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Reflections On the Less-Cool Effects of Filesharing 458

Posted by timothy
from the pasta-sharing-much-more-useful dept.
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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Reflections On the Less-Cool Effects of Filesharing

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  • Flawed premise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:28PM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:41PM (#27638057) Homepage

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PinkPanther (42194) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:06PM (#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.

        • 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 b

        • Re:Flawed premise (Score:5, Interesting)

          by davidphogan74 (623610) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:24PM (#27638427) Homepage

          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 (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Znork (31774) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @04:06PM (#27638829)

            TPB may not list them in the top 100

            I'm not sure TPB's top 100 is a good list to track distribution of independent and net-savvy bands either way; if they're distributing freely via their own site, or have their works easily available through sites like e-music, it'll quickly skew the statistics. For many unsigned bands or their fans, there may simply not be any need to involve TPB.

            The statistics on last.fm are a bit more interesting then, and the post-Radiohead net release charts were amusing, as they were rather, eh, dominated by Radiohead.

            In the end tho, marketing is still efficient, and channel control even more so. As long as the big labels retain the financial muscle to heavily influence most mainstream media outlets, they'll dominate the top lists.

            Hopefully they'll lose that muscle through a combination of factors. On one end from the loss of ROI on overmarketing as p2p copying undermines it, and on the other as the importance of media outlets becomes fractured into personalized and socialized networks driven by the taste of at least a few more individuals.

            Unfortunately it's going to take a while for the labels die. And until their control begins to slip the game will remain rigged..

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by davidphogan74 (623610)

              I'm not sure TPB's top 100 is a good list to track distribution of independent and net-savvy bands either way...

              It's not. 100 out of how many torrents? 10,000? 50,000? 250,000 torrents? Can we ever really know.

              The point was that recordings that could otherwise easily be lost are preserved 50 times instead of once. Imagine if through the history of humans we had a chance to have 30 to 250 times the number of archivists just because of an internet service.

              Some may abuse it, but there's a valid cultural reason to allow public trackers. I can't afford to host one.

          • Re:Flawed premise (Score:5, Interesting)

            by stonewallred (1465497) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @04:08PM (#27638849)
            Why would indie artists that support free sharing of their music be high on the list at TPB? The artists that allow downloading of their stuff usually offer it off their website, not via torrents. I don't go to TPB to download the latest VLC or Media Player Classic, they are on their webpages, just as indie artists music is. Dude tries real hard in the article but fails to make this easy to see explanation.
        • Re:Flawed premise (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NoTheory (580275) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:33PM (#27638517)
          The original post AND all these comments miss the point.

          File sharing is a means of distribution , NOT marketing .

          If you are trying to get popular by being the top download on The Pirate Bay, then you're doing it wrong. In my experience, there is very little horizontal movement between pieces of content on torrent trackers. You go to the torrent tracker with something mind, you find it, you download it, you're done. Other media like SoulSeek are much better as an exploratory sharing system.

          Nor are popular bands popular just because they're signed to major labels (otherwise Poe one of my favorite artists would be considerably better known than she is). They are popular because major labels and other soul crushing pieces of media machinery market them heavily through all the things that people are connected to. Television shows, movies, radio, the blogosphere, etc.

          If you want to be popular, make yourself notable AND easy to get. Torrent trackers take care of the second bit. You've gotta take care of the first bit.
          • Re:Flawed premise (Score:5, Interesting)

            by asparagus (29121) <`koonce' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday April 19, 2009 @04:57PM (#27639281) Homepage Journal

            If you want to be popular, make yourself notable AND easy to get.

            I concur. Now, onwards to shameless self promotion! Or rather, I don't know if I'm notable, but "easy to get" seems accurate. :P

            You can download my first feature off of LegalTorrents: Seven Dead Men [legaltorrents.com].

            Hope you enjoy.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Reziac (43301) *

              This is exactly what I'm talking about up above. Bit-track (new verb :) those indies on an indie-ONLY tracker so the signal to noise ratio won't drown them out. Who would ever find your film on TPB? No one, since they'd have to hit it by sheer chance. Who would find it on an indie-only site? Well, at least there you've got a fair chance to be seen.

              BTW you might want to put the link in your sig so it gets seen more often. That's where I found my fave internet radio -- in someone's sig.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Perl-Pusher (555592)
              Exactly, market yourself! What a label can offer an artist is up front production cost and marketing. That makes them a powerful force. But technology has made it possible to promote your self. But you have to be creative! First issue, production, it is now possible to create a complete studio digital master in a home studio. But you need to learn how to use the tools and proper recording techniques. Second marketing, in a word play. Everywhere, anywhere generate a local following. Be out there and accessib
          • Re:Flawed premise (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:16PM (#27640665)

            Not necessarily, I frequent the Top100 to see what everyone else is listening to. I've picked up on a few bands I hadn't heard of previously, but most of time its junk that I don't particularly care for. I don't listen to music radio, so this is a way for me to get plugged into what most people are listening to. Most of it gets removed within a couple days.

