Music Shouldn’t Be Sold – The Dangerous Lie

You are a pretty compelling speaker Damian but you don’t seem to have any concept of Intellectual Property (I.P.). That is: the work of a person’s mind is as much worthy of value as the work of their body. Whether it infinitely duplicable or not is immaterial. There are still costs involved.

By your logic your book should be free. But it isn’t. One wonders.

If I asked you to come over to mine and spend a day digging holes, cleaning my bathroom and making my dinner, what would you need from me to do this? Not just once, but day after day, year after year? I am 199% sure that if you are being remotely honest your reply is not kind or polite. Nor should it be. That is asking you to be my slave. There is no way to cast that in any sort of “fair”.

Soooo. Seeing you get something of great value from the music you use to make your life better, why should it not get paid for?

You use various arguments that you should be able to get all my effort to amuse your grey little life for free. Altho it looks like you live in a nice house and have nice clothes so you are getting paid for your book, or whatever it is you do.

Saying I should make money from Live shows, shows a lack of understanding. Most composers (the people who create the music you love) have no real ability to play live – anywhere – even for free. This is either because they can’t play it live – possibly fixable if you listen to my music, please do, then you can see it would need a talented band who need to be paid, but more importantly, there are no venues looking to book if you aren’t famous already. Where is the way in? And don’t say “making my music free” as then I can’t pay the band or even for the electricity to make and upload more music for you to enjoy.

Spotifry is a serious worry. But that is simply a symptom of a generalized lack of understanding of the value of other’s work – or I.P. in general. The idea that someone else should pay for your life. Just like the kids who said to me they feel ok about stealing the work of Kylie or Prince just because a) they only like one song and b) they got paid a lot already by others.

On the idea that music is only of value if it has a physical form: It seems that you like the idea of buying used vinyl more than what is on that vinyl. So do you buy any old scratched-up Burl Ives or Engelbert Humperdink album you see or do you choose one piece of art over another? If so, you choose and value one record over another. So you value that artist, composition & performance but still don’t see why the artist should deserve income for what you got?

Your examples to merch your music is fine if you are Trailer Swift but if you aren’t then it is nowhere. No one is buying the Benedict Roff-Marsh lunchbox for their sandwich, even if I could afford to get it made.

Very simple bottom line – if you don’t pay for the pleasure you get – I assume you pay for coffee or beer with no argument – then musicians will go elsewhere. As we already see YouTube is now covered in Get Rich Quick scams (and people eating soap) instead of great new music that can go toe to toe with Pink Floyd, Wham or even Bucks Fizz.

I even wonder if your pair of videos weren’t just one of these designed to draw in viewers to see your book. If so maybe that is shame-on-you as this discussion was never a genuine one, simply you’re manipulating others with a promise of value but deliver nothing genuine. This is what happens when people don’t value anything but themselves.

Here’s Damian’s book on Amazon. He says rip up the rule book.

don’t expect me to link to this

Does that mean rip up the conventions that make society work? Lying, stealing – are these the things that make a great Marketer? Is creativity simply finding better ways to lie & steal the work of others to make your life easier at their expense? This includes the time that people waste in being drawn into your spammy faux conversations.

I’m not sure Seth Godin or Stephen Covey would agree. I’m guessing Zig Ziggler would have cuffed you upside the head for making Marketers look bad.

Me, I was brought up with the idea that we all rise together. Not like Socialists arm-in-arm singing the praises of Stalin (whilst he kills millions) but that building value for one builds value for all involved. Slaves don’t work anywhere near as hard as willing free men.

My Question back to you Damian:

Why is it ok to steal from some but not others?

Benedict: Is it just that you can depersonalize musicians because you never met a real one? (bearded guitar strummers in the park don’t count)?

Damian: happy to insert your answer here

Would you steal from a plumber – get him over yours then send him packing with a “yeah dude, I’ll so ‘Like’ you on FB”; knowing that he can’t feed his family with that?


If not, then why is it ok to steal from other people who serve your life? Do they and their families have less value than you and yours?


2.8 Days Later

To be as fair as I can be to Damian, a couple of days later he has created a second follow-up video where he talks about some of the reasons for his stance (and still whines about the Rage from the first vid). Also he shows that he is in Artist Management so is trying to be helpful.

I’m still not entirely sold on his ideas as they seem to support the idea that music is not a thing that deserves rewarding for its own merit.

I do understand that what he’s talking about represents the way audiences behave, they rather buy a t-shirt than the actual music. Sad, sad, sad. I get that thing about wearing the Iron Maiden branded shirt to claim solidarity but isn’t rewarding the music directly showing even greater solidarity? Saying “Up The Irons” to your friends is solidarity. Telling your friends that the new Maiden record is ace is solidarity. (real Maiden fans can spot each other without t-shirts lemme tell ya)

Sponsorship I talked about above and in the comments. My concern is that if Nike is paying for my record then Nike control my record. Even if not directly, I still subconsciously temper my record to make it appeal to Nike. Not fans but Nike.

Also only certain material is likely to appeal to corporates so that represents only a slice of the musical pie/spectrum. Should all other artists sell out (and fail because they suck at the other style) or should they have the ability to eke a living by having as many paying fans as they can get? If there is no such thing as a paying fan we effectively dump Agent Orange on 90% of music. Doesn’t that go against all that Multiculturalism stuff?

Damian still uses big-name examples. Sure if Foo Fighters let us watch them during potty time, they make coin. If I offer people a $10 a month subscription to watch me go potty, I doubt I get any subs. Maybe if I had DDs but then It’s not about my music I can tell ya.

Is this your Song?

My core concern is that he is still missing the point. You can’t build the value of music (I.P.) by encouraging musicians to devalue their music to a lure. We have done that for 20 years and look where we are.

If as musicians we take the lazy path and simply try to chase audiences around, they will always control the game. They worked this stuff out at the time of the Magna Carta (1215), if all the Barons say no to the King, then the King has to change his game.

Sure it takes a while. But if you are earning nothing, play these silly games and still earn nothing then truly change the game.

I know it is harder as it means changing some of YOUR expectations and assumptions about how you live and treat others. But if you don’t do it who will? Think of this like being a World War: if you don’t stop those who think stealing I.P. is ok then who will? Your children, their children…? If you have no hope of a fair recompense then what do you have to lose from change that you control?

2 thoughts on “Music Shouldn’t Be Sold – The Dangerous Lie

  1. You got that right, man. If you make something and you want to give it away, that’s one thing, but it’s no one’s right to take it for nothing.
    I have a beard and a guitar and I’m not afraid to use them. If I ever make an album, you get one free, but everyone else gets pay for it.
    I buy used vinyl if it’s an old record, but I get new stuff on vinyl if it’s available, so don’t hate me, okay?

    1. Much of my collection is second-hand vinyl (for which artists didn’t get paid on the second sale – but they did on the first). It is the overall idea that music is a social entitlement that someone else should pay for that galls me.

      It is amazing that it doesn’t gall them either because if you think on it for a few mins you realize that in effect all the music you listened to would have been commissioned by “The Man” so your collection could be full of songs about how good it is to eat McDonalds, wear Nikes, buy the latest iPhone…

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