brianbotkiller.com
Electronic Musician, Drummer, Sound Designer and Technologist
an open note to blogs sharing my band’s music
Categories: music, thoughts

I recently sent this letter to a music blog that was sharing a .zip file of all of our (Vertigo Venus’) music. I had to have the link removed from Megaupload – I have the lives of five people to think about in this band, and I can’t in good conscience allow every single song we’ve ever done to be shared freely via the internet.  Plenty of our music is available via our website, myspace, facebook, last.fm, and beyond, entirely for free.  We ask that if people wish to listen to that music whenever and wherever they want, that they help us out with a small amount of money to be able to listen to it anytime, and to keep us making that music.

This is a copy of that letter, and it also expresses many of my thoughts on music piracy and how it affects us musicians.

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Hello,

My name’s brian, I’m the Drummer in/co-manager of Vertigo Venus.

Recently you were sharing a .zip file of all of our currently available music via your blog. While we’re flattered that you’d share our music to the world, we hope you understand that we can’t let our music be freely shared without any links or other information on how to actually purchase it, nor any other information on us.

Please understand this; I’m not a millionaire.  No one in this band is.  We don’t have a major record label contract.  I don’t drive a fancy car, I don’t drink champagne everyday. I work three (or more) jobs to keep myself above water and I do nothing but pour my life into this music.  Everyone in this band works so hard, everyday, to make things happen with this music, because we HAVE to be successful at it.  I realize that it’s not very “punk” to want to “make it” in the music industry.  Unfortunately, most good punks do one of two things; die, or grow up and evolve.  We chose the latter.

We just released a new album, and it cost us a lot of money and time to make (one year, and many thousands of dollars, to be exact).  I honestly believe that if people like it, then we do deserve some compensation for that; all entertainment is not free, nor should it be. If it were, it wouldn’t be of good quality, plain and simple.  It takes money to make good albums, buy instruments, pay engineers, produce CDs, distribute, and promote it.  To that effect, it is not an insane thing to ask that there be some return for the entertainment that we provide to people.  I don’t walk into someone’s job and steal a candy bar off their shelves because I feel it should be free and that I deserve it simply because it exists.  I pay for it because I know that someone, somewhere, out there, had to work to make it, and they have mouths to feed.  My small contribution helps with that.

Actually, that’s quite punk – punks have always helped each other out, and been community based.  They haven’t always had money, but they have always had comradery.

I know that making a living off of it is going to be hard, but I have to try.

It’s for that reason that I would have to ask that files like this not be shared.  You might not believe it, but the piracy of our music does indeed hurt our music sales.  Many people think that music shouldn’t be for sale – that because it’s art, a value can’t be placed on it.  Unfortunately, we disagree.  We believe that artists deserve some monetary compensation for their work for one reason and one reason only; because they can’t keep making it if they can’t eat food.  Forget the bullshit about making millions, having gold necklaces and ten cars.  All we care about as artists is that we can keep a roof over our heads and some food in our stomachs, to sustain us while we continue to make our art.  To that effect, I believe that if someone likes the art that someone makes, the best way they can help to show that is to give that artists some small amount of compensation for what they do.

Plenty of our music is available via our website, myspace, facebook, last.fm, and beyond, entirely for free.  We ask that if people wish to listen to that music whenever and wherever they want, that they help us out with a small amount of money to be able to listen to it anytime, and to keep us making that music.

Yes, it seems backwards; art is art, and will be there no matter what, right?  You can’t put a value on something that’s simply floating in the air, and not physically available, right?  Well, not really.  You can put a price on it, because there are people who feel that music deserves some monetary compensation, despite the fact that it is, in reality, an intangible thing. Moreover, again, if you don’t provide artists you respect with some kind of support, they stop making art; plain and simple.  They have no obligation to make art for you for free.  The fact that 75% of what they make is given away for free is already insulting enough, in my opinion.

In closing, I say again, thank you for feeling that our music is good enough to share with others.  I in fact would be ok with providing you with a few free mp3s to distribute via your blog, as long as you’d include links to purchase full albums and/or merch.  I’m very glad that our music has reached to your side of the world, and I hope that we can someday play there.  Unfortunately, the only way we will play there is if we have paying customers who can help us to get there.  Our van isn’t powered by love – it’s still powered by gas, which costs money, sadly.  If we can ever create a love-powered van and airplane, I’m sure we’ll be rich enough to not need a love-powered van.  How catch-22.

If you are interested in some free mp3s to share via your blog, I will provide you with these.  I thank you for taking the time to read this, and keep listening to Vertigo Venus! Take care.

-brian botkiller

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2 Comments to “an open note to blogs sharing my band’s music”

  1. William Bolt says:

    Hear hear! Great letter, hope they were respectful of your wishes. Wish you the best of success Brian :)

  2. thanks for sharing your insights with us.

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