Here’s a really great interview with Buck 65. Among other things, he speaks very candidly about bootlegging and how it affects him as an artist as well as on a personal level. I’ve never heard an artist comment about music piracy in the context of his/her relationship with the fans before. I wonder if Buck’s sentiments are common among those in the same predicament. Link

…part of my thinking leading up to the decision to make a bunch of music available for free, whether it was the ‘Dirty Work’ thing through MySpace, or the ‘Strong Arm’ mixtape project that I did through my website, was I really got to the point where I believed that for better or worse, the value in music – or at least the perceived value in music, had just gone. People just didn’t really see much value in it, and I was not going to continue to fight a losing battle or cry over spilt milk. So I thought well, if people don’t really want to pay for music any more anyway then I might as well really try to adopt a new way of thinking, and try to find new ways to make a living, and as far as music goes, you might as well give it away for free, if people are not ever going to pay for it anyway.

…on my last tour, I tried to help out my own cause. At a certain point, what becomes the focus for me is trying to make a living, and I don’t really have a fall back plan, so I have to figure out ways within this one thing I know how to do, to try to get my rent paid. So on my last tour, I put together a whole bunch of bootleg titles, and I was selling them, and about half way through the tour, I started to see the sales go way way down, and you know it didn’t take a genius to figure out it only took that number of weeks for it to spread all over the internet. But I was coming face to face with people who were walking up to the merch table, looking at everything that I had available there, and saying, ‘I’ve downloaded all this stuff, there’s nothing here for me’, and then just walking away. It’s kind of like, it’s one thing just to know that it’s happening out there, and it’s invisible. But to be confronted with it, face to face, to have a person walk right up to your face, and to say ‘I’ve stolen all your art, and I don’t give a shit, fuck you, you have nothing for me,’ and then just walking away, it’s weird, it’s really weird. Then later that night, you’re on stage, and you’re looking at all these people, and you’re performing for them, and you’re there to provide a service for them, and at the same time trying to remember all the things that are valuable and good about what you’re doing in the first place, i.e.: ‘I love this, I love music and that’s why I’m here’. But sometimes you have to fight off the feeling that your audience is also your enemy in a weird way. They’re the people preventing you from putting food in your mouth. At the end of the day they don’t give a shit about you. They will rob money right out of your pocket if they have the opportunity to do so. You have to try really hard to not think about that, but the reality of it is, essentially that’s what’s going on, and it’s gotten to the point, where people don’t mind telling you right to your face, ‘I don’t know who you are as a person, you may or may not be nice, but as far as what you can do for me, you know, it’s just a matter of what I can take from you, and if you can make some sort of separation, and separate out the human part of you, and really think about it in terms of, I don’t know what, cause it’s not business, stealing doesn’t really fit into a definition of business in a way that really makes sense.. But if you can make the separation, ‘cause on a human level, to be confronted with that face to face, it’s tough, so you kind of have to put yourself aside almost completely, and accept the fact that you’re just this thing for people, and that’s a hard thing to accept, and it is a lot to ask it’s hard to say I’m going to put myself as a person with feeling aside as I try to do this job, but it’s what you have to do.

see also:
Sage Francis and Buck 65 Join Forces