Jan Rychter: blog (electronics, programming, technology)

Why I will steal music


Dear Music Industry Executives,

This is to explain why I will “steal” music using BitTorrent, eDonkey and any other easily available means.

I will not do it because I want to save money or because I’m cheap. Far from it. My 600-or-so CD collection packaged into boxes and stored in my basement should attest to it.

I’ve been trying to pay for music online. I really have. I wanted to use the iTunes store, but it doesn’t sell music or movies in my country. I tried to register as a US customer, but a US-based credit card is required to do that.

I managed to buy several albums from Amazon MP3 right when it opened, before it told me my money was not welcome (“Please note that AmazonMP3.com is currently only available to US customers”). Hulu told me its video library can only be streamed from within the United States.

I own a Sonos system, so I tried to get a Rhapsody subscription. But they didn’t want my money (“The Rhapsody MP3 Store is currently only available inside the United States”). Pandora didn’t want me either (“We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S.”).

Spotify was a glimmer of hope (it isn’t in the US!), until it told me that “Unfortunately, due to licensing restrictions we are not yet available in your country.”

So, in spite of my best efforts over the past several years, I have been unable to pay for music online. And frankly, I’m tired of trying. What difference does it make which country I’m in? Is my credit card any different from any other one? Are my dollars/euros of lesser value?

You have been playing your silly regional games and you think you can keep playing them forever. Make these people wait. Release the album here, see if it gets traction, then price it higher there. Regionalize DVDs to control releases and pricing. Well, the game is over.

From now on, I will have no qualms about downloading digital music. I will continue to buy from sources that want my money (Magnatune, artists like Ronald Jenkees). For everything else, I will just download it. It only takes a couple of minutes anyway.

So, next time you wonder about why your sales and profits are declining, remember — it’s because you didn’t want my money. And perhaps instead of complaining about P2P, hiring hordes of lawyers or buying expensive ad campaigns it is easier to simply start SELLING your stuff to people who want to pay for it.


You're still screwing the people who actually make the music, jackass. Thanks for robbing the bands who sweat their asses off in studios for months on end.

-freelance record producer

Darius Funk2009-09-17

I'm a musician and all these issues are because the record industry wants to live in the past and have total control over talent they don't even have.

Fuck them, people have made music far longer then music labels have been around and will continue even after they've disappeared




It's funny, as a musician, producer and DJ in the states, I experience the same problem when attempting to purchase certain electronic music on beatport and other sites. I get a message along the lines of 'liscencing not avaible in your region.' Beatport is one of the only places i can find the music I want, and even then there are often restrictions to what I can purchase, so i revert to dowloading from free sites. Record companies are growing obsolete with physical media - their basis and role is shrinking to become more of a marketing engine rather than production and sales entity.

@freelance record producer - you must not be very good or smart if you're bitching about people downloading music for free - that's how most electronic artists(and now many other types) get famous now(i.e. blogs and getting people to hear your stuff). Even in the past, bands only make a small fraction of their money of record sales. all the money these days (especially for producers/djs) is made from:
a) royalties from usage on public forums (television, film, etc.)
b) getting paid for your productions/remixes from a singer, band, or label. (often minimum $2k+ for a hip hop beat sold to a major record label)
b) touring and djing your music (for small blog famous acts its minimum $5k a show and all expenses paid -just for a dj set!) [get a booking agent]
c) merchandise sold either at your shows or on your site
d) vinyl
e) other creative ways

if you don't want to dj then you should shut up. live performance is key - entertaining peple - just writing a track shouldn't be worth much anyway - it's really not that hard(Unless you write some sick opera, which people will want to SEE LIVE rather than buy.) There's more than enough people sitting in their rooms on macs pumping out good tracks. if you have any creativity, musical talent, or production vision, then djing/performing is something you could become an expert at within a matter of months if not weeks or days. sitting around on your ass in the studio shouldn't be rewarded unless your a pro sound engineer or mastering guru. Furthermore, any song that takes you more than a few weeks to do(assuming minimal live instrumentation or recording which is almsot obsolete anyways) you are probably wasting your time.


You can order CD's through the mail! They'll SHIP them to you!!! 111!!

You know2009-09-17

@ the person who recommended ordering CD's, I do *not* want CD's. They just add to the landfill after I've ripped them into FLAC & MP3 because that's all I ever use on my digital jukebox - it doesn't even have a CD drive. It takes 2-3 weeks to ship CD's to my country but I can buy and download MP3's in minutes. For people like us it makes absolutely no sense to buy CD's any more (says the guy with a 400+ CD collection!)


To the "freelance record producer": you sound like a fake. Real "freelance record producers" actually do get my money, read the post. And they get much, much more than they would through the "industry" record labels. Magnatune is fair to artists. Also, where can I buy your albums directly from you?

As for ordering CDs, I agree with Jenkins. Additionally, the anon who wrote that post obviously never tried to ship CDs from the US to Europe.

Jan Rychter2009-09-18

Territorial restrictions in global network age are not only ridiculous, but infuriating for the reasons you listed above.

I own mac, have less than 300CDs, and keep them all in iTunes -- the only reason being AirTunes/iPod touch remote control. Why on earth it's forbidden for me to PAY for the music and have it in my library in minutes?

Having said that, I still have a feeling that I don't have right to put my hand on someone else's property if they don't want me to have it. So I collect physical CDs (which, by the way, are harder and harder to be put into digital library becasue of the stupid copy protection, like Cactus) -- the editions available here in Poland.

Fortunately, there's grooveshark.com, which does not have any territorial restrictions, has huge DB of songs and I find it a great place when I want to preview the album. But you cannot buy from them.

So here comes Nokia Music Store. They sell for a reasonable price, but you have to be on windows and the music is protected. It took me more than an hour of my time to purchase the first album: WinXP under VMWare/Mac is not the speed demon; I needed to register at Nokia; download application; re-register at music store; give my credit card; re-login; fill out the basket; wait for another piece of software to be installed requiring reboot (not kidding!), but then, I had it: my 1st album legally purchased on the net.

As painful as it is, maybe it's worth trying out.

Tomek Błaszczyk2009-09-18

I live in Australia so I'm locked out of the cultural market in a hundred different ways. Watch stuff on Hulu? No way, unless I go through a proxy that masks my origin IP address. Buy from various "global" companies? Nope.
How about watch television shows and movies when America is so then I can actually join the conversation about it? Nope again.

When Family Guy ran an episode about atheism there were blog posts and comment conversations and all kinds of exciting stuff going on. But being in Australia I was at a 6 months to 2 year wait for it to be on television and there was no way to legally watch this episode. But use utorrent and there it is. Download it and now I can join the conversation.

I would have gladly paid if I could but it wasn't possible.
I would have gladly downloaded an ad-supported version but it wasn't possible.

We're stuck in some bullshit segment of the world so DVDs from other regions don't always work on our region specific players.

We waited FOUR months for Up to get here!

No wonder Australians are the highest per capita pirates in the world.

So long as media industries stick to the old models then they'll continue to see product pirated en masse.


I live outside the US, and the local record stores have everything they have in America. Release dates aren't always the same, but if that's really a problem download it first and then buy the CD when it's released. I understand your not wanting to store CDs, but actually they make for a fantastic back-up, don't take up much space (when stored in folders), and they are indisputable proof that you paid (should the cops find your music collection).

Even with the above, there are many online music stores servicing countries outside the US. Depending on where exactly you live, you should have more than a few options for buying mp3s online.

If you want to steal music, just admit it. But stop with the fake excuses.


Why not using eMusic? It is available in your country.


Musician and the industry behind it are nothing but money grubbing A-holes. Take an artist who sells a painting...when it resells 10 years later they get nothing. If it is on public display...they get nothing. The only time they make money is by making new art or having shows. Your music should be free always...and if you want money...make music people will want to pay to see live and then get off your asses and tour.


you will steal music cuz of your poor eastern european arse.


"You're still screwing the people who actually make the music, jackass. Thanks for robbing the bands who sweat their asses off in studios for months on end.

-freelance record producer"

Suck a dick


robmar: actually, I have been buying from eMusic. I forgot to mention that. Their selection is limited, though.

Jan Rychter2009-09-18

Q: I don't want CDs. I don't want LPs. I don't want cassette tapes, I don't want 8-tracks.

As for those online stores selling mp3s, just point me to them and I'll be more than happy to buy music. URLs, please.

I'm not inventing excuses here, I don't need them. For the past few years I specifically DID NOT download P2P music, trying quite hard to purchase it online. But I'm tired of this game.

Jan Rychter2009-09-18

example URL:

Requires Win/IE :-(

Tomek Błaszczyk2009-09-18

Tomek (about the Nokia Music Store): I don't have any Windows machines, but I actually installed Windows in VMware Fusion on one of my macs and tried to access it.

I can purchase Windows Media Audio files protected with Windows Media DRM. Those files will play on a Windows PC (which I don't have) and on Nokia Phones, but not on any device that I own (Sonos home music system, iPods, iPhone, Mac computers).

Jan Rychter2009-09-19

I know they woldn't play directly. The only thing I managed to do was to burn CD audio and rip it into iTunes. Stupid and with loss of quality. As I said, it's a chore and I really meant it. You can't get away without creating a physical CD. There's some soft which allows you to do this thru a virtual CD, but essentially it's the same in term of a quality...

Tomek Błaszczyk2009-09-19

Tomek: well, this proves my point -- which is that content owners intentionally make it difficult to purchase their content, then complain about P2P. This is entirely unnecessary, as there are lots of people like me, who will gladly pay for content if given the chance to do so.

Jan Rychter2009-09-20

Actually, we have the same problem in India. We can buy apps through the App store but not music through the iTunes store. I don't see the point in not letting me buy music when I can just download it for free. At least, most people would buy it if it was as easy as it is through iTunes.

I have more than 500 LP's and 800 CD's and they are all in storage. Being in India, I had a hard time getting my collection together. Most companies would release music late in India and without the same good packaging you get in the States. They are the only losers these days and deservedly so!


well i just tried emusic and it said 'sorry no go in your country' the only way i'm getting the music is by fudging an account on u.s itunes and getting my friends to text me the details from the gift cards they buy from Apple for me,
really!! why would they not allow us to buy music online?
'What difference does it make which country I’m in? Is my credit card any different from any other one? Are my dollars/euros/rupees of lesser value?' This so so true :(


Exactly my point -- this isn't a problem specific to one country. Music companies should stop whining about losing money if they deliberately ignore markets like India or Poland.

Jan Rychter2009-12-04

I think you are all underestimating how much work is involved in gaining international licenses for music sales, it is a legal wrangle that can drag on for years. The record companies are not to be blamed, until licenses have been granted they have no legal right to sell their products there and could be heavily taxed for doing so.


I have always been against DRM and installing crap to be able to purchase music and simply think music is overpriced and inaccessible due to the labels clinging to the past.
I'm strongly opposed to piracy, so have simply never collected a lot of music.
Recently I found several websites that offer mp3s for download for a very low price. I wondered if it was possible and checked out and after some searching I decided it should legal way of obtaining music. I also found a nice site that reviews these kinds of sites: http://www.mp3obsession.com/reviews/
I personally use iomoio.com and a quite happy with it. So I hope this will help you.


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