This is great for cutting off websites that sell ads on your music without your consent, or give away torrents of your entire discography. I’ve used it successfully to take down links to unrepentant plagiarists and unauthorized monetizers of my articles as well as my music productions. (There were far more of each than I had expected.)
Today, I’m amazed at how many complete discographies and full albums I’m still able to find on sites like Google Search and YouTube, especially when blocking that kind of behavior has now become so easy. The tools are there, but the word has just not gotten out.
Even if you don’t care about your sales and want your own music to be shared as widely and completely as possible, using these tools can still allow you to learn about and engage with your fans, or to stop unscrupulous companies from monetizing your work without your consent.
Remember that whenever unauthorized websites sell ads on the traffic generated by an artist’s entire discography, whether directly or indirectly, it adds to the bloated bottom line of technology companies while keeping artists, producers and engineers eating table scraps.
Free music can be great. I listen to plenty of it, as ethically as I can. I’ll also be the first to tell you that it’s a good idea for almost any artist to make some of their music available publicly and without charge. But “free” is, and should be, a choice. When that choice is taken away, it becomes a meaningless gesture.
Both the rights and the earning potential of so many artists have been sacrificed in the past ten years as extremely profitable technology companies have lobbied hard to turn ‘Copyright’ into a dirty word. But the truth is that Copyright is your creative bill of rights. It ensures that:
1) No one has the right to take your work and use it for his or her own financial gain without your say.
2) No one has the right to pressure you into working for free if you do not want to.
3) And no one has the right to take your art and use it to support his or her own political agenda without your agreement.
Stand up and respect yourself. If you haven’t set aside a moment to gain some basic semblance of control over your own music online, now is the time.
Justin Colletti is a Brooklyn-based audio engineer, college professor, and journalist. He records and mixes all over NYC, masters at JLM, teaches at CUNY, is a regular contributor to SonicScoop, and edits the music blog Trust Me, I’m A Scientist.