Distribution and Piracy. A Rant.


Written by: BitterCOld
Published: 30.11.2011


(edit! if you cannot read more than a whopping 300 words without changing the channel, skip to the end. that's the important part of the article. if you cannot make it to the crux and insist on commenting, i will mock you. unrepentantly. )

So by this point we are all pretty aware of how piracy and illegal downloading are killing the record industry. The labels won't shut up about it... but their points make sense. The less revenue a label is seeing for an investment the more it hinders the ability to sign other acts or even continue to work with current ones. You cannot fault a label for merely wanting to break even.

And while some of you might get your rocks off about "sticking it to the man" when you download something illegally, the reality is how many of these bands are on mean and nasty major labels like Sony? How many are on labels run out of an office the size of my garage?

I'd bet that most metal labels are run by metal fans who want to make enough money to put out more metal. If they were in it for the cash, they'd have ditched the distortion pedal in favor of auto-tune long ago.

And the "well, the band only gets $1 per cd" argument is bullshit too. The cut that goes to the label is to help cover the cost of recording and promoting the album. If a label puts $5,000 into recording and promoting an album (a completely arbitrary figure), but only gets $1,000 back, how likely are they to piss away another couple thousand dollars on a follow-up album? How likely are they to just cut ties altogether?

And if they lose money hand over fist on several acts, how likely are they to invest in new artists?



and to RAWR is metal.


So I am an ardent supporter of, erm, supporting both artists that make good music as well as labels that sign/put out the albums of artists that make good music.

However what chaps my hide is the whining about piracy in the current technological and ethical environment and yet sticking to antiquated distribution systems.

In this day and age, I find it a reasonable request to have timely access to a new release that has already dropped across the pond. I do not see why there is all too often a 30 day discrepancy.

Enslaved's latest, Axioma Ethica Odini dropped the 27th of September in Europe and a day later in the US. Hooray. Timely access! It can be done!

Yet all too often the gaps between release dates are absurd. You can laugh at my (clearly illustrated) plight in the thread for Candlemass' Death Magic Doom. The album drops April 3rd of 2009, Lucas gets his review published April 15th, and I post how I cannot wait for it's eventual US release... and two weeks later quote myself again, still waiting and wondering. Thanks to Ivan's handy dandy album purchase tracker, you can see I didn't get it until May 6th. And I made weekly pilgrimages to the local shop, hoping for it. A full month and change later.

There have been several other cases through time, and even now with the latest Oranssi Pazuzu. Mr. Doctor has had it since the 26th of October. (Fuck you and your afro too, Roddy!) I checked again today, a month and change later, and not only is it not yet available in the States, it won't be for another three weeks. Hell, it'd be quicker if I sent Marcel $25, had him buy it in the Netherlands, hire a glass blower to encase it in a wine bottle, launch it into the Atlantic, have Dismal Euphony wait for it to wash up in Boston Harbor, and then hire a couple homing pigeons carry it in a net and fly it the remaining 3,000 miles to my house.

The gap is so massive, even an ardent supporter of paying for music like me is about to crack and give in. And if I'm going to break, it likely means the folks who sit on the "Download or Buy?" fence did a while ago. You'll never see a dime out of them. And if the price is $27, as Amazon currently lists it, you might not get mine as well...

I can understand with smaller labels and bands (the Pazuz) that there might be difficulties in being high on the priority list for overseas distributors (there shouldn't for that latest Candlemass)... leading to delays, but don't just sit there flat footed.

Do something to make your fucking music available in the interim. Put it up on iTunes. Put it up on Spotify. Make it available for (PAID) download straight from both the band and label sites.

Put yourself in a position to where you don't fuel the easy out for the "I deserve a trophy for showing up" generation. Because to the youth of today (your largest target demographic), the choice between illegally downloading a copy or waiting a month to fork over cash to hear it is not a terribly difficult one. Particularly when the culture has already painted you "greedy" record execs (currently struggling to get by) as Fat Cats who are morally acceptable targets.



