Music Piracy and MP3's, an ethical discussion

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom Ryan, Jan 15, 2002.

  1. Tom Ryan

    Tom Ryan Screenwriter

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    Welp. I guess I'm writing this mostly out of guilt. I believe it's wrong to rip an artist off by downloading their album and not paying for it. Yet, I have many MANY mp3 albums on cd that I have not paid for. Granted, I have a genuine intention to buy these cds, because they are great works and worthy of the money I would spend. But I can't do it yet, because I don't have an infinite amount of money.

    Case in point: I have an mp3 cd with every Beatles studio album on it, plus Past Masters 1 and 2. Before this Christmas, I only owned the White Album, Sgt. Pepper's and The Beatles One. For Christmas, I got four Beatles cds I already had on mp3. I look forward to collecting the rest, but I won't have them for a while.

    The advent of internet music has allowed my musical tastes, as an artist, a musician, and a listener, to branch out. I love jazz now, whereas before sampling jazz mp3s I did not. I've gotten into many different bands and artists because I could hear their music without having to risk $15 on a cd I might not like. I believe that as a whole this practice will lead me to buy far more cds than I would if I wasn't able to get all this exposure through the internet. I don't sell the music, I don't profit from it. And yet, I'm still getting something for free, at least for the time being.

    What do you guys think about this issue?

    -Tom
     
  2. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    The fact that someone has developed an interest in jazz out-weighs any ethical questions in my book.[​IMG]
     
  3. Tom Ryan

    Tom Ryan Screenwriter

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    Mike, it's funny because I actually tried to get into jazz the traditional route by buying a Wes Montgomery cd.....and I liked it but didn't get anything else. I didn't know who to get. I didn't really think I would like non-guitar players......then come along Miles Davis and John Coltrane, via the internet. Now I need to get the complete Bitches Brew sessions, Kind Of Blue, etc......btw do you have any recommendations on albums by these jazz artists or others?

    -Tom
     
  4. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    Jazz and The Beatles? You're ok by me. [​IMG]
    Seriously though, I tend to look at MP3 like radio...listen for awhile...if you like it a lot, buy the damn CD -- your bonus is much better sound quality.
    If you don't like it...delete the MP3 and move on to discovering more and newer music.
    I could never have an album by an artist I liked solely on MP3. The sound quality would kill me after awhile.
    I can't even believe that kids these days take MP3's and burn them back to cd as WAV files! The quality has to be atrocious...eegads.
     
  5. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    There alot of discs by these guys. Alot. But I'll give you some my recommendations.

    John Coltrane:

    A Love Supreme - my favorite(Elvin Jones is my favorite drummer EVER)

    Crescent

    Ballads - good if you want to hear Coltrane in a more mellow mood

    Blue Train - I have the Mofi version but I think there is a remastered version with extra tracks.

    The Complete Atlantic Recordings - this one is not cheap but it has all of his Atlantic recordings and I think it is worth it. My favorite albums out of this period are Giant Steps, My Favorite Things and Ole.

    Miles Davis:

    Kind Of Blue - a must buy

    The Complete Birth Of The Cool

    You will find that these guys have periods in their music that change alot. The more you listen to them the more you will find the stuff that you really like. I don't really like Miles' later period stuff but I can't get enough of Kind Of Blue and most of the albums with Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly. If you can sample alot of this stuff on mp3, I say go for it. It will save you some money on discs that you may not like.

    Good Luck

    KrisM

    p.s. Another disc I listen to alot is Oliver Nelson - The BLues And The Abstract Truth.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    well, i'm very guilty of utilizing napster in it's heydey. i probably have about seven or eight gigs of mp3's.
    for me, i try to justify it a few ways:
    1. one-hit wonders: there's no way i'm gonna go buy their whole album
    2. trial listening: more than once i've downloaded a few songs by the band, and if i liked it, i went and bought the cd
    3. obscure or goofy stuff: where else am i gonna find comedy tracks by eddie murphy or music from the animaniacs cartoon show? [​IMG]
    i know artists need to eat and be paid for their work, but somehow i don't think most of those bands are suffering too badly anyway. at the same time, i guess if i was in their shoes i'd be thinking differently.
    but i really don't feel mp3's will ever take the place of retail sales. i still enjoy unwrapping and flipping through my cd way more than listening to an inferior copy on my computer. i think most music fans will agree that there's just something cool about being able to add another cd to your collection.
     
  7. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    I have no qualms about getting MP3's because, like RicP said, it's like the radio. Except it's way better.

    I mean, what's that "Moola moola moola moola" song they're playing now on the radio? Ugh. MP3's allow you to expand your tastes beyond the mindless monkey music over the airwaves.

    Ultimately, the best listening comes from CD, not MP3.

    Now if the prices of CD's would start coming into line...

