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    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
    A band I admire in a lot of ways had their album leaked a couple of weeks back.

    They said this:

    It's difficult to express exactly what I felt when I found out, last
    wednesday, that the album had made it's way onto the internet. 22nd
    april - approximately eight and a half weeks before release and only
    three since the fucking thing was mastered and whilst members of the
    band don't have shiny little embossed copies there is a promotional cd
    of the record on sale at ebay for twenty five quid.

    I drank a bottle of Jamesons and began to lecture the cat on copyright
    control. To her credit, she simply fell asleep as Law and Order went
    about its business in the background.

    Myself, Kelson and a couple of the guys at Beggars spent 72 hours or
    so pissing around, sending angry emails to proud bloggers (and oh, the
    fucking pride of the feckless thief) and, amongst others, a Russian
    website that was already charging people for the songs. Motherfuckers.
    I guess that since the bottom has fallen out of the arms trade, any
    collection of notes, however obscure, is a legitimate income source.

    So, anyway, the fucking thing has leaked despite our desperate
    delaying tactics and you may have listened to it / be dowloading it
    this second / have taken the position that you'd rather wait for the
    actual release - regardless, it feels that getting annoyed about
    downloading in this valueless modern age is like taking issue with
    water for being wet or night for gradually turning into day because
    ultimately the entitlement that most people feel for free music
    completely overshadows any moral or legal issues and conflicts that
    may arise in the hearts and minds of better people, people who
    understand that actions, on both an individual and group level, have
    consequences far beyond that moment of instant gratification.

    There's so much to say with so little effect on this issue, so many
    well-intentioned but wasted words devoted to it ... but anyway,
    thankyou for downloading in barely a minute something that we poured a
    year of our lives into, attempting (successfully, I believe) with a
    great and furious pride to better our previous low-selling (and leaked
    three months early) album, a record which flew under the radar for
    many reasons but mostly because most of the goodwill poured on it
    happened and had dwindled several months before it was available to

    Yes, buy. Such a dirty fucking word. Currency exchanged for goods and
    services. Food, Clothing, Butt-plugs and fucking H2O. How far, I
    wonder does this entitlement for free music go? My guitars, should
    they be free? Petrol to get us to shows? Perhaps I should come to an
    arrangement with my landlord, through the musician-rent-waiver

    Perhaps he should pay me, for his ninth-division indie-cred through association.

    You will have to excuse me, people of the internet. It turns out that
    I just wanted a big party with balloons and streamers to celebrate
    everything we put into this thing, released into the physical world
    with a fanfare and fuss befitting its status. I'm not angry (in fact I
    don't blame you, unless you leaked it, in which case I WILL KILL YOU),
    just a little worried that the record we made will get lost amongst
    the debris and leave us playing shows like we just weathered at the
    laughably bad Camden Crawl this last weekend - fifteen people and a
    world of disillusion.*

    Anyway - please be careful, or we'll get the world we all deserve.
    Hobby bands who can tour once every few years if they're lucky, and
    the superstars, freed from such inconvenient baggage as integrity and
    conscience, running the corporate sponsored marathon of £80-a-ticket
    arena tours and television adverts til their loveless hearts explode
    in an orgy of oppressive branding and self-regard. Some of us, in all
    honestly, just want to make the music we love and play it around the
    world without living in poverty.

    We'll be announcing some deal involving pre-orders of the cd/lp with
    an immediate download in the next few days.

    Do consult your surroundings before proceeding.


    *Next time somebody tells me that i can't drink my rider in the
    building I'm playing in I'm going to fuck them with their own shoes.

    It's a rant, but a fine one. Check them out here. They're worth it! Fuzzed up, albini-esque, punky, thought provoking SONGS.

    Not entirely sure what the purpose of this thread is really, other than to draw your attention to a band who most definitely deserve it.
    • CommentAuthorWolfendale
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009 edited
    Hey, I didn't know about this it's pretty upsetting, the guys are awesome, they're two members of the old band McLusky, known for Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues which did the video for Their first album is really awesome and the band are amazing live, please go and buy an album / see them live because they're really worth it. It really is a shame about the leak.

