Musicians Welcome File-Swapping Ruling
Nice headline, that. Reading it alone, you might get the impression (certainly, big media companies want you to get the impression) that the recent decision by the Supreme Court that file-sharing firms can be sued for distributing copyrighted material is welcomed by the poor, hardworking artists who selflessly fill our lives with musical joy. Yes, a victory for the artist, for the CREATOR, this is!
Only if you bother to actually read the article do you hear who's standing up for this decision: Don Henley, Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks, Jay-Z, Jimmy Buffett, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Jones. All multimillionaire international recording artists, all promoted with gigantic marketing budgets by huge media conglomerates and signed to the most major of major labels. People like Tom Burris, Janis Ian, Chuck D, and Sananda Maitrey -- independent artists, people signed to small labels, people whose promo materials don't cover every corner of your local Borders -- they aren't so sure. For them, for working artists without the benefit of a gargantuan advertising and promotional budget, file-sharing is a good thing. They don't make their money from album sales anyway; they don't get played on the radio and they don't get hyped on MTV. They make their money from touring and selling merchandise. So the more people hear their music -- for free or otherwise -- the more people are likely to come to their shows, and the more money they'll make.
New York based pop-rock musician Tom Burris, who has released music on independent label Tomato Records, said the indie community would be hurt by the decision if it leads to free file-sharing sites like Grokster shutting down. "It's hard to imagine that distribution for indie music could be much worse than it is now," Burris said. "For those musicians who have no distribution, it will hurt their situation."
Hey, Mr. Crybaby Burris, whoever you are! If you don't like it, just get signed to Sony or Geffen or something!
For some independent artists, file-sharing networks have become alternative tools for expanding their audiences outside of radio, MTV and the major label system. Singer-songwriter Janis Ian said Monday the ruling would make it tougher for smaller acts to get heard. "This is going to cut off a lot of avenues, especially for startup bands," said Ian.
Hey, Ms. Whiny I Haven't Had a Hit in 20 Years Ian, there's still lots of venues for new bands and groups outside the mainstream! Like, uh, Making the Band! Or busking!
For smaller, independent acts, getting paid sometimes means people get your music for free but pay for T-shirts or to attend shows, Burris said. "When I go on tour, people who listen to my music online will show up to my shows, and maybe they'll buy my CDs," Burris said. "If not, they'll pay the cover to see the music."
Are you still here, Burris? Get a job! With one of the five media companies who own 75% of the record labels and 90% of the distribution in North America! This is about THEFT, plain and simple. Look at that headline again! You musicians WELCOME this ruling! Understand? You will WELCOME it.