Another Pilot Down: The Artwork of George Gonzalez

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pennyroyal Tea

"I'm so tired I can't sleep, I'm a liar and a thief"

You know, ever since I got this 30GB Zune for Christmas I have become more and more custom to downloading full albums. For those you cats who know me, I bought a lot of CDs. I never listened to leaks or offical online leaks like the ones in MySpace, MTV,or VH1. At best I would only download the single. But I got to tell ya, the close you get with your mp3 player, the more it becomes apparent that it is pretty useless to buy CDs. I never, ever, thought I would give up buying the physical copy of an album, but now as the month is going to end, I haven't bought one all month. Even with about 40 dollars in Best Buy giftcards, I still haven't bought a single CD.

Instead, I have downloaded albums. Not that shitty offical download crap like iTunes, or the Zune Marketplace, nor Amazon.com. I mean, actually downloading full albums from mp3 blogs or message boards. It seems anything is in my hands. I also get superior versions of albums too. For instance, Linkin Park's "Minutes to Midnight" album only has 12 tracks, while the Tour Edition of that same album has 15. Also, the Japanese edition of Muse's "Black Holes & Revelations" album comes with a bonus track that wasn't released in North America. Things like that make it much more difficult for me to buy albums anymore. Yesturday, I downloaded two Sonic Youth albums that I had been wanting to buy for sometime now. I got the deluxe editions of both "Daydream Nation" and "Goo". Both records are for sale at over $25 dollars, yet I got them for free.

Doing it this way I save a lot of money and I can easy listen to new bands in just seconds. I downloaded the Amy Winehouse album "Back to Black" and it is fucking great. So, I noticed Best Buy was selling it for $7.99, and I didn't even think of buying it. It is such a fantastic album, but what is the point when I already have it for free? I think I now why people stopped buying CD's. There is no point in waiting for something anymore. Not when it will be avaliable to you for free weeks, if not months, before a release date.

Times are different now. I read articles and stories of how the music industry is going down in flames. How albums by popular pop/hip hop artists are becoming huge bombs even before they get released. I read how a lot of these companies like Universal Music Group, Warner, and Columbia are having to lay off a lot of employee's because resources are low and "the man" is losing a lot of money. Sales figures go down in chunks year after year. Remember when Eminem's "The Marshal Mathers LP" came out back in 2000? In one week that album sold 2 million copies. 2 MILLION COPIES in ONE WEEK. These days, bands, rap artists, and pop stars are lucky they even sell over 600,000 in their first week. Even then that kind of number is rare to see. I think the only ones to go over it last year were Linkin Park, 50 Cent, and Kanye West.

I, like many others, feel it's time for the music industry to burn. I have this sort of mentality where in order to continue we must destroy our old ways and "traditions". In order to evolve we need to get rid of the old. Like all these old men who own this country or Christian's beliefs in God. We need to destroy our old system, which is why I feel it's time for the industry to die.

I had been talking to my friend Tony back in December about this. He didn't like what was going on because it was going to be harder for indie bands or underground bands to get popular and make money. I felt differently. I felt they could still survive and find new buisness models like the ones Radiohead and Trent Reznor did. But he also brought up the point that those artists can afford it. They have already established a name for themselves and have both funds and fans to get away with these kinds of models. I felt differently. I felt a normal band could still make a name for themselves with all these sites like Last.fm and MySpace.

But now I wonder, how can they make money when somebody like me is just going to download their work for free anyway? I was one of those who bought Saul William's album, "Niggy Tardust" because not only was it only 5 dollars, but I knew the money was going straight to him not to a middle man. He is an artist, and I know his heart is in the right place meaning he does music from the heart or what he wants. While it was a good move on William's and Reznor's part to distribute the album this way, and put food on his plate, one thing is for sure, a lot more people such as myself became fans of Saul Williams.

As a lair, theif, and artist myself, I think I would much rather want people to know who I am and what it is that I do instead of people actually buying my artwork or prints. Maybe it's because I am young, naive, and still haven't learned how to start a career yet, that it is easy for me to say this. But, I think my heart is in the right place. I don't draw knowing I will get money in return, nor do I draw to impress anybody. I do it cause I love it (even when it becomes difficult to take). I think, with this kind of mentality, you will always win in the end.

"Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea"

2 comments:

jcgsupafly said...

welcome to my world. but sometimes its hard to find the albums i want so i cave in and buy it.
i agree with you.

Faingor said...

They make plenty of money on merchandise, photos, and concerts. Only a little of their paycheck really comes from CD sales because the industry they work for takes more than half of the money they make on CD sales. That's why artists like Trent hate being owned by certain businesses and then have to listen to people like the RIAA whine about how downloading is "ruining" the business.

I'm sure it IS ruining the BUSINESS... but not the artists' music or income.