After years of lawsuits and fearmongering by the music industry, one thing is clear about piracy: the industry has been suing the wrong people. According to new research, file-sharing is rather limited in North America and the European Union, though running relatively rampant throughout Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and the …
...people assume a reduction in piracy will result in a 1-to-1 increase in sales. It won't.
It is not a price issue, it is a quality one. The warblers of today are designed by committee with songs composed by database. Politically correct insta-stars signed under corporate labels after winning a TV contest. They all sound the same, they all look the same and come and go with each new talent series on Tele.
Thank God for my Led Zeppelin collection.
Sorry, but manufactured bands have been around for decades. Ever heard of "The Monkees"? They were a rather successful merchandising "boy band" phenomenon of their day.
It helped that, back then, songwriters weren't required to be performers too; many of the "I'm a Believer" is just as much a classic as the "Hey Jude", but has the decency—unlike the latter—not to overstay its welcome.
Have you actually *listened* to some of the Beatles' earlier stuff?
"She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah"
Trite, simplistic, vacuous, unoriginal—the vastly overrated Beatles were all that and more! That guitar combo released an awful lot of forgettable rubbish among those few "classics".
The same can be said for pretty much every artist out there, of both yesteryear and today. Human memories are fickle and selective; we tend to remember the stuff we *want* to remember, but we forget all the crap it was packaged with.
The cliché of music "not being what it used to be" is inevitable: "popular" music is, by definition, deliberately aimed at the broadest possible market, in order to make the most money. Until quite recently, that meant kids. Kids who weren't even a foetus during the Winter of Discontent, or the Vietnam War. Who haven't even learned about the existence of John F. Kennedy, and what happened to him in late 1963. They don't get the references made in songs of that period, so there's a huge market in repackaging the same old clichés of teenage love (see those "She Loves You..." lyrics above), and all the other adolescent preoccupations that seem so insurmountable at that age.
The Baby Boomers skewed the demographics downwards somewhat—kids weren't always quite so important—so feel free to blame them if you wish. And you can also blame them for the Rolling Stones and umpteen other tiresome geriatric acts still being around today.
Every generation has its Elvis, Stones and Who. The originals only have the benefit of being first, but that doesn't make them inherently "better" than those who come after them. There's as much skill and musicianship in a well-mixed, four-to-the-floor dance track as there is in anything Schubert. Mike Oldfield is not inherently better or worse than Tom Petty or Roy Orbison. Or anyone else you care to name. (With the possible exception of most Punk bands.)
There's shit I like, and shit I don't like. Everything is just some bugger else's utterly irrelevant opinion.
Why other people can't adopt the same view escapes me. It's not as if there isn't an "off" switch on most entertainment devices these days.
Re: Once again
For me it is a price issue. If it were the quality of the new music available today then it would neither be bought nor downloaded.
By price issue I mean the practice of releasing albums which are over half filled with previous songs. Why should we pay for music we have already purchased just to get a few new pieces of which maybe a couple are of interest. This scam of putting catalogue material on albums is something the music industry has/had(*) fought hard to keep by not wanting to release individual pieces on services such as iTunes nor wanting people to be able to compile their own albums. I would consider it justifiable to download the same number of new pieces as the number that I have paid for multiple times.
(*) Not sure if it's still the case or whether they have accepted this as being inevitable.
>Thank God for my Led Zeppelin collection.
I'm not a Led Zeppelin fan but I would assume that the above still applies to their albums. How many times have you paid for the same song? Even the most fervent fan of any artist still has a few tunes that they would rather not have but which they have paid for.
@Sean Baggaley 1
The Beatles wrote songs for pre-teen girls. Apparently they were pretty darn good at it. There were many "one hit wonders" that reached the same audience, but once they had a name, immediately switched to serious music, and lost their audience.
The Beatles, however, continued to appeal to their core fans, and slowly matured musically along with their audience.