    P.S. Just to clarify I really am not affiliated with them in any way. They're just a cool band.
  1.  (5909.3)
    I saw them live once. They weren't bad I suppose. The bassist was the absolute spit of one of the guys I was with, which made the night more entertaining as people kept coming up to him saying they loved his band.
      CommentAuthorJeff Zero
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
    If it weren't for the whole 'repeating' motif, Mclusky or FotL could easily be in my top ten bands. I'll be buying the upcoming album, and I hate knowing that I'm going to catch a lot of shit for doing so.
  2.  (5909.5)
    Like their first song on Myspace so far. I always buy, so maybe they just got a new future sale.

    Claiming leaks hurt revenue: isn't that idea pretty much exploded? I know there's a difference in fan-transaction-mentality between normal bands and super-cults like Radiohead and Wilco, but Radiohead and Wilco's successful experiments with self-leaking and pre-releasing, as well as the whole post-Napster decade in general, show that sales follow exposure, period.
    and I hate knowing that I'm going to catch a lot of shit for doing so

    How is that, may I ask?
    • CommentAuthorWolfendale
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
    I think it's the idea that it got leaked so early more than anything else, they've never been that phased by it before.
      CommentAuthorJeff Zero
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009

    Friends give me hell for buying music and movies, when I can download them so easily.

    I'm not going to say I never do it, because I do it quite frequently, but I have a policy of trying to support smaller bands and seeing shows as often as possible.
    • CommentAuthorAlexGBYMR
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
    Ah FoTL, a band who deserve much more respect/credit/hookers than they currently get.

    They are a band who I think are much, much better live. The banter people, the banter.
    This is all. Thank you.
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009 edited
    Claiming leaks hurt revenue: isn't that idea pretty much exploded?

    Nope, not at all. If you've read something with some figures that do explode it, please share.

    Sorry, edited to sound less bitchy - I mean, I understand what you're saying but I've never read anything that conclusively disproves that leaks hurt revenue. Certainly for someone like FOTL I can see how it could hurt them.
    • CommentAuthorIan_M
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
    Given that at least part of their revenue was going to come from CD sales and now people are downloading that CD for free before it was ready for sale, I'd say their revenue has taken a hit. Given that most of the people who've downloaded it probably come from outside of the band's touring range, it's hard to see how they'll make that revenue up.

    A lot of my friends are musicians. I've seen exactly how much money goes into recording, mastering, printing, and distributing any sort of recording. It's in the neighborhood of $10 000+ for even a small release. There's a lot to like about internet distribution - It gives the power over the music back to the artists. But crap like stealing an entire album pre-release and giving it away shows there's a lot not to like about it as well.
  3.  (5909.11)
    I've yet to encounter figures that paint the picture either way. I really don't know how the idea stands, statistically. It seems like the numbers at work are very complex and mysterious: I certainly don't claim any source of wisdom.

    However, independent music is, by all appearances, flourishing, instead of languishing, which broadly suggests financial sustainability and an openness to new interest and widespread, small-scale patronage that most art forms have probably never enjoyed. Obviously, for every Arctic Monkeys or what's-the-girl-with-the-broken-foot, there's still really good bands toiling in obscurity for years on end, waiting to break; viral success is a capricious bitch. But it beats the late-90s.

    And I shudder to think about these artists' retirement outlooks. What's the next decade going to look like? Is there going to be any room for a new wave of veterans and slow-burning solo-projects cluttering up the blogosphere? Can anyone seriously imagine themselves buying another Arcade Fire album? Artists are already learning to split and change rosters and band-names after two albums: soon audiences will get wise, and start carding every new outfit to make sure no one's over eighteen. Have we breached Peak Fan Loyalty: if you don't have 5 albums in already, then good luck trying to sell anything past 2? Brrrrr.

