Former Pirate Launches Label And Now Against Piracy
Sumerian Records founder Ash Avildsen recently posted a video/audio statement regarding music piracy on Youtube (see below). He brings up a lot of valid points that I completely agree with like it is the labels and fans that buy the albums that keep bands touring and help keep them fed. I too am against music piracy. There are so many great bands out there that deserve money for their hard work. At the same time, I realize I get all my music for free from record labels and bands who want me to talk about their music. It would be pretty hypocritical of me to sit here listening to music I didn't pay for and telling you guys not to pirate the music.
As I listened to Ash's statement, it really bothered me when he states "there is nothing more pathetic than making a living off of being a thief." So as Ash puts it, let's "call a spade a spade." What Ash doesn't tell you is that when he was in high school, we ran in the same circles...the software piracy/hacking circles. The quick background version is he gained control of a release group called Release on Rampage which folded, he later started another release group called Reflux (which later became the name of the band he fronted). Both groups sole purpose was pirating video games and spreading the games to as many places before they hit store shelves, sound familiar? I was a member of ROR and later moved on to two other groups when ROR folded. The groups I was in were Amnesia (which was the original name of this site before I renamed to The Gauntlet) and Razor 1911. I wasn't a software pirate in either group, I was a phreak, and had great skills that helped obtaining free phone calls at pay phones and exchanges.
Ash alone has easily cost companies millions of dollars. Both of us ended up with visits from FBI and Secret Service due to our activities.
People can grow and change and this includes viewpoints, but what I think Ash fails to point out in his post is that he was once one of these people with no regards for the companies that spent millions of dollars on a product to have some kid give it away for free. I would expect a little understanding and reasoning from him of all people.
When I first heard Ash was starting Sumerian Records, I thought he was probably the one guy out there smart enough to change this lagging industry around. I was interested to see what new ideas for running a record label he would have. I thought surely if anyone could do it, it would be Ash, the dude is brilliant. But it turns out he is going to go down the same road that so many others have gone down and never recovered from. Let's hope it isn't too late. He is right, piracy is a huge problem in the music industry, I'd just like a little more disclosure coming from a guy who has cost software companies millions of dollars.