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Reflections On the Less-Cool Effects of Filesharing

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the pasta-sharing-much-more-useful dept.

Businesses 458

surpeis writes "This snub is an attempt to point the finger at something I feel has been widely ignored in the ever-lasting debate surrounding (illegal) filesharing, now again brought in the spotlight by the Pirate Bay trial. I should state that I am slightly biased, as I have been running my own indie label for some years, spanning about 30 releases. It's now history, but it was not filesharing that got the best of us, just for the record." (surpeis's argument continues below.)I try as far as humanly possible to view the debate from all angles, and before entering the music biz myself, I was a strong believer in Internet as the driving force to develop new markets. Since then life has taught me a lot, and as said I will try to share one of my major concerns in this (hopefully) short snub.

My observation is based on a lot of trying and failing, as well as being a moderate user of filesharing myself — mainly to check out stuff I read about but cannot get my hands on in the local store back here in Norway.

My concern is about this argument, which has been seen in most any debate about this subject for the last 10 years, usually formulated roughly as below:

"Filesharing will provide massive marketing to new artists, and drive forward a new and more dynamic music market."

I beg to differ.

One thing that has become more and more obvious to me is that the power of the market more than ever is still safely held by the biggest corporations in the music biz. I will try to explain why.

If we use TPB as an example, they have about 10M visitors per day, which gives us a good base for pulling out stats. If you look at their Top100 list at any given time, you will find exactly 0.00% artists that are not (major) label signed. This might not be very surprising, as TPB naturally would reflect the music market in general.

But if one starts thinking about it, it has the ironic effect that TPB is a driving force of consolidating the market power of the major labels rather than driving forward any new music. The conclusion has to be that "pirates" are just as little resistant to the major label marketing as any other person. Even though there are thousands and thousands of artists out there that want their music to be shared and listened to, they are widely and effectively ignored by the masses. In fact, one might say that TPB and the likes are countering the development of new markets, simply because the gap between the heavily marketed music and 'the others' is wider than ever, when the bare naked truth about peoples taste in music is put into such a system.

This puts a heavy responsibility on the pirates, one that I don't think they are aware of nor able to handle. The day we find the top crop of the aforementioned artists that are actually free to share on the top 100 list, we have a winner. Until then the only thing that we will see "die" is the small indies that cannot benefit from heavy marketing. Thus, more market power is given to the major labels, and all of us reading this will be dead and buried long before they stop making a reasonable income from selling oldies and goldies, radio play, publishing, etc.

The actual 'mystery' is why the major labels don't see this themselves, and continues to take services like TPB to court. They are, and I'm pretty sure about this, the actual winners in the ongoing war. The price paid is extending the status quo when it comes to growing new markets.

So, ladies and gentlenerds: Are we really driving forth the music scene of the future? Or are we actually turning into useful idiots keeping the arch-enemy strong and healthy while the suppliers of correctives (indies, free music) are effectively kept out of the loop? What could possibly be done (technically or socially) to provoke changes to this and hit the major labels where it actually hurts?"

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Flawed premise (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27637941)

The assumption is that pirated music should favor the less known artists somehow? Why would anyone be surprised that download statistics mirror sales and radio stats in general? It's just another outlet, but it CAN create awareness if sparked properly by other means

Re:Flawed premise (5, Interesting)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638057)

The assumption is that pirated music should favor the less known artists somehow?

The essay is implicitly assuming that the most popular artists are popular because they're signed to a major label. The argument seems to be that the all-too-common claims that filesharing is good for the independent artists are bunk; filesharing has done nothing to break the hold of the major labels on the promotion and marketing of musical acts. As long as they can hold on to those, they will survive, and eventually they will figure out how to take advantage of the internet to make loads of money.

In the end, we'll have advertisements embedded into the hit singles, as part of the music and lyrics.

Re:Flawed premise (5, Insightful)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638287)

But the article focuses on "illegal file sharing". What the author completely misses is that the "recording industry" is not allowing the true power and freeness of digital music distribution/sharing. Any analysis today must take into account that most activity (especially TPB-type activity) is specifically "in violation of the copyright holders' (*IAA) desires".

So yes, the current activity is not conducive to indie labels specifically because the recording industry makes it clear that "P2P is piracy". People don't share music links in blogs/myspace/facebook/etc... because "it is wrong". Some copyright holders find themselves getting into trouble by sharing their content (e.g. YouTube taking down stuff that an artist themself put up).

The power of P2P is not in having "pirates" share music. It is allowing fans to freely share and promote artists. This is not something that can be done today without fear of retribution from an industry that doesn't care about facts or truths.

One variable that hasn't been accounted for (2, Insightful)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638405)

what about the ability of major record labels to recruit "indie" music? No matter how you look at it, it's damn tempting to give a good share of the money they promise you'll get in exchange for the publicity that you'll receive. Sure some might just love music and realize that their talent might get them to that point eventually, but we all know too well that most are impatient and see this as an instant "big ticket". The only way to truly get rid of these companies is to have some way for the artists to be massively publicized routinely for nothing (or something close). But we all know that greed will make this extremely difficult.

Re:Flawed premise (5, Interesting)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638427)

Exactly right, IMO. I've shared music of bands that have been defunct for 5-10 years, and get a bunch of downloads. I've ended up talking to some of these downloaders, and they typically buy whatever they can, but there's not much.

TPB may not list them in the top 100, but I'm helping clear merch for bands that don't even play anymore. It also turns people on to the bands they're now in, since I try to mention those as well.

Yeah, there's a lot of pirates, but there's also good uses for P2P that may technically break copyright. In most cases I can't find the people with the copyrights, in others they just don't care anymore.

P2P seems to be one of the best ways to archive music in multiple sites that exists. Many of the recordings I've shared are masters, and nobody but me had a copy until P2P. I like to think that they're much more likely to survive with 50 people having digital copies than one.

Re:Flawed premise (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638355)

"In the end, we'll have advertisements embedded into the hit singles, as part of the music and lyrics."

Already available: Just talk to your fine friends at [] (warning flash, music, and a black hole of tastelessness). See this [] for the hilarious incident where Kluger contacted the anti-advertising agency in what was, shall we say, a lapse in judgment.

Re:Flawed premise (5, Insightful)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638219)

Agreed. The author seems to be implying that he was promised P2P would solve all his marketing needs. As a distribution system there is only one thing it reliably does: distribution.

No matter what happens, you still have to tell people your music is on bittorrent. Even Trent Reznor has to do this and he favours exactly the kind of simple marketing that anyone can do.

Since marketing is always going to be an uphill battle, you'd better STFU and get on with it.

Flawed premise and flawed conclusion as well (5, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638445)

Agreed. The author seems to be implying that he was promised P2P would solve all his marketing needs. As a distribution system there is only one thing it reliably does: distribution.

True, but I think there's more to it than that.

Yes, P2P doesn't solve marketing needs. But it also does something else: drive distribution costs to 0. This is the critical issue: Right now, while the big labels are still fat off of profits from non-P2P, they use those profits to market, and they conquer all markets that way - non-P2P and otherwise.

