Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why the Music Industry Sucks (Part XLVII)

Fairweather Friends - The Wooden Sky (mp3)
Damage is Done - Me My Head (mp3)
Empty Hearts, Empty Eyes - Sam Billen (mp3)

This is why... this is why... this is why you suck.

Those of you who read BOTG with any regularity know that, once in a while, I've made an effort to promote some of the better musical acts that get sent our way.

For example, just since September 1, Bottom of the Glass has received promotions and free music files (or links to them) from more than 20 bands and artists. Almost all of these are being sent out to a huge number of music blogs by promotion companies hired to spread the virus of a new band, but some are sent by friends of an artist or even by the artists themselves.

Because I can imagine few things more challenging than trying to spread the gospel of one's own musical vision, in the hopes of maybe being able to eke out a living and maybe a few free beers now and then, I feel compelled to do "a li'l sum'pin sum'pin" here and there to help out. We only get 200 or so visitors every day, but hey, if only one of you morons actually likes and/or buys their stuff, then I've paid it forward like Haley Joel Osment, right? (And if not... well, at least I tried, which does wonders for a conscience.)

So here's the 47th reason The Music Industry Sucks.

To my best recollection, my posts -- that is, those written by "Billy" -- have been "flagged" for potential copyright violation nine times since we started doing this in April 2008. Of those nine, four of them happened because I had linked to songs sent to me by music promoters.

Do you see what I'm saying?

I got busted for posting a Keane song because Keane doesn't need my help and didn't ask for it. That has happened to me five times. And although it puts a dent in my opinion of a band like Keane that they'd jump on my ass for saying something nice about their music and using their song as an example... well, the law's the law, and I'm mostly just grateful that the only consequence is that they pull down my post and remove the file.

But... almost half of the time I've been notified of doing something wrong, I was doing exactly what "the industry" had asked me to do!! They hand me the gun, they hand me the bullets, they beg me pretty please to fire the weapon toward that target over there, and then they call the fucking police and have me arrested for illegally discharging a firearm.

All four times this has happened, I've expressed my disappointment and frustration with the music promoters who gave me a poisoned pill, and each time they apologize and explain that the people who ratted on me aren't in the same company as the people who begged me to promote the artist.

BOTG is Archie, and I've apparently got Veronica standing behind me with a baseball bat waiting for me should I lean over to try and kiss Betty, who's sitting next to me rubbing my inner thigh and whispering sweet nothings in my ear. And I'm supposed to believe they don't work together, even though they always seem to be in the same places at the same time.

Truth is, I'm sure one arm doesn't have one clue what the other is doing. But that hardly does anything to improve my opinion of the industry. In fact, it's just a reminder that their system has become so convoluted and confused that they can't even keep track of themselves. They work against their own interests. And even though the music promoters have responded that they're aware of this odd little problem, they also seem to shrug and say, "Yeah, that kinda sucks, but there's not much we can do about it."

The Music Industry is on the verge of dying. It's a wonder they're not yet in Hospice care. But I fear they're gonna prove themselves like Fidel Castro or Kim Jong Il, capable of hacking and wheezing and moaning for several decades longer than their bodies or souls deserve. Because, as Clint's William Munny says so well, "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

One bright piece of news, though. Blogger has started to revert posts to "Draft" status rather than deleting them altogether, which allows us to "fix" the copyright problem and then re-post it rather than lose everything altogether.

So while the Music Industry continues to ride its dinosaurs and lament the death of the 8-track, other industries continue to prove themselves capable of adaptation. "Adapt. Improvise. Overcome." That's another Clint Eastwood-ism from the guiltier pleasure known as Heartbreak Ridge, a.k.a. When did the music industry become more like Grenada and less like the butt-kickin' good ol' US of A?

As a test, I've posted three songs from a sampling of bands whose albums or singles have been sent to me free of charge in the last month. There's roughly a 50% chance that this post will be yanked due to my having violated the DRSM act, despite the fact that the music promoters sent these two me and asked me to use them. Enjoy 'em while they last, and if you like 'em, try and find some way to reward the bands without stealing!


BeckEye said...

There's such a huge difference between people who post a song they like and then say, "Hey, if you like this, go buy the rest of the album," and people who supply anything to people who refuse to legally purchase music. I don't see "sampling" blogs as any different than radio stations (neo-Luddites still tape music from the radio, y'know) or record labels who "leak" early tracks to the Internet. We're all trying to achieve the same thing - get a wider audience for the music we love.

I haven't been "flagged" for anything yet, but I only got serious about the regular Sonic Sunday postings. Maybe I'm still flying under the radar so far.

Ray said...

Only 9 times? Here's hoping you stick around long enough to get to 99. Way to buck the system!

BeckEye said...

Hey, guess what! My File Den account was suspended! I guess I broke their TOS by offering songs. Ah well. I upgraded to Mediafire Pro, so hopefully they won't kill my account now.

cinderkeys said...

Un. Believable.

I pride myself on a healthy sense of cynicism. You'd really think I'd have stopped being surprised by this kind of thing a long time ago. Apparently not.

I've linked to this post on my band blog. Thanks for promoting music in the face of the music industry's attempts to thwart you.

Anonymous said...

Billy, you are my Robin Hood!