Thursday, 18 November 2010

This space is reserved

for a discussion about piracy.

I believe this to be a very topical issue which can lead to some rather raised voices. But I also believe in the importance of dialogue and the benefit of understanding the viewpoints of others especially when I disagree with them.

I feel that the need to dialogue about piracy is especially important because there is big divide between pro-piracy and anti-piracy camps. The situation is that much more poignant because usually the desire to seed something in a torrent stems from admiration, not from hatred or desire for harm. No one (I know of) has ever said 'Gee, I HATE this band. I'm gonna totally do them in by spreading their music EVERYWHERE.') The fact that admiration can spawn anger and bitterness is not a good state of affairs.

I'm not asking anyone to agree with me (yet!), but I would appreciate an opportunity for honest and respectful dialogue.

So. When's this going to happen?

Right now work is behind schedule, and I'm due for a trip away that I have (perhaps unwisely) planned. Also I've aggravated an old injury to my left knee so I can't do yoga and have to take dancing in measured doses. This takes away 2 major sources of relaxation and I'm turning to drink and drunken debauchery of various sorts. Things could be better.

So please bear with me while I try to juggle all these things AND have a challenging discussion with (quite possibly) total strangers.

See you soon, I hope.


Joe said...

I've made my point fairly clear already.

This is my music and I as the copyright holder can release it (or not) in any way I please. Forgive me for casting your opinions to the side but really it is irrelevant if you believe it's far better for the promotion of my music for it to be shared around for free. Sure that's a matter that any copyright holder may wish to consider, but the point is it's not your call to make. Clearly not.

And by the way, I don't consider the phrase 'give me a break' to be un-civil. Especially if someone is openly telling you that they are happy to steal something you've worked on for over a year, and poured a pile of cash in to. I think that's about as civil as you're gonna get my friend.


Joe said...

..just one more point while i'm at it.

This wouldn't be quite as frustrating for if it wasn't for the fact there are SO MANY ways to talk and share about music online without having to Torrent full albums. Youtube/myspace/facebook/vimeo/itunes preview and many many blogs who ask my permission to stream tracks and offer the odd free download.
I mightily encourage this and take on board that I have benefitted a great deal from the www in that way. Love it! So please don't label me as someone stuck in the mud harking back to the good old days of the music industry. Cos that isn't true either.


Pseudoangela said...

Dear Joe,
Thanks for your posts. No, I would not label you as 'someone stuck in the mud harking back to the good old days of the music industry.' But as it's 7:23 am and I'm going to be late for work, I will have to respond in more detail later. Glad we're off the 140 characters limits now - what a relief.

Pseudoangela said...

Dear Joe,
Re: 'give me a break' - well, there are degrees of civility :-) But I think on the whole it's best if everyone speaks their mind exactly how they see fit, so please do.

Joe said...

still waiting for a response..
i would appreciate it if you could at least admit that you might possibly be wrong about this?

I'm away travelling from monday so will not be able to respond after that.

Joe said...

the reason i bothered to respond in the first place is because I can see you're an intelligent person who should be able to understand what file sharing full albums (ie the end product) does to someone trying to make their living out of making music.
The fact that you don't have the integrity or just can't be bothered to back up your argument just makes me despair really.

Once independent artists/labels die out completely, and the bland forever-regurgitating xfactor is all that's left, the blame will lay firmly with people like you.. not the plebs who sit and watch the xfactor, they know no better and won't care either way.

Monkey said...

A bulletin from the Pirates Adventure Castle Activity Centre.

Through the use of ostensibly illegal sources of music, I have discovered artists that I would never otherwise have stumbled upon if browsing through a record store. I have also found a hell of a lot of music that Im really glad I never paid anything for, cos its derivative/tonedeaf/shit [delete, nothing lost but bandwidth]. If I value an artist and want better quality recordings to DJ with, I buy a high bitrate mp3.
I read that there is infact a statistical association between downloading and purchasing of music. We 'pirates' actually spend more on recorded media per capita than the 'honest' citizens. Thats cos we love music. aaarrrr.

As a signed and released recording artist/copyright holder (listen up Joe, your monolithic high ground just tilted slightly) I would hope that my music is subject to the same process. As an less than famous musician, I see piracy as a positive form of publicity, and think that ultimately it will actually benefit my sales!

