March 10, 2012 – 4:17 pm


Three months ago Bobbi Smith penned an open letter to content creators. It should rattle the can. Read it and, if you can, all of it. What do you think?

Thanks to Bobbi Smith for the article, which was posted at

Your no B.S. comments will earn you a pass to free music.

+ + + + +

Why I Pirate - An Open Letter To Content Creators

By Bobbi Smith


I once rented a car for work and had an unpleasant experience. When I returned the car, I thought to myself, “I’m never renting from them again.” After sitting on it for a day, I realized conducting my own silent protest wasn’t going to help me or the rental agency. So later that day, I called their corporate headquarters and told my story to the VP of customer relations. More importantly, I told him what they did wrong and what kind of experience I expect as a customer if he wants my future business.

I would like all the content creators reading this to view this post as though you are the car rental agency. I am a dissatisfied customer who may never buy from you again unless you get your act together. I normally wouldn’t waste my time explaining all this, but the content creators on Step2 certainly seem to be going in the right direction so I’m hoping this information will help.

This post isn’t my attempt at a debate. You won’t hear any mention of theft versus copying, exposure versus lost sales or right versus wrong. All I want to do is give you real-life insight from the file-sharing world. I want to hold your hand and show you how I decide what to buy and what my motivation is to pirate. I will use the terms pirate, download and file-sharing interchangeably throughout this post but they all mean the same thing: to download your content for free.

Some people will read this and think, “I don’t care what this guy says, internet piracy is damaging.” For those people, I ask you to skip the rest of this post and jump to the bottom section titled, ‘In Closing.’

Some of you won’t read this entire post and it won’t hurt my feelings. You won’t understand your customers and we won’t buy your content. And don’t read this hoping to find out why people download your content in the hopes that you can stop it in the future. You cannot stop file-sharing. It would be like trying to stop people from using electricity. People who have already paid for your content will also be some of the ones who download it.  And they’ll share it with others.


I’m probably in your demographic. Male, mid-thirties, no children and living in Los Angeles. I’m also an unashamed downloader. I have many albums, many movies and many games that I share with friends and strangers. Most of which I’ve downloaded for free. Surprisingly, I also have many albums, many movies and many games that I have purchased, that I also share with friends and strangers. How did this happen?

When I was 16 and got my first job, I had nothing else to spend my money on but movies, music and games. I amassed a decent collection those first couple of years. As I grew older, I discovered I had purchased a lot of garbage. I was buying based on hype and I hated myself for it. By the time I was 21, I had stopped buying everything. I only played video games at my friend’s houses and I only rented movies because at $1 a pop, I didn’t feel ripped off if the movie sucked. I stopped buying music completely because it was hard to justify gambling $10 per CD. And trust me, that’s what it all felt like, gambling.

I was in my twenties when Napster appeared and I still remember the day I heard about it. I had just started converting my CD collection over to mp3 and Napster saved me tons of time. After I downloaded the stuff I had already purchased, I began checking out new content. I quickly found several new acts that I liked and started downloading more new acts. It was addicting. When Napster was finally shut down, the file sharing industry had exploded. All these new services were catering to all types of media. Internet speeds were increasing. I had to buy larger hard drives to store everything.

I noticed something peculiar though. I was buying music CDs again. And I was going to the movies again. Same thing with video games and movie DVDs. It definitely started out slowly, but I can say with certainty, I spend significantly more now on entertainment than I ever did before I started downloading. And my story is not unique, many file-sharers will tell you the same thing.

Here’s one thing a lot of content creators seem to not understand: I’m downloading your content because I’m interested in it. I’m not downloading it to try and stick it to you, I don’t even know you. It’s up to you to make the content compelling enough for me to buy it. I might not buy this one since I already have it, but if I become a fan, I’ll likely buy the next thing you put out. Many content creators will think this is unfair. “I created the content, I get to control distribution and formats.” No, you are wrong.

