March 2, 2014

Hello everyone and welcome to Navel Gazing: your look back in the week in Punknews. I'm Brittany Strummer and I'll be your guide through some of the juiciest, most popular and otherwise noteworthy stories from the last seven days. Remember, every Punknews story is built from tips from our wonderful, good-looking readers, so get to submitting. Here's what got the strange, slow and old community talking this week:

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Here's your question and answer of the week from the Punknews Formspring:

Q: What's your stance on illegal downloading / file sharing? Do you partake yourself in such activities?

A: Unauthorized file sharing is just whack as hell and I hate it. Really, it’s the most damaging thing that you can do to independent artists. It just blows my mind how people will say so-and-so is their favorite band, and then illegally DL the album. That is literally saying to the artist, "Oh man, I love your music so much that this thing that you worked so hard on, invested money in, and means a lot to you, I’ll just take it from you without your consent." It’s the biggest insult you could do to an artist and is the reason why so many bands are broke as hell today.

People used to say, "File sharing is ok because only labels make money off this." That was a foolish statement for multiple reasons. First, labels are composed of people. So, when illegal file sharing cut back on major label profits, it’s not like the ceos got their paycheck cut- rather, the delivery drivers, the cd pressers, the graphic artists, and the recording artists themselves got their paychecks cut. So, "stealing from a label" and "not an artist" really means you are just stealing from working class people, which makes you an asshole.

Then, after illegal file sharing destroyed the music business and the income of many, many great artists, people said, "Well, music failed because it is an outdated format. Survive or die!" That opinion is worthless because we protect "outdated" forms of income generation all the time. I could steal a car and get a car easier that way instead of working for it and paying money for it- But, it is illegal for me to steal a car because as a society, we have decided that stealing from people is a dickish thing to do, so even if it is a more "efficient" way of getting money or goods, we don’t want to support it for the reason of damage that it does to other people. So, under the "evolve or die" test, EVERY law that we have fails- so, obviously, it is a foolish argument.

And now illegal file sharing makes you even that much more of an asshole because no one is getting paid anywhere. For the most part, artists lose money when they put out records. So, if you illegally download a small (or even medium) band’s release. They are paying YOU to have it.

Don’t be an asshole. Music is cheaper than it has ever been. Instead of buying 2 beers at the bar, support good bands legally, support quality labels, and let’s reward artists for putting out music instead of making them pause before releasing an album to see if they can take the financial hit of giving YOU music.

-John G

P.S. My one qualification would be that for music that is exceptionally rare, and unavailable, unauthorized file sharing probably does more good than harm, because you aren’t costing the artist any sales and are spreading their music and recognition.

Of course your day wouldn't be complete without knowing every inane detail of your humble editors' lives. Follow @aubinpaul, @adamwhite, @johngentile, @ameliaaacline, @kiraface, @mcflynnthm, @andywritesstuff, @wackymondo, @Brittastrophee and @BrittStrummer's every move at Twitter.

The People Must Have Something Good To Read

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