(Don't worry, I'll get back to the penis-related humor soon.)
Recently on the News:
19 out of 20 songs downloaded on the internet are illegal downloads!
Record companies are seriously worried they might go bankrupt!
Finally, some good news for a change.
I sincerely hope that all the major record labels go down in flames. And I hope they take their crappy music with them. Please, people, if you really care about music, then stop buying it. When you pay for music, you're just encouraging them, making it worse.
But you're stealing from the artists!
The record companies want us to believe that it's stealing. “The artists should get paid for their work”, they say, and accuse us of ripping off the artists. I say: if the artists want to make money, then they can come to me and actually play the music for me. You know, in real life. Why should they get paid, over and over, into infinity, for a song they performed a single time in a studio?
Imagine you're a construction worker - but instead of going to work every day, you just video tape yourself working for one day. Then, for the rest of your life, you just send in the tape and get paid. Stupid analogy, you say? Hear me out, foolish non-believers...
The Good Old Days:
Not so long ago, musicians made money by actually playing music. Sounds crazy, huh? Here's how it worked: You, the musician, went to a place, unloaded your instruments, and then you played music for an hour or two. People paid you for the opportunity to listen. Not only that, but you almost always got laid. Hell, even the keyboardist got laid (or at least a hand-job).
It was great. It was fun. It was a good system. The artists got paid and laid for their work. And it was actual work. And they actually did it because they actually loved doing it. And those who didn't love it enough to do all this crazy “work” stuff were automatically weeded out.
Oh, and the music was a hell of a lot better than it is today, because the “artists” were actual artists.
Then along came recording
Wow, it was like magic. Musicians could perform the song a single time, yet listeners could experience it over and over again. Also, people could hear your music from far, far away without you having to go to them. What a great promotional tool! Now you could reach a much larger audience, which meant more gigs, bigger gigs, more sex and larger quantities of drugs.
Back then, it made sense to charge real money for a record. The technology was new. Records cost a lot to produce, to record, to cut the vinyl, and to ship them all over the world. It was sort of an honest business back then.
And along came the internet
Now days, iTunes just puts a bunch of mp3's up on a server. No shipping. No cutting records or even burning CD's. No packaging. No retail store. It's all handled by a computer program which does little more than take your money. They now have about 2% of the distribution overhead they used to have, yet they expect us to pay the same price we would if we were shopping in a physical record store, for physical products. Now, who's ripping off whom?
Brother, can you spare a commercial?
But the real scam, the most unbelievably diabolical flim-flam of the whole thing is this: they want you, the idiot consumer, to pay to be advertised to.
Consider this: Geico spends millions upon millions of dollars each year to make these very entertaining commercials with talking lizards and sexually ambiguous cavemen (they do seem a little gay, am I wrong?), just so you'll call them or go to their website, and then buy their product.
Recorded music serves the same purpose. When you hear a song on the radio, that's what it is – an advertisement. The ad says: "Hey, listen to us, aren't we great? When we come to your town, we'll totally rock hard, so buy tickets to our show!" The advertising power of recorded music is amazing, yet they expect you to foot the bill.
You really have to hand it to them, though. Those record companies are slick. Why, they even had me fooled for a while there. And I'm the fucking Captain!
And know this: I'm not coming at this issue from the point of view of a consumer. I'm looking at it as a musician - an artist, who writes songs (that rock, by the way) and records music. Not because I want to be a rock star, but because I love music. I'm the real thing, baby. And from this lofty perch, I have decided that this is how the whole thing should work:
Welcome to Fantasy Island!
Some musicians form a band. They write some songs. They play around locally for a while. If they get a decent response from the audience, and look worthy of investing in, then they get a manager. The manager invests maybe 5 to 10 thousand dollars to get them recorded. If the album is good enough, their music is heard on the radio. The radio stations pay a few pennies each time the song is played (which is how it is now). Now that they are on the radio, they get lots of exposure, which means bigger gigs. If people really like their music, then they get really big gigs, like stadiums, civic centers, etc. The band and the manager make a lot of money from those tours, believe me. They also make money from the radio and from internet downloads (which, in this fantasy world, are just 5 cents per download), but the bulk of their money comes from touring, from playing live.
Oh, and the sex and drugs? They get all they want for free, from the fans.
Side effects may include Not Sucking
If this was how the system worked, there would be some major side effects. For one thing, the music would get better. We wouldn't have these fat, bloated, heads-up-their-own-asses record companies, with their retarded focus groups, deciding what we will listen to. Bands would have to be able to actually play their instruments live on stage, and actually be able to sing.
But what about Brittney Spears, Usher, R. Kelly, and Jessica Simpson? They could just move directly to porno, where they belong.
Also, People wouldn't be compelled to “steal” as much. At 5 cents per download, most people would just go ahead and download it legally. I'm not being idealistic here - It's just easier to download stuff directly from iTunes than it is to use that Kazaa crap, with all the spywear and slow connections. 20 songs for a dollar? Sure, I'd do that. Just about anyone would. And, considering how flooded the market is with music, 5 cents is really all a song is worth.
Supply and Demand, baby
Do the math. Downloads are currently $1 per song - and since 19 out of 20 songs are not paid for, 5 cents is all they are getting now days anyway. The way I see it? The market has spoken. The record companies just can't deal with what it's saying.
It's saying “DIE, mother fuckers, DIIIEEEEE!!!”
So, in conclusion:
Fuck the record companies for destroying the music culture, fuck “musicians” who don't care about music and only want to be famous, fuck iTunes for charging $1 per song, fuck the RIAA for saying that 2/3 of the population are criminals, fuck bands like Metallica who feel they are entitled to be paid over and over for a song which they performed a single time, and fuck Carlos Mencia.
I know that last one has nothing to do with the music industry, I just don't like Carlos Mencia.
He's really not funny.