The Lime Wire Paradox and The Toll of Internet Vultures

So we all know the glory from back in the day of Napster, Frost Wire and Lime Wire. Unlimited free music. Everything under the sun for the price of maybe getting a computer virus.

If you think about it, the internet isn’t really old at all. Especially the way we use it with WiFi and smart phones. So music sharing sites were honestly the first controversy that got major attention, besides porn I guess. And I mean we all know what happened. Artist and record companies were losing album sales, so they sued. They won, rightfully, and it became illegal to share music like that. So the websites put up disclaimers and eventually died out. But like most terrible things, there is serious fallout. I call it “The Lime Wire Paradox”.

It’s simple math: the internet is the perfect platform to display and share art. With this mass availability you face the risk of your work being stolen. But with out the internet you can’t fully broadcast your art and build clout, but at the same time some one with a bigger online presence (or clout) can pull your ideas from under your feet.

This can be as simple as seeing a tweet, not retweeting, but actually just typing it and tweeting it yourself. Does this hurt anyone? When it comes to the average social media account no. But when you are building a brand, promoting a company or displaying your creativity it surely does.

Tweets and memes are the “Sweets and Oils” of this pyramid though. The “Pastas and Breads” would most certainly be Fashion and Music. Now there’s really two levels of each.

First off, we have all seen the episode of South Park where they start a band and join all the bands in an illegal download protest. I always thought they missed the point on the issue. If you work hard on something, you deserve to reap all the benefits. We could argue socioeconomics all day, but no matter what, if I put my heart and time into something you’re not gonna justtake it. I think there is a deeper part to this though, because usually big artist still get ticket and merch sales. The real evil is when the “SoundCloud rappers” get ripped off. Now I use that title as a broad one. I’m really referring to all DJs, MCs, Rappers, Singers and all performers that are up and coming by means of the internet (more specifically music sharing sites and social media). It’s a corner of the internet that is like a war zone. Mainstream is always crafted by the underground, in the most thankless way. Anytime a genre starts to move in a different direction it is because the underground tectonics have shifted. It is the epitome of the “Lime Wire Paradox”. Except this time it’s the established artist robbing the people. The best way I could describe these more popular artist stealing beats, rhythms, lyrics and flows from the underground is by comparing it to a scenario that most of us face at work all the time. It’s like when you work hard all week, do extra and stay late only for your boss to take credit and get promoted all with out a thank you.


The second form, or the “Pastas”, is much more vile in my opinion. Which is ironic because I live for pasta. Again, there are basically two forms, I’ll start how the top is affected by the bottom. One time, two years ago I liked a Dragon Ball Z video that popped up on my time line. Since that day I can’t go 10 post with out seeing some bootleg shirts ripping off classic animes. Now are the Naruto people missing the 13 grand of shirt sales a year that these Facebookers are making? I would say not, but just the same as the music thing, it is the principle. And this isn’t your gas station tent hustle after your city wins a sports champion ship. This is cheap knock offs that target you from algorithms, so you don’t even get the shady face to face sales experience that we all love. Now the real vultures here are parallel with the ones in music. Fashion may even be more cut throat and vicious when it comes to reaping the work of the underground or counter culture. When you have an artistic outlet that is based in materialism, it is very easy to be corrupted. But when the art in the fashion is pure and full of passion you can get real game changers that turn heads on and off the run way. It’s money, like in most cases, that corrupts these large companies who are looking only at succeeding in the next season. Just as thieves in music only worry about their next single.

I know that’s a lot going on there and I may have gotten a bit worked up. What I want you to take away from this is that; the internet is the perfect platform to expose the world to your creativity, but with that mass exposure, if you don’t go viral it leaves you out on the line. When you have your art there it becomes beautiful roadkill falling victim to the vastness of social media. And before you get a second chance to launch it into the world, you run the chance of some scum flying in and poaching it for their own. The rewards and risks of exposing your work online are both incredibly high

Now I never like to bring a problem to the table with out a solution. While I’ve never cruised Instagram for shirt designs to steal, I may have allegedly downloaded music of certain sites. I was young dumb and full of chewing gum. But that excuse doesn’t cut it. So I wiped my entire library, off the laptop and phone. Renewed the Apple Music and Spotify and re built. Honestly it’s been a fun experience so far. Rediscovering the music I love, and this time doing what’s right and paying for it.

Stay original, stay dope.

I Got You,

Sean Thompson

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