Eyeball Records is Right, and Here’s Why
In light of the Kinixtion letter, I have come to some stark realizations. I think that there are several people in the world who think that musicians aren’t real people with real bills and real need for money. Music is their job, and as much as it is fun, it’s their freakin’ job. They need to get paid so that they can continue to do their job.
Consider this. You get a job at Best Buy, and you work 40 hours a week. Come paychecks, you only get paid for 12 hours, because someone stole the rest of the money.
YOU WOULD NOT BE HAPPY. You deserve to get paid for the hours you worked because you worked them, and the agreement was hours worked = pay for hours worked. They’ve broken their contract with you.
But your boss says, “Sorry, there’s not much we can do – we’re not getting paid either. We’re working on catching the culprits. Please don’t be mad at us, because we didn’t have anything to do with not having the money.”
You agree, and wait for the next check. You get paid for 11 hours, because again, someone has stolen the money. You ask them why the money keeps getting stolen. Your boss says there are too many thieves to catch. He asks you to not be mad, because he had nothing to do with not having the money. You agree.
Now repeat this process every paycheck. No matter how much you love that job, YOU WOULD QUIT THAT JOB.
Now replace “Best Buy” with record labels and “you” with “a band.” That’s the situation here, people. Bands are getting screwed out of money that they have rightfully earned, and since it is often a source or a drain on income (especially if the members are older and have a family), it will eventually become unviable for bands to keep existing.
Yes, some bands live off ramen noodles on the road. These guys are usually 18-23 years old, have no other obligations and don’t have a life other than the band. A good portion of the bands that are around are older than that: have houses, rent, bills, a family even. There are more commitments that they have to attend to. They are professional musicians. They deserve the money that their product makes.
You wouldn’t walk into your local music shop and steal stuff – you’d get caught and there would be consequences. I hope that the Kinixtion letter was a fantastic wake-up call to the indie-rock world that illegal downloading is just like going into a store and stealing. There is real money that is being lost by bands and labels here. They need that money to survive, not to be greedy. If you want music to live, they need to get paid. It’s not greed, it’s capitalism: you provide a product, you get paid for it. That’s just how it should work.
I just want to take this moment to give Eyeball Records the round of applause they deserve. Independent Clauses has been against illegal downloading from day one, and to see a record label doing something effective to stop a particularly damaging form of illegal downloading truly excites me.
We at Independent Clauses hate illegal downloading because we love musicians and labels. I hope that Eyeball records (and the other labels that they’re bringing into this) get in there and shut down tons more of these sites that distribute entire albums at whim. I’m not opposed to blogs putting up one or two songs to spread the word on the album, but putting up the entire album is theft. It’s just wrong. It will disable labels and bands from succeeding and creating more music. And that’s just not good.