An Anti-Piracy Rant

The more time goes by, the more frustrated I get on the piracy issue. I have tried again and again to “be cool” about it and tell myself that it will be okay, it’s just part of the “new school” way of doing things and it will all work out.

But it’s not. Not even close.

I am all about sharing my stuff and passing my interests off on others, but it never crosses my mind to copy all of my crap and let them have it, music or otherwise. And they should not feel entitled to it.

Piracy is nothing new, let’s be honest about that. Not even in the music industry. But its deep, deep impact is now being felt in a way it never has. Ten years into the digital age, I see evidence all of the time that the industry I love is drastically changing. I realize many apart from the industry love that. They are “sticking it to the man” and “getting what is owed them after buying all of those terrible songs packaged with the one good one.” Trust me, I get that sentiment. But goodness gracious, at what cost?

It baffles me that people thieve music (and other digital data) at far too many corners and carry on with life thinking it will all keep coming like it always has.

Let me be clear: music will continue to be written and recorded no matter how much the music industry of the past 40 years continues to devolve. I am not naive enough to think the mass of society cares about said devolvement, but in more ways than most want to acknowledge, it will affect what music they ever become aware of.

I have plenty of issues with the whole of the music industry of which I currently make my living. It is not perfect. Not even close. One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that I am one of those who really and truly loves music so deeply that I am not in Nashville to strive for filthy riches. There is truly no other industry that remotely interests me. For a while I thought I would try and work for an MLB team someday, but I realized I don’t love that industry enough to simultaneously work in it, deal with the problems, politics and injustices, and remain a true fan. I am not here to work for free, but I assure you my passion for music will sustain many a lack of ideal salary.

The Internet is the new radio. The thing is, it is far more powerful and with many more tools. Either way, it is a tremendous marketing vehicle where we learn about all sorts of new things, including music. As I write this, I am listening to a free download sampler from SPIN Magazine. Hopefully there will be a song or two that will really grab my attention, then I will very likely engage and transact with that act on some level (buying a CD, t-shirt, concert ticket, telling my friends, etc.), but for the rest that do not grab my attention, at least I was exposed to them.

Yes, one must get a product out into the marketplace through sampling, etc., but at some point free has to run out. You may get a free sample at Costco, but if you want to take more home, you have to give them your money.

Just because a transfer of (any) information can take place on the Internet, that does not mean it should be free. What is the deal with people thinking Internet actually equals free? Few things bewilder me more. I am not saying every single product in all of creation should cost something, but the bulk of products and services are not free.

I realize music needs to get better in a lot of ways, but there are plenty of absolutely amazing songs and artists coming out every year. (Have you heard The National, MGMT, The Band Perry, Kopecky Family Band, The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Fitz & The Tantrums, Mumford & Sons, Foxy Shazam, Marc Scibilia, etc., etc., etc.?)

If you’re getting off on sending a statement to the “evil music industry,” fine. If you don’t even realize that stealing music is wrong, get a freaking clue. Either way, keep in mind that the very artists that provide the soundtrack to your life are, and will continue to be, impacted if you never send any of your money their way.

Please consider not being paid for your work. Trust me, it sucks.


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