I’m all for downloading low-quality music and then buying the album if you like it.
Before the world of internet, we were all condemned to the radio. Same songs, same artists all day long, all year long. Almost all easy-listening, boring, standard stuff… When I was in elementary school ten years ago, people would occasionaly talk about music and ask about what I liked. I never knew what to respond, because I didn’t really like anything (well ok when I was 6 years old I was really into this nineties euro-house )
And nowadays it’s so bad that when I hear a pop song ONCE it can already annoy the crap out of me (well not literally of course) during the end of that very same first listen, because it’s so repetitive, shallow and uninspired but it gets stuck in your head anyway. Torture!!!(now I must say it’s mostly pop, R&B, modern hiphop and rapmusic that I don’t like. I can listen to some ‘indie-rock’.)
Then I discovered trance because it was gaining popularity in the end of the nineties. It was some sort of cross-over period for me, in hindsight. I bought trance mix albums and enjoyed some tracks on them a lot, whereas others were quite boring…
And if it weren’t for the internet, I would either have given up on music entirely OR I would have been brainwashed and buying crap-trance mix albums (which seem to be getter worse and worse as time progresses) or pop-albums. But luckily, around eight years ago, my brother accidentaly downloaded some Infected Mushroom tracks.. I think it was eh, some stuff off the Classical Mushroom album and some compilation tracks. THAT SAVED MY LIFE!
Now, eight years later, I have 100gigs of psytrance/goatrance/psychill/etc on my harddisk and I own around 40 albums which I deemed worth my money. I would never have bought these albums, never have heard from Twisted, Ultimae, etc, never have gone to see IM, Psysex, Astrix, Xerox&Illumination; and some others live.. If it weren’t for digital downloads
I would like to introduce you to the concept of ‘the long tail’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Tail
It applies a Pareto distribution to the buying and selling of products, and I think it makes a lot of sense.. Also for music! So basically, 80% of the revenues in music go to the 20% that is most popular (pop-hiphop,R&B, etc). And the other 20% gets distributed in the ‘long tail’(the 80%). IMO, digital downloads are a great way to do something about this Pareto distribution in music! Without digital downloads, the long tail would get relatively longer and longer and smaller and smaller… Because the ‘head’ eats everything! With digital downloads, the long tail gets a hell of a lot more exposure, leading to more album sales (in my case and in the case of many others) and more revenues from live shows cause you have way more fans!
And I absolutely can’t stand artists like Lily Allen who complain that digital downloads ruin the music. ANY artist in the ‘head’ has NO reason to complain, they make shitloads of money anyway. And as I said, the long tail benefits from mre exposure, fans, live-show revenues…
So when you are a record label like Twisted and you want to form an opinion on digital downloads… You have to ask yourself the question: “Is the sum of all these fans, who download our music digitally (and for free) and occasionaly buy an album or merchandise which they really like and who might visit our live-show, worth more than the (much smaller) sum of fans who has no choice but to buy our album after they miraculously heard from us?” I don’t know the answer, but I tend to say it’s “yes”. I think most of you will agree with me.
Anyhow, I must say that I also don’t like leaks before the album has really come out… It’s just kind of lame..