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Inordinate Ordnance - Why I’m (kind of) against piracy.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

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Written by Chris Carr

 

Recently I visited my friendly neighbourhood franchise music store and found myself fairly surprised at the selection of CDs still clinging to retail life. You can still buy CDs. Apparently. But of course, I didn’t.

Why would I?

With the ease of downloading every show, album or movie that tickles me at any given time, it seems masochistic to spend money on the very same media. This seems to be the general philosophy surrounding internet/social circles these days. Piracy is the norm, complete with its own defenses, attractions and political advocacy groups.

But I still hand over my (hard-earned?) cash for every note sung, line read and bad being broken.

Believe me, it is not from an ethical position. Frankly, I’ve heard enough musicians claim their income has only increased from piracy. Smaller acts are getting recognition and the crappy ones are being outted; that’s a win-win. Piracy, is a golden god for the little guy and a shiv for the industry giants throttling every cent out of each clogged pore of the latest teenage music machine. And really, the money spent goes to these giants, not the artists, so set sails me mates, the waters are free and fine.

This is—kind of—the reason I still buy my music, movies and shows like the sucker I am. To give money back to the producers, developers and distributors, not the artists at all. In fact, I don’t want my money to go to the talent at all, at this point. I want most of each dollar spent to go to these giants who’ve grown fat on pre-Napster fat-stacks. Laaaid back.

Consider these industry giants as addicts, stuck on the enormous amount of money they were raking in before the torrents of, well, torrents hit the music industry. Now stop their fix cold turkey. What is left? A mad dash for anything resembling their drug-of-choice to keep them from fully, and truly, losing their shit.

This mad dash for a music industrialist comes in the form of milking pop stars for all their money-making value. This is why we are seeing more fragrances, headphones and cell-phone promos in videos since the flip-phone went belly-up. When we stop paying for good music, that money has to come from somewhere. Did anyone expects these millionaires to shrug this lose off? Of course not. They just strapped a feed-bag to any dopey tween band and suck those mothers dry.

For example, you download an album, for free, that would have otherwise made money for, let’s say, Sony. Well, Sony makes no return on that. To recover, they option some other act—usually the one with the most lucrative gimmick (usually ages 11-25)—and launch some useless trinket with an adolescent face on it to recover the cost of the free album you got. Slowly, but wholly and surely, the industry is saturated with worse and worse acts that exist for the sole purpose of recovering costs lost from piracy.

They don’t even have to be good. They just have to be dumb and pretty. Dumb and pretty. These industry giants say, still rich, dancing on the graves of the good musicians they built their empires on.

Now, the argument could be made that the competitiveness of a free industry has only elevated the talent level of the remaining acts. Yup, it has. But the big guys are still out their, forcing me to watch a commercial for some thing I don’t need or want before I watch free videos, streaming from Youtube.

I’m not saying piracy is wrong, because it isn’t. But I will say, anyone who doesn’t pay for music, can’t complain when Justin Bieber is biggest news story of the week. We’ve given permission for him—and those like him—to be showered on us like dumb and pretty acid rain. Don’t act like you thought their wouldn’t be reprecussions.

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