If someone wants something tangible with liner notes to hold in their hands/give their mum for christmas, they can buy a CD. You cant download those yet. On the other hand, I see infinitely duplicatable art to be in the public domain. Even if you dont agree with that in principle, its become a undeniable fact of the digital age, and there is no putting that genie back in its bottle.

Steal my music. Go on. Play it to your friends, stick it on yer compilations. Then come and dance at my gigs, cos in the end that's MUCH more fun than getting a royalty cheque. And if you don't think that's true, you are in the wrong business.

Joe said...

"Through illegal sources I have discovered music.... "

You could do this on myspace/youtube/spotify with the artist's blessing.

"I have also found a hell of a lot of music that Im really glad I never paid anything for.."

Right, i'm not sure how this is an argument for pro piracy. there's plenty of ways you could get a taste of the music without having to steal it anyhow.

"I read that there is infact a statistical association between downloading and purchasing of music. We 'pirates' actually spend more on recorded media per capita than the 'honest' citizens. Thats cos we love music...."

EXACTLY, the people who love music will always spend more money per capita then the plebs, of course that's obvious because the plebs don't like music!! That's why it's even more of a slap in the face for independent artists/labels when the ONLY people who would normally buy their music, are so happy to steal it.

"As a copyright holder I would hope that my music is subject to the same process..."

That's your opinion, from my own experience i believe you're wrong that torrenting full albums will benefit your sales. Myspace/youtube/spotify/facebook/mp3 blogs yes quite probably will.. but torrenting full albums, I don't think so.

"..its become a undeniable fact of the digital age, and there is no putting that genie back in its bottle.."

That isn't an argument, that is a cop-out. I'm arguing that intelligent people need to understand what piracy does to independent artists/labels. Just because the genie is out of the bottle doesn't mean I'm just gonna throw my hands up in to air and give up. I'm going to stick up for my principles.

"Steal my music. Go on. Play it to your friends, stick it on yer compilations. Then come and dance at my gigs, cos in the end that's MUCH more fun than getting a royalty cheque. And if you don't think that's true, you are in the wrong business."

This is not an either/or situation. Producing music is expensive.. Production, promotion, plugging, session fees not to mention living costs all add up. The fact is developing artists don't make money out of playing shows at all, it actually COSTS money to tour. And if you don't know that, you are clearly not in the business at all.

Pseudoangela said...

Dear Joe,

What invigorating posts to wake up to :-) I love the smell of a good debate in the morning.

Unfortunately, it's 8:52 am and I've just got to work. This makes me 52 mins. late but I don't think anyone's noticed yet (!) For the last week or so my friend from London has been visting and I think she would freely attest to the fact that we have been talking about copyright and the necessity of dialogue faaaaaaar too much. I've recommended that she go and see your shows when she goes back to London.

So yes, you are in fact still on my mind, though on my ever expanding to do list, responding to your post (apologies) has to come after work, guitar lessons, going to get xrays for my knee, and taking my friend around Taipei.

On top of speaking to my friend who's here in person I've been gchatting and exchanging emails with other people on the issue. I'm glad to report that my friends all have very varied opinions and lots of interesting things to say. I've been wondering if I should just post these transcripts here but I'm hesitant for several reasons.

Firstly, whenever I post to my blog I try to have at least one read-through and edit my own mistakes - which I don't do on gchat and emails with friends. Since my exchanges with them have probably now exceeded tens of thousands of words, editing would be no small feat.

Secondly, when speaking to those who are not my immediate friends I attempt to make sure that I have thought through the topic at hand before I leapt to any conclusions. Unfortunately this thinking through is taking longer than expected because I have to weave it through a lot of other non-related things.

I'm sure you'll understand when I say that I respect your opinions and appreciate you engagement thus far. For those reasons I don't want to give you the impression that I'm fobbing you off by dashing off ill-considered notes full of questionable grammar and uninspired/uninformed opinions.

(Given infinite time I'd quite like to do some research and quote studies/secondary sources on copyright, effects of piracy on various industries etc. but alas it doesn't look like I'll be able to do that.)

I am very glad to see that someone else has chipped in with their two cents. Hopefully you will be interested in their opinions as well? Perhaps it will provide us both with food for thought while I make my slow way to responding to you properly?

Today is the 29th. Tomorrow is massive project deadline and a friend visiting from Beijing. Wednesday I have a job interview which I haven't (fuck) prepped for.