 



Posted on 30.11.2011 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.


Comments page 5 / 5

Comments: 137   Visited by: 352 users
08.12.2011 - 11:40
Mikyz

Posts: 711
From: Lebanon

I don't exactly have a choice, since practically no metal albums are available/permitted in Lebanon. When I am out of the country I do buy some albums but I don't want to spend all my money on metal albums either. I think artists earn most of their money in concerts and events, that goes for all music genres Bieberific and Kvlt, and I believe labels know that as well so I don't think they expect any kind of profit, coming from album purchases.
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Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone.
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09.12.2011 - 17:47
Thrash del Sur

Posts: 95
From: Venezuela

Written by Mikyz on 08.12.2011 at 11:40

I don't exactly have a choice, since practically no metal albums are available/permitted in Lebanon. When I am out of the country I do buy some albums but I don't want to spend all my money on metal albums either. I think artists earn most of their money in concerts and events, that goes for all music genres Bieberific and Kvlt, and I believe labels know that as well so I don't think they expect any kind of profit, coming from album purchases.


Totally agree with you, the fact is the internet gave to Metal a new breath. I think with the advance of techonology is easier to record an album a good quality album, so the bands have 2 options either finannce their own reocrds or convince the concerts promoters (who are the direct beneficiaries of all this) to sponsor their records. I know it sounds crazy but the death of record companies is inevitable and I happy for that
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02.01.2012 - 15:02
Thrash del Sur

Posts: 95
From: Venezuela

Quote:
I think the advance of technology is what's killing today's metal music. Most albums are overproduced and brickwalled as fuck, which takes away their mystic sound and atmosphere.


Ok I get you, most ppl do shit, but there're some musicians who can produce a good album without obnoxious arrangements and 25 guitars, making a good album.
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12.01.2012 - 18:34
whatsacow

Posts: 2070
From: Australia

Come live in Australia. It took 3 weeks to get Opeth's Heritage. Fucking opeth! It's not like theyre unheard of. In fact, anything less famous than Opeth in the metal department I've had to buy off Amazon. I'm not talking small names here. I've had to get Devin Townsend, Burzum, Morbid Angel and even Mr Bungle (cmon, you'd think someone at a record store would know who Mr Bungle is!) albums off Amazon, simply because our shops here wont stock anything that isnt multi-platinum. And then I have to wait another 4 weeks for shipping.
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When God made up the golden rule, do you think he noticed that it condones rape?
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12.01.2012 - 18:57
BitterCOld
Gringo

Posts: 13772
From: Paraguay

Written by whatsacow on 12.01.2012 at 18:34

Come live in Australia. It took 3 weeks to get Opeth's Heritage. Fucking opeth! It's not like theyre unheard of. In fact, anything less famous than Opeth in the metal department I've had to buy off Amazon. I'm not talking small names here. I've had to get Devin Townsend, Burzum, Morbid Angel and even Mr Bungle (cmon, you'd think someone at a record store would know who Mr Bungle is!) albums off Amazon, simply because our shops here wont stock anything that isnt multi-platinum. And then I have to wait another 4 weeks for shipping.


which is exactly why i am ridiculing the industry. it whines about piracy cutting in to their income (not profit, mind you. a good chunk are losing money) - but not doing anything to expedite delivery to a person like you. thanks to the advances in technology, everyone wants their shit and wants it now. and in a lot of cases have immediate access.

is that three weeks after the AUssie release date? or just the Euro one? (i.e. Candlemass coming out a month later in the US than Europe.)

maybe offer a code for a free download of an album you've just purchased so you have immediate access to your purchase while waiting for it to be delivered. (i know many vinyls come with such a code... Marcel has actually bounced one my way.) the label is happy knowing it made a sale and they reward the purchaser with immediate gratification to tide them over during the delivery period.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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12.01.2012 - 19:33
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck

Posts: 39151
From: The Netherlands

Written by BitterCOld on 12.01.2012 at 18:57

(i know many vinyls come with such a code... Marcel has actually bounced one my way.) the label is happy knowing it made a sale and they reward the purchaser with immediate gratification to tide them over during the delivery period.


