Pirate of the Airwaves

16 08 2016

My favourite theory about Piracy is that if many people could pay for what they downloaded for free, they wouldn’t bother buying it at all.

Which means that neither the artist or record company would be affected.

I might be wrong, but if you’re not totally sold on an album which will set you back $20, then why buy it at all?

Some of you know that I buy fancy limited edition vinyl records, I do so because they’re a kind of souvenir which is special and I can only get for a week or two before they’re all gone.

I don’t play these records, in fact I don’t even own a working turntable.

If I want to listen to music then I’m perfectly happy listening to something on YouTube or some streaming service, even the radio.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about.

I listen to a classic rock station at home, and I find that certain names pop up frequently, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Queen and David Bowie to name just a few.

Now I don’t know if anyone has considered this before but, If I am really keen on a particular artist, and their songs are played about twice a day on the radio, then what reason do I have to go out and spend $20 on a CD?

Sure the radio station pays royalties, and quite a lot actually.

I tried to run my own radio station from home at one point, but the licence fee was a killer, and that was partly why I shut it down, the other reason was that I never thought it would take off anyway and knew I’d get tired of it, which of course I did.

But do the royalties give the artist (or should I say their record company) as much as if the public went “Gosh I love that band, I really must buy one of their CDs”?

It’s a very fine line, you promote yourself online, or on the radio which helps people remember you and your music, and perhaps even buy it.

Or they hear you too often and don’t buy your work at all.




For Art’s sake

14 07 2016

My Mother would sometimes talk about art, She didn’t like Abstract because she “couldn’t make head or tail of it” and to be honest, I find it difficult to understand too, I’m sure a lot of people are in that boat.

But one day I understood something about my Mum, which was a bit of a revelation and it started during a conversation about art.

Mum liked pretty art, portraits, or landscapes, or kittens. She didn’t like art which was in any way confronting. Of course I knew that, but the light-bulb came on and I asked her a question.

“Mum, you do realise that art isn’t just supposed to be… pretty… don’t you?”

The look on her face told me that that was indeed what she thought.

So I told her that art is supposed to invoke an emotion, any emotion.

Fear, pain, grief, joy, love, hate, fear, loss, pain, lust and so on.

There had been one notable work at the time, called “Piss Christ” which she thought was really wrong and shouldn’t have been made. Mum had been bought up as a Christian, and I’m sure it irritated bits of her.

If you see a work of art, or indeed hear it if it’s music, and it causes an emotion to float to the surface, then it has done its job, and if people talk about it, well that’s even better.

Piss Christ had been discussed and condemned by articles in most of the local rags and by reports on the television news, therefore it had been successful.

Though what it was trying to say remains a mystery to me, and that’s alright too, art doesn’t need to be explained.

Do you remember seeing country singers on TV years ago? They’d come out onto the stage and sit on a stool, and tell a short story about the song they were about to sing, where they wrote it, and what it was all about, I always found that a little strange.

Let the viewer or the listener decide what the art is about, otherwise you turn people off

“Oh really? it’s about X?, I thought it was about Y… I’m not interested anymore”

Of course I remember Glen Campbell telling a story about a fan who didn’t like that gory song about the man’s body hanging on the wire… Wichita Lineman.

I wished I had woken up sooner and told Mum about this, perhaps it would have opened her mind to these things a little better, but I couldn’t always explain things all that well either, that ability seemed to have emerged much later.



Making a pledge.

11 07 2016

There’s a company out there which produces recorded work by artists, which lets the artist talk about their idea, and if the fans like the idea, they can pledge (key word there) money to the project. If the artist raises a particular sum, then work can begin on the project.

In theory it sounds wonderful, and ought to be, as a vinyl collector I have seen some great ideas bought from dream to reality.

I have bought a few items myself.

But here is where the problem is.

Their treatment of the product during packing, and the packaging of the product itself, results in damaged items upon arrival.

In one case, a print costing around $100, was man-handled and tossed in a tube that was far too big for it, It arrived in very poor condition.

Other members who were on the site’s forum had the same trouble.

Another recent package involved a 7″ single, which was put into a paper and bubble wrap packer and sent from the UK to Australia, it’s a wonder it made it at all.

As a result, although I’d like to support Artists who are using this site, I doubt I’ll buy anything from there in future, unless there’s a clear message to say that great care while handling and packaging of our items will be a priority.


Truth and lies

21 06 2016

People talk about Belief as though it is something which is true, but they are either mistaken, or wrong.

BELIEF is when you believe you have $100 in your pocket, and drive off to the shops, which are a fair distance away. You run in, choose your item and put it on the counter… you reach for your wallet or purse and discover that you only believed you had money with you.

Belief can be a very bad day indeed.

While a FACT is when you check your wallet first, see the $100 note is definitely in there and go off to get your item.

The Wizarding World

28 05 2016

We’re fast approaching a time where humanity will split, mostly due to our ideology. leaving those of us who accept science and rationality on one end, and those who believe in magical things such as religion and astrology on the other.

Some reading this now, may imagine the Wizards would be exceptionally clever, but it’s not so. a simple acceptance of progressive ideals is about all that’s needed, just a back turned on the silly, cruel and greedy.

Why waste our time, hammering truths into those who won’t accept it, the circular argument over what a theory is, for example,  gets us nowhere.

Perhaps it’s time to leave some people behind, and gather together friends and colleagues who will listen. Perhaps we can build a better world for ourselves and for those left behind?

Wolfie Rankin.




17 05 2016

I am disappointed with the human species.

I have been for a long time, and perhaps you’ve noticed as I’d rather identify as a wolf than a human.

People have great power to change the status quo, they could vote for change, but they don’t, politics is a broken light switch with left and right on it, every few years we flick the switch and get more of the same, it’s radical ideas that could save us, but we’re too timid to do anything about it.

We have deadly diseases and climate change which could be fixed reasonably quickly if we had the money to fund research, which we don’t, and yet we have trillions which goes to waste bombing the crap out of each other.

Sometimes our wonderful scientists come up with a cure, or at least a temporary fix which will keep us going until we find a cure, decades are spent in labs, trying to find reasons for why things go wrong, and how to fix them… and when they are finally fixed, The media praises a pretend man in the sky for this life saving miracle,  instead of the scientists who were the real heroes.

I want away from this planet, so desperately that it hurts.

I want a world that holds no hate in its collective heart, I want a world which doesn’t know anything about weaponry, I want a world which thinks and acts when it needs healing, I want a world entirely without religion, I want a world where you are allowed to love anyone or anything you like.

If reincarnation is real, I want nothing more to do with this World, I want to go out into the stars and find my home.

Wolfie Rankin.

The Universal Tip Jar.

12 05 2016

Let’s say that you live in Australia, You want to see Game of Thrones, but the only company offering it is Foxtel, which is a subscription cable company… which is too expensive for you. You don’t want the extras, you just want to see Game of Thrones.

So you download a pirate copy from the internet.

Or let’s say that you’ve found a stash of songs which aren’t available on mainstream sites, you love them and they’re in the highest quality possible, but again you’re not paying for them.

But you would like to.

Why isn’t there some sort of Universal Tip Jar on the internet, A small icon to the side of whatever platform you’re on, which you could click and donate money to… anyone.

Maybe it’s not about piracy, perhaps you simply like an artist, whether they sing, act, draw or simply make you feel good.

Perhaps they need help with medicine, perhaps they’re just getting by on very little.

A tip jar might be hard to implement and perhaps that’s why it hasn’t been adopted, but I reckon someone like Paypal could get it up and running.

What are your thoughts on this?

Wolfie Rankin.