Have been debating what is right and wrong for a while regarding ‘illegally’ ripping music and generally treating it as something that has no vale.

I am a musician so I am biased. But I know of many friends and piers (rich and poor) in the music industry who never pay for music.

Never really cared about it until yesterday. Just though ‘Eh. Cant stop it now. Plus if the record labels hadn’t screwed us over all these years by charging £12.99 for a CD (giving the actual artists 67p out of that) then we wouldn’t be in this situation. I think that is call Karma kicking your rich butt’.
However, having given it some extra thought, feel quite upset. Feel weird about the idea that I/ any other artist may have slaved for 4 whole years to make a record only for it to be ripped off an internet site in 3 minutes and 40 seconds for nothing.

You = thinking now: Oh poor artist, poor Marina, she got no money, she is writing this blog to ensure that we all buy her album and dont get all illegal on her.

I = thinking now: This is not very moral. My previous theory of ” If an artist sells over 500,000 copies, I can rip it off the net” has gone down the loo as it automatically assumes that music has no value, no matter how good it is.

For example: Really good band makes really good album. Most of its consumers are aged 14-21. This section of the market rips music of the ‘nets like a bitch. So album only sells 20,000 copies though is owned by more than 200,000 people. Record label thinks band has underperformed and is therefore ‘shit’ so band gets dropped. Band/ artist goes back to working in “x” job and cannot survive by off making music anymore. 14-21 year olds got something for free but have kind of been instrumental in killing a good band from going further with their 14-21 yr old consumer habits. CoOoOl!

Some people justify action by saying ‘Hey, i ripped the album but i DID go and see them twice this year and I bought a t-shirt’.

My answer: Ha ha ha.

Do you know how many artists actually see any of that money, especially indie ones?
Fun Fact: Record labels no longer make money from records anymore, so they have to pull revenue from somewhere else in order to survive. Example: Live, Merch etc.

My opinion on this is very far from being money motivated. As long as I’m allowed to do this forever and am not being blatantly swindled/ screwed over, I’m a relatively happy person. Just can’t help but think that this is really disheartening. We all now automatically think that music has no/ little worth? If you think ‘ I download music for free- But that doesn’t mean I think music is worthless’ then you are WRONG.

Your actions have a knock- on effect, no matter what you currently think. You cannot get something for nothing.

These actions are very disabling for artists. If you respect art, buy the record. Spend that humungous 79p you would unthinkingly spend on an overpriced chocolate bar in gas station. You spend £10 on 2 drinks in a club every week (your £10 going to a coked up club manager in a back room btw- i have worked in enough clubs). You also may give £5 to a big corporation like McDonalds for a skanky meal deal, so why not an album?

I just don’t really get it, yall… 😦 Don’t wanna be chosen over McDonald’s yall.. 😦

I would really like to hear your opinions on this, diamonds. Positive or negative, as long as they are honest- ie dont bother saying ”Yeah, I totes agree with you, I respect artists and buy their albums all the time’ when you just ripped Lil Wayne’s album of the internets 2 hrs ago.

Just want to understand this problem more and see if my thoughts/ opinions might be somehow wrong or outdated or naive.

-What does music mean to you?
-Has it changed your life/ views/ helped you in certain periods?
-What would your life without music be like?
-Would you have the guts to go up to a street artist, grab one of his paintings and run off down the street with it?

Thanks for reading.


36 Responses to “THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED.”

  1. Matt Says:

    Would it not be possible for record companies to get in on the act? Create website which allow people to download the music for free but make money from advertisements on said website. This will:

    a) let people get music for free
    b) make record companies more monies
    c) allow for targeted advertising i.e. merch for specific bands/genres
    d) allow the monies generated from advertising be repatriated back to the artist.

    Similarly the problem of labels ditching shit artists will be solved if you base the hits each artist has as being an indicator as to their popularity.


  2. barney. Says:

    i used to get music for free off limewire etc. although i would never rip an album, i did download songs and singles. i justified it to myself by convincing myself i could not afford to buy songs, even though i could.

    since about two years ago, i stopped doing that, especially since my taste got a little more indie. i don’t agree with it at all. recording artists, especially the more indie ones, are being robbed by a casual click of the mouse. i download all my songs off itunes, and always buy the album. it’s my way of saying ‘i support you + your music + please make more’.

    even though i had ‘obsessions’ from the neon gold link, when it came out on itunes, i downloaded that shiz.

