When Nine Inch Nails decided to give away their latest album for free, the news soon spread all over the Internet. However, NiN was not the first, nor will they be the last. Tens and thousands of artists share their music on Demonoid, The Pirate Bay, Mininova and other BitTorrent sites. We got in touch with one of them to find out why.
Xihilisk is one of the many artist who use BitTorrent as one of their main distribution platforms, and for a good reason. BitTorrent makes it possible to reach millions of people at once, at zero cost.
Being a dedicated user of Demonoid, Xihilisk is used to sharing his (and probably others) music. His previous 10 albums are all available for free on BitTorrent. However, he decided to release his latest album “EPTwo Special Edition”, exclusively on the popular BitTorrent tracker Demonoid.
This move seems to be counterintuitive, since an exclusive release on Demonoid will limit the audience. On the other hand, the album wont be exclusive for a long time. In fact, it’s the nature of p2p and BitTorrent that such releases soon spread to other sites.
We got in touch with Xihilisk to find out what motivates artists like himself to share their music on BitTorrent.
TF: Why did you decide to exclusively release your new album on Demonoid?
Xihilisk: I’ve been with Demonoid for a few years, and its always been the first place I go to look for something. I’ve been a member of quite a few other private trackers, and still am, but Demonoid has lots of obscure stuff I haven’t found anywhere else.
In terms of it suitability for this release, it has a large user base, and a decent community that seem genuinely interested in listening to music they’ve never heard of.
TF: What are the benefits of sharing your music on BitTorrent for artist like yourself?
I’ve always given away my music for free. I used to burn off a load of CDRs and hand them out to random people and leave them lying around places, then came myspace, and then the explosion of BitTorrent use. It seemed like the next logical step.
I was using torrents for a long time before I realized that if people can share major artists via the medium, then why can’t I share my own music. Of course, I knew that quite a few people were already doing this, but its still the most exciting and effective way for me to get my music to people who never would have found it otherwise.
TF: What do you think of the RIAA, and the big music labels, for going after their own customers?
Xihilisk: Fuck the RIAA. It sickens me when I hear about somebody getting fined a tonne of cash for downloading a couple of songs off LimeWire (and sharing them probably without even knowing they were). I understand that copyright infringement exists, but destroying someone’s life just for getting a few songs off the internet is disgraceful.
What I find most ironic is that you can share thousands of death metal albums online and you’ll almost certainly never find trouble, but share one Lionel Richie track and they’ll nail you to a wall.
TF: Do you think the music industry will change in let’s say the next 5 years? How do you want it to be?
Xihilisk: 5 years? What music industry? Hopefully, there will only be music.
The Internet is rapidly leveling the playing field for all musicians. I’d like to see it where all money hungry labels go out of business, and a true DIY ethic takes over. You want to get your band noticed? Make really good music and the internet will do the rest. You want to make money? Play a load of gigs or forget it.
Trying to get signed these days is a lost cause. Yes iTunes is doing well, and who knows what tricks the record companies have up their sleeves to stop people getting music illegally, but the fact is that now you’re very lucky if you can make a living from being an artist.
I’m more than happy with that fact that many thousands of people have downloaded my albums legally, for free. And maybe even listen to them!
TF: Thanks, we wish you all the best.
For those who want to check it out, the album can be downloaded at Demonoid. Xihilisk describes his as experimental indie/electronica, with a hint of chiptune, post rock, metal and several other genres.
On a sidenote, it appears that Demonoid has been inaccessible to Dutch users for a few days. The block happened after the site did some server maintenance, there is no official explanation yet, but we will post an unpdate as soon as we have more info.