    Anyway, pay-to-own since '01, here. I do like my bands to stick around.
    • CommentAuthorjeff
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2009
    I understand the point he's making about getting paid, because it truly has become incredibly hard for a band without a large following to get paid, but these sorts of leaks aren't what he should be railing against. Back when Queens of the Stone Age's "Song for the Deaf" was being recorded, everyone got to hear leaks of the early album tracks from their sessions with original producer Eric Valentine and it was great. I would download new versions of the tracks all the time, but I never had any doubt about whether or not I was going to buy that CD when it was released in stores. Why? Because both the band and the music were fucking amazing.

    If you want to know the future of recording, listen to Chris Blackwell from Island records: "It will just go back to how it was in the '30s, '40s and early '50s: Count Basie would want to have a hit, because then he'd make $1,000 more a night in concert. The hit was really the advertising for personal appearances." (
  4.  (5909.13)
    Perhaps they should change their name to "The future of Capitalism?" Seriously, while I sympathise to an extent, perhaps if they had concentrated on touring rather than cancelling it to go back into the studio they would have made some real cash rather than get into more debt. Many of smaller independent labels these days use similar business models to the majors. This might have been posted before, but here is what Steve Albini had to say about the industry...

    To labels bands are product. To the band the songs are product, that is all they have to sell and if they are good, fans will support them live, which should be their bread and butter, everything else is just adverts.
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2009 edited
    I take personal offense at the notion of illegal downloading as 'theft'. As a recent victim of an actual theft, I know the difference. Any superstar claiming he's a theft victim because he wanted to sell more records than he did should apologize to me. Personally. Send me some free mp3s to make up for it. And every other theft victim. (And that was 'only' my bike.)

    I'm not saying that to justify illegal downloading. I'm aware that it isn't necessarily helping the bands, and that some of them need the money. But I'm seeing a middle ground where the exposure is almost as good. I wouldn't even have heard of FoTL if it hadn't been for this case. Personally, I'm buying less music now than I used to, but I used to buy all my music second hand (no revenue for the bands), and now I'm mostly buying directly from the bands or as close as I can get to them because that whole discussion in the last 10 years or so made me care more about where my money goes. (Of course I know that for every me there are about a hundred people who think they should be paid with free music for the task of listening to it. That's just as crappy as suing fans.)

    I draw the line when people make money from the music who are not licensed by the musicians to do so. Like that ebay person, or that russian website. Those are actual sales that the band didn't make but could have made, as opposed to free downloads that don't necessarily translate into would-be sales. I still wouldn't call it theft, though - technically, I think it's closer to fraud. (I heard those russian websites claim they sell the music legally, using a loophole in Russian law. Fraud.)

    And then there's the whole fact of ruining the band's act. They've probably prepared a PR run for the album, a sequence of what to leak when, and now the music is out and they can't make any proper use of their publicity. Not in a way that pays off. And if they do, it puts them in a position of whiners, in the eyes of the more aggressive downloaders. Not a good PR position.

    Those are two ways that clearly hurt FoTL and their sales. So there's no doubt they've been wronged. Just wanted to clear up that thing about stealing because that's really getting on my nerves recently.
    • CommentAuthorWolfendale
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2009
    @Audley Their name has no political meaning, I asked them about it before.

    @Vaehling I agree that theft maybe isn't the best word to use in a situation where someone isn't taken away but copied. Infact if you look at's entry on the word the definitions listed say that theft requires the object to no longer be in posession of the original owner.

    I also like what Cory Doctorow says about internet distrobution, for those who are unaware he releases all of his works for free as downloads under CC at the same time they hit the shelves in stores. My favourite phrase he uses is attributed to Tim O'Reilly: "The big problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity." And I think this can largely be said about music distrobution on the internet as well, and Docotorow definitely still sells books. the idea is that 'mostly' people who would download something for free (as we've seen with several people in this thread, and me included) would not accept this as a substitute, and will still go out to buy the product. Also you're introducing yourself to people who would not otherwise have known about you, it's 'free' (to a given value of free) publicity.

