Sunday, January 12, 2014

A crisis of Faith...

Before you go reading too much into that title, this isn't the crisis of faith you may think. No, this isn't of the religious ilk, but one of worry in humanity. It is a genuine concern about you, me; us, rather.

We are coming to the end of what seems to be another year of musical genius from every genre and walk of life. Eminem looks to be on pace to sell about a trillion copies of his latest fast talking rap album, while pop divas One Direction and Britney Spears are in the middle of yet another strong showing. I get to watch a lot of these artists grow first hand; my day job puts me right in the middle of every pop and rap explosion each and every year. Whatever your taste may be, there is something new and/or exciting out there for you to quench your musical thirst. Sure, we mock and look down on some of these artists or genres, but they have one thing in common with the beloved metal genre that we at Sorrow Eternal hold so dear: they deserve your money.

Before I let the preaching begin, a few words of background. There have been a large handful of people who have helped to get this site to where it is today (where ever that might actually be). Some of them musicians, some fancy themselves to be the next generation of mega producers, engineers and music business know-it-alls, and some just lovers of all things music. We have many things that we agree upon, and most of those things would be easy to overlook. But there is one thing that has been a point of contention since this site began, and it has, at least in part, created rifts that are hard to overcome. It is a difference in philosophy, or even in common sense. But it is always a topic of debate and discussion amongst the best of friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers.

If you consider yourself a music fan, regardless of your genre of choice, there is one simple rule that should be followed, universally: you should be paying for music.

There will always be a variety of reasons or excuses that immediately follow that assertion. You're broke, you don't think one sale matters, you think all musicians have piles of money and a gold plated shark tank next to their pool, labels have ruined music, music is bad now, the list goes on and on. Whatever your reasoning, it's wrong.

This isn't a diatribe about how downloading is wrong, and how you're a criminal if you download an album or ten. No, this isn't that kind of discussion. This is something far more simple, and much more easy to control. If you hear an album, a band, a song, and you like it, you should give the band some money for their hard work.

For every Metallica, a band that could own a small country if they so choose, there is an Appalachian Winter, a band (and a single man) who make music for the love of the game. They use their own homes, their own equipment and their own spare time to make music for us, the hungry public. They often give it away for free, inspired more by the thought of someone hearing their work and enjoying it, rather than charging strip mall prices. Dan Klyne might never get rich through his music, but there is merit in making sure his hard work is rewarded.

That being said, a $10 monthly membership in Spotify isn't enough. It doesn't allow for all artists you listen to on the service to be paid accordingly. Is it something? Yes. But it isn't an excuse not to buy an album, or pay for a download.

By no means am I, or anyone that works here, an authority on music business politics or capitalism. But i want Katatonia to make albums until they choose to stop. I want The Lion's Daughter to grow. I want to hear Fister grind the bones of crowds for years to come. Blizzard At Sea wouldn't have been able to make their last album without a crowd sources funding campaign. And for those things to happen, for artists big and small, they need the money to keep their dreams alive.

2014 is upon us. And we have an opportunity as metal fans, as fans of music in general, to change the landscape. Pay for music. Buy the albums you listen to and enjoy. Buy them from the bands, from their website, from their Bandcamp page when you can. If they choose give it away for free, spread the word and spread links so more people can discover them. Do your part to make sure the music we know and love won't disappear.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with what you have said about paying for the music I listen to. I have over 900 albums on my Bandcamp page to testify. However I still download music with a clear conscience if the band or label don't make their music readily available such as SANGRIA or BICEFALO, both Chilean Sludge/ Doom bands. I have contacted both the bands and Proyecto Sepulcro asking about availability. I was told by Proyecto to stop hassling them. I spend nearly as much money on music as I do on my mortgage each month, so I buy digitally to save on shipping costs, so if a band doesn't have the foresight to put their music on sites like Bandcamp and get their music to as many people as possible, then thats their problem. Another issue I have is the increasing use of bands using cassette format. I can't play cassettes any more. The bands COLTSBLOOD and CRYPT LURKER are examples. The cassettes were available to buy on their Bandcamp pages, but, even though the small amounts available are now sold out, for some reason the tracks aren't available to download. Why not, don't they want to sell any more? I've contacted both bands over the last few month to ask if the tracks will be available to buy, but to no avail. So, guess what, I've found a copy of the CRYPT LURKER album on a blog and downloaded it.

    So although you are correct in what you say, some aspects of the music industry don't help themselves.