They’re not cookies.
When Timid’s CDs came back from the factory, he invited EJ and I to each take one from the shipment. As we were leaving his spot, E reached into one of the boxes and asked, “Can I take a few more for the road?” Timid snapped back: “No! They’re not cookies!”
In 2008, do we treat music like junk food?
Yesterday, I came across a site that had my I Am Hip Hop album for sale. Now, there are countless places that sell my album. Most of them are authorized. Both of my labels, Rawkus Records and La Scala Entertainment, have distributors that send my music to stores. After the store takes its cut, the distributor takes its cut, and the label takes its cut (in Rawkus’ case, since I own La Scala), I get whatever’s left over. In the music industry, the artist always gets paid last. The system is set up so that the retail level is invisible to the artist. Point blank, I don’t know what most of the physical stores and websites that sell my album look like. This one, however, seemed very strange. It listed the featured artists in the song titles (the official titles are not registered that way), even misspelling some of them. It listed the two last songs as “bonus cuts” (they are listed that way on the back of the CD case only). It was based in Russia, and was selling the album for $2.98. At first I thought it could have been “Russian dollars” but I quickly realized that theory was wrong — they were actually selling the album for that price. Yes, folks: This Russian website was selling bootleg copies of my album.
Ah, the great bootleg debate.
To be real, I know bootlegging is an inevitable part of the business. This isn’t the first time I’ve discovered someone bootlegging my album, but it is the first time I found someone selling bootlegs of my album. I’m flattered. I’m also losing sales over it. There are people who “do the right thing” and support artists by buying the CD even though they could steal it, but let’s be honest: if most people can find something free or really cheap, they’re not going to pay full price for it. This relates to the junk food discussion because I believe the fact that people don’t buy music anymore has a direct impact on people treating music like it’s disposable. If you bought my album at retail price, you’d sit down with it and appreciate it as a valuable work of art instead of giving it the Winamp skip-thru treatment.
Timid decided to jump on ICQ and square off with the Russian bootleggers.
Timid: have a technical issue with *name of site removed*
fast-forward: yep, what is it ?
Timid: this album right here interests me: *links to Pizon – I Am Hip Hop*
fast-forward: yes, and ?
Timid: This is our label’s release, quit bootlegging our shit!
fast-forward: i am sorry, but we do not host any music, and we do not provide any downloads
Timid: you are selling it
fast-forward: please read carefully legal section
Timid: it doesn’t matter if you host it, you are selling it
fast-forward: we sell software
Timid: no that’s it selling music right there
Timid: and we dont have an agreement with your store
Timid: and you are selling it for like $3, man where’s our cut
fast-forward: you don’t seem to understand
Timid: then explain it to me wise one
fast-forward: we don’t sell any music, just because we DON’T HAVE any
Timid: so what does that page say then
fast-forward: we have a huge music index, that’s right
Timid: says that you are selling it
fast-forward: [-] How to download mp3 ?
This page is indexed on basis of *name of site removed* content. *name of site removed* website does not provide any mp3 downloads or sales, and does not host any mp3 files. In order to download any file from this release you must be registered and you should use activated version of *name of site removed* software. Once you download any mp3 file (i.e. spend certain activation traffic) you will be able to re-download it for free anytime. All history of downloads might be accessed in “My downloads” section.
Timid: man i know bootlegging, my skills are legendary. don’t run that jibba jabba on me. you know what you are doing.
Timid: remove it from your site or pay me
fast-forward: just curious. how much you’d like to be paid as for now ?
Timid: our fair share, it cost more than $2.98 to create the music
fast-forward: so, how would you like that fact that we have never ever sold neither your music nor any others, listed on our site?
Timid: tell me, how many sales do you guys make a month on average, and the traffic of your site
fast-forward: or do you suggest that we would pay you just because we have HTML page with your release tracklist ?
Timid: i’m not stupid, you wouldn’t have these albums here if you weren’t getting money off of them
Timid: no you pay us when it’s sold
fast-forward: unfortunately, this conversation seems to be meaningless
Timid: then take our release off your site
fast-forward: do you mean “take off HTML page” ?
fast-forward: nice 🙂
Timid: your affiliates are making money, there is a monetary model going on here and you aren’t giving us a cut of sales of our shit
Timid: so remove that or fuck you pay me
fast-forward: cause we don’t sell music.
Timid: oh yea then what does this mean to affiliates “We offer: * basic 35% of all your customers’ payments (up to 50% for top masters). * Minimum payout is $80. • accessible payout methods (WebMoney, Fethard, Wire, ePassporte, etc.) * Payouts are done bi-monthly.”
Timid: why would i sign up as an affiliate if i won’t make money
Timid: you could have been somebody
Timid: we could have cut a deal for our Russian brethren but you wanted to play dumb
Timid: and Hip Hop suffers. Russian bboys aren’t going to be happy about this.
fast-forward: this seems to be nearly impossible, and i am completely sure you DO know why
Timid: no i dont
fast-forward: ah really ?
Timid: we are the label and copyright holders of the music
Timid: we can sell it wherever we want and with whichever outlet we want
Timid: nothing is impossible, we run shit
fast-forward: you’re completely right
fast-forward: but we’re out of music sales
fast-forward: we sell software that we DO own
fast-forward: you see?
Timid: no makes no sense, what does that have to do with the music and the prices
fast-forward: those are just symbols on a simple html page
Timid: listen man, why are you trying to blow smoke up my ass? it’s exit only back there.
Timid: on your home page you have “> 2007/09/27ROCK BOTTOM PRICES !!!Attention everyone! From tonight all our prices have been reduced by almost a HALF! Every track that used to cost 35c is now ONLY 20c! That means more music for your money. Don’t miss this chance to download your favourite tracks for the LOWEST prices!”
Timid: we checked your site out before contacting you, we wanted to give you a proper chance. we are straight up like when jessica alba bends over, just be straight with us. no homo.
Timid: so again REMOVE our release from your page
fast-forward: in progress
Timid: we could have helped the Russian bboys
Timid: they are starving for Hip Hop
fast-forward: yes you could. and more of that – i like music. great music
Timid: we respect the bboys around the world, Hip Hop around the world, we do it for them
fast-forward: you do not need to tell me. i know.
fast-forward: have you ever thought for real, that this page can do ANY harm to bboys, music, you, or anybody else ?
fast-forward: do you really believe ? 🙂
Timid: ok let’s go, i have no reason to lie
Timid it does a discredit to us
fast-forward: why? can you just explain me ?
Timid: we can’t bring the music to the bboys if we aren’t getting something in return to keep us going
fast-forward: you see, you should have gigs and bootlegs to bring your mission further
Timid: now let me ask you, when was the last time you brought us or anyone out to russia for gigs?
fast-forward: come on. i cannot be responsible for some arses that prevent you to do this
Timid: you are providing free access or selling our music and not giving us a cut but you aren’t doing anything to help us
fast-forward: *shows removed link*
fast-forward: it’s history now