My Views On Downloading

A lot of people ask me about my views on downloading.  Particularly as they’re buying one of my CDs after a show.  Well, here it is.  It’s bad.  It’s illegal.  I don’t like it.  And I don’t participate in it.

Now I understand giving away free samples and such.  That’s not my beef here.  That’s radio, that’s streaming sites, that’s sample CDs and MP3s.  Fine.  You can’t expect someone to buy something they haven’t sampled.

Before you start branding me as some old fogey hoarding 8-tracks in my basement (I don’t even have a basement), let me explain my reasoning.

Let’s say you’ve got an amazing business idea.  Something that people all over the world will love and it will make you a lot of money.  In your sometimes overly-trusting way, you tell me about the idea.  I say, “Wow!  What a great idea! I’m going to start business right now.  Thanks for the idea!”  And then I go start a huge, successful business with your idea.  completely acing you out of the proceeds.  But I tell everyone, “Man, I’m glad so-and-so gave me that idea.  She’s a genius”

Lots of exposure for you.  Lots of money in the bank for me.  Good luck buying groceries with your exposure.

My song, my idea… Downloaders giving it away to their friends and telling me I get exposure out of it.  I’ll have to see if my mortgage company will take exposure instead of money.  Getting the picture?  Ideas are only worth money when implemented.  If I’ve released a song, that’s implemented through hours, days, and weeks of work.  And therefore, worth money.

If I get an idea for a song or a joke and give it to someone else?  Bam, go for it.  Use it up.  Because I didn’t implement it.  And yes, I have done that.

I’ve always said, that as long as I’m making a comfortable living, up to my standards, then I don’t care how people get the music.  It’s really not about protecting my ideas so much, as just being able to make a living with my particular skill set.  Just like you make money with your skills.  Those skills have taken years to learn.  Longer than a medical or law degree.

I’ve been learning music since I was 8.  Writing songs since I was 18.  Doing comedy since 2004.

But many people feel musicians should be pulled down to a blue collar level of work.  95% of us are anyway, but let’s play with the idea.  Let’s talk about an hourly wage.

Let’s say you’re a doctor on the low end of the price spectrum because you’re just out of school.  Maybe your hourly rate is $100.  Eventually over the years, you become a top rated brain surgeon, who’s skills are required all over the world and your fees are now astronomical. Why?  Because lots of people like your work and have a need for it.  But you are only one person with limited time.  Supply and demand.

What we’re talking about is, what is your time worth?  What is my time worth?  Let’s break it down.

But let’s break it down on Friday’s post since this one is getting long.  Hit that RSS thingie up there so you know when it comes out.

Phil Johnson

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