Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pirates aren't so bad after all...

I know I'm not a musician, and musos may feel a little differently about this, but I honestly think that most recorded music should be free. Case in point: me.

Sometime last year, a boy gave me a mixed CD of his favourite Pixies songs because I mentioned that I wasn't that familiar with them. I fell in love with their stuff, went to the library and borrowed Doolittle and ripped it onto my iTunes. Then when the Doolittle Australian tour was announced, I went ape shit. I convinced a male friend (who is now my boyfriend, coincidentally) to go to the concert with me. He actually bought their entire back catalogue legally. Then I bought him a biography for Valentine's. And now he's started a Pixies cover band. We went to the first Melbourne show and both bought tee-shirts, and he also got a copy of the live CD recording of the show. He's probably going to go to their Tuesday show again and is probably bringing along three friends (who he's infected with Pixies fever).

So to record labels and bands who think they're losing money (and sleep) over illegal file-sharing and CD swapping, let's look at the figures.

Maybe it's just me, but $657.94 is quite a bit more than $33.98. If I had never gotten that "illegal" CD or borrowed Doolittle from the library, I never would have gone to the concert. Or bought merchandise. Or turned a grown-man into a Pixies zombie.

Sure, so Universal are trialling that $10 CD thing in the US, but I don't think that's enough. There are lots of bands that I kind of want to get into, but not prepared to actually invest money on until I know I actually like them.

It's pretty cool that most young bands are now realising that the actual music (CDs, MP3s) are more like advertising/promotional materials for other things like concerts, special edition CDs and DVDs and merchandise... all of which sell for a lot more. One particular band who does this obsessively is a really cool Melbourne act called Premodernists, who have habit of giving away their excellently reviewed Dance A Little EP to anyone and everyone who'll have a listen. I actually play their EP at work (a cult fashion boutique of sorts in Melbourne) and have given random people off the street their MySpace.

* I'm not a musician. I don't know what it feels like to give away songs (that you've worked on painstakingly for months and have spent thousands of dollars to get recorded) is like.
* I'm not claiming to be an expert in how the music industry works. This is just what I think.
* Just for the record, I have never successfully obtained music illegally off the Internet. I once tried to download a Franz Ferdinand album and it gave me a nasty computer virus. So if you're from the government and are thinking of fining me, pleaaaaaaaaaase don't.