Dan Bull Auctioning Off Another Custom Song On eBay

from the hmm,-a-techdirt-theme-song? dept

We’ve obviously written about musician Dan Bull a few times, but that’s because he keeps doing cool things, both in writing good, insightful and funny songs about topics we’re interested in here, but also experimenting with cool ways to connect with fans while also using free music to further his career. A year ago he auctioned off a custom song, and now he’s doing the same thing again:

I AM SELLING MYSELF ON EBAY. If you’re the winning bidder, I”ll record a custom song on any topic you choose. The song will be awesome. Click and bid now.

* Anthem for your guild or sports team
* Advert for your business
* Theme tune for your film or YouTube channel
* Something ridiculously challenging just to show that I can do it.
* Battle track against something / someone you disagree with

If I like the topic, I may make a video for it too and it will get tens of thousands of views at the very least.

You can see the auction here, where the bidding is going fast and furious. I’m sure it helps that he’s built up a larger and larger audience over the past year since he last ran this experiment…

What I love about experiments like this is that it’s not just about doing the same thing that others are doing, but finding what works with your audience, and knowing that if you can build up a strong fanbase, they’ll be happy to support you doing cool things.

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Comments on “Dan Bull Auctioning Off Another Custom Song On eBay”

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Yuni Versalle says:

Pirate Dan

I was coming here to post something like “in b4 the haterz,” as the kids say, but sadly I couldn’t even do it. The first post here is by an anonymous coward who has nothing better to do than to lie about an indie artist who is actually successful.

Why do you hate artists so much?

Because he’s a shill working for a “major label”. His future is at stake and its looking mighty bleak.

Anonymous Coward says:

Those people arguing against the "Pirate Dan Comment"

Those people who say this is a good thing just don’t get it.

He doesn’t work for a major label, he doesn’t say that the record companies (and Hollywood) are the gods of creation. He even, oh the horror, attacks them in his music.

So therefore anything that can be possibly be twisted or used in some way to attack him must take precedence over the fact that he is connecting with fans, actually giving them what the want, and making money from it. None of that matters, at all.. Not at all. He doesn’t believe in the system so therefore he just can’t be anything like a success.

“We are Hollyweird, reality is what we say it is, and sanity in others is just a minor annoyance that our lawyers are trying to fix for us.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Those people arguing against the "Pirate Dan Comment"

He can be both a success and the poster boy for new ways of earning in the music scene if he DOESN’T abuse other workers in the industry by taking their product against their wishes and when he doesn’t need it.
Ya know, you just need a guy who makes music honestly and sells it in ways that subverts the traditional industry. What you have instead is a guy who pirates software he doesn’t need.

PaulT (profile) says:

Pirate Dan

So, did he use the “pirated” software in producing the music he’s released or not? If not, it’s about as relevant as whether or not he pirated Toy Story 3 or Call Of Duty.

If he did use it in his music, did he subsequently buy the software in question or did he continue to use the pirated product to make money?

The only “problem” here would be if he was using pirated software to make a profit and didn’t give to correct payment/credit to the makers of that software. Everything else is irrelevant.

As ever, cite your work please, as your blind guesses do turn out to be complete crap that can be disproven with 5 seconds of logical thought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Pirate Dan

The only “problem” here would be if he was using pirated software to make a profit

The only problem here is that Bull admitted in his own writing to pirating music software, claiming he couldn’t afford to buy it. So he benefitted off the work of another young creative team, which makes him a flawed person in my book.
If he’d done nothing legally wrong, he’d be a great poster boy for alternative financing and distribution in music. As it is, he’s a pirate who doesn’t care for other creative people and their wishes. What a shame.

PaulT (profile) says:

Pirate Dan

” So he benefitted off the work of another young creative team, which makes him a flawed person in my book.”

How did he benefit, exactly? You already stated he didn’t need the software, so did he actually use it? Did the work of those other people end up in his own work without payment? If not, what is the point of your whining?

Just another pathetic excuse to wave off yet another artist who’s successful in his field, so you can continue to pretend that alternative business models can’t work, as you’ve done here for years…

PaulT (profile) says:

Pirate Dan

“Why download it, if you aren’t going to benefit from it?”