You are entitled not to like their earlier works, you simply don't fit their demographic. Are they the Liszt and Motzart of the 20th century? Perhaps it is too early to tell.
*where's the cannabis icon?
For example, here in a brick'n'mortar store, a Led Zeppelin "greatest hits" collection on CDs is nearly $100, and caused me to hit Ye Olde Pirate Bay, matey. Same for Rush, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Tom Petty, etc.
That's turned around since things are much more reasonable on iTunes, AND iTunes stuff now plays on Linux w/o DRM problems.
Arrr, be ye right, matey...
When I first set out to replace my Led Zeppelin collection -- and my Who collection, and my Stones collection, and my Pink Floyd collection, etc. etc. -- I was gobsmacked by the idea of paying twenty goddamn' dollars for a single-disc album. OK, maybe I could see twenty bucks for, say, "Physical Graffiti" or "Quadrophenia' or "The Wall", but, still. Also, not only was twenty bucks a pop an impediment, so was availability. "Dark Side Of The Moon" was one thing, but try rustling up a copy of "Ummagumma".
I ended up paying for copies of CDs to replace my vinyl only if it was absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I'd hit the blogozone, or FileTram.com... and, mind, you, this is for copies of albums I already owned on vinyl or cassette. This isn't counting all the live stuff I've found (I've gotten to be a real junkie for really good live footage lately).
The Beatles _started_out_ writing songs for young girls. Then, things got interesting about the time they did "Rubber Soul"... then, the _real_ fun started when they "got off the reservation", so to speak.
(gravelly voice, swinging cane, fire in the eyes)
"In the good ol' days..."
I have no problem listening to modern bands, you just need to look for bands yourself, rather than fixating on how awful the Top 40 is and only listening to 20 yr old stuff.
Fine, there is plenty of crap music nowadays. There's always been plenty of crap music. Get a 60's Greatest Hits and the stuff is awful. Those are the hits. Precisely like today's awful stuff is the Gagas and Kathy Perrys.
Bet you won't find too many Zep songs in any given year's Top 40 Greatest Hits, with the unfortunate exception of Stairway to Heaven.
"They all sound the same, they all look the same and come and go with each new talent series on Tele."
Define "they". This year, as with every previous year, the number of new artists dwarfs the number of talent series finalists.
@ Sean Baggley Re: Off switch on entertainment devices?
I'm not aware of the existence of *any* modern entertainment device that has an "off" switch. Standby / Sleep / Hibernate / Shutdown / etc switches, sure, that merely *reduce* the power usage, but a real honest-to-goodness, actually-disconnects-the-power OFF switch on an entertainment device? I Haven't seen one of those in ohhh, 20 years?
All my radios, TV, amps, computers, MP3 players have an on/off switch. Most are less than 20 years old. I guess you get what you pay for.
Re: the-power OFF switch on an entertainment device? I Haven't seen one of those in ohhh, 20 years?
Ah now, as I told one of my users on a support call, that's the clicky thing on the wall. Up for off down for on, it has a cable leading to your computer plugged into it.
Not only, but also
>The Beatles, however, continued to appeal to their core fans, and slowly matured musically along with their audience
As did Neil Diamond although in his case I think us fans might rather forget about the 1980s :-/
I don't entirely agree.
'It helped that, back then, songwriters weren't required to be performers too'
Some of the most successful artists have done both. Neil Diamond would be an obvious example of that. In fact 'I'm a Believer' was one of several songs Neil wrote that the Monkeys actually performed. It's likely that recognition for his skills as an author helped boost his career as a performer. Now for sure not everyone likes Neil's work but I think you'd have to be pretty ignorant or stupid to suggest that he is not a successful artist.
If you really bothered to listen to the music, you would understand that there is in fact a very high level of musical and lyrical ability.
Another pricing problem
The music industry has another pricing problem beyond the regressive nature of its prices:
The prices are much too high for a product that can delivered via the internet without any appreciable cost to the distributor.
