Who ever thought that burning CD’s would turn into such a moral debate? But that issue is simply one of the considerations those who download CD’s illegally must consider when doing so. Here is why it hurts artists when you burn CD’s:
Much like anything else the music business is simply out to make money. If a product is not making money, then that product is discontinued. If a particular product such as a children’s toy has waned in popularity and young kids stop buying that toy, then the makers cease to invest in that particular model and a new one is introduced. But if the product is in high demand the company will pour more money into marketing and development, and future toys of that nature will be expounded upon and developed.
It is the same with the music business. If a band is selling records then the company is willing to pour money into that band; they pour that money into the bands marketing, distribution, touring dollars and a bigger budget to record their next record. BUYING A RECORD IS LIKE CASTING A VOTE!!! If you want to see your favorite bands succeed go out and buy their record. You see, if no one buys the albums of the bands that you enjoy, then that band will be dropped from their label, and there’s a good chance you would never hear from them again.
Basically here is a rough sketch to how it works: If a band sells 50,000 records then they are allotted about 50,000 dollars to record their next record. So if everyone burned a CD instead of buying it the band may sell only 25,000 records, which sounds like a lot, but $25,000 isn’t that much money when your talking about trying to make a well produced, mixed and packaged record. To put it in perspective, Korn spent over one million on just the producer alone on their last record, and pop musicians can easily spend double that on their records.
This also plays into touring. Do you want to see your favorite band live? Then buy their record so their label will give them money to tour (which is where the majority of musician’s money comes from). Contrary to popular belief, indie bands do not make as much money as one would think. The average musician on the basic indie label (Drive Thru, The Nail, Jade Tree) could make more money a year working part time at McDonald’s then being in a full time touring band. Don’t believe me? Ask your favorite indie band next time you see them on the road. The average indie band member makes less then half the poverty rate in America. This is not a tangent to make you feel sorry for us (after all we are living out our dreams), it is simply a request to please buy our t-shirts, come to our shows and buy our record! Because without your support we cannot survive.
I heard one individual tell me recently that he burns CD’s because he heard that artists see very little of the CD sale if any. While this may be true to some point, follow me on this cycle: If we don’t sell albums we won’t be given money to make another one; if we don’t sell records we cant go out on tour (again, which is where we make our money to live); if we don’t sell records we don’t get marketing money which tells you when our album is coming out and when/where our next show is in your area.
If you are seriously against giving record labels your money then please come to the band’s shows and buy our CD from us at the shows. Not only do we receive more money than if you would buy them at retail stores, but they also count towards our final sales numbers.
In conclusion: cast a vote for your favorite bands, and then go out and buy their CD. However, if you burn their album then you eventually burn them out of existence.[Stephen Christian sings for Anberlin. They’re good, so buy their CD.]