It used to be that way. If the record label said, “We are releasing this album in New York on the 10th and in Los Angeles on the 20th and only on cassette” then I had no option but to deal with it. Now, I don’t care when, where or how you release it. If I want it, I’ll get it. This is exactly what the internet did: it took control away from you and gave it to me. If you don’t like it, then sit in your basement and create your content for your love of the craft instead of for profit. But if you want to sell it to me, you’re doing it my way.

I will still give you my money if you make me happy. The sad part is there are still times where I would gladly pay for something but the content creator has left me no choice but to download it. Techdirt seems to post a story like that once a week. I’m not going to deny myself the enjoyment of your creation just because you haven’t figured out how to collect.

How about this, I’ll continue to download your stuff and have a blast. When you finally catch up, I’ll buy your new stuff if the price is right. Maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll tell one of my non-techy friends about your movie or book and he’ll buy the physical copy because he can’t figure out how to download it. And I’m not going to feel bad about any of this because according to my credit card statements, I spend about $2,500 a year on entertainment. A $200 per month entertainment habit that is unequivocally fueled by file-sharing. Yes, I download more than $200 worth of content a month, but if you take away my file-sharing, you’ll lose the money I’m putting into the market. That was definitively proven during my pre-Napster days.

Click here for the rest of the article.


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  2. Wow…Bobbi hit every point on the money. The one thing that struck a nerve for me is that I continue to purchase entertainment in all forms including actually going out to the movies at least three time a month.
    I never stopped buying music but I also don’t intend to buy it blindly and as it was said “listening” to 30 seconds of a track is not listening to music.
    I could go on but I don’t think I could add anything.
    I hope everyone that visits this site will read the entire letter.
    Nic work Bobbi.

    By rondelrio on Mar 10, 2012

  3. i didnt start dl’ing and burning til 06 and i spent my money on music rather than getting it free til then. i feel that prices in stores are getting ridiculous and i dont like how the industry is running things and the way they issue things forcing us to repurchase product in order to obtain new product even tho we already had the majority of the old product ie-greatest hits packages with 2 new songs etc.
    i dont like having to buy box sets with 3-5 cds in it where a third of the material is new to me and i already had the rest of the stuff but i have to shell out for the entire box.
    i have found that there is too much greed and stupidity out there and the entire idea of bootlegging and pirating and counterfeiting all being lumped into one mass group irritates me as well. each time i think about this i feel like downloading more just to have to spend less. that tacked on to the fact that i have my own personal issue of being screwed over by the riaa 10 yrs ago unfairly i might add makes me not give a shit about the money that is generated fairly to those who create the product. i did care and to a small degree i still do about official product vs unofficial product being shared but i do separate roio’s from licensed recordings as does this site.. but taking into consideration my personal income and needs.. i download what i wish. the industry has gotten all it will ever get money wise from me. the exception being when i do go to movies or if i am with someone else who chooses to rent from either a redbox machine or netflix etc. i will likely never again buy a cd or dvd in my lifetime. i have done enough of that already. i am over a half century old now and have more than enough music in my collection such that i can never listen to it all before i die and i cant stop downloading. that applies to both official and unofficial product. frankly my dears i dont give a damn (anymore).
    u people out there who wanted my money and the money of others out here didnt handle things correctly in the last 40 years. dont blame us. now cds are on their way out? what kind of joke is this? what was i supposed to do with the 24000 audio tapes and 12500 video tapes i had in july 2002? convert them to cd and dvd? then when they stop making those.. then what? im not laughing here. what if i had a job? u know.. to earn money to spend on more product that u were trying to sell me. ugh.

