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Hypochristy? - De File — LiveJournal
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Salon has an interesting article -- possibly subscriber-only -- on the file-sharing practices of practicing Christian teenagers:
A recent study commissioned by the Gospel Music Association found that born-again teens file-trade just as much as their not-saved peers.

"I think that we perhaps naively hoped that the Christian teens would have been taking the moral high road," says John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association. "Among teens, they just don't see it as a moral issue. Ninety percent of them don't see illegal downloading as wrong. It may be illegal, but everyone is doing it." A survey of 1,448 teenagers, including both Christians and their peers "of other faith commitments," found that 80 percent had engaged in one type of music piracy or another in the last six months. Among Christian teens that number was nearly the same -- 77 to 81 percent.

And in perhaps the most chastening blow, in April the most widely available pirated film on the Internet was "The Passion of the Christ." The digital piracy tracking firm BayTSP found 36,693 copies of the film free for the taking, putting it well ahead of April's runner-up for the ignominious honor, "21 Grams."

The Gospel Music Association, along with its affiliated group the Christian Music Trade Association, has responded to its flock's cavalier attitude about file trading with a new public-service campaign, hoping to appeal to a churchgoer's sense of right and wrong. The slogan: "Music Piracy: Millions of Wrongs Don't Make It Right."
Since I've been known to occupy the moral high ground on this question myself, I'll offer the long-awaited -- by Steven, at any rate -- statement of my position on file-sharing.

I don't have any problem with people sampling music by downloading it "illegally," provided that they pay for songs or albums that they enjoy. I figure, if you listen to a something more than five times, you owe it to the people who made the music to pay up.

I make exceptions for tracks that are offered for legal downloading, but have made it a point to purchase records by artists I discover that way.

And I also make exceptions for music that is no longer available for sale, whether because it is out-of-print or because legal action has removed it from the marketplace, a la DJ Danger Mouse's The Gray Album.

I will say, though, that the difficulty of finding certain records in the stores here in Tucson -- I don't mailorder -- means that there is often a big time lag between the period when I realize I should buy a record and the time I actually purchase it, usually at Amoeba.

I also think it's perfectly fine to buy used CDs, even those cut-outs you see in the bargain bin which nobody has purchased before.

There's more than one aporia in my position, but I think it's pragmatic and fair.

My last CDs purchased at full price? I got Destroyer's Your Blues at the Club Congress concert Sunday. Before that, it was Yo La Tengo's Today Is the Day EP (purchased at ZIA on Speedway) . And before that, it was Modest Mouse's superb Good News For People Who Love Bad News (purchased at CD City) and N*E*R*D's Fly or Die (purchased at Target).

My last CDs purchased used? The acappella mix of Jay-Z's The Black Album (purchased at ZIA on Oracle); Burning London: The Clash Tribute (purchased at ZIA on Oracle); the Tuxedo Moon and Tarwater records I mentioned in a recent entry (purchased at CD City); In the Cole Mind: A Tribute to Fred Cole and Dead Moon (purchased at CD City); Czeslaw Marek, vol. 4: Die Werke für Klavier I (purchased at CD City); The Fucking Champs, IV (purchased at CD City); and the Kronos Quartet record with the cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" on it (purchased at CD City).

My last CDs obtained gratis from a label, publicist, or publication? The new Tortoise, It's All Around You and Roy, Big City Sin.

My last CDs listened to with any attentiveness? The Clash, Give 'Em Enough Rope (purchased at full price back in 1988 before Amoeba existed); Bob Mould, The Last Dog and Pony Show (purchased at full price in the Berkeley Amoeba); Destroyer, City of Daughters (purchased at full price in the San Francisco Amoeba); the aforementioned Tortoise; Trans Am, Liberation (purchased used for $7.99 at CD City); Caetano Veloso, Brazilian Collection: From A to Z (purchased at full price at CD City); Java: Court Gamelan, Volume II (purchased used for $8.99 at CD City); Kill Bill, Vol. 1: Original Soundtrack (purchased at full price at Target).

Here's my question:

Do I get into heaven?

Mode: flazzling
Muse: Hey Ya! - OutKast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

2 comments or Leave a comment
masoo From: masoo Date: May 26th, 2004 07:04 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
C'mon, Charlie, you know there is no heaven!

I have been awaiting your file-sharing post ... how did you know?

Let me tell you about my latest find, and you tell me if I'm going to ... well, you know, that place that doesn't exist. It's AllofMP3.com. It's a Russian site, where the operators have gotten the Russian Internet rights to a lot of songs ("lot" as in "they have the Beatles and Metallica"). They charge you by the megabyte ... you choose a song/album, select a format (MP3, flac, whatever), choose a quality level (128kbps MP3 for your iPod, 320 for your stereo, whatever), and download the song/album. The cost for a reasonable sample rate is pennies per tune ... you can get an entire album for around the price of one song on iTunes.

I gave them $10 to open an account, I've downloaded 88 songs since then, and I still have $4.67 in my account.

Is this heaven?

Meanwhile, when I hear about an album I'd like to buy, and it's an "indie" artist, I go to the artist's website and order directly from them, figuring more money will go where it belongs. (Best one came when I bought a wrens album that way ... since they're a Jersey band, I figured it would be awhile until the CD arrived ... then the guy who runs their label came to my house and hand-delivered the damn thing!)

And I also subscribe to various streaming audio sites, where I assume at least a little money is getting to the artists. On the other hand, one musician I know who is on Rhapsody told me he'd prefer I bought his album ... said the cover art was good :-). So I did.

Last albums I bought new: Sons and Daughters, Love the Cup, Jon Langford, All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. I don't buy used CDs any more ... don't even go to Amoeba ... that's really where online music cuts into sales, I never used to buy anything new, now I either buy new direct from artist or get the music via online sources, at this point mostly legal venues but I've stolen my share of music in the past. Oh, and I buy catalog material from Columbia House when they have one of those "buy 1, get 3 free" deals.

kdotdammit From: kdotdammit Date: May 27th, 2004 07:28 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

You Rock Steven

I so totally support your responsible music consumerism. :-)

I was at a Neil Halstead concert at Solar Culture one night with an exorbitantly privleged friend. I bought a CD from the band, and my ex-friend said to me, right in front of the band, "You buy that one, and I'll buy this one, and we can burn CDs for each other."

I,of course, loudly objected stating that
A. I want to support the band and
B. I like getting my own CD with the original jacket cover etc. It's part of the aesthetic.

People are so damn clueless. They like the indie music but don't want to support the artists who make it. Poo poo on them.
2 comments or Leave a comment