So I'm afraid you will have to wait a little while longer! But as our opinions are (most likely) of little consequence to anyone except ourselves, I don't feel that I need to drop everything and rush to the finish line.

Enjoy your travels, wherever they take you. Are you going to be playing gigs along the way? Having lived in the UK for several years I do have friends dotted along the landscape. If any of them are reading this right now - I do recommend going to see Broadcast 2000 (Joe's band). I've not seen them myself personally, but have heard good things.

One last note: I don't actually get notified when someone posts on my blog and I'm not in the habit of checking regularly (because not many people comment on my various musings and photos of dresses I'd like to own). If you are very keen to get hold of me quickly I suggest twittering me with a note saying you've posted, or emailing me.

Ok. Must get back to work now. Safe travels & hear from you soon hopefully.


Joe said...

I'm traveling throughout december and don't plan to be on the internet much, but will read what you have to say when you finally get round to it.
(not sure if you saw above but i've already responded to your friend)

You know what I really wish?
I really wish that smart people like you would think about what you are doing (ie stealing music and recommending that your friends steal music) BEFORE you steal music... Not after you've done it and been challenged by the artist you are stealing from.

Still, I'll be interested to see what you come up with.


Pseudoangela said...

Dear Joe,

Sorry I forgot to add a very important note re: possibility of being wrong. Of course I can be wrong. In fact, I face every day prepared to be wrong at least 10 times before my head hits the pillow again (sigh).

This is partially why I think it's so important to dialogue. If I didn't talk to anyone, and if people didn't tell me what they think (or if I just don't listen to them), then I'd never realize how many mistakes I'm making.

So 'possibly' is putting it lightly. I'd not hesitate to change that to 'probably.'

And also thanks again for thinking I am intelligent (blush!). I do make an effort to think about everything I do (believe it or not). Though sometimes it does take poking and prodding from others to make me think MORE about it than I already have (and uncomfortable as it might be to be poked and prodded, I do believe it to be beneficial).

As ever, it is very much an issue of time constraint. There is always so much to think about, no? I've always wanted to do a degree in, well, absolutely everything! Funding for wide ranging rather than specialized interest is thin on the ground though - but I won't let myself get into that discussion... hahaha.

Have a good December of traveling & happy holidays in advance (for whichever holidays you may chose or chose not to celebrate). My envy goes with you. We don't get Christmas holidays in Taiwan... it'll be Chinese New Year before I have time off again!

Ok back to work (uuuugh can't stop slacking!).


Pseudoangela said...

Dear Joe,

LOL you make me feel so busy!

Previously I would just tear along my day trying to tick as many things off the list as possible. Now that I have to tell you what I've been so busy doing, I feel simply overwhelmed with how much there is to do.

Stress level steadily rising. Good thing that I hit the panic button so hard during my graduate studies that it broke. Now I can at least face chaos with equanimity. Levels of alcohol consumption does seem to be correlated though.


Pseudoangela said...

Dear Joe,
Having read this blog post and subsequent comments my friend sent a long a very interesting and tangentially related youtube video. I'm not sure if you've seen it already but if not, I believe it may be of interest to you:

Kind of illustrates both the importance (I believe) and the frustrations of dialogue.

Hope you are enjoying your winter holidays.



Joe said...

This video entirely backs up MY frustrations and MY argument. I'm not at all sure why you've posted it.

From all your many irrelevant comments above, you yourself still not managed to express one single opinion or justification for why you are happy to illegally download my music.

The reason I entered in to this debate in the first place was because I thought you might actually be able to put forward an argument that backs up your initial recommendation to your friends on twitter to download my album for free..
But after all this time you've yet to tackle it!! Once again, I despair.


Pseudoangela said...

Oh for goodness sake. I just wrote this whole thing and blogger says it's too large to be posted as a comment.

Pseudoangela said...

K here it is in parts.

Dear Joe,

Despair not! Luckily I clicked the wrong button while editing my blog and noticed that you had posted a new comment yesterday. I wasn't expecting you to come back until January. Hope you've had a good time away.

I posted the video because I thought it spoke about the subject matter at hand in a very informative and hilariously deadpan manner. I can see the argument from your perspective as well as mine, so I shared it in the hopes that you'd enjoy it.

