Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Do you copy?

Bozos In Sp-a-a-a-c-e!
Music, that is. Some people act as if all music is now free.  Some make a stand, and pay for all their music.  Most people I suspect, fall somewhat awkwardly in-between.

I say awkwardly, as I think most people probably wouldn't copy the CD of a relatively unknown local artist.  Like say, Sam Barber, or Lipsync For A Lullaby.  They know that buying that CD means a lot to that band.  And, it's a way of showing that they like the music enough to give it a try at home, in addition to going to the band's gigs.  In addition, that is, to getting drunk to that particular  soundtrack, and chatting with acquaintances, which isn't too onerous.  Plus, the band may actually appreciate the money, to offset, if even in a small way, the costs of making the shiny platter.

So far, so good.  I also suspect most people wouldn't be too worried if a friend lobbed them a copy of something horrifically successful in the past, but which they hadn't got around to listening to yet.  For me, that would be something like say, Crosby, Stills and Nash.  I'm basically never going to buy it, but I'm mildly curious about them, having heard a few of their songs.  And, as far as I understand it, they don't exactly need the revenue from CD sales/downloads in order to live.  Plus, don't the record company and manufacturers/distributors get most of that anyway? (NB I have no idea, but it's a commonly held belief).

The difficulty lies in that grey area in the middle.  At what point does an artist become successful enough to not worry about the impact a copy here or there makes?  Can we even judge that?  The surviving Beatles, one would have assumed, must be coining it in from their back catalogue.  But then you realise that they were fleeced back in the day, and their songwriting rights sold on, to now lie with the estate of a Mr M Jackson.

There's also the situation when, a few years ago, two different friends each gave me an unasked for copy of an album they thought I may like.  Those two albums have resulted, over the subsequent years, in my purchasing of quite a few of those bands' albums, not to mention T-shirts and gig tickets.  One could argue that it generated sales and profit, by that most cost-effective and cheapest method, word of mouth.

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