The effort involved in selecting and collecting music is much larger than that involved in many comparable entertainment activities (e.g. visiting youtube) -- hence music is loosing out and conscious listening to music becomes a fringe phenomenon .
To pay 99c for a minute of entertainment and >10$ for a CD equivalent means I should collect and keep track of what I have. Because I can't be bothered with that, I rarely ever search for or buy music.
For regular listeners, the all-you-can-eat model may be attractive by bringing the track price down to cents -- a reasonable price for quick entertainment. For the mass of less regular listeners, and those who are not enthusiastic enough to bother with itunes, similar cent prices would be required to bring commercial music into the internet.
Is it workable though?
If you were to make the music affordable to, say, middle-income earners in India, what would that equate to in $, € or £ ?
If the artist is living in, for instance, the UK where their new album sells for £10, where's the profit in selling it for 1/30th of the price? (the rough difference in per capita income)
I'm not suggesting that this is the amount you would suggest prices be slashed, but even if it were 1/10th of the price, would £1 cover the distribution and manufacturing costs?
Obviously, the CD would have to be produced within India to have any chance of meeting that price difference - but where's the incentive for the artist?
I guess it would be down to volume of sales?
How would you apply lower prices to online downloads?
You'd have to rope in the ISP's to ensure that someone from the UK isn't getting a digital file at the lower cost it may be sold at in India, but then, there's all sorts of ways to circumvent this.
I can't see how this could work at all.
It is volume of sales
In case you hadn't noticed, countries where people earn $2 a week are also countries whose populations are usually on the high side. So where in England or America you might sell 100 CDs at $10 each, in India and China you'd sell 1000 CDs at $1 each and make the same money.
No, of course it's not workable. In fact it's utterly lacking in common sense, never mind profound insight - like most Matt Asay posts.
The basic problem is cultural. From the 50s to the 90s recorded music was a scarce commodity, produced using expensive equipment and aggressively promoted by radio play to audiences with limited other interests and comfortable disposable income.
For a while it was possible for a small number of talented people to make a good living from it. But those people supported an entire industry of equipment designers, technicians, engineers, session musicians and producers. And also kept parasites, like executives, in coke, hookers and limos.
Now that everyone can make music it's no longer scarce so the value has decreased. Many of the old industry jobs have gone, but more importantly there's no longer a single unified PR medium in the form of radio + chart shows, and the business no longer has any strategy of nurturing new talent.
So talent - which still exists - never gets past the Myspace field of musical doom. And artists who could have had a career 20 or 30 years ago have full-time day jobs, and have to make music as a hobby, while competing for sales with older artists with established back catalogues.
CD prices have nothing to do with marketing and artist A&R, nor with a business that demands instant low-risk returns, nor with shrinking Western disposable incomes, nor with a glut of product from other sources, nor with competition from games and other media.
Basically the business is dead in its current form - it just hasn't realised it yet. Competitors like iTunes are making most of the money that's available, and they're not feeding any of it back into advances for new talent.
Making CDs cheaper will do nothing to change this. Finding new and better ways to support artists might.
But really, it looks like the golden age is over, and the only way to make real money now is to be a multimillionaire to start with.
Problem with having price differentials between countries is that someone will set up a business grey importing the music.
If a supplier can buy the same music in India at $1 a CD, and sell it over here for $8 a CD, and still undercut the "official" CD by $2, people will jump on that arbitrage. Okay, the cover might look funny, but most punters on the street won't care too much if they can get the same tracks for cheaper.
So the record companies end up having to lower their prices from $10 to $8, to $6, to $4, chasing the grey importers. Eventually, we have a new global price of $1, and the artists and producers earn nothing at all.
Offering extras to the people that pay "full price" (bonus tracks, etc) could cause those in the cheap price areas to think they're not getting the full product, and resort to piracy anyway.
