DISTURBED frontman David Draiman, who recently landed his own label imprint (Intoxication Records) through Warner Bros. Records, spoke to Metal Edge magazine about his stance on illegal music downloading.
"I think that labels are foolish in not using the Internet, instead of being afraid of it," he said. "I think that if AOL Time Warner were smart enough, they'd enter into a contract agreement with their own company — AOL — and agree on one thing: They have the ability to track anywhere that a message comes from, no matter what service you're signed up with, via an IP address. You just make sure that whenever a song is downloaded by somebody utilizing your server, whether it's AOL, or Mindspring, or anybody else, you access a minimal charge for these downloads. It could be 75 cents or a dollar, a dollar-fifty… This way, at least you're making money off it. At least this way the people who are supposed to be making money off the product still can, as well. It still gives people the opportunity to go ahead and download as much as they want. It's a standard fee for doing a service, or for having a service available to them. They'll do it, and at the end of the month, they'll have their AOL statement, or their Mindspring statement, and it will have their download tax added onto the bill. And it will keep on going. The labels don't think of this. It seems like I've been talking about this to deaf ears on this topic for the last five years. Before we even got signed, I was talking about this. It's just preposterous to me that labels, for the most part, are the reasons for their own demise. They're just so stuck in this old way of thinking, and unfortunately, the good elements of their old way of thinking have all gone away. They don't spend enough time developing artists, they throw a whole bunch of shit against the wall and wait for something to stick, and when it doesn't, they let it fall off.
When asked if he feels that getting the music free precludes fans from buying the actual album, Draiman said, "Nonsense. I think that the problem isn't with them downloading the song, the problem is when they buy the record and when they burn a million discs off their computer for all their friends. That's the reason why every single band, no matter who you are, your sales are chopped by fifty to sixty percent after your first week out. It's a huge problem, but instead of giving people more reasons to buy the product, they don't worry about that. I think you have to enhance the value of the product. Like when KISS was putting out records, their 'Alive' record sold so well because it made you feel like you were part of the concert experience. There was also an actual program in the thing, all these pictures, the KISS Army stuff… There's so much stuff that added to the value of that package. There wasn't a KISS fan out there who didn't want the whole thing, because everything that came along with the music was so worthwhile to them. It's not rocket-science, this stuff."