What should musicians do about file sharing?

I don’t know about you, but when I first launched my music into the interwebs, I wasn’t sure if I was doing myself a disservice or not.


I was sorta freaked out that people would steal my music.


I know for a fact there are programs for downloading videos and songs right off of YouTube.


What the heck. What do you do about that?


It’s a really sticky and sort of complicated debate. But here is how I look at it:



First off, I absolutely believe in private property.


If I create a product I own the rights to that product.


But with music it’s a bit weird….. because……. did I really invent those chords??


Do I own that chord progression and time signature?


Did I invent that exact string of words in that exact consecutive order???


I think not.


If we really think about it, nothing is new under the sun at all.


You do own the physical CD and the t-shirts, however.


If you disagree with me, that’s totally fine. But the reality is that you and I BOTH must face this situation, so let’s just think about this for a minute……….


So, on one hand, the music is a recycled version of someone else’s stuff… It’s just a fact… We all do it.


We’re all influenced by the music we grew up with and listened to. We put our own spin on it, yes. But it’s undeniable.


On the other hand, we created something. It’s our art. We put time and money and effort into something, and it feels like people just want to take it for free and not pay us for it.


WELL, let me just calm your nerves a bit. I have learned there is a difference between PIRACY and FILE SHARING.


They are not the same.


PIRACY is indeed stealing. It would be like taking my CD, making copies of it for the purpose of selling them for money. That’s piracy.


FILE SHARING is literally like going to your friend’s house to watch season 6 of LOST on Blu-ray.


Did you pay for that?




Did you enjoy your friend’s copy of that show?


Well, yeah.


Would that be considered “stealing” since you now have enjoyed that show without paying for it?


Um… I guess not?


Are you more likely to buy your buddy that DVD for Christmas, because you experienced the bonus features yourself?


YEAH, definitely.


The bottom line is the stats show file sharing increases the likelihood of the consumer purchasing a product.


That would be your music.


The internet is not going away. We can’t change what people do. So I say… *so long as it’s not unethical or immoral*… if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!


I’ve actually posted my music on file sharing sites before as a way to get more exposure and publicity.


It’s true!! File sharing is actually FREE ADVERTISING.


I say go with it. It just means we have to be creative and SMART when it comes to HOW we will make money as an independent artist online.


Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.

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Leah Mchenry

Leah McHenry understands the real world challenges for every-day musicians because she is one.

Having started her music career completely backwards, she found herself learning the NEW music business long after she already started a family and was unable to tour.

Leah now spends her time continuing her own music career while applying the real-world marketing strategies herself, and is also dedicated to helping other independent artists do the same.