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What is your opinion about MP3's? As a musician? As a songwriter? As a consumer? Do you think MP3s are a good or a bad thing for the industry and its creators?

(For more opinions on this subject, check out the MP3 survey results and white paper at MusicDish )

Gal Dror
A songwriter from Kibbutz Cabri, Israel, writes:
Personally, I don't use MP3s and don't listen to them either. As a songwriter, though I doubt you could call me that, my main "goal" is expressing myself, it's just somewhere I can get it all out... the second issue is the fact of getting your music out, so someone is actually listening to what your saying, I think it's something a lot of musicians and songwriters want, to be heard... Their music lets them shout out, usually when people shout they want to be heard... I don't think MP3 stands in the way of any of these goals, it actually helps the second... The only problem then is the people who's goals are to make a financial profit of their music as well.. And if someone is making MP3s of their songs I believe they probably are pretty famous by then, so I don't think money is a problem of theirs.. But I might be wong, I'm not from the industry, I'm just assuming this...
Valerie DeLaCruz
An award-winning pop-country singer-songwriter from NY, writes:
I LOVE! I have used it as another tool for exposure and recently had a #1 charting ballad for 8 days, and up to 1000 downloads per day. And they provide a link to my site so people have actually hit my site as well and ordered my CD. It is the way of the future for music.
Michael Foland
A Virgo from Indiana, writes:
As a consumer, MP3's don't affect me because I'm too technologically challenged to procure them. As a songwriter and musician, however, I feel that they are generally beneficial. They allow unknown artists and bands exposure that they would never get otherwise. MP3s will not topple the current music industry (not that that would be a bad thing). Just use them to your advantage.
Donnie Shockley
A singer/guitarist/songwriter in Atticus, TN, writes:
MP3's are a problem for the recording industry in the fact that they can be illegally obtained, and there have been many cases where people are simply downloading MP3's instead of buying an album or single. If used properly I really don't see any problem with them, but I still think that they are a negative thing because as a musician I would not want my work stolen and pirated. Then again, that's just my opinion.
Miles H. Rost
An Amateur Songwriter/Disc Jockey from Central Minnesota, writes:
As a songwriter, a computer nut, and someone who is a lover of music, it's a two way street. It's great that music is accessible to the public, however, when you're taking a copyrighted song, and putting it out for free (rip-off?) on the net, it hurts the songwriter, in the pocketbook as well as in the heart. It also hurts the musician, the companies they belong to, and in the long run, it hurts the consumer.

I'm only for MP3, if it involves songs that are specifically released to MP3.

Cara Correll
A songwriter from the heart, writes:
I think that everyone in the eyes of music deserves a chance to share their feelings, techniques, and ideas- therefore the MP3's are a good thing for the industry and their creators. People can use it as they see fit.
A Singer Songwriter based in DC Metro Area, writes:
Technology in and of itself is something that none of us can stop from happening, how you use it is what we can effect, the internet and the music industry have a large burden on their hands trying to sort out the right steps to take so that both can embrase one another, In reference to MP3's I think they were a logical step so to put a positive or negative spin is illogical, As a songwriter I will use whatever means I can to let people hear my music without actually dealing with the industry, so for someone like me its useful, for others, perhaps not...
Chris Conway
An Andromedan folk/jazz singer-songster, writes:
Well, as a musician I use it to send songs on email (encoded at low bitrates of course) when Realaudio is too wobbly to be satisfying. I don't download any music, but I'm aware my nephews & nieces do. Good or bad thing? Don't know - I just think it's another thing...

A high school student + lyricist from ny, writes:
as a consumer i really love mp3s. i collect them i currently have something over 100 mp3s on my computer at the moment, and i always jump at a chance to get more. it's helpful when i want to hear songs from a group whose CD i can't find, maybe, in this country. imports. or if i want to hear recordings of live songs. yet i can see the flip side of it. if someone rips all the tracks off of a CD and uploads them to the 'net, it could be a bad thing. once it has been served and massmailed to everyone, people start being reluctant to go out and buy the actual CD, instead resorting to downloading all their music. then the artist and songwriter do not get their dues for the song(s). the industry drops because now only a few people buy the CDs to rip the tracks and distribute online. i think mp3s are good if used in the right way. if the artist promoted their cd through mp3 clips and bits, the anticipation might build. i can't completely condemn mp3s because i enjoy them so much. but i can see both sides to the argument.