    -JNS
     
  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I shall now attempt to resist posting an absurdly long post on Miles and Coltrane. I will fail.
    As Kris said, both went through many different styles, bands, and approaches, probably more than any other musicians. No one likes all of it, and no one dislikes all of it.
    Miles Davis:
    His first solo stuff features his "cool" style of playing, which stresses phrasing, space, and melody. He came to embrace this style because he didn't feel he could ever accomplish the technical mastery of Dizzy Gillespie. There is no better example of a musician turning a weakness into a strength. Ths most important album from this era is Birth of the Cool, 1950. He plays with a nonet under the direction of Gil Evans. This is easily one of the most important albums ever. His playing here influenced Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans and much of the "West Coast" school.
    In the mid-50s, he assembled a quintet, which many consider to be the greatest of all time. All of the musicians would go on to become stars in their own right: Philly Joe Jones, Paul Chambers, Red Garland, and John Coltrane. Their first few releases were all recorded at the same time in order to fulfill a contractual obligation with Prestige: Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin'. At this time, Miles attracted celebrity by playing ballads, thus crossing over to mainstream success.
    When he joined Columbia records, he recorded more with the quintet (Milestones is another classic). He also collaborated with Gil Evans again to produce three albums which focus on carefully arranged, orchestral jazz: Miles Ahead (most jazzy of the three), Porgy and Bess (remake of the Gershwin folk opera), and Sketches of Spain. He also formed a sextet with Jimmy Cobb, Paul Chambers, Wynton Kelly, 'Trane, and Cannonball Adderley. Their best and most famous album, and the best selling jazz album of all time, was Kind of Blue. Pioneering yet again, this music features few scales and improvising over modes, rather than the complex chordal structures of traditional bebop.
    In the mid-60s, Miles put together what is commonly called the "second quintet" with Tony Williams, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. Like the first quintet, each member would go on to jazz stardom. In the studio, they played originals written by the band members. The albums ESP, Miles Smiles, Nefertiti, and the Sorcerer showcase a shockingly original and engaging style of music. This band became the primary inspiration for the jazz revival movement of the 80s.
    The band's last couple of releases, Miles in the Sky and Filles de Killemanjaro, see Miles starting to explore straight rhythms, extended jams, and R&B. His next two albums, featuring a vast array of talent both new and old, would later be considered the first "fusion" albums: In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Band members went on to create the popular fusion movement of the 70s, with such bands as Return to Forever, Weather Report, Tony Williams Lifetime Project, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
    After that, Miles focused on this weird creation of his. I've heard much and liked little, so I'm not best suited to tell you about it. It would often have jams that would last for 10, 20, 30, or 40 minutes. Synthesizers became prominent. Miles was trying to reach a younger audience (this was the early 70s, so there was certainly an audience for weird, trippy jam music). They would play over repetative vamps in a very "free" style.
    I know you expressed interest in the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions box set. I recommend this only if you are a huge fan of Bitches Brew. I bought it, then sold it back. IMO, the best material by far was put on the album.
    I tend to stay away from box sets. Albums are often arranged in a way to make listening more consistent. I'm not scholarly enough to appreciate multiple versions of the same track, especially not when they're right next to each other. Many jazz CDs put the alternate tracks together at the end, which I like. This is all stuff to consider when buying music, especially jazz. All too often, the packaging tries to make jazz more "bookish" then it oughtta be.
    John Coltrane
    His big break came while playing for Miles. His best early album as a leader is Blue Train. He created his first batch of truly original work with Atlantic records. Having played for Miles and Thelonius Monk, 'Trane explored complex and busy chordal music, the pinnacle of which can be found on the classic Giant Steps. His playing became known as "sheets of sound" because of the dense nature of his lead playing. Other Atlantic albums include My Favorite Things, where 'Trane took a silly song from the Sound of Music and turned it into a musical masterpiece (he liked the chord progression), Ole, his most complex yet most melodic album up to that point, Coltrane's Sound, and Coltrane's Jazz.
    He then moved to the Impulse! label and formed the legendary quartet with Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, and McCoy Tyner. His first couple of albums, Coltrane and Ballads were commercial, but excellent. He also released live material from the Village Vanguard (I recommend getting Live at the Village Vanguard- the Master Takes) He stopped concentrating on the "sheets of sound" and worked on his harmonic and writing skills. Crescent showed Coltrane branching out, and A Love Supreme is easily his most famous work, and with good reason. Brilliant. He was recording so much material, that most of it didn't see the light of day until after he died. The albums Sun Ship, Transition, and John Coltrane Quartet Plays has music every bit as good as the better known material.
    His last years were spent playing music that was extremely experimental and difficult. Some I like, and some I can't grasp. He also began recruiting extra musicians, and one by one, the members of his quartet left him. Ascension is one 40 minute long track, where god knows how many musicians are wailing and blowing away. This album scared me, I had to get rid of it, and I couldn't sleep for days. Meditations is also weird and experimental, but still grounded enough so that I can enjoy. If you like this one, I also recommend getting First Meditations which has most of the same music, but performed in a less insane fashion. Interstellar Space is just Coltrane and a drummer. I like it, but it's very strange.
    Well, that should get you started, young man. [​IMG]
    I only started getting into jazz guitar recently. Wes Montgomery is great. The only two albums I have so far are The Incredible Jazz Guitar and Full House, and I welcome any further recommendations. Kenny Burrell is nice too. He put out a wonderful album with John Coltrane. My favorite, though, is Grant Green. Do yourself a favor and listen to his stuff. While not as technically proficient as Wes, he has the best "soul" of any guitarist I've ever heard. Anything you get from the 60s is great.
    Since the music you're interested comes from bebop, check out Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Sonny Rollins, and Art Blakey. It may seem daunting but that's the fun: you never run out of great music to listen to. If you need to know any more, just ask, and I'll have another long, obnoxious off-topic post for ya.
    Welcome to the wonderful world of jazz!
     
