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The Awakening: Women Hold More Power Than They Think and Can Use It to Get Everything They Deserve.

Warning: If you are still empathetic to men who don't hold empathy for you or don't believe in doing to them, what they do to you.. leave now. Especially if you don't like the idea of dating being a game. ALSO THIS POST DOES NOT REPRESENT FDS AS A WHOLE! This my personal opinion/view that has been requested to be discussed numerous times. Every woman has different ideas of how to live their life, allow them to do what they please as it does not affect/hurt you. Thank you.
A High Value Woman can take care of herself and provide herself everything she wants. However, every woman has the right to live easier and more comfortable. Use men's lust for you to your advantage and live 10x better.
For my ladies who have given up on: love, good men, being moral and doing things the right way.
|There’s the ones who will peep the game and use patriarchy to their advantage. And there’s the ones who peep the game and want to destroy patriarchy. Neither is wrong.|
Those that want to destroy patriarchy are basically FDS's audience. This includes getting everything on your own (no depending on men) and absolutely no pandering to men (not looking good for men, etc.). Safe route, nothing wrong with it. Sure, we all want to get rid of patriarchy but instead of letting it us get us down and hopeless, some women have turned to shrugging, admitting 'it is what it is' and using it to live their ideal life. It's going to be a looooong time before patriarchy is dismantled, why not make life enjoyable for you?
I don't date men that can't elevate or improve my life in any way. A good man will make your life easier. I think more women should do this to protect themselves as you won't fall victim to bums that hold you back for years on end. With my ex, I was able to get trips overseas, gifts, protection, devotion and admiration. He would fly and drive hours to see me and do anything to ease my burdens. All because I carried myself well and lived independently as if I could live without him. They recognize women that know they're the prize.
Independent women are like lamps to moths (LWM). A woman that asks for nothing and refuses everything, is the best woman a bum can leech off of. Don't be so independent that you turn down help from men.
Young women need to be aware of the behaviors of men, how to recognize them and avoid being destroyed by said men. You need to plan and strategize so that you don't fall victim. Victimhood will not fly here; you have the power to take charge of your life... you can't sit in your house waiting for Prince Charming! You need to stop selling yourself short and open your eyes to the truth: women have more power than they know, and your hooha runs the world. Men run on your time and will do anything to get in between your legs.
What I’m really referring to here are the women who have goals and have no issue using men’s “lust” for them to their advantage. A great example of this type of woman is SheraSeven1, a YouTuber. These women know men want them and will use them to gain job opportunities, social climb, get bills paid, gain gifts, gain access to places, etc. Essentially, using men to improve your quality of life -- working smarter, not harder. You know men want sex, while you want security.. so why not entertain the idea to get them to do anything you want?
"A man can gain his resources back over and over again but women can't get back the parts of them they gave a man."
Why It Works And The Truth...
Life isn't Lala land where everything is peaches 'n cream. You will have to take advantage of opportunities especially by the route less taken. No, I'm not referring to 'f*cking your way to the top' (by all means, do you.) but getting everything you want by being the wonderful lady you are. It's truly a lost art these days. Your beauty, confidence, good company is a "commodity" and can get you anything from men that crave just that. Men do everything and anything to gain attention from women.
Men walk around arrogantly because they've been able to breadcrumb women yet still receive massive benefits from women (free and easy sex, free meals and maid service, saving money by having car dates/movie nights, their paychecks and letting them borrow their cars, etc.) There are 60 year old scrotes that believe they're the prize because they've been able to take advantage of young women. We should question if men are truly the gold diggers. It's time you take your power back and get what you need. Women need to ditch the idea of being humble and really take a look at themselves and say, "I am that b*tch."
The Tools You Need...
  1. Strong Mentality: Be smart... like real street smart. If you're here, you've probably killed any naivety about the world left in you. Absorb everything you need to know about the reality of men and how women can use charm & personality to get what they want. Know who you are and have strong morals and an identity for yourself; this prevents you from lowering your boundaries and sticking to your goal. Sit down and think of all the things you want out of life; better yet, write them down. Do you want to be provided for? Do you want your dream career? Do you want access to certain people? Do you want an amazing home for you and your children? Do you want your children/family to be set for life and live better than you? Do you want to start a business?
  2. Making Yourself Attractive: You should not depend on men to feel attractive. However, you can look beautiful to target a man/opportunity. Let's break this down. First, if you don't feel confident in your looks, you can always change them. Transforming yourself can be such an exciting journey (I will never regret being so fed up with my looks and finally taking charge to becoming my ideal self. 10/10 experience). Putting effort into my looks before I leave my house has completely changed my life and the things I experience. Confidence makes up for anything you lack -- if you hold yourself like a bad b*tch, they will accept you as a bad b*tch. You may think you look pretty cute now, but take a serious look from the outside and see if others see you as attractive as you think. Pretty privilege is very real and if you want to reap the rewards for it.. invest in yourself. The Vindicta subreddit may be useful to some of you.
  3. Romanticize your life and think of it as a fun simulation. When everything you do is romanticized, such as shopping alone, drinking tea in your backyard, getting ready for the day, exploring the city with your favorite music playing, you learn to love your life. When life is a game to you, it becomes fun. I live by law of attraction so this is easy for me to do, I highly suggest getting into it or becoming spiritual (not religious) if you want. Don't become disheartened because you feel good men don't exist, just make your goals priority and enjoy life. You truly may run into one. Think of how you can get everything you've ever dreamed of by being a go-getter and remaining unattached to societal expectations of relationships. Life is a play and more than struggle, have fun with it so when you're a shriveled up 90 year old you can look back and smile.
How To Get What You Want From Them
  • Firstly, avoid any man that you know is loud about everything. If you know he would kiss and tell, it's not worth it -- RUN! Your reputation is very important so you need to be highly selective about who you let in your proximity. He will expose your strategies and you will lose opportunities. Avoid men you know are unstable, be safe and don't bite off more than you can chew. Know your target.