Crazy Diamond II
A guitar player from the moon, writes:
Why not have another medium for music? Who cares about these people going "Well, I'd like to be compensated for my intellectual compositions"? If you have a good song, it'll make money one way or another, trust me. The MP3 isn't going to leave you broke in the gutter as an artist (as a record company exec, well, maybe...grin). So let it be. I write for myself and I don't care how many people hear it for free. Sure, 7500 people can hear it for free and download it onto one of those MP3 players, but can they crank it in their car stereos? No, so don't worry about it. About time we have MP3 players in our cars, you won't be able to write music anymore anyway.

Chris Bowers
A songwriter/musician from Hong Kong, writes:
MP3 are great! As a musician I can showcase songs in excellent quality over the web. No need to mass send CDs out for promotion purposes.... This is a great way for many musicians to get much-needed publicity for their music. People have purchased CDs after listening to the MP3 on my bands website. It gives the consumer a chance to listen before they purchase..... There are so many brilliant bands and singers out there who only need to be heard.... It gives us freedom to market our music how we like..

Minister Debas
Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment from Victoria Australia, writes:
MP3s are a great thing. They can give exposure to bands in a wayyyyyyy better way then the dreaded MIDI. As for artists concerned about their intellectual property...well, as far as I'm concerned, if money matters more to you than people hearing your music, then you shouldn't be writing it in the first place. Not only that, but talentless teenyboppers (not naming names here, but they begin with an "S" and end with an "S" and have "pice Girl" in the middle) get soooo much of their exposure on MTV, and more underground bands use the internet far more. So MP3s would either encourage teenybopperbands to get real about their music, or give the more hardcore bands (like the faaaaabulous 187 - go and listen NOW!) more exposure. Anyway, if you want money from your band, you should be selling T-Shirts. Trust me, that's where it aaaall comes from!

Lemont Gant
A songwriter, musician, co-writer from indiana, writes:
i think they're very useful for listening to good quality music if you're a non-musician. they're helpful for you starting your music on the internet so people can hear your work. it helps one to judge if your music sounds good or not, and even as far as buying it priod. mp3s as very good and resouceful for anyone who would like to display their music on the internet or listen to new artists on it.
David Ryshpan
A pianist/beginning songwriter from Toronto area, writes:
I think MP3's are good as a musician and consumer, because it allows the potential consumer to have a taste of the music they want to buy, and it gives the musician another outlet to market their music to. As a songwriter, it is better quality for demos than a regular cassette tape, and less of a hassle than CD burning (I think). I don't know exactly how copyright and other legal matters are handled as of now, but I can only see MP3s being a hindrance and bother to the industry if they make it so. The industry shouldn't be so technophobic but rather embrace the new technology. It only furthers them.
Bobby Pizazz
A songwriter from Michigan , writes:
Well, to begin with you have to consider that Microsoft's New MS4.0 Audio player, makes for an interesting race for the market. As for MP3 I think the format is incredible. What use to take hours only takes minutes. As for industry people I have talked with, most of the Major's are afraid of copy protection. And the fact that they have hundreds of thousands of CDs already pressed and in reserves. Which if the MP3 format, or MS4.0 becomes the new standard, well, then what do the Record Company's do with all of their stock? If everyone is turning to MP3 and MS4.0 then where do all the CD's go? Who is going to buy the CDs. But for the songwriter of today there is finally a why to make their works available to the General public. That to me as a songwriter is great. As for the MP3 site for Artist, I still think that it is a shame that if you are a songwriter performer, the one who created the work, WHY SHOULD I or any other songwriter have to give up over half of our potential moneys before it even gets to the public. And as for the BIG 5 Major's, I've worked in the music Business for the past 30 years, some of that time for a Major Promoter. Many times I saw, like so many others have in the past, the Artist getting the smaller share and the Major Promoter/Record Company getting the gravy. For example, one Artist I know, Major record deal, Major tour, and for a show he gets $80,000 for a night. But the Promoter and Record Company make ten times as much. They got $550,000 from the concert just in ticket sales not counting all the kick backs form sponsors. Yes I know there was two opening Acts so they had to be paid. But how much is that? Not that much, most up coming acts will open for free or for a small amount, just to get the Billing and chance to perform with a Major Act.

That to me sucks, that the middle man(Promoters and Record Company's) make more then the Artist. But I'm sure as the day is long that things are changing. And just maybe, MP3 and MS4.0 is what is needed to balance the market between the little guy and the Major's, at least on the Internet. Multimedia of the future is changing the way we do everything, so maybe just maybe there is hope... In general,we all know of someone, that we are sure should have had a Major Deal, but for whatever reason, were passed by the Major's. In other words we the people have little to do with who makes it and who don't. We have product slammed into our ears daily by radio telling us what is hot and what is not. People for the most part are like sheep and follow the( radio )sheperd. But we have a new erra of radio up and coming, Internet Radio. We'll have to see what the future brings, but for now MP3 and MS4.0 have my vote.

