Thursday, June 05, 2008

Andrew Morgan on illegal downloading

Andrew Morgan whose debut album Misadventures in Radiology was released on Broken Horse has just made his 2nd self titled album available for download via his website. He has also written some words on how he sees the issue of illegal downloading from his perspective as an artist who is constantly struggling to raise the funds to record his songs.

Whether you like Andrew's music or not it's a great piece that hits the nail on the head as far as Broken Horse is concerned. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone you may be interested or to post the article on any relevent message boards you may frequent.

A Plea

Stealing music hurts musicians. When you appropriate music for
personal use without compensating its creator, you devalue the work,
the process which engenders it, and the role occupied by artists
within communities.

Goods are worth what consumers are willing to pay for them. If
consumers are willing to pay nothing for a particular good, then its
value is nothing. While there is still a market for the sale of music,
more and more people are electing, whether selectively or exclusively,
to bypass the market and obtain music illegally through torrents,
file-sharing, and the like. People don't steal music in this way
because they deserve to be able to. They do it simply because they
can. It's a sense of entitlement that considers its own morality
purely as an afterthought, if at all.

What Radiohead did in the fall of 2007 with the release of In Rainbows
was thrilling, but don't forget for one second that when they did it,
they were already middle-aged millionaires made rich by the very
industry model they now condemn with cavalier ease. They exist within
the system they deconstruct & destruct. They consider their songs to
be "public works," yet they continue to sell them. It's a complete

The reason that it is necessary for music to be sold rather than given
away is because the costs of making music are real and unavoidable.
Instrument purchase and maintenance, practice space, recording,
mixing, mastering, and manufacturing are but a few of the many costs
involved. The belief that digital technology has evolved to a point
where anyone can produce high quality recordings is a myth. While it
is true that anyone can make recordings inexpensively, the gear and
expertise necessary to yield exceptional results cost thousands and
thousands of dollars. The financial fate of the music industry will
affect everyone involved in the making of music -- artists, studios,
engineers, labels, publicists, graphic designers, manufacturing
houses, and more. Our relationships are mutually dependent. If, for
example, artists and labels can't afford to compensate engineers and
studios at a rate which ensures their continued existence, the entire
system becomes threatened.

It is a sad fact that those within the music industry are often the
most likely to excuse the theft of music. It is a symptom emerging
from perceptions of insider status. To be clear, it is not OK to steal
music just because you make music, sell music, or write about music.
The only acceptable means of obtaining an artist's music without
compensation is with explicit permission from the artist or legally
recognized copyright holder.

Please don't steal music. It's utterly humiliating to even have to ask
that it not be stolen in the first place. When you purchase music,
it's at a tiny fraction of the cost at which it was made. And it's
yours forever. The number of other goods that can be legally obtained
so far below cost within the market are very few. Go through iTunes
and delete any music you have not paid for. Gather up any CDRs that
contain any music you have not paid for and throw them away. When you
steal music, you break hearts.