So the CRIA (Canada’s recording association, for those unfamiliar with the acronym) is up in arms about a relatively unknown band that they claim would have gone platinum with their debut album if the people who downloaded it illegally had actually bought it instead. I’m nit going to go into all the details about how the numbers they claim are probably false, you can click on the link I added earlier for that, because I want to cover the other side of the argument here.
I do not believe for one second that everyone who downloads from peer-to-peer or torrent sites does not buy music legally. I do not believe it because I have used torrent sites myself in the past. There are bands that are not available on iTunes (my preferred download service) or whose tracks are “album only download”. In these situations, I want to get a good idea of what I’m buying before I buy it. I use peer-to-peer and torrents as a kind of ‘try before you buy’ system. If I like it, I buy it. If I don’t like it, I delete it.
I did that with Metallica back in the days of Napster. I think i’ve mentioned this before on my old blog back when Napster was still relevant. I heard about all the commotion being made about Metallica’s tracks being downloaded, decided to see what all the fuss was about and ran a search for them. Their most shared tracks were ‘Enter Sandman’ and ‘One’ so I decided these were probably the best. I downloaded both, listened to them all that night because they were so good, then went to my local record shop (it was MVC at the time but they are gone now) the next day and bought their entire back catalogue.
Hear that, record companies? I bought the entire back catalogue based on 2 songs downloaded to see whst the fuss was about.
What’s more, after the disappointment of St Anger I was wary of pre-ordering Metallica’s next album so I held off. I waited until copies of the tracks started to appear on YouTube (official or otherwise) and I listened to them there. I listened to ‘Cyanide’ and ‘The Day That Never Comes’ and loved both of them. By the time ‘Cyanide’ had finished playing, I had pre-ordered a copy of the album on Amazon.
So, record companies, please note that not everyone who downloads tracks does it to steal from you.
I also don’t just think this this is limited to big business. I run a publishing company, All Mouse Media Ltd, and we use a try before you buy model, too. We publish all our comics online, for free. We also have 20% of the book we have in print right now available through Google Books. When we put our second title into print, we will do the same with that. I put the complete first drafts of my stories online for everyone to read for free. I have put my money where my mouth is on this one.
What has happened as a result of this? Simple: my work brings me an income. I know I’m a relatively unknown author and so do my potential customers. I don’t have the pulling power if Pratchett, King or Gaiman. People will not buy my work simply because I made it. Because I give them the chance to try it first, those who like it reward me. Those who don’t are better off too. It’s win-win.
It’s time the record company dinosaurs woke up to this fact, otherwise they will go the way of the actual dinosaurs -and I’ll tell you something else for free: they will not be missed.
Today has been a day of sitting around, revising law. I have an assignment due on Wednesday so I really need to get to grips with this. Like all of this year’s course, the assignment is on the broad topic of the law of ownership and trusteeship. It may sound a bit of a dull subject to some people but I am really enjoying it.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a break or two here and there, of course. It was such a nice day today that I decided a walk out would be a good way of clearing the cobwebs from the old brain (what an image that conjures up), so I went for a walk down to the Hall in the Wood, which gives the Hall I’th Wood area of Bolton its name. It’s not a long walk and in good sunshine it’s quite a pleasant trip.
I took a few photographs while I was there, including two 360 degree panoramic photos: one of the front of the hall, and the other from the rear. They are quite fun, even if some bits don’t quite line up right.
It just struck me that in all the time I have lived here, I have never seen the hall open to the public. That’s quite sad, really.
Before I went out, I recorded a short video on my second channel; which I use for general vlogging (in contrast to my main channel, which is more for humour and general entertainment videos). The video is about the tune I had stuck in my head, plus my attempts to get it down on GarageBand in the hope that I could find out where I heard it from. So far, nobody can place it. Maybe it’s a new composition? I’ll link the video below. Maybe you know where it’s from?
With my writing work done for the weekend, I have been enjoying having a bit of time to relax.
Because the last thing I had to do tonight was send some messages to people in Second Life, talking about the April Poetry Challenge, I happened to be ‘in world’ at the time that JWheels Carver sent out a message to the ‘Inksters’ writing group saying a guy called Acoustic Energy Nightly was playing a live gig at St Leo’s University.
That sounded like something I might enjoy, so I teleported over before the sim (technical term for a section of virtual land) filled up. Popular events can fill up quickly, so it’s always a good idea to get in as quick as you can if you want to go to an event. It’s a lot like real life in that way.
That reminds me of the time I saw Terry Pratchett in Second Life. He was there doing a brief talk followed by a question and answer session to promote ‘Nation’, which was then his latest novel. I turned up about an hour and ten minutes before he was due to start and the sim already had nineteen other people on it!
Why do I remember how many there were there? I was reporting on the event for the Second Life News Network. It was one of my last assignments for them as a journalist with a roving beat. I became Art Director for their real world publication, SLNN Next, soon after. (That was quite a change, I can tell you!) It was a fun job while it lasted. It started as my first foray into freelancing, too. Funny how the world works.
Anyway, I have to say Acoustic Nightly put on what was probably the best live event I’ve been to in Second Life for a long time. He has an amazing voice and I would recommend going along to hear him if you can.
JWheels keeps a blog about events in Second Life so you can find out when he’s next playing. I would put up a link to a YouTube recording but there aren’t any, unfortunately.
Speaking of music, I was pointed toward this very cool music video by MBC News:
It was the imagery that first caught my eye but the song itself is great too. Jenny says it reminds her a lot of Ladytron and I think I see where she’s getting that from. It certainly is in the same broad style.
So there you have it: Second Life is not just for writers and people who want to pretend to have sex with other people pretending to have sex. There is music there, too. There is also art there but I’ll have to cover that another time because this is getting too long.