There's then the problem that if there's a price differential, the people who are being "forced" to pay more will feel cheated that they're paying more for the same thing. They might pirate the music out of principal.
Or are you advocating regional DRM?
On a personal note, I try to legitimately buy the things I like. But when I see that, say, Impulse is offering a game for download US-only, and the alternative is to buy from Steam for +30-50% just because I'm in Europe, TPB looks awfully tempting...
Patience does normally hold out though. :-)
What about reverse imports?
If I sell CDs in India for 1/30th of their UK price, what's to stop anyone buying them up in India and reselling them in the UK at a huge profit? As far as I know this is a bit of a grey area, and i'm not at all sure whether banning re-importation would be legal. Without going as far as India, what about for example Bulgaria, Romania, Poland etc where GDP is a lot less than the UK? These are EU countries so it's definitely completely open for anyone to buy up CDs in these countries and sell them in the UK (and richer western EU countries).
So in spite of the real spending power of people in Bulgaria being a lot less than in the UK, it makes zero sense for a UK artist / label to sell their music cheaper there... and by extension I think that it likewise makes little sense to sell music cheaper in India, Russia, China etc.
That's where Internet power can really work, because for the vast majority of Internet users, their IP address identifies their country of origin. So I can sell a digital download to a UK user at £1 and to an Indian user at 10p. That 10p from India is pure profit since if I tried selling him a physical CD at £10 I would never make the sale. Sure there will always be a minority of tech-savvy freetards who will spoof their IP to get cheaper downloads but in the big scheme of things it wouldn't be a big issue.
Oh that's easy; just make it so that CDs bought locally will only play on players bought locally. Some kind of encryption or 'region locking' would work, I'd imagine. Oh, wait ...
Sure there will always be a minority of tech-savvy freetards who will spoof their IP to get cheaper downloads but in the big scheme of things it wouldn't be a big issue.
Until the masses discover "anonymous" web proxies - just like they discovered Napster, and then BitTorrent (et al) - mind, "back in the day" they just had to be an AOL customer as they used to route all their connections through a central server in the US so wherever you were in the world you were in the US as far as the internet was concerned.
Any technically imposed artificial limitation will be circumvented one way or another - it's probably better just to not rely on those limitations in the first place. Differentiate price by country if you like but you'll have to crack down on the grey-import market; this is nothing new, I remember there being a thriving market for grey-import Sega Master System games more than 20 years ago (and I'm sure it wasn't new then)... at least then you've narrowed your targets to a slightly more manageable level, from "everyone" to "grey importers".
People pirate because they think they can get away with it. They have plenty of money for drugs, alcohol and electronic toys. The price of music or software or other copyright protected works is not the issue at all. The issue is a small percentage of society feel they are above the law. They build prisons for people who have this distorted view of reality.
Glad you could pop by.
That's not Andrew
From the self-righteous tone of that post, more likely it's JimC or Doug Glass. Andrew tends to be a bit subtler (albeit no less emphatic) in his anti-piracy rants.
While we are on the subject of anti-piracy ranters, anyone seen PirateSlayer lately? I miss his particular brand of vitriol...
...coming from your mouth.
What about libraries, those have been around for thousands of years, and free for most of it.
It is you that have the distorted view, the view that something that costs nothing to reproduce should cost above nothing. So because they aren't walking to the library, they deserve to go to jail?
How many people do you know can record themselves working, hand it to their boss, and then expect to get paid forever. That idea was a glitch in the way society was working at time, that time is going to come to an end It used to be that people got paid for "performing live", just because they had it easy for awhile doesn't mean I have to support it as a real job for the rest of time.
We are only around because we developed the ability to share information and pass it to the next generation. People like you think that information should be for those that have money to pay for it, that attitude will lead to fracturing of our society into casts of "those how have nice things and are educated", and "those who clean and service them and have nothing and are too stupid to know any better".
