15 December 09 from dem 16
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3 December 06 from dan 15
lavamus.com is selling my music and not compensating me in any way whatsoever. They are charging half the price of what my music costs to buy in a legitamate way. I have heard that they are doing this to other artists as well. It is a wonder to me that they are able to get away with this while telling people they are "legal." I would encourage anyone who wishes the money they spend on music go to the artists themselves to boycott lavamus.com, and to look for that music elsewhere first. if you are "buying" music from lavamus, you might as well just steal it using a P2P application. Which do you prefer: to steal something yourself, or to pay someone to steal it for you?
23 October 06 from demien 14
Some years I use only Lavamus.com
. At them the biggest in the world archive of music. Such I anywhere did not meet. At least, once a month I pay their services. A lot of rare music. A lot of electronic music. To all I recommend.
Some songs were searched with many years. Has found them on Lavamus.com
28 September 06 from glenfield 13
Allofmp3.com won its reputation for selling popular music at very cheap rates claiming that it did so within the boundaries of Russian law.
I checked your list of thoughts and albums against lavamus.com; all but two of the albums are available, and both Kyo and Armin van Buuren are in the catalog, so there is hope. Previews are low bitrate, not shortened. Every album can be selected track by track. Finally, you get the choice of both quality and format - in some cases up to full CD rate encoding, lossless. Payment is by data volume - quality sound costs more, 24 kb/s MP3s cost next to nothing.
26 June 05 from glenn mcdonald 10
Allofmp3.com's prices produce a very interesting scale: an album's worth of full-bandwidth CD audio costs about as much as a new CD in the US, while an album's worth of perfectly usable AACs costs a dollar or two. And letting the buyer choose the encoding is an inspired touch. To compete against subscription streaming, somebody is going to have to find a way to pull off something very similar in the US.
26 June 05 from Jonathan 9
Your post raises another option that no one has mentioned -move to Russia in order to legally download from allofmp3.com.
18 June 05 from Chris 12
You actually have a option not otherwise mentioned - pay for your music, and be accused of stealing it anyway.
I checked your list of thoughts and albums against allofmp3.com; all but two of the albums are available, and both Kyo and Armin van Buuren are in the catalog, so there is hope. Previews are low bitrate, not shortened. Every album can be selected track by track. Finally, you get the choice of both quality and format - in some cases up to full CD rate encoding, lossless. Payment is by data volume - quality sound costs more, 24 kb/s MP3s cost next to nothing.
It doesn't fix everything. There is no discount if you already own the album. There is no refund if it sucks. There is no re-download if you delete the file.
The tougher question arises out of the destination of the money. Russia has a statutory licencing system. As long the copyright collective gets paid, the tracks can be bought. Artists can apply to the collective for their share, but it is reported to be difficult. As a result, labels want this model removed - although it may also be that this is not a model they can control. There is no artificial scarcity.
This system bears a striking resemblance to the U.S. levied media system for tape, where a fraction of the price of each blank tape is in a pool for artists. At least this one has the info about who should get what. The levied media system rewards popularity, even if that which is popular is not copied.
My suggestion? Buy there, if it is legal for you. Eventually there will be enough money in that pot that the way to riches will be to accept the business model, because suing it would kill the goose laying the golden eggs.
As for subscriptions? They will only work if you trust the label to never, ever, remove anything from the play pool. Otherwise, you will go back to relive your memories, and they will have been deleted.
9 June 05 from mlmitton 11
So, it is well within the record labels' legal right to sue individuals who illegally trade music. Whether they should is a separate question, but that they have the legal right is clear.
But should they sue, what are the damages? I think the subscription services set a bound on those damages. If you can access all of Yahoo's catalog for $5 per month, then if you have illegally downloaded the same songs elsewhere, it has only cost the record companies $5 per month. Other services are more expensive, but even so, it becomes pretty hard to justify economic damages from illegal swapping as any more than the cost of the subscription.
Of course, I am mostly against illegal swapping, regardless of how low damages might be.
9 June 05 from glenn mcdonald 10
Well, nobody can say I didn't put in my time defending strict copyrights. Sorry about that. I've said many times that I thought the subscription model was the answer for the big labels. Apple is making a stand for file-purchasing, but I can't say I understand exactly why. It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts.
8 June 05 from Jonathan 9
I posted the message below before reading Glenns most recent missive to the record labels, which I read with some ironic enjoyment.