    By darth on Mar 10, 2012

  4. Bobbi makes some excellent points - tho there is little new in them, except his personal outline of what he thinks is a fair price for books, CDs, DVDs, etc. And the guy needs an editor… he could have said it in a third the length (and still been ridiculously verbose).
    I will simply add this: I have little sympathy for the record company execs who draw fat wages for raking a percentage off established artistes, and who shaft the NON-established artists at every turn. Like merchant bankers and many others, they are society’s leeches.
    As for the big artistes… Ok, some of you are geniuses, and you give pleasure to millions. But when did that justify an income of mega-millions every year? As long as these people… mere entertainers, remember… are each making more money every month than would last most of their public a (pretty comfortable) lifetime, don’t expect sympathy, from those of us who actually buy CDs (nor, naturally, from those who don’t).
    Yes, you’re good, yes you’re entertaining. But no, you are NOT worth a king’s bloody ransom. As long as you guys are raking in obscene amounts of dosh, don’t expect your fans to feel sorry for your alleged plight.

    By Tony on Mar 10, 2012

  5. keeping up with the technology became a frustrating expensive also.
    I started collecting music on 33,45,and78 rpm vinyl,,,which became eight track and cassette,then cds dvds and files such as mp3 flac wav etc..there seems to be no end to it, you just get set up for one type of music and bam it is obsolete and you have to buy your way into another way of listening..When cds were selling for $25.00 and then we discovered blanks could be had for pennies , well..that was the eye opener and the beginning of downloading for others, I have discovered many acts I would never have taken a chance of buying a cd from initially. There has to be a balance in all of this I guess, but it has always struck me funny that the same companies that sell the finished product also sell all the media needed to tape, record, convert and burn with …making money at both`s money driven bottom line.
    These companies barely pay the artists whose music they sell.

    By sluggo on Mar 10, 2012

  6. Rant on brother! !

    It is sad that the general population does not get that the middle man, I.e. distribution, is making nearly all of the money.

    Last time I checked apple, maxell, Warner brothers, and Microsoft were not artists. They just get all of the cash.

    By john on Mar 10, 2012

  7. He makes many good points. The repackaging of previously released material several times over with one extra song on the disc, is insulting to the consumers. I have six thousand CD’s in my collection, and I spend more than ever before. Without downloading, I would surely not have given a chance to most new bands of the last decade and a half.

    By Phil on Mar 10, 2012

  8. This is the most lucid and bias-free statement on the topic that I’ve read to date. Every content creator needs to read this.

    My purchasing of physical CDs remains constant for artists I know from the pre-digital world or discover because of file sharing. When I like what they produce and I deem it’s priced reasonably.

    90% of what I download for free is not otherwise available. These are out-of-print rarities, micro-releases or recordings not offered by the content providers for sale digitally or in any other format. No lost sales there.

    And I have hit the Buy button on file sharing sites when I like the stuff–including recently right here when Bigo introduced me to Dave Douglas and provided me a handy link to purchase Witness.

    The content providers, like all brands, are no longer in control. The consumer is. The ones who embrace that will be the most successful.

    An overnight shipping company said its brand was Federal Express. The customer said no, it’s FedEx. And guess what–they changed their name.

    Hyundai is enjoying massive success in the U.S. right now, and a big reason is because they gave the customer control: During the worst of the recession they offered to take back the new Hyundai you bought if you lost your job. No other car company offered that. Now they are reaping the rewards because a lot of people bought Hyundais who might not otherwise. And they tell their friends. The content providers need to understand how this works.

    I enjoy paying for a music product I want at a price I think is reasonable. But if the price/value ratio is not there, I’ll download it. Because it’s my perception of price/value that matters, not the content providers’.

    Well done, Bobbi.

    By kingpossum on Mar 11, 2012

  9. for decades we have been supporting an industry which in turn does not treat its people well. Musicians are so poorly paid yet these companies want us to believe we are the bad guys.

    By sluggo on Mar 11, 2012

  10. “I got a woman waiting
    at the top of the stairs.
    It’s the wrong thing to do,
    but I don’t care.”

    Tom Petty said that.

    By Tom L. on Mar 11, 2012

  11. Bobbi Smith ia a very talented and fluent writer. The main points have been identified and set out in a beautifully constructed manner.
    If the people who should be reading this actually do and they don’t sit up and take note - God help us!

