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Published: 10/29/2009

Your friends at A2IM are asking for your help

If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that STEALING MUSIC SUCKS. But we need you -- and your artists, staff, and friends -- to join our independent music label members to engage in a conversation with music fans to educate, inform, and effect change.

We believe that conversation must be led by artists and that this conversation is worth having. While a series of failed initiatives by the “music industry” may give pause, there’s plenty of cause for optimism as well -- with a good example being the reaction in the press and from other musicians to Lily Allen’s blog post about P2P file sharing.

While Lily speaks to a certain fan base, with the help of our community, we can activate working class musicians from many genres – and reach those fans - and to be successful we’ll need to have everyone involved.

Why does this matter?

Because fans need to know that not paying for music hurts far more than just “fat cat executives.”

Because the screaming voices of “free-tards” can’t be allowed to drown out the conversation at the expense of musicians.

Because thousands of sincere and dedicated independent music labels aren’t about to willingly cede their rights to complain when their businesses are being destroyed, and when art is being compromised. 

Musicians have a direct relationship with their fans. They can let fans know that it’s not OK to think purchasing a T-shirt or a concert ticket is an excuse for pirating an album. They can let fans know that for-profit free music websites who share no revenues or pay no royalties-- with a business agenda of their own -- don’t get to decide that the “promotion” an artist receives is compensation enough.

We’d like to invite you to JOIN US NOW by asking your artists, staff, and friends to help educate music fans that STEALING MUSIC SUCKS!
Here’s How You Can Get Started: 

A couple of A2IM members have created a Facebook group called “Stealing Music Sucks” that is open for anyone to join.  If you’re on Facebook, join the group now and encourage your friends to do so as well.  It’s a central communication portal for musicians, fans and supporters of music to share ideas and educate one another when we see something in the press that lies to fans about what illegal P2P really means.  Also, place a link to the Stealing Music Sucks group on your own website. 


Ask your artists (or help your artists) create a 1 minute DIY type video PSA that creatively expresses what it means to a musician or label to hear from fans that we shouldn’t complain. To hear that “fans” think it’s ok to take the music we create without paying.
Please make sure that the PSA properly respects copyright and that the artist created video uses controlled compositions and that any copyright clearances are obtained. 

An A2IM member has created 2 such video PSAs that can be seen on YouTube. We’re encouraging everyone to post these videos on their Facebook pages, on their websites, and to make more videos so that we can use our greatest resource: our artists’ creativity to communicate the message that to take music for free is stealing and that stealing music sucks.


Contact jim.mahoney@a2im.org every time you see a published article or see or hear a broadcast interview in which someone is being passed off as a reputable source and he or she espouses that “music should be free”, that “free P2P helps artists and only hurts fat cat executives”, or that “artists don’t need labels, all they need to do is record their music and make it available and they’ll be successful”.  Include a link to the item. A2IM can have our fantastic PR firm, Shore Fire Media, seek an opportunity to offer the opposing viewpoint.

What’s Next:

A2IM is here and we can be a communication portal to support this effort. But if we’re to have a chance at being successful in convincing our fans that they’re hurting the musicians and indie labels they claim to love, this must come from those same artists and labels. 
To be effective this campaign must be both organic and viral and the emphasis must be placed on and the message must come from working-class musicians and the small businesses that are indie labels -- those who are most affected.

This kind of campaign can’t be carried by A2IM, we need your help. And the more traction we get as musicians and indie labels create videos, the more artists will see the videos that have been done by musicians they like, and the more they’ll want to participate too.

The blogosphere and the mainstream press have been filled with propaganda for years about how “music wants to be free.” In reality, a small but very loud group wants music to be free -- or perhaps more accurately doesn’t feel like paying -- and they wrap their cause in a warped ‘us against the man’ philosophy.

Let’s not let it work this time. STEALING  MUSIC SUCKS is not a lobbying campaign and it’s not funded by “fat cat executives,” it’s created by the independent music community. Our community. And when they go digging all there is to find is musicians and indie labels communicating to their fans. So please lend a hand: SPEAK UP!