The music industry has lost it

I’ve just learned today that, in one more blow to stop small crooks from stealing money from the honest and established music industry, the National Music Publishers’ Association has forced many guitar tablature sites to shut down. Like the Online Guitar Archive.

It’s pretty upsetting. A little background for those of you who don’t care much about music playing. A tablature is a way to write down music in a simple way for guitar players. Much easier for kids learning to play. As people often try to play what they listen to, they also write down the tablatures for these songs. And as the exercise of listening for every single note and writing it down can take time, and is also hard for beginners, nice guys (and gals) share online.

Now it’s nothing like the music books you can buy in stores. It’s just a rough sketch of the songs, not so many details, just a global impression. So it’s in no way competing with these fairly complete books, that are often out of reach for kids beginning on an instrument (both because of the playing level required and the fact that these kids would never buy the book, they’ll rather learn a line from a friend).

Let me quote the Music Publishers’ Association defending their position:

We have also heard that it would be too expensive to purchase legitimate tablature or sheet music for all of the songs that a player may want to learn. We are sure that these same individuals would not feel entitled to steal a sheet music book or a guitar from a music store simply because they want it but cannot afford it. Yet, anyone who patronizes these illegal web sites is stealing just as if he or she walked out of the music store with sheet music or a guitar. And by doing so, those people are taking money from the creators of the music they say they love.

I’ve heard the “you little thieves” argument one time too much. Especially here, the “stealing a guitar” comparison is ridiculous. If the music producers (that these associations represent) really cared about the music creators and the money stolen from the creators pockets, they would pay them decently. Instead of getting the lions share to support their own inefficiency. Only the ones selling A LOT are decently paid because of the volume, but the great majority of musicians who don’t sell much, get even less. I’m thinking of jazz musicians here for example. So out of decency, stop using that lousy argument.

Anyway the tablature sites don’t really fall in the same category as P2P. Would you think it fair, from companies selling raviolis in supermarkets, to sue you because you posted a ravioli recipe on your blog?

This whole industry is really getting uglier and uglier by the day. So choose carefully where you buy your music from.

Note: picture from noamgalai.


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