What kind of douche wants to put someone in jail for a victimless crime? It is victimless, if they can make money, great, if not, let them get a real job.
Why should I care if they have a business model that doesn't work, they can evolve or die. Passing laws and incarcerating people so they can make money off things people aren't willing to pay for is fracking pathetic. And so are you.
Second hand CDs/etc
I'd be interested to hear your opinions on buying music/films/games/books second hand, from say, Amazon or Ebay. Surely that's as bad as piracy right?
Well that's not going to work either...
"The same pricing differential exists for music. A CD in India costs around 500 rupees, which is around $10. But the real cost, when taking GDP into account, is much higher."
People from developed countries will see that CDs are sold for $10 locally and for $0.63 in India (or whatever) and react in one of 2 ways:
i) Buy their CD from India
ii) Perceive that they're getting the short end of the stick and reach for a torrent client with a hearty "fuck you" to the music industry.
I notice, by the way, that Spain is included in the European 'piracy' figures. AFAIK we still pay a tax on all blank media, in return for which downloading films and music is perfectly legal. There's 3 paragraphs of bitching about Spain in that linked Economist article. There is no piracy in Spain...it's legal, prepaid, taxed, downloading. In fact we get taxed no matter what we put on our media, so we're almost obligated to download the odd track or two. And if the collection agencies didn't negotiate a good deal and Spain is now unprofitable....well, that's what it feels like to get milked, fuckers; see how you like it for a change.
"There is no piracy in Spain...it's legal, prepaid, taxed, downloading. "
Spain has the highest piracy rate in Europe.
"well, that's what it feels like to get milked, fuckers"
Yep, the Special Children are out today
@ you who were too pussy to reveal their pseudonym
It is you fighting for the cause of wrong, in this particular instance.
ITEM: A law was passed in Spain, whereby any recordable media was subject to a tax. This tax would go to various collection agencies, as a result of which downloading films and music (those were specified; can't remember offhand if any other categories were involved) was not illegal. Downloading computer programs was illegal, as that category wasn't covered. Downloading music and films was specifically covered and was legal.
THE PRACTICAL EFFECTS: Downloading music and films is legal? Everyone filled their boots, of course. You're going to get taxed on every single data-holding device you buy, but you're covered when it comes to filling it up with tunes or films. Computer, external HDD, blank media (CDs and DVDs and (I presume) Blu-Ray), mp3 player...anything that can hold a byte; there's an extra charge on it -levied by the government- that assumes that you're going to be filling it with someone else's intellectual property. This is a charge of 1 euro per blank DVD...we're not talking insignificant money here. We are assumed to be pirating and charged accordingly IN ADVANCE. Honestly; what do you really expect people to do in that situation?
AND FOR THE RECORDING INDUSTRY: Well it wasn't negotiated well. If you are going to have a mandatory tax on everything that *may* be used to store ill-gotten binary booty then you should make sure your expenses are covered. Of course, if you actually did that, you might well spark off a revolution...people in Spain were dicked off at the time about being taxed for media that they had no intention of using for storing anybody else's stuff but their own. I have a shitload of DVDs that contain nothing but backups of my own work; and yet I've paid 1 euro extra per disc because of the assumption that there's someone else's IP on there.
Of course, anybody who has studied Spain (or history, or psychology); or has even paid tangential interest in any news story involving a politician would realise how laughable the chances are of the money getting to the rights-holders.
