Today I was reading a facebook comment from a musician about the closure of Megaupload, which I ended commenting too giving my take on that and all of the stuff hurdling around SOPA/PIPA these days.
I really think that downloading music is doing little harm to bands, why ? because most of the price paid for a CD goes to disc label companies, distributors and all other in the middle. Some months ago when in my country we had a very similar law project being reviewed by the senate (that fortunately got dismissed, for now), I remember the opponents of the law mentioned a study that said that for every cd sold, in average, the artist would get 14% or less of that income. So who are really being hurt ? the disc label companies and distributors that get more than 85% of the earnings, which it isn’t fair with the artist who is who did most of the job, right ? label companies only shield behind artist saying that *they* are the ones being hurt which isn’t true. And to make it worse, cd’s are freaking expensive this days, more outside the US. I can pay around $50 – $60 in my country for a metal cd of an european band that is around $20 – $25 on the US, do you think that’s fair ??? I did bought a lot of cd’s before, while prices where acceptable (I think I have 60 – 70) but now it would be impossible to pay for all the music I have downloaded online with current cd prices, it whould be thousands of dollars !!
The middle man needs to be eliminated. If an artist would sell their music directly on the Internet, prices would drop like crazy, people would be more willing to pay for a cd or a single song they like, and bands would earn much more than that miserable 14% or less. That’s the real problem with SOPA and all that shit. Media companies have an outdated bussiness model that they don’t want to change because it has been hugely profitable in the past. They are the ones that need to change and adapt to the Internet, not the other way around which is what they’re trying to do with SOPA/PIPA. That’s why itunes, jamendo and all those online music stores are doing and it’s the way to go. Pay a fair price for what you like and let the money (most of it at least) go to the artist and not to a third party company.
Do you remember old times when you would copy in a cassette music you liked from a friend’s vinyl ? I’m sure you did it too. Do you think that was wrong ? probably not, you did it to learn about new bands and enjoy their music, not to earn money from that. What I think is really wrong and I do not support is when someone earns money from that trade, like for example buying cd’s (or movies or computer programs) on the street, which is pretty common here. I haven’t done it and won’t ever do it. But sharing music with your friends, or downloading it from the Internet for *personal use*, I think is fine. Because of that I have got to know a lot of bands that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to, and I have been present at every fucking concert of those bands when they have come to my country and why I did paid for an expensive trip to 70k Tons of Metal last year and I’m doing it again this year (next week, yay !!). That’s the way I support the bands I like, because that money goes directly to them. They earn more from concerts than from cd selling and that’s why they’re touring more and more than before. Concerts for me are very expensive, for example, I have paid $250 to see Iron Maiden, were the same ticket in the US wouldn’t cost more than $150, but I’m happy to pay it because of what I just said.
Most of the music I download is from torrents because it comes from other users like me, and there’s no one enriching from that sharing. I didn’t had put any thought on that companies like Megaupload do earn money from those downloads, even when you don’t buy their premium accounts. Now I will not download anything from those sites.