Relapse gives you a download code with all their vinyl releases, as do some more labels.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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12.01.2012 - 19:34
BitterCOld
Gringo

Posts: 13772
From: Paraguay

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 12.01.2012 at 19:33

Written by BitterCOld on 12.01.2012 at 18:57

(i know many vinyls come with such a code... Marcel has actually bounced one my way.) the label is happy knowing it made a sale and they reward the purchaser with immediate gratification to tide them over during the delivery period.


Relapse gives you a download code with all their vinyl releases, as do some more labels.


they should do so with mail orders of at least THEIR releases as well, provided they aren't pre-orders. particularly if it takes weeks to reach the destination.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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12.01.2012 - 19:36
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck

Posts: 39151
From: The Netherlands

Written by BitterCOld on 12.01.2012 at 19:34

they should do so with mail orders of at least THEIR releases as well, provided they aren't pre-orders. particularly if it takes weeks to reach the destination.


Agreed. So you order something on-line and in the confirmation e-mail with the albums listed you their respective download codes.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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13.01.2012 - 05:27
whatsacow

Posts: 2070
From: Australia

Written by BitterCOld on 12.01.2012 at 18:57

Written by whatsacow on 12.01.2012 at 18:34

Come live in Australia. It took 3 weeks to get Opeth's Heritage. Fucking opeth! It's not like theyre unheard of. In fact, anything less famous than Opeth in the metal department I've had to buy off Amazon. I'm not talking small names here. I've had to get Devin Townsend, Burzum, Morbid Angel and even Mr Bungle (cmon, you'd think someone at a record store would know who Mr Bungle is!) albums off Amazon, simply because our shops here wont stock anything that isnt multi-platinum. And then I have to wait another 4 weeks for shipping.


which is exactly why i am ridiculing the industry. it whines about piracy cutting in to their income (not profit, mind you. a good chunk are losing money) - but not doing anything to expedite delivery to a person like you. thanks to the advances in technology, everyone wants their shit and wants it now. and in a lot of cases have immediate access.

is that three weeks after the AUssie release date? or just the Euro one? (i.e. Candlemass coming out a month later in the US than Europe.)

maybe offer a code for a free download of an album you've just purchased so you have immediate access to your purchase while waiting for it to be delivered. (i know many vinyls come with such a code... Marcel has actually bounced one my way.) the label is happy knowing it made a sale and they reward the purchaser with immediate gratification to tide them over during the delivery period.

That was weeks after the US release. But yeah, I got a download code with Maudlin of the Well's Bath (not a new release, but not available in Australia anyway)
----
When God made up the golden rule, do you think he noticed that it condones rape?
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23.01.2012 - 21:46
Grody2themax

Posts: 240
From: USA

Written by BitterCOld on 12.01.2012 at 18:57

maybe offer a code for a free download of an album you've just purchased so you have immediate access to your purchase while waiting for it to be delivered. (i know many vinyls come with such a code... Marcel has actually bounced one my way.) the label is happy knowing it made a sale and they reward the purchaser with immediate gratification to tide them over during the delivery period.


That would be a good idea. Sometimes when i buy an album I'd rather just mediafire it than spend the time ripping it onto my computer anyways. But I'll usually rip it since the quality is better. But labels should consider the amount of time it takes to pirate an album vs. the time it takes to buy one, which could involve shipping time, driving, ripping the cd...etc. Overall, it doesn't matter if you live in a record shop with a given album. It would be easier and quicker to illegally odwnload the album than it would be to find it. Don't mean to ramble on here, but my main point is that it can be such a hassle to buy albums and get them onto your computer, and labels could work on ways to make this more accessible and easier in comparison to pirating.
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28.01.2012 - 15:26
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin

Posts: 4935
From: India



I think I am trapped. :[
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02.02.2012 - 21:14
ZOMBIESiTellsYa

Posts: 418
From: Ireland

I download music, and I do feel guilty about it but I just don't have the money to buy all that music. I try and make up for it by (when I do have money) going to see the band's show and buying one of their t shirts. Which actually gives them more money than if I'd bought their CD; though I know that's not exactly the principle of it. When I get a job and have a steady cash flow that allows me to indulge in the expensive hobby of CD collecting I will certainly begin buying a lot more metal. Because the bands do deserve it. Especially the ones on smaller labels struggling to get by.
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02.05.2012 - 19:06
pisymbol

Posts: 193
From: USA

Written by Grody2themax on 23.01.2012 at 21:46

Written by BitterCOld on 12.01.2012 at 18:57

maybe offer a code for a free download of an album you've just purchased so you have immediate access to your purchase while waiting for it to be delivered. (i know many vinyls come with such a code... Marcel has actually bounced one my way.) the label is happy knowing it made a sale and they reward the purchaser with immediate gratification to tide them over during the delivery period.


That would be a good idea. Sometimes when i buy an album I'd rather just mediafire it than spend the time ripping it onto my computer anyways. But I'll usually rip it since the quality is better. But labels should consider the amount of time it takes to pirate an album vs. the time it takes to buy one, which could involve shipping time, driving, ripping the cd...etc. Overall, it doesn't matter if you live in a record shop with a given album. It would be easier and quicker to illegally odwnload the album than it would be to find it. Don't mean to ramble on here, but my main point is that it can be such a hassle to buy albums and get them onto your computer, and labels could work on ways to make this more accessible and easier in comparison to pirating.


Its called Bandcamp.

Thanks to Troy, I found this thread.

What I don't understand is that if we as consumers all understand (demand!) that the distribution model for a lot of record companies is completely broken, why can't they adapt?

Why is it so difficult to offer all the services mention in this thread? (except the ISP one which is absolutely insane on both technical and ethical levels)

Dear <Insert record company>:

As a consumer of music I would like the following options:

* Immediate digital download of the music in my choice of format (FLAC, MP3, ALAC, etc.) when I buy the hard copy
* Please stream new releases on your website so it can act as an advertising landing pad for merch/ticket offers (or other label artists that I might want to investigate)
* Stop getting angry when I download a recommendation off the web that I got from a friend (as many have pointed out, it encourages me to listen to more music which means ultimately more dollars eventually spent with record companies)
* Embrace established technologies (e.g. Spotify, Bandcamp, Facebook) unless you are willing to spend the labor to create new and more innovative distribution methods
* Folks who take advantage of the system are not going to buy much legally anyway - THEY ARE NOT YOUR TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC. Please focus on consumers like myself, the working class metal head who has extra personal income to spend on music (and will most happily do so if given the above options).

Sincerely,

Your Consumers
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12.05.2012 - 19:30
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal

Posts: 4419
From: USA

Awesome read Craig, but I am afraid the major reason to hack or not to hack has nothing to do with a release date. The main reason is the easy accessability. No more trips to the record store (if you can find one), no more planning ahead. Who wants the cd case anymore now anyways? iTunes and Napster are garbage and most peeps don't want to take the time to find a reputable digital online distributer. The way the album quality transfers are now (lossless, flac, ape) it's just easier to check out a blog and see what the latest releases are and click. What do I care if the new Cult Of Luna is released later here than Europe. I will find something else to listen to.

Bandcamp is the way to go. I can sample the music, decide if I like it, and more times than not, name a price I feel is worthy (usually $10). Most offer a digital download or digipak if lyrics and cases are your thing. I will always support a product I like. Of course this goes for most of the bands not on a huge label where production costs can be in the millions. A band like Rosetta does not make anything from their releases. They don't care how you get their music. They rely on selling merchandise and records at their shows.

