Friday, October 05, 2007


Hey everyone! Quit downloading our record "illegally" or you will come under the swinging fury of the strong arm of the record industry!! This kind of stuff blows my mind. I guess it was kind of silly that this woman thought she had a chance against the record industry. I mean, even though I understand the desire to get music for free instead of paying $15 for a (in most cases) mediocre CD, it is still regarded as theft right? (as a member of a band, you might feel that skeevy smile forming..hoping that maybe people will start buying records again!) The article mentions that most of the cases have settled out of court, but this lady had the naive ambition, or audacity to go to court, and pay a lawyer to defend the fact that she did "steal" property. These kinds of cases, or this topic in general is so interwoven with legitmate concerns on both sides, it's just a little more hopeless for the working man and woman, when (after years of ripping of artists and consumers alike) the record industry can win a case and charge this lady almost a half million dollars. Man, I bet she's cursing the day she found out the ease and convenience of KAZAA, she probably thought it was too good to be true, and it turns out it was. Certain people in certain places (in the past twenty years) have channeled and manipulated the way we purchase and gain access to music, the record stores (both chain stores and indie stores) have been the middle man, and with that middle man in place, all sorts of things could be done behind that firewall to make more money through clever marketing plans, offering extra material, visual additions, etc.(.which, maybe to the music fan, is an awesome thing, something tangible, an art that extends beyond the music)...and oh! how the internet has thrown this whole system into a whirlwind. Everything is accessible now, the middle man has been cut out. The combination of flash in the pan marketing and flash in the pan success, in addition with a revolutionary change in youth culture, one of disillusion, indifference, nihilism as well as blind passion...the artists are having to adapt, and a lot of these artists can't fake themselves in to a relevant position, and kids can pick up on that. What is selling a million copies on year, is not even selling gold the next, which is strange when you think about, this is something new. Where are the music fans? They are out there, and they still care, they are just hard to see because they are being buried beneath the hot trash of shopping mall centered marketing, which probably just adds to the void anyway. The artists and the fans have to find some way to communicate, to exist, to feed off of each other, and that will never be taken away by the courts, by downloading, or by record lables. The amazing thing about art is that there will always be a need for it, a desire for it. Anything that represents an escape from the grinding design of paycheck living, anything that breathes the beauty and clarity of a true existing soul into the air will never be ignored, destroyed or dismissed. And although there are vultures ready to exploit anything that shows potential to make money, they will never be able to take it completely away because somewhere along the way, they ceased to understand the essence of what makes art appealing to one's soul. Any kind of art (specifically music in this case) has to be able to stand up to much destruction in your typical mainstream. As rare as it is to find something worth your money..once something does show up on the viacom airwaves that transcends, it shines so brightly and it restores hope..just one artist, one band can do that these days. I'm sure that indie snob joe can go to town arguing how there is a whole scene brewing just below that surface that is chock full of culturally relevant artists, I think that test still has to be taken once the band that exists in an insulated scene is catapulted into a national and global arena and put up against the cynicism, scrutiny and indifference of a population jaded and exhuasted and over saturated with bullshit. It is very rare when a band cuts right to the core of a generation...the art is there, it just has to make its way through the trenches. Keep searching for it...find it, and embrace it. OK, I'm gonna go watch MTV..HA!

This is part of a review from put?
"Ten years ago, who would've guessed that emo would usurp punk as the genre du jour for angst-ridden teens. By the late 1990s, most fans of the genre's second wave were abandoning it. Many of the best bands had split up, while the handful that were left were moving toward a more straightforward pop rock sound. But just as it appeared over, the scene suddenly exploded, giving birth to an entire new generation of slick, generic, mall-store neo-emo. It's like the bartender yelled last call, the house lights came on, and then at the last minute, he decided to keep the club open all night serving Cokes."

So where does Mae fall in all this? hmmm, remains to be seen I suppose :-) Go get the new Foo Fighters and the new Iron and Wine!!!!

Bye byee!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to say because I do love your band, but that's a whole lot of soap box for a guy signed to a major label.

10:35 AM

Blogger Jecca said...

I'm glad you're addressing this. More musicians need to speak directly about it and how it really impacts them and their careers. I think a lot of people think it doesn't matter, that illegally downloading music has no effect on the band---'In the wide ocean of actual buyers, what is one album download going to hurt?'

I have a semi-related question that I have always wondered about: When a fan buys an album or merchandise (or pays money for anything related to the band), is it better to buy it at a show or at an online store (or other type of arrangement specifically set up for the band), or does it really not matter at all? I know the basic point is to simply buy the merch, but does it benefit you guys any MORE by getting it at a show? When I spend money, I want to know that as much of it as possible is reaching you directly.


