Sex, Drugs, And Bubblegum Pop (Week 33)


Sex, Drugs, And Bubblegum Pop is the most outlandish column on UTG. Written by Mr. Jayce, vocalist for Secret Secret Dino Club and all-round funny guy, this column isn’t as much about the music as it is the experiences people in the music industry have.

WARNING: This column does and will continue to contain content some readers may find offensive. If you don’t have a sense of humor, this column is probably not for you.

There has been a big transition in my life over how I view the value of songs and music. It probably has to do with the people I keep in my company, and just growing up. The way my brain operates and the things I find important are drastically different now than they were when I was 17, but I would hope everyone would feels that way.

I used to write a ton of songs. Even being a professional songwriter now, I generally write less than I used to. I definitely finish less ideas than I used to. That could be a personal filter, or me not allowing myself to finish bad ideas, or just a lack of motivation. When I used to write relentlessly (wrote over 300 songs before my first record deal), I didn’t really value my songs as a writer. I would put out songs for free all the time and loved the idea of people downloading them and spreading the word only through songs. No other sort of promotion was ever done for my band but it seemed to work for some strange reason. I was more into the idea of creating a fan base, rather than creating good timeless music.


As I got older and kind of yelled at by managers and labels, I realized that I was really devaluing my songs. And in return, so were my fans. With every free song given away, the number of downloads on each would go down each time. My fan base wasn’t really growing. After signing a record deal and a co-publishing deal, I was no longer allowed to just release songs whenever I want, which really put things in perspective for me.

Without legally being able to release music under my name for 2.5 years (although I still slipped some things in under the radar), I got to appreciate the songs I had written and began to realize the importance of a song as a time stamp in my life. Countless hours spent recording, editing and mixing songs was feeling like too much of a burden to see no profit. This is the part where everyone starts to think I am a dick.

You should pay for music. A dollar for a song is really not a big deal, I don’t care how broke you are. If “music is your life”, how could you devalue your life so much by stealing low quality mp3s? There are a few reasons people steal music. The main ones are greed, selfishness, and a feeling that you are special and you don’t have to pay for music. Some people think because they are in a band, they don’t have to pay for music or pay to go to shows. Pretty ironic how that works, huh.

Justifying stealing music is just pathetic. If you think times have changed, or there is a different business model, they haven’t.  It’s just an excuse you tell yourself hoping it will one day be acceptable to take things from people without giving anything back. It’s a diversion of responsibility that you take away from yourself and place on technology. Just because you can do something doesn’t make it right, or your right to do it.

I don’t care if you buy Insane Clown Posse on iTunes, or Adele, or a band from your town. Every artist of every genre and level needs your support from buying music, and needs you to urge your friends to buy music. If you and your friends make it taboo to download music, it will catch on. Maybe then, your favorite bands won’t break up. Or even worse, pathetically get back together.

Mr. Jayce

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Guest

    I absolutely love this post. I’m a college student and I see left and right many of my friends and classmates downloading music illegally. I don’t because I think it’s wrong to pirate music for the same reasons you say: it’s devaluing to the song/artist.