    By Daij on Mar 11, 2012

  12. I have deep issues with an industry that gave us(the customers)the ability to copy(recording equipment)music(at a cost,no doubt)and then wish to put the kabosh on it when it becomes uncontrollable to them…..and I also have issues with artist’s who would(and probably did) sell their souls in the beginning to be “discovered”(you listening Metallica…Gene Simmons??)
    and then now,have become “artist” with a “pay for play” attitude….puhlease!!!

    By Darth Plastic on Mar 11, 2012

  13. you buy the music at a reasonable price (pirate)
    and you download music which has not been released (bootleg) free

    By barrie on Mar 11, 2012

  14. As Freewheelin’ Franklin sez-
    “Dope gets you through times of no money better than money gets you through times of no dope.”

    People living in a down economy need an escape from life. Books, movies and music are all luxury items and the first to go from your budget. Yet people crave these things to take their mind off of a life that sucks. So they will get them anyway. I use the public library. But as the entertainment companies see their bottom line fall they are too out of touch to know that nobody has the money to give them. What do they think they are, Big Oil? If they are so mismanaged that they are losing profit they should qualify for a government bailout.

    And you have itunes and others charging $9.99 for 40 year old albums that clock in at 35 to 45 minutes and then can’t be bothered to give you a back cover or liner notes. You can get better treatment for free.

    “You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead.” - Stan Laurel

    By sking on Mar 11, 2012

  15. i buy more than ever,and download more than i buy.

    By paul on Mar 11, 2012

  16. Nicely said Bobbi. I do the same because it is easy and the price is right. Plus, if was not available I would not be spending additional money (that I don’t have) on those products anyway. At least, now if I do find something that I like and share it with someone it gets name exposure out there. Grassroots marketing. It’s just the way the world is now. Learn to adapt or not.

    By Cowgill on Mar 11, 2012

  17. They take your job, your home, your income, your dignity, every last penny they can squeeze out of you, and then have the audacity to be outraged when you want something for nothing, when nothing is all you have to give? The people who run the music, book and movie industries must be as wealthy as the people who run government. They are all clueless about how the rest of us live, the millions of us who were not born rich. I can’t speak for the book and movie industries’ reaction, as I still read books printed on paper and I don’t collect movies.

    The music industry is so clueless it is painful to watch. They claim no one is buying CDs. Their solution is to stop making CDs and charge too much for downloads that CD lovers don’t even want, instead of lowering the price of CDs to a sane and reasonable level so that fans could afford them. This is a recipe for failure. After they fail, they will probably want the taxpayers to bail them out, like we did the banks, and look how that turned out. And since the big corporations killed off independent radio stations long ago, how, besides downloads, are we supposed to hear unfamiliar artists? And why does the music industry think I want to keep buying reissues of the same album over and over again? Phil is correct; it is insulting. Do they really think I want their new bonus track that wasn’t good enough to be on the album the first time around?

    They have already priced us out of going to concerts. That privilege is now reserved for the rich. The artist is no longer playing to fans, but instead to snobs who attend the concert as a status symbol and think so little of the artist that they shout into their cell phone through the entire show. Now they want to price us out of music on physical media, and throw us in prison if we dare to download for free. I have nothing against the artist making money. I want him to. And I own thousands of albums on obsolete media to prove it. I went to many concerts back in the day when it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    The consumer is not the thief here. Neither is the artist. Charge a fair price for CDs and you will make a profit. You will also create jobs for people to sell the CDs. There are no jobs in downloads. There are no people involved in the process. Your pathetic business model is not only ripping off the consumer and the artist, it is also screwing your country. Get a clue.

    By aking on Mar 12, 2012

  18. THIS.

    A lot of content creators are finally waking up to the fact that it IS possible to compete with “free.” Value for money is important. Availability of product is, too.

