Anyone who knows me knows where I stand on the subject of downloading music illegally. In a nutshell, trying to convince me that it’s okay – or even a good thing – is a surefire way to get an invitation to fuck off and die. Painfully. Unfortunately, standing on my iron soapbox yelling “Keyboard Warrior baaaaaaad!” doesn’t really get the message across a lot of the time, probably because I’m a journalist and supposedly we’re all a bunch of spoiled elitist snobs.
That said, Alissa White-Gluz of the Montreal band The Agonist recently posted a breakdown of what bands go through to make a so-called living with their art. I suggest that anyone who claims to be a fan of metal and music in general take a look at her words below. It’s a feast for thought.
For the kiddies, I hope it’s an eye-opener that sticks to the insides of your heads. For the adults that should know better, choke on it and start buying your music, you thieving scum.
“Here’s a little insider info just to clarify, since a lot of people don’t understand how the industry now works. We would feel bad divulging this kind of info and shattering the dream, but a lot of metal musicians seem to be doing it nowadays so I think we’re ok to do so as well.
Why are we asking you to buy the album? We don’t see money from album sales. We have never seen a single royalty penny. But, if your band is known to sell a lot of albums, especially in the first week of release, you get more offers for tours, therefore making it more possible to play to more fans.
Ticket Money: As an opener, we do not see any money from ticket sales or have any control over ticket price. As a headliner we rarely see any money from ticket sales as well.
YouTube: If you think we are making money off of YouTube plays, check out who’s channel our videos are on (Hint: It ain’t our channel!;)) Again, we’ve never seen a penny from YouTube plays.
Merch / CD Sales: To get our albums shipped out to us we need to pay about $10. We sell them for $15. Venue takes about 15% usually, manager takes 10%. Therefore, we are left with about $1.25 profit per CD. T-shirts, they cost about $10 to create and ship, we sell them for $20; again you can do the math. So we have a few dollars profit per item sold, but about $200 – $300 in gas per show, plus the expense of work visas (about $4000 for the USA), vehicle and trailer leasing, and all the other expenses that go into touring.
We sleep in the van, don’t eat, don’t get to bathe. We hire no crew. We get maybe $20 or $30 a day to get food or save up to pay rent. We invested years of our lives into this and some had to take time off work to record this album. And this is not just our band. We can safely say that this applies to every opening metal act we have ever toured with.
Sorry to shatter the rockstar fantasy but the truth is, we all work 9-5 as soon as we get home from tour, if our jobs are gracious enough to allow us to leave and return. Otherwise we scramble to find even the most menial jobs just to cover our bills in between tours.
So – taking our project without paying for it is STEALING. But, if you repay us by spreading the word about the band, getting your friends to come out to our shows, buying our merch, giving us a place to stay or some other form of support, you’ve paid us back. Nobody wants to go to work and not get their salary, but bands do it ALL THE TIME. So, have some respect for the work they do and support in whatever way you can.”