But once P2P is the main game, and it's just a matter of time, then the situation will be radically different. The big labels and the big artists won't have those non-P2P sources of cash, so they won't be able to flood the planet with their marketing. This will be a huge boon for indie artists.

So, the original argument is valid right now. But not in the long run.

Re:Flawed premise (5, Insightful)

jonsmirl (114798) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638249)

TPB is not really a music discovery service. You have to know the name of the track to find it. is a discovery service. I've listened to over 7,000 different tracks via their streaming service. needs more fine grained control over their stream contents. Some tracks in my library have been streamed 200 times and others never get streamed. There is no way to stop these tracks that are getting streamed too much other than banning them. But I kind of like the track so I don't want to ban it. I just don't want to hear it over and over.

Free communication in networks does this (4, Insightful)

Geof (153857) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638421)

The phenomenon described in the article saddens me, but it is supported by theory. I have worried about this based on my limited reading about network theory. The popularity of a cultural work is largely a result not of any inherent qualities of the work itself, but of of the activities of the audience. If I like a piece of music, I am likely to tell my friends. They tell their friends, and so on and so on. (This is preferential attachment in a scale-free network.) So you end up with a small number of hits and a large number of also-rans. This is a power law distribution with its long tail. It explains why success in hit-driven fields is so unpredictable: much of the value doesn't come from the original work. The thing is, the easier it is for the audience to communicate among themselves (whether to talk about the work, or to actually distribute it), the larger the effect can be. When distribution and communication become easier, this enables the further concentration of attention on the hits. That seems to be the phenomenon described here. Someone else perhaps can comment on reasons this might not happen. I certainly find I read more widely as a result of blogs and the Internet, so it's not necessarily all bad. Another consequence of this argument is that copyright is unjust. Popularity is not just an arbitrary metric. It actually reflects real value being created. As people listen to a piece of music, for example, they increase its cultural significance. They associate it with events in their lives. They attach meaning to it. They reinterpret it. When a creative work becomes a hit it is transformed, acquiring significance and meaning and value it didn't have before. Think of the tune to the American national anthem for example: it was once just a drinking song. Here in Canada we can see this clearly with the old theme to Hockey Night in Canada. Over the years people came to see it as the soundtrack to their lives. Well, copyright reserves the profits from and control over a hit for its authors. Nix that: typically it reserves them for a few big media companies. Regardless though, the audience who created so much of that value - indeed in many cases the vast majority of that value - are locked out. The rightsholders free-ride on the effort of others, while those others are not permitted to transmit the meanings and value they gave to the work. From that perspective, one approach might be to open up those hits to reinterpretation by others (i.e. derivative works). Then instead of being locked out by the structure of the network, indie artists can be part of it (and leverage it for their own works). And in fact we are seeing a lot of this with remixes - creativity that copyright places outside the law.

let me guess... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27637947)

... you run an indie emo music label?

What about private trackers? (5, Informative)

ThatFunkyMunki (908716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27637949)

I have accounts with and and their top10s are almost always filled with non-major label releases. Maybe thepiratebay is a haven for major label listeners but that's because it's public and all of the people who don't spend time figuring out what non-major label music is good go there for their top40 hits. Waffles has a huge amount of music tracked and the data going through their torrents is huge... maybe not on the scale of torrents that thepiratebay is hosting but still significant.

Re:What about private trackers? (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638297)

The problem as I see it that convicting a tracker is the wrong thing. That may bring a precedent that also other trackers and search engines can be brought to court and convicted.

And even though the tracker in question is focused on copyrighted material it wouldn't really be a problem if it linked to sites where you could have purchased the music.

But this just indicates that the rigidity of the music industry prevails and they try to defend it with all means.

As for odd and unusual music - that's the failure of many trackers. Top lists may only provide a list of the most popular music since it has been played on the radio, not a list of the best music.

I have realized that even CD-shops on the net are contributing to the fail of the music industry since it's hard to get the music you want even there. So what's the alternative? A torrent download of a MP3 that is hopefully not too crappy.

Essentially - the music industry is rotting from within by not selling what people wants and pricing the available music wrong.

This still leaves us with the singular bands that wants to provide their music without a label or on a very narrow label. What's needed is some way to spread the music that they provide. Just having a site on the net isn't enough - you need a directory and a way to preview the music. Online Flash players and low-quality MP3:s could do that.

Evidence please? (5, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27637957)

This guy makes a big claim, that filesharing services such as TPB are hurting indie artists, but provides abosolutely no evidence to back it up. There is absolutely no evidence against this either: "Filesharing will provide massive marketing to new artists, and drive forward a new and more dynamic music market."

The closest thing to evidence he has is a list showing that the Top 100 contains only popular stuff. Duh. Not saying he is wrong. I have always thought that the "we are helping indie artists" was overplayed by freeloaders such as myself who like to get something for nothing. But this guy wrote too many paragraphs to supply no evidence.

Re:Evidence please? (1, Informative)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 5 years ago | (#27637999)

He made no such claim. What he said was that file sharing does not help "indie artists" to be more known because as can be seen from tpb stats, most of what is downloaded is what people already know.

Re:Evidence please? (3, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638089)

Well, if he's using the TPB top 100 as a barometer for what's "Hip", then why doesnt he add a crapload of clients to upload, and then forge upload and download stats to push himself to top 100.

You know, if you're on a LAN and have BT clients, you could share via the LAN and have it count towards ratio ;)

And it would be one hell of a "What The Hell is that Group??" (begins download). Cause, I check out what's the buzz on general top 100, music top 100, and movie top 100 all the time.

Re:Evidence please? (1)

surpeis (1268612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638181)

Actually not a bad idea, but still not quite the permanent solution I am hoping to se being born sometime in a not-so-distant future. ;-)

Re:Evidence please? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638299)

Well, if he's using the TPB top 100 as a barometer for what's "Hip", then why doesnt he add a crapload of clients to upload, and then forge upload and download stats to push himself to top 100.

And what exactly would that achieve? I think you're missing the point of his rant.

Flaw in torrents (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638223)

most of what is downloaded is what people already know.

This should be no surprise, since Bittorrent is designed to optimise downloads of popular stuff. More traditional P2P systems like gnutella are much more suited to rare content.

Re:Evidence please? (1)

xXShadowstormXx (939073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638321)

File sharing does help independent artists. How does it not? I wouldn't make any fight against people who upload my content to file sharing sites. It's futile. The content is or will be there whether you like it or not - so I would embrace this. File sharing is one hell of a marketing tool for artists to leverage and as an artist, the goal is to play live, is it not?

Artists make much, much more money on shows and merch than CDs ever will be able to provide. I would not rely on CDs as a primary source of income, I would rely on playing live. To me, an album in either physical/digital format is merely a promotional tool for my brand as a band, similar to merchandise or music videos. All in the name of promotion.

Secondly, I would make it as easy as possible for someone to buy said album. I'd sell my album for $7-14 dollars with artwork, and .pdf file containing information and details on how the album came to be and other things my fans would be interested in. On top of that, I would be flexible with that price, with sales on some day of the month, etc, where if you buy the album, you also get a shirt if you pay X amount more.

