Stratovarius and the fight against piracy

        Stratovarius is about to release their next album ELEMENTS PT.1, next month (January 2003), and the songs are already available in the net for download, and this made Mr. Timo Tolkki (whom I respect, beacuse he is an incredible musician and guitarist) very angry, and moved him to write the following message in the Stratoforum.

Downloading Elements pt 1
I just got back from the promotour and received the news that it´s on the net already.
I have taken the necessary steps to find out the persons, who have put it there.
I have contacted our lawyer and the internet department of the Helsinki police.
I already have in my possession some ip numbers and there´s more to come.
We have obtained a list of journalists who have
received the promo copy.
We will find those people who did this and they will face a courtcase for sure.
They are transmitting internationally copyrighted material without permission.
The same goes to anybody who downloads this stuff from internet.
It is morally wrong and it is also illegal because of the copyright.
Don´t download unless you don´t wanna get into trouble.
We have means to find out these things.
If you think that you have the right to download copyrighted Stratovarius material you are wrong.
In that case I don´t want you as a fan.
There will be soundclips available on our OFFICIAL web site in time, just like there are clips for those who want to check out Strato.
I am not gonna write these things again.
To close this, you might want to be very careful what you donwload. There are already several false versions of Elements in the net and some of them contains viruses too.

[Edited by TimoTolkki on 12-12-2002 at 07:09 PM GMT]


    Well, no point in telling you that this was followed by thousand of replies, pro and against donwloading MP3. For some, the problem is the high prices of the CD´s so the responsible for this issues are record companys. Record Companys looks forward to maximiza their profit. It is like this, If not, why is anyone going to bother to build a business. Their objective is: to make money. And in order to maximize profit they should choose the price that makes them earn the most. There is no, companys that care for fans, they are not charity organizations for the poor CDless fan. 

    In another message, Timo said something like: "If you don´t have money, you can´t buy CD´s, go make some money if you want". I couldn´t agree more, the reason why so few people buy Ferraris is becuase of its high prices. With CD´s some people who has the money will buy it, and the ones who doesn´t have money, won´t buy. 

    The thing is that it is so easy to download and avoid paying the price of the CD´s and have a similar (thought I think much worse) version of a CD. Maybe a lower price would encourage people to buy the CD´s and the MP3 would not spread so much. So I think that considering that it is so easy to download the songs, lowering prices might be a good strategy. But you have to compare it to the other strategy: keeping the original prices, AND fighting against piracy, as Timo seems to be doing.

    I think that what most pushes people to download MP3, at least metal songs (that are not in MTV almost never) is the Metal Web-Zines (yeah just like this one, so what, I am also supporting the bands here, as well as all the other metal web-zines). There you can find opinions and reviews to thousands of albums, and almost no one can buy albums of so many bands (specially after the explosion of thousands of Power Metal bands the last years). So in order to know them all you have to download. That is why everyone knows at least something of all the bands, since they are not played in TV or radio, the only way to know something is to download. For example, anyone can have an opinion of all the CDs of a band like Bon Jovi. Because you see 2 or 3 videos in MTV, and you hear other songs in the radio, so you really get to know the album without spending a cent. In metal, this is not like this, so the MP3 are the way to know music without paying. The problem is that it can replace most of the album (videos and radio did not replace albums).
So you go to a web-zine, read an over praising review of a CD, and then you have to download a couple of songs to see how it really sounds. Well, its also a way of promoting, so it is a Pull-Push factor.

    Anoter fact that we should consider is this. I think that the 20th century was the first time that some kind of goods are easy to copy, for a minimum cost (audio, movies, software) and the copy crime was born. But these happen for one easy-to-understand reason. The cost of this goods, for example an audio CD, are quite particular. The cost of making one is VERY HIGH: recording, producing, guest musicians, editing, mixing, the cover image, packaging etc (for example: $50000). But the cost of making 2 of these CD´s is not the double (2*50.000=100.000). Its only the first cost of recording, plus copying the CD and packaging it (50.000 + 15 = 50.015, supposing that copying and packaging cost $15). Well I hope you get what I mean. In economy this is called marginal cost. Similar cost are for movies and software. Well, I think that, when one business faces this kind of costs, they must know that the probability of piracy is big. For other products the cost are never like this. Making the 2nd good is exactly the double of making the first one. So the conclusion is THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS VERY LOW MARGINAL COST, but this has its bad side: a high probability of piracy.

    Well, this is what I wanted to say, that is different to what has been said. Please feel free to give your opinion in the guestbook.


Orchestral Power Metal


        At this point of Power Metal history, and considering the orchestration matters, there are two postures with two bands representing it. Rhapsody who since the first album its main feature was the incredible orchestration that accompanied the metal part and blended miraculously. And Blind Guardian which since “Nightfall in Middle Earth” and Specially with “A Nigh at the Opera” opted for the synthesizers to do the orchestration. The two bands had their matters. In interviews Luca or Alex would say something like: “the synth are not the real thing, and only the real instruments can express the feeling in our music” and when asked about playing live : “we use tapes with the orchestral parts recorded to play live, Alex has already too much job in the keyboards, and anyway playing orchestra in a keyboard is not as good as the real instruments. In the case of Hansi or Andre they would go: “all the orchestral parts are played by Mathias Weisner in synthesizers” and when playing live “we have a keyboard player (I think Wisner himself) so that all the music you are hearing is really played live” probably an irony to the bands that use recorded parts.

         Arranging a little orchestra is a difficult thing and Rhapsody does it amazingly, the best orchestration I have seen in metal, and probably what makes them my favourite band. Blind Guardian did an excellent job with “A night at the opera”, it is pretty artificial, and that doesn´t mean bad, just different, though I prefer the real orchestration Rhapsody does, specially in “Legendary Tales” and “Symphony of Enchanted Lands”.

         I haven´t been lucky enough to see any of this band live but from what I heard Rhapsody improved a lot the live playing  that was not that good at the beginning. Blind Guardian is playing very little from “ANATO”, but they could finally play “And then there was silence” at Wacken which must be an incredible experience. Anyway since they play drums, bass, two guitars, one or two keyboards and four or five voices they are not able to reproduce the complexity of the album but simpler versions of the songs.

        This two bands have chosen what they think works better for them, so its not like there is one better way to do it, though you may like one or other way better. Rhapsody and Blind Guardian will always be two of my favorites bands ever.         This two bands have chosen what they think works better for them, so its not like there is one better way to do it, though you may like one or other way better. Rhapsody and Blind Guardian will always be two of my favorites bands ever.          

        This two bands have chosen what they think works better for them, so its not like there is one better way to do it, though you may like one or other way better. Rhapsody and Blind Guardian will always be two of my favorites bands ever.