints a masterpiece, realizes its really good and a lot of people would like to have it. Over the course of several months, he churns out 1000 numbered copies, sells the original for a whole bunch, the copies for less. He is happy with what he has accomplished, he made a bunch of cash, he moves on to other things. 3 years later, I see #639/1000 in a friends house, take a really good, clear picture of it, and put it on my wall. Through a freak coincidence, a friend of a friend invites the painter to a gathering at my home.

Putting aside all laws and current expectations, what is the most reasonable outcome? That the painter get all pissy and demand a fee for my use of his work, or that he compliments my taste and tries to sell me #1217/2000 of his new work?

Because that’s what we are talking about, copying a copy of a live performance of which there will only ever be one. The masterpiece of a musical artist is complete when they, on try 67 in the studio finally get their shit together and play a song through exactly as they envisioned it. Except now the current gate keepers are making the numbered copies and they don’t care if you like it or not as long as you bought it.

The ‘art’ part of art has no place at the recording industry offices. They don’t care about community or inspiration or emotion, as long as the commodity improves the bottom line. Even if I could afford it I wouldn’t spend 2 hours wages (yeah minimum wage here) supporting those asshats. I would and do, however, spend 5-6 hours pay to go see a live show, where the performance is generally not as long as a cd, and I only get to see it once.

/rant

alephen says:

Re: Re: Re:

no that is not what is going on. you buy a song you can play it for your friends.

an artist makes a painting, you take that painting and make copies of it , they make copies until everyone that wants a copy has one. the artist trying to sell the painting and find everyone that wants it already has it, the value of his painting has gone to $0 due to infinite supply.

(the only differences are 1) paintings have actual costs due to canvass/paint and distribution issues and 2)it is virtually impossible to make perfect copies of paintings while it is not so for music.)

NotMyRealName (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Your error here is in where you think the value resides

1) paintings have actual costs due to canvass/paint and distribution issues
Live performances (read: art) have actual costs due to instruments, amplification, and venue

2)it is virtually impossible to make perfect copies of paintings
It is virtually impossible to make perfect copies of live performances (which is why there are studios with sophisticated microphones and sound processors etc.)

Once the CD is out, it’s over and done with… To the artist it should be like when they played Boise, ID that one time. I don’t see how they are entitled to continually make money from a single performance. It’s the studio who is pissed because their business of making and distributing copies is now as relevant as the guy that brought ice to put in your refrigerator. Now I put my glass on the side of fridge and it makes ice for me.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Re: Re:

Ah, you’re in the wrong thread. We just went over this. Cliff’s notes version: all the professional software engineers on this site (i.e. the people who actually make stuff for a living) testify that most professional engineers don’t care about piracy, and many pirate themselves.

Welcome to reality. I can only imagine your frustration that it disagrees with you.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As a software engineer (who missed out because of a damned meeting) I will wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I’ve seen projects I’ve been involved in on TPB and simply don’t care. While it would be nice to get paid a bit more (who wouldn’t make that statement?) I’m perfectly happy with my salary. I don’t typically pirate software simply because I’m a Linux guy and everything I want is already free. The exception to this is Photoshop, I still have my educational license from grad school and had that paid for by my department.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Of course it’s not free, we listen to their advertisements and promote them by telling people about them which gains them more listeners, more people to listen to their advertisements and more potential subscribers.

It is a service they offered, and is completely unlike finding a wallet and pocketing the money. That is taking something that does not belong to you and was not offered to you.

If you can’t see why people are angry then I’m sorry, but you are a moron. Have a lovely day.

P.S.

If you were to ever lose your wallet and I came upon it, I would turn it in.

P.P.S.

It’s spelt “thieves”.

Jay (profile) says:

Alephen, they’re destroying the medium that a LOT of artists are using. They do not own the medium, nor do they own every last song that is played, but it’s having the effect of destroying everything that Spotify has worked HARD to build with the “freemium” model.