Also -and I want you to 'hear me' on this, Anonymous Coward- people don't give a shit if the middleman gets paid or not . Yes, music needs promoting. Yes, studio time needs paying for. Yes, it needs nice cover art and pimping at the radio stations etc. Once that's happened and you have your money + profit back, your job is over. The standard record label contract is essentially a loan at scandalous rates. Yeah, there's risk but that's factored in. Well factored in. *YOU* don't get to rake in money for life from other people's actions. The artistes and the people who produced the work can rest on their laurels a little bit...every artiste has a learning; peaking; and (mostly) tailing off path to their career. I don't mind at all sending money to the artistes who made the thing I'm listening to/watching. What I'm not going to do is send you money for some promotion you did 30 years ago. End of 'hear me'
AND THAT BRINGS ME BACK TO SPAIN: Well, actually, it doesn't but I had to get back here somehow and a smooth segue hasn't occurred to me yet. Probably won't now. As far as I know, downloading music and films for private/home use is still legal here. Therefore the 'piracy' figures are skewed at best. Well, complete bollocks, but I thought I'd be polite, just to see what it feels like. There has been some pressure on the Spanish government by various collection agencies. And there was a law passed in February [citation needed - just winging it] that cracked down on websites (Spain-based) that pointed to IP of some sort or another. I'm absolutely sure that it'll end up with the tax still in place and downloading being made illegal with a separate (collection agency funded) act. When downloading films and music becomes actually illegal in Spain, I'm sure that we will be the #1 pirates in Europe...just out of habit. We're used to downloading just whatever the fuck we feel like (in music & film terms) because we've already paid for it. Also, if downloading music and films does become illegal, you can bet at least 3 chambers of your heart that the media tax will still be in place. And then you have another issue.
Dear Mr Angry
You have forgotten your medication today. We can see you're angry but there's NO NEED TO SHOUT.
Just formatting it...
...for easier reading. Turned out to be a bit of an essay. With the lack of bold, italic & underline here on the Reg commentard area, capslock would appear to be it for the stylin' possibilities.
How about it El Reg? A bit of basic comment formatting would be a good thing, I think.
Re: Just formatting it...
I think you might be right...
...make things either more fun or easier to read. Bold, italic, underline and strike, maybe. That should be safe enough.
Re: Complete bull
Is the Daily Mail comments section down again?
Re: Re: Complete Bull
Well, the summer holiday is still going.
There seem to be the usual amount of angry blokes here, grinding their teeth about how evil it is to pay $5 for an album but only $600 on an iGadget.
"...angry blokes here, grinding their teeth..."
"There seem to be the usual amount of angry blokes here, grinding their teeth about how evil it is to pay $5 for an album but only $600 on an iGadget."
Are you trying to suggest this utter drivel came out of a calm and rational mind?
yo dumbass, yeah you "dogged"
See that small purple-y thing that says "Reply to this post"? What do you think it could possibly mean? Could it possibly mean "help keep our forums readable by making sure that all conversations follow a natural flow"?
Or do you think it means "only losers push this button, real men submit *new* posts and screw up the reading order"?
Sue the authors!
If it weren't for those "hippie singers" then all of these problems wouldn't exist. So the next logical step should be obvious: sue the singers!
The sad part? It wouldn't surprise me /one bit/ if some of the fruitcakes would read this and wonder... "Jeez, that kid is RIGHT!".
This dude is RIGHT!
before established artists will be able to sell their stuff directly online, & blow out the conventional music industry altogether? I'm sure that's what they're really afraid of. Mind you, without the hype, most of them wouldn't stand a chance. Shame the net wasn't around in its present form during the 60's.....
You're reading my mind...
I'm seeing a lot of newer -- but fairly established -- bands selling their albums online through their own Web sites, and I can't help wondering: why haven't bands like, say, Pink Floyd -- or whoever's representing them these days as they've long split up -- started selling their entire catalog online themselves? I wouldn't mind giving my twenty bucks directly to the Floyd for a copy of one of their albums, especially since I'd finally be able to score those copies of "Saucerful" and "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" I've been looking for.
The Grateful Dead, god bless 'em, have been doing this for ten or fifteen years; along with offering copies of their studio albums online, they've also released tons of live material for sale as CDs and downloads. You can buy complete shows at dead.net as 3-CD sets or as a download for something like thirty bucks -- and it's all remixed, cleaned up, and remastered from their original tapes. I've been collecting bootleg live Dead footage for years, but finally broke down and bought some downloads from them as it's kind of problematic finding good-quality footage from circa 1967, '68, or '69. Phish is doing this now, too, as I recall.
