The music industry is great. I love it, I love what I do, I am super grateful for the work I have and people I get to work with but there is a topic that no one wants to talk about. Stealing.
The reason it's really hard to make money in the music industry is because most the music is made from stolen goods.
This is a problem.
This is a problem I was apart of.
Before I even knew that downloading music was illegal I was doing it unintentionally 10 years ago. Once I learned it was illegal, it took me another few years to fully understand and stop. I ended up buying the CD's with high school graduation money and continue to buy albums and vinyl or pay for streaming.
When I began in the music industry, everyone I knew had stolen software, plugins, and samples. I don't even know if I knew one person who didn't have bootleg software. At the time it seemed harmless.... and the justification was so easy.
Plugins and software and samples are expensive. All I want to do is make music. Why should I have to pay for something that is just a computer program... it's not even tangible, it's just 101010101010 over and over again. It doesn't cost anything for the company whether one person uses it or a million.
Except when a million people steal it, then it destroys the very industry and companies that are trying to help us make music.
Everything we do impacts something.
Artist's are frustrated because they claim they can't make any money off songs while fully pushing under the rug the fact that the music they are trying to sell was most likely made with illegal cracked software or sounds.
Upwards of 50% of all music in the US is made with stolen plugins and software. Outside the US it's closer to 80% in some countries according to the Ban Piracy Organization that is leading the charge in trying to end this.
This cycle devalues music and art as a whole and the only people to blame are the ones in the music industry.
We are literally destroying our own industry anytime we use things we did not pay for. We are devaluing plugins, software, sounds, creation, and art anytime we use cracked software or pass around samples.
I was guilty of this but I made a change.
Stealing is not viewed as stealing when it's digital for some reason.
It's viewed as downloading, sharing, torrenting, trying before buying, I am only using it for one song or project, it's too expensive the companies already have enough money... and the justification continues.
The industry is in a place where music is not really valued anymore. I think the problem starts with whoever is making the music.
Follow me on this....
If you don't buy your software or plugins or samples, you probably save thousands upon thousands of dollars (except for slate plugin subscription, will get to that later). This gives you a leg up on anyone who is buying everything. Someone who doesn't spend $5,000 + on software and plugins can then charge less because their overhead is less. You can then market your skills for less. When an artist then gets a product for less, then this creates a new anchor or mindset of what something should cost. Engineers and producers and music just got devalued. Do this a million times and all of sudden you have bedroom producers popping up everywhere (nothing wrong with making music out of your bedroom if it's legal). You have people with "home studios" who are making money off tools and software they stole. This in turn steals from the guys who are actually busting their butts at home or in a real studio. Thus the modern studio gets devalued. Then music gets devalued and then a song is worth 0.0003 a play.
Plugins are now already becoming cheaper and cheaper, which makes the consumer happy but it's only a reflection of the creators finally waving the white flag that they can no longer keep up with the amount of people stealing their software. As everything becomes cheaper, then music will become cheaper, rates will go down and soon anyone and I mean anyone will be making "music". While some people argue this is a good thing, economics and the history of the world show this is a great way to make something become worthless. That's where I think we are headed if things don't begin to change.
The way music is made is devalued, the way it is consumed is devalued and I think it all starts from within the very industry and people who complain about not being able to make any money off music.
It's a broken system that does not work. It has to change otherwise music will go away. Art will go away. This has happened before. You can't kill art but you sure can make it become worthless.
When you have an industry that's product is made with stolen and illegal things then you can expect that at the top level, people will be stealing as well... stealing from the artists...
It's a terrible cycle that we are in currently. It's not all bad, but things are broken.
Artists feel like can't make any money while making music with stolen sounds, plugins, and software.
Engineers complaining about not getting paid a rate or paid at all, but then go on to also use stolen illegal things....
It's no wonder that when the music comes out the compensation then gets messy.
The solution is really very simple. Pay for your stuff.
What's happening right now is not working. Maybe it used to work, but it doesn't anymore. Things need to change and that starts with you. If you're in the industry, you can make a change today on how you approach things. Do something different because this currently isn't working. I know everyone is on a different stage of their journey in the industry and everyone has to come to this realization on their own, but I urge anyone who makes music, to make it legally because it's the right thing to do and it's the right thing to do for music itself.
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