Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Double Post! Don't you remember?
May 24, 2005 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Bob Mould has got folks talking sanely about music piracy and artists' livelihoods, again. After discovering his unreleased album was already available for illegal download, Bob and his fans exchange thoughts on the temptation of filesharing. Try to do the right thing, whatever that is these days. (legal free tune)
posted by If I Had An Anus (76 comments total)

 
Boblog discussed previously here and here.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:28 AM on May 24, 2005


damn
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:29 AM on May 24, 2005


If music is so precious, and so prone to piracy, why not just lock the only copy of your new album in a safe, and never release it to anybody?
posted by Balisong at 8:40 AM on May 24, 2005


Balisong: A record goes through a lot of hands getting made.
posted by xmutex at 8:41 AM on May 24, 2005


It doesn't HAVE to..

Only if you intend to mass produce and distribute it so that it can be heard by a large group of the media consuming public.

If it is so precious that people are going through illegal routes to get it, and "corrupt" people in "the biz" are part of the problem, then just whisper it into your microphone on your home computer, burn a single copy to stash away, and reformat your harddrive.

But if you WANT people to hear your music, then filesharing seems the best way for you to get heard, build a following, make a name for yourself, and maybe even make some money.

There are artists who spend $30,000 on artwork that is donated to public places all the time. Very few artists I know ever get back out in dollars what they pour in with dollars, blood, sweat, and tears.

If you are doing it for the money, you might not be that serious of an artist.
posted by Balisong at 9:09 AM on May 24, 2005


If you are doing it for the money, you might not be that serious of an artists.

WTF? And if you make stupid-ass posts like this you might not be that intelligent a person.

Do you get paid for the work you do or not? Do you work 40 hours a week for free? How do you pay your rent, buy groceries, support your family?

Grow the fuck up already.
posted by dobbs at 9:12 AM on May 24, 2005


Balisong, I have to strenuously disagree. I live in a community of working artists. People who create art are not well paid for it, and they need some way of sponsoring the work. In a capitalist system and society, that responsibility falls to you, as an art consumer, to support the artist.

The way is clear. If you want a diversity of art from a diversity of artists (and not just people who can afford to do work all their lives for free), then you should find a way of supporting them (i.e. see your way clear to making sure that at least some of the money you spend on the product gets to the artist, so s/he can put food on the table, pay the rent, maybe buy a few luxuries for himself/herself.

Doing anything else, and claiming that artists are only serious if they do it for free is ethically and morally suspect. I hope you sleep well at night. I sure don't with people like you around.
posted by kalessin at 9:14 AM on May 24, 2005


I've actually had debates on bob's old discussion boards when I found bootlegs on napster back in the day. I barely remember husker du from the 80s (I think I was too young) and the bootlegs let me rediscover bob and his music. The debate entailed whether or not it was good for bob in the long run, since I would go see his concert and buy his next albums (which I did), all thanks to finding some bootleg recordings online.

btw, his new album is fantastic. His last few albums haven't exactly been rock but this one sounds like a new sugar record. And I will be catching him live on his next tour, to pay for the free music I found.
posted by mathowie at 9:21 AM on May 24, 2005


*ahem* I believe that I myself am an artist.
And so is my wife. She regularly submits pieces to Deviantart.com (paintings, stained glass, sculpture, and computer art) where she--- doesn't get any money.
I create beautiful tile and marble "masterpieces" in peoples' homes, on a commision basis. I know how hard it is to market yourself, and I am just now, after 8+ years of being in buisiness for myself, starting to get word of mouth customers comming back for more, and recommending friends.

It's hard. Working through another shop that has designers, and showrooms (or signing on with a record company) eats up a lot of your profit, but otherwise you have to market it yourself.
posted by Balisong at 9:22 AM on May 24, 2005


Or give out some freebies. Fredo Viola is a perfect example. Check it out, and donate if you can afford it.
posted by Balisong at 9:33 AM on May 24, 2005


rom Mould's latest entry:

"Sorry, kids; until you change the law, you're still breaking it. I hate some laws as well, and if I break them and get caught, I get punished. Proceed as you will."

I guess, but then, it ain't stealing if he posts the album itself. John Buckman at Magnatune has often said: people will steal music anyway. How many times do we have to have to the debate about whether distributing music freely online helps or hurts B-list artists.

Personally, I don't think I've ever heard a note of this person's music -- but at this point there's no way I'm paying for the album until I hear every note on it, not just one teaser song. I'm one potential sale he will never see.

He even hints at the only sane model for the music industry out there:

"Here's a thought: if you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE the album before street date, do me (and the record company) a favor: as you're waiting for the files to download, head over to the Yep Roc site, and pre-order whichever configuration you prefer. I'll be happy, you'll sleep better at night, and maybe the record company will make enough money to put out another Bob record next year."

Why not cofidy this into the way he does business? Put the album online. If I like it, I may just buy it. The only choice he's given me now: steal it or ignore it.
posted by victors at 9:34 AM on May 24, 2005


A new policy statement from the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) "Calls Upon Community to Desist from Downloading Copyrighted Music."

There are policy statements on many, many topics, but somehow I didn't expect to see this one. The Canadian members are not too thrilled, it seems, since downloading is not illegal in Canada.

What does your religion say about downloading copyrighted music?
posted by Adamchik at 9:35 AM on May 24, 2005


Balisong : "If you are doing it for the money, you might not be that serious of an artist."

If you're willing to take time away from your art to do a regular job in order to pay the bills, you might not be that serious of an artist.
posted by Bugbread at 9:36 AM on May 24, 2005


Thanks, bugbread. That's much calmer and more succinct than I (could have) put it.
posted by dobbs at 9:42 AM on May 24, 2005


My art is my regular job, and it pays the bills.
Did I want to become a tile setter? Not really. but I found a job that would let me use my love of 3-D sculpture and my artistic sence of proportion, color, textures, and mediums to make me money. I could be doing something else that there isn't a demand for, and not making money, or I could make art that is easily stolen, and not make money. But every piese of tile I install will still be sitting in place long after I am dead. My art will endure.

