Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Pirate My Music: What Every Indie Musician Needs to Know.
|PHOTO CREDIT: comraderobot.com/tomslatter|
Out of the ashes came a massive Phoenix of millions of indie musicians who, like a pack of rabid zombies, have revolutionized the very definition of music through their devouring of new technology, leaving the old dinosaur gatekeepers in the dust.
The reality is, unless you are Adele or Taylor Swift, connected to a multimillion dollar corporation, you are depending on you, just you, to reach your music fans. The beauty behind this is that you can dictate the price and value of your projects without worrying about a gatekeeper. The downside? Well, be sure to know that you need to find ways to earn income outside of selling music downloads. In many cases, your music is now a marketing tool, not your primary source of income, which instead comes from concert ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships, freelancing, education, writing, or even crowdfunding.
What drives this new crazy music market economy?
Free. Yep, FREE.
Sharing information over the Internet costs listener and musician very little, outside of the time it takes to click a BUY or DOWNLOAD button. There are some upsides to this, even if it results in piracy and lost of sales at the old album prices of yesteryear.
Bittorrent Free Sci-Fi Music Fan Kit: Download Now
So here are the top 10 reasons why you should pirate my music. And true to the topic, I've included links to tons of freebies:
1) I love that you LOVE my music!Yes, that is very true. Like many indie musicians, I am inherently in the business because I have something that I want to share with the world, and because I love the fact that people like YOU would LOVE to listen to my music.
Free Electronica at Reverbnation
2) If you LOVE my music you will SHARE my music!
3) Your enthusiasm for my music motivates me!Knowing that each day thousands of folks are listening to my music on the Internet somewhere motivates me as an artist to continuing creating great music for my fans. I don't have to worry about creating a great album and watching it just end up being a coaster. Instead I can find ways to share it with you online in a thousand different ways that excite you as a fan.
4) Any publicity is good publicity.The same goes for my music showing up on a ton of sites that I have never heard of in languages that I don't understand. These sites are reaching different markets, especially international markets, that I would never reach.
5) My music is good music and once you listen you will know that.The chances of you happening upon my music while listening to media monopoly controlled TV or Radio is about nil. But I know that once you hear my music, you will love my music, and become a lifelong fan. Maybe you hear it for free the first hundred times, but if you love it enough, then it's worth it.
6) I wouldn't be where I was today if it wasn't for free.
This is entirely true. A couple of years ago I created the world's first machinima opera, Libertaria, a sci-fi epic animated film that I shared for free online through youtube, Fandalism, and other online sites. Since then the film has been shown at the Holland Animation Festival, Opera America, throughout the US, online of course, and I even gave a TED Talk about it in Buffalo and last year released my first novel Libertaria: Genesis as an extension of the Libertaria universe. Not only that, but Libertaria has inspired at least two other composers to create new animated operas. None of this would have been possible had I chosen to keep the film to myself.
7) The free Internet economy is collaboration heaven.
The Digital Age allows musicians from all around the world to collaborate. I have been commissioned by a group that saw a Youtube video of a percussion piece of mine, I have collaborated on a crowdsourced opera, and my Libertaria film was an incredible three year collaboration with musicians and artists throughout the United States! Most of which I have yet to meet! Right now I regularly help young artists with their albums through MusicXray, and musicians use sites like Soundcloud to instantly share their music with fans, rough drafts and all.
8) My music scores are not collecting dust.
|FREE SCORES AT NYWC|
One of my biggest career decisions was to offer the bulk of my scores for free through sites like Archive.org, the Petrucci Library, the New York Women Composers library, and even Bittorrent, where you can download 100 sheet music files for free. Why did I choose to do this? I have so many works that I have written that after the initial performance never see the light of day. Since opensourcing almost my entire score collection (only saving some student works that need to be revised), thousands of people have downloaded my scores. Children and adults alike have performed my works. I don't always find out about these performances, but it is great to see that so many individuals enjoy my work.
9) Crying about piracy is like crying over spilled milk.
Yes, I know that many traditionalists will be a little irked at my take on free music. After all, it's not like you expect your dentist or insurance salesman to give you a free product. However, if everyone knew how to extract a tooth, guaranteed that dentists would quickly join the unemployment line. In fact, if you haven't noticed, many dentists now specialize in unnecessary procedures like whitening teeth or perfecting your smile since good hygiene and fluoride has reduced tooth decay incredibly in the developed world.
The truth is that anyone with a computer can "make music" and share it. This doesn't even mean that everyone can make good music, it just means that music is ubiquitous. An artist needs to burst through the noise. Sites like Youtube and Spotify do little for your pocketbook as an artist, but they do get you a massive audience that you might not be able to reach. As an artist having a hundred devoted fans regionally is one thing. Having a million worldwide is another. Then it is a matter of music marketing savvy to reach these fans and help them invest in my career.
10) The free economy challenges me.
There are two ways that I see this. I can fight the economic forces that are already in place or I can embrace them and develop my career around this new economy. Artists with significant backing can afford to go after every grandma that downloads an illegal mp3, but the reality is that the biggies from Sony to Disney to PROs (performing rights organizations) rely primarily on the big names not the average joe or jane musician. Someone in Taiwan may steal my film, but I don't have any way to track them down and prosecute them for the crime, nor would I want to. The expense is too great. Besides, maybe they end up liking me over there and I've reached a new market. This new economy constantly challenges me to change up my game. What worked for me five years ago doesn't work for me today, and I need to change it as fast as technology develops. Hoping and praying that the old economy of record sales, publishers, and managers will somehow magically work in a world of free music, piracy, Youtube, and Instagram is silly. Instead I will continue to create great music, share it with my fans, and if you like it, I hope you share it too!