Funny, my whole response can go for the gaming industry too, with a few minor tweaks.
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05.07.2012 - 22:06
Cuca Beludo
Account deleted
I download music... a lot. I know it's not the right thing, but I SIMPLY DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO BUY ALBUMS. When I get a job I will go and buy these albums I'm downloading. I don't need to pay my bills and I will have enough money to do whatever I want

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 28.01.2012 at 15:26



I think I am trapped. :[


We will be locked in the same room, mr. Atrocious
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19.03.2015 - 12:55
Apothecary
Drone Strike

Posts: 3912
From: USA

Read over this as a nice little appendix to your In Times article. The other thing that should be said is that I think a lot of people grossly overestimate how much bands are going to suffer from the presence of illegal downloading and file sharing. It never changes the fact that there are always going to be people out there who want actual, physical copies of your shit, because keeping things strictly digital only goes so far towards fulfilling a certain aesthetic with people who are collectors and/or serious fans of the band.

I think Bandcamp is a very, VERY important tool in this day and age towards sort of bridging that gap between digital and physical, because it essentially goes off of the "try before you buy" approach. Not to mention, bands often sell limited special merch through it, which increases incentive to buy from them because you're going to be virtually unable to get said merch anywhere else. The thing that I (and I'm sure countless others) do is listen to music on there, or through a download if a full stream is unavailable anywhere else, and THEN buy the album if I've enjoyed it enough. Some people think that some money should be involved here: if I listen to the music, I owe the band something, but at the end of the day, who's going to invest in something they don't enjoy? It's the same principle as being able to try on clothing: when you try on something at the store, don't like it, and put it back on the rack, you don't hear people saying "oh, the designer worked hard on that item, so you need to pay up," now do you?
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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18.09.2016 - 19:41
BitterCOld
Gringo

Posts: 13772
From: Paraguay

Written by Apothecary on 19.03.2015 at 12:55

Read over this as a nice little appendix to your In Times article. The other thing that should be said is that I think a lot of people grossly overestimate how much bands are going to suffer from the presence of illegal downloading and file sharing. It never changes the fact that there are always going to be people out there who want actual, physical copies of your shit, because keeping things strictly digital only goes so far towards fulfilling a certain aesthetic with people who are collectors and/or serious fans of the band.

I think Bandcamp is a very, VERY important tool in this day and age towards sort of bridging that gap between digital and physical, because it essentially goes off of the "try before you buy" approach. Not to mention, bands often sell limited special merch through it, which increases incentive to buy from them because you're going to be virtually unable to get said merch anywhere else. The thing that I (and I'm sure countless others) do is listen to music on there, or through a download if a full stream is unavailable anywhere else, and THEN buy the album if I've enjoyed it enough. Some people think that some money should be involved here: if I listen to the music, I owe the band something, but at the end of the day, who's going to invest in something they don't enjoy? It's the same principle as being able to try on clothing: when you try on something at the store, don't like it, and put it back on the rack, you don't hear people saying "oh, the designer worked hard on that item, so you need to pay up," now do you?


agree on Bandcamp, something that came into more common use in the time between my initial article and now. have like 55 albums, most purchased and probably a dozen straight from labels for review purposes.

something Bandcamp is exactly what I was arguing in favor of.

bandcamp does a great job of allowing test drives, name your prices, etc. provides immediate delivery of digital files along with offering physical products as well. great for smaller bands - use their links all the time in reviews.

nice also to see some "larger" bands like Minks and Ulver utilizing it as well.

more labels should adopt that approach directly "in house" on both label stores as well as bands on their roster.

make the digital albums reasonably priced, factoring in the removal physical packaging, transport and 3rd parties - and make digital download options free with the purchase of a physical copy.

that way if i want the album released in Europe 7 weeks before the US, I can order it and immediately start dl'ing 1's and 0's freebees i the interim.

but above too many people trying to defend their preferences to understand the point i was attempting to get across. there are downloaders who will never pay for an album, so forget them altogether. it's more about retaining some chunk of the marketshare before more and more go that way.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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