Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Lucky Soul's entry to the file-sharing/piracy debate

I first got into Lily Allen's music by downloading the mixtape mp3's she was pimping in the early days, so when her recent rants about quitting the music business cos of piracy and file-sharing and stuff, I saw straight through it.

But the debate about music piracy treks ever onwards, via twitter I find indie band Lucky Soul putting their take on it here.
Google ‘The Great Unwanted’ and you only have to get to the second page before you can download all 13 tracks of our debut album for free. (Don’t all rush at once!) My gut reaction, on first seeing our beloved little self-released record on these file-sharing sites was one of shock and disgust. How dare they? Don’t they know how God-damned hard we worked? It’s a reasonable reaction from a struggling musician, for which I don’t apologise. Then, I was working part-time in a book shop desperately trying to make ends meet. But the issue of illegal file-sharing goes much deeper than right and wrong, it reaches far wider than artist and consumer, and it represents an entire generation of kids who have been brought up on it. . To them, music has always been free, so why should they start paying for it now?
I really enjoy the music of Lucky Soul, they're like a more commerical take on The School's twee-motown. It was when they'd won some Last.Fm (owned by CBS) competition to represent an 'alternative' Christmas number 1. I downloaded a couple of their songs from a blog, probably illegally.

Now since then I think I've seen them play two or three times (well, twice according to Songkick). I paid money to go to the shows. Like blog-writer from Lucky Soul I also work hard desperately try to make ends meet (and failing). I think the first time I saw them, at the Luminaire, cost me £8, about the same as their album on iTunes. Thinking hard about it, I think I took along a Guardian Soulmates date and paid for her too. For £16 I could buy all the Lucky Soul singles and the album on iTunes.

So, if Lucky Soul were to read this I ask this question. Would they prefer I spent my hard-earned money on buying their album or going to see them play live? Which option would their prefer the most?

Anyhoo, there's something else I just noticed, from that Lucky Soul blogpost...
The last thing we want to do is alienate the very people who enjoy our music. We rely so much on word of mouth because we don’t have major-label marketing budgets, and so we find ourselves in an incredibly difficult position. But others are profiting from illegal file-sharing – just look at the advertising revenue available on these sites.

So, surely Lucky Soul could make money by hosting their own tracks for free download on their website, and sling a load of adverts round it, get the advertising revenue themselves.

This one time I recorded me a cover of Lily Allen's Littlest things

I liked the original song, sentimental twee stuff gets me.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when you could get records (LPs) from the local library - do they want to ban that too.

    There was a prog on BBC4 last night about a family living in the Seventies. The young boy was fascinated by the vinyl, sleeves, etc. His father commented that it's nice to have an object to admire than a bunch of invisible binary sequences on a media storage device.

    For this same reason, I just bought the recently-released double-CD 'de-luxe' edition of So Tough. I could have downloaded it and saved the cost, but then I wouldn't have an object of beauty.

    To put in a draw and forget I ever had it (to paraphrase).

    Which is more rewarding? And how do we sell the benefits? MP3 downloads are just a novelty - most kids never listen to half of the tracks they download - they only do it cos' its "free" and, more likely, perceived as subversive and rebelious.