  3. foilman Says:

    I buy a lot of the music I listen to from ebay… which is of course totally legal, but how much of that sale does the original artist see? None. Ok, the album had to sell in the first place, so it’s better than downloading it for free. Why do I use ebay? It can be a lot cheaper than paying amazon prices, and I’m not bothered if a CD is second hand – I know buying off Amazon would give the artist some money, but when you see both prices side-by-side it’s hard not to go for the cheaper.

    Your final point “-Would you have the guts to go up to a street artist, grab one of his paintings and run off down the street with it?” isn’t quite the same as downloading for free. The equivalent would be snapping a photo of the street artist’s painting, printing it off and sticking that on your wall…

  4. Marina Diamond Says:

    Foilman- That is a good way of putting it.

    Matt- Those ideas are actually positive. However, you’re still advocating the idea that music is of no value/ should be free. Should all art be free? films, paintings, music, ballets, musicals, plays? How would anyone ever be able to live and make art?

    Barney- Thank you

  5. Katie's music blog :) Says:

    I TOTALLY agree with you on some of the stuff you’ve said, HOWEVER I do still download the occassional song illegally from time to time because I’ve worked out that I must spend around a thousand pounds a year on music, and now that I don’t have a job, I can’t afford to keep doing it. Also, it’s a good way of sampling different artists stuff so you know whether to buy the album or not bother. I would never download a whole album illegally if it was someone I really, really liked, that would just be hypocracy! And I never illegally download anything from new, emerging artists, I ALWAYS buy it off itunes, amazon, hmv or of the record labels website.

  6. The Bubble Boy Says:

    I agree that there’s a difference in stealing the painting.

    The painting would be physically gone, like if you stole a CD from HMV, but with illegal downloads, it’s invisible files you’re thieving so it’s easier to distance yourself from the harm your doing to the artist.

    My only real defence for online file-sharing and streaming is that it helps people discover amazing artists they wouldn’t otherwise come across.

    I’m sure some of the Diamonds first came across your music on the sites of sneaky bloggers who posted your tracks. Obviously, I’ve no idea whether this will translate into dollahs but it has to be better for artists in some ways.

    I mean, at least now the success of a musical venture isn’t entirely determined by what gets playlisted by Radio 1 or MTV.

    What I find more offensive than downloading is uploading. If I stumbled upon a pre-release copy of Family Jewels, my first reaction would not be “let’s share it with the interwheb!” I’d just be super happy to hear it before the masses.

  7. Matt Says:

    It depends on how you are defining the value of music. In monetary terms, on the face of it, the music would be free unless people were offered a choice of attaching their own value to it i.e. like when Radiohead offered their album for however much people were willing to pay for it. One could therefore have the choice of downloading for free then the value of the music to the person would be zero but to the artist/label would be whatever advertising revenues were generated from the single person. Or the person may decide to pay £5, therefore personally valuing the music at £5 but to the artist/label adding the £5 to the advertising revenues.

    In terms of whether all art should be free it’s very different when you compare digital forms and non-digital forms of art. From a business perspective, it’s very difficult to exclude people from digital art in the form of prices. By this I mean those who do not value the art at it’s selling price can easily find it elsewhere for less than it’s selling price a.k.a on eBay as Foilman said.

    For ballets, musicals and plays which all have physical form, people can be excluded from them. Those who don’t value the art at the selling price cannot just get it somewhere else. They can be excluded from the venue so cannot watch it for free. They would have to pay the full selling price to watch said art and would only be willing to do so if their valuation matches the selling price.

    Suppose you were to do a gig for 10 people 5 of which would pay £50 and 5 would pay £30. If you charged £50 5 people would come. you would make £250. If you charged £30, 10 people would come and you would make £300. If you could somehow price it such that you could charge £50 to the 5 people that would pay £50 and £30 to the 5 that would pay £30, you would make £400.

    I think my point is this, so long as somebody, somewhere attaches a value to art and that value can be captured by the artist, they will make a living.

  8. Adam Says:

    I’ve re-written my views about 10 times and then gone back and deleted them because I don’t feel as if I’m putting my point across well enough!

    Even though I find his face to be a bit scary, I think Andrew Lloyd Webber put the point across better than I ever could in his speech to the House Of Lords, which can be found here: if you’ve got the time to read it! As someone that works in the industry, I couldn’t agree with his views more.