No, I will not check out these arbitrary limits

No, I will not use a broken model to support industry music.

No, I will not use anything other than free music available on the internet through various channels to promote the people I will support.

Those are all choices I have

I wish Spotify well, but it’s absolutely amazing that any industry is killing the ones that make their content more valuable.

Jimr (profile) says:

fundamental mistake

You are making a fundamental mistake about what the ‘music’ industry is selling. It is not about selling music any a$$hat can do that. It is about selling a piece of vinyl or plastic repeatedly. It is about the distribution channels they control. Warner Music and other so called music companies are in the business of selling physical media and altering the format and selling you the same product on a different physical media again and again and again. They is way the have the mind set that piracy is theft. Anything they threatens their strangle hold on the distribution of physical items is a threat to their fundamental business model.

Every digital sale is a loss of physical sale. They make money off the music AND the mark up on the physical item AND distribution of that physical item.

If any online distribution model became to big then what would be the point of a physical distribution model anymore?

Simon Chamberlain (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s 10 *hours* per month, and 5 plays/tune.

Still not a good move, IMO. Seems like the free, ad-supported model was a good one.

I have a paid subscription, mainly so I can use Spotify on my phone. Best ?10 I spend each month. And Mike’s right: I don’t pirate anymore. Why would I need to? I turn on my PC or my phone, and almost anything I want is right there. I even buy CDs of stuff that I can get on Spotify, to support the artists or to get a physical memento of a gig. Spotify is a big win/win for the labels; even the free subscription is a gateway to their music, a chance for people to discover their artists. I can’t believe they are so short-sighted on this issue.

alephen says:

this is the fundamanetal question: who gets to create laws?

by saying we only follow the laws we want to criminals are saying they should decide. people who steal music say they want to steal music so it shouldnt be stealing. the fact that, apparently, most americans think it is stealing means that laws should not be agreed upon by the society, but dictated by the few. and as most dictatorships/ Oligarchy mine is the group that should decide.

the theives who steal music, make up lies: lie 1: the riaa uses their monopoly to control all music!
music can be created for free, it is impossible to monopolize it. if a million pirates made a song apiece then made a file sharing site for those songs they would have perfectly legal music sharing of 1 million songs. the riaa controls distribution of the songs they OWN. it is there property.

lie 2: noone gets hurt. physically, no they dont. monetarily, often they do, but sometimes they dont. neither of these are justification. if someone walks into your house and craps in your sink you are neither hurt physically nor monetarily, yet is is still illegal, because we live in a democracy and we the people, through our elected officials, decided this is illegal

lie 3: it is not stealing. definition 1 from free online dictionary:
1. To take (the property of another) without right or permission.
law determines what is property, our law says music is.

you want specific music that belongs for others and you want it free. so you steal it. then you make excuses as to why you had to do it, or why it was ok to do it. very common criminal behaviour.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re:

1) The RIAA has been caught repeatedly claiming they are owed for CC music for people they do not represent. So i’d argue that it isn’t a lie.

2) Financially, in a true free-market, the marginal costs would have gone to close to nil. What we have is not a true free-market. From an economic perspective, CDs should have gone down in price in the late 1990s/early 2000s. They didn’t.

The RIAA could have worked with companies such as Napster and Limewire. Instead they let the lawyerhounds loose. The actions of the RIAA have hurt the companies they represent.

3) No, there is a separate criminal statute for IP from theft. Therefore, legally, you are wrong.

alephen says:

Re: Re: Re:

one can claim anything, if you write, create, release a song and never sign a contract with a label, they have no rights to it, whether they claim to or not. so my 1 holds.

2) we dont live in a true free market because we the people have decided that it is not the economic model we want. regardless this does not have anything to do with my post, so no idea why it is here.

