Logic in the Music Industry World

9 Aug

A man I know teaches home music recording.  He writes blog posts, records, and mixes songs, markets tutorials, and mentors small groups of musicians who write their own music.  His fellow musical artists tend to be a content group.  Nothing too controversial occupies their common blogosphere beyond personal preference for certain equipment.

A while back, as he tells me, he published his views on pirating music software.  He presented a case along with supporting reasons: that downloading a tool called a plugin without paying the technicians who labor months to create, test and perfect such devices amounted to theft.

Chill musicians suddenly revealed previously concealed claws and let fly demeaning epithets and ugly expletive-laced insults.

Among the kinder and gentler name-calling, also known in the Logic World as the Ad Hominem Fallacy were these frequent accusations: You’re just…..

  • judgmental
  • narrow
  • high and mighty
  • too black and white

….topped off with various riffs on this line:

  • It must be nice to be rich and able to afford these products!

Why do people default to mudslinging?  It’s easy and doesn’t require thinking.  Often a responder will use character defamation in lieu of offering a reasoned argument.  I’ve noticed that more often than not these folks don’t even HAVE a compelling argument!

Well, what about our ‘high and mighty’ blogger with a conscience – how did he reply? Silence.  He simply ignored the hurtful slander.

A different group of fellow musicians apparently felt more comfortable challenging my friend’s definition of THEFT.  This approach is more commendable because the fault finder is at least attempting to THINK!  Here’s the best of those who offered a counter argument:

If someone doesn’t have the money in the first place to buy this music-creation software, then whether he ‘pirates’ it or not, it amounts to the same thing for the software company.  If he had had the money, he would have purchased it. But he doesn’t.

This responder seems to be saying in essence – ‘it’s not theft if you’re poor and you download something without paying.  It would only be theft if you HAD the money and then didn’t purchase it.’

How should a Logical Joe challenge someone who advocates changing the definition of the critical term?  A handy tool is to use the ‘Reduce it to the ridiculous’ response:

So you’re saying that if I don’t have the money to rent or buy a house, and your vacation cottage happens to be vacant, then I should be able to stay in it without paying you or without you even knowing that I am ‘squatting’?   For since it wasn’t being rented out anyway, you haven’t lost any money.  You suffer no real harm!

I know that the above is not quite an exact replica of the original argument, but you get the idea.

One other ‘it’s not theft’ justification focused on the ‘high cost‘ of the product.  According to this line of reasoning:

If the software company sold their product at a more reasonable price, then people wouldn’t bypass paying for it.

This line of reasoning shouts: ‘Arrogance and Ignorance!  For how do YOU know how much money, time, frustration and skill a software team poured into the development and marketing of their software?   At the very least it is based on speculative presuppositions pulled out of thin air!

So what is a quick Logical Jane response?  When in doubt, ask a question:

  •  And just how do you know that? (that people wouldn’t steal the software plugin if the price were lower)

By the way, did you notice how our last reasoner redefined ‘theft’ as bypass paying for it?  That’s a clever tactic that you shouldn’t let slide.

That ploy raises an important point.  If two people on opposite sides of an issue cannot or will not agree on a mutual definition of a key term, then any discussion that follows is a waste of time and energy.

Rule # 1 in Logic: A clear and mutually accepted definition of a key term is the starting point for any productive exchange of ideas.

So how did my home recording entrepreneur friend deal with this surprise dust storm of contrary views?  Besides ignoring the name calling, he did engage in measured back and forth online conversation with one man who ‘attempted’ to offer a charitable and somewhat reasoned argument on behalf of ‘bypassing remunerating’ the software engineers. But when they couldn’t agree on just exactly what constitutes ‘theft’, they had to agree to disagree.  A very reasonable way to leave such an exchange.



One Response to “Logic in the Music Industry World”

  1. Patricia Godel Gray August 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

    Hi, Maria!

    It’s good to read your blogs again. I have been up to my ears in the mailing for the DC Immaculata schools reunion. over 3000 pieces of mail!

    I’m still thinking my way through Rosaria’s book – in the adoption section now. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality they showed to the young people, hoping the guests would see that it was Christian faith and generosity that motivated them (K and R).

    A friend gave me a book about Western Colorado written by the grandfather of the couple whom we met on the train two years ago. Several generations are named David Lavender with different middle names. We plan to read it en route east in October. The David and wife whom we met are teachers at Telluride – a snow ski resort with year-round residents.

    Steve’s involved in a project to fund and build a cover for the ancient machinery that is outside the Historical Museum – which was built for the Denver and Rio Grande RR in 1912.

    Did I tell you we have a new pastor, as of July 1 – Lisa Petty, descendant of several methodist ministers, including a grandmother, among the first group of women who were ordained in the US. She’s lively, inclusive to the max, and encouraging us to “Go Change the World” – tomorrow she has the day off since the United Methodist Women’s unit here will do the whole service. I get to be an usher!

    I need to get busy on the August birthday cards…please tell me again, when yours is/was. 👑 I promise to write it down.

    When does school start again for you?? It’s next week or the week after, here. CBS will be studying Genesis.

    Going tonight to see a movie at Steve’s cousin’s house. Out in a flat green place between two rectangular groves of trees, he erects a huge wall of baled straw, and attaches a white tarp as a screen. Family and friends bring snacks. Last week it was rained out. This time the movie is SING! –

    Hope all’s well with family and friends, Love, Trish

    On Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 3:47 PM, Surprised by Logic wrote:

    > Maria posted: “A man I know teaches home music recording. He writes blog > posts, records, and mixes songs, markets tutorials, and mentors small > groups of musicians who write their own music. His fellow musical artists > tend to be a content group. Nothing too controvers” >

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