            To me this is one of the most 'organic' ways to know what is popular out there.

        • Re:Flawed premise (Score:5, Insightful)

          by N1AK (864906) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @05:08PM (#27639381) Homepage

          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.

          Fans are freely allowed to share the music of any artist who allows it and can do so without the fear of retribution. The point is that even though major label music sharing is illegal it still gets shared far more widely than any music released by someone with less restrictions.

          The author's point is valid, TPB and other major torrent trackers do nothing to help publicise little known acts (something that people have argued against). In fact they arguably help the status quo because many people will get music off trackers 'for free', but might of been willing to try out new bands who offered music for free if they couldn't get mainstream material off trackers.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ciderVisor (1318765)

            In fact they arguably help the status quo

            That's just not fair ! The Quo have been rockin' all over the world for 40 years. Time for a new band to get some help.

        • by goombah99 (560566) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:04AM (#27641987)

          The article kind of muffed it's key point I think, but it's there if you read it carefully. Let me try to restate it.

          1) First, suppose there were no way for anyone to get major lable music for free. Piratebay provides this service.

          2) Now in such a world, an indie label could establish new artisits simply by giviving away free music. People like free, so it would get downloaded and played.

          3) Of course Indie lables sometime do that now, so why are not people gorging on it? The reason is, they can also get free mainstream music from pirate bay, which being lazy and suceptible to marketing and peer pressure they prefer when all else is equal.

          Thus the author's thesis is simply that free mainstream music is choking the market and denying the indies an avenue to distinguish themselves. He would prefer that "all else" not be equal. That one were instead choosing between taking a risk on free aural adventures he was offering or the non-free but shiny comfortable mainstream music.

          His problem is that because prirate bay is actually something only adventureous people do, that it's sort of actually one more obstacle for these folks on their way to other adventures in free music.

          Another way to put this is that, if indie music is free one might think it is not worth as much as music that you have to pay for (but can get free by pirating it).

          His thesis is logical. It only goes wrong at the close where he wonders why the record labels chase the pirates. The point is they can't make it easy to get it for free. Just easy enough to satisfy the hard core folks and further advertise their wares, but not so easy that everyone stops buying music.

      • Re:Flawed premise (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:14PM (#27638355) Journal
        "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 http://klugeragency.com/ [klugeragency.com] (warning flash, music, and a black hole of tastelessness). See this [wired.com] for the hilarious incident where Kluger contacted the anti-advertising agency in what was, shall we say, a lapse in judgment.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Petrushka (815171)

          See this [wired.com] for the hilarious incident where Kluger contacted the anti-advertising agency in what was, shall we say, a lapse in judgment.

          It was certainly a lapse in judgment, but actually I don't see a problem whatsoever with that model of advertising in principle. It's how performing artists got started in the first place. Paying an artist to promote you -- art on commission -- think of praise poems. Here's a small sample from an ancient Greek poet, Pindar, in a poem commissioned to celebrate someone's victory at the Olympian games:

          ... Know this, son of Archestratos:
          it is because of your boxing, Hagesidamos,
          that as an ornament to your golden olive garland
          I shall cry aloud sweet songs,
          celebrating the race of the western Lokrians.
          And now, party on! I'll guarantee,
          Muses, that he will return home to a people who are not hostile to visitors,
          not oblivious to fine things,
          but they possess the height of wisdom, and skill in the spear.
          For neither the fiery fox
          nor loud-roaring lions would go and change their own innate character.

          Now, this was probably commissioned by the athlete's native city, rather than his family: Pindar spends more t

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ukyoCE (106879)

        I'm not sure I've ever heard people claim that "peer 2 peer file sharing promotes new music". If anything it's the opposite - you don't find music on p2p unless you go looking for it.

        However the *internets* as a medium, primarily websites, e-mail, and linking, DO promote lesser known artists. Sharing music with a friend used to require physically handing over your own personal copy of a CD (or cassette) and hoping it doesn't get messed up. Or best case, recording a tape and handing it over physically.

        Now

    • Re:Flawed premise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Antidamage (1506489) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:59PM (#27638219) Homepage

      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.

      • by kripkenstein (913150) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:25PM (#27638445) Homepage

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SetupWeasel (54062)

          Without demand there is no need to distribute. That is the big problem. Corporations control the media and thus control what we hear in the background of our lives. You will never hear true indie music as you walk into a Subway or a Starbucks despite their "indie" label featuring such unknowns as Paul McCartney. Indie music must be searched for, and when you do try to look for it, you learn that much of it is crap.

