BERIGAN

Download Uproar: Recording industry says illegal to transfer music

103 posts in this topic

Nobody really deserves to hear anything not uttered from themselves.

Hold on a second, Chuck! As I say, I generally agree with your points. But if that last statement were true, copyrights would not have any expiration date.

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It's not necessarily good for future sales or the prospect of a future reissue that a recording is circulated on the Internet.

no, but it's also not necessarily fair to a musician/group to have some of their best work kept OOP for years or decades.

I don't know about "fair", but if a musician was concerned about having their music remain in print, they should have had something dealing with that in the recording contract they agreed to.

I do know that I don't have a "right" to be able to hear music just because it's out of print.

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I don't know about "fair", but if a musician was concerned about having their music remain in print, they should have had something dealing with that in the recording contract they agreed to.

wow, this is what you're going to go by? how do you feel about the ESP royalty situation?

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I don't know about "fair", but if a musician was concerned about having their music remain in print, they should have had something dealing with that in the recording contract they agreed to.

wow, this is what you're going to go by? how do you feel about the ESP royalty situation?

I don't know what the ESP royalty situation is. Whatever it is, what does that have to do with illegal downloading/bootlegging?

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Bernie Stollman once told me that ESP is not a record label. Then, what is it, I asked? He told me that it was an "experience." Perhaps different rules apply?

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Depends on the contracts the musicians made with ESP. Not saying it's right, just might be legal. Maybe Mr. Abbey can give us details of his business practices. He opened that can. :ph34r:

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Why does it matter if a musician or group has their "best kept work OOP" or not? They certainly are not getting any money from the trading of illegal files.

this isn't true, they could very well get more concert bookings from a wider exposure of their music.

Great! Where does this leave the label? Is the label getting any of that money from more gigs?

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Not really complex. Roscoe and I own Nonaah. It has not been reissued yet for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are financial, some artistic and some logistical. When it finally comes on the marketplace it will contain a significant number of previously unreleased performances and will be a 24 bit remix of the 8 channel tapes. This takes time and money. Free downloads of the lps makes me less likely to spend the big bucks (for me) to do the music "right".

honestly, the specifics weaken your position to me, unless you have doubts about how good the music is. if the originally released version sounds really exciting to people encountering it for the first time, then of course they'll buy the new and improved edition once it's out, especially considering you'll presumably be selling them worldwide in increasingly worthless currency units. in your position, I believe I'd be totally fine with MP3s of the original version circulating, maybe building up a bit of a buzz. if you really have such an issue with that, maybe you should make your own MP3s available for sale of the original until the new one is ready. that'd be my advice, not that you asked for it.

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Depends on the contracts the musicians made with ESP. Not saying it's right, just might be legal. Maybe Mr. Abbey can give us details of his business practices. He opened that can. :ph34r:

I'm not a attorney, but one thing I do know is that ALLcontacts have to have a begining date and a expiration date. No contact that is written to be open ended is legal.

Regarding live shows that are traded: I'm in agreement with Jon Abbey in the fact that they promote band awareness.

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Maybe Mr. Abbey can give us details of his business practices. He opened that can.

sure, I pay a lump fee to each musician per 1000 copies I print, when I print them. I have about 55 titles in my catalog since I started in 1999, and about five of them are OOP currently, all early titles I don't think are essential to the catalog. I've released music from well over fifty musicians, and have literally never had a financial disagreement with any of them.

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Great! Where does this leave the label? Is the label getting any of that money from more gigs?

um, sometimes people see concerts and later buy CDs, you are aware of this occasional phenomenon?

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Not really complex. Roscoe and I own Nonaah. It has not been reissued yet for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are financial, some artistic and some logistical. When it finally comes on the marketplace it will contain a significant number of previously unreleased performances and will be a 24 bit remix of the 8 channel tapes. This takes time and money. Free downloads of the lps makes me less likely to spend the big bucks (for me) to do the music "right".

honestly, the specifics weaken your position to me, unless you have doubts about how good the music is. if the originally released version sounds really exciting to people encountering it for the first time, then of course they'll buy the new and improved edition once it's out, especially considering you'll presumably be selling them worldwide in increasingly worthless currency units. in your position, I believe I'd be totally fine with MP3s of the original version circulating, maybe building up a bit of a buzz. if you really have such an issue with that, maybe you should make your own MP3s available for sale of the original until the new one is ready. that'd be my advice, not that you asked for it.

I agree. I think a high quality product trumps a crappy MP3 anyday. I mean you could offer a MP3 for $5.00 if you wanted to and include the artwork. It easy to get on a server and offer the download your self with a credit card or PayPal. If you offered a better resolution file, all the better.

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Great! Where does this leave the label? Is the label getting any of that money from more gigs?

um, sometimes people see concerts and later buy CDs, you are aware of this occasional phenomenon?