  • Never ever, ever, ever have sex before getting what you want. (for men you want a relationshipwith, save sex for last until he has proved himself.) This doesn't only apply to sex, but attention and other perks. No, you don't ride him for 20 minutes, roll over and ask, "can you get me a car now?" or whatever. The point is let him believe he can have you, so don't cave in immediately expecting him to get you anything. Drag it on for as long as you need, gaining opportunities along the way. No, you don't sell yourself for things you want, ever. Because majority of the time you will end up never holding up your end of the bargain. Don't invite him to your house after a date, thinking it'll be light hearted conversations. Keep affection and intimacy out in public, rather than on his couch so that he can't escalate things and cause you to give in early. He has to earn that.
  • Sex only comes with commitment or some sense of security. Women have made it too easy to get sex (casual, FWBs, after first dates, etc). It scares me that so many women have babies with LVM without a ring, financial security, or even a home. You are risking your health (STDs and pregnancy) for them, so be sure to use your discernment and wait until you have something secure. Always get his test results. Men are far less likely to ditch things they have invested in. So get those dates paid, bills paid for, connections established, etc. and it will be hard for him to ghost you. Even if he does leave, you are left with benefits rather than a broken heart and low self-esteem.
  • The men you don't want are stepping stones to the ones you do. If there's an undesirable guy orbiting you, consider what he has and make the decision on whether or not you want to use it. For example, Mr. Undesirable may have a great job in a career you want so you can ask him to help build your resume, put in good word for you, and land you that higher paying job. Mr. Undesirable may have attractive/successful friends, so accept that invite to that party and get to socializing. These are the type of men you want investing in you so that you can get Mr. Desirable. My experience using this: I knew a guy who has a job in a field I have been wanting to get into. I accompany him sometimes to events and whatnot because he enjoys my company. He put in good word and now I have a "dream" job in my big city (stepping stone for me) that allows me to network and social climb for my future since celebrities and important people frequent there. It also looks really good on my resume. His attraction to me has allowed me to get the opportunity that I know I wouldn't have gotten on my own in at least a few years.
  • Don't be the COOL girl, be the FUN girl. I cannot stress this advice enough! The cool girl lets anything slide; the cool girl doesn't benefit from anything because she allows men to low ball her and refuses to have a back bone. She doesn't challenge him and goes with the flow, all for the sake of having a man. Don't be the cool girl. Now the fun girl is all about creating the fantasy woman men dream of having. The fun girl is a treat to be around -- she's positive, full of banter + laughter, interesting, and relaxing to be around because she's great company. I've mastered this and, boy, has it worked in my favor. Men don't like nagging, moody behavior, and sadness (even though they may be the cause of all these). By being the breath of fresh air he can escape to, he is bound to do anything to keep you around. If you're emotionally detached from men, dates can be a fun thing. Just be the amazing company you are while securing your needs. Personal Example: I love a fun night out on the town and living in a popular city, there are clubs that are a bit hard to get into. By being great company to a certain guy, I'm able to get in clubs I always wanted to get into with his help.
  • If you have a circle full of fun girls, even better. When you have a couple friends that can have easy conversation with strangers when you guys are out, men will flock. You will almost 100% attract suitors and use them to your advantage. I cannot begin to explain how many opportunities you may run into with the right group of friends. Even though attracting men while you're alone is smarter, this is a good way to ease in and test your strategies. This also goes hand in hand with which friends you bring out with you. If they bring the mood down, aren't necessarily good conversationalist - leave them at home.
  • Even though you are denying him something, don't be a complete prude. Be able to have fun. Don't say no to every single thing that makes him think you are the opposite of easy going. He won't let his guard down then. If you don't drink, accept his drink offer but toss it out when he's distracted or accidentally knock it off the table. If you say no to one thing, bring up something else. "I'm not really up for _____ buttttt, we can do _____ instead." Of course, if you want to stay home instead of seeing a man, feel free to say no. Stand your ground. However when you want something... play the game. When denying him sex: don't bring sex up ever and change the conversation when it comes up. Leave immediately when you can tell he's getting hard, make up an excuse.
  • Be comfortable in your own skin like the fun girl. She just does, she doesn't hesitate or acts meek around a man. Be at ease and have a comfortable air around you. It'll bring his guard down. I am extremely comfortable with myself and it really puts their defenses down. You can create that "bond" and get whatever you want. Ex: I met another guy who owned a club and I'd often visit. Using humor and lighthearted conversations when he wasn't busy working, I was able to bring his guard down quickly. I got access to the club for myself and friends, restaurant dates, and a gift. I didn't like him like that but he had heavy interest in me -- used it to my advantage. Whenever he brought up doing things in the future, I'd entertain the idea. Especially when it came to intimacy. I never had sex with these men, barely kissed them.
  • Don't believe what men say. They will say anything just to please your pretty little ears. Promises don't mean anything without action. The way you may dangle the promise of sex is the same way they dangle emotional security and other things in your face. Let it go out one ear from the other. I could've easily gotten hurt by an emotionally manipulative man I dealt with for a uber short time (bad time in my life) and he would make all sorts of promises. But I ignored them and only responded to his actions, so I was able to move on with my life immediately after it ended. You'll break your own rules and backslide if you listen to everything a man says, for example, you catch him cheating and he overexplains himself to get you back. Just leave.