To test out if you actually need to buy it or will get use out of it – not every piece of software has demo versions, and some demos are too restricted to be of any use. Perhaps he simply couldn’t afford it and intended to buy it later on when he could, but used the pirate version to learn with. Perhaps they were just thrown into a bundle with the stuff he did actually need and had already paid for (the oft-mentioned Cubase that didn’t work properly) – lots of torrents are bundles of assorted things.

The fact is I don’t know – and neither do you. But, again, it’s irrelevant unless he did actually profit from the software. If the software he’s using to make the music being sold is 100% legal, why is it relevant what he did in the past?

Back when I was a student in the 90s I used a pirated copy of Office to do some of my work because I couldn’t afford the legal version. Does that mean that everything I’ve written or done since has to be suspect, even though I now use 100% legal software and make a living administering it?

The only relevant thing is this – in creating the music from which he is making money, is he violating the licence of the software used to make that music, either through piracy or some other method? If not, it’s not relevant.

“I’ve only been coming here a couple of months – just in case you were wondering.”

As ever, create a screen name and log in if you don’t want to be confused for other ACs. It doesn’t have to identify you in real life, just something to differentiating yourself from the herd. A lot of the same, silly arguments have been spouted by the AC accounts for years, and we have no way of telling you apart otherwise.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Those people arguing against the "Pirate Dan Comment"

He admitted to once downloading something but you keep whoring it about as your argument against Dan Bull, jaywalking Coward. And I might add, without any proof that he still uses that software or that he even used it in the first place.

Guess what, I had an illegal version of Windows on my computer when I was a student (couldn’t even afford the student license, and yet school demanded Windows). When I finally entered the workplace, I threw out Windows and went Linux full time, with nothing but legit software on my systems. There is not a trace of illegal software left in my house. Eat that, fucking hypocrite!

PaulT (profile) says:

Pirate Dan

I love the double standards you people apply.

Chris Brown is a wife beater, Gary Glitter is a paedophile, Phil Spector is a murderer, Amy Winehouse was drug addict, and so on… Chuck Berry was convicted of armed robbery (*actual* theft!), no less. Yet, none of these transgressions will ever be used to call into question either the music or the business models surrounding them.

But, Dan Bull once pirated a piece of software he may or may not have used to make some song he sold? Well, we might as well just shut his career down now and ignore every business model lesson learned from his story, because he’s not a saint and we can’t have a “jerk” involved in the music industry!

Really, this is what you’ve been reduced to?

fairusefriendly (profile) says:

Pirate Dan

so do you support complete ignoring the success and request for changes to the law of the record industry because of this.


technically they took the stuff and didn’t pay for it later too.

so by your standard we should never give another record company any change they want to copyright law forever because they screwed up once.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Those people arguing against the "Pirate Dan Comment"

Or how Bieber made videos of himself singing copyrighted music and posted it to YouTube, rocketing him to fame and making millions for the “traditional” industry.

“He STOLE others CREATIVITY without PERMISSION and now we exploit his fame to make us MILLIONS!”

Those morally superior industry executives should forfiet ALL profits from Bieber’s success on principle alone.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Pirate Dan

I’ll tell you what, I’ve never taken advantage of another creative person to benefit my creativity.

This may be the stupidest thing you’ve ever said (and that’s saying a lot).

Have you ever looked at a painting or sculpture and been inspired by it? Have you ever listened to, or read, a speech by a great orator? Ever read a book? All of those things have benefited you in some way.

You make it seem like all creativity comes out of a black box which has no inputs. This have been completely and utterly false since the earliest cave paintings or carved wooden figures.

Actually, I take it all back. Since all you ever write is worthless, whiny bullshit, I can safely conclude you were never inspired by anything. I guess you’re right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Those people arguing against the "Pirate Dan Comment"

Now, maybe this is just me, but it’s my understanding that the majority of people who work get paid for the work they do.

So the people who designed that software have already been paid. Whether the software sells or not, is pirated or not, etc has no bearing on the fact that they have already been paid for the work they did. Now, one can argue that if the software DOES NOT sell or is pirated then that will lead to those employees potentially (because nothing is certain, it’s only possible) losing their jobs (and that’s assuming there aren’t a variety of other reasons coming into play for why they may have lost their jobs). But that is purely speculation.

