A Journal of Musical ThingsSteve Albini and Amanda Palmer: Piracy Only Helps Musicians - A Journal of Musical Things
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Published on May 29th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

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Steve Albini and Amanda Palmer: Piracy Only Helps Musicians

From TechDirt:

Okay, here’s a bit of a two-fer. With all of the attention that Amanda Palmer has been getting for her massively successful Kickstarter campaign, we had some commenters here questioning whether or not she would freak out if people then shared her music. Thankfully, in her latest update about the project she answers that and many other questions from some folks who are still a little confused about what’s going on. But, for this post, let’s focus on the simple question of “piracy” — since it’s one that comes up often enough around here:

i think music should be shared. all the time. by everybody. i think it’s pure insanity to make music filesharing illegal.
and with that said, i have, for years, encouraged my fans to burn, download and share all of my music with each other and with strangers.
and i will never stop doing that. all that sharing eventually comes back to me in all forms of income and goodwill.

This actually reminded me that, a few weeks earlier, famed music producer Steve Albini did an AMA on Reddit, in which he was asked a similar question, to which he responded:

I reject the term “piracy.” It’s people listening to music and sharing it with other people, and it’s good for musicians because it widens the audience for music. The record industry doesn’t like trading music because they see it as lost sales, but that’s nonsense. Sales have declined because physical discs are no longer the distribution medium for mass-appeal pop music, and expecting people to treat files as physical objects to be inventoried and bought individually is absurd.

Read more here.


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.



One Response to Steve Albini and Amanda Palmer: Piracy Only Helps Musicians

  1. Shawn says:

    Definitely true. Sharing music has made it so much easier for bands that relied on word-of-mouth to get their name out there if their label can't afford to distribute their album to every HMV/Best Buy in existence like most major label artists can. I stopped buying albums a year or so ago (I don't have much use for "physical music" aside from my vinyl collection since I'm either listening via my iPod or desktop PC), but I do my darndest to support the bands I enjoy by catching them when go on tour and grabbing some merch, or buying something from their webstore if they're a band from overseas that can't afford to tour in North America yet. Big labels aren't even taking that much of a hit from sales, it's just that they're starting to stagnate as less and less people find a need to buy music when it's so much more convenient to just click a mouse a few times and wait 30 minutes or so for your download to finish.

    I'd also like to think that big labels are worried that it's now easier to find music that's a lot better than your top usual top 40 fare and they're afraid that people will catch on to their ruse, but that might just be wishful thinking on my part.

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