    I hope more creators adopt a more open, non-DRM attitude towards their work.

    By psykomyko on Mar 12, 2012

  19. Good summary of many thoughts I haven’t taken the time to put into a viewpoint. Facts are facts - the digital genie is out of the bottle.History has shown it’s
    better to make friends and make yer wishes than to piss him off.

    By Bob Eskin on Mar 12, 2012

  20. “And if you try to inject DRM to prevent me from doing what I want, you will have ruined your reputation and I will never buy from you again”.I agree- that’s why spending $40 at slysoft for ANYDVD to remove the drm is more economical than giving 40 bucks to a movie studio for one movie. And if slysoft raises their price, I would just download it for free from a torrent site!

    By paulfalk on Mar 12, 2012

  21. Though I’ve download most of my music the past 3 years, I still BUY a lot of it. Some cd’s I’ve BOUGHT are by artists I first heard after downloading from BigO!
    If the distributors are too stupid to see this or too greedy to keep the gravy train rolling, then that’s their loss. If they want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, so be it…

    By TDC on Mar 12, 2012

  22. That´s incredible…

    Bobby you are very intelligent!!!!


    By Jimmy on Mar 12, 2012

  23. the other demographic is early 50’s just been laid off and have no ability to fill major acts’ wallets anymore. clapton toured australia this year and i didn’t go, for the 1st tour of his in 30 years. i used to attend most nights of his monthly residences at Royal Albert Hall in London, but when you don’t know if you’ll ever get a real job again this early in life, priorities change

    By Liam NSW on Mar 13, 2012

  24. The original will always be better for me, if there’s something I really dig I’m gonna buy it. I still buy a lot of cds and dvds. Prices have to be fair though, and also digital downloads should be cheaper. A lot of the stuff on the net is a great try-before-you-buy opportunity. In my younger days that used to happen with the stereo cassettes shared with friends. A great way to discover artists, you end up pushing their sales and sending people to concerts, so the artist can make a decent living. There’s nothing like a live show!
    …Bobby, smart contribution!

    By frank capra on Mar 13, 2012

  25. Listen before you buy , free music sells me on a lot of new artists that I would have never thought of listening to . I still buy CD’s when I can . Great article Bobbi !

    By bruce on Mar 14, 2012

  26. As Bobbi touches on a bit in his essay, sometimes it’s just impossible to get content because of where you are located. This is especially true of American comics here in the East. While the main contenders can sometimes be found in your nearest Metropolis (no relation), the smaller publishing houses like Oni (Scott Pilgrim) or maybe Image (The Walking Dead) just don’t make it regularly over the pond (or can be had for no less than a king’s ransom). Until the world really is one big united marketplace, downloading is the only way to get to read these wonderful stories.

    And an oft-overlooked side effect of the download culture is the digital preservation of media like comics. Woulda been awesome if this technology had been around in the Sixties/Seventies to preserve the works of Kirby, Ditko, Wood, Romita, Swan, Infantino, Adams et. al in pristine quality. Good on Minutemen, DCP, and the like for working to keep today’s classics (and dreck, it’s true) around for future generations.

    By golgo hakase on Mar 14, 2012

  27. You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head, Bobbi Smith! Downloading free content increases my interest in good to great music, movies and other creative works. But, what the anti- downloaders don’t like, is that it decreases interest in the junk that they try to pawn off at the same ridiculous prices.”Try before you buy” has always been a marketing tool and works to this day.The trouble is that the “shafters” have been trying to eliminate this idea because of their greed. Long live free content!

    By Tom Billings on Mar 15, 2012

  28. Liam NSW, I didn’t know they were laying off people over 50 in Australia, too. Guess it’s the same all over. Here in the US, they will not hire you if you are over 50 (some say 40) even if you are the most qualified for the job. I hope the wankers that they hire in our stead will drive these brainless companies out of business. Among the unemployed, it has long been rumored that no one my age will ever work again. But I’m too young to retire and have no money.