The truth is that I've been thinking really long and hard on the matter (forgive me if I appear to you to be a slow thinker). In my own defense I have also had to think about the value of dialoguing with you, and allow it time in my life accordingly (there are so many other things to do).

Asides from being busy and slow of thought, I must admit also that your vigorous combativeness has been a little bit of an impediment to me. Instead of us thinking things through aloud together (which is the form of dialogue I prefer), I feel that this could easily turn into a case of us dialoguing in order to prove the other person wrong.

I try not to talk to people to win an argument, you see. I talk to people to understand where they are coming from and hopefully to learn something from them. It's not my intention to convince or convert you, nor do I believe it should be your intent to do the same to me.

Pseudoangela said...

But you asking me why I would post a video which expresses your view point makes me think that you do not see dialogue the way I do. Once again, it seems to me that you are in this because you are understandably frustrated, angry, and perhaps wanting someone to take it out on? Not that I mind being that person - but you can hardly expect me to devote all my free time to this activity.

Even if you were to convince me or convert me, or win this argument to your satisfaction, the situation we are facing essentially remains unaltered. Piracy goes on regardless. Taking this as my point of departure I have been thinking about what constructive dialogue we can enter into.

To my mind understanding why it is that apparently good people (such as, if I may so say, myself) who don't steal from shops or knock down old people and take their pensions, would download music, and how the community of artists (beyond just musicians but all content producers) feel about this, and how the two sides could meet, is the reason why I am writing this to you right now.

I don't think there is anything to be gained from consumers of content and producers of content being at odds with one another. The relationship appears to me to be generally interdependent. Most artists need an audience, and vice versa. You and I are one from each side (a consumer and a producer of content) and we can either get very personal and worked up about this, and have an argument about it, or we can try to grasp what has brought about this impasse in our society and how we can possibly negotiate a functional (and hopefully mutually satisfactory) solution.

Pseudoangela said...

Despite what you suggest I believe that many average people of average goodness (the type who would stop to help you and I if we were run over by a bus) are also the type who traffic in pirated information. What I'm interested in is to understand why it is that people such as myself collectively feel that it is not 'wrong' in the same way that walking into a shop and taking something away without paying would be 'wrong.' Is it merely because we have not devoted enough thought to this? Is it because technology is alienating us from ethical principles? Or are we symptomatic of some greater change in the way that ownership of information is perceived?

This is the direction in which I have been exploring in my spare time.

Meanwhile I have also been thinking about the practicalities rather than the principles (because the above is really theoretical and does not involve the very real livelihoods of musicians such as yourself). I was hoping that you would be able to connect people like myself (who are neither musicians nor have a deep understanding of your industry) with the difficulties you face, and where you think information ownership and dissemination will may alter in the future.

Finally I have a small confession.

I have despaired (a little) at some of the things you have posted here (plebs who watch x-factor come to mind), which seem to be a gross generalization and not of the caliber of opinion that I would bother (forgive me) to engage with. This combined with your generally charged tone makes me feel that I must tread very, very carefully in order to bring you on-board if I want to talk with you as an equal, rather than talk at you or be talked at.

Hence my reticence up until now. I'm disinclined to come out with anything I think in case you should attack x-factor fans again or bite my head off - or both.

Pseudoangela said...

I have despaired (a little) at some of the things you have posted here (plebs who watch x-factor come to mind), which seem to be a gross generalization and not of the caliber of opinion that I would bother (forgive me) to engage with. This combined with your generally charged tone makes me feel that I must tread very, very carefully in order to bring you on-board if I want to talk with you as an equal, rather than talk at you or be talked at.

Hence my reticence up until now. I'm disinclined to come out with anything I think in case you should attack x-factor fans again or bite my head off - or both.

It's also disheartening to feel that the person I am speaking to has already made up his mind beyond the point where dialoguing is of any use. Once again, I hope this is not the case, because I do rather enjoying talking to people who have different opinions from me. These experiences have been on the whole, less cozy than chatting with those with whom I agree - but much more educational on the whole, even when neither I nor my interlocutor were able to sway one another.

Pseudoangela said...

In fact, being able to have non-conclusive conversations where neither side 'wins' but managing to do so with mutual respect and appreciation rather than animosity kind of puts my faith back in humanity.

Finally I do apologise in advance for any spelling/grammatical errors. It's late (again) and I am throwing caution to the winds - not gonna go back and double-proofread what I've just written. I've decided to live dangerously and make a fool of myself (potentially, if I haven't already).

