Sunday, July 19, 2009
Axl Carrot Top and the Evil Downloaders
Cripes…this is 2009, right? For a minute I thought I was sucked back into 1999 or 2000 in the Bad Old Days of Metallica threatening to sue anyone who had ever made, traded, shared, or even listened to an MP3 of one of their songs. Then Dr. Dre and Madonna jumped on board and began producing the names of thousands of Napster users and promising to crucify every single one of us to large wooden crosses and throw stones at us. If you used Napster, knew anyone who used Napster, or could spell Napster, you would soon burn in Hell.
And after awhile, they shut their sucks and moved on. Napster sold out, just like Metallica did. Madonna became a Jewish wizard and began gathering children for a new Noah’s Ark. Dre found a goofy white kid and made him an angry rap comedian.
And people still traded files.
And people still bought albums and went to concerts.
Fast-forward to last Monday when the past and the present clashed again as a blogger who admitted to leaking part of the Guns N' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" was sentenced to a year of probation.
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Paul L. Abrams also ordered blogger Kevin Cogill to serve two months of home confinement, subject his computers to government scrutiny and record a public service announcement for the Recording Industry Association of America.
The far crueler route would have been to make Cogill listen to the album repeatedly.
Cogill pleaded guilty earlier this year to one misdemeanor count of copyright infringement for posting nine tracks from the long-awaited Guns 'N Roses album last year. In court Tuesday he said he didn't mean any harm by posting the tracks online, and apologized for his actions.
"I never intended to hurt the artist," Cogill told Abrams. "I intended to promote the artist because I'm a fan."
A federal prosecutor pushed for a short prison term to act as a deterrent to others.
"This is the type of case where I believe the court needs to send a strong message…Too many people think of posting copyrighted work online as a "victimless crime," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Missakian. he said.
Cogill's attorney argued against a prison term, saying his client realized his wrongdoing and had suffered serious repercussions already.
"He did lose his job as a result of this case," defense attorney David Kaloyanides said.
Abrams said he thought Cogill had learned his lesson, and did not think he would repeat his mistake. As part of his plea deal, Cogill will have to allow authorities to search or seize his computers.
Cogill will have some input into the public service announcement he records for the RIAA, which has used lawsuits to pursue people it suspects of illegally downloading music. Kaloyanides said he hoped the ads would target fans who upload and download copyrighted works by explaining to them that they're really hurting their favorite bands.
Ugh…this is such a load of shit. Let’s rehash this old debate, shall we? Are we gonna go after anyone who ever made his buddy a CD without giving any money to the artist? Will black helicopters swoop in and SWAT teams burst through the door if I download a song from someone’s blog site?
I mean, it’s a serious priority to jail downloaders. We need to empty the jails out of drug dealers, murderers, and rapists to accommodate the downloaders. Hell, empty out Gitmo to make room for these evil creatures.
Y’know, it costs virtually nothing to print a CD, yet it still costs as much today to buy one as it did 20 years ago. Back in 1986 or so, when it was around $20 to get a CD we were told that prices would come down, and they did, to around $12 or so for awhile, and then once computers started coming equipped with CD-writer drives, then the price shot back up again.
If indeed CD sales are down, artists are certainly making up for it in online sales and the outrageous prices charged to see a concert. The last show I saw was at the Hard Rock in Orlando, general seating/first come first serve, and those tickets were still $50.00 a pop to stand up crammed in a pile of sweaty people for a couple hours, and then I dropped nearly $40.00 on what could be the thinnest t-shirt I have ever worn. The shirt cost about 50 cents to make.
I know people paying anywhere from $150 to $500 to see Depeche Mode on tour right now. My favorite band, and I couldn’t afford those tickets to see them even if they did come to within 6 hours of me. I think U2 has been getting $150 a ticket for ten years now. Let’s not even get into Madonna or Eagles tickets. It’s expensive to buy kids in Africa and take them to the Paris Ritz and $17,000 a night, I know, but c’mon Madge…you had people paying a couple GRAND a pop to see you. Tickets were 6 bucks each at Woodstock.
And when you buy the songs off of a legal paid download site, they get this thing called a DRM encode that keeps you from copying the song to share with anyone, even yourself, so even though you bought the song you really don’t own it.
But back to Axl Rose and his latest bunch of session backups. That goofy shithead kept talking about this "Chinese Democracy" album for like nearly 15 years. I remember a couple three years back when they dragged him out on stage at the MTV awards to crash through a medley of songs he sang when GnR was still relevant. He looked like shit.
I thought they were pranking us. I thought it was Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit wearing a braid wig as a joke. Axl’s face was pulled so tight he looked like Carrot Top channeling Milli Vanilli.
Dude, you quit being relevant a long time ago, and coming on stage with a masked wannabe Slash with a KFC bucket on his head to sing your old songs while jerking everyone off waiting for this alleged masterpiece of yours to materialize certainly didn’t help your credibility.
So the album FINALLY came out and it seems to have flopped like a fat chick’s teats. I think I might have heard one song on the local rock station, and they intimated that they were playing the track out of curiosity more than anything. So chasing after one of your fans for promoting your album just smacks of desperation and money-grubbing.
Try going after people selling bootlegs of your stuff overseas, or on any street corner in L.A. or New York. Or try going after Ticketbastard for screwing your fans, unless you’re in cahoots…
I knew a couple dozen people who had digital copies of the latest Depeche Mode CD a couple weeks before it came out, and y’know what? They still went out and bought the actual CD. In fact, 90% of them didn’t just spend $18 on the standard release or $27 on the CD/DVD combo; they bought the deluxe package for anywhere from $75 to $110.
Real fans will still buy something after it’s released even if they have a downloaded preview to whet their appetites. And if someone downloads a track off someone’s blog and decides that they like this band and go buy the CD, then you come out ahead, right?
I just found the whole thing kinda funny, since it involved a guy who’s a shell of his former self and album that was hyped for ten years at least, took like 17 different band members to make, and was quickly forgotten in favor of the freakin’ Jonas Brothers and Britney Spears.
You shoulda’ stuck with Slash, Axl…he’s got his own deal with a video game, and he was a mentor on American Idol this year. His band Velvet Revolver is doing quite well. They put out two albums in the time it took to braid your hair and get another face peel. The best deal you got was Dr. Pepper offering a free can of soda to everyone if you finally released that album in 2008.