11:11 AM

Blogger AJ said...

yes, for buying the actual album! thanks for pointing me to iron and wine's music...sam beam is my new soothing lullaby guitarist. have a fun weekend. :)

12:02 PM

Anonymous Hannah said...

Somewhat related to a part of your arguement:

It was in today's Daily Tarheel, the newspaper for UNC.

12:41 PM

Blogger David said...

hey anonymous, i dont get the connection..because i'm in a band signed to a major label, i can't have a soap box moment? please explain to me where i crossed that line. and i'll respond..the post was concerned with the volatile almagamation of the freedom of art and the bottom line world of business.

2:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey David/Zach,

I think everyone's entitled to a soap box moment, absolutely and hey this is you blog so say what you want. I just think you should look at your own responsiblity when it comes to how your art is presented to your fans. Your band could have chosen to stay on a smaller less "vultures ready to exploit anything that shows potential to make money" type of place to represent your band. You could have chosen to not have a label at all. There are examples large and small of musicians that have made it work. Example: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Ani DiFranco, and coming around here real soon Radiohead. All have gone it alone and been able to make it work.

What's my point?

I think if a person is part of a system they shouldn't complain about it. You said in your blog "after years of ripping off artists and consumers alike the record industry can win a case and charge this lady"....but who is the record industry? The lawyers that brought that suit represent record labels and record labels wouldn't exist if they didn't have musicians to are a part of that system. You wrote that "Certain people in certain places (in the past twenty years) have channeled and manipulated the way we purchase and gain access to music" again who are those certain people and what is the source of the manipulation? Like it or not the answer is the music industry which is made up of record labels who represent bands.

You get my meaning?

All business works this way- it's just easier to blame the "record industry" than to really look at one's own role in the system.

Bands could give away their music, but everyone needs to make a living and why shouldn't you? I think you should- I support you for the insights and pleasure your music brings me. I think you definately should make money. The problem is that your living comes with this system.

You asked the question yourself:
"So where does Mae fall in all this?"

I think that's an excellent question and one that should more than likely be directed inward.

7:39 PM

Blogger David said...

well, I do not think that existence within a system is cause for those that are a part of that system, )or enter into that system) to not have opinions on it, whether they be negative or positive...other wise change wouldn't be made. i'm well aware that MAE is on capitol records, but that does not cause my eyes to shut and all of a sudden be ok with how everything works. and while i know that there are bands that exist without record lables, i do think that a band has to be in a certain position to go that route, and MAE is not in that place. Mae is not radiohead, nor are we ani difranco, (both of which existed in a different time, remember when radiohead was on capitol?) And as a band there are two ways to can stay out of the game and watch it burn, or you can jump into the reality of it and work from the inside, am i being too ambitious? The things I said in this entry should come as no surprise to anyonel, and i don't think many would disagree, the state of the music industry is in a scary place. As a band, we want our music to have the resources to reach as many people as possible, and for us, it meant making the decisions we have. and you also mentioned that maybe we should take more responsibility..well, my friend, that is why this is such an issue for me and for us, and for many bands. and the change in the music industry is a recent one...which is also why I wrote about it. the record industry is in a state of turmoil and thats what this blog is about. and there people in charge, there are CEO's corporations that deal in art, and where is that line supposed to be drawn, when art is used to make money for people other than the artists. There are bosses in charge, shareholders, who buy labels, who sell labels, and those who work for that label exist in a business world and a world of art...and what suffers first? I have my complaints about the industry, because I care about, because it's my life. I could easily give up, and gripe from the corner..but MAE isn't a band like that, and here you are putting me to test..what do you think I write blogs like this for? I'm not a fan of the Bush Administration, so do I flee to Canada, or vote next election? I buy records, I talk to as many fans as I can, and like I said in my blog, the music will not go away, the connections that music and art create are not superficial..and the music industry will have to find a way to embrace this..and when the artists are aware, and those artists grow and when they can act on those convictions, they will.
Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Neil Young, the Beatles, Radiohead..all of these bands, or arists have griped from where they stood, in the mainstream, in the music industry. I am not blaming anyone, I am analyzing this phenomenon with my hands up, and question marks floating around my head. It is unfair to dismiss someone's comments because they exist in closer proximity to the source of the problem than you do, or anyone else...I think that in these cases, those people have the most right to comment. While we've been on Capitol, 85% of the staff we signed with have been fired..and we are in the middle of it, and I care, so I write about it. not to point fingers, not to blab my mouth about some solution, but to analyze, and roll my eyes with the rest of you. What's worse, the desire to create awareness or to bow out and yell from the stands?

9:14 PM

Blogger smash453 said...