Oh and by the way, I don't own a television and I haven't ever seen an episode of X-factor. Just in case if you were wondering.



Joe said...

Yes I was making a generalisation about people who watch the x-factor, but I used the term 'pleb' just to describe the vast majority of people of people who consume some sort music. It was lighthearted and certainly was supposed to be offensive to anyone.

Yes I understand everything you've said.
-Please don't feel you have to tread carefully.
-Please talk to me as an equal.
-Please don't feel you have to proof read your posts.

I'd be very happy to take on board and consider any point or argument you have to make about the matter in hand, but the fact is you still haven't actually but forward any argument that I can consider. It's incredibly frustrating!

So please, I beg you, put forward your points and put me out of my misery. I'd very much appreciate that.


Pseudoangela said...

Dear Joe,

Thanks for the comment. My thoughts will be forthcoming... never fear! I have to warn you though that I do think some incredibly crackpot things sometimes, so don't get your hopes up. lol.

By the way, I bought 3 cds in one go yesterday at a local music shop. Klezmer, klezmer and balkan gypsy tunes!

Ok. It's past pumpkin time. Must get to bed. Tomorrow is another day...



Joe said...

You know it's not quite so LOLy for me, considering we're discussing how you're happy to steal from me and recommend your friends do the same.

I will congratulate you for buying some CDs in the same way i'd congratulate someone for buying a loaf of bread from a cornershop.

Well done!

kimberleypryor said...

May I just say that reading back through your comments has just taken me half an hour and whilst some of Angela's thoughts on the importance of dialogue are genuinely interesting, I can see why Joe is frustrated. There must be 5000 words in this post and not one argues for music piracy. I have only one word to add to this argument: Spotify

It is a fantastic resource for listening to great music and/or tripe and deciding which you want to pay for.

I regularly binge on albums on spotify before buying them on itunes so that I can have them on my ipod. (and sometimes consequently buy/get given the CDs for the pretty album art/lyrics books ;))

Piracy is theft, and whilst I have done it in growing up, I now have a much greater respect for the music industry, and particularly independent labels, and think it is important to support their endeavours in the way that is not only legal but the way that they wish their music to be consumed.

My two cents, and that's all it's worth, but good to get thinking about something out of the mundane.

Gavin Castleton said...

Seems like Angela enjoys defining debate more than participating in it... It's a shame for all that proper diction and impressive vocabulary to be waisted on mundane recitations of one's work day. Step up, girl - how you gonna call a meeting of the minds and not show up?

Pseudoangela said...

Hey guys,

Firstly thanks for your input. I'm ever so flattered that you have all taken the time to read my humble opinions and contribute your own.

Secondly I'd like to reiterate that I have my reasons for reticence. Not enjoying the tone of the dialogue is one of them. I don't consider it my duty to explain all my actions to others, though I do in fact enjoy dialoguing. So you'll have to excuse me if I have other things going on right now which demand my time and attention more. I will freely admit that debating on the web isn't on the top of my priority list.

Finally I wonder if anyone can suggest a better forum for this discussion? This comment thread is getting really long and unwieldy.

I had best get back to work now.

Thanks again,


Pseudoangela said...

Dear Gavin,

Thanks for your reply. Thanks also for your complimentary remarks re: my diction and vocabulary - and also my waist, which I doubt you have seen, though I can assure you that it is a fine one indeed. I work pretty hard for washboard abs.

I'd just like to downgrade the level of discussion a little bit. Calling it a 'meeting of minds' is perhaps a little bit of a misnomer considering that what I had in mind is something much, much more casual. As for showing up pleas refer to comment above which essentially states that I respond when I have a minute, which is not often.

That said if you are ever in the area of Taipei, feel free to let me know and I'd be glad to take you out for tea - and I will definitely show up for that.

As for mundane recitations - I'm afraid that both my work and life are fairly mundane. Seeing as this is my blog, I'm not sure you can rightly expect anything overly exciting to happen? Short of you coming round for tea, that is.

I like to be chatty and informal in my writing because I think one of the wonderful things about the internet is that it gives me a chance to connect in an unprecedentedly personal way with voices from the ether. With that in mind, it's very nice to meet you, albeit only in text.

Thanks again,


Pseudoangela said...