  • Limit apologies, be hot and cold, and always have the upperhand. It's all about keeping your power in check and it keeps him on his toes. When you overly apologize, you lose your power. He needs to see you as the one who calls the shots. Accountability is important with people you love (friends, family, etc) but when it comes to getting what you want from men? who cares. Men have 0 shame asking you for sex, you need to have 0 shame asking them for things. If he does something you don't like, punish him with coldness. If he does something you like, bring the heat. Never go full crazy girlfriend because they did something that aggravated you; just disappear and/or state your expectation. They like when you keep them guessing and keep things exciting by never letting them have 100% of you. Keep your appearance in check at all times, so he's often wondering how many men are throwing themselves at you. Have him think he has you all to himself, yet never close yourself off from others until you've secured a ring, etc. Examples: Letting him text/call first always (cold) but surprise him with a call first (hot) one day and mention getting together somewhere. Bring up a man doing something for you when he fails to do so. Keep him wondering about where you are/what you're doing by being busy, even if you're in bed snacking on a large meatlover's to a good movie (he doesn't need to know, lie just like they do). I have a friend that has kept a guy loyal and absolutely smitten by her for years by treating him like she can walk out whenever she wants. She never falls over him, displays jealousy, cries and begs him to do anything, and responds with ice when he does something she doesn't approve of. She's gained networking, gifts, commitment, and anything she asks for by acting like the prize.
  • Emotionally detach, but use your emotions to get what you want. Along with the advice above, you may wonder when can you show emotion. Keeping your emotions in check is the smartest thing you can do. When you cry, become jealous, start caring more about him, he knows he has you wrapped around his finger. Be "vulnerable" to establish trust from him, and cry when you want him to feel guilt & get you double of what you ask for. It's easier than you think to establish a vulnerable moment where he thinks you guys are really connecting. He'll open up and now you have his deepest insecurities in your hand -- do whatever with that information. An easy way to remain detached is to give yourself "the ick" by imagining him doing something that grosses you out. Lol, examples include imagining his butt crack showing as he gets out the car, him asking his mom for money, him being humiliated by his friends as they ignore him in conversations, etc. Stay a mystery by never giving him all of you (you should never give anyone all of you but anyways..) and keep secrets to yourself as well as your trauma/insecurities/failures. Don't let men have power of you by letting them know your weaknesses to destroy you later on. He shouldn't be able to fully figure you out. After a messy breakup, I could not begin to tell you guys how relieved I was for keeping my suicidal thoughts and depression (I'm totally okay now!) to myself, even though I was in love and trusted him, because he would have used it against me in the end. Don't give a man a reason to laugh or belittle you. Keep a journal so you have an emotional outlet for all the deep stuff and keep supportive, strong friends by your side.
  • Stroke his ego. I know this is against FDS but when it comes to getting what you want? Works beautifully. Yeah you're a smart, independent woman but when it comes to keeping a man appreciative of you, you need to make him feel like the man. Don't be obvious with it, make it sound genuine. If he's sitting there telling you about ____, feign genuine interest and ask questions. Flirt and tie it into you. Ex: "Oh so you do real estate in Cleveland? That's amazing.. I'd love it if you could show me the best condos around the city."
  • Reward him with praise and intimacy instead of sex. Tell him how much his gift/whatever has helped you tremendously or how much you love something. Build up the levels of intimacy by how much he does for you. If he's doing something you don't particularly like, WITHHOLD INTIMACY. Also, don't kiss him on your first date, but rather when he gets your car repaired for you, etc. You are essentially training him that the more he does for you, the more love you shower him with.
  • Target the underdogs. Mr. Undesirable. Men who you know get overlooked, have insecurities, and don't get attention. You will get 10x more out of these men compared to ones that have options (if your trying to simply gain something). The more arrogant and entitled the man is, the more you are indifferent. There will be guys who think they're the man and glance at you from the corner of their eye to see if you see his performative acts to impress you. The types who flash their car, shoes, jewelry and money to get you to fall over them like a stray cat and tuna. Don't bother giving them attention, but if they are your target, playing hard to get and unimpressed will get him to fall over you. The same way emotionally unavailable men string women along with their indifference is the same move you can pull on them.
  • Place yourself in the position to get him, don't court him. A woman who knows her worth can pull a guy just by giving him the green light to come over or places herself in a position where he can see her. Lock eyes and smile at him, then go back to doing what you're doing. Men are usually overthinking if you even want them to come over, so give him the green light and let him do the rest of the work. Stay in his peripheral vision. If you have a specific type of man you want, go where he would go.
  • If he asks, "what do you look for in a man?" he wants to mold into your fantasy; use that to your advantage or be vague so he doesn't build a facade. If your trying to gain something from him, use keywords. Such as "I like a man who's generous, kind to me, enjoys the fine things in life." or "I like a man that is adventurous and wants to see the world rather than staying in for movies or lounging around. I get pretty bored easily." See how easy it is to get a man to play into what youwant? You should establish expectations/standards at the beginning so there's no room to fully disappoint you. Better yet, ask him what he looks for in a woman if he does. Ex: I tell men I find movies boring and that I like to be out, it saves them from lowballing me with low effort dates. If he likes you, he will scramble to find another activity to see you.
  • Don't entertain conversation with every man. You are not obligated to entertain scrotes or talk to people you don't want to. Especially if you're out and turning down men, they will notice and find it alluring that you're so selective. Men have told me numerous times how sexy it is that I don't let just anyone get to know me. I think it feeds their ego that they're the ones who got a shot with you. I don't let men dance or talk too much with me if I'm out enjoying myself without them buying me a drink first. If he pays for something small, it is a glimpse into his generosity. A man who is repulsed by the idea of getting you a drink/meal at the getting-to-know you stage isn't worth your time, he'll lowball you forever.
  • BE SELFISH. Get yours first! I cannot stress this enough. Women put people's needs above their own too often while men don't even second guess living for themselves. The same way men put their orgasm over you and your health, you can put your interests/needs over them. Stop caring. Caring doesn't benefit you in the slightest, save that for the vulnerable like the homeless, animals, children, other women, friends, family, and so on.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize: your goals. What are you trying to gain here? Don't lose sight of it while you deal with these men. Don't break your back for them. If you lose an opportunity, don't chase it once it's walked away from you. Learn the lesson and charge it to the game.
