David and Goliath or Musicians and the Industry

I finally got around to watch the documentary Artifact by my favorite band Thirty Seconds to Mars. The film was going to be about the process of making their third album but quickly developed into something else when the band had to fight a relentless lawsuit with record label Virgin/EMI.

This film is totally worth seeing even if you’re not a fan of the band. It gives a good insight on how things work in the music industry today, mostly, but not only, as an effect of illegal downloading. Major labels have a hard time getting the money they’ve invested back so they come up with other solutions to do so… suing their bands for instance.

You can buy Artifact on iTunes or Artifact on DVD. It is also available on Netflix at the moment so go and check it out before they take it down!

It tells a very personal story about this band, fighting for our creative lives. It was a battle that saw us risk having everything taken away – our art, our work, and our dreams.

We were sued for 30 million dollars. We fought for our lives. And we filmed it all.

We made this little film ourselves. Just a small group of artists and crafts people. We shot it. We produced. We financed. We edited. We directed.

– Jared Leto

 

 

Copyright law, ethics and respect, a touchy subject!

Today I came across this story by a musician being sued by Lady Gaga for $1.4 million dollars for in the the first place having sued Gaga and her team for allegedly plagiarizing her song “Juda”. I haven’t heard the original song and can’t argue for either of their cases but the story she told was both scary and disheartening. The very thought of us “small time” musicians and song writers risking, that if we stand up to a corporation, bankruptcy.  They’ll slam us with a $1.4 million dollar bill if we cry foul. You can, and you should, check out her post here!

And then there’s the story about illegal downloading… Well where should I start? How about an example of my experiences?

Respect the artist, buy the music

A couple of years ago a “fan” contacted me and asked me to check out his Facebook page where he was “promoting” my band. Happy about his invitation I visited the page and found a BitTorrent file for our recently released album. I approached him with the information that not only is it illegal but also highly unethical if you claim to be a fan. Unfortunately he didn’t agree with me.

I believe that if his intentions were to support our band he could just as easily have linked to a site the sold the album, like Amazon or any other. And why not link to the album on Spotify?

You might think you are doing the band a service by “spreading the word” but you’re in fact keeping them from things like going on tour or even recording another album. Because lets face it, if you can’t show for any sold units no one is gonna be willing to give you a budget for a new one, nor can they afford to send you on tour and let me tell you people, that’s expensive!

And that’s why we have the saying “Don’t quit your day job”, not because your not good enough to be a full time musician, but because you won’t be able to pay rent and food and bills with illegal downloads.

Sad but true…