Tag Archives: Trent Reznor

The Pirate Bay Verdict: A hollow victory for major record labels – heads up label chumps, the revolution is already happening!

17 Apr

The founders of torrent search engine The Pirate Bay have been found guilty of breaking copyright law, sentenced to 1 year in prison and fined £2.4 million.

What a crock of outdated, archaic shit.

I know it’s only an initial verdict and the boys at TPB will be appealing, but I feel compelled to vent my spleen anyway. Ranting, disjointed outburst coming up, apologies in advance..

I spend a large chunk of my average day finding music from all over the world by artists and bands who offer their work for free, and I do all I can to promote and spread awareness of the music that I love. Most of these artists and bands are unsigned, or at most signed to small indie labels, and they make very little money from their music – however, they’re doing what they love and making truly arse-kickingly awesome music. They save up enough cash to buy a day in a studio and record EPs, albums and demos, and then give them away – not only to promoters, podcasters and potential labels but to anyone who wants to listen. They upload their music to sites like Jamendo, Reverb Nation, and The Podsafe Music Network, they use Twitter to network with other music-heads – in other words, they use some bloody initiative to spread their work around, all whilst making little or no money. Such is the depth of their love for music, and the strength of their drive to spread their blood-sweat-and-tear-streaked recordings to any potential fans.

Compare this to the attitude of major record labels.

These are people who find bands that love to make good music, take them under their corporate wing, and proceed to ethically and financially bitch-slap them and their fans to within an inch of their lives.

Trent Reznor, a pioneer of the Creative Commons, independent music movement after ditching Universal in 2007, expresses this perfectly:

“One of the biggest wake-up calls of my career was when I saw a record contract. I said, ‘Wait – you sell it for $18.98 and I make 80 cents? And I have to pay you back the money you lent me to make it and then you own it?”

The fact is that the record industry is foundering because music fans are no longer willing to pay extortionate prices for CDs when they know that the artists themselves are getting jack shit – and they can get a copy off the internet for nowt. But the big labels have become so enamoured with making quick money from trendy bands who are hyped up to shit and only ever make one album before they disappear, that they’ve forgotten what it means to build a proper relationship with fans. And this means that to most independent artists, the thought of getting a major record deal seems terribly bleak and soulless such that no one actually wants one anymore! Musicians have become savvy; they understand that if they get signed to a major label they’ll get dicked around and eventually crushed, and most musicians worth their salt would rather get a nice deal with a smaller indie label and tour their music-loving arses off.

Because do you know what you can’t illegally download and torrent and pirate and stream? The thrilling exhilaration, excitement and joy of live music. And I know you can bootleg, film and stream gigs but I mean actually being there and feeling the bassline hit you right between the ribs. The whole point of indie bands giving away their music is to build up a loyal fanbase who will come to their gigs, buy their merchandise, and recommend them to friends who will do the same. The more people know about your music, the more chance you have of making money from it. And you can’t get people who’ve never heard of you to buy stuff straight off the bat, you have to make them like you first.

The point is, the future of music is priceless. It is a Creative Commons licensed, free exchange of EPs, albums, demos and promo tracks, distributed and spread by people who love the music enough to tell everyone they know. It’s a true thrill unlike any other to stumble upon amazing music that no one’s heard yet, whether on the internet, at a gig or through word of mouth, and it’s why I spend half my life doing it!

The major labels need to prick up their ears and take notice of how music distribution is operating under their radar, and maybe then they’re realise why no one’s buying CDs anymore and why The Pirate Bay founders shouldn’t go to prison for making music available to everyone. Because after all, copying isn’t theft – it’s making more of something that already exists so that it can be spread to new listeners and fans.

Free music is the future, whether they like it or not.

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