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Nerf's Blog Blog Tools
Creation Date: 05-18-2009 09:57 AM
LoathsomePete LoathsomePete is offline
Cardboard Box Realtor
Welcome to my blog, my place where I can put all my disturbing thoughts and life, culture, and the current state of music. Read it, comprehend it, and comment on it, either positive or negative!
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 1
Comments: 1
Views: 2,082

In Rant What It Means To Be A Fan Entry Tools
  #1 New 07-01-2009 12:18 PM
It's no big secret that as technology has improved, fans have found more ways to get what they want without the use of a middle man. The internet is here to stay and with the rise in not only torrent use, but also media upload websites, the availability of music is greater than ever before. The Internet, is of course, the easiest target to blame for the sharp decrease in record sales over the past decade and while that is true, it's not necessarily what is "killing the industry".

I have to laugh when I hear record executives continually blast the Internet as the sole reason that they're not making the same money that they use to in the days of dial up. They act like the Internet is something that's popped into existence overnight. The sad fact is that it hasn't, it's been around and in our homes for almost fifteen years and in that time, the major record industry has done little to nothing to utilize it to their advantage. It's not the Internet or the fans fault, it's theirs. They decided to remain stagnant, stinking up the industry with old ways of thinking and their ineptitude to evolve with the times.

People like free stuff, especially in an economy where money is tight enough as it is. That said, if you can't offer people that, a good majority will find ways to get it for free. Sure you will have some of the die hards who get guilt tripped into buying the music (usually at ridiculous prices) and will continue to jump through the many hoops that are put in front of them. You want that song, Ok fair enough, here it is on iTunes, just $.99 at 128 kb/s, but oh wait you want to use it on a different media player? Too bad! I had this happen to me, I use to be the person I just described. In one year I spent upwards to $500 dollars on iTunes, but when it came time to switch to a new faster laptop, I suddenly found myself unable to play the songs in Winamp, my new music player. Suffice to say I was a little upset, however I went on, looking for ways around it, converters to change the .m4p format to an .mp4 then eventually to an .mp3 but I couldn't find anything that was free. Then I found that I could burn the songs onto a CD and then re-rip them onto my PC, but that would seriously cut down the bit rate to the point where it's almost inaudible. Frustrated and out of options other than reinstalling iTunes, I accepted the fact that those songs were gone.

Why though? I mean I purchased them, doesn't that mean that I own them and therefore can play them in whatever media player I wish? Perhaps in the years that have followed since then, iTunes has rectified this issue, but all I know is that I spent $500 dollars and I have nothing to show for it anymore. It was around this time that I discovered the wonders of torrents. Torrents were far safer than P2P services like Kazaa and Limewire which are the equivalent of sticking your dick into a whore infested with every STD known to mankind. While torrents are not unsusceptible to virus and spyware, they do offer a tad bit more protection than going into somebody else's computer and taking their music. Torrents also proved a good way of downloading complete albums as well as discographies. However like everything else they're not without their problems. Unless the torrent has more seeders than leechers, the download speed can be criminally slow, sometimes to the point where it just will not download.

Torrents quickly began to become the most popular alternative to pay sites like iTunes and Rhapsody, because people could get more of what they wanted for free. It also meant that obscure bands were being given a chance to grace people's hard drives without the help of record label promotion, but merely by word of mouth and positive recommendations. This is actually the main focus of this essay and what it means to be a fan, hence the title.

Many people would have you believe that buying CD's is the best way to support a band, and while that's true to a degree, there are far more productive ways than buying an over priced CD that the band only receives a meager amount of money from. While torrents are a good way of spreading music on a wide scale, other people have taken to uploading sites and blogs as a way of spreading music. This provides a faster download without the worry of leechers slowing it down, so long as the link is still active, it'll download. Also if whatever you download turns out to be something you like, a link is right there to be shared, without having to download torrent programs like Bit Torrent.

Upload sites allow people to share albums of bands that otherwise would've gone unnoticed. With sites like this, local bands can be given world wide exposure, something that would've been impossible 10 years ago without a major radio hit or extensive touring. Not only that, but it also brings a level of personalism back to the trading of music. Back in the days when the Internet was a mere idea festering in the mind of Al Gore, people were sending tapes to each other back and forward through the mail from subscriptions in the back of Zines. Back then, you would sign up to a mailing list and occasionally you would receive a cassette tape in the mail that could either be a mix of a bunch of bands, or a copy of a full album by one band. This just goes to prove that people have been trading music with each other, ever since the technology was available for personal copying use. As the technology advances, so does the speed and availability for people to continue the sharing of music.

This journal entry is an explanation of the sharing of music, but it does not act as an excuse to exclusively download music for free. Artists DO make money off record sales, just not as much as they should. I've started to buy CD's again, in particular CD's that I've found really speak to me. My favorites so to speak. There is a certain sense of ownership that one cannot experience from just a digital download. For instance, something could happen to your computer, you could download a virus that results in you having to format your hard drive. If you didn't spend any money, then you technically didn't lose anything, but you're still left with the task of rebuilding a library, something that can take years to do. Then there is the artwork, something I wish more bands took an interest in. The booklet should be just as engaging as the album itself, otherwise it's just wasted paper.

The point that I'm trying to get at, is that there are more ways to support a band than by blindly following a tiresome and to be quite honest obsolete formula. If you can create a fan just by passing on a download, then you're doing more for the band than the record label is by putting a price tag on it. However at the same time, do what you can to support them. If a band you like is coming to town, make an effort to go see them, make an effort to inform people that they're coming. When you're at the show, buy an album or a T-shirt as the band receives far more money then if you were to go to your local Best Buy and buy the album. If the band isn't coming to town and you don't feel like buying online, then by all means buy the album. However don't look down on people who choose to download and share links, they are doing just as much for the band as you are by purchasing an album, but they're doing it in their own way. This is the future people, the industry is changing, let's not let it remain stagnant for another day.
Views: 667 | Comments: 1

RSS Feed 1 Responses to "What It Means To Be A Fan"
#1 08-06-2009 07:42 PM
I concur senoir.

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