  • If you want something and don't want to ask, throw hints with your actions. Stare at that purse and sigh, saying how much you'd kill to have that bag. Try things on and let him see. Leave magazine pages or internet tabs up of things you want. "Oh no, I can't come out tonight.. I need to buy an alternator for my car.." or whatever. Ex: I mumbled to myself how I wanted a puppy so badly once in passing and one day he asked me if I wanted one so he could get it for me.
  • Use your femininity.. it'll go FAR. Don't deny help, ask him to open a jar for you or reach the top shelf for you. Femininity doesn't only reside in how you dress yourself, it's in you. Everyone has both masculine and feminine energy but it is up to you to channel it. It's how you behave. Too independent = masculine behavior. Yeah you can hold your own because you're that b*tch, but don't give off that vibe that you can do what he does, better. Ex: If you are a woman with a successful career (lawyer, for example), don't baby the men you date, don't compete with them by arguing (state your opinion, hear his out, and drop it whether he's right or wrong), and don't support them. He should be just as successful as you if not more.
  • Sit back and let a guy talk, he'll spill everything if you let him. Eventually men will show their true selves if you allow them to talk enough. You don't even have to do the hard work of digging. Especially if he brings up sex early in the conversation -- you can either 1) run or 2) get something out of him since he wants sex so bad. If you plan on confronting him about something, surprise him so he doesn't have time to lie.
  • "Why can't we have sex?" Excuses to use: "I just want to be able to get to know you more. I want to be comfortable." "I'm celibate and trying to know your the right guy I should give myself to." "It's the time of the month." "I have the worst stomach ache right now... I could throw up any minute." "Could you buy me Monistat/Tampons/Advil on the way to Walmart?" "I'm allergic to latex, I need a specific kind of condom." "I want to be tested first, just to be safe."
  • He'll appreciate it more when you have made him wait and invest in you. It's like the stock market. After investing for a while, you finally hit the jackpot and make some real money. He's going to be ecstatic he finally got it. Lying about little things like "I trust you enough to ___" or "I've never let anyone ____" will go far and create that fake bond/deepness in order to get what you want.
I spent all day writing this I hope you lovelies appreciate it. Be safe and be smart. Get yours and succeed. <3
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When Pigs Fly: The Death of Oink, the Birth of Dissent, and a Brief History of Record Industry Suicide. By Rob Sheridan

Ahoy mateys,
With the news of Amazon trying to argue that digital content purchased by an end user is not the property of the end user, I figured I’d share this blog post by the founder of demonbaby made in October of 2007 when a popular tracker, Oink, was shut down. Some of the information is obviously dated (like not knowing what the next medium for music would be) but a lot of his points still ring true today. Streaming media has had a decent run and the truth is, most people will choose the path of least resistance as long as it’s financially prudent (as he talks about), but there’s a breaking point and I think it has been reached for many (like myself). I find myself using many different streaming services that I pay for and I can’t keep the data for use offline in most cases. In other cases there are even still ads! Streaming is just becoming glorified cable and the consumers are getting fucked. Anyway, I’ll stop bitching — here’s the article:
For quite a long time I’ve been intending to post some sort of commentary on the music industry – piracy, distribution, morality, those types of things. I’ve thought about it many times, but never gone through with it, because the issue is such a broad, messy one – such a difficult thing to address fairly and compactly. I knew it would result in a rambly, unfocused commentary, and my exact opinion has teetered back and forth quite a bit over the years anyway. But on Monday, when I woke up to the news that Oink, the world famous torrent site and mecca for music-lovers everywhere, had been shut down by international police and various anti-piracy groups, I knew it was finally time to try and organize my thoughts on this huge, sticky, important issue.
For the past eight years, I’ve worked on and off with major record labels as a designer (“Major” is an important distinction here, because major labels are an entirely different beast than many indie labels – they’re the ones with the power, and they are the ones driving the industry-wide push against piracy). It was 1999 when I got my first taste of the inner-workings of a major record label – I was a young college student, and the inside of a New York label office seemed so vast and exciting. Dozens of worker bees hummed away at their desks on phones and computers. Music posters and stacks of CDs littered every surface. Everyone seemed to have an assistant, and the assistants had assistants, and you couldn’t help but wonder “what the hell do all these people do?” I tagged along on $1500 artist dinners paid for by the labels. Massive bar tabs were regularly signed away by record label employees with company cards. You got used to people billing as many expenses back to the record company as they could. I met the type of jive, middle-aged, blazer-wearing, coke-snorting, cartoon character label bigwigs who you’d think were too cliche to exist outside the confines of Spinal Tap. It was all strange and exciting, but one thing that always resonated with me was the sheer volume of money that seemed to be spent without any great deal of concern. Whether it was excessive production budgets or “business lunches” that had nothing to do with business, one of my first reactions to it all was, “so this is why CDs cost $18…” An industry of excess. But that’s kind of what you expected from the music business, right? It’s where rock stars are made. It’s where you get stretch limos with hot tubs in the back, where you get private jets and cocaine parties. Growing up in the ’80’s, with pop royalty and hair metal bands, you were kind of led to think, of course record labels blow money left and right – there’s just so much of it to go around! Well, you know what they say: The bigger they are…
In those days, “piracy” was barely even a word in the music world. My friends and I traded MP3s in college over the local network, but they were scattered and low-quality. It felt like a novelty – like a digital version of duping a cassette tape – hardly a replacement for CDs. CDs sounded good and you could bring them with you in your DiscMan, and the only digital music you could get was as good as your friends’ CD collections, anyway. It never occurred to any of us that digital files were the future. But as it turned out, lots of kids, in lots of colleges around the world, had the same idea of sharing MP3 files over their local networks, and eventually, someone paid attention to that idea and made Napster. Suddenly, it was like all those college networks were tied together, and you could find all this cool stuff online. It was easier and more efficient than record stores, it was powered by music fans, and, well, it was free. Suddenly you didn’t have to pay 15 to 18 bucks for an album and hope it was good, you could download some tracks off the internet and check it out first. But you still always bought the CD if you liked it – I mean, who wants all their music to be on the computer? I sure didn’t. But increasingly, more and more people did. For college kids, Napster was a Godsend, because you can all but guarantee two things about most college kids: They love music, and they’re dirt poor. So it grew, and it grew, and it started to grow into the mainstream, and that’s when the labels woke up and realized something important was happening. At that point they could have seen it as either a threat or an opportunity, and they, without hesitation, determined it to be a threat. It was a threat because essentially someone had come up with a better, free distribution method for the labels’ product. To be fair, you can imagine how confusing this must have been for them – is there even a historical precedent for an industry’s products suddenly being able to replicate and distribute on their own, without cost?
