If you have found yourself on my website reading my blog or listening to my beats you probably also stumbled upon my bio. So I’m going to spare you the shameless self promotion and get right to the point. I began “seriously” making beats around 2002. Lets define “seriously”, shall we? By serious, I mean seriously spending all my money on production tools to make beats. Making beats has always been a passion of mine and forking over money for hardware has rarely been a concern. I have owned a variety of music making hardware including the MOTIF Rack, Korg Triton, E-Mu SP-1200, and my beloved Akai MPC 2000XL Drum Machine. As a hardware based producer you can always expect to pay hardware prices. My decision to drop $1,000 into my first MPC2000XL was a no brainer. I sold beats, saved up, and bought my workhorse. Eventually I began producing music and getting paid doing what I loved.
Enter Propellerhead Reason 3.0
During the spring of 2007 I was introduced to Reason 3.0 some fellow beatmakers I met during college. The first time I heard a beat made using Reason 3.0 I couldn’t believe my ears. I could barely distinguish between a beat made using Reason or my MPC 2000XL. See… I progressed as a beatmaker believing in hardware’s’ “superior analog sound” and “god like sequencing abilities”. Truth be told, I could make a banging beat on my MPC in 5 minutes. But in order to rough mix and master it and add extra sounds I had to endure the painful task of tracking my beat into Pro Tools. I soon made the switch to software based production with the icing on the cake being it’s workflow. Upon downloading my first pirated copy of Propellerhead Reason 3 workflow, following creativity became king for me.
Meet the Pirate
I began downloading pirated software around the age of 13. As a teenager with creative and geek tendencies it was only natural to expect I stumble into piracy at some point during my adolescence. My parents were clueless to the fact that I was “stealing” intellectual property mostly because the Internet and computers were as foreign to them as Pakistan. There existed a grey area for adults in my parents generation to ethically guide their children through the rise of the Internet. Very few teenagers are capable of grasping the ethical, moral, and economic consequences of software piracy. I belonged to a unique generation and emerging movement of people who believed that everything on the internet should be FREE. The feelings of entitlement to “free” software had unfortunately become part of my life well into my twenties. Rushing my local Guitar Center and stealing hardware was never an option. I gladly worked, saved, and paid for the tangible tools I used on a daily basis but stole their digital counterparts. I won’t make an attempt to rationalize why I pirated production software while gladly paying for hardware, its irrelevant and would sound like an excuse. We are living during a very unique time in history where digital products are now categorized as consumer goods. Its going to become increasingly difficult for companies and developers to make a profit during these ethically turbulent times when everything is available for FREE, legal or not. Companies like Apple, with their App Store, are making smart moves in the digital marketplace by providing affordable software and efficient product delivery. Smart business models aside, companies are still losing millions of dollars to piracy. This equates to fewer jobs in the software industry and longer product development schedules.
The paradigm shift
For nearly a year I have been self employed in the digital entertainment industry. I produce and sell music, shoot and sell videos, manufacture and sell digital storage devices. It didn’t take long as an entrepreneur in digital content to realize the impact of piracy and illegal downloading. After dumping money and resources to develop digital products for a profit, I began to realize the potential monumental impact that bootlegging could have to a companies bottom line. A little over a year ago a change occurred in the way I did things, a paradigm shift if you will. I began purchasing music and software again. The foul habit of downloading pirated software via torrents has come to a halt. As a business owner, it is the morally and ethically responsible thing to do. As an individual, it marks a moment of growing up and owning up. My generation and each after it faces a serious flaw that could economically and morally undermine our nation and the world, the feeling of entitlement. We want instant gratification and immediate results with very little effort, work ethic, and determination. It’s got to stop and I’m doing my part by being responsible and supporting software companies I love.
Reason 6 Torrent…
I can happily say that I finally purchased my first legit copy of Propellerhead’s Reason 6 & Recycle 2.2. The USB dongle I desperately circumvented in the past has become part of my desk clutter. I’m not going to lie, it actually feels good to pay for awesome products that I use daily. Googling “Reason 6 Torrent” and “Recycle 2.2 Torrent” this last September was not an option because I finally went legit. It was never about the money, it was about a bad habit that lasted too long.
To some people this post may seem ridiculous, but it’s my attempt to lead by example and admit my mistakes and hopefully convince a few people along the way to follow my example. Pay for software and support the development of software packages you use. Hate it or love it, Capitalism is still the predominant mechanism employed to create most of the software we use daily. If you can’t afford it, don’t download it. Forgo instant gratification by working, saving, and droppin some coin! You will feel good and be more creative, trust me!