  9. c Says:

    We all will/have/continue to download illegally. Even if it is just to get the song on your iPod before it’s released, you are likely to do it. Even that crap audio rip off YouTube (Sorry VVBrown) Generally my thoughts are if it is Girls Aloud illegally download it; that’s fine because they don’t write their songs. (Then it has a knock-on effect on the writer’s of the songs, though so maybe not?) And if I respect an artist who I feel has an input and writes some of their own stuff then depending on how good the lead single is I’ll probably illegally download it because it’s so damn good just to get it on my iPod, buy it on iTunes when it comes out properly for respect and for the fact you want it good quality and depending on the artwork I might buy the album off the shelf because I love album sleeves/artwork. Saying that, though, I haven’t bought a physical release since Adele’s ’19’. I am poor. Still, they are my thoughts!

  10. ascorbic Says:

    If I didn’t download music for free off sneaky blogs I’d never have discovered your stuff. The fact I’ve got copies of all of your tracks on my iPod won’t stop be buying your album when it comes out. I’m just impatient and don’t want to be restricted to listening to your music on Myspace at the moment.

    Matt: economists call that price discrimination and is the basis of things like student discounts, as well as airline ticket pricing etc.

  11. Matt Says:

    ascorbic. I know, I am an economist myself. I was using it in context to show how as long as somebody attaches a value to something, it can be extracted and thus be used to earn a living. I didn’t wish to bamboozle with technical jargon.

  12. Matt Says:

    ascorbic. I know, I am an economist myself. I was using it in context to show how as long as somebody attaches a value to something, it can be extracted and thus be used to earn a living. I didn’t wish to bamboozle with technical jargon.

  13. Marina Diamond Says:

    Hahahaha. I am loving read your opinions, really interesting.

    Matt + Ascorbic making me chuckle.

  14. NMUN-Würzburg Says:

    First of all the Internet gives much more Artists the possibility to be exposed to the world. Just because 200.000 people downloaded an album illegaly doesn’t mean that they would have bought if the Internet wouldn’t exist.

    Secondly, times are always changing, that’s how life is, the music industry is downsizing, the industry might fall down, the artist will still be there. You might not be able to become rich, but you actually can make a living if you have the talent. The other day I saw Natalie Gelman(she released an album in 2004) playing in the subway in New York, I guess she made a good 500$ that night.

    I believe what is happening right now is more bands than ever in history are well-known and popular, but don’t sell what they are worth. But that’s ok, because no regular music-fan has the money to buy all the albums they like in the weeks after they are released. If it wasn’t for the internet many Indie-bands would probably sell less records(Yes, I said it) because nobody would know about all those emerging artists. Only the ones who are pushed by record companies are suffering, because they definetly sell less than in earlier days.

    What will happen over the next decade: Nobody is going to criminalize 20-40% of the population. Record Labels will disappear eventually. Artists will release their music for free and live off the commercials on their HPs. Concerts will become more expensive, hopefully Artists will make sure they get more from that cake.

    Art isn’t being valued by it’s actual worth, but by it’s availability.

  15. Hannah Says:

    Woops, I f***ed up the link… Another attempt:

    Interestingly enough The Grateful Dead (I know) has always allowed bootlegging and “the year Jerry Garcia died, the Grateful Dead was the highest-grossing rock-and-roll band in the United States”.

    You can read the full article here:

  16. Anne Says:

    I have friends who download whole albums and even re-distribute them on-line and think they’re doing a good deed “getting the word out” about an artist and it sort of makes me sick inside.

    Alas, I still download illegally, but never full albums. I love collecting albums and I value liner notes and having an actual THING to love and not just data on my computer. So I download a few sample songs and if I like it, I buy it. The radio these days is crap and I need a way to hear a song a few times before I know I love it and want to buy the record, so yeah, I still will download those sample songs via blogs or label sites, but want to buy it if it’s great. The only time I don’t is if there is no way for me to buy it (out of print or not available in the U.S. even as an import). That being said, I will buy it used if I find it used, because who wouldn’t buy the same thing for a cheaper price if available?

  17. Marina Diamond Says:

    NMUN-Würzburg – I think you are focusing more on the subject of The Internet more than Digital Ripping of songs, which is what I was focusing on.

    The internet is a positive thing mainly and most artists would not have even seen success if it hadn’t been for the Myspace generation etc etc etc.

    I just wish record labels would sell albums for £3.99 and then maybe less people would rip. I dunno.

  18. NMUN-Würzburg Says:

    I believe more people would buy the albums then, but I already hear people say:Why would I download that album for 3.99, the artist is getting none of that.