All these file sharing sites has opened me up to many, many new artists, and as a peer, I am now a fan, and I may have not bought their CD, but you can be assured that I would definitely go out of my way to go to a concert of theirs when they pass through my area. Without file sharing, again, I may not have bought their CD, but otherwise I wouldn't be a fan because I would not have heard their music in the first place!

I advocate people sharing my content, because it's that many more people who know about me and my musical endeavors. And the people who actually do visit my website and pay for the album? That's just the topping on the cake - the primary way of making money is by touring, not by CD sales!

Re:Evidence please? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638325)

But that's because most indies release the tracks on their own website first and foremost, though perhaps (only perhaps) using TPB tracker as a distribution mechanism.

TPB stats will be misleading because I (and many people like me) don't go to TPB first for the tracks I *can* get legally and freely online, I go to the band's web page and grab them "from the horse's mouth", or perhaps magnatune or jamendo. You only need go to TPB for the stuff you can't get direct.

Frankly, the story author sounds like a whiner - bad at taking advantage of the internet, looking for someone not-him to blame.

Re:Evidence please? (5, Interesting)

surpeis (1268612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638073)

Hello, and thanx for your post.

First: It is not a claim, its a _reflection_

It is of course not possible to supply hard evidence on something that "didnt happen".

But its a fact that in my 15+ years as a net and music junkie, I still have not seen one single artist that actually made a career this way. I guess it could be different in f.i. the USA, where there is alot more mobility and a far larger audience.

One thing that is hard to come around is the fact that the music biz is profit driven. If there really was a vivid indipendent scene that was growing up by the means of filesharing, we would have seen attempts to control it a long time ago.

TBH i dont think the music industry has reflected much around this, as they really, really think that a file downloaded is a sale lost. I WANT to see a new and revised music scene grow forth, but the above mentioned tendency to follow the marketing of themajor labels is in my humble opinion a major problem to actually see this happen.

My attempts to bring it into the debate in the music biz has partly been striked down upon, as the major industry still has a utopian dream of making the "new world" fit into their old and geographically oriented systems. The problem seems to be that us filesharers seem to lack the fantasy, drive or conciousness to make it happen as well.

Re:Evidence please? (3, Insightful)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638375)

One thing that is hard to come around is the fact that the music biz is profit driven. If there really was a vivid indipendent scene that was growing up by the means of filesharing, we would have seen attempts to control it a long time ago.

Sorry, but I believe your interpretation of events is myopic.

There have been attempts to make a vivid (and profitable) scene driven by file sharing. However, there are very powerful business (and political) forces that essentially get squeezed out of the scene once the artist is directly doing business with fans. They are the inefficiencies in the existing music models, and therefore they cannot allow "the new model" to take hold.

Reality is this: digital music costs NOTHING to copy and distribute. Therefore the price of a digital copy will eventually be zero. Laws and technology is being thrown at the situation trying to keep the genie in the bottle. But consumers now understand the cost of the goods they are buying.

So the music industry needs to find ways to leverage the benefits of FREE advertising being done by their fans who share music with their friends. Take that savings (the $$ artists would otherwise have to spend on advertising) and capitalize on it.

Opportunity is there. Someone is going to eventually seize it.

Re:Evidence please? (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638459)

You are generalizing your assumption based on only one data point: TPB. (I've heard that) There are private trackers that even post their indie bands torrents on the first page to promote them (with authorization from the band, of course). I'm not posting the name, but one of them, if you are canadian, you cannot access it anyway :wink: :wink: :nudge: :nudge:

Re:Evidence please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638123)

Exactly what kind of evidence would you expect him to give? Allegories from bands he knows of that claim to have lost sales? At this point in time there isn't a lot of evidence at all for anything, there is only speculation about what is ongoing. In the future we can look back and draw conclusions, but I don't really know what you're expecting to see in discussions like this. Are you looking for a signed notarized deposition or something? Would that convince you? A personal perspective from an indie manager is about as close as you're going to get for evidence.

There is absolutely no evidence against this either: "Filesharing will provide massive marketing to new artists, and drive forward a new and more dynamic music market."

Is there any evidence for that? Can you name a single well-known indie band whose popularity is the result of filesharing?

Re:Evidence please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638371)

Dunno... I've been finding most of my recent music from .... where you pay what you think the music is worth. It apparently works fairly well and the middle-man is not taking the majority share of the money unlike the Corporate Machine.

Re:Evidence please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638417)

groups [] who say that file sharing/piracy has helped them. its a flash video and its an anecdote, so take it for what its worth.

That's one more reason for limit copyright terms (5, Insightful)

Richard_J_N (631241) | more than 5 years ago | (#27637967)

If we limited commercial copyright to 5-10 years, then it would hugely help new artists. By reducing the value of the back-catalogues, it would mean a strong incentive for publishers and music-labels to support new music.

Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638041)

While I am in favor of limiting copyright in that way, I doubt it would have the effect of reducing the stranglehold of the major labels. After all, they do tend to support plenty of new, popular music.

This story was lamenting that indie bands and labels, new or not, don't benefit greatly from piracy, and may be hurt by it. I don't think they'd benefit greatly from reduced copyright, either, other than by having more sources to draw upon.

Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638113)

... they do tend to support plenty of new, popular music.

Most new music is not popular. Familiarity breeds interest. Exposure creates markets for new sounds. With enough repetition, people can learn to like any kind of garbage. Witness the popularity of Rap for instance.

Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638379)

Too bad that you are anonymous because you are hitting the nail on the head...

Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (4, Insightful)

alienw (585907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638279)

Probably. But I think the fundamental reason small labels and independent artists are struggling is because they are not publishing music that appeals to a broad range of consumers. The big labels are pretty good about picking out stuff that sells, and artists tend to gravitate towards larger labels. As a result, the smaller independent labels mainly get music that was not accepted by any of the big labels. This is a very narrow niche market that appeals to a very small number of people. All the statistics are saying is that the big labels are doing an extremely good job of picking and promoting music with broad appeal. Of course, that renders such music rather bland, but that's the price of having broad appeal.

I'm not sure how pirates figure into this. If anything, piracy hurts big labels much more than small ones. Small artists typically have more devout fans that would probably be much more likely to support the artists by buying their records. They also don't have a pre-existing business model that's based on selling a small number of hits in extremely large volumes.

Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (1)

surpeis (1268612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638165)

Hey, and thanks for posting.

I pretty much find this a valid and good argument.
It might reduce the willingness to take risk på biggerlabels, but on the other hand Indies has always been prone to take more risk than major label companies.

I see some other implications, f.i. it also would affect the possible "lifespan" income of artists significantly: However this is already a problem since the expected lifespan of an artists career has dropped significantly due to stuff that the Biz has brought onto themselves (at least back here).

Anyway: I think you are absolutely right that revising the copyright system is one of the things that could change things. But its a big task, and involves lobbyism and other crap that is out of the sphere where "you and med" can make a change. I still think there must be other ways to get more focus on how we can avoid being stuck with the major labels consolidating their marketing power through the (supposed) user controlled channels, and posting this reflection was my humble contribution... :-)

Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638307)

If we limited commercial copyright to 5-10 years, then it would hugely help new artists. By reducing the value of the back-catalogues, it would mean a strong incentive for publishers and music-labels to support new music.