          That is not to say that most major label music isn't crap. It is. But the key is that you don'

    • Re:Flawed premise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jonsmirl (114798) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:02PM (#27638249) Homepage

      TPB is not really a music discovery service. You have to know the name of the track to find it. Last.fm is a discovery service. I've listened to over 7,000 different tracks via their streaming service.

      Last.fm 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mlinksva (1755)

        TPB is a music (and other media) discovery service to the extent people look at its "top" pages.

        Last.fm is of course much more interesting as a music discovery service. For those with concerns like the author of the post, check out http://libre.fm/ [libre.fm]

    • by Geof (153857) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:22PM (#27638421) Homepage
      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.
      • Sorry. Bouncy three year-old on my arm when I clicked "Submit".

        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

    • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @05:38PM (#27639603) Journal

      Popular music more popular!
      Obscure music less popular!
      Regardless of distribution method and media!

      Also, sky is blue, water is wet, candy tastes better than cardboard and I am stating obvious things.

    • If the problem is being lost in the crowd -- move away from the crowd.

      So instead of relying on a tracker like TPB that carries absolutely everything from everywhere, run a public tracker that handles ONLY indies.

      --Filter out the big-name stuff.
      --Make it easy to FIND the new artists rather than having them lost behind the high-volume clutter from the label artists.
      --Make sure the filesharing world knows your tracker exists. Publicize it everywhere P2P is discussed.
      --Make sure everyone knows right up front th

  • by ThatFunkyMunki (908716) <thatfunkymunki@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:28PM (#27637949)
    I have accounts with waffles.fm and what.cd 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      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

    • by Mishotaki (957104) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:33PM (#27638515)

      When someone knows he's downloading a Madonna album, he knows he's taking a couple bucks out of a multi-millionnaire...

      When someone downloads and learns about a fairly unknown group and he likes what he hears, he know that if he buys a CD from that group, the group won't see his money as useless change while they ligth their cigars with 100$ bills... the smaller groups needs the money and people know that... people commit much more into buying indie albums than buying the latest Celine Dion because they know that if they can make the album more known, the group will want to release more and bigger is usually "better" for the fans

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gerddie (173963)

      I was told that Napstar had something like "People who liked this also downloaded that" (just like Amazon and I would guess last.fm and the likes too). With a tool like this it is easy to find new music. TPB and similar trackers/torrent search engines don't have anything like this - you have to know what you are looking for or alternatively, digg through the list of available torrents and download more or less blindly.

      Personally, I think the best advertisement unknown bands can have is a web page with som

  • Evidence please? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iYk6 (1425255) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:31PM (#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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheSunborn (68004)

      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? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:46PM (#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.

      • 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? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by surpeis (1268612) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:44PM (#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.

      • by PinkPanther (42194) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:17PM (#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? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Mad Leper (670146) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @05:03PM (#27639333)

          Any evidence of those wild speculations of yours? And bandwidth does cost money in the real world.

          It's a common response from the file-sharing community, big business is killing music and the cure is for artists to give up working for the man and embrace the new internet economy. Trouble is, the basics of this new economy is for artists to give their music away for free and condemn them for trying to earn a living.

          The sad thing is, there are so many people who have gotten used to downloading music for free that they've come to see it as an entitlement. And they'll fight tooth and nail to keep their place at the torrent teat...

        • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @05:14PM (#27639415)
          digital music costs NOTHING to copy and distribute

          But it can cost a great deal (of time and money) to produce. And you want to make sure that someone who makes that investment is deprived of the option to offer their work up only to people who are willing to pay for it.
      • 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:
      • by blahplusplus (757119) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @04:28PM (#27639031)

        " I still have not seen one single artist that actually made a career this way."

        That's because artists can't use the NET to start, why would you ever think the internet is not anything but a SUPPLEMENT to traditional advertising? Most people still get most of their advertising via their friends/facebook, television and huge billboards. You have to GET NOTICED and BE SEEN, try to strike deals and get your name up on a big billboard in the city, whenever I'm driving between cities these huge massive billboards on the side of major trafic ways or on the side's of buildings which everyone passes everyday will be there. People need to be constantly reminded you exist or you will fade into obscurity, how many actors fade into obscurity? A hell of a lot, why should you expect any different if you're in one of the most over produced industries imaginable on the face of planet earth, there are 6.5 billion plus people and probably hundreds of millions of musicians.

