Wednesday, September 14, 2011

anti piracy measures. (prologue)


so later i'm going to give details of how We Need You in The Fight Against Pirates. but first; this guy sent us a mail. someone had sent him an illegal copy of our record and he'd realised how much it meant to us and deleted it. and it was genuinely touching. Like some morality tale of this kid who stole sweets then went to the sweet shop full of remorse to apologise and give the half chewed sweets back. I'll call him Speedball, cos i know my Marvel Universe History.

Thanks Speedball. I wrote you a reply. I'd rather post it here as part of our ongoing campaign to speak the truth in this business of lies. Everyone is tempted by leaks, and too often i see people succumb on the basis of - hey fuck off imma going to buy it anyway -

and whilst that might be true, it don't really make the difference they think it does.

so this is what i said:

Hi. thanks for writing. it means a lot.

i see yr point and i do exactly the same thing to my friends who work in press/play in bands cos im too impatient to wait. but [Captain Leaky] had no right to send you stuff whatever his motives, and we explicitly trusted him not to.

its kinda gutting. cos he obviously likes us and would probably write positive things. and y'know, i'd assume, cos he's a fan, he reads our blog, he knows how much we have riding on this, and how important the release impact - all our awesome fans being bedazzled and buzzing about it AT THE SAME TIME - is to our future prospects. i also understand the social kudos in being The Dude That Gets Stuff Early. at some point he had to weigh up what was more important to him; our future or his ego. and he chose his ego, and he used my work/art as a bartering tool. thats a seriously cunty thing to do, whatever the outcome.

that guy is (was) on a list of people who write music reviews and are trusted to have review copies of things prior to release. it's a weird position of power, you could very easily sink a whole campaign if you were evil/stupid enough. it's not about what his intentions or motives were, its more that he'd break the trust he has with people who send him promos. cos, we're relying on that trust to be able to afford being a band.

everyone thinks of release dates and leaks in terms of sales, and in the last few years especially it's become misdirection. a leak isn't the same as a lost sale, and noone seriously buys music any more anyway. it doesn't worry us too much. and y'know, it encourages lazy bands to give more of a shit about their end product, which is always A Good Thing.

what will seriously damage us tho, is, for want of a better term, dissipated hype.

Our absolute worst case scenario is the record leaking in the next few weeks, and then come november, promotors and agents and all the Industry Cunts we rely on checking our facebook and thinking, shit, there's not that many people excited about this record.

and it won't be because people aren't excited, but they'll have heard it a month ago, processed it, already discussed it in less public forums, and be waiting for the wider world to catch up.

specifically, thats you i'm talking about; not "people what like our band", but you (comparatively) tiny % of absolute babes who actually, genuinely care about us and what we do - all the fyjf kids spread over the world who say ridicolously nice things about us and fill our egos, the noise you'll hopefully make in that week when you all hear the legal stream of our record and are all simultaneously internetting about it is our best weapon in the war for more gigs and better gig fees, and more radio plays, tv syncs, more offers to go tour

so i hope you understand, we're not mad at you for wanting this record. fuck, i'd go as far as to say we're relying on it, in exactly the same way a major label shitty bland indie band relies on press adverts and fluff pieces, to make enough noise that the outside world listens to us and hopefully pays for kellys amp to be fixed, etc.

and i hope you also understand why we desperately need to control and channel the hype, and thus the content, as much as we can. We don't have the budget to run big adverts in the press, we're not about to tone our stance down for the mainstream, and we literally cannot afford to take the hit on this campaign. For us to have a decent shot at Making Money And Surviving, we need to focus everyone's first listen on the week of release, where it'll be streamed and annotated and presented in this right context.

i hope this doesn't jade yr perspective of us. as much as we're desperate for everyone to hear the record, we need everyone to get it at the same time so we can compete with all them major label bands who also play guitar pop songs and are arrogant enough to think they mean something.

take care


david v said...

always loved the day of release or a record, even if at the end of it you were disappointed by the end product. i always pay for my music and can't see why if your a fan of a band or even curious why you wouldn't. In real terms its cheaper and easy to get music than it was when i was a kid 25 years ago.

Josh B said...

man, Buying/Selling CD's is soon going to become an obsolete market. I personally believe all music (and artss in general) should be free for everyone. But thats just me trying to fuck the lamestream. anyways. yeah i'm deffinetly gonna buy your record :] i haave to.

David Richards said...

@Josh B
It's all very well saying that art should be free to everyone, and it is a valid point in alot of cases. What you seem to be forgetting is that actually making an album costs a fair bit more than buying some paints and a bit of canvas. The vast majority of proper musicians looking to put their artwork out into the world (for other peoples enjoyment) do not have the sums of money at their disposal that major labels can afford to throw at the next big commercial hit. How do you expect a band starting out by themselves - supporting themselves on day jobs to pay the rent - to possibly afford the studio time/producers fees/marketing and every other hidden cost of actually producing an album, translating an idea into a piece of art? Sure, there are 'artists' who get more money than they perhaps deserve, but then there is the overwhelming percentage of honest, talented, real musicians who make music for the sheer love of it, and for the knowledge that it will be enjoyed by people. These bands don't want consumers money to buy sports cars and houses with guitar-shaped swimming pools, they just want to be able to afford to support themselves and to be able to continue doing the thing that they love. And if music were to become 'free to everyone' by default, all we would have left would be the manufactured, meaningless music that business executives can market well. So your 'fuck you' to the mainstream seems a little misguided if you don't mind me saying so.