Yeah, definitely! If only Britney Spears' _OLD_ albums didn't outsell all the indie records coming out.

Wait, what?

Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638367)

I doubt it... If you limit copyrights to 5 to 10 years you will only put more power into the hands of the major labels.

Part of the major problem is marketing. Indie labels can't market like major labels because they do not have the power. What Indie labels hope for is that people will "discover" them out of pure chance, and it seems this is not happening. I can understand that because like the fat tail book was wrong.

What they have found in terms of Amazon is that indeed there is a long tail, but it is much thinner.

So by limiting copyright you as an artist need to make money quickly, and that means marketing quickly. Guess who can do that? The major labels, and not the indie labels...

Would this mean new artists? If you mean boy bands, and girl bands who would sell their souls for a single hit? Yupe you would get more of that. If you mean bands like the Rolling Stones? Nope, not likely...

Want to get more new music? Simple STOP BUYING THE CRAP MUSIC!!! It is really that easy...

The market is a reflection of what our buying habits are...

Filesharing as advertising... (5, Insightful)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27637981)

Unless people are exposed to new music, through word of mouth or otherwise, they won't know its out there. For instance, there might be a song written that resonates with my soul and will change my life, but if its made by an indy artist in norway, how will i know its out there?

File-sharing is an on-demand service, people don't browse through looking for titles of songs that sound nifty (that's what pandora is for, finding music relevant to their interests), they punch the name of a new release dvd into the search box and hope axxo has ripped, encoded, and uploaded it. Why do they seek out these movies? Because they were made aware of it. Say that I tell you to seek out the movie called Brazil. You might seek it out, but why? Because I (someone) told you to.

I thought all of the above was obvious, filesharing is not the step 1 in the following, but it might go something like this:

The hypothetical "P2P as marketing" steps. (not saying this is correct, but it was always my understanding that this was how it worked whenever people argued that p2p was GOOD for artists).

1. People find out about your band(s).
2. People search for those bands in TPB or their p2p client.
3.People fall in love with the music.
4. ???
5. Profit!

Leave out step 1 and there is no Profit!. And no, steps 1 and 2 are not reversible for 99% of the population. Also, i'm not going to go into what is required to fill in step 4.

Re:Filesharing as advertising... (5, Interesting)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638059)

I agree completely. Once a band becomes known, then giving away their music helps promote their tours and merchandise (where the real money is made, at least for the band).
And some bands get it. I bought tickets to the upcoming No Doubt show here, and they (unexpectedly) e-mailed me a link and code I could use to download their entire catalog as DRM-free 256Kbps MP3s. Nice.

Re:Filesharing as advertising... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638463)

I am starting to get tired of this idea that bands make more money by touring and merchandise. 1) I have never seen actual numbers supporting this claim, but a lot of numbers showing the exact opposite. 2) What about when a band retires and does not want to tour, how does this model work then?

Re:Filesharing as advertising... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638127)


Re:Filesharing as advertising... (1)

surpeis (1268612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638265)

Thanks for posting

Actually I think you are right, but still wouldn't you expect such artists to both get alot of attention on til filesharing services in lack of other distribution?

And it still kinda raises the question to how likely this actually is to happen very often, and if this happens enough to bring the dinos of the major label industry to their knees. I feel pretty confident that the same minute an artist strikes lucky and is "lifted" by the internet community he/she will be in the pocket of the major biz pretty fast. Simply because there is no other alternatives on how to cash in the dough in a global and very complcated market.

Anyways, thanks for very useful and valid additional info to my post. I see that I will have no chance to answer all posts rolling in, so if anyone feel they really wanna discuss this with me, feel free to mail me at my gmail-adress, at account name "djredo".

Re:Filesharing as advertising... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638339)


1. People find out about your band.
2. People search for that band on TPB.
3. People find that the only file from the band has 1 seeder transferring at 5 kb/s.
4. People give up and go download the latest Nickleback album with 1000 seeders.

P2P inherently favors the most popular media by making accessibility depend on popularity.

I see filesharing as a New World Order (5, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 5 years ago | (#27637987)

The old distribution models no longer work. So the people losing will fight it tooth and claw. There are winners and losers in a New World Order. Artists can still make money, but they'll have to play more live shows and their recorded music is nothing more than promotion(fame) for shows.

I truthfully don't care about music. What I care about is when textbooks start becoming free. It will be a revolution in education. This will be especially the case when people write things like,"The comprehensive guide to calculus as to be learned by anyone who knows how to count" The computer means it can be an advanced and interactive media session. The free distribution will mean anyone can have it in their hands.

People will still try and discover new things even if they can't get paid for the information directly.

Missing the point. (3, Insightful)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638079)

The old distribution models no longer work. So the people losing will fight it tooth and claw. There are winners and losers in a New World Order.

You're missing the point of the essay. The author's point is that the old promotion models still work pretty damn well; this is why the top 100 on The Pirate Bay is all major label artists. So, overall, even if the major labels are suffering right now because of the breakdown of the distribution models, they're still going to come out as winners.

Re:Missing the point. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638167)

The old promotion model may work, but if illegal file sharing is as damaging as the record industry claims, then how well the promotion model works is irrelevant. It doesn't matter how well an engine runs, if you don't have fuel, it doesn't run at all.

Re:Missing the point. (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638301)

Ah, but there's the difference, the PROMOTION model works, the DISTRIBUTION model is dead.

In the short term this actually serves to prop up the existing, entrenched, players. However if you look longer term, if they can't make money on it, their promotion model will eventually die too. The end result would be a level playing field.

Re:Missing the point. (2, Insightful)

alienw (585907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638353)

No, they aren't benefiting from it. In fact, you can directly argue that every top 100 download on TPB is a lost sale. What the statistics are basically saying is that the major labels' marketing is working very well, but instead of creating more sales, it's creating more downloads. The labels don't care about how popular their artists are, they care about how many records they sell. I don't think you can honestly argue that their record sales are going to increase as the result of piracy. In fact, I think that their business model is going to be completely gone in another 10 years. Maybe they can reinvent themselves as something else (say, making money by licensing music for commercial use), but it will get harder and harder to sell records to consumers as digital piracy increases.

Re:I see filesharing as a New World Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638083)

"Artists can still make money, but they'll have to play more live shows and their recorded music is nothing more than promotion(fame) for shows."

Hey, that's a great idea.

Let's apply the same reasoning to software too. After all, it's essentially the same distribution model, and just as affected by piracy.

How about software writers give their software for free and make money doing live shows too? And film makers and writers!

In reality, the 'live show' argument in specious. Most modern music can no more be performed live than most modern software.

Re:I see filesharing as a New World Order (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638159)

How about software writers give their software for free and make money doing live shows too?

Are you new to Slashdot? One of the most frequent topics of discussion here for almost a decade is how giving software away under the GPL or similar licenses can work quite well, because one can still sell support.

And film makers and writers!