        To profit you have to have at least some economy of scale, and the only way you're going to get that is to ask your customers (fan's/non fans) what they think of you and your music and simply not "make what you want", if you're going to be a business and want to make a profit you do at least to some extent HAVE to think like a person running a business serving the needs and tastes of your customers, not your own personal fulfillment.

        Find fulfillment in music as a hobby, music is one of the hardest industries to break into. People I know in my family are extremely talented musicians and tried to break into the industry many times and some even ran their own studies, but it is REALLY hard to compete with amount of music that already exists and the those who have a monopoly on the media.

        What indies need to do is to band together and fund their own advertising agency/company and pool their resources, without co-operation on your own NO ONE is going to know you exist.

        The biggest problem is lack of advertising and finding "it" factor that makes you or your music catch on.

        Most people in the world are non-technical, they still enjoy concerts and seeing bands and listening to music in real life(tm) where they dance, drink and have conversations.

        If you're trying to make a career out of music you have to do your market research and not just "make the music you want", not to mention you are up against stiff competition, music and entertainment is one of the most over produced of all industries. A little crash course in economics and supply and demand should set you straight abou how much music is worth.

        You have to stand out from the crowd and figure out what that "it" factor is, if you don't don't blame anyone but yourself.

  • by Richard_J_N (631241) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:32PM (#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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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

  • by TinBromide (921574) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:34PM (#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.
    • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:42PM (#27638059) Homepage
      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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or

      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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phroggy (441)

      File-sharing is an on-demand service, people don't browse through looking for titles of songs that sound nifty

      We did, back in the original Napster days.

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:34PM (#27637987) Journal
    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.
    • 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.

      • 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.

      • by green1 (322787)

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by alienw (585907)

        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 t

    • 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.

    • 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 kn

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rockNme2349 (1414329)
      This is where I learned calculus. [wikipedia.org]

      It made me smart. Now I know about change and time. Calculus is good to know for math. With wikipedia, anyone can share what they know!
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:36PM (#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.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pikine (771084)

      To give him fair credit, Slashdot posted a study back in February 2006 How Songs Get Popular [slashdot.org]. Here is a quote from TFA:

      Researchers created an artificial "music market" of 14,341 participants drawn from a teen-interest Web site. Upon entering the study's Internet market, the participants were randomly, and unknowingly, assigned to either an "independent" group or a "social influence" group. ... Researchers found that popular songs were popular and unpopular songs were unpopular, regardless of their quality e

  • Good points. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:38PM (#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 ocremix.org , a free music site in dedication to remixing game music.

  • A poor argument. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sakusha (441986) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:39PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by surpeis (1268612)

      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 v

  • by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:39PM (#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.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:43PM (#27638063) Homepage

    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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by surpeis (1268612)

      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...

  • 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 stuf
  • Dude... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by deathtopaulw (1032050) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:47PM (#27638103) Homepage
    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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by surpeis (1268612)

      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

  • 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.
  • by spd_rcr (537511) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:52PM (#27638163) Homepage

    When music was first (largely) being distributed via offerings like mp3.com 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.

    • The original mp3.com or the cnet advertisement with the random give-aways? Because Michael Robertson's mp3.com was novel, and way ahead of its time, the spam site is/was garbage.
  • by muuh-gnu (894733) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:56PM (#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. (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Idiomatick (976696)
    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 alm
  • 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 R

  • by wirelessdreamer (1136477) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:01PM (#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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • "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

  • ... 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.
  • by pcjunky (517872) <walterp@cyberstreet.com> on Sunday April 19, 2009 @03:31PM (#27638501) Homepage

    What TPB and other sites like it do is insure that all music is free. Many indie artists would gladly give their music away to get discovered. Major labels and artists would never do this. No matter due to TPB and others all music is free. So without these sites indie artists might have an easer time getting attention.

    This is what has kept windows on top for so long. Virtually everyone gets it for free. Either it comes on the computer when they buy it or they have a friend loan them a CD. Very few people buy windows.

    Why bother with free things like Linux when what everyone is using is free?

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @04:41PM (#27639155) Homepage
    A buddy of mine was in a band which had really lackluster album sales, but for whatever reason, traded well on Napster (back in the day). Whenever they went on tour, wherever they went, they would fill clubs, and they'd see people in the audience singing along. This certainly isn't the pinnacle of success; none of them are professional musicians anymore, they never got a major record deal, but they were able to support themselves for several years, and see the world, even if most of it was out of the back of a van. Without the Internet, without filesharing, they would have remained a local also-ran.
  • Meh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VelocityZero (1531257) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @05:04PM (#27639337)
    I've noticed that when I try to find "not so popular music" it's a pain in the ass. TPB, ISOhunt, you name it. I can't often find the music I am looking for unless it's already "popular"

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