Is file sharing good or bad for music?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by GreyBeard, Jul 12, 2003.

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  1. I'm sure this has been debated over and over again but, what the hey it makes for good conversation. Around the 12th century Guido Monico developed the first musical staff. In the next 200 years music underwent a tremendous transformation. Around the turn of the 20th century Edison invented the phonograph again another transformation. At the turn of the 21st century computer file sharing becomes available and music will undergo another transformation. Is file sharing a good or bad thing for music? Will this eventually lower the quality and quantity of recorded music?
  2. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003
    It is stealing. I don't think it's necessarily bad for music - because good music is somewhat irrelevant to industry. (What gets played is more of a function of knowing the business side of the machine.) It is bad for the industry, and while I think trench level performing musicians would be better of if there were NO nationally syndicated music machine - it's still wrong to steal.

    The real damage to the industry though is this. People traded albums, recorded them onto cassette. Swapped cassettes like before. But the 2 decent songs per album format can't survive people getting advance warning of how bad the other 8 songs are. KoRn may be right - downloading could have killed their latest album - because their fans (of whom I'm not one 0 just observing what I've seen professing KoRn fans say) have been hugely dissapointed in their latest release. A die hard fan might buy an album that they've heard is not good - simply because they like the band and they know you can't believe everyone else's opinon about something you're a die hard fan of.

    If they played the entire album on the radio - I think we'd see a similar harmful effect.
  3. Fleckbass211


    Mar 20, 2003
    My Room
    The bottom line is it is a violation of copyright law. I still download but do not share.

    Although a lot of musicians in this area will send out mp3s and tell you to put them on Kazaa to get word out about their band.

    Those are the true musicians.
  4. oneoftheway


    Nov 27, 2002
    there are many pro-s and con-s but all in all. It helps more bands that it hurts.
  5. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    Food gets stolen all the time, but you don't hear about supermarkets complaining about lost profits on the news every night because of it.

    Edit: I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, I'm really tired today.
  6. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane what goes here?

    Feb 23, 2003
    Denton, Texas
    thumbtrap had a good assessment of the situation. If the hit songs that are played on the radio were the only tracks being shared, they might inspire peeps to go and buy the CD.

    If one person spends the 17 bucks, then rips your whole CD and proudly shares it in it's entirety, there isn't much incentive left for others to spend the money. Others will D/L the whole thing and burn it to disk. I've even seen where people will get the image of the cover and print it out to slip into the jewel case. This activity produces a bootleg copy.

    This is the same as shoplifting a CD from your local music store.

    Somebody call the cops!
  7. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I agree that it can be stealing. I agree that stealing is bad. Unfortunately, what's bad for the industry often has very little to do with what's bad for music, the people making it, and the people buying it. If the industry would stop fighting downloading and file swapping and instead harness it as a form of grassroots marketing, the world would be a better place and EVERYONE would benefit. How sad it is, though, that the most compelling argument against downloading music is that it enables consumers to be duped into buying weak, overpriced music...
  8. miccheck1516

    miccheck1516 Guest

    Feb 15, 2003
    would i be right in thinking that most big bands dont make that much money from the sale of cd's???

    My understanding is that bands get say $1m to make a record, and thats it, the record company gets the rest from the sale of the cd's or else the band would get a small percentage of teh profits. I allways thought that bands made most money from touring. Mabye im just thick.....
  9. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003
    You misunderstood me, perhaps on purpose. Being bad for the industry is irrelevant to it being wrong to steal. It's wrong because stealing is wrong. If the machine weren't so seriously out of whack - I think it would actually be in the interest of the industry to turn a blind eye towards bootlegging.

    I think the industry is in need of some serious adjustment. I too am sick of the degree of repetition and homogenized marketing segments. I especially hate the way that even if somebody asked you to be IN a focus group - you would probably be frustrated by the fact that they can make you answer the questions the way they want you to answer, much like being in a courtroom. Answer the question yes or no, Did you stop beating your wife?

    Don't buy their stuff if you don't like it. But don't use the "Evil Big Mean Corporation needs to be taught a lesson" mentality to justify your own behavior.
  10. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I think there is a distinction between sharing what you own and passing on copies of what doesn't belong to you.

    For example, there's a world of difference between me joining Steve Lawson's Street Team and downloading the files he chooses to share with us (previews and alternative takes of his own work) or me using Kazaa (etc) to hunt down ripped copies of his albums being shared by some muppet from Milton Keynes.

    I think sharing is good when it's done above board - eg. through direct communication with the artist or via a service such as I think that takes the available technology and moves in a good and ethical direction. I'm not so convinced about unauthorised distribution of music. It does mean that musicians like ourselves can feed our music collection with a wider range of inputs than we could otherwise afford... but it also means that whatever music I produce in future is just as likely to be subject to what I would consider unfair usage.

  11. miccheck1516

    miccheck1516 Guest

    Feb 15, 2003
    i dont share files to 'f*** the system'
    Mainly cos i know it will F*** me before i have any effect on it. Besides what has the music industry ever done to me apart from signing slipknot and koRn???
  12. funkyNeohyte

    funkyNeohyte Guest

    Jun 8, 2003
    las vegas, nv
    i would like to point out that i have bought cds from artist i had never heard of or been introduced to before i downloaded their music.

    i have also found music that i have never seen for sale in any catalouges i am aware of (for instace: Christina Aguleria covering the Etta James classic At Last) which album was that on? i don't know either, because i checked. however, if it makes me check out her latest album (that i planned on ignoring) than have the record companies lost or gained business?

    i can't be the only person still buying records am i?
  13. I think for unknown artists, it can be good to get some, that's some, of their music out to people for free via download. But then people should go buy the whole disc if they like what they hear. To dowmload a whole disc that hasn't been authorized by the artist, is just stealing.

