Music Pirates Have A Special Place In Hell… Or Not

image from images2.layoutsparks.com In case you haven’t heard yet, if you’re a fan of the UK group Elbow and have file-shared their music—at a time when you had the money to rightfully pay for it—then, you’re “going to hell.”  Now, I don’t care how common the phrasing is. If there’s anyone that can be left out of the file-sharing arguments, it’s God. What, ‘thou shalt not steal?’ Is that where Mr. Guy Garvey wants to take what could've otherwise been intelligent discussion? Garvey should know better.

Besides, if you follow the headlines, “the percentage of Americans affiliating with no religion has climbed from 8% in 1990, to 15% to 2008.” Then again, I guess you don’t have to actually believe there’s a Hell to be sent there. Though I’d hope that no one is being booted out of Heaven for being fifteen and having a passion for music. Wait, under his logic—that’s fine. I presume most college students, whom are broke and eating noodles in a cup get a pass too. So, what about poor musicians whom file-share the music of other rich musicians? If two poor musicians file-share music from each other, do they cancel each other out?

These are important questions. Because, if we’re going to go around and running our mouths about damnation, we ought to be more specific about it. Course, Garvey did say that file-sharers have their own rooms reserved for them in Hell. Aren’t those reserved for, I don’t know, terrorists? Does Garvey think that the crimes of file-sharers are on a scale with those whom have actually hurt people? So, if I understand this right, rapists and murders=file-sharers. That’s ridiculous. 

Right?  But, that’s the point here; it is ridiculous to speculate in that manner and so are the assertions that Garvey makes.  Condemning fans to Hell avoids the more meaningful conversation of why are fans downloading your music—that they could’ve otherwise paid for? Is Garvey connecting with fans and giving them any reasons to buy his music? Moreover, is he offering it to them in the ways in which they’d prefer to consume it? Sadly, Garvey’s proclamation sounds more like a cry for press than of a true affirmation. It’s just maddening to me—that he thinks file-sharers have a special place in Hell. Guy Garvey of Elbow to Newsbeat:

“If you genuinely can't afford music then of course you're going to rip it. If you can afford it and you don't pay for it then you're going to hell and you've got your own room. Especially when it's a smaller band. There's no excuse."

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  1. wow. I want some of what Kyle’s been drinking!
    I guess you’re not familiar with Mr Garvey’s music or sense of humour (he has a national radio show in the UK and is very deadpan) – this was clearly a flippant remark, but that makes a sensible point; filesharing is not always necessarily wrong, and it’s certainly not always stealing, although it does border on the dubious if you could afford to buy music that you like, but choose not to.
    As for reasons to buy, Elbow’s last album went platinum in the UK, so I guess he’s probably got that covered…

  2. Kyle, out of curiosity are you a musician who’s made a tangible amount of money from records? Are you someone who relies on album income? If not, I think your place at the discussion table, though legitimate, is not of the same merit of someone actually getting his stuff stolen.
    I imagine the Elbow fellow was being sarcastic, but I can empathize with the anger felt when you know people are stealing your music and have no sense of remorse about it. Quite a few times people have said that they’re copying my music for one of their friends, or that they will “burn a copy.” That ish hurts, because though I gain a fan I make most of my money from albums, and not touring. I’m a student, primarily.
    Admittedly, these are tricky issues. I’m not passing judgment, but as an artist I err on the side of us getting paid for our services. It’s so easy to get caught up in the wave of new and exciting technologies that are changing the music landscape (as hypebot often does, with merit)…but I think you all are quick to forget that piracy means a loss of income for a lot of us.

  3. The Lord did not say, “Thou shalt not copy thy neighbor’s scrolls.”
    I’ve always wondered: if one listens to a setting of the Mass that one did not pay for, how does Jesus feel about it? 🙂 What about pop Christian music?

  4. Kyle;
    You should spend some time with Guy – he’s an absolutely brilliant musician, a funny guy, and more interesting to speak to than at least 98% of the people in the music business.
    He’s got a wicked sense of humor, and he of course made sure to say something extreme, largely in jest, but I think he believes in the basic sentiment. If you understand what it takes to write, arrange, rehearse and record music, especially Elbow’s music, you can see where he’d be pissed off. Hey, he even gave Apple a bunch of stick in interviews because they allow people to buy tracks instead of having to buy his full album – because he wants someone to hear the whole piece of art he’s created. And yeah, he wants to be paid for it, if people can afford it.
    Guy Garvey is not a luddite, or an extremist, he’s an artist who works hard, and he hopes that he’s get paid for the fruits of his labor. Maybe instead of vilifying him over some sarcastic comments, you should try to get an interview with him and understand where he’s coming from. In general, I think Hypebot would be improved if it included more content/perspectives from artists – after all, it is they who are truly the most effected by all these changes.
    And FWIW, I think Guy Garvey is a genius. Listen to his music, read his lyrics, he ain’t no Katy Perry.

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