Here's why: Not long after discovering TWAS, I thought I would return the favor by sending Glenn an MP3 of what I (incorrectly) thought was an unpublished cover of a popular song. Glen sent me back an email chastising me for (a) sending an unsolicited large file (deserved) and (b) illegally copying music (you decide). I felt decidedly morally inferior.
That incident aside, I thought I would check Rhapsody for the albums that Glenn says he stole. Rhapsody did worse than I thought it would, but did not fail completely.
Of the 11 albums listed, only four are available: Armin Van Buuren:76, BT: Movement in Still Life, Cyndi Lauper: At Last, and Tristania: Widow's Weed.
There was nothing at all by Kyo or Jan Garberek, and Kyo wasnt even in the Rhapsody database.
Idlewild, John Zorn, Joe Jackson, and Orchestra Baobab faired better (all had some albums available), but the stolen albums werent there.
8 June 05 from Jonathan 9
It seems to me that whatever justification (or, as I'm inclined to think of it, rationalization) for illegal copying disappears with the availability of very affordable "unlimited" streaming from services like Rhapsody.
Artists get compensated, but the marginal cost to the listener of listening to new music equals the marginal cost of providing that music (essentially zero). You are paying for the value of having the entire catalog.
Though there are still substantial holes in what is available on the legal streaming services, they are getting smaller. Ani diFranco's label, for example, which used to be available only on itunes, is now on Rhapsody as well.
That said, I think it's important not to lose the distinction between mass illegal downloading (or uploading) of MP3s and sharing a single song or mix tape with a friend. I'd argue that, whatever the legal niceties, the latter use is to be expected, and therefore part of what was purchased when the music was purchased in the first place. Though this distinction used to be obvious, there seems to be a backlash against illegal copying that has made even the once-ubiquitous mix tape (now cd) morally suspect.
7 June 05 from Ian Mathers 7
I can understand NEH's point, but I pretty much send people full albums without qualms. Of course, the people who ask me for stuff are pretty much without exception music writers and/or geeks, so I can be pretty sure that like me if they like it they will buy it eventually.
Of course, I don't share full albums over Soulseek, for the most part (partly because I don't keep full albums on my computer, for the most part), and I don't think I'd want to just let whoever copy whole albums. So I think we basically agree except for some questions of degree.
6 June 05 from jordan 6
i agree in principle with jeff, that you should be able to know what youre buying, but i think thats the eternal problem with trying to sell art, to get the real taste of what youre doing you need such a substantial sampling as to render to transaction moot. you can sit down in a book store and read the first few pages of a book, but you dont ultimately know if its going to be a worthwhile book until you follow its train of thought to the end, so you either read the whole damned thing in the store (after which you may as well not buy at all) or you take a risk. thats art.
whenever you try to give a piece of art an economic value, you're somewhat self defeating. Either you don't yet know what personal value the art has to give to you, whether it will be worth $X, or you do only because you've taken the art in as completely as you can, you realize its value, because you've already absorbed it, such that at that point youve rendered its future value, on which you base the transaction, moot.
this is not so with any other type of transaction. you know what a coffeemaker is worth. you know what your car is worth. but an album? there are albums i had bought at $15, scarcely convincing myself to cough it up even after id heard most of the songs, and today i would say they were worth well more than $100 because of how i felt about them over time.
which is taking a very simple thought and killing it with overthinking.
7 June 05 from NEH 5
While this is not precisely on point, years ago I set a standard for "loaning" music to others. Performers wanted to go through my collections for "new" songs. I would let them copy all the individual songs they wanted. The concept being if they really liked something they would probably end up buying something from that artist. I considered it marketing. I would only let them copy an entire album if it was out of print or extremely hard to find.
7 June 05 from Dolph Chaney 4
My system is very similar to whalemusic's, with a few additional stipulations:
* Download anything at any time from SST Records, because Greg Ginn and his accountant didn't pay their artists. My hope someday is to hand the cash equivalent of what I downloaded to Bob Mould, Grant Hart, Mike Watt, Sonic Youth, Henry Rollins, etc. It's bad enough when a major doesn't pay its artists, but indie-on-indie crime is unconscionable.
* Conversely, never steal music from the real good-guy indie labels that pay their artists and apply superhuman effort to the task of infiltrating a flooded market with thoughtful, unique content.
* Offset "preview downloading" by always buying CDs, T-shirts, buttons, stickers, extra copies for your friends, ANYTHING from the artist when they're on tour. Nothing is more valuable to a touring artist than direct cash flow.
I do 99.9% of my downloading legally from eMusic.