But, a logical and reasonable mind would realize that Dan Bull HAS NOT abused any other workers in a particular industry. Why? Because he has not actually done them any harm. You seem to be of the mindset of “1 download = 1 lost sale”. That is hardly ever the case. If he didn’t need the software, as you have been loudly and repetitively stating for some time now, then it stands to reason that he would NOT have purchased it. At all. Also, a reasonable and logical mind would also realize that nothing has been taken. Something additional has been produced, i.e. a copy of the software has been made. But the original copy, the one in possession and created by those “other workers in the industry” is still intact and in their possession.

The truth is you’ll find any excuse to rail against someone who is doing something outside of traditional means. I.e. not signing with a big label and distributing music through something you don’t approve of. Even if he hadn’t downloaded said software, you’d find a reason to hate on him. That much is readily apparent to the rest of us here.

What we have here is an AC who is an apparent artist hater. 🙂 (In case you don’t get that, I mean YOU.)

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Pirate Dan

Dear god! He pirated some software! Oh what a “flawed person” he is!

We can’t go tolerating flawed people now can we? You’re perfect, I assume – and not one of your friends nor one person in your family has ever so much as watched a pirated music video on youtube. And none of the musicians you like ever traded tapes / burned CDs / file-shared when they were teenagers learning to play music and rabidly consuming inspiration. Nor did a single one of them ever pirate a piece of software for their music – or perhaps even actually steal something, like swiping a new patch cable from the local guitar store.


I like this idea of not listening to music by “flawed people”. It creates a great paradox: the only musicians who aren’t flawed people have the flaw of being utterly terrible musicians.

Karl (profile) says:

Pirate Dan

He downloaded something he didn’t need that some other creative person had worked hard on.
That makes him a fist class jerk.
Why do you hate software programmers?

Just to clarify something here.

Whether what Bull did was right or not, I’ve yet to meet a single musician who did not do exactly the same thing in the 90’s. And I’ve known hundreds of musicians, from “pro” to amateur.

In every case, it follows the same kind of trajectory: They pirate the software because they can’t afford it. Then they either a) get good enough jobs to buy that software, b) get successful enough so that people pay for their recordings, or c) use something else that isn’t pirated (open source, shareware/freeware, etc).

And as long as the software isn’t used professionally – that is, by commercial recording studios – then nobody really gives a shit about it. They know that if and when the musicians start making money, they will pay for it; and that if more people use the software, that means less people willing to switch (and learn entirely new software) when they can pay.

And, by the way, I’m also studying to be a software programmer. Software programmers, by and large, side ideologically with the open source/free software philosophy, since they (and their companies) use those tools every single day to make money, often without having to pay a dime.

So, no, I don’t believe that Dan Bull is a “first class jerk.” Nobody who is actually a software programmer does, either. It’s a bit naughty, but not a big deal.

For you to keep bringing it up shows us all that a) you don’t respect musicians, and b) you don’t respect the actual software engineers, either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Pirate Dan

There’s that ‘nobody loser’ defensive outburst again.

Why should I stick to your definition of evidence. You’re only using the tired tactic of trying to input doubt.
Simple fact, many, many musicians have not exploited other creative people by pirating software.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Pirate Dan

“Why should I stick to your definition of evidence. “

What’s your definition of evidence? So far it appears to be “I won’t back this up with anything but everybody has to believe me because I said so”.

In that case, I’m the reincarnation of Chang Ti of the Tang Dynasty and I own 2% of the US economy because my factory slave labour earns more than the population of Maine and Iowa combined.

I’m going to guess that’/s about as truthful as anything you’re said, and I provided exactly the same level of evidence. What a shock.

“Simple fact, many, many musicians have not exploited other creative people by pirating software.”

…and many have. Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols supposedly played on a guitar he had stolen. Does that mean that we should now discount the entire punk era? That makes as much sense as your blathering nonsense.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Those people arguing against the "Pirate Dan Comment"

“He can be both a success and the poster boy for new ways of earning in the music scene if he DOESN’T abuse other workers in the industry by taking their product against their wishes and when he doesn’t need it.”

OR: He can be the poster boy for new ways of earning in the music scene, AND have as many flaws that he wants.

I like that version more. I have decided it is the right one. You need to update yours to fit it. It is in my book, after all. If your book is different, then your book sucks.

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