If you love your work, it doesn't matter if it makes you a millionaire, if your work is to become a millionaire, it probably isn't art.
posted by Balisong at 9:43 AM on May 24, 2005


If you want to paid, get paid. If you want to make art, make art.

What happens to art when the fat gets cut? Artists may believe that they are the essential part here, and they are if you see the goal as art. But the goal is existence, and the sociopaths always win in that game.
posted by perianwyr at 9:45 AM on May 24, 2005


However, if you love your work, it does matter if you can also eat and pay rent, and if your work is to put food on the table and pay the landlord, it may or may not be art (pretty much a tossup).
posted by Bugbread at 9:48 AM on May 24, 2005


There are painters that work exclusively on canvas, that have a hard time making ends meet, but are happy.
There are painters that want to work on canvas, but paint houses to make money.
And there are artists that do custom murals for homes and buisinesses, that lets them be creative, use their painting techniques, and still make money. Again, marketing is the key.
posted by Balisong at 9:49 AM on May 24, 2005


victors, if you have watched the Daily Show or In A Fix, you have heard Bob's music. Dear Bob, I *heart* you. love, me.
posted by whatnot at 9:50 AM on May 24, 2005


My art is my regular job, and it pays the bills.

Have you not realized that your "art" is not easily taken for free by people because of the medium you work in and that Mould's is? It's not that difficult a concept to grasp.

If you love your work, it doesn't matter if it makes you a millionaire

Who the hell said anything about "millionaire"?

If you want to paid, get paid. If you want to make art, make art.

Yeah, and what a wonderful world we would live in if all the people trying to make it as musicians, painters, sculptors, whatevers had this attitude.

What happens to art when the fat gets cut?

Maybe I'm not parsing this sentence correctly but it seems to me that you're suggesting that Bob Mould's among the "fat". Is that correct?
posted by dobbs at 9:55 AM on May 24, 2005


What the fuck, you highons? Balisong, we're all sorry that you can't be the artiste that you want to be. Really, I'm sobbing. But wouldn't you be happier if you could be doing what you want? Instead, you come across as bitter as an ex-high-school football player talking about NFL salaries. And Jesus, the bit about how Mould should have picked a medium that isn't as easily stolen? I guess that's some comfort when you're grouting bathrooms, but it's bullshit as an argument.
Perianwyr, what the hell are you even on about? Get paid or do art? Both you and Balisong seem to have just gotten onto the false dichotomy bus, where the artists are starving and anything that makes cash isn't art.
And Victors, well, y'know, it sounds like you're just not really into music if you won't buy anything without hearing all of it first. There's no risk in that, and there's no joy in discovery. And, frankly, it'll be rare that you can hear everything that will be good by downloading the whole thing first. (Christ, don't people go to shows anymore to see if they want to buy the album?) It's like blaming Mould for your cheap-ass and your laziness. Fuck that.
posted by klangklangston at 9:59 AM on May 24, 2005


Sorry to say, but when unreleased stuff makes it to the P2P networks it can't possibly be anything but an inside job. I remember thinking the same thing when Metallica started bitching about the song they did for Mission Impossible showing up on P2P. It's obvious that, much as the temptation is strong to blame P2P, the original piracy was done by someone either in the band or working for the studio leaked the album out to friends, probably in CD form, and that seems to be what Bob should be concentrating on if he's really upset.
posted by clevershark at 10:00 AM on May 24, 2005


I COULD make sculptures and place them on street corners, each signed by me, and have them all stolen, and wonder why I'm not making money.

There was a time, before radio and CD'd, and MP3's and computers when the only way you could hear a singer's songs was to go see them.

It seems that a lot of people are doing both, downloading music for free, and bitching that there isn't a system in place to make sure they get paid for it.

It's not my fault that he makes music. It's not his fault I set tile. He chose his medium and I chose mine. If his if wrought with greed and corruption from the record companies, down to the consumer, I'm sorry. There are other ways to be an artist that don't leave yourself ripe for disapointment.
posted by Balisong at 10:03 AM on May 24, 2005


Balisong— It's all marketting? Bullshit. I'd rather have a Van Gogh around than a Koons. You may be moderately happy with your compromise, but don't put it out there as a panacea, jackass.
And you still don't see anything different between what Mould does and what you do? "Why can't he just be a sandwich artist at Subway? That way, he'd get paid." Moron.
posted by klangklangston at 10:07 AM on May 24, 2005


Balisong, you moderated your words pretty well there, but now it sounds like you wouldn't be okay if someone could figure out how to make free, easily distributable copies of your art that didn't profit you, and it's Bob's fault that his medium happens to be more easily digitized and shared.

I'm not sure what that makes you, but if what goes around comes around, I sure as hell won't be weeping when the 3D digitizers get your art where it hurts your wallet.
posted by kalessin at 10:07 AM on May 24, 2005


What do all you people who seem to be riding me do for a living? Is it what you always wanted to do? Do you get paid?

I love my job. I love the textures of the marble and granite, I love the feel of grout, I love the smell of the mastic, I love the sound of spreading mortar on the floor.

What I do and Mould does are very different things. But I bet he loves his, too. I just feel sorry that he feels disapointment that he is not getting enough money for it, or that people feel the need to steal it.
I seem to remember a quote somewhere that went something like, 'It is an artist's greatest compliment to have his work stolen', but I could be wrong about that.
posted by Balisong at 10:14 AM on May 24, 2005


klangklangston : "And Victors, well, y'know, it sounds like you're just not really into music if you won't buy anything without hearing all of it first. There's no risk in that, and there's no joy in discovery. And, frankly, it'll be rare that you can hear everything that will be good by downloading the whole thing first. (Christ, don't people go to shows anymore to see if they want to buy the album?)"

I agree with pretty much the rest of what you wrote, but I don't at all get this. Being into music means being into music. Liking music. Enjoying music. Being really happy when listening to music. It doesn't mean being into risk or discovery. Those are ancillary, and are great for people who're into it too, but it's not a part of "being into music", any more than saying that a person in a band isn't really into playing in a band unless he has an interest in fucking groupies. Sure, that's an ancillary part of being in (some) bands, and some people are really into it, but being into playing in a band is about playing music with other people, not about playing music with other people and having sex with groupies.

As for seeing shows to determine if you want to buy an album...That's never worked for me. Too many bands who are great live and horrible on albums, or horrible live but great on albums, or who suck now but used to be good. Sure, listening to a band live is a way to find out if you want to buy an album, but it's far too hit-and-miss to be used as a reliable source of new musical interests. And you also end out getting frozen out of genres not popular in your area (I don't think I'd ever have gotten into Finnish Psychedelic Trance or Florida Technical Death Metal if I'd just stuck to bands playing locally in Tokyo).

Balisong : "It's not my fault that he makes music. It's not his fault I set tile. He chose his medium and I chose mine. If his if wrought with greed and corruption from the record companies, down to the consumer, I'm sorry. There are other ways to be an artist that don't leave yourself ripe for disapointment."

I've kind of lost you. I understand what you're saying, but (and I say this entirely without snark), what's your point? It seems like you're just offering a recap of the situation. He can make music, but it won't make him money, or he can do something else, and it will. He is trying to improve his situation such that he can make music, and make money. What are you trying to say?
posted by Bugbread at 10:17 AM on May 24, 2005


Screw this my-art-is-more-valid-than-your-art stuff. What's important is that this album ROCKS. I probably wouldn't have bought it on spec but, after a few listens, I've just pre-ordered it. If only all music purchases worked like this.
posted by blag at 10:22 AM on May 24, 2005


But the best thing I love about my job, is the job sadisfaction.

I can come into a room, rip up the floor, tear down the walls, and start over from nothing, and turn it into something beautiful. Something show-worthy. Something practical and special.

Or just lay a grid, and get paid.

My job uses the customer, too. I lay lots of plain grids, but every once in a while, someone want's to have fun, and playing with patterns and shapes is fun for me.
If I get to set something special that I get to put in my picture book, it makes me happy. They don't come around all the time, and much of the job is boring ole' squares. like playing tetris without the fun.

Even if someone uses a design that I made, and recreates it, that's fine.
posted by Balisong at 10:26 AM on May 24, 2005


Also, all the more power to Bob Mould on making his love his job. More people should do this.
posted by Balisong at 10:32 AM on May 24, 2005


But Balisong, if I were to walk into your last client's house just as you're finishing your job and say, "Hey! Great work. I like it so much that I'm going to insist the client get it for free!" and there was nothing you could do about it, would you like that? What if I did it for half your clients? More? How long could you afford to do the work you love and, presumably, enrich the world around you, if I did that? The difference between Mould's and your works is that presently it's impossible for me to do that. Suggesting he shouldn't be a musician if he doesn't like this is ignorant. That's why people are jumping on you.
posted by dobbs at 10:32 AM on May 24, 2005


Dear Bob, I've got solution to your problem: Don't spend $50,000 on making records. Spend $5,000. Use the same technology that has made CDs obsolete to reduce your production costs. Record it in a basement on a computer.

Make indie music in an indie way. Everyone knows it that when it is recorded well, it starts to sound like Bryan Adams or David Crosby. SST used to release things which sounded like you and Grant screaming and throwing things and each other but it didn't matter. It was still much better than Sugar.

And there's simply no excuse for taking three years to record. You used to make three albums a year. Granted, they were filled with lots of rubbishy Grant Hart songs but still.

As for filesharing, the genie is out of the bottle and there's no putting her back. All the defenders of the old way have left is a lot of moral huffing and puffing, which isn't very punk rock, is it?

If you're really having financial woes you might want to consider hiring Steve Albini to engineer, who has principles so you only need to pay him $18.50 an hour.

Your fan, dydecker
posted by dydecker at 10:56 AM on May 24, 2005


klang calls me lazy, cheap and "not into music" and don't know how to take musical risks and don't know about about discovering new talent and art -- hey thanks for the insight! I guess I'll have to work on those things.

add to that old and senile because I'm sitting slowly remembering that I actually saw husker du perform at ucla, or was it pere ubu.... eh, what do I care not being into music and all.
posted by victors at 10:59 AM on May 24, 2005


Balisong : "Even if someone uses a design that I made, and recreates it, that's fine."

True, but there are two important differences. First, generally your designs don't take a year to make. Second, you are probably paid a fixed amount for the work. That is, if a design did take a year to make, you'd get paid for it, and go on to your next job.

With music, payment doesn't work like that, and it isn't all the RIAA's fault either. Each individual purchase is cheap ($12). It is the cumulative number of purchases that provides the payment for the year's work. So if the design is copied, you don't get paid.

I'm not saying one or the other is "special" or anything like that. I'm just saying that the situation you're in is completely different than that of a musician, so your statement that you'd be fine with someone using your design really has no bearing on the situation. Kinda like if someone who wasn't allergic to peanuts said "If somebody put peanuts in my food, that's fine" when discussing someone else who has severe peanut allergies.

Once again, to emphasize, I'm not trying to paint them as "right" and you as "wrong" in this example. Just pointing out that the foundation conditions are different, so you can't really compare the conclusions on a one to one basis.
posted by Bugbread at 11:05 AM on May 24, 2005


I guess the biggest difference between my art and Bobs is that I create a new piece of art for every customer, where Bobs is meant to reach everyone. If he had to sing a new song personally to every one who wanted to hear it, he could probably get paid for it. But if he want's everyone to hear his songs, and just chip in a little bit, on the honor system, then he has a hard time enforcing it.

I buy music. I have never used Napster, and have never downloaded a bit-torrent, or really know how that works.
I have downloaded music posted here on Metafilter, or artist's websites where they put it up for free. Sometimes it encourages me to buy the CD, sometimes it doesn't.

His art and mine are fundementally different. Mine endures, his is fleeting. Mine is geo-specific, his is universal.