    I think it'd be really interesting to see the actual figures for how many people who download still buy. But that's not something we'll find out any time soon.
  5.  (5909.16)
    Wolfendale. We have to also wonder how many who would d/l music would then go buy a ticket to see a band, buy merchandise at a gig, etc etc and these kids ain't skint, they will go and see bands and will buy merch. Since it's almost impossible to stop people copying recorded music, (in fact I saw a T.V. news item where kids were laughing at the very idea of buying albums recently) I think it compels bands to get out on the road and make money that way. I personally think that's a good thing for the artists themselves and their fans. It's already interesting to see how quickly the idea of "music charts" have become almost utterly irrelevant.

    What is also great is that the playing field is more level for new bands. Whereas before the industry had some AR dweeb who defined what was hip and what would sell, once again the Record Industries have no clue and are sticking to their major artists and mindless teeny pop trash. The fallout of this is that kids are now more free to choose what they like, rather than being an almost captured market flogged carefully marketed "scenes".
  6.  (5909.17)
    I have been thinking lately about the way music, art in general used to work, the patronage system. Get some rich guy who wants to be known as a cultural patron to sponsor you as you compose or whatever. Obviously it's not a tenable system for today's plethora of talent, but then... today we consider art as a commodity and measure it in terms of units, like every copy of a song is a pair of sneakers on a shelf. I don't think that's right either.

    I think it would be interesting to see a sort of halfway system, whereby artists do art and people who want them to keep doing it give what they can, sort of like the free webcomic artists with a "donate" button on their sites. I've seen a few bands with "pay whatever you think is appropriate" downloads. On the other hand, I'm not sure if that would ever add up to a living... I don't know how much bands normally make from live shows, though.
    • CommentAuthorWolfendale
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2009

    Wish it could work that way, it's just a shame that we have to take into account the innate greed of other people I suppose :(
    • CommentAuthorjeff
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2009
    On the other hand, I'm not sure if that would ever add up to a living... I don't know how much bands normally make from live shows, though.

    Unless you're filling medium-sized venues, you make nothing. In fact, you have to put yourself in debt before you can make any money. An unsigned band playing bars and small venues still has to pay for a rehearsal room, equipment maintenance, gas, and all sorts of other things without any kind of payment from venues until they make it, and that usually is going to take them at least a year or two. Bands that I know who have recently gotten big (i.e. Airborne Toxic Event, Pattern is Movement, Henry Clay People) struggled until they were getting write-ups in Spin, hired promoters, and were playing much larger venues. Thing is, only a little more than a decade ago it was much different. Bands could get decent paying gigs, as club owners were more willing to pay bands a bit. Labels were also more willing to risk themselves supporting small bands. What's changed? If I had to hazard a guess I would say record distribution.

    These days support is extremely hard to come by. Radio is not the useful tool for exposure that it once was, as all the radio stations playing new or unsigned bands get forced into online broadcasting, i.e. Indie 103.1. That leaves you with KROQ, which is pretty much exclusively devoted to bands that have already achieved a large amount of success. Of course, the internet is always there, though it is swamped with millions of other bands vying for attention. The way those bands I previously mentioned got anywhere was by constantly touring, and to do that they had to get a lot of money from some place else. If you're in LA you won't get noticed until you go on the road and build a following for yourself, but that can leave you in debt, which has ended plenty of young bands before they started.

    The people who get it worst these days are session musicians and players who don't do pop gigs. Let's not even talk about jazz musicians. In general there's just a lot less money for live music now, if the stories of so many older musicians are to be believed. For instance, if you're in a cover band, you're probably not making even a quarter of what a cover band used to make 20 years ago.

    A system of patronage could work for some people, but the problems with that system become apparent when you study the Baroque period of Western art music. Musicians like J.S. Bach were expected to write within the established style of the time, and those who deviated would not get funding. Until Beethoven became the first successful professional musician to support himself by selling his own music to the public during the early 19th century, there was very little room for an artist to experiment.