Deftones Guitarist: People Who Download Our Music Are Fans, They're Welcome To Do So

from the always-knew-they-were-cool dept

Note: I started writing this post up prior to the unfortunate news that longterm Deftones bassist Chi Cheng passed away, after spending much of the past four years in a coma following a car accident. Sad news.

One of the points we’ve tried to make over and over again is that people who are downloading unauthorized copies of music, movies and other content are often huge fans, or have the potential to be huge fans. So it never made sense to us that some content creators treat them like criminals. Every so often, we see someone say something silly like “I don’t want fans like that.” People say that, but they almost certainly don’t mean it, because it would likely mean the loss of a huge percentage of their biggest fans. As we’ve seen over the years, plenty of enlightened content creators recognize the basic situation and have happily embraced it. We can add Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter to that list as he explains eloquently why he’s happy about people downloading his music.

“I say hallelujah to them. I say it for only one reason, the truth is people who download your music are your fans, or people who are potentially going to become your fans,” he said. “And if you’re going to be upset that someone is interested, or becoming interested in your stuff, then what’s the point? What are you doing?”

He continued: “If it’s all about money then certainly you’re going to be offended. But if your intent is to enjoy what you’re doing and have others enjoying it, then it should be a no brainer. I welcome all people to download the music. They won’t be the first, they won’t be the last, and for anyone to fight that … it’s futile.”

He later says he “can’t be offended by someone enjoying” his music. He notes that he’s watched the internet and downloading from the beginning and he hasn’t felt he needed to change at all.

The discussion is from a half hour interview with Loud Guitars. The full interview (about half an hour) is fun to watch, with a lot of discussion on having a positive attitude on all sorts of things, from life to the internet to the music industry to just making music. He also talks about how great the internet is beyond just the downloading issue. He talks about how things like YouTube can help make great musicians famous and kickstart a career and how awesome that is (in fact, he has a “hobby” of searching YouTube for great guitarists to inspire himself to push himself further).

Once again, a nice counter-point to those who have been arguing that YouTube is somehow harming artists or that fans should be treated like criminals.

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Comments on “Deftones Guitarist: People Who Download Our Music Are Fans, They're Welcome To Do So”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s a magical fairy land where there are no exclusive rights and everyone is better off because of it. I don’t need to pick sides in the copyright wars because I can imagine this magical place. Besides, even though I’m the most opinionated person on earth when it comes to copyright, I’m just completely unable to form any opinion whatsoever on the propriety of copyright generally. Granted, I’ve published thousands of articles expressing hundreds of views. But I just can’t–no matter how hard I try, dammit!–form any opinion on the matter. But there’s a magical world and we all get to decide what’s right and wrong for ourselves, so I don’t need to have a view. And even though we all get to decide for ourselves, I won’t tell you what I personally have decided because I just won’t be pigeonholed like that. I am Techdirt. I am above the world. Nobody challenges me. I don’t discuss my beliefs. I just blog ad naseum about my beliefs but then pretend I don’t have any beliefs that I can share.

Anonymous Coward says:

why not treat all fans like criminals? after all, there is no need for proof of any wrong doing. all that’s needed now, thanks to the entertainment industries manipulating laws, bribing politicians, judges and governments, is an accusation. the innocent until proven guilty is completely reversed now. those being treated like criminals dont even have to have done anything, so there is no need to separate one from the other. i just wonder how long anyone, whether an artist a band or a star would last if every ‘fan’ became so scared of being found with music or movie files of those people and just rejected them altogether? how long would it be before music and movies were being distributed for free as an enticement and whether the old ‘fans’ would trust the artists again? i bet it would be a long, hard, uphill battle to get any sort of trust back!

out_of_the_blue says:

SO? Copyright recognizes that creators have that CHOICE.

If whoever isn’t worried about it, I’m not either!

BUT just as Masnick has the choice to subject himself to punishment at The Bench, should he ever NOT wish to, then no one has the right to overrule his wishes.

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up same place!
Where Mike sez: uploader + file host + links site + downloader = perfectly “legal” symbiotic piracy. But it’s NOT LEGAL when the creator of the works objects. GOT IT, pirates?

Ninja (profile) says:

I’ve heard an artist, a good one, tell me that “if you can’t make money what’s the point in making more music?” and I find it disturbing and sad.

I have yet to meet an artist that started this way. Charging for their songs. Maybe they charged for their performances (where there is real value and scarcity) but you don’t charge for making a song unless you already put your stuff in the wild so others could see it and agree there’s value in it. No marketing company will ask you to compose them a song for sweet money if they never heard your stuff. Heck, even pubs won’t pay you for a performance unless they are sure you got good stuff. So why people should pay for the song before getting a free copy and not after they listen to it and decide it’s worth the money?

Which brings us to this article and how these guys are doing it right. My favorite group would not be at that point had my friend not given me a CD with 700Mb worth of mp3 of their songs which leaded to me going to 3 shows, buying merchandise (t-shirts) and 3 CDs. How did sharing hurt these guys again?

While I’m amused at our trolls there are musicians/artists that truly get it wrong despite their instance doing more harm to them than good. That’s why we need a focused copyright law that does not condemn socially accepted behaviors and allows easy usage of currently available culture for creation of more culture. People making remixes, mash ups and other derivatives should not need to ask for permission. At most (and I strongly agree with it) you could make the attribution mandatory. But even then there are things that would be hell to find and attribute authorship… Still it’s much better than simply preventing cultural diversity.

Erik (profile) says:

This attidude explains the Deftones' staying power

This attitude toward their fans and their craft shows why the Deftones have been rocking year-in, year-out for almost two decades. At each show I’ve been to, they have put up a performance that does not disappoint. While many of the warm-up bands they’ve toured with have risen and disappeared, the Deftones are still around.

Case in point: I saw the Deftones touring with Thrice and Thursday back in ’03 or ’04. This was at the height of Thursday’s popularity – does anybody think of them now? One or more of the members of Thursday were ill, so they didn’t perform. The Deftones took up the slack and played a double set. They were up there for an hour and a half, playing their hearts out. I was exhausted by the end, and humbled to think that these guys do this nearly each night for months at a stretch.

It is obvious that these guys are in it for the right reasons. Much respect for them.

Rest in peace, Chi. We miss you.

LOL says:


I bet if he weren’t making thousands doing shows already he wouldn’t be saying the same thing. I get the whole point that they’re “fans” and all, but nobody got famous from letting people pirate their music. Matter of fact, look at all those advertisements of musicians who gave their music away for FREE on torrenting sites like and various others, and name one of them who got famous when you saw their front page “Download XXX’s new album right now!”

It’s easy to embrace pirating when it you’re making tons of money off merch and touring sales, but for those musicians and artists like myself who cannot do that, we’re boned. Good thing this is only a hobby for me, otherwise I’d spend a lot more time talking about this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wow

Boned? How many seeds of your content is online? How many YouTube videos?

If there were 200 downloads of your music (entire CD) you would have missed out on $2000 which assumes you are independent and making the discs yourself. That is not really going to pay many bills.

Obscurity does more harm to you.

Out of curiosity do you perform live? Do you make videos answering the questions of your fans? Do you entertain them with humour? Do you chat with them on social media? Do you do unique things that you enjoy and offer unique packages for fans to buy? Do you do impromptu Q&A?

Or do you mimic what everyone else is doing and avoid putting your heart into it because you don’t believe in yourself and your fans enough?

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