More power to him, but I gotta go. I have a tile job to go measure.
posted by Balisong at 11:08 AM on May 24, 2005


Mould seems to take satisfaction in the fact that folks just cannot wait to experience his work and understands that at least one of the sites was acting without malice. --A fan who got caught up in the excitement, enjoyed the record, and wanted to share the forbidden (or not quite ready to eat) fruit. Understandable.-- And as an independent artist (who keeps a regularly updated "this is my real life" blog) he certainly understands the upside of having his songs available for free on the internet.

But the simple economics of this situation makes that fact the his product is freely available before it even hits the market potentially devastating to Mould's right to a basic standard of living. He is working on a interesting scale. Mould's fans probably number in the tens of thousands so if he can count of a reasonable percentage of them he can afford to front $50,000 of his own money and 3 years, "on and off," of his time and expect a return on the investment. But he is not a multi-platinum superstar and probably never will be, so even if the illegal downloads only stop a small number of folks from actually buying the album, there are significant consequences for him.

Given that reality, I find his reaction to be extremely tolerant, a simple plea for self-restraint on the part of the downloaders. I don't quite get what the commenters speaking against Mould's posts would have him do instead? I think you guys are probably commenting in reaction to the draconian indulgences of the corporate rock rather than the specifics of this case.

On preview, dydecker has proposed what he should do instead. Stay punk rock. Easier said than done (especially given that Mould is all dancing queen and shit now).
posted by If I Had An Anus at 11:13 AM on May 24, 2005


string map {{makes that fact the his} {{makes the fact that his}} $mypost
posted by If I Had An Anus at 11:19 AM on May 24, 2005


Albini once called Mould a "fat cow with a fuzz box," Mould repsonded in an interview by saying something along the lines of "He's got 1000 microphones. Paging Dr. Freud!"

So that's not gonna work out, dydecker. And $50,000 represents an enormous savings, and already probably compromises his vision. He's not in a punk rock band anymore.

I'm not as much of a fan of this stuff as his earlier work, but it's his choice, and the idea that he deserves for it to be leaked because he would like to make a living off of his art is absurd.
posted by mzurer at 11:34 AM on May 24, 2005


Balisong, you are lucky. Lucky because you seem to be doing something that gives you great satisfaction and gives others great pleasure, for which they are willing to pay you money (decent money, I hope). You are also lucky because there is a venerated and ingrained system in place to ensure that you get fully compensated for what you do. A client can try to scam you, but you have effective legal recourse in such cases. As dobbs pointed out, how would you react if the client said, "Thanks! No money for you!" or "Here's ten bucks, buddy! You get yourself a few sodas!" and there was nothing you could do? The analogy you suggest, that of having your designs imitated, doesn't follow.

I understand the joy you take in your work, and I'm guessing that you believe that Mould should hearken to that joy before he turns his mind to baser matters. But joy and poverty are not the great friends that some would have you believe. In my experience, the starving artist eventually ends up more preoccupied with hunger than with art.

From what you say about yourself, I would have credited you with more sympathy for Mould. Like him, you have found a way to turn an abiding aesthetic drive into an income. And although you praise him for this, you appear insensitive to his worries. Perhaps the number of times you've posted has diluted your argument, or perhaps your argument is evolving as you respond to others here, but I'd like to know a bit better where you stand.

I promise not to download one of your bathrooms.
posted by palinode at 11:49 AM on May 24, 2005


I don't quite get what the commenters speaking against Mould's posts would have him do instead? I think you guys are probably commenting in reaction to the draconian indulgences of the corporate rock rather than the specifics of this case.

No, he is (or could be) the poster child for how giving your music is good for your career. A musician in his specific case could only benefit from the exposure and good will toward fans.

dydecker is right on about the costs of production -- there kind of is no reason, besides the feeling comfy and safe in a recording studio for him to spend $50k on a rock record - but even discussing what he could be saving is missing the larger point because it assumes that he would lose money by making his music freely available. Which is, at best, debatable at worse is just plain wrong.

This makes sense to me: The more people hear his music, especially based on the reviews here, the more people will buy it.
posted by victors at 11:50 AM on May 24, 2005


Musicians complaining that they can't make a living being a musicican just always sounds like whining to me - no mater what the level the musician is at.

What's that? Everyone's downloading your album and now you have to go back to working a 'real job'? That sucks, I'm truly sympathetic, nobody should have that happen to them, particularly when so much is apparently on the line. But also, I can't say I'm surprised and I'm shocked if you are truly surprised. My opinion: Your record label should have done a better job protecting their (and your) investment - or you shouldn't have spent your life savings on something without having a backup plan - or you just have really bad luck - at least you got to make an album - and in this case , likely not on your dime...

There are tons of ways to make money making music - I suggest these complaining musicians check these out - Make your art in your spare time like the majority of us do - then you can distribute it for free and not have to bitch at your fans for listening to your music. Or, you can get paid to tour or get a better deal with a record label if your music is really that great. The system worked for Bob Mould at one time, obviously, but the system has changed and is ever-changing - and it's not like it's changing in ways that nobody's expected.

I'd love to be able to eat donuts and get paid for it, but you know what, even though I'm extremely good at it, I doubt that's going to happen. I don't think anyone "deserves" to get paid for their art - if they do get paid for it, more power to them.
posted by soplerfo at 11:51 AM on May 24, 2005


I just read your latest comment, Balisong. Never mind that I asked for further input. I don't want to hear about the fleeting and the geo-specific arts.
posted by palinode at 11:54 AM on May 24, 2005


If you are doing it for the money, you might not be that serious of an artist.

I agree 100%. The question, of course, is whether or not we want to financially compensate artists for creating art. To me, I honestly don't see the need. YMMV. I'm perfectly happy listening only to bedroom computer beats made by Alice, age 9.

The biggest problem with the recording industry is not piracy. It's that the free stuff is almost as good.

Sorry, kids; until you change the law, you're still breaking it. I hate some laws as well, and if I break them and get caught, I get punished. Proceed as you will.

And certainly don't forget about the new additions to the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005:

SEC. 103. CRIMINAL INFRINGEMENT OF A WORK BEING PREPARED FOR COMMERCIAL DISTRIBUTION.

...

`(1) IN GENERAL- Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed--

...