    By aking on Mar 15, 2012

  29. It’s funny, even with all the free stuff out there, I still pay for commercial releases, whether cds or movies.

    By sfirical on Mar 15, 2012

  30. Thoughtful, pretty much on the money (err, on the nose) assessment. Like a lot of people who visit here, I originally only downloaded shows and unreleased material, but I graduated to out-of-print items as well: I still pass on currently available stuff, but its time for everyone to face facts: Copyright as we know it has been destroyed by the internet, and only a few artists with large pockets or hungry attorneys can police the net: the megaload bust didn’t stop anybody. The feds made a point on behalf of the film companies, and some version of the US piracy act will be passed after the elections.

    By ter-jack on Mar 15, 2012

  31. This is only slightly off topic. Besides downloading roio’s I frequently check out officially released CDs from the public library and burn copies of that which I want. The only time I ever ran into a problem ripping a copy ofa CD has been with material on the Australian ‘Raven’ label (Byrd Parts, Various and sundry multi-label compilations.) I find this strange since I have read several sources which indicate Raven is ‘Grey’ market - and does not always secure rights or pay royalties according to the rules.

    By Bob Eskin on Mar 16, 2012

  32. Right on! his thoughts are well spoken and cogent I too have not stopped spending entertainment dollars I am however more discerning in what I spend it on.I am looking forward to the streaming of concerts as I have been priced out of that market if I could purchase a LIVE stream of a show have all my friends over for a party and avoid the searches high priced beer etc.and then have the OPTION of buying a recording of the show I would be truly content.

    By tim martin on Mar 16, 2012

  33. Great article. I download a lot too - but also spend a lot on music and movies as well. Downloading stuff from here makes me be able to listen to them and think - I like them, lets go and buy a CD or two of theirs. Change the model and we will all download and buy more.

    By Graham on Mar 16, 2012

  34. Sites such as bigo and dime do for me (and the artists) what radio used to do. They introduce music to me that I may not have heard or am curious about. I’ve purchased tix for shows many times based on DLs I’ve grabbed on the net for free. Plus I really prefer to hear live, undoctored music. The passion of a live performance isn’t easy to capture in a studio.
    Also, I love to talk about artists that are new to me with my friends.

    By steve22 on Mar 16, 2012

  35. Big O was my first introduction to entertainment file-sharing. It was, and is a wonderful new world. My passion is live music where I can hear the improvisations, unfettered by budget or studio executives. Also, growing up in a very rural environment, concerts were something my city-based and non-farming friends had time and opportunity to enjoy. Being able to finally hear the live version of “Childhood’s End,” by Pink Floyd was the realization of a decades-old goal. File sharing enables me to share more music with friends, what few that are left, who have time to come listen. It also enables me to indulge in a passion for musical archeology. Be well and thank you Big O amigos.

    By James on Mar 16, 2012

  36. Thanks to sites like Big O, I’m more aware of music than I have ever been. Before the internet, my musical tastes were dictated by free radio and the money in my pocket, which was spent on music I heard on the radio. That has certainly changed.

    By Michael on Mar 16, 2012

  37. Slow down on the Red Bulls.

    By Bilko on Mar 19, 2012

  38. Great article.
    For download i prefer bootlegs because it’s difficult to buy it in market.I downloaded official music and i like the album i buy it.But let me say the taxes of cds are real high and it’s not fair to people that like music like me.

    By Rochacrimson on Mar 19, 2012

  39. I’m only going to address the music portion of things. I think this guy is being totally disingenuous. There are a number of ways to hear whole tracks and albums legitimately to determine if you want to buy something - Spotify, MOG, YouTube, etc. If something is available for sale, I purchase it or listen to it through a legitimate streaming service. I do make an exception for “ROIO’s” as they are not something that has been made available for sale, and they often lead to my buying other releases by the artist (or I already own their whole catalog). Stealing is stealing.

