I steal music. According to my Itunes library, I’ve calculated that I would owe well over 6 million in music fees and that’s not including the fines that I’ll probably get if I ever get harassed by the government. And for what? I am passionate about music and I regularly go to shows to support my favorite artists. This is where I get caught in frustration. The support I show isn’t really how the music industry views support. Although I love the strumming of the acoustic and the honest waning of voices that live shows present and am willing to pay for it (sometimes $60 bucks a show), I should be buying albums at $15 each, just so I can say that I am legally listening to the music I connect to. At the same time, I download music for free, listening to bands that I never would’ve thought that I would follow but do because I have that choice to sample them. When I watched Brett Gaylor’s documentary ‘Rip Manifesto’ I realized that this isn’t just a personal annoyance of mine but was the beginning of a global shift of culture and ideas.
The documentary states that our culture is becoming more and more less free. This means that the rules of the past (being able to resample and reorientate art) are now forcing officials to clamp down the iron fist as our technology does the opposite; allows us more freedom to share, reproduce, and appreciate art forms that come out of the culture. This freedom will allow us to build upon past masterpieces and freely educate ourselves so we can become more involved in art, music and ideas without having to worry about the cost. But the cost is high now. Artists and art appreciators are the ones being made an example of when they do not conform to the long list of legalities that surround copyright. The documentary shows single moms, children and even a priest getting wrapped up in legal issues because of the music they’ve downloaded. I don’t think that’s fair to be under scruntinty by the music industy for being a fan of the music that they create.
I don’t agree with stealing and completely ripping off someone’s piece of art or music that they’ve poured themselves into but I do think that building upon such art is not illegal but inspiring. If everyone were to protect their creations diligently then what foundation would we create from? The scariest thing for me as an artist can be a blank canvas because until I put a mark on it, it remains void. So as much of a die hard fan as I am of my artists, I must face the reality that the same corporations that finance the music that I love might one day sue me because I steal music.