(Listen 1)(Listen 2)

Last year, songwriter and musician Evan Phillips started a booking company for Indie bands, dubbing the operation Monolith Agency. According to the Agency’s website, Monolith is an “artist-centered business who’s primary goal is to provide high quality booking and publicity services for independent musicians.   We believe that hard work and mutual investment over time is the best way for our artists to achieve a long lasting and gratifying career.”

Image obtained from Monolith Agency website

Phillips has been involved with music for more than 15 years. He is the lead singer for the Alaska band The Whipsaws; they have released three albums total. He is also a member of the Indie folk group Easton Stagger Phillips; the group consists of Phillips, an American songwriter and a Canadian songwriter. ESP has released one album in America and Europe. Phillips is embedded in the music industry. He performs and aids aspiring musicians to travel and spread their music. Thus, he must purchase CDs all the time.

Wrong.

“Honesty, I haven’t bought a record or song in over a year.  I either listen to Pandora, or sync my iPod with friends to get their music,” said Phillips. “I don’t consider it stealing.  In a perfect world, every musician would be compensated for every song that gets downloaded.  But let’s face it; any band that plans to make it in this day and age needs to have a live show.  Touring is the bread and butter of any band’s income.”

Aronno believes that file sharing is a double-edged sword. He stated it is probably the greatest tool that lesser known artists and bands can have to get exposure. Indie bands traditionally are not the ones fighting file sharing.

“Lars Ulrich of Metallica was the leader in the fight to break Napster, but he wasn’t exactly hurting, in terms of making money. It was just greed, and possibly some recognition that they weren’t making very good albums,” Aronno said. “Most bands are thrilled to get their music out there; most bands believe in the music they write, and thus depend on our better nature, as consumers, to respect their hard work and go out and buy their album if we like what we hear.”

People’s better nature doesn’t always shine through, however. A high number of downloads doesn’t always translate into listeners attending concerts. People download songs and listen to them at home rather than fork over $20 (or much more) to attend live performances. Despite sharing his thoughts on the negative aspects of file sharing, Aronno considers the current method of dealing with offenders as ineffective.

Image taken from LA Daily Journal Article

“I think criminalizing and prosecuting piracy is a pretty dumb use of time and resources. Technology always outpaces our ability to control, or even understand it. The only piracy that offends me is third party piracy; people who download with the express intent to repackage and sell it to someone else. That’s disrespectful to the artist. But downloading a band because you like their music? That’s a compliment,” said Aronno.

Armstrong explores multiple blogs to prepare his sets (lists of songs) for performances. Lacking an Internet connection this can be difficult at times, but whenever he has access to a computer he finds doing so useful and easy, being familiar with the technology. The spread of music through the Internet inspires the DJ. Inspiration doesn’t always spark enough interest to persuade Laserwolf to purchase music.

“I dig through blogs. I have a set number of blogs I go to whenever I have access to a computer. And I just dig through them, through the posts, and I might listen to about five albums at the time. Whatever I like, I download,” said Armstrong. “But I mean it’s the artists giving it to the blogs, so it’s not illegal…for the most part.”

It’s still P2P file sharing.

“Yeah, I guess.”

And you do that?

“…Yeah.

Do you consider it stealing?

“No. It’s overpriced. They’re just robbing me with their overpriced CDs. Why should I pay $20 for a CD when I can get it for free? I will only buy a CD if I like the artist enough.”

Music downloading is commonly identified as an activity that is predominantly undertaken by music fans.[1]


[1] Kinnally, W., Lacayo, A., McClung, S., & Sapolsky, B. (2008). Getting up on the download: college students’ motivations for acquiring music via the web. New Media & Society, 10(6), 893-913. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.