TESTAMENT Guitarist Says Illegal Music Downloading Is 'Killing Artists' And 'Must Be Stopped'

TESTAMENT/ex-SAVATAGE guitarist and leader of ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO, Alex Skolnick, has posted the following message on his official web site:

"Every day I get a daily 'alert' informing me whenever my name is mentioned on a blog or website. Usually these are online reviews, recent interviews being posted, or just a mention on a web forum.

"Well, for the past several weeks, I've been seeing increasing numbers of links next to the words 'Alex Skolnick Trio,' with words like: 'Download All You Want, 'Free MP3s' 'Free Full Albums.' These are usually accompanied by tags such as Hotshare, Rapidfile, Megaupload, etc… The picture is one of countless examples. In other words, more and more illegal sites are joining in every day to, without our permission, give away our new album for free.

"My first instinct was to just stand idly by and accept it. 'There's nothing we can do, it's just what's going on right now, it's how it is, blah blah…' But then, as I was running on the treadmill at my gym, I thought about it deeply. And I got pissed. I realized I've been standing idly by at things my whole life. No more.

"Music is the stitching interwoven into the fabric of so many of our lives. How is it possible that something so valuable has been misused, abused, mishandled and run into the ground on all levels? Now, as if things aren't bad enough, we've got people taking our work, which we've put countless time, heart, soul and sacrifice into, and handing it out like a cheap pamphlet.

"If the majority of musicians are unable to achieve basic, respectable, economically viable careers, then the entire art form is in trouble. And the least I can do is voice how I truly feel. If just one person reconsiders obtaining their music from these illegal sites, then that's a small victory.

"So when someone asked where he could purchase [the new ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO album] 'Veritas', I posted some info along with this following message: 'Whatever you do, please don't get it from 'free download' sites. They are killing artists and music. They must be stopped.'

"What followed was an overwhelming flurry of activity on the Internet in support of this cause. It's been a worldwide call to arms. I've been joined by fans and musicians of all styles. Some are jazz musicians. Some are metal musicians. A few are in high-profile bands (LAMB OF GOD, ALL THAT REMAINS, DEVILDRIVER, UNEARTH…).

"Of course there are a few who believe in 'free-music ideals.' Some even have the audacity to imply that our motive is to get rich. These people are clearly disconnected from the realities of the music biz.

"I can assure you that in the band I'm most known for, TESTAMENT, no one has gotten rich. The other guys have outside work — blue-collar jobs and some have spouses that do as well.

"In my case, I've been able to channel guitar playing into work as a session guitarist and live/touring musician for hire. I consider myself lucky. Similarly, the guys in ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO get by on music but just barely. They're highly skilled players who are able to get session and live have to do as many local gigs as they can with whomever will hire them in order to get by. We've all paid dues that would cause some to never pick up their instruments again.

"I don't think it's asking too much for any of us, TESTAMENT or ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO, to live off of our recorded music on a basic level. Do you?"

Read more at this location.


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