Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lubomyr Melnyk is TICKED OFF

We thought we'd share with you a bit of a rant we received from pianist/composer Lubomyr Melnyk, whose wonderful music we've highlighted in the past. He's upset about people downloading his recordings off the internet for free. Read on...

The Day The Music Died....

The record people who issue my music on CD have been wondering why no one has been buying the Cd-s lately.   A visit to the internet is all it took to answer that.

---- !!!  I want to ask all those people who created internet sites which offer illegal and free downloads of various composers' music, and all those people who went there and took the CD-s for free, did you really think about what you were doing?

Did you really think that "Oh, it doesn't matter, these artists are all millionaires anyway. and what difference can it make to them, "# etc. etc. etc..... Well, it has made a very big difference, really.

For one thing, it means that no more Cd-s of my work can get issued,  ---- because the small companies can not afford to do it ...

In the last year, BANDURA Records ---- that has been pumping in a lot of hard work to bring Continuous Music into the world, has sold 3 --- three ! CD-s --- in this entire year.  The record store in San Francisco that has been the one bright spot in this dismal night of CD-sales, has totally stopped ordering my music ... UNSEEN WORLDS that worked so hard on KMH, hasn’t been able to sell the thousand CD-s that cost so much to make.  Unable to recover the costs, they have given up plans to make other issues of my work.

And I, who had hoped that soon I could put out some new music on CD and give people more of this rare piano music, will not be doing that.

Together with the thousands of others in the music world, where people worked and fought so hard to get ahead and bring their vision out into the light, I am now "out of work".  Hundreds and hundreds of music stores have closed down all over the world,  thousands of people have lost their jobs, and composers who gave their lives to creating music have all lost hope ....

Just what did all of you who stole the CD-s over internet think ---- that producing a CD is free and takes just 10 minutes??    Sure, that is what you told yourself, but you knew it wasn't true. BANDURA Records and UNSEEN WORLDS put in a LOT of work, time and money into creating the CD-s of my music works ....  and they have not made anything on it.  In fact. BANDURA Records has only lost money on making CD-s over the last 5 years.  UNSEEN WORLDS has yet to recover the costs of making their KMH re-issue.

And I, who drive a rusty car from 1986 and have not had a new piece of clothing or shoes since I was teenager and my parents bought these things for me, I who was willing to endure 39 years of shit poverty because I had a dream ----- that one day, this Continuous Music, that needs so much time and work to keep alive, --- this pathetic dream that one day, one lovely day, enough people would care enough for this music that they would actually buy an LP or a CD of it,  ---  I had this really stupid dream that IF enough people would do this,  I could live. This stupid dream is no more.

Those of you who did not want to fork out the price of two pizzas for my Cd-s, you KNEW that there is no other pianist in the world whose fingers and body can create this new piano music ---- and deep inside, if you actually heard this piano music, you KNEW that since only I can  not play it now, then NO ONE, ever, ... will be able to play it, (unless someone wants to devote years and years of their life to the  difficult training that is needed --- ) then these official CD-s are the only hope for the future of this music.

Your barren MP-3 download with a Maxell or Verbatim stamp will be nothing.

--   and you knew that in stealing these CD-s, you were killing this delicate young sapling of a tree that was struggling to reach the light.

You created that sticky black cloud that blocked the sunlight from this young struggling tree.  You might tell yourself, that "I really didn't know" --- but really, you did !

You just didn't want to pay the price of a couple of pizzas.

I want to thank those few people in this world who actually bought a CD of my work.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for not stealing it ---  the way the others have done.  Thank you for supporting this music and my work.   For you, I will talk with BANDURA and see if we can do something special, just for you.

And those of you who did steal the CD-s over internet, or took a copy from your friend, you might have the moral courage to send at least ten bucks to BANDURA or , if you stole KMH, then to UNSEEN WORLDS --- or maybe just buy a CD !!  to give away as a present for your library....

This is now all in your hands.  Because the way things stand with the free downloading, there will be no new Continuous Music issued ... I can not make any more CD-s.

Because each of you downloaders banged your own personalized nail into the coffin of this beautiful music.

And not just my music and work, but the work of hundreds of other composers and musicians all over the world.

Lubomyr Melnyk
August, 2009

Those of you who purchased Cd-s, contact BANDURA RECORDS at their email:    for our plans to get you something extra.

There you go. Something to think about. Though we don't know if Melnyk can entirely blame his dearth of sales on downloading/piracy (in our view, the downloading issue isn't quite so black and white), it can't be pleasant for him or anyone else who is trying to make a living off their music to find it being given away for free on the internet.

