Home Taping Isn’t Killing Music - Greed Is.

Time to rant. So, apparently some bands and musicians are unhappy. They’re lobbying to have an increase in the price of blank audio and video cassettes. Why? Because that old chestnut. It’s killing music and their “ah didumbs” little profits are suffering.

Complete and utter bollocks. Let’s look at some of the problems here.

The people that are complaining, are the ones that are actually making money. They’re complaining though that they’re not making enough. There’s an element of greed there. But what about the logic behind this little concept. Now, I work with computers, and it’s alleged that there is strong logic within that discipline. Well, I work in it, so I’d argue with that. But the logic here doesn’t add up. Taping a CD is stopping a sale? That’s what the argument boils down to. So I think that as an argument it’s flawed. We need to look at the problem from a different perspective, like why is the person not buying the CD? Well, it could be that they’re uncertain if they’ll like it, so they need to check it out first. And that could be linked to the other reason. They can’t afford to buy the CD, cos CDs etc are overpriced. People aren’t going to risk spending the current price on a CD they’re not sure they’ll like. So, if that’s the case, how is raising the price of a blank tape going to change that. “Oh, it’s 40p more for a blank tape. Damn, I’d better go and spend an extra 8 or 10 quid instead for the CD”. Uh, no. It’s not going to happen.

We all know that CDs are overpriced. I mean, take the one with this issue. I’m making nothing off it (yeah right Dave. No. I’m not. If I was, I’d charge you a fiver for an album). But it can be put together and put out, with the price of printing a zine put into the equation for 3 quid. And it’s all legit. The difference is, because I’m distributing it and the way its done, I’m avoiding all the pieces of shit that would take “their cut”. The production of the CD can be done cheaply. If I can do this, huge organisations and labels can. And so, instead of looking at how the profit margins are divided on the cost of a CD, the greedy artist instead tries to persecute the person who can’t afford it in the first instance. The person who is already getting ripped off. “Well dude, if we make it more expensive for them to listen to music, they’ll automatically come to us more often”. Why instead, don’t they gather forces to address the issue of overpriced music. If they did that and brought the price in line with what it should be, then maybe more people would buy, or be able to afford to buy the CD. They should be attacking the labels, the government, the shops, their management and everyone else that takes huge cuts. I agree that many artists don’t earn a great deal off an individual sale, and that should be corrected. But attacking the innocent party in this case is not going to help. Logic???!!!???

I mean, how can you justify a situation where HMV will charge 16 quid for an album that you can pick up in a decent independent shop for 10 or 11 (which is still expensive)? How? How is that justified? It’s not. But when you’re in the situation that the vast majority of people only have access to a HMV, or Virgin, or Our Price, then is it any wonder why people are taping stuff? It’s a fucking rip-off in the shops. But see, it’s all a part of the industry and the industry is corrupt. It’s the corrupt looking for someone to blame, but of course being too precious to be able to blame themselves. I mean, let’s face it, do you honestly believe that any artist recording now has never taped, or had taped an album or CD themselves? No, neither do I.

And why is it that it’s the artists that are actually making money that are the ones to complain? I mean, does Jean Michel Jarre or The Corrs really need the money? Are they protecting the interests of those smaller artists who wouldn’t get noticed. Yeah right. Duck cos there’s a pork chop flying low overhead. It’s greed.

Another thing. Isn’t is a bit presumptuous to believe that tapes are only used for recording music? Yeah, it is. I use tapes for interviews. So, if I were to interview Mr Jarre or Les Corrs (ok, so I may be stretching the bounds of credibility here), then they want to charge me extra for the privilege of speaking to them. Arrogance.

And anyway, why is it that many, many smaller bands are philosophical about their CDs being taped. Philosophical I mean in respect of the attitude of “well, if it gets more people to hear our music, then great.” Levying extra money on this medium is going to harm that. You need to encourage people to listen to music, not discourage. And what of the bands that are recording demos, taping them, putting them out for people to hear. Trying to get a break. Doing it out of their own pockets. Hike the price and they can suffer. So in their own greed, they’re even affecting their own profession. Yes, artists don’t get the cut they should. No, that’s not the fault of someone taping a copy of a CD for a friend to listen to or who can’t afford it. But boy are we the easy target. And of course, the musician has the added facility of being able to throw a little strop, pout for the camera and “but dahling” us.

I’m not saying you should have a collection entirely of taped recordings, cos you shouldn’t. Bands, especially in this style of music, do need your support. And if you can buy the CD, then you should. But in blaming taping for killing music, once more the music industry has got it wrong. Wake up. Look in the mirror. Ah you can’t. Cos it breaks as soon as you look. The industry is that ugly. Go after the real villains instead of picking on the little man. Go on, be brave. Stand up for what’s really right. And don’t even start me on their crusade against the Internet. I’m sure I’ll have something to say about that soon!.