For quite a while – long after most tech-savvy music lovers – I resisted the idea of stealing music. Of course I would download MP3s – I downloaded a lot of stuff – but I would always make sure to buy the physical CD if it was something I liked. I knew a lot of musicians, a lot of them bewildered at what was happening to the industry they used to understand. People were downloading their music en masse, gorging on this new frontier like pigs at a troff – and worst of all, they felt entitled to do so. It was like it was okay simply because the technology existed that made it possible. But it wasn’t okay – I mean, let’s face it, no matter how you rationalized it, it was stealing, and because the technology existed to hotwire a car didn’t make that okay, either. The artists lost control of distribution: They couldn’t present albums the way they wanted to, in a package with nice artwork. They couldn’t reveal it the way they wanted to, because music pirates got the albums online well before the actual release date. Control had been taken away from everyone who used to have it. It was a scary time in unfamiliar territory, where suddenly music fans became enemies to the artists and companies they had supported for years. It led to laughable hyperbole from bands like Metallica, instantly the poster-children of cry-baby rich rock stars, and the beginning of the image problem the industry has faced in its handling of the piracy issue. But still, at the time, I understood where they were coming from. Most musicians weren’t rich like Metallica, and needed all the album sales they could get for both income and label support. Plus, it was their art, and they had created it – why shouldn’t they be able to control how it’s distributed, just because some snotty, acne-faced internet kids had found a way to cheat the system? And these entitled little internet brats, don’t they realize that albums cost money to create, and to produce, and to promote? How is there going to be any new music if no one’s paying for it?
On top of that, I couldn’t get into the idea of an invisible music library that lives on my computer. Where’s the artwork? Where’s my collection? I want the booklet, the packaging… I want shelves and shelves of albums that I’ve spent years collecting, that I can pore over and impress my friends with… I want to flip through the pages, and hold the CD in my hand… Being a kid who got into music well past the days of vinyl, CDs were all I had, and they still felt important to me.
It’s all changed.
In a few short years, the aggressive push of technology combined with the arrogant response from the record industry has rapidly worn away all of my noble intentions of clinging to the old system, and has now pushed me into full-on dissent. I find myself fully immersed in digital music, almost never buying CDs, and fully against the methods of the major record labels and the RIAA. And I think it would do the music industry a lot of good to pay attention to why – because I’m just one of millions, and there will be millions more in the years to come. And it could have happened very, very differently.
As the years have passed, and technology has made digital files the most convenient, efficient, and attractive method of listening to music for many people, the rules and cultural perceptions regarding music have changed drastically. We live in the iPod generation – where a “collection” of clunky CDs feels archaic – where the uniqueness of your music collection is limited only by how eclectic your taste is. Where it’s embraced and expected that if you like an album, you send it to your friend to listen to. Whether this guy likes it or not, iPods have become synonymous with music – and if I filled my shiny new 160gb iPod up legally, buying each track online at the 99 cents price that the industry has determined, it would cost me about $32,226. How does that make sense? It’s the ugly truth the record industry wants to ignore as they struggle to find ways to get people to pay for music in a culture that has already embraced the idea of music being something you collect in large volumes, and trade freely with your friends.
Already is the key word, because it didn’t have to be this way, and that’s become the main source of my utter lack of sympathy for the dying record industry: They had a chance to move forward, to evolve with technology and address the changing needs of consumers – and they didn’t. Instead, they panicked – they showed their hand as power-hungry dinosaurs, and they started to demonize their own customers, the people whose love of music had given them massive profits for decades. They used their unfair record contracts – the ones that allowed them to own all the music – and went after children, grandparents, single moms, even deceased great grandmothers – alongside many other common people who did nothing more than download some songs and leave them in a shared folder – something that has become the cultural norm to the iPod generation. Joining together in what has been referred to as an illegal cartel and using the RIAA as their attack dogs, the record labels have spent billions of dollars attempting to scare people away from downloading music. And it’s simply not working. The pirating community continues to out-smart and out-innovate the dated methods of the record companies, and CD sales continue to plummet while exchange of digital music on the internet continues to skyrocket. Why? Because freely-available music in large quantities is the new cultural norm, and the industry has given consumers no fair alternative. They didn’t jump in when the new technologies were emerging and think, “how can we capitalize on this to ensure that we’re able to stay afloat while providing the customer what they’ve come to expect?” They didn’t band together and create a flat monthly fee for downloading all the music you want. They didn’t respond by drastically lowering the prices of CDs (which have been ludicrously overpriced since day one, and actually increased in price during the ’90’s), or by offering low-cost DRM-free legal MP3 purchases. Their entry into the digital marketplace was too little too late – a precedent of free, high-quality, DRM-free music had already been set.