I completely agree. As a musician without a label or anything of the sort, it's easy for me to say "burn my cd, rip it, do what you have to do, give it to everyone you know". However, that is a double edged sword because if some day I do get signed to a label of any sort, I am not going to want all my fans to give my music away or my art.

I think a lot of parents need to step up as well and make it known that downloading music is illegal and should be stopped. I have downloaded a handful of "leaked" records I will not lie. However, what differentiates me from others is the fact that I bought all of those cd's after listening to them. Sometimes an up and coming artist doesn't have resources available to put sound clips on myspace or even their website. In any sense, I am proud to say that I purchase everything that I listen to.

I also think that artists need to be "set free" so to speak. Good music and good art is always recognized no matter who's eyes or ears it falls upon. Allow the artist to do what they do best: Create art. I think labels themselves (depending on label of course) try to push the artist to something more "commercial" and instead of doing that, allow that artist to create something beautiful that can stand on it's own.

Soapbox moment or whatever, it's basically the truth. I agree.

9:03 AM

Blogger Melanie said...

I don't think there are going to be any easy answers or solutions. It might get more painful before things improve or get better.

I have to agree about the record industry being in turmoil. A lot of the larger labels have let people go. I know Copeland asked to be released from Columbia because they lost their A&R Rep., which meant they were likely to fall through the cracks.

I can't begrudge the labels for wanting to make a profit and a living, nor can I fault bands for wanting the same. I think a lot of people do download thinking that they will buy it later, but then they see something else they want and it isn't a priority anymore. Some really don't get it.

My husband used to be a photographer. I know that there has been a problem in the past with people copying pics and either not realizing, or not caring that the things that went into getting them weren't free, either. Few things are free. Someone ends up paying for them some how, either the record label, the artists, etc.

I agree with you that there are legitmate concerns on both sides.
I'm not sure coming down hard on fans is necessarily going to win them any points with music fans.

I do think all of the cd's with "extra" do make them more attractive a purchase as opposed to downloading online illegally. I'm not too sure all of the "exclusive" tracks from different vendors is such a great idea. It tends to just leave people with resentment.

Anyway, I can barely stay awake, and I'm rambling. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.


1:14 AM

Blogger David said...

well, i sincerely hope that my post was not mistaken for anything but analyzation..I hope no one thought I was coming down on music fans, although, i suppose people's definition of "music fan" may differ. either way. I think I made it clear at the end of the post that what matters is the artists and the fans, the need for those to parties to be able to communicate, to develop the relationship. I think one of the most rewarding things for a band, or an artist is to connect with the listener on a very genuine level.

7:23 AM

Blogger Jecca said...

And one of the most rewarding things for a listener is connecting genuinely with an artist. Inspiration keeps us all going and I can only hope that at the end of the day, I've done everything possible to give back to MAE as much as MAE's given me, even if that simply means appreciating the music for all it's worth.

8:43 AM

Blogger Melanie said...

I can't speak for anyone else, but I did not take it that you were coming down on anyone in particular.

And I really couldn't have said it any better than Jecca.


10:29 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

the new foo fighters cd is amazing. I got it for free... I didn't steal it though I promise lol. I review cd's, free cd's are a nice perk of the job.

11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey David/Zach,

Wanted to send you another message because if it was quite clear from my other comments- I am a fan of your band. I wasn't commenting in order to put you to a test and I wasn't dismissing your comments because they exist in closer proximity to the source of the problem- I just wanted a bit more of a discussion on this topic. Like you said you could easily give up, and gripe from the corner..but MAE isn't a band like that...and I was very glad to see that response.

You say the connections that music and art create are not superficial and I agree and although you may have thought this was some kind of test...I look at it more like having an interesting exchange with Zach from Mae one of my favorite bands. I guess it's all in how you see things.

I have posted anonymously because I didn't want to get yelled at by the group that comment here regularly. Not saying they would but i've seen it happen. Speak a word other than total praise and fans can get viciously protective- even toward other fans.

I do agree with Melanie about not loving "exclusive" tracks from different vendors and that's the kind of thing that I was talking about when I said responsibility for how your art is presented to your fans. Someone else on here said labels try to push the artist to something more commercial and I think that's about as best an example as there is out there and is clearly a way to hold music hostage.

Well I think my anonymous musings should end here. I sincerely hope you understand I wasn't hating on you or Mae.

10:56 AM

Blogger David said...

anonymous, i didnt mean to seem to "up in arms", it was ultimately a discussion and thats whats awesome about MAE fans, and I want to thank you for supporting us, it does get touchy sometimes because we both care about things, so it can get intense sometimes maybe, but whatever. we're just talking ya know?

2:21 PM


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