I’ve a confession to make – I have, once or twice, downloaded music illegally.
For example, about ten years ago I downloaded a couple of Dream Theater albums.
I love Dream Theater, I’ve since spent a lot of money on them – CDs, DVDs, Concert tickets. I’ve spent hundreds of pounds on their stuff over the years.
But I first heard of them when I was a penniless student. One of my bass guitar pupils came tome wanting to learn tracks from Images and Words – He gave me a CDR he’d burnt of the album.
We didn’t get far with a lot of the tracks – Dream Theater are a little beyond my bass abilities – but I did like the music.
So I downloaded everything I could, much of it via torrents.
Was that wrong?
As a consequence I became a fan and have spent over the years, hundreds of pounds on their stuff that I otherwise would not.
But of course it wasn’t legal.
Yesterday I discovered that my latest album has turned up on several torrent/download sites, leading to the biggest one day spike of listeners on bandcamp I’ve ever had.
Is this wrong?
I can’t bring myself to object. It is illegal, and frustrating because you can already hear it all for free and download much of it in exchange for just an email address.
Andrew Dubber, in his 20 things book, wrote about the process we go through when purchasing music. It goes: Listen, Love, Buy.
The modern listener expects to hear music before they buy it – and there’s no way to stop that.You have to turn someone into a fan before they spend any money on your music.
That’s exactly what happened when I first heard Dream Theater and subsequently with lots of other bands. The difference is that nowadays I discover music via legal means because they’re the most convenient – spotify, youtube, bandcamp etc.
I’d prefer it if I could control where my music was and prevent it from being on download sites that exist mostly to make money for others, but if people are hearing my music, well hopefully some of them will become fans. And that can’t be a bad thing.