    I have a friend who throws away book after he read them, because they are a waste of space. What does that have to do with the discussion?I have no idea, but I still like him;-)

    I believe with those book-pods(whatever, I forgot their name) the book-industry is going to suffer alot as well

  19. NMUN-Würzburg Says:

    By the way, I just imagined a person who makes up words, for the verification, after you posted something, wouldn’t that be a great job?

  20. Ryan Says:

    I have downloaded a fair bit of music in my day. For the most part, I only download one-off singles that I would never have purchased. Yes, it is technically stealing but only if you view it as a scrooge. Would the artist really like me to not listen at all (and therefore decrease the chance of me making a future purchase of their work) than listen to a work I never would have purchased? Also, I have been known to download b-sides, covers, and tracks that are not yet publicly available.

    For example, I have four of your songs that have been presumably ripped of your myspace or whatever. I only downloaded them after a couple weeks of listening to them on your myspace page and wanting my Marina fix to be more convenient. You had better believe that (so long as they are easily available to Americans) that I will be purchasing the Crown Jewels EP and all your releases after that.

    Another example, I finally found the Erik Hassle album for download in the backwaters of the net. Am I ripping off Hassle. Not until his album is plausibly available to an American.

    Actually, being American quite complicates things. I far prefer the UK music scene to the US music scene and am a frequent listener to Radio 1. Alas, many of the artists I like are not available for purchase. So I have so albums downloaded that I simply couldn’t find. And even then I have imported copies of Robyn’s album (before its US release), Robbie Williams’ Rudebox and Take That’s Beautiful World. Basically, I make my decision on how far out of my way to go on how much I love the artist. Right or wrong.

    For the most part, though, I feel horrible about downloading full albums because if you like the artist enough to listen to 12 of their songs in a row, you like them enough to drop $9.99 on their work.

  21. Adam Says:

    I don’t think record labels will ever disappear, but they will evolve. We’re seeing already artists signing 360 deals that mean labels get a cut of merch, ticket sales etc. You can’t steal a t-shirt via the internet (not as far as I know anyway!).

    Bands as established as Radiohead can afford to go out on their own, as they know they have a massive and loyal fan base that will pay for an album to support the artist, even if they are given the oppurtunity to gain the music for free. Recently we’ve even seen Wilco’s album leaked a month ahead of release, and they’ve asked that anyone who’s downloaded the album illegally give the money they would have paid to one of their favoured charities.

    Even with the ability to discover new music via the internet, I still believe that new artists need the marketing force, sales, radio plugging etc that the label can bring to get their music out into the general public’s consumption. The effect of radio cannot be discounted, the airplay chart in the UK is at times almost identical to the sales chart.

  22. colm frictionfire Says:

    dont do a diet coke ad!

  23. Matt Says:

    christ that ad makes me die a little inside every time I see it

  24. Matt Says:

    it’s as bad as Iggy Pop selling insurance.

  25. colm frictionfire Says:

    matt, prepare your soul for pain

  26. Adam Says:

    Have you seen the ‘making of’? It’s gut wrenching how they try explaining how they associate Duffy with ‘the product’…

  27. Matt Says:

    “although music is my life, there are other elements to me you know” – like riding a bike through a supermarket? I’d have been more inclined to think it would be an advert for Raleigh.

  28. ascorbic Says:

    What’s really confusing is that my name is actually Matt. So, hello to fellow Marina fan economist Matt.

  29. colm frictionfire Says:

    heres an excellent docu on how advertising was born and general materialism and all that bullshit

  30. Matt Says:

    ascorbic, are you sure you aren’t cracking up and posting as Matt too? Mindfuck.

  31. Marina Diamond Says:

    The Duffy ad is the worst thing I have ever seen in my entire minature life.

    Ryan- whilst i try to get over the fact that anyone in the world would want to listen to ‘Rudebox’ (he he), I can relate on erik hassle. I looked EVERYWHERE on the web for some sort of illegal website that would give me it for $10 or something. I can honestly say that I plan to invest in the hard copy when it comes out as it’s basically the best thing I’ve ever heard (I have heard it full length)- or atleast in 12 months. So I can relate.


  32. Ryan Says:

    Eh, I’m not always proud of being such a Robbie Williams fan but I can’t help myself.

