The case for stealing

One of the benefits, if you will, of not having a quote-unquote real job is having those few extra hours in the afternoon when you’re done with your work for the day, but before it’s a good idea to start drinking too heavily. Sometimes, lately, I’ve been browsing the ur-popular video sharing site YouTube, looking for amusing shit like this crazed bastard.

Having seen music videos posted on shitty sites frequented by children, dead people, and the hopelessly unemployable – like MySpace – I figured I might be able to find some videos of my own favorite groups. Turns out I might be a little too old for that sort of thing. Not to reveal too much about myself, but the first group I tried looking up, to no avail, was Better than Ezra.

I’m not sure there’s much of a case to be made in defense of Better than Ezra, so I’m not going to bother. But my theory is that if you were in high school from the years ’95-’99, then you can hardly help but feel the same way about them as kids today feel about, say My Chemical Romance. And for what it’s worth, Better than Ezra > My Chemical Romance. I couldn’t even tell you what MCR sings, and like Bun B mentioned, I’m on the Internets all day everyday.

Meanwhile, “Good” still kinda rocks. Don’t even get me started about “Desperately Wanting.”

But then I’m not crazy. It occurred to me that even though there’s something like 8 gozillion videos on YouTube, including the ’90s output of another inexplicable favorite of mine, the Moody Blues, it could be the case that no one cares enough about Better than Ezra to even bother uploading their shit onto YouTube.

Of course come to find out these videos were probably on there at some point and have since been pulled at the personal request of Jimmy “Double Fantasy” Iovine. Which brings me to my point: What kind of artist with any sense really gives a shit if some kid illegally downloads their shit?

Take for example the fellow from Better than Ezra (see, you don’t even know his name). I can’t imagine he’s actually making any money from those albums at all at this point. At the very least, having his video available out there for free might increase his chances of scoring with some skank out on the state fair circuit.

When I hear major label d-bags like Lupe Fiasco whining about his album being available for free, I wonder if he’s at all familiar with a group like the Arctic Monkeys, who gave their album away for free months before it came out and still went on to sell more records than the Beatles and Elvis combined, Buhweet-style.

Meanwhile, the closest thing similar you can find in the hip-hop community is the group Roosevelt Franklin, who have managed to give away roughly 39 free copies of their album to date. Is it because rappers are too dumb to understand how the Internet works?

Lupe Fiasco seems so concerned about people being able to hear his music now, but what about when he’s 40, and can’t score quite as easily as he can now? Ask Mr. Len, that shit ain’t fun.

  • Roc the Trashman

    So internet bootlegging is ensuring that Lupe will get laid for decades?

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    Not “ensuring,” but wouldn’t you agree that having a video on YouTube would make it that much easier?

  • Roc the Trashman

    Yea I agree wholeheartedly, just making sure I was getting the point.

  • Casey

    I would feel bad about F&L being leaked if all Lupe had was his record deal, but doesn’t dude have a shoe line from f*cking Reebok? And doesn’t every album that ANYONE buys get leaked? The Massacre was leaked weeks before its release, and it went Multiplatinum. King leaked too, and TI is doing well last time I checked.

  • http://www.myspace.com/therapistmusic Therapist

    as bad as your blog is today, good looks for that youtube video…. shit is hilaaaarious

  • 50 Cent

    Wow, i dont like you as a person Bol, but i do have to admit, you do a better job then most of the columnists. Besides Elliot Wilson, your the only one that makes a new thread almost every day.

  • Belize

    Ur stil laaaame laaameeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Belize

    bol is really gay. google it.

  • Lefty 2Gunz

    People who could give a half a sh!t about certain artist sometimes get turned on to their music by downloading it.
    While they might not buy the current album it at least gives them chance next time they drop.
    I gotta agree… stop bitchin bout it cause I think we all know it’ll never stop.

  • definition

    how do you know of arctic monkeys and yet claim gnarls barkley as the biggest group in uk.

    and an ep for Arctic Monkeys was freely available to download. and the site itself had nothing to do with the band.

    well researched though…

  • steve-o

    I have to agree that there r a lot of artists that i would not have bought if i did not hear them first. Illegal downloading gives people a way to realize that they r good(Especially less popular artists) The only people that illegal downloading does not help is those who r already extremely popular which doesnt matter cause they r so rich as it is.

  • Ru

    you blog sucked but was saved by rev x!
    are ya laughing beeyotch?

  • Ru

    and since i transfered to a all white highschool from the hood for 1996-1998..i know that better than erza had that one song desperately wanting and i used to love it.

  • daesonesb

    you know your ass is doomed. you fucked up now.

  • projectnrm

    I think the only reason artists care about their music being downloaded is because it negatively affects their relationship with their label. When the label hears that your CD was leaked, it makes them apprehensive about releasing it (in its current state, at least).

    Imagine completing something, thinking that its as perfect of a work that you can make, and then learning that your boss wants to change half of it because of illegal downloading.

  • Ru

    i just copped the full pharrell advance and i MIGHT get the album. only lame artist with no talent (no matter the region) are worried..if you wack..then you betta step it up before i download your whole rap career not investing a penny in it.
    *sings*
    i remember running thru the wet grass falling a step behind…desparately wanting!

    didnt they have a song about counting blue cars but it was like tell me all your faith in god or some lame crap lol

  • projectnrm

    Ru I’m not sure, but I think you’re talking about Dishwalla.

  • jimmy

    bol,
    you realize that over half the piece alludes to groups like better than ezra, my chemical romance and some other monkye band, right?

    i’m all for drawing parallels ans all, but, fuck, this IS xxl.com.

  • Ru

    # projectnrm Says:
    April 21st, 2006 at 2:52 am

    Ru I’m not sure, but I think you’re talking about Dishwalla.
    _________________________________

    ohhhh..thanks man. i get my 90′s rock mixed up lol

  • Ru

    LMAO at Jimmy.\
    dishwalla on a XXL blog?
    thats crazy!
    sry

  • Doc Flav

    There’s No Hip Hop Here @ All In This Column.

  • Ian

    I agree to a point. It can be a bad thing if your cd leaks way before you drop and it’s wack, but you also get to see what people are feeling and aren’t. Those file sharing companies could be used as promotion if the labels did it right. There is a risk in doing so, but to have any type of success you have to take a risk.

  • http://yahoo LADY T

    More power to the artist. they put your music out there cause the man is not going to help and some of your own radio stations.