There seem to be a lot of reasons why the record companies blew it. One is that they’re really not very smart. They know how to do one thing, which is sell records in a traditional retail environment. From personal experience I can tell you that the big labels are beyond clueless in the digital world – their ideas are out-dated, their methods make no sense, and every decision is hampered by miles and miles of legal tape, copyright restrictions, and corporate interests. Trying to innovate with a major label is like trying to teach your Grandmother how to play Halo 3: frustrating and ultimately futile. The easiest example of this is how much of a fight it’s been to get record companies to sell MP3s DRM-free. You’re trying to explain a new technology to an old guy who made his fortune in the hair metal days. You’re trying to tell him that when someone buys a CD, it has no DRM – people can encode it into their computer as DRM-free MP3s within seconds, and send it to all their friends. So why insult the consumer by making them pay the same price for copy-protected MP3s? It doesn’t make any sense! It just frustrates people and drives them to piracy! They don’t get it: “It’s an MP3, you have to protect it or they’ll copy it.” But they can do the same thing with the CDs you already sell!! Legal tape and lots of corporate bullshit. If these people weren’t the ones who owned the music, it’d all be over already, and we’d be enjoying the real future of music. Because like with any new industry, it’s not the people from the previous generation who are going to step in and be the innovators. It’s a new batch.
Newspapers are a good example: It used to be that people read newspapers to get the news. That was the distribution method, and newspaper companies controlled it. You paid for a newspaper, and you got your news, that’s how it worked. Until the internet came along, and a new generation of innovative people created websites, and suddenly anyone could distribute information, and they could distribute it faster, better, more efficiently, and for free. Obviously this hurt the newspaper industry, but there was nothing they could do about it, because they didn’t own the information itself – only the distribution method. Their only choice was to innovate and find ways to compete in a new marketplace. And you know what? Now I can get live, up-to-the-minute news for free, on thousands of different sources across the internet – and The New York Times still exists. Free market capitalism at its finest. It’s not a perfect example, but it is a part of how the internet is changing every form of traditional media. It happened with newspapers, it’s happening now with music, and TV and cell phones are next on the chopping block. In all cases technology demands that change will happen, it’s just a matter of who will find ways to take advantage of it, and who won’t.
Unlike newspapers, record companies own the distribution and the product being distributed, so you can’t just start your own website where you give out music that they own – and that’s what this is all about: distribution. Lots of pro-piracy types argue that music can be free because people will always love music, and they’ll pay for concert tickets, and merchandise, and the marketplace will shift and artists will survive. Well, yes, that might be an option for some artists, but that does nothing to help the record labels, because they don’t make any money off of merchandise, or concert tickets. Distribution and ownership are what they control, and those are the two things piracy threatens. The few major labels left are parts of giant media conglomerations – owned by huge parent companies for whom artists and albums are just numbers on a piece of paper. It’s why record companies shove disposable pop crap down your throat instead of nurturing career artists: because they have CEOs and shareholders to answer to, and those people don’t give a shit if a really great band has the potential to get really successful, if given the right support over the next decade. They see that Gwen Stefani’s latest musical turd sold millions, because parents of twelve year old girls still buy music for their kids, and the parent company demands more easy-money pop garbage that will be forgotten about next month. The only thing that matters to these corporations is profit – period. Music isn’t thought of as an art form, as it was in the earlier days of the industry where labels were started by music-lovers – it’s a product, pure and simple. And many of these corporations also own the manufacturing plants that create the CDs, so they make money on all sides – and lose money even from legal MP3s.
At the top of all this is the rigged, outdated, and unfair structure of current intellectual property laws, all of them in need of massive reform in the wake of the digital era. These laws allow the labels to maintain their stranglehold on music copyrights, and they allow the RIAA to sue the pants off of any file-sharing grandmother they please. Since the labels are owned by giant corporations with a great deal of money, power, and political influence, the RIAA is able to lobby politicians and government agencies to manipulate copyright laws for their benefit. The result is absurdly disproportionate fines, and laws that in some cases make file sharing a heftier charge than armed robbery. This is yet another case of private, corporate interests using political influence to turn laws in the opposite direction of the changing values of the people. Or, as this very smart assessment from a record executive described it: “a clear case of a multinational conglomerate using its political muscle to the disadvantage of everyone but itself.” But shady political maneuvers and scare tactics are all the RIAA and other anti-piracy groups have left, because people who download music illegally now number in the hundreds of millions, and they can’t sue everyone. At this point they’re just trying to hold up what’s left of the dam before it bursts open. Their latest victim is Oink, a popular torrent site specializing in music.
If you’re not familiar with Oink, here’s a quick summary: Oink was was a free members-only site – to join it you had to be invited by a member. Members had access to an unprecedented community-driven database of music. Every album you could ever imagine was just one click away. Oink’s extremely strict quality standards ensured that everything on the site was at pristine quality – 192kbps MP3 was their bare minimum, and they championed much higher quality MP3s as well as FLAC lossless downloads. They encouraged logs to verify that the music had been ripped from the CD without any errors. Transcodes – files encoded from other encoded files, resulting in lower quality – were strictly forbidden. You were always guaranteed higher quality music than iTunes or any other legal MP3 store. Oink’s strict download/share ratio ensured that every album in their vast database was always well-seeded, resulting in downloads faster than anywhere else on the internet. A 100mb album would download in mere seconds on even an average broadband connection. Oink was known for getting pre-release albums before anyone else on the internet, often months before they hit retail – but they also had an extensive catalogue of music dating back decades, fueled by music lovers who took pride in uploading rare gems from their collection that other users were seeking out. If there was an album you couldn’t find on Oink, you only had to post a request for it, and wait for someone who had it to fill your request. Even if the request was extremely rare, Oink’s vast network of hundreds of thousands of music-lovers eager to contribute to the site usually ensured you wouldn’t have to wait long.
In this sense, Oink was not only an absolute paradise for music fans, but it was unquestionably the most complete and most efficient music distribution model the world has ever known. I say that safely without exaggeration. It was like the world’s largest music store, whose vastly superior selection and distribution was entirely stocked, supplied, organized, and expanded upon by its own consumers. If the music industry had found a way to capitalize on the power, devotion, and innovation of its own fans the way Oink did, it would be thriving right now instead of withering. If intellectual property laws didn’t make Oink illegal, the site’s creator would be the new Steve Jobs right now. He would have revolutionized music distribution. Instead, he’s a criminal, simply for finding the best way to fill rising consumer demand. I would have gladly paid a large monthly fee for a legal service as good as Oink – but none existed, because the music industry could never set aside their own greed and corporate bullshit to make it happen.