`(C) by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.


If you're willing to take time away from your art to do a regular job in order to pay the bills, you might not be that serious of an artist.

That's a disgusting attitude. Art is not more important that survival (not to mention supporting dependents (that you may have not asked for, such as parents)), and a job is often necessary for survival. If you missed that tip somewhere along the way, I'm not sure how to help you. Maybe some evolutionary biology. Or William Carlos Williams.

But the simple economics of this situation makes that fact the his product is freely available before it even hits the market potentially devastating to Mould's right to a basic standard of living.

So release the fucking album. victors is right.

I probably wouldn't have bought it on spec but, after a few listens, I've just pre-ordered it. If only all music purchases worked like this.

Exactly. I can't be the only one who downloads and buys the same music.

Just don't be taking food off my table, OK?

Whether or not I download the pre-released album (I won't) willnot dissuade me from purchasing the album. Unless it sucked, of course.

Here's a thought: if you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE the album before street date, do me (and the record company) a favor: as you're waiting for the files to download, head over to the Yep Roc site, and pre-order whichever configuration you prefer.

A better idea: listen to it, and if you like it, buy it. The problem there arises when you kinda like it, but will probably never listen to it again. Or what if you liked it for a week, then got bored. What then? How much do you owe?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:00 PM on May 24, 2005


Mould's right to a basic standard of living.

Ha. I just actually read that.

Where is such a right guaranteed?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:01 PM on May 24, 2005


Hey, Balisong, I see your digital future.

Z Corporation's 3D Color Printer (for rapid prototyping): http://www.zcorp.com/products/printersdetail.asp?ID=2

3D Scanners: http://www.3dscanners.co.uk/Products.html

And Consumer digital cameras are up to around 12 Megapixels these days.

Put the 3 together and someone could already scan and copy and reprint your mosaics. Right now, doing so would be unbelievably expensive and it would make more sense for someone to just hire you to get a copy. Besides, there's no parity in materials right now - most 3D printers use plastic to create their output. But in 5 years? 10 years? Who really knows?

I'm not saying that it'll happen tomorrow, but it might happen in 10 or 20 years, and I hope you'll keep your criticism's of Mould's art in your mind for that day, and remember how quick you were to throw Mould's efforts to the dogs of the free market. Copyright exists for a reason. Even if copyright is unenforceable (and relies on people's good intentions and senses of conscience instead of on technological lockdowns), it's still important to remember that making art costs money, and even if it's trivial to copy and share that art, dropping a kickback to the original artist is a good idea, if you can manage it.

And it buys you no sympathy (of mine) to remark that the medium is easily copyable. Because I'm convinced that while your medium is not right now, it could easily be so in a couple of decades.
posted by kalessin at 12:14 PM on May 24, 2005


kalessin, What leads you to believe that Balisong won't adapt to changing technology like Bob Mould and his record label failed to?
posted by soplerfo at 12:21 PM on May 24, 2005


What's with the Cher-esque vocals on Shine Your Light Love Hope? Doesn't Bob know that Vocoder and Auto-Tune are the devil.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 12:22 PM on May 24, 2005


soplerfo, I don't know. I guess we can see what he does. Given that he seems not to have noticed how technology may be infringing on his own copyrights at some point, I remain skeptical.
posted by kalessin at 12:26 PM on May 24, 2005


I'd love to be able to eat donuts and get paid for it, but you know what, even though I'm extremely good at it, I doubt that's going to happen. I don't think anyone "deserves" to get paid for their art - if they do get paid for it, more power to them.

The art angle is a red-herring. No one deserves to get paid just for making art. Everyone deserves to get paid if someone else wants to own that art in some form. Not because it's art, but because it's a thing that takes time to make, that has a price that people are willing to pay. You don't want to pay that price, fine, then don't take the product.

He's not wanting to get paid for having made the album, he wants the people who want to own the album to pay for it.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:43 PM on May 24, 2005


I don't think anyone "deserves" to get paid...

He never said he deserves to be paid to be an artist and I don't think anyone's arguing that he does. What people are arguing is that if you're going to own a copy then you should compensate the person who made it. If you don't want a copy, obviously you don't owe him anything. He DESERVES to be compensated for his work IF you're getting pleasure from the fruit of his labor--the same as your employer (or client) pays you because he/she/it benefits from the fruit of your labor regardless of what you do. Yes, some people work for free. Some people make music for free. But it's their decision. What's at question is whether it's up to YOU to deny them that choice. It is not.

Mould's right to a basic standard of living.

Ha. I just actually read that.


I think it's pretty obvious that the poster was talking in the context of the FPP--ie, people downloading the music, meaning "Mould's right to a basic standard of living if his work is being taken."
posted by dobbs at 12:43 PM on May 24, 2005


A big part of the problem is that music seems to be "different" than every other type of art.
Most physical art, paintings, sculpture, tile, ornemental ironwork, or whatever.. The artist gets paid one lump sum of money for it, since it is, one piece of art.
I have learned that when I am not CONSTANTLY creating new art, and new installations, I run out of money and starve.
Music is somehow different. They want a cut every time the song is played. They don't get a lump sum for a song, and have to go back out and create a new one. The only other art medium close is, possibly, writing. But most people here would rather use Bugmenot to get around paying. Should someone who writes an article get paid $.03 every time someone views his story? Should you have to pay $.03 every time you read one? What about hotlinking a story to corraborate an arguement here on MeFi? Should you get a bill at the end of every month from everyone you hotlink to? Or hotlinking for that matter. I remember there was some "artist" that INVENTED hotlinking, and wanted royalties every time someone "used" his "invention". The courts ruled against him.

Why do I not get $.03 every time someone uses a bathroom I install?

There are many wierd twists and turns to music as intelectual property.

What if Einstien had trademarked E=MC^2 (tm). And insisted that $.03 get sent to him every time someone wanted to read, use, or even think too hard about his ideas?

