I didn't really feel it needed an entire thread, but felt a bit guilty as it had robbed Craig form his moment in the spotlight with his new album. My view is purely that piracy is bad for music. Ill leave it at that.
So, I'm not misunderstanding you at all, then. Nor am I questioning that - piracy is absolutely a problem for artists.
I think you're misunderstanding me, though, because you seem to think this is a conversation over whether or not piracy is a good thing, which we both agree it isn't. So, let me try again:
The thing with piracy is, it doesn't matter if we think it's good or bad, because it's happening and it's outside our control. I think people voting for Donald Trump is bad, too, but 20-something percent of Republican voters are indicating that they're going to do it anyway, and what I think doesn't change that. Piracy exists, and we live in a world where it's happening.
Over and above that, piracy isn't a new
threat. Every wave of technological progress has allowed privacy. In 1995, people weren't illegally downloading mp3s... But the record industry was concerned about the availability of CD-R drives and how that was hurting album sales. Before that, it was cassette tapes, and before that 8 track tapes. Heck, radio broadcasts didn't exactly get a warm reception from the industry either until distribution rights got sorted out. Technology has always been seen as a threat to copyright holders.
So, if piracy isn't new, then if you ask yourself what's different this time that makes it "more" of a risk, it's not the piracy (which has always existed) and it's not the ability to make a very high quality digital copy (which has existed since CD-R drives became widespread) - rather, what changed is we now have a massive interconnected communication network (aka - "the internet") that allows people all over the world to share information with each other, including music files that they haven't paid for. It's not that piracy is a new thing; it's that the scope of one's ability to share illegally pirated music has increased, from your buddy's CD collection in 1995 to all of the global users of some p2p network in 2015.
And, all I'm trying to make you see, is that while the way this has facilitated piracy is not a good thing for artists, the way it's facilitated communication in general
is a very, very, very good thing. The internet allows people to share files illegally all over the world, but they also are just as capable of sharing any other sort of information, including, "hey, check out this guy Sean's new album, here's the single on YouTube and if you like it you can buy it on Bandcamp!"
Over and above that, that same level of communication allows you to interact, globally, with people buying your album rather easily. And, in my experience, people are way LESS likely to pirate an album of someone they feel like they know personally than some anonymous guitarist they don't really know anything about.
So, the point I'm trying to make is that saying "piracy is bad for musicians" is, one, nothing new and nothing that hasn't been the case since very close to the advent of recorded music as a medium, and two, pointless because it doesn't really change the fact that piracy will continue (though, interestingly, it's dropping as legal streaming alternatives have become more prevalent, which will be an interesting trend to watch). This is a board of musicians, a whole bunch of us also write and record music, we all get it. Complaining about piracy is a waste of time. I'd direct all that negativity and effort into instead using the same network that allows piracy to occur on a global scale to instead reach out and connect with existing fans, look for new fans, and build stronger relationships with the, to encourage them to check out your music, and if they like it, buy it, because buying music is the right thing to do.