Personally, most films I rate highly were produced through a substantial amount of private patronage or state arts subsidies. Piracy isn't much of a threat when the bills are already paid.

Re:I see filesharing as a New World Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638269)

"Are you new to Slashdot? One of the most frequent topics of discussion here for almost a decade is how giving software away under the GPL or similar licenses can work quite well, because one can still sell support."

And a decade later, only a tiny minority make a living this way. It also ignores the fact that most contributors to free software make their living by working for commercial software companies.

"Personally, most films I rate highly were produced through a substantial amount of private patronage or state arts subsidies. Piracy isn't much of a threat when the bills are already paid."

Great, but again that is a vanishingly small proportion of the films most people want to watch. And I bet they don't even show up on the torrent sites.

Re:I see filesharing as a New World Order (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638343)

Great, but again that is a vanishingly small proportion of the films most people want to watch. And I bet they don't even show up on the torrent sites.

Actually, art films both classic and contemporary are well represented on torrent sites, even ones as mainstream as The Pirate Bay.

Re:I see filesharing as a New World Order (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638099)

I agree. There is a great deal of room to make education cheaper and better. I'm not so sure it will happen in my country, but other countries might realize what can be done with (now inexpensive) computers and go that route.

Re:I see filesharing as a New World Order (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638225)

instead of waiting for someone to write "The comprehensive guide to calculus as to be learned by anyone who knows how to count", maybe you should write it yourself.

free textbooks will not happen and here is why... (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638385)

I truthfully don't care about music. What I care about is when textbooks start becoming free. It will be a revolution in education. This will be especially the case when people write things like,"The comprehensive guide to calculus as to be learned by anyone who knows how to count" The computer means it can be an advanced and interactive media session. The free distribution will mean anyone can have it in their hands.

If it helps giving you a sense why you'd very unlikely get free and quality textbooks: I know enough calculus that I'm quite willing to teach you for free when I have nothing else to do, but writing a textbook takes an organized effort beyond what I'm willing to do for free.

Not to say that writing a textbook about emerging fields for graduate students (or advanced undergraduate students) involves hours and hours of survey and comprehensive study of related papers. These papers only describe incremental developments of a concept, and are targeted only for researchers in the same field. The papers are, in a sense, a bush in the forest, and writing a textbook requires you to map out the entire forest by looking at a bush at a time. Then you need to figure out how to organize it in a way so the material is accessible to first-time readers of that subject.

If he expects to be in the top 100 (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638001)

as an indie artist, he is deluding himself. It might happen, rarely, but not often.

Yes, filesharing does open the markets to new bands. BUT, the band has to be good enough to make it in the market.

Re:If he expects to be in the top 100 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638187)

But I bought this guitar last week and spent a few hours learning to play it! You people owe me a decent living for all of my hard work and sacrifice!

Re:If he expects to be in the top 100 (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638289)

Indeed, I'd suggest looking at the top 200 or better yet top 500. Indie groups have always been more of a word of mouth phenomena than anything else. If you're managing to get into the top several hundred against commercial labels chances are you're doing quite well.

And it's also worth keeping in mind that there's an unimaginable number of bands competing for spots.

However... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638003)

If people are downloading the top 40 crap, then what are they spending money on. I for one spend money only on unique music that has earned my support. 90% of my iTunes purchases are of stuff that will never appear on a top 40 playlist and that's where my money deserves to go.

Your scenario (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638007)

describes the precise method used by Microsoft and Adobe to achieve their monopolies. The labels know what's going on here. And the "Streisand Effect" is being played to the hilt in their favor. And every year you hear about record profits somewhere in the industry, particularly film right now.

perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638011)

I felt like posting a useless comment, troll, or flame, but didn't want to spoil a good thread. This presents the perfect opportunity to do so. Glad somebody set us up the anon.

The internet isn't magical (1)

Forzan (1132007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638015)

The big names are on The Pirate Bay because they're well known - and the internet makes it easier for new artists to become well known by removing the previous barriers of entry small bands once had to go through to be broadcast to the general public. You have to find a better way to sell yourself. Magnatunes is an example of independent artists jumping over those barriers of entry to make their music available to the world at large.

Re:The internet isn't magical (1)

surpeis (1268612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638311)

Hey, im not selling myself mate...

I WANT a new market to grow forth. But very often I see TPB and similar services recognised as "front soldiers" for this struggle. I find this to be a false illusion that I wanted to challenge.

In my perfect world, people would fill TPB with the NEW and FREE music. How can we make that happen, is my simple question?

Good points. (5, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638019)

However, you make the assumption that all 10M people reading here are actively polling right now from any one of those torrents. You'd be mistaken.

Some of my favorites exist from back in the '20s when rip roaring jazz was abound everywhere. We see avant jazz go all the way up to present, with other counties spawning jazz musicians. Classical has mostly stagnated, but those who like those "stuffy sounds", that music has existed from the 1700's when the Church commissioned those pieces to begin with. We really start to get to the heyday of music, from the rock era starting in the 60's to the 70's. And we all know the groups that came from that time.

Now, if my numbers are correct, nearly every work published since 1/1/1922 is under full copyright protection. So... most "popular musics" are covered by somebody's copyright. And it turns out, if the record companies didn't own it, they bought it or sued for it. Big surprise.

Of course, you have indies and such, but they really dont matter (sorry). Yeah, if they organized into a force to fight against the ilk of the RIAA, they might have a chance, but then they would turn in to what they hated and originally fought against.

If you havent realized it already, but copyright is really useless in its present form.

*said while listening to music from , a free music site in dedication to remixing game music.

A poor argument. (3, Insightful)

sakusha (441986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638031)

That was a very poor argument. You're basing your argument on the top 100 torrents, this is like an inverse of the "long tail" argument. But that's the only data you have, since you can't look at the top 100,000 torrents.

There are other ways to look at this. For example, I used to be active on usenet in some specialist binaries newsgroups. We traded obscure music in our genre, none of this was new or of wide interest, it was definitely a niche. I did one vinyl rip and restoration of a very obscure LP that I might have one of the only existing copies, it took weeks to restore and clean up all the pops and clicks. That rip was traded back and forth repeatedly. Then all of a sudden, a new remastered CD of the album came out. I'm convinced that repeated trading of my vinyl rip proved demand and the record company was watching, and decided to remaster and rerelease it.

Now if that (admittedly anonymous and unsupported) anecdote doesn't convince you (and why should it) then the mere existence of niche trading sites (on usenet and torrent trackers) should convince you. Take a look, there are plenty of them, within easy reach.

If you're going to argue that the most easily available torrents are the most easily available mass-trade products (like top 40 music) then you've found the perfect set of stats to prove your point. Maybe you shouldn't form your hypothesis and then go looking for data to fit it.

Re:A poor argument. (3, Interesting)

surpeis (1268612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638369)

THanks for posting.

I realise that its impossible to bring solid "evidence" to what is happening, and at what price it comes. I could write a book about it, but I wanted to keep it short to make my point. Not more, not less.

Im probably an idiot to try to post the "reader's Digest" version inside the temple of nerds, but hopefully I can start some refelctions that can contribute to the future market being brn.

