Of course, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is out to change all of that. Introduced to the House of Representatives in late October, the bill's intent is to protect the copyright laws of music, film, and other downloadable property, but opponents say it aims to censor the internet.
You would think that most artists would be for this kind of bill, but there are a great amount of artists that actually support internet piracy. Mainly, the really rich and really poor ones.
Local bands, for instance, can benefit from piracy when their music is passed around from inbox to inbox, broadening their fan base beyond where they can travel and tour. The bigger musicians, quite simply, just sort of like sticking it to the musical "man:"
In 2007, the G Unit rapper was asked how the group was doing in these times of piracy, and he responded thusly:
"Not so good. The advances in technology impacts everyone, and we all must adapt. Most of all hip-hop, a style of music dependent upon a youthful audience. This market consists of individuals embracing innovations faster than the fans of classical and jazz music."
"What is important for the music industry to understand is that this really doesn't hurt the artists," he added. "A young fan may be just as devout and dedicated no matter if he bought it or stole it."
One of Latin's biggest superstars said in a 2009 interview with the Daily Mail said of online piracy "'I like what's going on because I feel closer to the fans and the people who appreciate the music."
And hey, if they want to get closer to her goat-like moan, more power to them.
Nick Mason of Pink Floyd
As their fan base ages, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason recognizes the internet's ability to create new fans in young pirates just downloading Floyd's music for the first time, he said. He has since lent his name to a list of British musicians who requested the government rethink its position on file sharing - the Featured Artists Coalition.
Ed O'Brien of Radiohead
O'Brien serves on the board of directors at the Featured Artists Coalition, along with Mason.
And really, Radiohead in general supports file sharing. The pay-what-you-want method the band used when marketing In Rainbows caught on in the industry. Since then, Thom Yorke has said that the band made less money on that album, but sold more copies.
So really, it's all about if you want more people to hear your music or if you want more money. Not every rich artist is out to Ulrich up the industry.
Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts to torrent sites before the album officially came out. On purpose. If fans insisted on paying, the disc was available for download on the band's official website for $5.
Frontman Trent Reznor has even admitted to pirating music himself.
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