6 June 05 from jeff Herriott 1
I like the spirit of whalemusic's approach, which I think points to the fact that lots of us want to pay for music, but we also love the ability to try things out before we buy. And there's no question that the 30-second samples on Amazon (and some retail stores) don't cut it. I use those sometimes to help me decide which albums I should check out in full.
You're correct, Glenn, when you write that "as a buyer [I] don't have an inherent right to determine transaction value for [myself]. [I] don't get to stipulate that an album is worth $3." But since no one in industry seems to be helping to determine fair transaction value, sticking to their ridiculous prices, I feel justified in trying to come up with a solution on my own. And I think more sensible pricing mechanisms will eventually be created by consumers.
In my world, here's what a new system needs:
ability to test music before buying.
6 June 05 from whalemusic 3
Considering biological necessity and the role that the price of a staple like bread actually played in events like the French and Russian revolutions (and others as well), the $18.99/loaf scenario strikes me as a bit of a loaded one, glenn. I mean, I consider music to be an imperative the same as the next guy around here, but Im not sure that my wanting to have the new album by The Tears RIGHT NOW means much of anything against all that.
The situation with respect to downloading is slightly different here in Canada than it is to my knowledge in the States, since we have a government levy on the sale of blank media and digital recorder memory that's meant to offset the loss of royalties due to private copying. So theoretically, at least, there is some compensation for Canadian artists, presuming that you buy some of these products on a continuous basis.
In any event my personal rule is I can download songs (and more recently with BitTorrent, albums) for preview purposes. If I like the record after a few listens, I buy it; if I don't, I delete the files from my hard drive. I can also download anything thats out-of-print or that Ive bought at some time in the past in non-digital format, i.e. LP, cassette, 8-track, etc. etc.
I'm not super-rigorous with this - i.e. you will at any given time find some illegal stuff on my computer - and I don't hold myself to any particular time limits to purchase the stuff that I like (though that usually takes care of itself in short order anyway), but that's my basic practice. In the last few months, I've bought somewhere between one and two dozen albums that I first downloaded under the "preview" rule, (including the Decemberists entire catalogue after downloading Picaresque), decided to pass on yet another Springsteen record and come to the conclusion that I'm never going to like a Frank Black record ever again. About par for the course.
6 June 05 from glenn mcdonald 2
In the abstract, at least, it seems to me that "I want more than I can afford" should not be a justification for taking more than you can buy. But arguably in your case the problem is not that you aren't willing to spend money on music, it's that you want to be able to apportion your spending differently. If you have $60/month to spend on music, say, and 20 new albums you like, from your point of view it makes sense to want to spend $3 on each album. But if albums cost $15, you can only buy 4, and the two systems are impossible to reconcile. Break it down by song, instead of album, and it probably gets worse.
Of course, as a buyer you don't have an inherent right to determine transaction value for yourself. You don't get to stipulate that an album is worth $3. Bread doesn't get any cheaper if you want to eat more of it and spend less in doing so. But neither does the seller have a moral right to demand arbitrary prices in artificially manipulated markets. If someone bought all the bakeries in a city and then jacked up the price of bread to $18.99/loaf, they would deserve to be looted.
Here's a good exercise, actually. In the $18.99/loaf scenario, ponder the moral status of these responses:
- defending a bakery against looters
- buying an overpriced loaf
- stealing a loaf
- stealing a loaf but leaving $3
- standing aside
5 June 05 from jeff 1
I really enjoyed your letter to the industry about stealing (TWAS 503 "Warnings and Promises"
). Most of us have formed our own morality our "stealing" music, and it's always fascinating to hear another intelligent person's take on it.
My morality, for a long while, has allowed me to copy and listen to anything, and then to decide later whether or not it's worth paying for. My logic being that before the cd-copying age, I had no very trustworthy means to find out about good music. No insult to your excellent reviews, but I'm a cheapskate, and I had a hard time stomaching $15 wasted on a bad band solely based on an opinion I read. Now I take mp3s whenever I find them, and if I find I really like something I buy the disc.
The recent flaw with my approach, though, has been that I've found so much good music lately that I can't buy it all. I just can't afford it. So I started thinking - is it my fault that I only spend so much a month of music? Do I need to adjust my priorities? I've debated coming up with some sort of formula about paying (and laughed at your fake mp3-payment system a couple months ago), though nothing seems to work for every scenario. In any case, I deal with it be periodically reviewing what I've listened to and keeping my CD-purchasing list at the ready whenever I hit a record store. But there's still lots of music on my iPod that would be considered illegal, even in my estimation of that term.