That sais I know that your arguments are 100% valid. The problem is that I (and this is MY personal view) am afraid that the major labels will be stronger than ever, while all the other markets will be, as you point out, niches. The stuff in between, the indies, will struggle in such a market because they (again in my humble opinion) dont have the resources to profit as easily from global market opportunities as the major labels.

Anyways, thanks for posting good and valid arguments, I will definitely store them for future use..

Re:A poor argument. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638381)

Yes, what kind of stupid article is this? And why is it on slashdot?

When people download mainstream material they have money left to go to local live performances. In the early days of bittorrent there were loads om smal tracker for all kinds of music, but most of them have now been shut down by the large corporations.

Most people I know who buys music nowadays do it because they like and feel a connection to the artist, not because they got spoon-feed by the music industry.

The 'pirate' demographic (4, Insightful)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638035)

I think the poster is making the mistake of trying to pigeon-hole 'pirates' into a category of tech-savvy computer nerds out to liberate the indie musicians from the suffocating embrace of the RIAA and Big Media and enforce a massive paradigm shift upon the distribution and consumption of entertainment. Sure, such a demographic is no doubt largely represented among the 20 million or whatever Pirate Bay visitors, but I'd wager that an equally significant proportion are just your typical Joe Sixpack consumer with enough technical knowledge to download a torrent - teenage girls downloading the High School Musical soundtrack, bored housewives and college students downloading the latest episode of Lost and so on. So bemoaning the fact that the 'pirates' appear to be downloading the exact mass-produced tat that the same 'pirates' are supposed to be railing against seems, to me, to be disingenuous.

On the one hand, it may seem counter-productive that the majority of media being torrented is largely big-label and megacorp product because these 'civilly disobedient' keyboard warriors decry it and should boycott it completely instead. However, on the other hand, it may help the ultimate cause of filesharers by highlighting the fact that the pirate demographic cuts huge swathes and that it is mostly normal people who don't see a problem with sharing files with eachother, rather than a bunch of fringe computer nerds who make a convenient target for media types and politicians.

Pirate bay is not a good example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638043)

People go to Pirate Bay for illegal stuff.

How many views on YouTube do unknown artists get, where their content can be viewed legally? It is difficult to get a realistic idea, but a cursory glance would suggest thousands of musicians getting a hundreds or in some cases thousands of views each.

So what do you want? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638063)

Special treatment? All the time I've heard about how the labels control music, it's about how they control the radio and tv ads, they control the shelf space, they make sure you don't get heard. So on TBP you're all equal, everybody downloads whatever they want from every label, everyone got access to your music no matter how obscure. Everyone's free to put together their own favorites or collections of music and share it with others without payola to get on the radio station's A-list. TBP is not going to solve the problem that people don't WANT your music, if that's what you think. Even though it's all formula-based, you realize they didn't just come up with the formula by accident right? It's sorta the point to hit the mainstream with it.

Re:So what do you want? (2, Informative)

surpeis (1268612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638401)

Thanks for posting.

If thats how you interpret my post, Im have failed to bring my point forth.

I dont even run a label anymore.

Im simply stating that the music biz scene seems to be more consolidated than ever, and I am aware (and thought I made this clear) that TPB is expected to reflect the marketing of the major biz. Im merely pointing out that this actually strengthens the "arch enemy" rather than advocating change...

Another possibility, though: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638071)

As TFS notes(and, in this case RTFA=RTFS, so I'm all set) pirates, on average, are distributing exactly the same major label top 100 stuff that people, on average, are listening to. There certainly are pirates that differ from this, just as there are the indie cool kids who hang out at underground record shops(in many cases, these populations probably overlap).

However, I'm not at all sure that this supports the contention that piracy is an advantage for the major labels. Essentially, the major label stuff is a "takes money to make money" enterprise. You have an expensive marketing machine mobilized to sell a huge number of copies of some blandly acceptable product. If you don't move enough copies, you lose a large amount of money. Here, you don't need "exposure", you've already paid for that, you just need to sell copies. Thus, the extra exposure you get from pirates is of minimal help, since you already own the airwaves, and the reduced sales hurt.

On the indie side, you don't get much in the way of increased exposure, because most pirates are pirating top 100, and (given the way p2p works) the fewer people are interested in something, the lousier your downloading experience is going to be.

I suspect, ultimately, "piracy" in the classic piratebay/sons-of-napster sense isn't a huge visibility win for the indies(though online distribution of samples and promo material through music blogs and the like might well be); but it is, at the same time, a considerable threat to the major label model.

TBP - Terrible Context (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638101)

Using TPB's Top 100 is a terrible example of 'pirating's effect' on.... well.... anything. It almost looks like an attempt to use the media hype around the trial as advertising itself, and no real a slashdot substance. Too bad the band wasn't mentioned.

Seriously though. I'm sorry, but little evidence with a bad conceptualization of cause/effect..

I personally have come across 90% of indie bands on bittorrent, because I cant find them anywhere else. Whether I buy after that, is up to me, yes. But theres a 0% chance Ill buy if I never hear or know about them. And I wont hear or know by simply looking at TPB. Or any other similar service.

Dude... (3, Interesting)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638103)

Are you serious?
Let me tell you a little secret, bittorrent communities (especially TPB) are a horrible place to spread a concept. They are very loosely knit, with very few members or even users frequenting the forums and discussing things. No discussion means no recommendations from other users. No recommendations means your word is never spread. How is someone supposed to glean a band out of thin air, try every new music torrent that is posted? Filesharing is an extremely effective method in other areas though. I have been an active user on Soulseek for probably 5 years, and participate in several different music communities there. Nothing else in my life has influenced my taste more than the people I've met in the chatrooms there. And I'll just tell you right now that I'm about as far off the mainstream track as you can get.

Just do it better.

Re:Dude... (2, Interesting)

surpeis (1268612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638451)

Hey and thanks for posting.
There's probably alot passing me by, unfortunately I only have one life to spend on all the cool stuff on the net...

I will note down your thoughts about BT-communities. My point was not to nail TPB to the wall though, just to argue that there is seemingly no measurable effect on what music the net community listens to compared to the "ordinary" market.

Anyways, Im not at all afriad to say I might be wrong on some of this. On the other hand I see indies dying like flies, while I don't see any other damage to the major biz than some scratches in the paint. And it confuses me and makes me concerned.

Sorry (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638107)

As long as the world lives under this glitzy market economy, there's not a chance. If people are to resist here, they'll start doing it in other facets. This market absolutely depends on frivolous purchases. Tear that down and you'll have to find an entirely new way to motivate people.

It's all in the marketing (1)

Jyrsa (731100) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638115)

While I do admit that the poster may have a point, I have to point out one major flaw his example:

If you look at the Top100 artists, albums or downloads, you'll inevitably see the effects of all those marketing dollars the big record labels are chipping out.

Filesharing as a means of promoting new artists is at it's infancy, there's just not enough mass to compete with millions of $ in marketing budget.

