Music copying and sharing

Anybody remember this one?

When I was in high school we bought our music on circular discs of soft plastic that had to be handled with extreme care. To listen to the stuff on the go we had to copy it onto cassette tapes, and the record industry responded to this growing industry by starting a campaign using the logo above.

Well, home taping didn’t kill music.

Perhaps more importantly, something really bad did happen. My most treasured albums wore out, or got scratched and became unplayable. So I had to go and buy new copies. When I bought the new copies I paid for the materials, the distribution, the costs of operating the record shop, and a fair profit for all concerned. I also paid AGAIN for the right to listen to the music.

It didn’t matter that I had already paid the copyright owners for the pleasure of using the fruits of their labours. I was still required to pay twice.

And when I moved to CD format I paid again. Does anybody remember the fuss about CD’s being insanely more expensive than vinyl even though they didn’t cost much more to produce? There was a lot of justifiable anger at the time from people who felt they were being gouged by the record companies, although few of us really thought about the copyright issue.

In some cases I’ve replaced CD’s more than once as well, so I’ve paid four or five times for the right to listen to some pieces of music. In the UK now it is illegal to copy a CD onto any media, even if you’ve paid for it. So if I wanted to copy a piece of music that I have already paid for many times so that I could listen to it on an MP3 player I would have to pay again for the privilege of downloading it from Steve ‘the bastard’ Jobs.

Meanwhile, huge numbers of people worldwide continue to make music. Few of them have any hope of ever making any money from it, yet they continue. Other artists paint, write, sculpt, dance, and so on. As Edgar Allen Poe said:

The world is full of people expressing themselves and enriching everyone else’s life in the process without trying to extract the maximum benefits from the general public. And a bunch of talentless wankers only motivated by profit are doing their best to kill art by turning it into a commodity that can be controlled, packaged, sold, and defended using the law as a club with which to beat people.

Having paid over and over and over for more than a quarter of a century I have no sympathy for the music industry. I’ll copy and download music I’ve paid for with a clear conscience.

“Home Taping Is Killing the Music Industry: Killing Ain’t Wrong.” - Rocket from the Crypt
“Capitalism is killing music - pay no more than £4.99 for this record” - Billy Bragg

Yep. I remember when friendships/solidarity/team spirit/budding romances were expressed with a carefully considered “mix” tape. It’s too bad that those days are gone…

Mix CDs?

That’s what itunes and smart playlists are for, innit? :wink:

I sometimes make “mixed CDs” for friends. The idea ain’t quite dead yet.

More seriously the record companies have to create a model for distributing music that meets the market demand and ensures that artists get properly rewarded for the music they make. A lot of the problems of illegal downloading could be avoided if there were more alternatives for legal downloading.

more seriously, the record companies’ job is to find a way of getting the public to listen to music they DON’T want, and then convince them that they DO want it, and that they have to pay the price the record company wants them to pay, regardless of the musical merit or otherwise of any of the artists in their stable. and the best musicians generally never make it big: the record company rides high on the back of a few overworked undertalented mannequins that can look good while holding a microphone and allow a production team to channel sound out of their mouth.

that’s why it is ethically correct to copy and download music.

E.M.I.! E.M.I.! Still rings true today, and perhaps even more so considering the changes to the music industry model that the internet offers. how about offering the COMPLETE back catalogue ofevery artist ever recorded? possible, easy, and totally at odds with the industry’s goal of making money for the shareholders, bugger the punters.

I think the illegal downloading of music has actually led to more bands being heard and ‘making it’.

The record companies have suffered, but new artists now have a better chance of making it.

Why? Because:

  1. The record companies are making their exisiting and new bands have more and longer tours. This leads to increased ticket sales and merchandising. This has also allowed a lot of bands get into the supporting role and get recognized.

  2. They record companies are finding it harder and harder to get their music heard and bought. This is especially true with radio as many people don’t listen to it as much as they did before (because of MP3 players). The public have also become increasingly choosy about what they will listen to. In answer, the companies know that they do better by promoting a larger number of varied artists at any one time. This has led to more bands being signed.

I make “mix ipod playlists”(or Zune)

I totally agree.

You should also know that ‘the industry’ has worked hard at deteriorating the quality of music. It’s known as compression: the dynamic range of today’s music CDs is screwed over to make everything SOUND AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE. This happens on a huge scale.

It’s known as the Loudness War. For a clear explanation of the phenomenon, check this mini documentary on Youtube:

Or the Wikipedia article…

Or Turn Me Up:

We’ve been paying a lot of money for our media and ‘rights’ while the production quality was crapped out… For years already!!

It’s sad really, that CD’s supposed to be high dynamic range should make them far superior to old vinyl records, while the truth is it’s the other way around now.

If you see a CD being sold as ‘digitally remastered’, it actually means they made it LOUD, “because that’s how people like it and will buy it”.

I predict that soon enough, word will be out, and you’ll be thinking of your CD collection as ‘out of fashion’ because their production quality is low because of this. You’ll be waiting for the ‘high dynamic range’ or ‘audiophile’ version…

If only I could let you hear the album I downloaded recently of “Three Dog Night”, titled “One”. That’s from a record of the late sixties. The sound quality would blow you away.