I know the reality of being a starving artist much more than a lot of people in the music industry, including the artists.
Does Bob still get royalties for his older stuff? Why don't I?
posted by Balisong at 12:45 PM on May 24, 2005


He's not wanting to get paid for having made the album, he wants the people who want to own the album to pay for it.

doesn't look that way to me, he wants me to buy it before I even hear it. How am I supposed to know if I want to own it?

(not that I endorse several record-company-can-save-your-ass comments floated above.)
posted by victors at 12:46 PM on May 24, 2005


Of course he ought to be compensated when someone uses/enjoys something he's created - particularly if what he created was meant to be sold - but he's taking a (huge) gamble trying to make money by releasing music the way he's doing it - I just felt that he's coming off sounding like he's blaming his fans for his gamble (potentially) not paying off.
posted by soplerfo at 12:52 PM on May 24, 2005


doesn't look that way to me, he wants me to buy it before I even hear it. How am I supposed to know if I want to own it?

Dunno, but that doesn't mean that he wants to get paid for having made the album. He's selling it, for a certain price. He wants the people who want to own the album to pay for it. The fact that there are people who would want to buy it if they heard it first does not negate the fact that he wants to collect money from people who are going to be owning the album.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:58 PM on May 24, 2005


23skidoo writes "The art angle is a red-herring. No one deserves to get paid just for making art. Everyone deserves to get paid if someone else wants to own that art in some form. Not because it's art, but because it's a thing that takes time to make, that has a price that people are willing to pay. You don't want to pay that price, fine, then don't take the product.

"He's not wanting to get paid for having made the album, he wants the people who want to own the album to pay for it."



Fuck 23skidoo, thank you thank you thank you. The righteous indignation about Bob Mould objecting to his songs being stolen is completely beyond me. We aren't talking about Metallica here, or about B. Spears, we're talking about a guy who makes ends meet DJing at a club on Saturday nights (a gig he has to split with another artist). He's having a conversation with his fans, because he has few enough fans, and he cares about them enough, to have a conversation about this with them.

The suggestion that he is somehow wrong to expect people to pay for what they are taking is utterly strange. mrgrimm's arguments about how great free stuff is don't hold up, not because they are wrong, but because we already know that people want this music, we know that they are downloading it. In the face of that, the only conversation to have is about why they would want to screw someone they supposedly like this way.

Balisong--
Nothing you've written makes me think that you even understand the terms here, or the most basic things about economics and art. You not only compare royalties with payment for a product, you claim that only music (and sometimes writing) operates on a payment plan. I don't think you have to have read Walter Benjamin to know that many many forms of art in the contemporary world (and even dating back to at least the middle ages) have operated on the basis of reproduction and payment for a non-unique artifact. Printmaking, photography, publishing, music, movies, traveling drama troupes: all these are forms of producing one thing and getting paid for it over and over again.

You also fail to understand the terms of your own art, the economic terms that is; and your confusion about it allows you to argue as if your choices are comparable to choices that Mould has made or could make. The reality is, your craft is only possible (as you've described it) because other people own houses. You want to know why you don't get paid over and over for your bathrooms: it's because they belong to someone else. The investment is theirs, you contribute some creativity and the abilities of a craftsperson, but the capital rests with them. If you weren't in touch with people who could buy houses and commission custom tile jobs, your art would not exist. What makes the economic argument particularly strange to me is that Mould actually asks for far less money from each person than do you. His charges are distributed (an effect of the reproduction of art you claim to be so baffled by), and yet, you seem to suggest that if he confined his art to people with a lot more money (as do you) he'd be better off, as would society. On the one hand, Mould should just throw his music into the communal pot if he wants to be an artist; on the other, he should find some rich friends to pay him to do something he can call art.
posted by OmieWise at 1:41 PM on May 24, 2005


There IS a big difference between traditional art forms and music. Tangibility.

If I were a musician, I would view audio recordings as a promotional tool to build a fan base and get them out there to see my live show - Which, as most musicians will tell you, is where they REALLY make the money. Not the pitiful scraps that their record label throws down to them from album sales.

I download music without remorse. I've turned literally thousands of people on to artist that they probably wouldn't have heard of had I not passed a downloaded/burned CD onto them. These people become the strong fanbase that goes out and sees the musician when they're out touring and earning their living.

When I download music, I get great satisfaction out of knowing that as a wonderful side effect, I am another small hammer working to tear down the bohemoth that record companies have become. With the advent of the internet, their services are no longer needed, and the quicker they realize this (or are forced to realize this) the better.
posted by rabble at 1:47 PM on May 24, 2005


This arguement about tiling got me thinking...
You start out as a tiler and are widely regarded for your beautiful designs, paid per project and make money. Although there are other tilers, your reknown (and wages) comes from the demand for your creative designs. Then you realize that you can sell maps of the designs to other tilers for extra money. Tilers across the world start purchasing the designs and you start making lots of money. This continues and you stop tiling and just start making designs. Then comes the mimeograph/internet/person with a pen and paper - and they start copying your design and giving it to other people that tile. And now there's no way for you to make money anymore, no one tiles, no one designs, and the world ends. Is that an apt analogy?
posted by nTeleKy at 1:55 PM on May 24, 2005


Actually, there are several types of art that move with the same flow as music. Photography, writing, preformance art (musicians, actors). How many times have you used a photograph without paying royalties? (or even giving credit notes)

In this day of technology where you have a medium sitting in front of you to exactly reproduce a song or photograph, they are easy to obtain, and basically "free", how is any artist working in that medium going to make money.

I'm reletively safe right now. There's lots of hacks who can't do what I can. I sell jobs on quality. You can set your own tile, it's the act of "preforming" this art that is hard to reproduce. Computers have made photography and music, and writing something that can be duplicated exactly.

I don't know the answer to how to protect these things for their creators, but I love the discussion..

On preview.. I haven't called any of you names.. But some people here sure seem to be jumping my case a lot.. and calling me names.
posted by Balisong at 1:55 PM on May 24, 2005


Bugbread : "If you're willing to take time away from your art to do a regular job in order to pay the bills, you might not be that serious of an artist.

mrgrimm : "That's a disgusting attitude. Art is not more important that survival...and a job is often necessary for survival. If you missed that tip somewhere along the way, I'm not sure how to help you."