  33. frank Says:

    i think record companies have to start lettin us dload for free- and use advertising to sell the product- unfortune8lee all the music is gonna have a ducking advert in front of it- AND PROB KILL any mood that is set up by the mix

    i dunno- this is a hooj problem
    but you cant stop people picking things up for free, as opposed to 12 snozz in HMV

    i listen to lots of noo bands but could not do it wout free dls – issued by bands thro newsletters or given awaay by blogs- !!

    however- i will try to get the albums too-
    ONLY IF I LIKE THEM- there is the rub

    i think you have just got to believe that the people who dload it for free and dont like it were nvr gonna buy it in the first place

    REAL FANS- will buy your stuff

    e.g- i have put my name down for all LITTLE BOOTS- new singles albums- but have alot of free stuff

    likewise i will attempt to buy your stuff and florence and whoever else i like!

    i did go to a gig- and bums on seats is stimes as good as cash in pocket

    its a real problem
    i dunno- i think peter gabriel was trying to set up some sort of site that had OFFICIAL free dloads for some sorta donation with marketing concept- and there are numerous sites- which offer free samples

    this is diff- back to you M

  34. loof28 Says:

    I realise I’ve come a bit late to this debate, so I apologise, but I’ll just quickly get my horrifically sparse and vague thoughts on this out there. I like the initial idea put forward by the 1st of the 2 Matts, with official websites offering downloads for free, but making money from advertisement, and counting the number of hits/downloads to work out how popular an individual artist is. Now this is not because i dont value the music – quite the opposite – but rather because i know that the majority of people, particularly when they aren’t really passionate and actively involved with the band’s music and survival, will choose the cheaper option when presented with 2 ways of downloading the same track. This way, artists and record labels can hold onto their share of the market without having to worry about it being corroded by all the free downloads available, while still making money out of the process. To my mind, this way makes everyone happy – i won’t bother listing how, as i think Matt did that fine earlier.

    If this is indeed the way record labels decide to go, then I think I agree with the predictions of them evolving rather than disappearing. By bringing many different artists together to the same cyber spot, they can make it easy for consumers to come and peruse a whole range of music, rather than having to trapse round the whole internet in search of bands, leaving many good bands unheard-of and undiscovered, because no one can find them. Their advertising clout would also be invaluable to small bands; infact most of my arguments for the survival of record labels could be summed up by Economies of Scale (at this point I’d like to give a quick shout out to my fellow economists Matt and Matt. Unfortunately I’m called Nick, not Matt, so its not quite a perfect 3, but hey, you can’t have everything :P).

    I think the potential of official free download sites could perhaps be modelled by looking at the success of myspace. Marina, imagine if you got some small amount from advertising every time someone listened to one of your songs on your myspace…say 20p… how big a boost to your sales revenue would that give you? And of course the same number of people would listen, as they still dont have to pay anything. Now imagine that we could get the full tracks to download onto our computers in their full high-quality glory – how many more hits would you get from people who dont want to have to sit on myspace to listen to the songs? OK, the same people wouldnt have to go on many times, so there’s like to be some off-setting, but dont forget the venues you’re likely to play at could be advertising, so more people turn up to your gigs, more bums on seats, more merch, more people buying your CDs at the back. And if the same venue is advertising on other bands’ spaces, then you could end up with people turning up to your gigs who may never have heard of your music, just because they know the venue gets in bands they like – that’s more people going home at the end of the night saying ‘wow’, more people going onto your myspace, downloading your music, so more money from advertising, and, hey presto, more money for you. If record companies do swallow some of their pride and go this way, then the music market could grow, rather than collapsing. There will still be a market for hard copies; for people like me who like owning the album on a CD, with some artwork, etc. but you’ll also have captured all those people shunning hmv to download illegally, and you’ll be making money from them. Surely this is the way forwards, or is there some hideous flaw in what I’ve said? I’d love to know what you all think.

    🙂 x

  35. Matt Says:

    nice one loof, extending my argument nicely there.

    The one drawback I had about this idea when I was mulling it over is digital restrictions. It would be quite possible, although improbable, that one person downloads all the songs and proceeds to distribute it to everybody and, in such instances the idea is not a great one. There would be no incentive though for said practise as people would be indifferent from getting it from pirate pete and the website as the cost is the same (zero).

  36. hufnuf Says:

    OH How would i Love to buy your album for 200 €, your stuff is amazing!
    But I cant click the freaking buy button since your music is not available in bloody germany! AWWWWWWWW!
    THis obviously doesn´t relate to the conversation above, but one way of stopping people from ripping your music would be allowing to nuy them… Pleassee? Thanks 🙂

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