Which mirrors my complaint about file sharing. (4, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638129)

It removes one of the penalties for liking terrible music. You should be forced to pay a fine ( the cost the label asks for) as well as the punishment of actually having to listen to top 40 crap. How else are teenagers supposed to evolve beyond thier terrible pop music phase? If I ever write a file sharing technology, I'll be sure to put in a good taste filter.

I can never come up with subjects.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638133)

The thing is, I like music I've already heard.
And I just don't hear much indie music.
I first heard of my favorite bands from Guitar Hero II and III, and the rest of my regular listening setup is music from video games I've played and, for some reason, Sandstorm by Darude.

Maybe you should put music in Frets of Fire or one of those Linux rhythm games that sucks because there's no music for it.

I need to hear your song before I'll know if it's worth listening to, and worth pirating.

Author is right and wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638135)

I agree with the author: filesharing sites may not help support Indie artists. However, that is not the reason that I tend to side with the pirates when it comes to these issues. I see piracy as a means of protesting the monopoly that the major record companies have on the distribution of music. The author is right that filesharing tends to mirror the major record releases, but I disagree the cause is the file sharing sites. I believe the fault lies with the record labels themselves. They remain, though they hopefully are fading, the most likely path to national and worldwide recognition. Regardless of how they got there, people will mostly want to pirate these mega-star groups, not because of allegiance to RIAA, but simply because they know who these popular groups are. What I find most infuriating about the tactics of the RIAA is their steadfast belief that the only way they can make a profit is through this stranglehold on distribution. They actively stifle other forms of publication, which is what ultimately hurts indie artists, as a means of perpertuating their control to release a limited selection of drivel. It is this monopoly, a completely artificial monopoly, that I hope piracy one day breaks. and Napster worked, p2p is a protocol (5, Insightful)

spd_rcr (537511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638163)

When music was first (largely) being distributed via offerings like and Napster, there was the ability to browse by genre and mine down to find various other bands you might like. There was lots of indie bands making their way to the surface, similar to Apples "genius" feature in itunes.

p2p is only a file sharing protocol, you still need to know what you're looking for before you can download anything, thus people are only going to download stuff they already know about.

If you want to unearth cool indie bands, you'll need a more traditional site with intuitive groupings to showcase them. (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638351)

The original or the cnet advertisement with the random give-aways? Because Michael Robertson's was novel, and way ahead of its time, the spam site is/was garbage. (1)

spd_rcr (537511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638465)

the original, it was way ahead of its time.

rewind to a decade ago, before RIAA had everyone running scared, filesharing was evolving as a social network, like facebook or myspace, but primarily centered around musical tastes (not enough bandwidth for movies & tv yet). The lawsuits from the big record companies killed the 'sharing' and turned it into anonymous 'pirating'.

While RIAA's lawsuits haven't protected their music from being stolen, they have helped protect it from drowning amongst the indie's.

Outweighted by the cool effects of filesharing (3, Insightful)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638195)

The less-cool effects of filesharing are by far outweighted by the cool effects of filesharing.

Filesharing is a product of technological advance. As every other technical advance before that, it has a negative effect on people whose business model comprised manual production of a certain product.

That way you also can write lengthy articles seemingly fraught with meaning about the less-cool effects of refrigerators, which made thousands of hard-working and family-feeding ice-collectors and ice-sellers unemployed. You could write about the less-cool effects of mechanized looms, which made hundreds of thousands unemployed and left to starving in the 19th century. In general, you could write general pamphlets against any kind of automatisation technology since it makes manual work not needed any more.

But in the end, you also will have to face the fact that you wont in any way be able to stop and wind back the clock of time and that the general market for "copies" of any kind has ended. With today's technology, we can replicate and distribute works of any kind ourselves and do not need you and your services any more. As somebody here said, "today, we are all printers". It may be true that in such a society there will be less new content created in total, but with free filesharing, we all will have access to more total content. The sole fact that you created something does not give you any kind of imaginary right to control how people will use it and how often they will copy and share it with other people. Also we people do not in any way grant you such rights, absolutely acknowledging that you may stop creating and publishing new works. We simply value our god given rights to free speech and free echange of information and culture than your imaginary, artificial rights to censor such natural human behavior in order to give you an incentive to "increase production".

The age of artificial scarcity and for-profit censorship has ended.

Enter the age of sharing and caring. Don't worry. It's going to be alright. :-)

Crazy and Biased. (1, Flamebait)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638197)

I think he might have a bit of a bias being a failing indie band person. Strawman aside...

"There is no accounting for bad taste."
File sharing puts everything on equal footing based on POPULARITY. Think of torrents like a store... A store with 100million songs available. If not even 1 person is willing to seed your music the people have spoken, you SUCK. What does the top 100 have to do with anything? It is a reflection of the market, it drives it to some small degree but that is it. It makes everything almost equally available if there is some remote interest on the planet for it. Would you prefer a store with only 10,000songs? Where you are guaranteed to not be on the shelves.

Basically, suck it up. If you can't succeed in such an open environment on equal footing with any giant band (better than ones with RIAA fucking them over). Than it isn't the system. It is you.

You Suck.

You are useless at advertising, hence you fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638209)

You get a whaa whaa whaa piece on the front page of slashdot, but don't bother up link to a torrent of what you are offering. You failed because you are useless at getting the message out, and that assuming the material is even worth the infinitesimal costs of the HD space.

Why the labels still fight TBP (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638211)

While it's true that it's worse for the RIAA labels if someone downloads an indie song that they like rather than illicitly downloading an RIAA song or buying an RIAA song, it's still worse for the labels for someone to illicitly download an RIAA song rather than buy it. So they will continue to fight TPB, even if it fails to help indie labels. Conversely, from the point of view of someone who wants to see RIAA labels hurt, it's better if someone illicitly downloads an RIAA song rather than purchases an RIAA song. Either way, I don't see how file sharing hurts the non-RIAA publishers. Either the RIAA music dominates the illicit channels as completely as the legal ones (in which case the indies are neither hurt nor helped by the illicit channels, but the RIAA labels are slightly hurt), or they do not (win for the indies).

The only case I can see where the existence of the illicit channels could hurt the indies is if they were trying to compete on price with the RIAA labels in the legal channels. I don't think that's the case.

Hao about whinz (1)

Stauken (1392809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638213)

My favorite least cool effect of filesharing is when your dumbass kids shut down your network with bittorrent because they don't know what they're doing. :) Yeah, you can fix it after the fact but it's definitely confusing when it starts the first time.

Get real... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638233)

I'm not waying in on the filesharing debate as filesharing is irrelevant. That digital goods can be distributed for approaching zero marginal cost is an economic fact. Artists can now distribute products without a traditional middleman in place, where we once had labels we now have services like foxytunes. As the digital stores improve and prices are reduced, it'll be just as convienient to purchase music as it currently is to bittorrent it.

Old school record labels have been understandably reluctant to change and filesharing has served as a scapegoat for an outdated business model. The reality is that bands still require management, promotion and PR and they still require loans (AKA: advance payment). If you can do these things successfully, you have a business. If not... why should I care?