Dear Kimberley,

Thanks so much for your post and apologies for getting back to you AFTER Gavin. Scrolling down quickly the first time (I'm actually at work right now), I missed your message because the thread is now impossibly long on my 13 inch laptop screen.

I'm ever so pleased that you find my thoughts on dialogue interesting. I come from a pathologically argumentative family and all too often I have found that too much personal ego is throw in and winning the argument becomes a more important goal than actually gaining understanding of where others are (justifiably or unjustifiably) coming from.

As for why I have talked so much about dialogue. I'm by nature fairly impulsive and sharp-tongued. In writing I find it easier to tone myself down and hold back. Given my own propensity to shoot my mouth off, in writing I try to tread carefully and fully define what it is I am getting into before I get into it. I understand that this is frustrating for Joe (and others - as more interlocutors seems to have joined us). But alas I can only say that this is the way I operate and as this discussion is purely voluntary, I see no reason to do it any other way.

I have heard of Spotify, and I in thinking of the issue of piracy I have taken alternative methods of exploring the music scene into account. Thank you for bringing it up and I'm sure anyone who doesn't know about it would appreciate finding this resource through your recommendations.

I'd also like to point out that I am actually a fairly regular buyer of music. Some of my friends are musicians, and whenever they release a new album, I try to make sure that I buy at least one. Sometimes I purchase more as gifts. I feel kind of ridiculous saying this, actually, because I don't think that I should feel compelled to vindicate my own actions to strangers on the web (though I hope, eventually, friends on the web also :))

So I'd just like to add that where possible I am also a big proponent of supporting live music by going to see as many performances as possible. I'm a dancer and once upon a time, a dance teacher. To me supporting live music is part and parcel of my hobby and a way of life.

Another endeavor which often gets my financial support is shareware and pledges in support of creative content production. I'm a regular listener to some podcasts and whenever they have a drive to raise funds, I tend to give. I also give to Wikipedia because I have ridiculously patchy general knowledge and call on them three or four times a day.

As for piracy as theft, please allow me to mull things over a bit. I'd like to (out of all respect to Joe, in fact) do justice to this rather than toss off a few lines while ignoring my Skype messages which are going absolutely apeshit right now with workmates wondering where I've vanished to.

Luckily I type really fast. So this message is getting long. So hopefully you won't feel like I'm giving you less attention than you rightly deserve.

Leaving myself aside for a moment - I believe that there are many consumers of not only music but other types of pirated digital content who are less than fully informed of the financial realities which face content producers. In fact, I'm not sure I know enough about the music industry, for independent musicians, musicians signed to small labels, or major labels etc., to comment knowledgeably on their situation.

Pseudoangela said...

This is rather where I had hoped Joe would be able to fill us in, seeing as he can give us a first-hand account. I had been slightly hesitant to ask until this point because I am mildly weary of prying too much. After all not everyone is comfortable disclosing potential professional challenges. But if there is to be understanding, then I think knowing his difficulties would not only help me, but also other pirates (ahoy) fully grasp the impact of their actions.

I think it's safe to say that very few people (I hope) do evil when they are fully cognizant of the consequences of their actions. But more and more so I find that my own actions (be it turning on the heater in winter time or flying long distances to visit friends and relatives, or buying the wrong kind of soft-drink) have unforeseen moral implications (global warming, global warming, depriving a village of water resources etc.).

Perhaps piracy is a very good example. As much as the internet (as I mentioned to Gavin) bring people together (as we have been brought together), it is also a great (as in big, not as in wonderful) depersonalizing force.

Pseudoangela said...

It's a lot easier to do whatever it is we do (for instance, consume child pornography) if all it took was the push of a button (rather than say, actually watching child pornography being made in person).

I'm sorry if that was an inappropriate analogy. I'm a it short on time so I can't re-write that or think of a better one. I might not even get to proof read. This is bad.

To summarize: I hope few people do bad things if they know they are doing bad things. Unfortunately a lot of our actions (especially when filtered through a long chain of consequences) have impacts which we do not personally experience or observe.

Perhaps some people who pirate don't understand how piracy hurts musicians. Please Joe, if you are reading this, can you tell us a bit about your life as a musician and how you think exposure on the internet and piracy have impacted on your business? This may seem like an obvious question to you, but I beg you to remember that you are not only speaking to me but potentially to many others from different backgrounds who you can potentially bring on board to your point of view. The more engaging and concrete your narrative, the more convincing (I believe), it will be to the people you are attempting to convince. Might I even say the people who you are trying to appeal to? Perhaps not. How you engage with your audience is after all your decision.