  9. Tom Ryan

    Tom Ryan Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the recommendations, Mike. With the Bitches Brew thing, when I eventually buy it I might go with the 2-disc set rather than the four, just because of pricing. But I have listened to the 4-disc set on mp3 quite a bit and enjoyed it, though not as much with repeat listens. I much prefer the earlier Davis stuff like Live At Newport 1958 and Kind Of Blue.

    With Coltrane, I really haven't listened to any whole album s yet, just tracks, so those recommendations are useful. I must say I prefer his overall sound to Davis', that sax is just so warm and inviting. In fact, I'm going to try to learn sax....I borrowed my friend's saxophone.

    -Tom
     
  10. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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    MP3s serve two purposes for me. First, I like to listen to music at work. Granted, I don't have a "reference" system hooked up, but good music (even if only in the background) can help make a bad day better and make good days great! For me, carrying in a couple dozen CD's every day just isn't an option so I ripped a 100+ songs onto the hard drive for easy access. I use 320 kbps so the sound is pretty good. No Napster or other file sharing systems were used. Simply my own CDs that I purchased.

    The other reason for using MP3s - avoiding "one hit wonder" releases. My music collection is filled with hundreds of CDs purchased after hearing a single song by a new band/performer or blindly purchasing a new release by a band/performer I already like. I have wasted thousands of dollars on CDs that have only one or two songs I enjoy! So, instead of rushing out or ordering on line, I now can sample an artist's new release and decide if it is worth purchasing. To me it is no different than catching a song on the radio, only I determine when it is played! I have purchased far more CDs in the last two years because of this than I did throughout the last decade.

    The music industry is their own worst enemy. Instead of focusing and delivering what the public wants (high quality downloadable singles purchased online) they focus on piracy protection. Now a new CD you purchase may or may not play on your PC. Not a big deal to most of us who own expensive systems, but to the college kid who just dropped $15 and uses the PC as their primary system it is a rip off!

    I would gladly pay $2/track for a high quality, custom made CD purchased direct from the studio. No pirating, no file sharing. Just give me the tracks I want, in the order I want! But I will not pay for the 2/3 "filler" that is found in most new releases today, nor will I pay for a CD that I can't copy for my own personal use!
     
  11. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Heres my take on it.

    I'll download songs from people or bands that dont need my money and buy CDs from those who do.

    A band like Fugazi who asks for $5 at the door for their shows compaired to Blink 182 who asks $50 Ill gladly give my money to.

    Fugazi,NOFX,Flaming Lips etc can have my money,Blink 182,Nirvana,etc can't.

    Ebay has changed everything as I can now get CDs I could never find before.

    I try not to download music from the smaller or more obscure bands who depend on record sales unless I have to(and often will do it just to hold me over until I can finally find the album). I do it more for stuff thats harder to find than for not wanting to pay for a CD.

    I got a burner some time back,and have made about 30 CDs so far. Everything from Leadbelly,GreenDay,The Minutemen,Peter Gabriel to Mudhoney and Classic Motown.As you said ,its also a great way to sample music without dropping $15.

    My brother was always very experimental with music.Constantly looking for new bands.He was always buying CDs to try out new bands.He recently brought about 200 CDs he didnt want to a store near me - 90% was stuff he bought without sampling first. 200 x $14 = alot of money.

    Is Metallica,Korn or any other big band gonna starve because you download their songs? I dont think so.
     
