Fred Wilson, VC, Is Now A Music Pirate.

Fred Wilson is a well known VC.



With investments in Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga, etc. — he is the real deal.
He’s also a passionate music fan, who recently has been obsessively playing the new The Streets album Computers and Blues.

And today Fred explained why he was forced to become a music pirate.

I like to buy music. I buy it from emusic (where I pay $23/month for use it or lose it credits for music downloads), Amazon, and when in a pinch, iTunes. I also have two Rhapsody music subscriptions that cost an additional $20/month. My kids also regularly spend money on iTunes for music (often for tracks we already own somewhere else in the house). I suspect between all of this, our family spends well over $1000/year on mp3s, probably closer to $2000/year.

And yet, today I find myself pirating an album on the Internet. I thought I’d outline how this happened to showcase what a fucked up system we have for content sales on the web.

This is fucked up. I want to pay for music. I value the content. But selling it to some people in some countries and not selling it to others is messed up. And selling it in CD only format is messed up. And posting the entire record on the web for streaming without making the content available for purchase is messed up.

I don’t know whose idea this is of the way to market a record but I’m hoping they read this and never do this to a fan again. Fans love music. They want to support the musicians and they want to pay for music. But if you put enough hurdles in front of them, they will become pirates. As I did this morning.

When The Streets and their record label choose to make the Computer and Blues mp3s available for purchase in the US, I will go buy the record legally. Until then, I’m a pirate.

You have to read Fred’s full piece here.

Final Take:  I just spent  30 minutes trying to figure out when The Streets album was coming out  digitally in the U.S.

I couldn’t come close. 3o minutes. Look, I’m not saying that a botched roll-out of a cult farewell album is driving huge piracy problems. But I am saying — this kind of stuff is stupid, and the music industry just can’t afford it. Computers and Blues indeed.

That's a Bummer Man — The Week That Was February 4th 2011

The Clash turned into UFC avatars, Luke Wood picks up his cans, Citibank takes control, Twitter & the Mideast, remembering the Steve Jobs firing, and Hulu meets their enemy. The week that was —Digital Music style — February 4th, 2011.


It was quite the week here in Digital Music land, wasn’t it?

Here you g0 — the week that was, February 4th 2011.

Things started innocently enough on Saturday night with Jesse Eisenberg, Adam Samler, & Mark Zuckerberg generating enough pop culture heat on Saturday Night Live to (almost) make up for a football-less Sunday. Speaking of which…Sunday was a slow day around my house, slow enough to dive in to a vintage Newsweek 1985 “Steve Jobs You’re Fired interview and an email from MySpace asking me to come on back. For serious.

On Monday, Midem issued a great white paper recapping the Midem music conference and I weighed in…On Tuesday things turned, uh, weirder. Harmonix announced that The Clash’s London Calling was premiereing on Rockband, where I noted the computer generated Strummer stand-in looked more like the loser of a hard fought UFC title bout, than anyone in The Clash, iTunes promoted some actual hit songs and albums, Luke Wood from Interscope left label-land for Beats Electronic and Citibank kicked Guy Hands hard to the curb, and simply bought out/took over EMI. Whew.

On Wednesday I couldn’t help but think of  Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” in contemplating Amos Lee’s #1 album setting a new record for lowest selling #1 album ever at Soundscan. That’s a bummer man.

Thursday saw Twitter & the worlds attention turn to an increasingly volatile Egypt. Sobering stuff. I dusted myself off after a while, and started thinking about Football — specifically how much better of a job the NFL had done recently than the Music Biz in responding to challenge and changes.

We then rolled into Friday deeply immersed in a full-on-brouhaha between Hulu and, well, Hulu. Or at least their corporate bosses. We have met the enemy and they are us….Enjoy your Superbowl, for if you are a Digital Music person, it might be the most restful four hours you get.


Pew Sez: 1 out of 3 Online Pay For Digital Music – I Say: I'm Not Buying.

Recent Pew Internet survey getting some pick up this morning.

The Pew study shows 1 out of 3 internet users now paying for Digital music.

Here’s the Pew Survey.

With 250 million people now online in the U.S alone, the Digital Music industry should be reaching 83 million buyers, according to my quick and dirty math.

I’m skeptical, as we have seen a statistical leveling of Digital Music sales in 2010.

Jeff Pollack addresses the flattening in a Huffington Post piece here.

I say these Pew numbers don’t add up.