    By Jeremy Shatan on Mar 21, 2012

  40. When will the major labels waken up? Not only don’t they realise that the way they are starving young musicians of support (both monetary and logistically) is killing the future of their own industry. They also seem to ignore the fact that sites like BIGO actually encourage people to buy recorded music from bands and artists that they might not have heard of before finding them on this site.

    By sebrof on Mar 22, 2012

  41. very well written article-can’t find anything to disagree with here

    This July 12th thing will never take off.Case closed

    By matt_the_cat on Mar 22, 2012

  42. Worthy sentiments. Personally, ROIOs are where all the interesting stuff lies and can lead on to a purchase to support the artist(s). However, I’ll use Spotify to listen /browse the legit stuff.

    By miko on Mar 23, 2012

  43. I started buying LP’s and 45’s at the start of the British Invasion in the early sixties. Shortly after that, these small, portable reel to reel tape recorders came out. They were almost like a toy and I would place the mike up to the radio speaker and record the “top 20″ off the radio. That was the start of my bootlegging. When the audio cassette came along, I started making my own greatest hits packages which were better that the industry was putting out. I also made mixed tapes from my LP’s that I could play in my car. Now we are in the digital age and I download to my computer hard drive and borrow CD’s to burn etc. I still purchase some CD’s but it is of bands I really like. No more buying a CD for the 2 good songs and 10 crappy ones. The music industry drove away the consumer by charging inflated prices and restricting what they had to offer. The other thing that irks me is that every few years a label will remaster the Rolling Stones or Beatles or who ever and throw in some inferior songs from the vault and they charge huge prices for them. The genie is out of the bottle and I cannot see bootlegging or downloading going away as long as the music industry continues it’s greedy ways with it’s blinders on.

    By Mackster on Mar 23, 2012

  44. Downloading is a two-sided issue. I do understand the legitimate frustration of an artist investing time and money to create music, get the artwork done, and fund a production run of the CD’s only to have it appear on a free download site days after it’s release. On the other side of this is that the net proves demand for the product, advertising for the product, and creates new markets for the product.
    I enjoy the ROIO’s because this material obviously has a rabid fanbase that will want it just to hear how the music was performed live, especially for acts that have broken up. The strength of demand for these ROIO’s should serve as an invitation for the bands to release new material, but the question becomes “How does one produce a CD that people will want to own a physical copy of instead of looking for an MP3 download for free on the net?”
    I do not know a certain answer for that dilemma, but I spend about as much for new music on CD format as does the author. The money is being expended and perhaps one day it will be discovered why the artists see so very little of it. I buy CD’s by new artists after “discovering” them on Youtube and other sites, and usually resort to downloading only for material that is out of print. There are so many CD’s from over the years that I’d love to buy, but they simply are not available…

    If you are into Prog, check out a CD by Willowglass called “Book of Hours.” I heard it on Youtube as a random choice on the right hand bar, found the artist’s website, and bought the CD. The whole package (music and artwork) was well worth the price of the CD. That which is really good, sells!

    By Kevin on Mar 24, 2012

  45. I have been buying music since 1968 when I was 5 years old and I purchased “Al Hirt and The Tijuana Brass: Whipped Cream LP when I was with my dad at a liquor store for $3.50 (Yes, they used to sell records at these stores to compliment buying alcohol to set the “mood” I guess). Through my young life and my teens, I was brought up in a lower middle class income and didn’t buy much music. When I was 14, I soon discovered the Columbia House and BMG/RCA record clubs ad in magazines that offered 12 albums for a penny. I joined and received my albums in the mail (8 track tapes actually) and was hooked. I could get all these artists and titles easily and for “free”. I kept joining under assumed names and amassed many tens of dozens of “free” albums. Yes, it was wrong, fraud and theft. My college cousin said everyone did it and you got some computer generated threat in the mail to pay and they never collected. However, it retrospect, Columbia House and other clubs were “licensed” to reproduce these albums and tapes under their own manufacturing, offering these titles as representative product of their club and “make up” the profit with inflated album prices and over charging members on shipping as per their agreement. So, really, who was ripping off who ?.

