Do You Know Who's Selling Your Music

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As an independent artist, I'm constantly looking for inspiration from other artists, and I'm constantly discovering new singers via the internet or my favorite, the radio. I actually discovered Valery Gore (a true gem) on the CBC. I was so taken with her that I went online and bought her CD right away (because her music made me happy).

Feeding my curiosity at what one might find on the internet if they discovered my music on the radio (or wherever), I entered my name into the search engine. I was hoping that my website would appear along with the CD Baby website. Either result would make it easy for a possible new fan to get their hands on my album fast! Although these websites did appear as a result of my search, so did countless
other websites. To my shock and dismay, many websites offered to sell my little independent , I-spent-every-dime-I-had-to-make-this- album for as little as $1.50 or 20 cents a song (what a deal!).

When I spoke with CD Baby about what I had discovered they told me to send 'cease and desist' letters, pronto. I got back on my computer and looked up every contact name for these shady websites that I could find. Though some of these websites offering rock bottom prices weren't even in English, I was able to track down more then a few e-mail addresses. And so I sent off my big long 'cease and desist' email.

It's a fact of the times that music gets stolen all the time, and no one chooses a career in music because they want to make money (at least not those with their feet planted firmly on the ground). But I was really peeved that these evil, greedy, horrible websites were making money off my work (money I could use to pay my hydro bill or buy apples). Now wait for it, this is the funny part. The website owner wrote me back asking if I would grant them digital distribution. I would get 90% of sales! When I read this reply to my partner he laughed, "And then they'll steal your credit card information!", he said.

I continued to reply demanding that they cease distributing my work. Finally, they sent a reply requesting I prove that I own the copyright to MY work. Are you laughing? It's okay, I am too. It's just that ridiculous.

After speaking with some folks about my little dilemma, I've realized that more and more of these websites are popping up and a ton of them are selling music that they do not have the permission to sell. What's worse is that the money isn't making its way back to the artists.

If you're wondering what I said in my reply to their last request, I haven't yet responded. If it had it would have been full of exclamation points and profanity, and however deserved, it isn't quite my style.

I'm hoping that through alerting people to this we can get the dialogue going. Advice, thoughts, curse words, are all welcome. If nothing else, it makes us feel a little better.


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