An artist’s statement…does this sound familiar?
A week or two ago I posted a blog about music piracy (in particular), and illustrated how some musicians react by sharing the story of an artist whose current album is all over the internet on all of the file sharing sites. I kept this musician’s name under wraps, and after reading what I had written they responded privately with a rather detailed reply.
To paraphrase their response, while understanding that their music is up for grabs whenever it’s released and there might be an upside to increased audience and exposure, it nevertheless hurts both emotionally and financially. In this case, a planned tour has been cancelled, and a part time job cleaning houses to make ends meet will need to become a full time job. Fans of this musician, who isn’t a coffee house singer with a MacPro and Garageband, but someone with several albums of critical success and many gigs and tours behind them, might be both surprised and saddened to know that they pay the bills by cleaning other people’s toilets.
Yesterday I spent about an hour on the internet doing what I enjoy doing…listening to music and reading about it. I have a number of sites I regularly visit, and also I like to surf around blogs that people put up on their own to see what I can discover. In a strange twist of fate, I found myself reading a story about two folk musicians I recently wrote about here at No Depression…and the words seemed awfully familiar.
They should have…it was my blog. Cut, pasted, shared and not only un-credited, but posted under someone else’s name. And to add insult if not injury, at the bottom of the page there was a link to three file sharing sites where you can download the album I wrote about for free.
While I long ago accepted that trying to stop technology is akin to sticking one’s finger into a small leaking hole at the Hoover Dam, and as one who knows that piracy will continue and thrive until there is a better business model in place that consumers will embrace, it was a strange feeling seeing my words under the name of another. And it also felt a little invasive and icky that it was probably one of you who did it…someone who loves Americana music or whatever you call it, someone who probably comes here to read about new music, someone who probably is a community member.
I’m not telling you about this because I think this person should be strung up by their cut and pasted thumbs, nor am I really passing judgement on their own site because despite the file sharing links, it’s a pretty interesting place to visit and learn about new music. But in my own teeny tiny way, I now have a better sense of the emotion one feels when their music, images, words and creations are taken without any credit, input or permission. It kinda sucks. You can accept it, but it still seems…not nice.
So perhaps this is related, and maybe not. But my friend, photographer Sandy Dyas from Iowa, shared this video today. It probably is making it’s way around the social networking sites, given the amount of views. But I thought in the light of this post, there is a thread of relevance in sharing it.
And it’s also kind of ironic that I’m able to cut, paste and embed it here from it’s original home on You Tube. I also cut and pasted the image at the top of the post using Google Image search. Technology…isn’t it great?