Lastly, thanks again Kimberley. Your message was worth two dollars at least. That's a 100% inflation rate from 2 cents - worth investing in, I reckon. Indeed it is nice to think of something out of the mundane. Thanks for giving me a reason to slack off at work.

Now, back to those pesky Skype messages. Take care and hopefully write again soon.


Pseudoangela said...

Another thing that really gets me is the character limit on comments. I always have to split my messages several times and then Blogger sometimes posts each section two or three times (even while telling me that it couldn't post them) so I have to go back and delete the duplicates.

A third of my time is spent battling this comment mechanism... Work waiting to be done. If anyone knows a good PHP/MYSQL/JQUERY programmer who is fluent in traditional Chinese and lives in the greater Taipei area and wants a job, please put him/her in touch. THEN I would have more time to write here.

Pseudoangela said...

Dear Joe,

Please forgive me. I'm not ignoring you while I respond to other people. I just find you difficult to talk (write) to.

Also I've slacked all I can in one work day.


Sean said...

If you don't feel you can properly contribute to a debate, why start one? You've spent thousand of words telling us about how you don't have time to answer Joe's questions, but at no point do you take the time to answer them. He wants to know why you feel it's ok to take his music without paying, and why you feel it's ok to recommend that other people do so. Instead of answering, you keep detailing the minutae of your working day and your injuries. It's a bit passive-agressive. Anyway, to take one of your own questions:

why it is that people such as myself collectively feel that it is not 'wrong' in the same way that walking into a shop and taking something away without paying would be 'wrong.'

Please drop the pseudo-metaphysics and admit that the simple answer is that you know you won't get caught. It's nothing more than that. If you felt that you could be arrested and jailed for filesharing, alll this nonsense about helping to promote artists would disappear fast (as it did in S. Korea and Sweden as soon as filesharing laws were enforced. If filesharing is so wonderful for musicians, how exactly do you explain the fact that in both those countries, a 17% decline in music sales was reversed, and became an 11% INCREASE in the year following the new laws?). By the way, a 100% inflation of 2 cents = 4 cents, not two dollars.

Sean said...

Re. Spotify.

Unfortunately, although Spotify have been very adept at presenting themselves as the saviour of the legitimate music industry, their payment of 0.002 cents (euros, worth slightly less than US dollars) per play amount to little more than legitimised theft. Their system is illegal, well below the minimum rates agreed on by copyright societies worldwide and continues to exist for two reasons only:
a)The four major labels agreed to make their catalogues available to Spotify in return for 18% of the company's value. They did this without consulting the rightsholders of the material or the artists who performed on the recordings.
b) Spotify has massive financial backing from venture capitalists who knew that the company was working in contravention of copyright law, but also knew that copyright societies do not have the financial ability to fight major international court cases, and that by the time such legal processes became due, they would have recouped their investments and profits. Spotify screw artists, worse than fiesharing, because they allow the consumer to feel that by paying the monthly fee, that they have paid the artist. In fact, the artist gets to have the demand for their music destroyed, for a payment that is equal to around half an hour's busking.
If you think that's bad, take any piece of music that is available to buy via Amazon and put it on their streaming site without even consulting the musician/rightsholder. They then expect the rightsholder to provide written proof from a recognised legal firm specialising in music rights before they will even enter into dialogue with a musician who wished to have their OWN MUSIC removed from the site. People are essentially good, you propose. Not when it comes to thinkig of ways to make money out of music you don't own.

Pseudoangela said...

Dear Sean,

Thanks very much for your response. I'm really glad to see that you are quoting statistics because I have been meaning to look into this for a while. Though unfortunately I am no great shakes at interpreting stats so I've been putting this off. Can you please give me a reference to the study that you referred to? Thanks again.

On that topic, some have mentioned in passing to me that music sales have NOT suffered from piracy. If you happen to know studies of this sort, would you care to present their data and refute it? It would be interesting to see where the opposite side of the argument is coming from.

I think I've apologized enough for taking a long time to get back to Joe, or not get back to Joe. When I started to want to talk about this, I didn't realize how vitriolic the tone would be, which was perhaps naive of me.