An argument full of holes (4, Insightful)

wirelessdreamer (1136477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638237)

Using TBP download stat's as a source that people don't want to download non mainstream artists music isn't valid. People download music from TPB because they 1. Don't have access to it in their region, or 2. don't want to pay for it, but they knew what they were looking for ahead of time.

On the other hand with Indie music there are much better sources to distribute music in a p2p setting, such as Jamendo. It's better organized for Creative Commons music searches then TBP, hosts its own tracker, and offers direct downloads for content, in case the seeder ratio is low. Artists can classify their music based on style.

TBP and self promotion have nothing to do with each other. Youtube, and Jamendo are about promotion, TPB is about distributing in mass quantities. Once your indie gets huge overnight and you can't keep up with the requests for downloads, then you put your torrent on TPB, and they'll get it out there for you, but until then, promote.

'snub' (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638251)

I have never heard someone call their own actions a snub, and even if I had, this would not be one.

What you have written is a 'rebuttal'. When you 'snub', you dismiss, insult, or frustrate the expectations of someone who has expectations of you specifically.

Mostly I think the accepted linguistic use is that a snub is what the second party or a third party determines. It's not up to the snubber to decide if it's a snub or not.

Can anyone point to other examples of people calling their own actions a snub, in advance?

TPB is not filesharing (1)

Shelled (81123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638273)

Not all of it in any case, the main flaw in timothy's argument. The vast bulk of TPB appears to be search driven, download what you already know. It's no surprise the system favours established artists. Usenet, in contrast, had finely grained per niche discussion tied to downloads. I stopped buying music soon after my ISP killed the binary groups for lack of exposure to new artists.

the real label product is brainwashing, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638285)

... and that's what you pay for.

It costs tens of millions to make masses "like" some music. You could have a music genius playing next door, but you don't care. You want what you are repeatedly told everyone wants. You follow the herd mentality. Masses are inherently fascistic and kitschy in their tastes, and there is a price tag attached to feeding that mentality. This is what labels do for living. They manufacture mass desires, and that costs money. Artists are relevant as much as coca leaves gatherers in latin america.

Before the means of obtaining for free the commercial bits existed, at least those without money were spared from the participation in this musicjugend hordes. Now they also can participate, for free. The idiots even cheer this free access as some advance in civilisation and "freedom". Think of it freebie heroin. It eliminates choice.

The original comment is correct - zero cost for obtaining copyrighted material only strengthens the grip of labels.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638305)

How could illegal file sharing ever be good for the recording industry? It seems clear that sales are down by massive numbers and continue to fall. Most mainstream music is crap and I'll bet most of the indie music supposedly being snubbed is also crap. Good riddance! 8^D

That's a very long winded tautology (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638323)

Yes, TPB top 100 lists popular music. What is popular is popular.

Torrenting in and of itself doesn't advertise music. Me telling my buddy "hey, go download X", and him being able to download X does.

This treats nice indy labels and evil RIAA labels completely equally, because we don't give a damn about your copyright policies. We're going to ignore your claims no matter what.

Now, when I do decide to spend money on music, I'm not going to give it to the evil bastard suing the nice folks running trackers.

your complaint in a nutshell: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638327)

"it is a shame that the internet came and replaced my business model"

the internet is nothing but a superior distribution model that, fortunately for us, unfortunately for those invested in the old school, has no financial impetus. artists can distribute directly to their fans, without any filter in between

all music files are nowadays are nothing more than ad fliers for the artist's next show. revenue is made in ancillary streams: live shows, endorsements, etc. yes, this financial world is a lot smaller than the old one. and? why should we care there is less money involved? i am supposed to feel bad my artist will make $100,000 rather than $1,000,000? or rather, that my favorite artist's distributor makes $0 now instead of $10,000,000? besides, my favorite artist sits atop a pyramid of lesser artists who made pennies under the old model while their distributor reaped it all. and the lesser artists will actually make more under the new model, since there's no distributor to own and lord over their financial lives. the only artists who really suffer in the new model are the extremely well established artists: your metallica, your prince, your britney spears, your jay z. the highly-established artist who has muscled into the distribution model surrounding him

let's all shed a tear for fifty cent and the beatles

who fucking cares they will now make millions rather than billions

all that is dying is the old school distribution and financial model. everything else is upside

i mean it is a shame that the printing press put all those hardworking transcribing monks out of business too, but what are we supposed to do for those monks other than simply mourn their passing?

i mourn the passing of your era. that's all i have for you

if it isnt a profit for the big 4 (1)

ticktickboom (1054594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638331)

if it isnt a profit for the big 4, than its a loss. thier the ones with the anyone who refuses to pay for their music will be shot...taken to court. sure, we could all go out and support that indi artist, only to find that the indi lable is another one that is owned by the big 4. they change names daily. the only way to not give them your money is to...not give them your money. when everyone stops buying music, and the big 4 start hurtin, then taxes will increase and t hey will get bailed out.

they will take your money, u dont even have to give it to them. :)
now we return to our regularly scheduled programing

waffles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638363)

I love them. What-ever they are, they are yummy. Just saying.

I couldn't disagree more (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638383)

Just check out myspace if you want to see a proliferation of indie labels and artists. Pirate Bay and other mainstream file sharing programs are just that MAINSTREAM. There are other file sharing tools that focus purely on obscure indie music and genre's. These programs show an entirely different view of music sharing. Almost no one share mainstream pop crap.

My own biased comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638437)

I'm an unknown artist who publishes some of his work under the CC-BY-SA license, so if you're feeling generous I guess you could count me as one of these indie people (not on the music industry though).

Every time the *IAAs make a huge dick move, specially one somewhat successful (don't see too many of those, BTW), I privately cheer for them, as I think the more they alienate their customers, the more they will turn towards indie, free, non-restrictive, non-DRM ladden stuff. Their "wins" are actually their loss - and their losses are my wins, so to speak.

If the *IAAs and their ilk got absolute, sweeping legal victories, and every piracy outlet in the world were to shut down (unlikely as that notion might be), then I have no doubt a large part of the population would finally snub the major labels, turn to indies, and hopefully discover the jewels they hadn't even looked at before.

I don't know whether it's alright to blame piracy for this, though. It's just what the current situation is, no more and no less.

For what is worth, I have heard a similar argument coming from the Linux community (i.e. "if people couldn't pirate Windows, many more of them would use Linux instead"). And I have personally seen this happen plenty of times (people buying Linux PCs, then turning around and installing a pirated Windows copy). Perhaps it's not so different from what the OP says?

Change does not happen overnight... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27638439)

... especially when an entrenched monopoly (RIAA) is involved. The RIAA has the power (both economic and political) to make it very difficult for alternatives to the RIAA to gain a significant foothold. That is not to say that the RIAA will never be overthrown, it will just take time. The major labels need to see a more profitable alternative to the RIAA, but that will not happen unless/until more internet-savvy executives populate the upper ranks of the record labels.

Matt Mason have extensive knowledge of this topic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27638441)

He is a former pirate radio DJ, magazine editor and entrepreneur and have written the book "The Pirate's Dilemma". Excellent book which you can get for free att his webpage.


Also check out the talk by him:

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