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Some Perspective About Sharing Music

In our little corner of the universe, we have a really special thing going on here in the Percussion Community. We share ideas, experiences, and especially MUSIC.

The sharing of music is what makes this community great! We pass down generations of knowledge from one musician to another and it is honestly how the community keep growing and evolving. 


This is something that happens quite frequently in this community that is not only ethically wrong, but has a big impact on the economy of our activity. And that is:


That means sharing something that is available for purchase to someone else without them (or possibly anyone) paying for it.

Surprisingly, this topic is controversial in our community. Some people share music without knowing they are sharing illegally, some share music and know it is wrong, but don't think it's that big of a deal, and some even thing that all music should be free and nobody should have to pay for anything at all.

But for anyone who has spent months, or even years working on a product, you know how important it is to get paid for the work you do.

This all seems pretty straightforward. If you are selling something, people who use it should pay for it. But in the world of sharing music we often don't know how devastating illegal sharing can be for an author. So we share stuff, and don't think too much about it. OR, we genuinely don't know that what we are sharing is even on sale and have no idea what we're doing is wrong.



Let’s say someone purchases a digital book for $12. They start using it and think wow this book is amazing! I love all the little details, the way it teaches me musical notation, practice tips to help break down the music, and the tempo threshold check boxes really keep me on track and motivated to practice!

That person now thinks, “Wow, this is great. I am going to use this with all my private lesson students.” So they send the book to 4 of their students, and even sends a copy to another instructor friend so they can use it with their students.

Teacher A Paid $12
Student A1 Paid $0
Student A2 Paid $0
Student A3 Paid $0
Student A4 Paid $0

Teacher B1 Paid $0 

5 People x $12 =
Profit Lost: $60

Student A1 - Doesn’t Share
Student A2 - Doesn’t Share
Student A3 - Shares with an upcoming freshmen on their drumline
Student A4 - Is active in online communities. Someone in a community server says, “I suck at rolls. Anyone know how I can get better?” And Student A4 saves the day by sharing the link to the .pdf download. Student A4 thinks “This is great! I am helping so many people!”

Community Student Downloads: 50 

50 people x $12 =
Profit Lost: $600



Teacher B - Now has a "FREE" book. They think of this as a "free" item because they got it for free. And what do you do with free things? SHARE THEM!! Teacher B now shares this “free” book with their students in the drumline group chat so they can get better too.

Student B1 - Snare Paid $0
Student B1 - Snare Paid $0
Student B1 - Snare Paid $0
Student B1 - Tenor Paid $0
Student B1 - Tenor Paid $0
Student B1 - Bass Paid $0
Student B1 - Bass Paid $0
Student B1 - Bass Paid $0
Student B1 - Bass Paid $0
Student B1 - Bass Paid $0

10 People x $12 =
Profit Lost: $120



This cycle can continue on and on over time without the original seller knowing and to everyone doing it, it is not seen as wrong, but HELPFUL! But even stopping right here the profit lost is pretty substantial.

65 People x $12 =
Profit Lost: $780


And let’s say this happens 100 times a year. There are 100 people who do purchase the book over the course of the year, but end up sharing it.

1 Person Sharing Can Lead To A $780 Profit Loss x 100 People/year =
Profit Lost: $78,000/year




The biggest issue here is that for you, the transaction is harmless. You got a book from a friend or teacher, and you gave a copy to someone else. Then you go on with your life.

It doesn’t negatively effect you in any way. It actually helps you. You get better from the book, and you become an awesome person to the people you share it with because it helps them too. But that is why it can be so deceiving. It is nothing but good things for you, but the author of the book really suffers without anyone knowing.

So what should I do? Turn down free stuff? How can I know what to share and what not to share?

I can’t tell you how to live your life. But if we want this community to grow we need to be more mindful of the companies that serve us.

I would just be aware of the material you are using, know the author/original creator, and know if the material is currently for sale. If the author is still selling that item, either don’t use it/share it, or purchase it! For you it seems like only a few dollars, but for the author it really adds up. And this can mean the difference between growing to do bigger better things, or even having to shut down the operation completely. Which Gridbook has been on the verge of doing many times.

Just something to thank about as you navigate the wild world of music sharing!

Peace & Love,