Monday, April 11, 2011

Dillinger Escape Plan frontman weighs in on file-sharing:

In a long post on his website/Tumbler account vocalist Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan answered a fan question about file-sharing, downloading albums and its direct relation to the music industry. An except of his long, wide-ranging and articulate reply follows:

"I don't see file-sharing as an evil… it's silly to say that it has any intrinsic properties of good and evil at all anyway. It's just a new form of technology that evolved outside of what the record industry and intellectual property law structure was prepared for at the time. That having been said… I think it's necessary to swim with the tide and not against it. I think it's time to accept and acknowledge that the CD is a dead format. Maybe not dead in the way of the 8-track but dead in the way vinyl is. A CD now, should be thought of as a collector's item, or a preferred way of listening if that is the individual's preference, in which case he is already in the minority as most music is listened to via the MP3 format. A CD certainly sounds better than an MP3, just as a vinyl does, but it just lacks the infinitely superior convenience of the digital format. As Internet gets faster and hard drives get bigger, even 320 [kilobytes per second] MP3s (which I am totally fine with for 90% of my listening) will be replaced by larger more sonically accurate files like WAVs or FLAC, so eventually a CD will hold no sonic vantage point at all, and will simply be a relic that we once used to transfer digital files. A relic that is no longer NEEDED, but like I said, may be 'cool to have' in the way vinyl is. I buy vinyls and limited versions of albums that I really like or really mean something to me… and stick to MP3 for the rest. Most people who listen to pop music only listen to singles anyway, and for that point most pop artists only really make singles anyway…the rest of the album is padding around the singles. Chances are if I hear some one-hit-wonder pop song I don't really want or need the album. So the digital format is simply far more suited for the majority of people's tastes. A killer full album is rare, and I think people know that.

"The issue, obviously, isn't the technology but the way in which it's completely blindsided the world of intellectual property and the commerce/profit/royalty structure that the industry previously had in place, which, while usually grossly unfair to the artist and needing to change anyway, at least still upheld the concept that songs possessed a monetary value.

"It's tricky to get into trying to 'police' the Internet because the glory of the internet is that it really isn't policed at all. The torrent sites and things like that can claim that they really have no legal responsibility for the things that are being torrented on them, in the way that Yahoo! orGoogle can say that they aren't responsible for what is being emailed back and forth from people with Yahoo! or Google email accounts, or if I can read the recipe for meth by using one of their search engines.

"All of that being said, the choice of whether to release music for free, should be the artist's, just as if I ran a coffee shop and wanted to give away free coffee samples or have a free-coffee day, that should be my choice, not the choice of the consumer. At no point would it be acceptable for the consumer to just come in and take the coffee… but that is exactly what would happen to the seller of any good if there were no laws or means of or threat of enforcement of those laws. I think that a lot of people would have a natural conscience enough to just feel bad about stealing the coffee/groceries/auto parts/whatever is being sold…and would pay anyway. However, like anything, once you do something once with no consequence, you do it again, and then again, and then eventually feel nothing. Even harder is trying to get people to pay who have grown up NEVER paying (many kids now). As 'uncool' as it sounds, though… something needs to happen. Artists would not be able to survive, and the whole argument of 'well, they can still tour and sell merch' ONLY holds up at all because people have to BUY tickets and merch! If you could just walk into our show for free and then also just walk away from our merch table and grab a shirt for free…. we would just be done. People only spend around twenty percent of what they spent ten years ago on music…so I'm sure you can imagine that it has cut into our financial means more than substantially, as well as music stores, companies, producers, etc. I've watched someone like Steve Evetts (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN producer… among many other bands) for example… absolutely one of the best at his craft… and I've seen how he has had to accept less and less pay for doing the same amount of work. This is someone who doesn't have the ability to go on tour and sell merch. The amount of revenue a record company/band expects to generate or does generate is the only indicator of how much he receives. People don't think of that when they use the whole 'well, a band can still tour' argument. Any argument is just an argument to appease a guilty conscience and try to pretend that it isn't wrong… because we all still just wanna be able to get things for free."

Greg goes on to surmise that just because people want music immediately doesn't mean you should steal from artists. DEP is supporting their excellent 2010 release Option Paralysis (Season of Mist) and will be on tour this spring playing some headline dates as well as opening for The Deftones. There has been talk of the band releasing an EP of new music this year before recording a follow up album.

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