And yes, Aquarius is the store in San Francisco to which he refers. No, we haven't really "stopped" ordering from him, but it has been a little while, and in fact we've been needing to do a restock order - but we were sort of waiting for him to put out another new disc for us to list... Unfortunately, based on what he said above, it looks like that's not gonna happen. A great shame if true.


Dave said...

The practice of downloading copywrited music is a big problem right now. Unfortunately, the music industry has been slow to react properly - helping to create a business model that offers something between buying CDs and downloading for free.

I feel for Melnyk. It sucks. It really sucks. But there are a lot of reasons why it's the problem that it is.

Skull Of A Moose said...

I think his biggest problem is making unique wonderful beautiful music... a surefire way to live a life well below the poverty line. I'm sure thirty years after he dies he'll be the talk of the town.

His other big problem is DISTRIBUTION i've been looking for some of his stuff FUCKING FOREVER with absolutely no luck, fuck, if you restock his stuff I'll buy one of each and I'm probably not the only one.

The rampant downloading of music is a problem (granted Im a musician myself and I wholeheartedly support people stealing our music- I work a job for money) but i don't think it's the only problem.

Anonymous said...

hey listen to this for FREE:

Anonymous said...

I can sympathize and empathize with all of the musicians out there who are trying to make a living off of their talent - it is hard, I understand.
But can I say this, without seeming like I am ignorant to all of the facts, more of a thought just to get people thinking, Devil's Advocate if you will.
Musicians and talented people who live off their talent have been struggling throughout human history. The download age is just a new medium for artists to struggle through. I'm sure all of those traveling muso's in the medieval times didn't go ranting to their local lord that people watched their live performances without paying.
I don't mean to attack this gentleman personally, but I just found it odd that he's talking about stealing music, and then at the end of the harangue, he tells all those who did by music to contact the label so they can get some extra goodies. Doesn't make sense.
I'm a bit of a sit on the fence kinda guy, and I am just another face in the ocean as well, when it comes to this subject, but I live in Aus, and I went from spending about $AUS20,000 a year on albums, including about $AUS7500 on POSTAGE ALONE, to being a uni student that only earns about $7500 a year. Does that mean I have to get rid of my love of music? Haven't I earned the right to get something back for all of those years buying music instead of saving for a house - shelter over my head? It gets stressful when you like something but you have to spend a) $US 25 on an album that has only 100 copies in print PLUS b) the $US15 postage and handling?
I'm not naive, I just wish I had more money than present so I can support these artists directly. Until then, if you're hungry, get a second job, and write a song about it.

josh said...

Melnyk is fucking crazy.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Skull Of A Moose said about distribution. Sometime during late June I made a trip to AQ specifically for Melnyk's cds, and when I found out they didn't have any in-stock (and the guy working said that they wouldn't have anything anytime soon) I checked at Amoeba in Berkeley who had never even heard of Melnyk. After that I decided to just order directly from the company itself and sent an e-mail to them only to get a vague response with no information on how to order. I noticed someone selling some vinyl on e-bay and Amazon carries KMH, but I'd rather buy from the label directly or AQ. It truly is beautiful and inspiring music, and I feel that even the people who downloaded these albums will want to buy them.

aQuarius recOrds, inc. said...

@anonymous (the most recent anonymous): I hope whomever you talked to here at AQ offered to special order the Melnyk discs you wanted, even if they'd be a while, which is true. Unfortunately we can't keep everything we'd like to in stock all the time, but we WILL do another Melnyk order one of these days! And the more folks who place orders with us for Melnyk stuff, the sooner we'll be able to do the order...

Anonymous said...

Melnyk is clueless.

Recordings of music are useless. What matters is performance. I buy CDs. Lots of them. And Aquarius is my favourite record store by far. Most people don't care as much about music as others, and something as rare and particular as Melnyk is hard to find, so when one reads a review or a mention, one goes to a record store and there's nothing there. So they go to the web and DL the stuff.

The world Melnyk (and I) grew up in is gone.

CDs are physical instantiations of 44.1kHz 16bit (44/16) data. Period. They are not as good as 192/24 data, just as 192kbps MP3 are not as good as 44/16. But 192 is good enough for non-critical listening, and 320 is even good for a lot of critical listening on moderate stereo systems.

He needs to get his head around what this stuff is: it's DATA not MUSIC.

If he wants people to appreciate his music - do what rock bands do: tour relentlessly. Play in front of an audience EVERY NIGHT. And do it not because it's an economic imperative - do it because you LOVE MUSIC.

Otherwise, STFU and deal with reality as it is, not as you would have it.

Anonymous said...

The keyword in this rant: CD
that is the problem.

Sell it in a super convenient and high quality manner like Bandcamp and you will see people happily buying your music.

I have bought maybe 1 CD in the past 5 years but dozens of FLAC albums.