Here’s an interesting aside: The RIAA loves to complain about music pirates leaking albums onto the internet before they’re released in stores – painting the leakers as vicious pirates dead set on attacking their enemy, the music industry. But you know where music leaks from? From the fucking source, of course – the labels! At this point, most bands know that once their finished album is sent off to the label, the risk of it turning up online begins, because the labels are full of low-level workers who happen to be music fans who can’t wait to share the band’s new album with their friends. If the album manages to not leak directly from the label, it is guaranteed to leak once it heads off to manufacturing. Someone at the manufacturing plant is always happy to sneak off with a copy, and before long, it turns up online. Why? Because people love music, and they can’t wait to hear their favorite band’s new album! It’s not about profit, and it’s not about maliciousness. So record industry, maybe if you could protect your own assets a little better, shit wouldn’t leak – don’t blame the fans who flock to the leaked material online, blame the people who leak it out of your manufacturing plants in the first place! But assuming that’s a hole too difficult to plug, it begs the question, “why don’t labels adapt to the changing nature of distribution by selling new albums online as soon as they’re finished, before they have a chance to leak, and release the physical CDs a couple months later?” Well, for one, labels are still obsessed with Billboard chart numbers – they’re obsessed with determining the market value of their product by how well it fares in its opening week. Selling it online before the big retail debut, before they’ve had months to properly market the product to ensure success, would mess up those numbers (nevermind that those numbers mean absolutely nothing anymore). Additionally, selling an album online before it hits stores makes retail outlets (who are also suffering in all this) angry, and retail outlets have far more power than they should. For example, if a record company releases an album online but Wal-Mart won’t have the CD in their stores for another two months (because it needs to be manufactured), Wal-Mart gets mad. Who cares if Wal-Mart gets mad, you ask? Well, record companies do, because Wal-Mart is, both mysteriously and tragically, the largest music retailer in the world. That means they have power, and they can say “if you sell Britney Spears’ album online before we can sell it in our stores, we lose money. So if you do that, we’re not going to stock her album at all, and then you’ll lose a LOT of money.” That kind of greedy business bullshit happens all the time in the record industry, and the consistent result is a worse experience for consumers and music lovers.
Which is why Oink was so great – take away all the rules and legal ties, all the ownership and profit margins, and naturally, the result is something purely for, by, and in service of the music fan. And it actually helps musicians – file-sharing is “the greatest marketing tool ever to come along for the music industry.” One of Oink’s best features was how it allowed users to connect similar artists, and to see what people who liked a certain band also liked. Similar to Amazon’s recommendation system, it was possible to spend hours discovering new bands on Oink, and that’s what many of its users did. Through sites like Oink, the amount and variety of music I listen to has skyrocketed, opening me up to hundreds of artists I never would have experienced otherwise. I’m now fans of their music, and I may not have bought their CDs, but I would have never bought their CD anyway, because I would have never heard of them! And now that I have heard of them, I go to their concerts, and I talk them up to my friends, and give my friends the music to listen to for themselves, so they can go to the concerts, and tell their friends, and so on. Oink was a network of music lovers sharing and discovering music. And yes, it was all technically illegal, and destined to get shut down, I suppose. But it’s not so much that they shut Oink down that boils my blood, it’s the fucking bullshit propaganda they put out there. If the industry tried to have some kind of compassion – if they said, “we understand that these are just music fans trying to listen to as much music as they can, but we have to protect our assets, and we’re working on an industry-wide solution to accommodate the changing needs of music fans”… Well, it’s too late for that, but it would be encouraging. Instead, they make it sound like they busted a Columbian drug cartel or something. They describe it as a highly-organized piracy ring. Like Oink users were distributing kiddie porn or some shit. The press release says: “This was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure.” Wh – what?? That’s EXACTLY what it was! No one made any money on that site – there were no ads, no registration fees. The only currency was ratio – the amount you shared with other users – a brilliant way of turning “free” into a sort of booming mini-economy. The anti-piracy groups have tried to spin the notion that you had to pay a fee to join Oink, which is NOT true – donations were voluntary, and went to support the hosting and maintenance of the site. If the donations spilled into profit for the guy who ran the site, well he damn well deserved it – he created something truly remarkable.
So the next question is, what now?
For the major labels, it’s over. It’s fucking over. You’re going to burn to the fucking ground, and we’re all going to dance around the fire. And it’s your own fault. Surely, somewhere deep inside, you had to know this day was coming, right? Your very industry is founded on an unfair business model of owning art you didn’t create in exchange for the services you provide. It’s rigged so that you win every time – even if the artist does well, you do ten times better. It was able to exist because you controlled the distribution, but now that’s back in the hands of the people, and you let the ball drop when you could have evolved.
None of this is to say that there’s no way for artists to make money anymore, or even that it’s the end of record labels. It’s just the end of record labels as we know them. A lot of people point to the Radiohead model as the future, but Radiohead is only dipping its toe into the future to test the waters. What at first seemed like a rainbow-colored revolution has now been openly revealed as a marketing gimmick: Radiohead was “experimenting,” releasing a low-quality MP3 version of an album only to punish the fans who paid for it by later releasing a full-quality CD version with extra tracks. According to Radiohead’s manager: “If we didn’t believe that when people hear the music they will want to buy the CD then we wouldn’t do what we are doing.” Ouch. Radiohead was moving in the right direction, but if they really want to start a revolution, they need to place the “pay-what-you-want” digital album on the same content and quality level as the “pay-what-we-want” physical album.
Ultimately, I don’t know what the future model is going to be – I think all the current pieces of the puzzle will still be there, but they need to be re-ordered, and the rules need to be changed. Maybe record labels of the future exist to help front recording costs and promote artists, but they don’t own the music. Maybe music is free, and musicians make their money from touring and merchandise, and if they need a label, the label takes a percentage of their tour and merch profits. Maybe all-digital record companies give bands all the tools they need to sell their music directly to their fans, taking a small percentage for their services. In any case, the artists own their own music.
