Milan Polak: not giving money for a CD you download is stealing

Some time ago I talked to a fan and she said, "I really love your music, I downloaded all your CD's". I was stunned by the way she said it like as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I told her, "Thank you for stealing my money" and she replied, "I'm not STEALING any money from you, I'm just not GIVING you any!" - and there we have the problem:

People obviously have a wrong comprehension. They don't seem to take into consideration that making a CD costs money. Apart from the fact that I - as most of us - have to pay my rent, electricity, etc., recording a CD also costs money. As much as I love my work but someone has to pay for the studio (which can be up to 1.000 dollars/DAY!), the musicians, the producer, the engineer, the mixing, the mastering, the photographer, the artwork, etc. All these people obviously do not work for free.

I mean you wouldn't go to the supermarket and just take whatever you want without paying or get a hair cut or go to a restaurant for dinner without paying. In all these cases it's understood that one has to pay but when it comes to music people have this distorted way of thinking that music is a free product for everyone.

It is kind of saddening when I read a CD review where someone says, "Yeah, Milan's songs are great but the production is a bit weak." I mean, I too would like to have the sound of the new Nickelback album but productions like these cost up to 2 million dollars. Unfortunately, my record company doesn't give me a budget for a production like this and you know why? Because they don't sell enough of my CD's. Now one could say, "Well right but obviously Milan is not as famous as those bands"... True BUT when I compare the amount of fan mail I get with my sales it doesn't take the genius of Einstein to see that something's not matching...

At this point I am writing my new CD and I am planning to do everything myself. Not because I am an egomaniac but because I just don't want to spend all the money I spent in the past when the sales don't even recoup my expenses.

I hear so many people complain about the bad quality of music you get to hear on radio or TV today but let me tell you something: it might just as well be YOUR fault! Let me try to explain: a band like AC/DC or Van Halen or Kiss or Iron Maiden (and the list goes on forever) took several albums to develop and grow. Maybe they changed their sound or song writing a bit, maybe they took several years to finish a record (just think of Metallica's famous black album). All this is not possible for a new band anymore and that's why there's hardly any new great bands emerging nowadays. Record companies just do not have the budgets anymore. While established bands already have made enough money in the past to survive, an upcoming band is almost certainly doomed to perish.

If you like any of those great old bands then make sure to catch them when they come to play near you, might as well be the last time you get a chance to see a great live band as music in this form is definitely a dying art thanks to the illegal file sharing problem.

Thank you for having taken the time to read this. Hopefully it has helped to give you a better insight on what's going on behind the scenes of making a CD and why SELLING CD's is so important.

All the best,
Milan Polak