Elie said...

What David Richards said. Trying to think of something to add, but I think he's pretty much got it covered. So what I'm going to say instead is OMG JOFO I'M SO EXXXXCITED ABOUT YR ALBUM AND CAN'T WAIT FOR NOVEMBER 7TH. Which, if you care, is also my birthday - best birthday present ever!!

David R said...

Also I'm so fucking excited for this album guys. I remember not listening to Brand New's album Daisy when it leaked, and this post has really made me feel justified for doing so - not just petty like I thought! They are a band who I am sure would wholeheartedly agree with you after many problems with leaked material, they pretty much re-wrote their third album after a hugely premature leak

tyler said...

great message here....i buy LOADS of music and have only downloaded stuff that i was so excited to hear before the release i couldn't wait (and...hey, i buy it anyway). but it's always a letdown listening to a shitty compressed file on laptop speakers and takes away from the 'real' listening experience, which is the first time you've heard something on a real stereo and held the record or cd in your hand, etc.

i'm not going to let that happen here....and i'm not listening to the stream. i'll wait until i can hear it for "real" hopefully you'll be sending those overseas mailorder copies early so it'll arrive in Canada in time for the release (so I don't have to wait while everyone else is enjoying it!!!).

so looking forward to this, and hoping that (due to the proximity of the release dates!) you'll be back over here with LC.....seeing you play live finally was one of the most memorable shows i've ever seen.

i am a message said...

Well, I still pay for music! Buying music from the artist is probably one of the least distressing and sordid type of transaction I make, because you know the writers will have put their heart and soul into it (cliche alert!), and the artist is not in some way trying to screw you. Stark contrast from buying virtually everything else in this world.
Psyched about the new record, 'you thought you saw...' was one of the best releases in ages.

Josh B said...

@David Richards
yeah dude, i totally understand. I'm just thinking idealistically here, i guess. I'm not in a band, but if i ever was, i would try as hard as i could to provide my creations to everyone for free. Don't want nooone of that profit motive to take over or influnce my intentions. Of course I know it'd be way more difficult than that though, unfortunately. But i feel like the whole music industry is innevitably heading in that direction anyways. As technology improves, producing yr own music cheaply and professionally will be more increasingly possible, and everyones already on the file sharing bandwaggon by now. Well, the web-savvy peeps are, which is almost everyone. No ones gonna have to be signed anymore, and there's still always money to be made in playing gigs. You know, i always thought that music with much less of the greedy industry behind it, would make the playing field a bit more equal for everyone. Advertising led by word of mouth and what's genuinely popular and what people are willing to pay to see, and not led by some select few monetary driven elite that guide the masses. Bring the mainstream back to the people! Well thats my direction in me saying 'fuck the lamestream'.

thosegoldsounds said...

@Josh B

yeh, like you say, you're not in a band. It costs money. Whether that be the rehearsal room rent, the petrol money for gigs, instrument repairs or studio fees. As someone that's played on the Manchester DIY scene for a couple of years I can tell you it's rare to be paid in any thing other than beer, and to be truthful that's fine - I've got a job to provide me with income. The payback comes from the good times.

But I couldn't afford to do it professionally, you know like as a job, which is why all our recorded stuff got done at music colleges by students who'd do it for free in return for having something aces to work on. But if I'd ever paid out hundreds of pounds of my money, let alone the thousands a serious studio for two weeks costs, only for you to take without it being offered? Wtf, where does the attitude of entitlement come from? If your into Top 40 crap then yeh, I guess downloading is fucking 'the lamestream' (/sigh whatever) but if you like proper indie music you're just screwing over your mates. I's the difference between robbing from Tesco's and from the local corner shop.

Anyway, rant aside fuck yeah Jo Fo! can't wait for this new album it will be awesomes as ever I imagine, and I look forward to seeing you in Manchester, Sheffield or both soon :D

Anonymous said...

looking forward to the album but must say.. you do post a lot of 'arrogant' stuff yourself. Even in this blog here.. 'best album ever ever' is a bit much too considering your contempories

johnny foreigner said...

best album ever ever, and similar self aggrandising terms, are used with tongues glued in cheek. sorry, if yr not as bitter and sarky as we are, then i guess it comes off as arrogance.

Domenic said...

I always look forward to purchasing your new release. I usually pick up the vinyl version.I can best describe the experience as follows. Phase 1 - buy new record and get familiar with the songs. Phase 2 - go to your live gig. There is nothing more exciting than this part of the New Album experience. The raw energy, smell in the venue, the old monitors at the edge of the stage and the sweat on your faces. I look forwrd to your new release and hope to see you in Montreal, Canada.

grunt said...

Thanks for a new perspective on piracy. If it means anything, you're making me reconsider my actions.