I wish to hell Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd would do this. I've managed to build up a pretty fair collection of Zeppelin and Floyd live footage, but it's taken months of scouring the collectors' blogs and, more often than not, throwing out half the stuff I download because it really didn't sound that great. I'd be more than happy to pay the Floyd -- the guys, themselves, directly -- some serious bank for a boxed set of all their early '70s BBC gigs via "floyd.co.uk".
The problem with Floyd and Zeppelin would probably be trying to work out who the hell actually owned the rights to be able to sell the stuff now - it sure ain't the bands (let's see if the spell-checker picks up acrimonious).
There have been a few "high profile" bands that have ditched their labels and are producing everything themselves and distributing it from their websites, Trent Reznor (NIN, How to Destroy Angels atm) for instance - but I'd guess most musicians* want to do music, not all the associated production, distribution and marketing.
*by musicians I mean musicians - not people who can sing a bit who are in it purely for the fame/fortune.
Rockerfeller said it
One of the other reasons for the bulk lawsuits and perhaps the main reason was the power grab.
The labels were more concerned about losing control of their distribution channel not so much about starving artists. For proof look at all of the starving artists the labels created.
Other Reasons Too
I am not commenting on the morality of priacy, just the reality as it pertains to me...
I used to pirate regularly when track by track sharing software like Napster & Winmx were still going strong. During that period I bought more CDs than at any other time in my life.
We are talking hundreds. Entire discographies of Bjork, Beck, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam etc etc..
When they shut those two down, I stopped downloading random tracks and thinking ooh this sounds good I'll buy the CD.
In the 9 years since I have bought 2cds as presents (which were requested)
I can't be alone in this surely? Although I guess I am probably a minority.
OK. So you don't like music
You can only be bothered if it falls into your lap for free. That's fair enough.
I stopped drinking cider at Uni and haven't bought a pint since.
No one's going to mistake you for a music fan.
Your argument doesn't hold water:
All of which are legal (though I'm not 100% sure HOW grooveshark is), have free (ok, ad-supported) options and allow you to discover new music; add in X number of specialist internet radio stations and there's no real reason to say "well I couldn't find a try before I buy option, so I've stopped buying" - that just rings hollow now, there are plenty of options other than piracy.
I own more than 500 CD albums and only maybe 2 or 3 would I consider "bad purchases" and I've never yet had to pirate something to "try it first" - and very few of those albums are mainstream enough to actually get any kind of play outside of certain nightclubs or on the Internet - certainly "harder to find" than anything you've listed (Alien Vampires, Mind.in.a.box, Grendel, Panzer AG, Neuroticfish ... ).
Get out of bed the wrong side this morning did we? There may be something in what you say, but think on these...
What did the Monkees use when they didn't have Autotune, or Syco Productions?
What did Abba use when they didn't have Autotune, or Syco Productions?
What did Stock Aitken and Waterman use when they didn't have Autotune, or Syco Productions?
What did Oasis use when they didn't have Autotune, or Syco Productions
There have been quite a few recent artistes that have sounded good to me on the radio/in the studio, but when I've heard "live" performances repeatedly off key I've decided I never want to hear these artistes again or buy their records thank you.
If you don't like Hey Jude I guess you don't like Elbow's One Day Like This either. It's not a copy, well not quite, but they have a lot in common. Is that piracy?
[Syco = Simon Cowell]
Re: Live vs. recorded
If you think all live performance these days is actually live, you're ignorant of current capabilities and practice.
Look for the hidden ProTools guy. I've heard stories from a friend who does sound in a local venue. What you're hearing tonight might be from that good show they did last night or last week, or maybe even during the pre-tour rehearsals.