George Fisher on illegal downloading

Discussion in 'Audio' started by Rob Williams, May 13, 2012.

  1. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    Over the years, I've read statements on illegal downloading from members of various bands, and opinions seem to be all over the place. Some bands just don't seem to care (Chumbawumba) and then there are bands that care a lot (Metallica).

    From the listener POV, I've seen a wide gamut of different reasons / excuses for downloading music illegally. Oddly, it's not the matter of money that seems to be the biggest issue, but rather the fact that bands just don't see much cash from actual album sales. I don't think that fact can be argued too much, as most record labels drain a lot of revenue for their own pockets and other marketing, usually leaving the band itself with a small percentage of the sale.Instead, it's touring that tends to pay the bands well in the end.

    I watched an interview the other day with George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher of Cannibal Corpse, and his thoughts on things kind of struck me because I heard a couple of arguments that just aren't that common. He stated that it's the band that has to pay directly for a lot of things, such as a tour bus, and without album sales, things like that are just not going to be possible.

    Based on that fact, I am kind of led to believe that Metal Blade records (their label) doesn't horde as much as the cash as a label under the RIAA umbrella would. Another thought though, is that if a band isn't able to sell a bunch of records, then it's going to be harder to book shows. After all, if you are a concert planner, are you going to pursue a band that sold a mere 1,000 copies of its latest album? Based on that metric alone, it'd appear that the band has no appeal, when in truth, it might have huge fanbase.

    For a band like CC, I'd be far more apt to purchase the album, because I'm confident that the band is going to see some of the cash. I don't have that same sort of confidence when purchasing a mainstream album (of which are few). Mainstream artists (Rihanna, Britney Spears, Adele, et cetera) are obviously very rich, but actual album sales likely have very little to do with this. 1,000,000 album sales at $15 a pop, or playing to 1,000,000 people for $60 a pop?

    Smaller bands don't usually charge near as much per show, and if they do see a significant portion of the proceeds from their album sales, then it's easy to see and probably understand George's point-of-view.

    One trick I have learned though, is that if you do wish to see the band get as much money as possible, it's best to see if there is a direct purchase option, rather than going through a reseller. I always do this whenever possible, and believe it or not, there are many bands that sell music this way (The Thermals is one band I always buy music direct from).

    What do you guys think?

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  2. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    Not a single person, huh?
  3. madmat

    madmat Soup Nazi

    Jun 16, 2005
    No soup for you!
    For one, I wouldn't D/L a CC album because I have no reason to listen to them, same reason I would not buy one of their albums.

    Secondly, I see the whole D/L thing as a "try before you buy" type of deal. Face it, $10 to $20 isn't a lot but it's still more than you'd be willing to flush down the toilet. If you buy an album based on one song you've heard somewhere, you have no guarantee the rest aren't going to suck mightily. On the other hand, if you can get a free low quality disposable copy to try you're going to speak with dollars later. If it's worth buying the disc to have a high quality version you will, if it's swill the chances are good it'll be deleted and forgotten.

    If piracy and illegal downloads were the bane they're made out to be then there would be NO platinum records any longer. That's not the case. Albums are still setting sales records, bands are still having platinum and multi-platinum records.

    Metallica found out the hard way that if you produce crap, you sell squat. The internet showed them that and it hurt their widdle feewings. Harsh reality. Napster exposed their mediocrity and their album sales tanked. After they killed napster they kept producing garbage and still had bad sales until they finally got their act together and recorded a good album, boom, headshot. Sales were on par with the product.

    The internet hasn't hurt sales, if anything it's helping to deliver music that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle to a broader audience. What has hurt sales is the quality of the music being recorded. We can now see if something is worth buying before forking over the money.
  4. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Tech Monkey

    Apr 9, 2010
    I agree, I mean I DL a ton of music and other things BUT I spend more on music movies and games then I ever did before. For me it is the money, I don't have a lot of it and I am not going to just waste it all as soon as I get it.

    Yes we go to the movies but its usually ~$20 to see a movie for the two of us (incl drinks, since no outside drinks allowed :mad:) and TBH that price isnt too bad due to it being a smaller theater, tickets are ~ half of the price of AMC tickets.

    I strongly agree on the DL to listen and if you like it buy it, I try to buy as much of the stuff we really like but money doesn't always permit that, we have other stuff we have to pay for which is the thing. They want to keep charging large amounts of money to go to the movies or for games, music isn't as bad but if you cant listen to it first its not gonna work.

    There are several games that IMO were never worth the $60 they try to charge for every new release. They really need like 2 or 3 levels of pricing or something because $60 a game is no joke. Especially if you cant really demo it before you buy.
  5. What about downloading old music? Like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin? I download music, especially if it's old music, but rarely ever games. (Unless the game's old like something from the 90's).
  6. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    I agree. $10-$20 isn't a lot of cash, but who on earth has interest in just -one- album? No one. With metal alone, there have been like a dozen bands each month I'm discovering, and a lot of them are quite good. I sure can't afford to purchase all of their albums, but I can purchase the ones I end up considering to be favorites.

    Prior to the likes of Napster, I fell prey to this on multiple occasions. Even back then, no stores would want to take the disc back. I made the mistake with Christina Aguilera's debut album (shoot me, it was half a lifetime ago), and ironically, Chumbawumba's "mainstream" album. Got both home at their respective times, and found none of the rest of the albums were like the singles. At least where the Chumba album was concerned, Walmart was kind enough to take it back (I used the excuse that I found the lyrics inappropriate, hah!).

    True, but that's an exclusive club. Lady GaGa, for example, could sell no records and still be filthy rich, thanks to her shows and merchandise. Bands like Corpse, or any smaller band at all don't have the same sort of luxury.

    Are you talking about St. Anger or Lulu? I actually liked St. Anger for the most part (most people think I'm crazy). I admit it's their worst album (Lulu excluded) but it has some redeeming qualities.

    I agree there. Content is stupid expensive. Even if I were to snag an album online first, I'd purchase it when I could and definitely see the band when they came to town (which is generally where smaller bands see almost all of their money).

    Fortunately, I've been seeing a lot of "record release parties" online for a lot of newer albums, where you can listen to the entire album online no problem, at which point the stream dies when the album is released. I like this, because these companies realize they are not going to prevent piracy, so they might as well let people listen to the album legally. Then, more than likely, they will buy it after the fact if they like it.

    One example:

    If the music is still being sold, it's more than likely piracy (there are sure to be many examples where the music is out of anyone's hands, so no one could pursue you for pirating it - but it'd have to be -old-). Live shows are probably the safest thing to download, but some bands -do- sell theirs, so it'd be piracy if you did download them.

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