I’m talking about downloading music.
Anyone who is even the slightest bit clued up about using the internet knows how easy it is to find one of the many websites allowing music to be downloaded for free…instead of going out and buying the cd.
When I was (a lot) younger, I remember friends buying cassette tapes – ask your parents kids! – putting them in a tape-to-tape deck, pressing play/record and making a copy for other friends. Or even listening to the Top 40 on the radio of a Sunday afternoon and skillfully missing out as much as possible of the DJ’s chatter to catch as much we could of our favourite tracks. None of us thought of the consequences or money lost by the bands producing the music. We certainly didn’t consider the morality of it. Producing copies of albums stained with talented musicians blood, sweat and tears and denying them their due.
In fact I don’t even remember it being mentioned as a negative thing until the internet became the way to do it. Mp3’s online were (and are) so accessible. Meaning you can just sit on your arse in front of the screen, download everything and anything, and all for free. Limewire, Bearshare, Frostwire…..to name a few, are well known sites with P2P (peer to peer) sharing of music, often infringing copyright and certainly meaning the record companies sales take a dive.
So what to do about it?
Well, as has already been done with Limewire for one, take out an injunction to prevent the access to coprighted material. Temporary though right? I mean, as quick as you limit one site or close it down even…..3 more have popped up!
Kaiser Chiefs are one band (and I’m sure many will follow) who have changed tactics to get around the whole illegal downloading business. Lead singer Ricky Wilson came up with an idea after a few bevvies whilst in Cornwall – theeee nicest place to be inspired by the way!
As with most bands, putting together the track list for an album involves a process of selecting 10-15 songs from a pot of quite a few more. Which means discarding some in favour of others – all worked on, written and recorded with equal passion and love. Then after much time, deliberating and inevitable arguing, they select the best tracks (or what the band/manager perceives as the ones the fans would consider so) promote it, put it in shops to buy….only to find that people aren’t buying it because they’re able to acces the ones they want for free!
So Wilson decided to let the fans and the people ‘sharing’ tracks illegally via the internet, actually get on board and be involved with the process. Their latest album ‘The Future is Medieval’ is one that can be put together by anyone that buys 10 tracks from a selection of 20. Thereby creating their own album which they can then provide a link to for others to buy. To create your own album will cost £7.50. Anyone clicking on your link who wants the same version you have created will also pay £7.50 but…you get £1 commission on every one of your version sold. You can even design your own cover!
The idea is to actually encourage fans to share the music online. It’s acceptance I suppose, that we are living in a different era. A digital one. It’s only a matter of time until you won’t have anything to actually play your shop-bought cd on anyway! Just like I can no longer play my cassette tapes!
Personally, I want to have that album in my hand. I need to open it up, appreciate the cover artwork, read inside, find out who engineered/mixed/produced the album, where they recorded etc. etc. I know – what a geek! I guess I’m just old-fashioned.