    Signed bands rely on selling albums to recoup their label debt.

    If you like the band, spend the $15 to support them. If not they won't be around long enough to make more music. Instead we'll just have more of these mass produced cookie cutter bands flooding the market with crap.
  14. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I think it depends what age segment you're catering too.

    Apparently, the industry mainly focuses on the teens, who have to balance their money between clothes, cell phone fees, CDs, etc. - and they have the computer skills to download it.
    Most just want the latest fast food stuff, and they're not loyal fans.

    The 30+ generation wants to hold the product in their hands if they like the artist - and they usually have the money for it - see ticket prices for the Stones :p

    IMO the industry neglected their high quality product segment and the older age customer segments - they only focused on assembly line fast food junk for 13-year-old females, and now it comes back and bites them.

    Quality still sells (well).
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    It's a commmonly stated opinion but I'm still waiting for actual proof of this.
  16. miccheck1516

    miccheck1516 Guest

    Feb 15, 2003
    just re-read teh question. IMHO file sharing is good for music mabye not artists and such, but for music, i think it is very good. Through file sharing people can get music that they wouldnt have been able to get before, either because of availability or because of lack of funds.........
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Maybe. But it's a difference between the bands and the industry.
    A lot of bands or artists profit from the internet, just ask Ani DiFranco.
    Problem is, the record labels are out of the loop suddenly.
  18. I have already written this before, but I think its needs to be reprinted again here:

    The idea of copyright is close to the idea of a patent. In each case, the protection of one's ideas from theft is an inducement to create those ideas in the first place, especially in cases where financial reward is concerned.

    The leaders at the Consitutional Convention recognized that the protection of ideas would lead to a positive and healthy environment for those ideas to be created. They felt it was so important that they wrote those protections into the US Constitution.

    The United States Constitution says:

    "The Congress shall have the power. . . To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and discoveries. . ."

    History has shown what a smart thing that was to do. It provided a monetary inducement for the creation of ideas in the market place. In fact, I would suggest to you that one of the hallmarks of the free enterprize system is the protection of those intellectual rights.

    The RIAA represents literally tens of thousands of folks - most of whom do not want to see their intellectual property rights ripped off. While the industry as a whole is quite well off, I can assure you that there are many, many, many individuals who the RIAA represents who are not financially secure i.e. songwriters, publishers, and performers whose livelihood depends on royalities. These folks have no recourse to protect their intellectual property rights unless the RIAA speaks for them. They cannot possibly police the marketplace on an individual basis.

    If you want to go down a slippery slope, then let us walk down the one in which there is NO protection for intellectual property rights because you can get ripped off on a whim. While many people do not create for pure monetary reasons alone, it is quite evident that free enterprize cannot work without protections. In such a case, people still create...but those creations are not shared. The neat thing about the free enterprize system is that the good ideas get to kick the butts of the bad ideas all over the playground. If no one wants to share ideas, then we stagnate.

    Finally, while the new copyright law and the recent decision of the RIAA may seem unfair...the bottom line is that they do not impede the creation or sharing of ideas. After all, copyright just means that no one can use your intellectual property rights without compensating you - in other words, if you need to use an idea, that idea IS available to you. If you don't police intellectual rights, then ideas start to be withheld.

    Thus, if a band or artist wants to make their music available for free on the Internet, that is THEIR decision. If you are an unknown certainly this can help you. If however, you are one of the many whose livelihood depends on royalities, then file sharing is the theft of intellectual property rights - that may be ok to some of you - as long as no one is ripping off YOUR ideas. But I guarendamntee you that if its YOUR idea and there is money to be made on it - you would sing a different tune.
  19. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Would you walk into a fruit shop and take an orange on the grounds that if you like it you'll go back and buy a bag full of them. Probably not, and the owner would have every right to have you arrested for theft.

    It's different if the shop owner has a 'help yourself' tray or samples on the counter but, until that point, if you take it and don't pay for it, you've stolen it.

    I think it is true that giving people the opportunity to taste the goods - or download some or all of the songs, in the case of music - does help sales. In the past, I've found it very helpful when buying music from somewhere like to be able to hear even 30 seconds of a few selected tracks to figure out if the album is really one I want.

    However, until the record company has given (or sold) you permission to access a track, taking it is still theft.

    My approach is to cut back on the CDs I buy (especially from big, faceless companies) and support services like which do head (I believe) in the right direction.

  20. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Touring and merchandise revenues are where most of a working band's gross revenues are going to come from. Publishing can also be a good source of revenue for the songwriter(s). In many (if not most) cases, the money that a label/company gives to a band for touring or recording or signing is just an advance and is fully recoupable. In this respect, a lot of bands technically don't EVER make ANYTHING from sale of CDs because their royalties go right back to the label as repayment. No matter how much or how little a band makes from CD sales, if artists are actually losing CD sales because of downloaded music, it's technically still money that is not making it into their pockets...
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