And that's why I hate illegally downloaded books.
Yeah, I know. Just wait for it...
Okay, so he was really more of a FOLK MUSICIAN, but still. I grew up in a house that was 100% funded by the money my dad made through his music. He booked 200 concerts a year for the first 13 years of my life and recorded and produced 10 albums. We counted on the money he made from record sales and touring to pay for the mortgage, food, expenses, as well as the money he'd need to put out his next record.
Yes, I said record, because eight of the ten albums he recorded were printed on ACTUAL VINYL. (And we can just not talk about how old that makes me.)
We traveled with my dad whenever there wasn't school, or for special trips, and when I got old enough to do money math, I often worked the merch table. That experience is why I'm completely unsurprised that people think it's okay to pirate books and music on the internet. With the ten-year-old daughter of the artist behind a flimsy card table at the back of the venue, people would stand there and say things like,
"Oh, don't buy that album. I have it at home. I'll just record you a copy."
I honestly think that if you've never had to rely on an artist for your livelihood, you just can't understand. So let me explain it.
My friends' parents, for the most part, worked in an office and came home at night. Because I grew up in a suburb of the Bay Area, some of my friends dads lived in the city during the week and came home on the weekends, but regardless, working a typical job means that you go to work and then you come home and do home/life stuff.
Working as an artist is a little more than full-time.
When my dad wasn't traveling, away from his family for days/weeks/a month at a time, his time was spent:
1. Working his ass off to book concerts to make sure we could make it through the next year
2. Spending hours and hours inside the studio to record the next album (Added bonus: he paid for each of those hours himself)
3. Writing new songs to have something to record
4. Practicing either by himself or with the guys he sometimes toured with
5. Doing all the business stuff like taxes, bookkeeping, etc.
And somewhere in that crazy mix, he made time to attend all of our sports games and school events, take us out for weekly funtime with daddy, and keep up on his Honey-Do list for things that needed doing around the house. He also volunteered with our local church and taught a Bible study in our home.
He worked tirelessly to keep us in a great house, in a great neighborhood, and even managed to send me and my brother to private school.
But, you know... why support him by buying his albums? Just record them from your neighbor! <-- can you even imagine what that would've meant for my family in this day and age, where copies can so easily be shared digitally?
Now, because I'm a little insane, I'm striving to make a living as an artist. I don't have my dad's mad songwriting skills, so I'm writing prose. And eventually, I'll have a book for sale. If current trends continue, it's possible that more copies of my book may be pirated than legally purchased. There's a wide-eyed artist part of me that wants my books to be in the hands of as many people as possible. Then there's the part of me that likes to feed my daughter and pay for the roof over our heads.
If you want to know what effect pirating will most likely have on me as a debut author, read Saundra Mitchell's brilliant blog, "Free" Books Aren't Free.
I would add this: No matter how successful the artist/musician/author/actor is, that person worked hard and sacrified to be where they are, and continues to work hard and sacrifice to entertain, enrich, and bring culture to your life. Luck is definitely a part of it, and maybe you think their life is easier than yours because they get to "play" for a living. But in my experience, I've found that the difference between someone making a living as an artist and someone who wishes they could comes down to one thing: The person making a living was willing to work for it.
Please don't derail their efforts and sacrifices by justifying stealing from them.