Was out exercising with the random shuffle. It's great to hear Juan Diego Florez and then the Beatles. It's not so great to get a track that's an entire act of an opera, or else a track from a CD of an opera that's all recit. At least the recit tracks are usually under 30 seconds.
But that "entire act" track got me thinking about recordings of operas, and the idea of piracy.
I have never recorded an opera from the audience. Even if I wanted to, I don't have the equipment. But I don't want to deal with the hassle, nor do I wish to break the law and risk getting kicked out, just to have a (cough-ridden) recording of an opera I've attended. I just want to enjoy the moment. However, there are people out there who not only record but willingly share those recordings with other opera fans. Share, as in, free. I want to point out that I'm not including radio broadcasts in this. To me, if it's broadcast on the radio, anyone can record it to listen to again later. Not to sell, but to listen and share. But these pirated recordings... I do wonder sometimes what the artists themselves think. Of course each person is different. If it's taking money out of their pockets, I imagine they wouldn't be too pleased. On the other hand, isn't it sort of flattering to think that there are these unofficial recordings out there, passed around among fans? Perhaps creating new fans, even? Now, I have heard some singers profess that pirated recordings send a bad message. Not sure what/how/why... perhaps I'm naive... Does it send a message (to whom?) that it's ok to record live performances? I doubt it. I'm pretty sure most adults are aware of the legal stuff surrounding it. Does it prevent people from buying tickets? "I've heard this crappy audience recording, so why go see it live?" Does it prevent people from buying CDs? "I've heard this crappy audience recording, so why buy a totally unrelated CD of the artist I heard on the crappy recording?" I doubt it. If anything, it's just the opposite.
Confession: I have come across some pirated recordings, mostly of Nathan Gunn because people would just give them to me, but also of some others. So I guess I've broken the law by accepting and occasionally sharing these recordings. I did once make a video that I was asked to remove... and I did, immediately, with tons of apologies and promises not to do it again, etc. I wasn't trying to be sneaky - I honestly thought at the time that I was doing a nice thing. Yes, I am naive about the music business. And no, don't ask me for a copy of it - it's gone.
But now you all know ... It's true... I'm a scofflaw! A rebel! I confess!!