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Juan María Solare
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What are Your Thoughts on Illegal Downloading? (*)
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What are Your Thoughts on Illegal Downloading?
(*) Jennifer Calonia from the National Finance Website posed this question to Juan María Solare in June 2013.
Part of his answers were quoted in her article Saving Money with Illegal Pirate Bay Downloads Could Leave You Bankrupt
As a composer and pianist myself, peer-to-peer file sharing websites like Pirate Bay mean the difference between eating a cheap sandwich or a real meal: 25% of my annual incomes stem from the Performing Rights Organisation (in my case, the German GEMA). Besides, roughly 10% of my incomes stem from selling my recorded music. If somebody copies my music without paying me, I will maybe not starve, but my life standard would noticeably change - for worse.
There is a known fallacy out there that states that the real thieves are the record companies, because they pay the artists -if at all- just a fraction of what they get paid. This may or may not be true, but as an independent artist I get at least 80% of the money that people pay. And I would dare say, 90% of today's real world artists are independent, they don't have a major label that backs them and they "do it themselves". Therefore if somebody copies my music, they are not "stealing the thief", they are stealing my money.
If you copy my music instead of purchasing it directly from me, I -the composer, the artist, not some company- would loose a couple of thousand Euros each year. So, if I have to do some other (extra-musical) activity to compensate the loss of that money, maybe I cannot devote so much time to produce the music you loved so much. (Replace here "I" for your favourite artist's name.)
If bananas, vegetables or taxis were free, I would also give my music for free. But this is not the current situation.
Another known fallacy tells us that "since a performing artist actually earns when touring, when performing live, we do not cause too much real damage it we copy their music for free." I see three issues with this argumentation line (born out of the vain wish of avoiding guilty feelings). First: what happens when the artist gets old and can not tour any more, and he or she wants to "retire" as any normal human being after a hard work life? Royalties and recording sales are an essential income for that last part of life. Second: Extremely often, artists are offered lower fees to perform at some venue because, as organisers say, 'you may sell your CDs here'. Thus, a nice short circuit is born: some steal your recordings because you get paid for your concerts, the others cheat on your concert fees because you are selling your recordings. Third: this fallacy is similar to arguing that "since a kiosk gets its income mainly from selling tobacco and not candies, it is licit to steal candies because we are not really harming the kiosk's owner at all."
Having said that: a person that steals my music is not the enemy, he or she is a fan that liked my music (why did he/she copy it, if not?), but yet didn't understand that paying for the music they like means supporting the artist, not a recording company. And - come on: my whole album Tango Monologues, almost 80 minutes of music, costs under 9$ on iTunes or even less on amazon mp3, it's also not a fortune.
Possible solution: if you stole my music in the past, i.e. if you copied it without authorization, just go to my webpage and make a donation via paypal. A word to the wise. You redeem your sins, you wash your hands and I would ask you no further questions.
Juan María Solare
Composer and pianist
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