A Letter to the Person Who Tried to Steal My Music

I am bit of a web statistics junky; I really like to look at my web site statistics, how people found me, and how much traffic I get each day. I can’t help it. On August 2 of this year, however, something new appeared in my stats and it has been reappearing ever since. This statistic is not a very pleasing thing to see.

So what was it?

Someone had arrived at my web site while trying to find a place to steal my music and ever since, several other people have been doing the same. In fact, this search query has started to show up on more than one of my sites and I’m so very sad.

Here is a letter to the person who arrived at my website searching for Rapidshare (stolen, illegal) versions of my music. (This post was originally a Facebook status, but I decided to stretch it out a little since it has been a recurring search term.)

***

Dear whoever you are,

Stealing music is not cool. The music that I release is my livelihood, my creation, and I even go as far to say “part of me.” The fact that you feel you are entitled to it without any investment on your part is a bit rude after all the hard work, emotion, time, and creativity I poured into creating that song.

The fact that you were searching for just one song is even more insulting. I can imagine that a whole $9.99 for an album might be a little bit difficult to part with, but one song is just 99 cents. Is that really a big investment if you want to hear the music I worked so hard to create?

You may think my job is fun, that I make tons of money and that the 99 cents is no big deal, but there are too many people who think like that and in when you steal my music, I am not paid for my work. I may enjoy being a musician, but it is also my work. I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t work for free, so why do you assume that I should?

The truth is that I don’t make bucket loads of money from album sales and my job isn’t always as glamorous as you might think. Every single 99 cent purchase really does count. If you like my music, please support me, don’t steal from me.

Sincerely,

Me and pretty much every other artist on the planet

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13 thoughts on “A Letter to the Person Who Tried to Steal My Music

  1. On the one hand, I guess you should be flattered that someone likes your music enough to try to steal it, but on the other, yes, it is your livelihood. I know a lot of people see it as no big deal, and for major artists, who rely more heavily on touring and merchandise for income, it’s a fact of life. For artists who aren’t Lady Gaga and the like, individual album and song sales mean a lot both in economic and personal terms. $0.99 is a small price to pay for a song you enjoy.

    • I understand what you’re saying, but at the same time I don’t see how theft can be flattering. 99 cents really isn’t that much. It’s more flattering if someone is willing to pay for music – even if it is less than $1. That’s fairly inexpensive especially considering the cost it takes to put together music.

      Even on an independent budget, a song in itself costs a minimum of $300 to produce (unless you have the ability to do it by yourself) between hiring musicians, mixing and mastering. That doesn’t even include time and to quote an expression, time is money.

      Most people work on hourly wages, musicians don’t. Our income is entirely based on performance revenue and album sales. For me personally, the majority of my income comes from the music that I sell because it is becoming harder and harder to find shows that pay. More and more promoters expect us to come play for free for the privilege of being featured as part of their shows.

      I could go on…

      It’s just really unfortunate how difficult it is to protect intellectual property.

      For everything else, I think you are spot on.

      • I was just trying to see a silver lining, though it’s still a VERY crappy thing to do. And yes, it’s unfortunate how hard it can be to protect IP.

      • I do appreciate the silver lining, it is nice to know that people want to listen to my music. It’s just a bit sad the way they go about it. There are, oddly enough, plenty of legal and free ways for them to listen to my music – through my web site, my youtube channel, Spotify, but for some reason they choose not to use those channels.

  2. Hi shannon ! As a writer “Always Protect you music” !!!! Register your music with U S copyright and if you aren’t get with ASCAP or BMI ! Let them steal and make a lot of money. Get them than !! Hope this helps !

    Peace and blessings

    mike brown

    • Hi Mike, thanks for stopping by!

      I am, in fact, and always have been registered with one of the aforementioned societies, but it really hasn’t ever done much for me. I feel like when I fill out my catalog each time I write a new piece, it just disappears into a huge void, especially since I am such a small artist.

  3. Reblogged this on Eurolinguiste and commented:

    My first post on Sksaxgirl since my recent transition has actually received more attention than any of my previous posts. Please read this and share it to help spread awareness about how illegal downloads really do affect artists. This has now extended into books and has always existed with film – the digital format has eased the theft of intellectual property.

    Most people assume that the 99 cents for a song or 3.99 for an ebook don’t make that big of a difference, but I can tell you that it does. Every single download makes a difference and 99 cents isn’t asking a lot to support the artists and writers that you enjoy.

  4. I really feel strongly here that the whole point is being missed. Of course if you take something from someone, that is a paid for item, simple. You pay for it. But the true meaning is the creativeness, blood, sweat,and tears that went into making the music,and that someone would try to “take that away” without a thought or acknowledgement, is the hurt-felt part. Remember there is always a part of that persons experience of life in that piece!!!

    • Hi Gail, thanks for your input!

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. One of the reasons we connect with music is because we relate to what is being expressed in some way, we feel a connection with it. Art is a means of self expression so when you steal music you aren’t just stealing a “product”, you are taking away part of the person who created it.

  5. Shannon,
    I will admit that I download everything myself, and most of the time, from free sites. I do however make an exception for artists like you, or indie artists, as I know that the money I pay makes a huge difference in the artist’s life. A very good post.
    Le Clown

  6. this is such a huge problem. i will say though, that a lot of music (and it’s the same for comedy) is moving towards – download my “creative commons” music. i use a lot of their stuff for my short films and other creations that involve background stuff and it’s a good way to get new artists out there, me thinks. we live in strange times and i agree it’s really difficult to balance the pay for play and the free for exposure. REALLY difficult. nice piece. xo, sm

    • Thanks SM. It is really difficult to find a balance – when I started (even just a few years ago), gigs paid and cd sales paid. Now music is downloaded online for free and promoters expect us to perform without pay because they are offering us the “opportunity” to perform at their event and gain exposure. Figuring out how to make a career out of music has become difficult, but not impossible. I’d imagine it’s somewhat similar in comedy?

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