  12. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    I agree with Mike about jazz box sets being overdone at times. While I know there aren't many people on this forum that complain about extras on cds and dvds, some jazz sets do go a little too far.
    That being said, if you find yourself liking Coltrane, the Atlantic box is worth the money if you find a good price. If you like Coltrane you will probably buy Giant Steps, My Favorite Things and maybe Ole. Spend money on these three and you are well on your way to the cost of the box. I say this because I bought G. Steps and Favorite Things, then bought the box later. I ended up spending $35.00 on discs that are now repeats in my collection.
    As far as the John Coltrane - The Complete Prestige Recordings, I have been debating this one for about ten years. Then again its about $300.[​IMG] Does anybody have this?
    Regards
    KrisM
     
  13. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  14. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    Mp3 is a form of rebellion against the old practiceso of the music industry.

    Clearly, they have a product that people want. The problem is, they want to squeeze every dollar out of you for what it's worth (or not worth).

    That's why the single has all but vanished, and by that I mean a reasonable priced single. Paying $1.99 for a 45 was okay, but to charge $4.99 to 7.99 for a single and a bunch of re-mixes?

    Then come the albums. When LPs were out, they peaked out at $9 each and when we switched to CDs they jumped the price to $15 with promise of cheaper prices when the market was established. Instead, the cost of CDs are now $18.

    They want the big bucks from the big artists who put out 3 good songs and 12 filler tracks. They make them do this in order to make more CDs of course, save the A list material for other releases. They can't have a Thriller anymore (with 6 hit singles), they need to stretch an artist out for as long as they can.

    Some true artists will make albums with good content, but have you been to a Tower Records Outlet store? There is SO much trash CDs out there, its amazing.

    If the record industry would only give the people what they want. Go on-line, choose what songs you want to put on a CD, they can custom burn a disc and mail it to you. I would gladly do that if they priced it well and I could put whatever I wanted from their label on a custom CD. I do'nt mind paying $20 for a CD if I like ALL the songs.

    MP3 file sharing is the consumer telling the industry it's not getting what it wants.
     
  15. Todd Hostettler

    Todd Hostettler Second Unit

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    As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I can't shake my belief that Napster and its ilk promote outright theft.
    I've had too many band-member friends who've spent years on the starvation circuit. If they were ever to hit it big, I'd like to see them get every $ coming to them.
    I am not absolutely pure, however. I did once download Barnes' and Barnes' "Fish Heads" for my 2 year old grandson. I'm so ashamed.
     
  16. Ray R

    Ray R Stunt Coordinator

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    Todd,

    But don't you think the recording industry has created the starvation circuit. How about all the bands that get caught up in the contract games. Those good bands that get suckered into legally binding verbal agreements with record companies only to be told that they will not produce an album for them at this time because the time is not right for their sound. Now what does the band do? The record company won't produce an album, but won't release them from this shady contract. If a truely talented musician or band isn't making money in the music business, it isn't because of MP3 trading.

    This might sound silly and is really off topic, but wouldn't it be helpful to have some type of "jazz music club" here at the HTF. Have someone who is very familiar with jazz recommend several CDs from a certain era. Give everyone say a month to digest the albums and discuss them and then move on to another set of recommended albums.

    Myself as well as many others at this site seem to be interested in jazz, but where do you start? Picking up on recommendations from here and there can be helpful, but a guided tour with several others along for the ride would seem to make the introduction into jazz more enjoyable.
     
  17. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    The problem is that you don't have starving artist complaining about Napster and the like. What you have is people that could buy and sell the whole lot of us over and over again and still come out smelling like a rose, that are doing the bitching about it.

    The only difference that online swapping provided was a easier way to do it. Way before Napster that didn't stop people from swapping music the old fashioned way, borrow their albums or tapes. People always say that the difference is in the quality of the recording that you get online, such is technology.

    I also can't help get the feeling that the biggest reasoning behind the lawsuit is that someone beat the big music giants to the thought of an online service first.

    Until I see the men of Metallica and Dr. Dre side by side to get government cheese....
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Personally, I'm exposed to a lot more music though Napster (well, Morpheus now) then I would be if I just had radio and television. Then there's song I'll like on the radio, but when I check out clips from the rest of the CD on cdnow.com, it will all suck. If I find a CD where atleast 2/3s of the tracks are decent, I'll pick it up.
    Now this may seem like the record company IS getting screwed... I'm not getting suckered into buying shitty 1 or 2 real song + 10 filler tracks like I would have been.
    But before Napster, I never bought new music CDs at all. Too much modern stuff sucks.
    Goo Gool Dolls - Dizzy Up the Girl made it through this process, and most recently, Five For Fighting - America Town. The former is a combination of hard rock and softer alternative stuff. The latter is decent pop, with a similiar sound to some of Elton John's stuff.
     
  19. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    mike -

    i'd be interested in a jazz recommendations thread! i already bookmarked this thread because of your great earlier post!

    check out the DID thread going on...some of your recommendations are already listed!
     

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