schlep wrote:If you believe as I do, in actively supporting bands like this, who soldier on for decades creating great music in the face of near complete indifference - this is karmically enriching and a great deal! Best thing since the Dollar Shave Club! (not a band)
Of course, you may contribute more than $2, if you so choose.
I dunno, schlep, I'm of several minds about this. First, there are so many artists out there who have given me so much pleasure on YouTube and other places over the years that if I gave them all $2 even one time, I wouldn't be able to eat for two months. I'm a seriously broke puppy. But do I feel guilty about it? Hell, yes. I'll let you in on a nasty little secret: all of my music collection save for Esra Dalfidan has been downloaded (only because she wasn't available on the net), and sometimes multiple times to get good copies. The $10 or $15 it runs to buy an album's worth of mp3's off Amazon is, as embarrassing as it is to admit it, a hardship.
Edit: The last CD I ever bought was Leader of the Starry Skies specifically to support Tim.
I know I should hate myself for this. I don't, though, and here's why (guilt is not self-hatred):
The music industry has irrevocably changed with no possible way to go back. The majors are no longer in control of new music and there are no local radio stations who cater to large audiences that might plug emerging bands (broadcast radio has become totally micro-market-niched with no interest in newness; serious radio listeners use satellite radio or podcasts). The only way anymore to make money as an emerging band is to tour relentlessly, and that's very difficult for those who don't appeal to the increasingly narrow spectrum of what's left that's promotable through corporate subsidy on any sort of national or even regional scale. Festivals seem to be the last remaining networking / merch venues for new music bands, but you can't depend on enough new festies to consistently make the rent every month. So to lament over the tragedy that bands like TPlague or Cheer-Ax can't "make it" through their music alone kind of misses the point. Nobody can. Everybody creative has to have a day job these days. It's not like there aren't plenty of fans -- but they're scattered across the globe. Best you can do is live somewhere like the Bay Area or Santa Barbara with a vibrant local / university art scene.
Mike Johnson of TPlague has a tenured academic gig. Hey, we should all be so lucky.
The flipside of this is actually fantastic. Relieved of the burdens of trying to make a career out of their art, the real dudes and dudesses treat it an avocation now, with none of the nasty commercial imperatives oozing their ways into the creative process. Recording technology continues to improve in quality and drop in price, so studio time is much less of an issue, especially for those who've accumulated home studios. Remember all that stuff that Greaves and Cutler talked about in the Amateur booklet distributed by ReR in the late 70s? It's come to pass. And the proof is in the listening: The current music scene, if YouTube is any guide, is incredibly vibrant, with more people making quality recordings of music in more genres and subgenres that were even imaginable two decades ago. Sure, nobody's becoming the next Keith Emerson or Robert Fripp (or even Frank Zappa) -- materially comfortable with creativity cred. And that itself is a good thing because it virtually annihilates the complacency factor.
You want celebrity, there's always The X-Factor. Somebody has to be the next Lady Gaga. But notice that even Justin Bieber rode the DIY wave by releasing carefully amateurized videos on YouTube and letting a fan base take over from there. The middleman is (almost) dead.
Of course the argument against shmucks like me who take great enjoyment from recordings without paying for them is morally unassailable. Like I said, I feel guilty and believe me, if my ship ever comes in Payback Will Occur. That said, I don't think any of the artists on my hard drive would want me to have to choose between a decent recording of theirs and a meal, either -- especially when I come on fora like this as an enthusiastic mouthpiece for their music. I'm going to purchase my new flavor-of-the-month, MoeTar (thanks, eadric!), only because the copy available is 128kps and sounds like crap, not for karmic adjustment purposes or because their fundraising video (they need four grand to record their new one) made me feel guilty. Hey, sure beats a record company advance contingent on future units moved.
Like the proverbial dog who licks his yeasty plums (thanks, Worms, for that piquant phrase), downloads happen because they can. There's no point in debating the morality of it; the DMCA puts the onus on file sharing services only to make a good-faith effort to keep copyrighted material off, so despite some dick-waggery last decade by the RIAA with "example" prosecutions of civilian uploaders (which backfired on law enforcement in a huge way), accounts may get pulled but nobody's held accountable. My personal code keeps me from uploading files to anything but YouTube (which is a different case entirely), but that's just me.
The downside: Revenue is lost to artists who fairly earned it.
The upside: Revenue is lost to artists, but revenue is never the point.
Is this all just a bald rationalization or what?