The Sex Pistols presented two sides of punk rock, and of course its audience took two concepts away from their music. The first, more positive message was music can be art. Reckless, desperate, and honest art that could shake you to your core. The other is an attractive bit of fantasy, that lucrative prospect of being bad– self destructive nihilism that perpetuates itself in devil-may-care swagger and casual delinquency. Unfortunately, the latter has dug its roots deeper than the former, tossing aside its rebellious roots in favor of hurting the thing it represents.
Digital piracy is an easily mocked issue. And why not? Time and again the subject is dealt with heavy handed moralizing and silly scare ads. But, the problem remains the same, and I think it’s our responsibility to deal with it our own way. As punks. As a community.
I’ll get this out of the way immediately: fuck the man. Yes, seriously, fuck the man. And also, the establishment? Fuck that too. But here’s the problem, when you’re illegally downloading punk music you’re only fucking over your own kind. Those labels, the ones pumping money into those bands you love? The ones that write words you’ve worn your throat out screaming? The ones that insist on playing all ages shows, even when it’s less profitable? Those are your friends, not foes. Giving them money allows them to continue what they’re doing, it allows artists to be artists, and not sandwich artists that happen to play guitar. We live in a world where every musical scene has an audience, and we’re lucky enough to have one united not only by our love of music, but by our similar ideals. No, we’re not all anarchists, and we don’t all live off the grid. But independent culture is our glue. DIY is a sacred thing, and it needs to be nurtured. This is how we keep punk rock going, on our own terms without the influence of major labels and watered down taste. We are a niche audience, and if we want to protect our unique tastes we need to be vigilant. We have the opportunity to be subsistent. But instead of trying to help our own kind, we reach for broad validations.
“Digital music isn’t physical, so I’m not hurting anyone.”
“The music industry is corrupt and evil!”
“Band’s make all their money from shows anyways.”
Stop. And also, fuck you. None of that matters. Punk rock can’t survive with a cannibalistic scene content to freeload off each other until there’s nothing left. Show the labels that you care about the art they help release, and buy your music. Show bands that you aren’t just passively consuming their art and put your money where your mouth is. Support their talent.
It’s a little after New Years, but I don’t think it matters. Let’s make a resolution. Together, let’s support the artists we care about, and the independent labels that help make it possible. Let’s put aside our laziness, entitlement, and whatever else and buy our music. Let’s do it because we know we should. Let’s do it because we love punk.
Dying Scene writers aren’t much different than you Dying Scene readers. Yeah, we have news writing superpowers, but ultimately we are just super fans of the punk genre like the rest of you. And like the rest of you we have our own individual thoughts and opinions and sometimes we just got to get stuff off our chest. Editorial style. So with that in mind, we’d like to remind all of our handsomely toned and intelligent readers that the views expressed in these articles are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Dying Scene staff.