The following is a Facebook post by Robert Brown of Abney Park. With his permission, I wanted to share this with you as part of my mantra of “Support Our Community”.
Why? Because the authors, artists, musicians, content creators, and everyone else who contributes to the creativity and greatness of our community needs our support. Not just our thanks, and moral encouragement. They need our financial support, too, in their business, to pay their bills, and to be able to keep creating the awesome things they do.
If we didn’t buy the books, authors, big publishers, and self publishers would have no incentive at all to keep writing and releasing them aside from internal altruistic motivations. If we don’t buy prints, how can our artists continue to create? If we don’t buy our props and fashions and accessories from within the community, maybe there will come a time when there aren’t any of those things available.
Certainly, money is tight all around for everyone these days. It makes fiscal sense to find the lowest price on something. But it also makes sense to support those people and ideas which are important to you. Is the big box or online corporation what you want to support with your hard earned dollars, or would you rather support a community in which you actively participate? What is that you believe in?
It’s a hard thing to hear in convention vendor rooms and read in online chatter, “I bought this from <Big Corporation> instead of <small steampunk vendor>.” If you don’t support those things which are important to you, then why would anyone else? If you don’t support others in the community, why would they support you?
WARNING: This is Robert’s unedited and uncensored post. it may contain language that some may find offensive. If that might be you, then stop reading now.
The day our new album was released, we shipped it. Almost everybody who bought a CD at zero hour got it in a couple days, and many lucky people received theirs the very next day.
That’s the day it hit the pirate and torrent sites: the day after it went on sale. Within 24 hours of it going on sale, it was being pirated.
Typically, we stall. We put it on sale one day, then ship two weeks later. The goal is to have two weeks of honest sales before people start stealing it. Just two week to sell what we’ve spent thousands on, and a year creating, before it stolen. But stalling meant people sent angry emails, “I ordered this two days ago! FUCK YOU, I DONT HAVE IT!” (That’s a very short version, the real emails were long and cruel, and our poor shipping girl…well, you get the idea.)
So this time, we stood buy in the studio, and shipped from the first possible second. All this did was make sure it was available to be stolen the first possible second.
I had a “fan” write to me, 26 hours after the cd went on sale, and a full week BEFORE it was available for download. She said, “I just downloaded the album! I love it! You are my all time favorite band!” There is no way she could have downloaded it with stealing it. What am I supposed to say to her? I choose to say, “thanks.”
Why do I tell you this? Well, currently being dishonest is very easy. It’s really up to each individual to decide who they want to be. Do you want to be the type that spends $150 a month on your cable and cell phone, but won’t spend $10 on the artist that inspires your life? Or do you want to be the type of person that says, “I know I CAN be a bad guy, but I choose not to. I choose to support the artists I believe in.”
That’s up to you, but I’ll tell you this, I feel we are starting to see more and more fans who get it. People are starting to understand that musicians aren’t rich, most of us don’t have some major corporation supporting us (that why you like us: we don’t sound like something a corporation would fund), and we musicians are all struggling against the odds to have s somewhat stable life doing what you want us to do: make inspiring music.