Yes, but in the example you posted the band doesn't have any CDs.

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Great! Where does this leave the label? Is the label getting any of that money from more gigs?

um, sometimes people see concerts and later buy CDs, you are aware of this occasional phenomenon?

Yes, but in the example you posted the band doesn't have any CDs.

I said "Thomas Ankersmit, a saxophonist based in Berlin, has barely any physical releases available but has toured worldwide largely based on his work circulating via file-sharing." in his case, there isn't really much of a label, and on the rare occasions that there is, his CDs sell to a worldwide audience because he's built a bit of a following via file-sharing and live shows.

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his CDs sell to a worldwide audience because he's built a bit of a following via file-sharing and live shows.

That "worldwide audience" could be 53 people, as you well know.

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Not really complex. Roscoe and I own Nonaah. It has not been reissued yet for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are financial, some artistic and some logistical. When it finally comes on the marketplace it will contain a significant number of previously unreleased performances and will be a 24 bit remix of the 8 channel tapes. This takes time and money. Free downloads of the lps makes me less likely to spend the big bucks (for me) to do the music "right".

honestly, the specifics weaken your position to me, unless you have doubts about how good the music is. if the originally released version sounds really exciting to people encountering it for the first time, then of course they'll buy the new and improved edition once it's out, especially considering you'll presumably be selling them worldwide in increasingly worthless currency units. in your position, I believe I'd be totally fine with MP3s of the original version circulating, maybe building up a bit of a buzz. if you really have such an issue with that, maybe you should make your own MP3s available for sale of the original until the new one is ready. that'd be my advice, not that you asked for it.

Wait a minute -- if we're talking about "selling them worldwide in increasingly worthless currency units," to whom are those currency units "increasingly worthless"? The buyer? The seller? Both? If it's the last, then I guess we're disagreeing about nothing or envisioning a world in which Chuck trades copies of the remastered "Nonaah" for chunks of yak meat from Uzbekistan.

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Great! Where does this leave the label? Is the label getting any of that money from more gigs?

um, sometimes people see concerts and later buy CDs, you are aware of this occasional phenomenon?

But you also admit that cd sales are down, so clearly on net the labels are worse off.

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mmmm....yak meat.....

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Wait a minute -- if we're talking about "selling them worldwide in increasingly worthless currency units," to whom are those currency units "increasingly worthless"? The buyer? The seller? Both? If it's the last, then I guess we're disagreeing about nothing or envisioning a world in which Chuck trades copies of the remastered "Nonaah" for chunks of yak meat from Uzbekistan.

is this not clear? Chuck (and I) sell things in dollars to customers worldwide. as the dollar continues to plummet against virtually every other currency, it becomes easier for most non-Americans to purchase goods priced in dollars, since it costs less in their currency.

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Great! Where does this leave the label? Is the label getting any of that money from more gigs?

um, sometimes people see concerts and later buy CDs, you are aware of this occasional phenomenon?

But you also admit that cd sales are down, so clearly on net the labels are worse off.

well, yeah, but that's reality, I don't understand the argument. look around, bookstores are closing, newspapers are laying people off and folding, record stores are closing, the Internet is affecting every area of media. people can vent on discussion boards all they want, the RIAA can try to stuff the cat back in the bag all they want, but none of that is going to reverse the underlying reality of what's happened and what will continue to happen. yes, "the labels are worse off" as a whole, but under that umbrella is a whole range of individual stories, from raging successes to total busts, the question is how to best deal with it as a label owner going forward and hopefully nudge your way towards the success end of the spectrum, making the records you want to make while selling enough to get by.

anyway the obvious option that many labels have taken, as I mentioned above, is to also sell digital versions of their releases, I don't do this myself, but may do it with lossless versions at some point. what I've done since the start with Erstwhile to try to combat what's been an obvious trend since the late nineties is attempted to offer great music in nice packages at cheap prices, and tried to build a worldwide fan base. the Internet isn't going away, so the challenge is to figure out how to best use it to work for you (worldwide e-mail list for press releases, for instance) and try to minimize how much it hurts you. getting people to pull down Rapidshare uploads may make you feel better for an hour or two, but it's meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I'm sure many of you guys are old enough to remember "Home Taping Is Killing Music", doesn't that seem a bit silly in retrospect?

and Chuck, you've decided to take the elaborate road to reissue Nonaah, and more power to you, but clearly you know that the more you spend, the more copies you need to sell. if you really can't sell enough of a remastered Nonaah with bonus material to make back your money, maybe you shouldn't be doing it that way, or maybe you should be partnering with someone in Europe or Japan or something. selling abstract music has never been a sure thing, in any way (I'm sure Chuck knows this way better than me), and the market hasn't just started trending down this week or this month or this year, it's been like this for at least a decade. if it makes you feel better to vent about the state of the world here to your buddies, that's cool, but part of the blame is on you for not recognizing the trends sooner IMO (and all of this is said with all due respect, without groundbreakers like Nessa, Erstwhile wouldn't exist).