You totally misread me. It was just a slightly facetious counter to Balisong's proposition that "If you are doing it for the money, you might not be that serious of an artist." Balisong's was a silly statement, so I hoped to highlight it by providing an opposite, but equally silly statement. I don't believe either one at all.

Balisong : "Music is somehow different. They want a cut every time the song is played."

It's not for every time a song is played, it's for everytime a copy of a song is obtained. Don't artists get a cut for each time a reproduction of their piece is made? Isn't that basically what art books are: a cut for every time a copy is purchased?

Balisong : "Does Bob still get royalties for his older stuff? Why don't I?"

Er...because your bathrooms haven't been replicated and obtained by other people?

soplerfo : "Of course he ought to be compensated when someone uses/enjoys something he's created - particularly if what he created was meant to be sold - but he's taking a (huge) gamble trying to make money by releasing music the way he's doing it"

I think that phrases things perfectly.
posted by Bugbread at 2:17 PM on May 24, 2005


You know... this could all be solved by a restrictive DRM where you can download an album and only listen to it for a week before you have to buy it.

It'd be especially keen if it reported your identity back to a central server where your music tastes and buying patterns can be recorded and dissected.

And, since I work in a marketing department, I can't tell if I'm kidding.
posted by gambit at 2:25 PM on May 24, 2005


*disclaimer* I am usually trying to play several levels of sarcasm whenever I post comments here, as I'm sure many of you are, having read your posts. My first couple were along that line, as was my post about getting paid for every time someone uses something I create.*

nTeleKy: This continues and you stop tiling and just start making designs.

Or I don't. I have been pressured my my own family to turn my buisiness into something bigger. To where I'm the one hiring others to go out and do the installations, and I sit in an office, answer phones, and maybe go out and give estimates.
My reply was, "But most people I know can't set tile like I can, and I don't want my (or my companies) name associated with sub-standard work."
This is probably why I won't ever make it big, and will survive job to job. I'm not the best buisinessman, and I hate phones and, really, talking to people. But If let loose, I can create something beautiful that makes me and my customer proud.

Most designs are already out there, from M.C. Escher on down. I survive and prosper, or decline and fail, on what I can do as an artist. Every time. I may seem non-empathetic to Bob and his situation, but really, it'd be like I did my very best installation, and then was able to zoom-copy it off a disk to every other job.
Every piece of art is unique. Getting the original is worth paying for. Using it again and again, not so much so.

That said, I know that art is costly. Musicians have to pay for instruments, costumes, roadies, wires, amps, tape, technitions, gas, studio time, drumsticks, food, rent, etc.
Every artist has expenditures.

I'm by no means arguing that he should give it for free, or only for the I'm more criticising the "music industry" from base capitalism down to the pirates.
posted by Balisong at 3:15 PM on May 24, 2005


You totally misread me. It was just a slightly facetious counter to Balisong's proposition that "If you are doing it for the money, you might not be that serious of an artist." Balisong's was a silly statement, so I hoped to highlight it by providing an opposite, but equally silly statement. I don't believe either one at all.

I figured as much, but it was the "That's much calmer and more succinct than I (could have) put it" comment after that trolled me. Sorry.

it's still important to remember that making art costs money, and even if it's trivial to copy and share that art, dropping a kickback to the original artist is a good idea, if you can manage it.

Amen, and I think that's a belief that we all likely share (in some form). For me, the tricky part comes in when you really can't manage it financially, but you want to hear all 20 interesting albums that came out this week. Yes, I know I should just leave all that to those who can afford the full-priced CDs, but music on the Internet is like free crack on a windowsill, except for the kicker: you can't even buy that crack if you wanted to.

I admit that many of those who "can't" afford all their favorite CDs simply *choose* to spend their money on food, drink, housing, etc., but then again, lots of us want CD-quality digital files and there is no way to pay for those without buying a CD. If you don't want the CD at all, but you want the digital files, what should you do?

You know... this could all be solved by a restrictive DRM where you can download an album and only listen to it for a week before you have to buy it.

It'd be especially keen if it reported your identity back to a central server where your music tastes and buying patterns can be recorded and dissected.


Ha. I'd rather just have a universal library of music that anyone can access for a couple hundred bucks a year. Put all the DRM you want on there, as long as I can listen to it wherever and whenever I want. ;p
posted by mrgrimm at 3:32 PM on May 24, 2005


I figured as much, but it was the "That's much calmer and more succinct than I (could have) put it" comment after that trolled me. Sorry.

That was my comment and I meant it.

I have many musician and label-owning friends who make sacrifices for their "art"--though I hate that word in this context because these people work their asses off. I'm sick to death of people in the peanut gallery suggesting that when these folks finally make it big that they shouldn't be taken seriously or that they've sold out. Usually such comments come from people who've never taken any risks and don't know what it takes to do so.

If you don't want the CD at all, but you want the digital files, what should you do?

Why not just buy them? In Mould's case, the label putting out this record (Yep Roc) makes the tracks available from the popular online services (I'll be sampling and maybe buying this album from emusic).
posted by dobbs at 4:30 PM on May 24, 2005


balisong-
I thought more about what you've written, and I still can't square it. I understand that you think of yourself as an artist, and that you think that you've solved something that Bob Mould should be smart enough to solve/is too effete about. But as I was running this evening it came to me that what you advocate, what you practice, is actually a form of patronage for the arts. You're art is produced just like Michelangelo produced his, through the offices of rich benefactors. In this context it is clearly Bob Mould who is making art for the 21st century, at the long end of the tail, interacting with his fans on an (almost) individual level. He takes an economic hit that you don't take because your patrons literally cannot have your work without you present to do it.

I'm not sure if you think I've called you names, which is something I certainly have not intended, but I have to say that I think your attitude in this thread has stunk. Instead of defending a fellow artist you've been smug and condescending, not only toward him, but toward whole genres of art in general. Your attitude has been dismissive and self-congratulatory and while I don't know you or the reputation of your work, I do know that Bob Mould has a well-deserved national reputation that is evident in the very terms of this debate. I've been surprised that each of your successive comments has failed to grant the man any legitimacy.
posted by OmieWise at 4:46 PM on May 24, 2005


That was my comment and I meant it.