3)there are many different crimminal statues for many different types of theft. copyright infringement, fraud, larceny all have slight legal distinctions from theft. by the common definition of the word theft (which i posted to not get people to try and take it out of context :/) all of these are theft. i did not use the strict legal sense of the word, but the common moral sense, therefore legally i am not wrong.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“lie 1: the riaa uses their monopoly to control all music! “

Link 1 – RIAA Accounting

“2)lie 2: noone gets hurt. physically, no they dont. monetarily, often they do, but sometimes they dont. neither of these are justification. if someone walks into your house and craps in your sink you are neither hurt physically nor monetarily, yet is is still illegal, because we live in a democracy and we the people, through our elected officials, decided this is illegal”

Bullshit.90 million lobbying dollars influenced a number of elected officials. If you want a list, I will pull up every single person that voted Yes for the DMCA, the NET Act and I will guarantee that the list of “yes” men will be the same people that have a high contribution rate from those “elected officials”. Lobbying = legalized corruption.

“we dont live in a true free market because we the people have decided that it is not the economic model we want. regardless this does not have anything to do with my post, so no idea why it is here.”

Link 2 – Future business models. It takes work, but making something work for you isn’t that hard if you have the right attitude and mindset about serving your fans and customers, not eliminating piracy (which is a fool’s errand).

“lie 3: it is not stealing. definition 1 from free online dictionary:
1. To take (the property of another) without right or permission.
law determines what is property, our law says music is.

you want specific music that belongs for others and you want it free. so you steal it. then you make excuses as to why you had to do it, or why it was ok to do it. very common criminal behaviour.”

If Spotify offered the music for free on their network, guess what? Less people have to pirate it!. When people listen to the song on Youtube? It’s called sampling! When I want to listen to songs on Grooveshark? I am less inclined to go and download it from PirateBay! I have taken NOTHING from any of the artists that they had before my listening pleasure.

They still have all of the resources available. Now they have to decide that they want a new fan or not. Best way to do that? Don’t piss me off by talking about how I should pay for the song. Then I move on to the next artist that understands the concept of “Connect with Fans” by “Giving me a Reason to Buy”. I support artists that share their music willy nilly. I go to concerts in Dallas, Austin, Vegas, Seattle, California, Atlanta and even Chicago. The tickets are $80 – $100 but I will gladly pay it to support the artists that I enjoy.

So you can look at the short term view of “oh my gosh! they didn’t pay for this song!” or you can think of the bigger picture of “hmmm, if he stays a fan, I can make money and a good friend by him showing up to concerts or buying t-shirts”

But the “downloading is theft” line is really tired. It hasn’t been proven in the last 13 years, there is even a book debunking that particular notion, and the entire idea that infringing on a copyright of a work is stealing doesn’t hold water when smart artists are making it work for them through various other means.

alephen says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Because for me the real criminals…”

for osama bin laden the real criminals are the great satan of the united states and not those dedicated servants of god who flew airplanes into the WTC.

your attitude shows the real problem with pirates. they dont give a damn about anyone else, they only want their free stuff. *you* hsould decide what is right and wrong for society? why? who in the hell are you that you deserve to be a dictator? it isnt a matter of fairness with you it is a matter of greed. pirates are every bit as selflish and greedy as they claim the RIAA is.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

alephen, you’re really being obtuse here.

“your attitude shows the real problem with pirates.”

No, his attitude is not what’s at issue here. I’m looking at the threads that you post in and you’re ignoring all of the points, merely to discuss the same thing each time of what I’m going to call the “Biden Guide to Copyright Infringement.”

You have failed to say how copyright is theft, because they are two very different issues that have been discussed earlier. You’ve failed to notice that Spotify is a “freemium” model that continues to make record labels money with “free” goods.

You really need to stop with the ranting and raving and go out to educate yourself.

Availability of product decreases piracy

Lessons from fashion culture

Media piracy in Emerging economies – where we learn that piracy is dictated by pricing points.

Piracy is not a black and white issue as you seem to believe. There is a lot more than trying to blame someone for being a pirate. Please take this as helpful advice to advance your argument. It does no one good to try to attack people with rhetoric. It does no good to go off on groups of people in a group that is not present at the argument.

It would do far better to find out what exactly your argument is, because it seems rather tied into attacking the strawman of piracy as a big devil.

alephen says:

lie 4(this references the student even say this isnt stealing post too) alot of people agree this is ok to do, so it must be ok! sept 11 2001 4 planes were hijacked. 2 flew into the WTC, 1 into the pentegon, 1 taken back by the passengers who sacrificed themselves to protect others. those hijackers believed 100% what they were doing was right and good. al qaeda believed 100% what they did was right and good. the government of afghanistan and many others around the world believed what they did was 100% right and good. do you suggest what they did was right and good?

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re:

Well a minority think it is ok to lie to the public saying they will sell them music when it is not a sell at all.

A minority is trying to force people to stop sharing things with friends and others instead of finding a workable solution like I dunno asking for payment before releasing anything.

A minority of people have hijacked the government plane and it is trying to send it crashing into the population to put the fear of God back on them.

One thing I call say is that those terrorrists artists will never see my support.

alephen says:

Re: Re: Re:

One thing I call say is that those terrorrists artists will never see my support.

PERFECT!

if you do not like the RIAA dont buy any music from them, dont listen to their artists. boycott them. if you steal from them you are as bad as they are, you have no moral high ground in your greedy selfishness, BUT if every single person that has ever illegally downloaded a song were to say ‘i will not ever listen to their songs, unless perhaps it is on the radio. i will not go to the concerts of the bands that are signed with them.’ bands will stop signing with RIAA labels. many more bands will go independant free release. AND you keep your moral high ground.

or pirate and be common thief.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They don’t sign with the RIAA labels anymore. More and more, the field is going to indies and becoming quite competitive. Yes, the RIAA have the distributed channels, but think about it, their fight is still about controlling the channels and forcing everyone to use the older distribution methods.

You never heard about artists that supported Napster. You never hear about the artists that support Bittorrent.

Rather, you hear about how piracy is killing the industry, when it’s obviously not. More artists and more movies are being made for cheaper prices. And the advantage is to those that use the technology to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just remembered something, even if I didn’t boycott the labels, I know you can’t do nothing but pound sand.

http://torrentfreak.com/firefox-add-on-undoes-u-s-government-domain-seizures-110414/

See there.

I even saw the Youtube Copyright School.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InzDjH1-9Ns

But it didn’t make me a better person I just like to steal, is so much more fun to download and distribute Jamendo songs.

Tim (user link) says:

You are all criminals

Ever played someone elses music to a large group of people at, say, a private party. THEN YOU HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY else you are a criminal, and organisations like prs have the legal framework to prosecute you as a criminal.
Ditto watching a movie with a large group of friends. Whose place is it, because you owe for public performance. But they don’t go after people who do that, you say.
They could though and all the “criminal” arguments would stand. And everyone on both sides of the debate are guilty to some extent.

gilroy0 (profile) says:

Unintended consequences...

If throttling Spotify drives people back to piracy, and if — as often alleged by the recording industry — every file downloaded is a lost sale (bear with me here), and if people who cause lost sales are (again, according to the recording industry) liable for massive damages to make up for the “missing” money…
then shouldn’t the recording industry sue itself into oblivion for inducing massive copyright violations?

AnonymousMusicMan says:

Unavailable By Design

Posting anon for visible reasons:

In the early 80s I worked for a Big Record Company in publishing (low gopher). One area I maintained was a spooky, blocks-long underground warehouse. Water leaks were common; no one went in there (except me, gopher); single bulb lighting, etc. Rats merrily gamboled in the wabe, chewing and making nests and turd piles. It was lovely.

Among other things in that tomb I found the original hand-annotated score for a Big Space Movie With Wookies, thrown into a cardboard box with office junk, badly-stained from water leakage and mold and still displaying the composer’s signature and notations as to changes and performance. I found stereo demo recordings of jams with Page and Hendrix, demo recordings containing some recognizable and some never-released material for a Big Name Singer who had just left a Big Name Art Rock Band and had yet to gain his status as a Steamy Sledgehammer, hundreds of reels recorded from almost every live concert 5 dozen bands had ever played…

All of them thrown willy-nilly into cheap cardboard boxes, dumped in with office detritous, papers, wire, light bulbs, crap, and thrown uncategorized, unlabeled and unprotected from mold, mildew and dust. Priceless material that any music lover would gladly pay to hear and own, warts, bad recording and all. Music history.

As a musician and music lover, I was horrified at the careless treatment of this material from a record company . It changed my mind completely about Working For The Man (that and a year’s closeup observation of the publishing, licensing and lawyerly side).

When I left, I took with me certain items. No one ever missed them; how could they? They didn’t even know or care (that warehouse was a kind of ‘tombs’ where Bad Things Went To Die).

I had to remix/eq/clean/fix many of the recordings, their deterioration was so bad. I put in all that work and love for free. I never sold any of that material; I made copies for friends on the condition that they not redistribute.

When the net came along, I put copies of that material out on the net. Who lost profit? The Company was never going to release that material. No profit was ever lost from the release of that material.

And as a cherry topping… I managed to send a copy of that Steamy Guy’s ancient demos to him with a note explaining in more detail everything I have said here… and I got a message back: “Thank you! These originals were lost from my home studio and the Company maintained that, in their buyout of the Small Publisher at the time who had these, the tapes were lost or never were there. This is the only copy I now have of a crucial period in my own development and work.”

No, I have never felt one shred of guilt for this. And I still have Mr Wookie’s hand-annotated score in a sealed and acid-paper-free frame on my wall.

Fsck the Company.

toms says:

Beautifully put.

i am a full time uni student and really cant afford to pay for things like music, however i love to listen to it. I used to have a great solution to this problem – called spotify! i could listen to all the music i like, and still artists + producers get paid. now as none of the other free streaming services really cut it for me, i will probably have to resort back to piracy. A sad day for me, a sad day for music.

dmb says:

Regulation?

Spotify could have become the default way of listening to music, powered by adverts. They have now killed this business model, as they are now just another music service – when they could have been the music service. Imagine if they had gone the other way – and banned paid-for accounts. Free spotify on your mobile, free on your computer, free in your home. That would have been compelling – everyone would be listening to spotify all the time, everywhere, and Spotify were building the brand to make it happen. We are always told that mobile advertising is where the future money is – Spotify could have been as big as google. And all this for a company HQ’d in London.

If it is true about the labels, then they clearly have too much power, and are acting like a monoply. Can anything be done about this. If “the labels” refuse to play ball reasonably, can they be regulated? Maybe by BPI or OFCOM or some-such could regulate the industry in the UK – set minimum service levels and maximum prices that the labels have to provide in order to operate in the UK. Then initivative services such as spotify (and others) could thrieve in the UK, and we could export them to the world.

I am thinking something along the lines of
1. for the first six months, the copyright owners can do what they want.
2. after this, they must license streaming services at reasonable terms (as regulated)

Is this not similar to what already happens with radio? Or librarys, who are allowed to lend all cds they like, 6 months after release. Can someone who knows more comment on this? I could imagine a letter writing campaign to your local MP asking for a private members bill. Lets make Britain the best place in the world for new music services.

Obviously says:

The real question that no one is asking, is why exactly would people with no personal stake in the financial gains/losses associated with this discussion, would take to the internet to defend multi-million dollar record labels? I guess they just really like to stick up for the underdog, and stand for what’s true and right in this world. Are you seriously buying that shit? They’re either most likely A) Shills trying to sway public opinion in a discussion that would otherwise be totally one-sided (no one cares if other people steal music…unless they have money at stake), or B) they’re just some contrarian jerk off for the sake of being a contrarian jerk off.

And why would you try to debate these people, exactly? Old post, I know. BUT JUST FYI YO!

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