Secondly when in an upswing I sometimes feel that I am capable of taking on many tasks - only to find in a down-swing that I've bitten off more than I can chew. I certainly do tender my (further!) apologies if I've let everyone (Joe first and foremost) down.

But please be reminded that there are many torrenters/pirates who do not bother to talk about this at all. Is it not more productive to make the best of a situation?

The reason I talk about why I am up to is because A. I want to be seen as a real, living person who has a life and concerns of my own - and as such cannot be expected to devote my entire energies to this, and B. I want Joe to not feel like I'm not devoting time to this because I don't give a damn.

I am busy, and I don't find this to be a pleasant task. I find these two reasons sufficient for my frequent bouts of absence from responding. If that does not satisfy others, I'm not particularly fussed about that.

I don't think any further discussions of why I am not putting down everything else I have to do to rush to this discussion is going to be productive so henceforth I intend to not respond to it anymore.

Thanks again for taking time out of your undoubtedly busy schedule to post here. As ever I am sincerely grateful that you have taken the bother. As I have said before and will reiterate now, it always does me good to be reminded that there are people whose thoughts on matters of importance vary greatly from mine. I respect your opinions and value your contribution.



Pseudoangela said...

Dear Sean,

Just wanted to also say that you're information re: Spotify was really informative. Again, would you mind me asking for some references? Not to question the validity of your facts, just so that I can refer other people to it if I need to, and look it up myself etc.

Do you mind me asking if you are a musician? or just particularly knowledgeable about the music industry and copyright protection?

Also, you mentioned copyright societies - please tell me more about this.

Lastly, regarding your jab about doing things just because we know we won't get caught. It's definitely true, yes. I don't drive myself but I've always noticed that many people drive about the speed limit and I'm convinced that this is in part because they know they won't get caught. But there are also a lot of other law-breaking activities which would be to my immediately advantage that I wouldn't get caught doing, but I don't do those. I'm of the feeling that many pirates fall into the same category. This seems then to imply to me that pirating music is seen as something different from other illegal activities. This is an area of thought I've been exploring because piracy is a very widespread phenomenon (from what I know). Either I can conclude that everyone who does it are morally lax (in which case my next question would be - how do we change that? or make that benefit the people who are getting screwed?), or there is a reason why they consider it to be...

fuck. they are shutting the doors on me. I gotta leave work now.



Sean said...

Spotify's payment per play is documented in their terms and conditions (although it's buried fairly deep). is the place to go for statistics and figures about the music industry.

Copyright societies:
Ascap (USA)
Asgay (Spain)

are a couple.

Helienne Lindvall's blog series entitled 'Behind the music' (in quoted the 18% stat about Spotify some years back.

I run a record label ( and work with musicians every day. Some of them have sales data for albums of theirs which sold steadily up to the year 2000 or so, then took nosedives far and beyond the usual sales curve of a 'long-tail' album previous to the period where filesharing was commonplace.

With regards to Joe's tone, in terms of belligerence or combativity. Please remember that Joe has no obligation to remain within the accepted parameters of scholarly debate here. It is you who expects this, not he. He has in fact restrained himself remarkably when one considers that the context is a dialogue between him and someone who has stolen his product, and encouraged others to do so. In many similar situations the wronged party would not restrain themselves to such reasoned debate.

Joe said...

Sean has said everything I'd like to have said far more eloquently than I ever could. Thank you Sean.

I really don't think it's necessary to go in to the nitty-gritty of my business accounts. All that's important for you to know (and I can't believe you didn't know already) is that piracy takes money away from me AND the record label. The specifics of a record deal, and how much money a label invests initially in an artist will vary, but that really is irrelevant.*

When you go in to a shop do you ask the manager to show you his/her business accounts before deciding whether or not you'd like to buy, or to steal the product?

*by the way why the hell shouldn't the record label be able to re-coup the money they've invested and make a profit according to the deal they've made..?
Some record labels may be bad and screw their artists (quite a lot of them in fact), but once again that is IRRELEVANT to the consumer.

Monkey said...

Just came across this and couldn't resist putting it amongst the pigeons, as it were...

Joe said...

"Nobody who would have bought your book is not buying is because they can find it for free"
This is PROVEN not to be the case when people torrent music (full quality full albums).. in majority of cases they won't then buy the album.

And again, this is not the consumer's call to make...he can do what he wants as HE is the copyright holder. Good luck to him...the clip proves nothing.