Napster/Illegal Copying / Being Famous / The Space Station
No, there is no way to stop all file sharing on the internet & it would be foolish to try to attempt that. But since napster is the most recognized one & generally most casual internet browsers just go to the most popular sites & stop there, it's worth attempting to fix that one. Eventually, some other sites will become easily recognizable to the general public, but for now, napster is the main target. I want to make it clear that I support any artists that wants people to have free access to their material on the web, however, I don't believe free product should be readily available without the artist's permission. Ever since I've been making records, you always knew that people were going to make copies of your product for their friends. That was just expected. But today, your purchased CD can be shared with thousands of people, not just your few best friends. Now, it can potentially make a bigger impact on sales, than ever before.
I realize that some people say that they just want to hear it first before they purchase it, but you can do that at all the online CD retail
sites, like CDNow, Amazon, etc. You don't have to download the whole CD in able to know if it's what you want to buy or not. I just find it amazing that most people I talk to could care less about this, yet if I were to ask them if they minded working for free, they get upset & think it's not the same somehow. Yeah we make money on live shows, but the record sales are what keeps us afloat. If we don't sell enough records, we can't get the good tours, get much airplay & we'll get dropped from the record company. Nobody gains from that. I'm not bitter about this, I just believe that if you think logically about this, it's piracy, plain & simple & I would feel guilty doing that to anyone's work. Nuff said, now I'm off to write some more free tunes! :^)
I commend those that use napster for a tool & then buy, or pass, based on the tunes they've downloaded. And, of course, if something is out of print, it serves as a great resource. I wish more people had the same sense of fairness that you all seem to have, though I suspect that it's probably not the norm with your average napster junkie. Now - I do admit that the record industry is not probably dying on the vine because of this. They make so much money on the big & medium popularity artists that it would be tough to only be concerned about these mega-conglomerates as the main victims of the free downloads. I, for one, love the internet for, if nothing else, giving artists the ability to somewhat self-promote & sell their own material like they were never able to do before. Having this forum alone, is a great way to communicate directly with fans that would have been impossible to do just 10 years ago. Also, the big record companies are definitely running a bit scared about
the fact that some bigger artists are opting in for smaller independent companies, because they can promote an artist in so many more cost-effective ways, give more personal attention, and, in turn, give the artists a bigger part of the pie & more say in their product. It's always been a love/hate thing to be signed to a major label. You hope it means big label support, but often it turns into withering from lack of attention because of all the other artists on your same label. It's hard enough to compete with other popular artists, but when you also have to compete for attention at your own label, it is very frustrating. I think that the internet model has been a great thing at breaking the hold that big companies have had on artists. I just hope that a better way of delivering & promoting product can be worked out on a larger level. I'm sure some company will eventually figure out a great way of doing things, that consumers favor, & others will follow. And yes I would love to find out what it would take to buy back our catalog, but I suspect, since Universal is releasing this new CD, that it would be a bit too expensive at the moment.
Message by Dave Meniketti ~ 8-12-2003:
As far as who is making profit on this Ebay stuff & other such matters, it's the same old story. If you can copy something of value to others & sell it for a profit, there will always be someone with enough entrepreneurial spirit to do that, regardless if it's legality. You're not going to stop this kind of practice from happening, but I appreciate that it actually gets other people pissed to hear about it, as well. That's kinda cool! And no, it's not even close to legal. The internet has spawned a whole new culture that has made the practice of profiting from the sale of illegal goods a normal everyday state of affairs for even the most law abiding citizen. If you can do it on the net, for most of us, it just seems like it must be OK somehow. Freely downloading copyrighted songs/videos, manufacturing & selling other people's licensed material, buying & selling stolen goods on Ebay, etc - it all seems normal and legal. It's a cultural thing that will not easily be sold to the general public for what it really is - stealing/trafficking. I have little problem with uncommissioned bootleg stuff being distributed around the ranks of the fans out there. In the long run it's good for the band & the fans. It's when someone decides to make a cottage industry out of taking someone else's material, illegally duplicating it, and making a for-pure-profit business from it that gets my ire. It seems an impossible goal, to explain to people that do not make a significant part of their living from royalties, what it feels like to see only about 2% of the actual income you should have generated in your job. I don't stay up nights worrying about it, but it sucks just the same.
As far as old videos & records that are out of print, I can see the legitimacy issue involved in downloading, selling & buying these items. After all, if you can't possibly legally buy it anywhere, why not get a bootleg. At least you can finally enjoy something from an artist you like that was impossible to acquire any other way. If the record company or artists were not able to get it out themselves, it's just the way it has got to be & that's OK. That is why we are doing just as I mentioned above - obtaining the rights to have these out of print records & videos available to the fans - legally! It makes sense for all concerned that we do this, but you have to jump through a lot of hoops & be willing to make a leap of faith with investing reasonable amounts of money & time in the whole process.
There's no perfect answer to all of this. I would sure love to see even the slightest glimmer of fairness slant toward our side of the scale, when it comes to the monetary side of this lifelong job us crazy artists have embarked on.
Yeah, I guess you could say I've met my share of famous people. From rock stars, to sport figures, to comedians, to movie stars. I have found
that most of the famous people are pretty normal folks & sometimes the people who work for them are the ass-holes! Met more but-hole road crew/stage managers, managers, agents, record execs, etc, than jerk musicians. I think that if you have confidence in yourself, it makes a difference in how you treat other people. The guys that are always trying to prove they're better than you, are usually the dicks - famous or not. As a previous person mentioned on this thread - sometimes a psyco fan can be the biggest jerk & not the "star" (I hate that word). I've had people come into my backyard to have me sign an autograph. That s**t freaks me out! Anyway, I agree with Tim that this star thing is all outta wack. So what if I can move my fingers on a block of wood & I worked my ass off & took
a lot of crap to get where I got. Big deal - lottsa people do the same thing in their job & they don't get anybody chasing after them for an autograph. I don't expect anyone to be anything other than themselves, no matter what their gig is. If they start believing the hype, than they're just blowing smoke up their own butt & need someone to bring them back down to earth again before they self-destruct. It's a human thing - no one gets a "pass" on being rotten to someone else & it's bull if you think you're more special than the next guy just because you believe your own publicity.
The Space Station
....being a carpenter, I constructed my studio for 18 months & that gave me the break I needed. In fact it damn-near gave me another break too - my back! Carrying & hanging about 300+ sheets of 5/8 drywall & 1-1/8" ply singlehanded all the way up to, and on, the 16' ceilings, among other things, was not a whole lot of fun for the back.
Wow,1-1/8 ply on the ceiling too? Man that is a bitch. I hope you had some help putting those up. Interesting idea for sound proofing Dave. When I get disgusted with being a carpenter, I turn to music for an escape. When you get disgusted with the music business, you turn to
carpentry for an escape. Hmmmm......
Yeah, I thought it was weird too to put that on the ceiling as well. But that's what the studio designer called for. It'a all about having something that flex's slightly & has different properties than the drywall that was glued on top of it. When sound has to negotiate different types of surfaces, it helps to slow down the transmission process. All I know is - it worked! We rehearse at full volume in one of the rooms & you can't hear a thing outside the building.