    As I grew up, I went to high school and college and started to work and buy music. I purchased an inclusive cassette, 8 track recorder and turntable and starting home taping, I was never impressed with a dub, as I always craved the original album or tape. But that’s all there was. In the late 80’s, CD’s came up and I had a good job and went on CD buying shopping sprees, dropping a few hundred dollars at a clip to get my favorite albums or artist discographies on cd. Then I stopped. I soon learned the scam that the record companies pulled when they put their catalogs on cd, a large percentage of titles were NOT from master tapes but from either safety masters and in some cases dub masters from cassette bins. Imagine a company like Atlantic, Elektra, Columbia Records etc. need to track down 100,000 album master tapes in 18 months and get them on cd. My friend who worked for EMI said that some lesser titles were taken from store bought cassettes since the artist tapes were in litigation and no one had access to them… That’s why now there are so many “remasters” that happened in the mid 90’s till now.

    When Napster came around, it opened the floodgates and I started downloading music, not what I already had but some genres and eras I had overlooked and missed out on. When Napster went away, I took a break. Then one day I found an open directory on someone’s FTP site that had thousands of offerings. I was paranoid since there was the buzz of “busting” people and the RIAA was suing people for thousands of dollars. I started with a few, then more and more and I had hundreds of downloads, I burned them on cd and shared with my girlfriend and friends etc. Then I found blogs that offered specific albums, artists etc, joined Rapid***re, Mega****od, File***ve etc. on and off. The music industry clearly missed the boat the day that computer geek found a way to turn a music file into a computer file.
    The artists should sue the record companies for negligence. It left the warehouse doors open for anyone to get music for free. It’s not going away anytime soon.

    We have no guilt. Occupy - We all have spent thousands of dollars and have been ripped off along the way. Artists now have control over their destinies. Believe me, I-tunes and many others are still booking record profits. Peace.

    By Woodstock on Mar 24, 2012

  46. Many years ago Jay Leno asked, “How many times am I supposed to buy ‘Meet The Beatles’? I bought the mono LP, then the stereo, the eight track, the cassette, the CD….” It never ends.

    By NAMoosedog on Mar 25, 2012

  47. well written, and i like the point made about how we like to buy stuff occasionally, but not if it is not really ours to use as we please.
    Also if the “piracy” is such a big problem, why the great profits? In any other market, people keep the price down to where it sells the most. my brother and his wife do very well selling cutesy stuff for $5-10. in good times it sells well; in bad times people still can afford it.

    By brian on Mar 28, 2012

  48. That about covers it all. I get that sense of controlled outrage in Bobbi’s words. Well done - and copied and saved.

    By O.B. Dan on Mar 29, 2012

  49. I completely agree in respect of music. there is an overabundance of supply and the value has consequently declined.
    The reason the governments support the IP argument is to maintain the distribution model industry and the consequent tax revenue. They ignore the huge consumer sums spent on broadband and mobile networks, but there is only one pot and the government should realise that and stop interfering which they have done by criminalising a civil contractual event.

    We all know that important items like drugs have patent protection, for 15 years or so. Why should mere entertainment be protected for a substantially longer period?
    There are good arguments to encourage real people to be creative, but by definition a legal fiction company is not creative. Therefore the legal copyright protection given to a company can never be logically valid, and merely serves to illustrate the airy fairey self serving oxymoronic thinking of those who drafted and passed the legislation.

    By guardone on Mar 31, 2012

  50. The valid point is how many times are we expected to buy an album - with certain much loved stuff i am up to seven or eight purchases in various formats with extras etc. Certainly greatly diminishes any sympathy for record companies.

    By benny on Apr 11, 2012

  51. naturally.

    By tony drone on Jul 19, 2012

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