amusingly enough, by the way, this whole perspective is coming from someone who's in the midst of spending more than I ever have on a single disc project, The Magic I.D.-till my breath gives out, doing it on both CD and 180g gatefold vinyl. hopefully there are enough customers out there for me to break even in a few years, but some of that is on me and on my shoulders to try to sell a record that I so strongly believe in (and it is fucking incredible). same thing with Nonaah and Chuck, we all know nothing is a sure thing, even a reissue of a record deemed to be a classic. illegal DLs are simply part of the landscape now, and short of the CD going up lossless on the biggest file-sharing site within 2 days of its release (which happened to me this spring with my major 2007 release, Keith Rowe-The Room, on the now defunct Oink), you have to suck it up and live with it, or find something else to do with your life. complaining just seems like wasted energy to me, this is the way the world is now.

anyway, none of that is meant to be insulting or disrespectful, I'm a blunt guy. I can see this from a lot of perspectives, I'm an American running a US-based label whose musicians are primarily European and Japanese, my wife is from Tokyo, I've bought or acquired close to 10,000 CDs as a consumer in the last 20 years (and yes, that math is scary), and I run a distributor for other labels from around the world, ErstDist. at 41, I'm in between the kids and the baby boomers, and I spend a fair amount of time hanging with both on sites like this and others, plus SLSK chat rooms (file-sharing service), and am in touch with people from all over the world (I had customers this year from India, Chile, China, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, there are seemingly a handful of fans for what I do in quite a few countries). I've also got a journalism background, working at Time for a while, and writing for both The Wire and Signal To Noise on occasion. so I see this complex situation from a lot of different angles, I'm just trying to add a more balanced perspective, like I said. the discussion IMO shouldn't be about assigning blame, it should be figuring out the best way to proceed from here.

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is this not clear? Chuck (and I) sell things in dollars to customers worldwide. as the dollar continues to plummet against virtually every other currency, it becomes easier for most non-Americans to purchase goods priced in dollars, since it costs less in their currency.

OK, I get it. But isn't the logical, perhaps even inevitable, outcome of what you're describing a form of barter? And/or, at what point in this process do people like you and Chuck end up selling a fair amount more stuff to overseas customers than you used to, for the reasons you describe, but the more you sell to them, the more you may end up in a hole economically -- unless your costs of doing business in your own country are directly and fairly immediately tied to the value of your country's currency versus the currencies of other nations, which seems unlikely to always be the case.

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OK, I get it. But isn't the logical, perhaps even inevitable, outcome of what you're describing a form of barter?

not sure exactly what you mean, the dollar isn't actually going to go to zero. it is true that with imports to sell to the US market (CDs on European or jazz labels), that if I can trade Erstwhiles for them as opposed to paying cash, that I can keep the dollar-denominated a lot more reasonable than if I have to buy them with wholesale Euro or yen prices, but I don't think that's really what you mean.

edit: reading back and trying to understand what you mean: dollars are still worth the same within the US, unless you're competing with a European to buy an apartment or something, so that's why the barter thing doesn't make sense. it's the purchasing power outside the US that's affected.

Edited by jon abbey

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And/or, at what point in this process do people like you and Chuck end up selling a fair amount more stuff to overseas customers than you used to, for the reasons you describe, but the more you sell to them, the more you may end up in a hole economically -- unless your costs of doing business in your own country are directly and fairly immediately tied to the value of your country's currency versus the currencies of other nations, which seems unlikely to always be the case.

the hole in this is that most of American's expenses are still dollar-denominated, rent, food, the subway, CD printing at a US plant, etc. none of those go up especially because the dollar sucks (it does affect things more here in NYC than most places, but still not too much, I don't think). overseas expenses do obviously go up proportionately, but unless I can stop the idiots running the country from running massive deficits, not much I can do about that.

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edit: reading back and trying to understand what you mean: dollars are still worth the same within the US, unless you're competing with a European to buy an apartment or something, so that's why the barter thing doesn't make sense. it's the purchasing power outside the US that's affected.

That's not entirely correct (though there is a kernal of truth there). But instead of arguing that, I point out that this has nothing to do with the topic at hand: the impact of file sharing. The declining dollar would lead to even higher foreign sales of Nessa CDs but-for illegal file sharing. Back on topic, please.

Edited by J Larsen

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" the topic at hand: the impact of file sharing"

well, since no one really knows how it actually precisely impacts anything, including Chuck and myself, that's a pretty damn limited topic.

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