David Goodworth
A songwriter from Jamestown, NY, writes:
Awesome! Fantastic! I have been able to download MP3s for many of my favorite artists, especially the one-hit wonders from the past. I have DISCOVERED artists that I love, but had never heard of previously. Then, I went out and bought the CDs. That's the main reason I think the availability of mp3s helps an artist. It's advertising.

Certainly there are some bad apples, as in any basket, that try to ruin a good thing by making available the entire contents of CDs. But that's not the norm.

I've talked to many of my musician friends that are also computer users and once I introduced them to mp3s, they've reported the same: they discover artists and then buy the CDs. It's so much easier to do that, than to try to find and download the cds.

A bit off the subject, a streaming media player like Spinner has also been a great source of new knowledge about artists.

As I finish my home recording projects, I intend to release mp3s gratis. Hopefully, it might cause a 'buzz'!

Travis Grant
A songwriter from Alexandria, VA, writes:
The MP3 format itself is not as important as the revolution of opportunity it has helped set in motion. A noble effort is under way to provide undiscovered songwriters around the world with a chance to publish their work and share it with each other.

As a open-minded musician/songwriter, there is something inherently fascinating to me about the notion of listening to a song some guy in Scandinavia wrote one day while he was bored at work and then recorded in his living room. Even if after listening, I say to myself, "well...a valiant effort at fusing Grieg and ABBA, but it's pure crap", I guarantee you it's still important to him that I HEARD HIS SONG. Sure, I spent twenty minutes waiting for it to download, but if I was smart instead of just a smartass, I practiced my scales while I was waiting.

The internet in general serves as a forum for songwriters to help each other with information and encouragement, or criticism, if that's your thing. The MP3 is a tool which encourages this solidarity.

MP3 is only the first big hit in what will surely be a long line of internet audio distribution formats of increasing popularity and quality. But we may look back on it as a foundation for the great cyber-revolution of opportunity for songwriters.

Chris Carriere
A singer, guitarist, songwriter, sound engineer from Toronto, Canada, writes:
I personally don't feel good about MP3's for the following reasons:

1-As a sound engineer:
CD's (at 44.1k, 16 bits) are inadequate as it is (sound wise). Their resolution is about an 8th or so the resolution of a vinyl record. Now, clearly, vinyl is a very impractical format and unfortunately, it degrades very rapidly. But I'm just talking sound quality here. As an example, find a decent vinyl copy of your favorite album (if available). Listen to it on CD first. Sounds pretty good, right? I agree. Now play the same album on a decent turntable. Big, big difference! The mid frequencies jump out of the speakers. The low end is much much richer and is felt rather than heard. Essentially, the better the resolution, the more multi-dimensional the music becomes. To me, this is very important. I feel the impact of the music more with better sounding formats.

MP3's hold less than a 10th the information of a CD. This trend towards developping new consumer formats which contain less and less information to represent the music is interesting. Why are we satisfied with getting increasingly choppy-sounding (but convenient) formats? Probably because most people can't tell the difference, sound-wise. The thing is, will this trend hit a saturation point where people just aren't satisfied with the sound, no matter how convenient the format?

2-As a musician/songwriter:
Right now, people are pirating songs by the thousands every day from sites that offer huge ranges of recordings in MP3 format. It seems as though technology is moving faster than the music industry's ability to protect artists' rights. Artists are losing out on countless dollars in royalties. As an artist who has not released material to the public yet, this makes me very weary of putting anything "out there". It seems like a free for all out there. FREE FOR ALL. How could I expect to get paid for my recordings if anyone with a computer can go download MP3's of my songs for free? This is worrysome.

Those are my thoughts...

Bernie Schmidt
A songwriter from Toronto, Canada, writes:
I'll express my concern through an example: Let's say I'm a songwriter who has spent many hours composing a song and I'm lucky enough to get it published and recorded by a major artist. One copy of the album is purchased and the purchasor likes my song so much that he/she decides to share my song with 10,000 friends through the MP3 technology. The result: I get a royalty check for 7.5 cents on the one purchased copy when in fact I should have received $750.00. My point: I'd like to get properly compensated for my intellectual creation if many listeners like it. Right now MP3 doesn't offer recourse to allow me to get paid for copies of my songs distributed electronically on the Net.
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