I know. That's why I said it was disgusting. Perhaps we're just semantically skewed.

Those musical friends of yours *are* "tak[ing] time away from [their] art to do a regular job in order to pay the bills" whether or not it's playing a gig they don't really want to play or marketing their album or hiring a manager and agent, etc.

The janitor who creates art in his spare time is as much an "artist" as your friends are. That's all I'm saying. You may disagree, but I think art speaks for itself.

Why not just buy them?

If I could buy CD-quality files (e.g. 40MB WAVs or something like that) at $1 a pop, I'd definitely buy a *lot* more music online. I almost never buy MP3s because it's just not the right price for what you're buying (except for maybe AllofMP3, which has its own problems).

I love Bob Mould, btw. Nothing really compares to Husker Du for me, but I even bought "File Under Easy Listening." A friend of mine (who had never heard of Mould before) stayed at his house in Austin for several weeks. He wasn't poorly off.

I just think that for him to appeal to listeners' sense fairness is a bit hypocritical, considering that the industry that has made him quite a bit of money over the years has been colluding and conspiring against these same listeners since long before anyone ever heard of file-sharing.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:58 PM on May 24, 2005


Also btw, I caught an interesting Frontline on PBS last night: The Way the Music Died. It's not terribly new, but still interesting.

The site seems a bit dated, though. In the poll "Where do you get your music" the only online choices are "Download through paid service" or "Download through free P2P service" (I guess that includes BitTorrent). But WTF? Where's "Download from Web site" or "Download from online webspace service"?
posted by mrgrimm at 6:04 PM on May 24, 2005


I just think that for him to appeal to listeners' sense fairness is a bit hypocritical, considering that the industry that has made him quite a bit of money over the years has been colluding and conspiring against these same listeners since long before anyone ever heard of file-sharing.

So he has first hand experience that people buying albums without hearing the entire thing first does result in profits for the artist, even if the label takes their cut. How does that make him a hypocrite?
posted by 23skidoo at 7:00 PM on May 24, 2005


Holy crap, mrgrimm, you can't be serious. Bob Mould was one of the founders of the punk DYI movement that developed in response to corporatization of music. He is paying for the production of this record with his own money. He is on a tiny independent label after two records on a major, and a handful on a large indie. He has allowed his fans to trade tapes of his shows for years, only cutting it off slightly when versions of songs he didn't feel were ready for mass consumption made out to the 'net via these recordings.

His house in Austin was nice enough that you don't care if he doesn't get payed for his work? Please.
posted by mzurer at 7:22 PM on May 24, 2005


PS: I like Husker Du and Bob Mould. I like lots of music, especially the punk stuff. I have an album of his on vinyl.
I've partied at Tom Petty's house in Gainesville Fl, I heard Green Day before they ever cut a studio album and played in my friend's living room, and sold t-shirts and CD's out of a suitcase. Most of my friends are artists, mostly musicians and painters. I have long hair and a beard. I have had struggling artists crash on my couch for months at a time. I empathise. Don't think that I am against what Bob is doing or that he is trying to make it his life's purpose. More people should do this than go find a job at Wendy's or Border's Books.

I love you all... Can't we all get along?
posted by Balisong at 8:24 PM on May 24, 2005


Oh man, I bet my Bob-righteousness would be less funny if I didn't mangle the acronym.

s/DYI/DIY
posted by mzurer at 9:01 PM on May 24, 2005


Yeah, the Do Yourself In movement never really got off the ground.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:39 PM on May 24, 2005


"Can't we all get along?"

I dunno about the others, Bali, but if I didn't live several thousand miles away, I'd hire you to lay my tiles in an instant.

Of course, it would almost certainly be a plain ol' grid, largely because I'm always a little dubious about craftsmen who think of themselves as artists, but even so, anyone who is as enthusiastic about their trade as you are is bound to do a good job of tiling my bathroom.

But you gotta promise to leave the Benchmade butterfly knife at home -- though it sounds like you could disembowel me with your trowel if the fancy struck you.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:28 AM on May 25, 2005


WHEW, I thought you were talking about Bob Log. Bob, not THAT'S a good one man show. Awesome.
posted by tomplus2 at 7:30 AM on May 25, 2005


Rabble: If I were a musician, I would view audio recordings as a promotional tool to build a fan base and get them out there to see my live show - Which, as most musicians will tell you, is where they REALLY make the money.


Oddly enough, this is true for smaller acts and completely false for big-timers. For the up-and-coming, album sales are scant. Revenue from shows is also scant, but it's more steady. Once a band gets big enough to actually have a record lable, it generally tours for the sole point of selling albums. The tour is promotion for the album. But for those somewhere between the low and the high, money from album sales (or t-shirt sales or whathaveyou) can offset shows that don't pay, get cancelled, etc.


Rabble: [. . .] I am another small hammer working to tear down the bohemoth that record companies have become.


Bob Mould isn't on Sony, he's on YepRock with a bunch of other acts that still play bars and are thankful for the free beer. I've played in bands that opened up for a few of these acts. They're regular joes, man, not big-time rock stars.

posted by wheat at 10:59 AM on May 25, 2005


Frickin' missing </i> tags. Grrr!
posted by wheat at 12:41 PM on May 25, 2005


Wheat Said:

Oddly enough, this is true for smaller acts and completely false for big-timers.

...

Bob Mould isn't on Sony, he's on YepRock with a bunch of other acts that still play bars and are thankful for the free beer.


Fair enough then. When I download music from smaller artists, I spread it far and wide to encourage people to go see them live, where they make their real money. When I download from a "Big Name" artists (which very rarely happens), I'm doing my part to destroy the bastard middleman that the record company has become.

Sounds like a win/win to me.
posted by rabble at 3:38 PM on May 26, 2005


« Older Irshad Manji, self-described "Muslim Refusenik", u...  |  An examination of Iraqi public... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments