The Digital Economy Bill And Ben Weinman On The Music Industry

As you probably know I’ve been going on about Piracy and the MASSIVELY ridiculous extreme web laws that Peter Mandelson has been trying to sneak through for a while. I have been following the story quite closely and asking people to join the fight against it, well now it would seem they are pushing harder to get the dodgy bill through, even though as well as the major ISP’s being against it, pretty much everyone in the world is against it except the record companies, who have Mandelson in their scummy pockets.

So please please please go to this site which will allow you to send an e-mail to your local MP asking him to oppose the bill. It is all automated and the e-mail is written for you (you can change it however you want though) it will take no more than 2 minutes and it does get a reaction as I have been contacted twice by my local MP about it (not automated replies either…)

The record companies do not have a clue about how to survive in this new digital age and instead of trying to adapt they are making Governments, who don’t understand the internet either, create new laws that do not make any sense and will inevitably lead to prosecutions for the innocent record buying public and they won’t actually help the music industry or stop piracy at all.

Not everyone is being so ridiculous about piracy and what the music industry is doing, I read this interview earlier on with Ben Weinman from The Dillinger Escape Plan, about how technology has helped him and how record sales are not that important any more. It shows there is a way to do what you love for a living, it takes hard work and passion though.

So how does a band so deliberately challenging stay alive when even conventional-sounding acts are being dropped from labels because they don’t sell enough records?

“We’ve never relied on record sales. We just sold shirts and played shows. And it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us. So this music industry recession hasn’t affected us very much. Granted, if things were different we would probably have got big money offers when we were out of our contract with Relapse. But we were able to survive without that because of the way that we’ve learned to do things.”

The internet and technology has been a big help then?

“I’d probably be homeless right now if it wasn’t for technology. I wouldn’t trade it for the way it was before. I’m not making a living off record sales and I never have. So in one respect it’s things like [Spotify and file-sharing] that have really helped a band like us survive. If I had some sort of flea market that sold socks, and drew some smiley face on them, I’d probably make more money than I make from selling records and that’s kinda fucked up, there’s no doubt about it.

“So really we have to look at it like, ‘Okay, is the music itself the product?’ And that’s how we’ve always looked at it. It’s just made us work harder: We’ve worked to interact with our fans and provide them with interesting things like limited edition t-shirts that come from us and that we package ourselves, and that’s what we’ve survived on. So people hearing us and becoming fans of our band has only helped us, whether we’ve been paid for it or not.


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