I used to reject the wishy-washy “music should be free!” mantra of online music thieves. I knew too much about the intricacies and economics of it, of the rock-and-a-hard-place situation many artists were in with their labels. I thought there were plenty of new ways to sell music that would be fair to all parties involved. But I no longer believe that, because the squabbling, backwards, greedy, ownership-obsessed major labels will never let it happen, and that’s more clear to me now than ever. So maybe music has to be free. Maybe taking the money out of music is the only way to get money back into it. Maybe it’s time to abandon the notion of the rock star – of music as a route to fame and fortune. The best music was always made by people who weren’t in it for the money, anyway. Maybe smart, talented musicians will find ways to make a good living with or without CD sales. Maybe the record industry execs who made their fortunes off of unfair contracts and distribution monopolies should just walk away, confident that they milked a limited opportunity for all it was worth, and that it’s time to find fortune somewhere else. Maybe in the hands of consumers, the music marketplace will expand in new and lucrative ways no one can even dream of yet. We won’t know until music is free, and eventually it’s going to be. Technological innovation destroys old industries, but it creates new ones. You can’t fight it forever.
Until the walls finally come down, we’re in what will inevitably be looked back on as a very awkward, chaotic period in music history – fans are being arrested for sharing the music they love, and many artists are left helpless, unable to experiment with new business models because they’re locked into record contracts with backwards-thinking labels.
So what can you and I do to help usher in the brave new world? The beauty of Oink was how fans willingly and hyper-efficiently took on distribution roles that traditionally have cost labels millions of dollars. Music lovers have shown that they’re much more willing to put time and effort into music than they are money. It’s time to show artists that there’s no limit to what an energized online fanbase can accomplish, and all they’ll ever ask for in return is more music. And it’s time to show the labels that they missed a huge opportunity by not embracing these opportunities when they had the chance.
  1. Stop buying music from major labels. Period. The only way to force change is to hit the labels where it hurts – their profits. The major labels are like Terry Schiavo right now – they’re on life support, drooling in a coma, while white-haired guys in suits try and change the laws to keep them alive. But any rational person can see that it’s too late, and it’s time to pull out the feeding tube. In this case, the feeding tube is your money. Find out which labels are members/supporters of the RIAA and similar copyright enforcement groups, and don’t support them in any way. The RIAA Radar is a great tool to help you with this. Don’t buy CDs, don’t buy iTunes downloads, don’t buy from Amazon, etc. Steal the music you want that’s on the major labels. It’s easy, and despite the RIAA’s scare tactics, it can be done safely – especially if more and more people are doing it. Send letters to those labels, and to the RIAA, explaining very calmly and professionally that you will no longer be supporting their business, because of their bullish scare tactics towards music fans, and their inability to present a forward-thinking digital distribution solution. Tell them you believe their business model is outdated and the days of companies owning artists’ music are over. Make it very clear that you will continue to support the artists directly in other ways, and make it VERY clear that your decision has come about as a direct result of the record company’s actions and inactions regarding digital music.
  2. Support artists directly. If a band you like is stuck on a major label, there are tons of ways you can support them without actually buying their CD. Tell everyone you know about them – start a fansite if you’re really passionate. Go to their shows when they’re in town, and buy t-shirts and other merchandise. Here’s a little secret: Anything a band sells that does not have music on it is outside the reach of the record label, and monetarily supports the artist more than buying a CD ever would. T-shirts, posters, hats, keychains, stickers, etc. Send the band a letter telling them that you’re no longer going to be purchasing their music, but you will be listening to it, and you will be spreading the word and supporting them in other ways. Tell them you’ve made this decision because you’re trying to force change within the industry, and you no longer support record labels with RIAA affiliations who own the music of their artists.
If you like bands who are releasing music on open, non-RIAA indie labels, buy their albums! You’ll support the band you like, and you’ll support hard-working, passionate people at small, forward-thinking music labels. If you like bands who are completely independent and are releasing music on their own, support them as much as possible! Pay for their music, buy their merchandise, tell all your friends about them and help promote them online – prove that a network of passionate fans is the best promotion a band can ask for.
  1. Get the message out. Get this message out to as many people as you can – spread the word on your blog or your MySpace, and more importantly, tell your friends at work, or your family members, people who might not be as tuned into the internet as you are. Teach them how to use torrents, show them where to go to get music for free. Show them how to support artists while starving the labels, and who they should and shouldn’t be supporting.
  2. Get political. The fast-track to ending all this nonsense is changing intellectual property laws. The RIAA lobbies politicians to manipulate copyright laws for their own interests, so voters need to lobby politicians for the peoples’ interests. Contact your local representatives and senators. Tell them politely and articulately that you believe copyright laws no longer reflect the interests of the people, and you will not vote for them if they support the interests of the RIAA. Encourage them to draft legislation that helps change the outdated laws and disproportionate penalties the RIAA champions. Contact information for state representatives can be found here, and contact information for senators can be found here. You can email them, but calling on the phone or writing them actual letters is always more effective.
Tonight, with Oink gone, I find myself wondering where I’ll go now to discover new music. All the other options – particularly the legal ones – seem depressing by comparison. I wonder how long it will be before everyone can legally experience the type of music nirvana Oink users became accustomed to? I’m not too worried – something even better will rise out of Oink’s ashes, and the RIAA will respond with more lawsuits, and the cycle will repeat itself over and over until the industry has finally bled itself to death. And then everything will be able to change, and it will be in the hands of musicians and fans and a new generation of entrepreneurs to decide how the new record business is going to work. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s fact. It’s inevitable – because the determination of fans to share music is much, much stronger than the determination of corporations to stop it.
submitted by UF8FF to Piracy