At a recent Feis I was listening in on a pair of dancers chatting in front of me (refer to my post called “Eavesdropping 101” for techniques and tips).
They were discussing various Irish tunes on their iPods, the gist being the limited number of online Dance tunes requiring them to recorded music from various CD’s onto their iPods.
They even went on to describe who had what CD to make a copy and how to email copies of music back and forth to each other. One even commented that her dance instructor would loan CDs to her ceili team to copy them.
All this while sitting at a Feis with Irish musicians playing their hearts out for their competitions and hoping maybe a few folks would buy their CD’s from a Feis vendor.
Folks, making illegal copies of music is, well, it’s illegal! And by illegal, I mean if you didn’t pay for it or get permission from the copyright owners of that music to make a copy then congratulations, you own an illegal, pirated copy of that music.
Some excuses I’ve heard are, “If I like the CD, I’ll go out and buy my own copy”. Or, “The musicians want us to do this, it’s marketing for them”.
Or, the worst excuse of all… “Everybody is doing it”
You’re a dancer.
How would you feel if one day, after years of work, sweat, competitions, and practice you hit the big time and made a DVD of your dancing tips and techniques only to find out that everyone is making bootleg copies of the DVD?
Try to imagine how much work and effort goes into making a music CD. To begin with, years of lessons, practicing, and attending sessions to develop skills, techniques and special nuances unique to Irish music.
Studio rentals for recording a quality CD can run into thousands of dollars and take a couple of months out of a musician’s life. If you download their music from iTunes, they make around 60 cents out of the 99 cents you spent. And if you’re buying CD’s from a vendor the profit margins are incredibly low for both the musician and the vendors and it is often years before a musician breaks even on the CD.
If you make a pirated, bootleg copy, well I’ll let you calculate the profit margin yourself.
Trust me, the musicians truly didn’t spend days, weeks, or even months in the studio recording that music so you can freely swap it between friends (or for that matter, total strangers on Facebook)
I’m betting they prefer you to buy their CD’s or download their music at approved sites that pay them for each download. It’s what they do for a living. A lot Irish musicians have “un-reel” day time jobs and when they finally make that “first recording”; it’s usually on a small label with limited distribution. It’s their blood, sweat, tears, and dreams on that CD.
If you enjoy their music enough to make illegal copies, you like them enough to buy the CD or download from a source that provides income to the musician.
Think about that as you look them in the eye while bowing to them after dancing Hornpipe at the next Feis.
For additional information on Music Copyright, I’d recommend the following sites: