Deftones Guitarist: 'I Welcome People to Download Our Music'

Stephen Carpenter embraces illegal downloads because it means they get more fans - and he'd rather have fans than money. Do you agree?

Ultimate Guitar

Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter says he's happy for people to download their music because it means they have more fans.

Deftones have been a big metal act since the late '90s, so they're not short on fans already, but in an interview with Loud Guitars he said the rise of illegal downloads hasn't changed his approach to writing music, and he wants to embrace it for the benefits it could bring.

"I say hallelujah to them. I say it for only one reason, the truth is people who download your music are your fans, or people who are potentially going to become your fans," he said. "And if you're going to be upset that someone is interested, or becoming interested in your stuff, then what's the point? What are you doing?"

He continued: "If it's all about money then certainly you're going to be offended. But if your intent is to enjoy what you're doing and have others enjoying it, then it should be a no brainer. I welcome all people to download the music. They won't be the first, they wont be the last, and for anyone to fight that ... it's futile."

The full 30-minute interview talks more about Stephs thoughts on the internet, including his hobby of browsing guitarists on YouTube who share shredding videos which inspire him to keep improving his guitar skills.

See the full interview with Stephen Carpenter here:

YouTube preview picture

Do you agree with Stephen's views on illegal downloads? Is it different for smaller bands who need to get a foot on their career ladder first? Share your opinion in the comments.

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93 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Very nice words. Seems like a good guy.
    Just saw them a week or so ago but they were all just having a blast to play. True musicians
    From one huge deftones fan to all you other huge deftones fans I need help. My band Groove Tang Dynasty has a chance to open for the Deftones at the Pagent in St. Louis MO May 1st. We have to win a contest by votes to have deftones check out our stuff. Voting is April 13 - April 21st you can cast one vote each day. Please help us achieve a shot at this... thank you so much for reading! Remember Vote Groove Tang Dyansty and check us out on!/groovetan...!/groovetan... to cast your vote.
    If everyone who would profit from an album or single sale agreed with that, then fine that would be perfectly acceptable. However, it's not just him that would be making money from the sale.
    I think it might be time for a new set of boobs. The novelty of these two has worn off. There's no mystery left.
    yes....uhuh....whatever you said, I agree with you...
    OMFG TITIEZZZZ!!!! It's getting old.
    poor guy, maybe he simply had something to say. Thats what you get for putting 2 bundles of non-stop bouncing joy as a profile picture.
    It's always funny to me when people act like they have the right to download music illegally. I mean... I do it, but I know I'm being an a-hole when I do it and can't really get mad if sites like Piratebay get shut down.
    Really good music deserves to be bought. BUT! How can you know what music is good? That's why we need illegal downloads. Or, as many bands do nowadays, online album streams. I think it's quite fair: let people hear your stuff and let them decide if they gonna buy or not.
    A lot of the time people who speak out against piracy are oversimplifying the issue, they seem to ignore the fact that there's a whole world outside Europe and the US that's hungry for music. Exchange rates, import taxes, licenses etc. often makes buying music in the 3rd world unaffordable without the selling off of limbs, even as mp3s. Shutting down sites like piratebay is cutting off exposure to half the world. Especially for more obscure bands, the only alternative to 'stealing' the music is to not acquire it at all. Personally I'd support the artists if I could, but it's just not possible a lot of the time. Piracy is the perfect example that music has one of the fastest changing industries in existence, and clinging to a 20 year old business model is pointless.
    Spoken the truth. Kudos for recognizing how expensive music can be in other countries. Here in mine, in Guatemala, there are no record stores, only electronic stores that carry some albums by some labels by specific artists and genres. Hell, around here, if you ain't got no internet, you'll never know your favorite band put out a new record.
    Really good cars deserve to be bought. BUT! How can you know what car is good? That's why we need to steal cars.
    But you need to make a copy of said car, for you're not taking the original. Apples and oranges y0.
    Crimson Ghost
    You don't go to a restaurant, eat the food for free, and then say "it was good so I'll come back and get it another time." SOME musicians can afford to have their albums pirated, but most can't. You have to understand that for most bands, album sales mean that the label is funding their tour. If a band is funding their own tour, they're taking a huge loss financially, and probably aren't going to be around too long. You'd be surprised by how many bands this happens to. This is their job and they put a ton of work into making that album. It takes hours of work to record a single song professionally, not to mention the time it takes to write it and rehearse.
    The problem is that the majority of people don't buy albums after downloading them even if they like it, some people do, most don't. And there are a lot of ways to preview albums before buying other than downloads, we don't really need them, but they're here to stay so the industry might as well embrace it.
    I agree, I don't appreciate when people use the excuse of "needing to hear the music before they buy it" to illegally download music. There is Spotify. There is Youtube. There is the library. You can't honestly say there is no way to hear an album before you buy it.
    That's the role that singles play. I think that singles should always be free and readily available, but I think the rest is up to the individual artist. If a band WANTS to give away their record for free in the hope that people will buy it I say let them, but the question is if we as listeners should have the right to FORCE bands to give away all their music for free, and that's where I don't necessarily agree. As long as you're selling your product at a reasonable price and give away free singles I think you're being kind enough.
    If every person who downloaded music lived by that philosophy, then there wouldn't be a problem... but they don't. I understand that for the most part this is millionaires losing a few bucks here and there and that they make incredible amounts of money touring... but to act like it's not stealing is stupid.
    I would agree with you for signed and wealthy artist, but for us the local acts of this world, a tour is costing a lot and don't end up always with profit, touring is used for reputation and getting known. The CDs on the other hand is the way to make money, and when the people who says they like download it instead of paying for it, that's just insulting.
    Tell me one site that shares unknown, unheard of local bands? Thepiratebay would have 1-2 seeds at max. These bands aren't losing money when you can usually only find the album at the shows. They've already gotten paid for the gig, the t-shirt and the album. Bands like deftones understand that money is made from tours which is why they haven't stopped touring for over 20 years. I can't think of a year that they didn't get out and play. Their biggest album to date was White Pony which is still a fan favorite and that's when the market was last hot. Napster was in its infancy. To even claim that young bands are losing money makes no sense. If you want to make it in this changing game you have to play every day and enjoy it. It's rock, not pop. Does Justin Beiber do 1/4 the shows that Metallica or Deftones do? I doubt it. So run and tell that.
    I was wondering if sites like Spotify and Youtube would curve the need for illegal downloading. Now you have sites where you can sample albums for free without the risk of low quality audio or viruses. I doubt it
    class act. im not saying lets go download everything theyve ever done, but this is how bands should be. its not about the money.. its about the music and the fans.
    In the large scope of history, the period where musicians made a lot of money selling recorded simulacra of their work will be seen as an anomaly peculiar to the 20th century. Prior to that century, musicians made all their money by performing or creating commissioned pieces. Whether you think that is a good thing or not, it's what's coming back. There's nothing anyone can do to change that, so either adapt and evolve, or fail.
    This. You are exactly right good sir. Even bands today that are doing well and "have their foot in the door" are workhorses, tirelessly tour, promote themselves in creative ways and generally find ways to get the fans involved. Just selling albums will not, and in my opinion has not ever cut it.
    I agree. The "rock star sitting my the pool at his mansion with his personal jet in the background" will be seen as a kind of funny, mostly strange thing that happened in the 20th century. It will hopefully be a joke. Let's move on!
    at the end of the day, if you're in a position like Deftones, Metallica, or even bands like Black Veil Brides, Pink, Lady Gaga and other popular bands/artists, you're always gonna have a degree of album sales, as well as merch/ticket sales at your disposal, and using downloading as a promotion tool is a great way to make the most out of a bad thing. And even if you're just starting off, people aren't going to buy your stuff, if they have no idea what it sounds like, so once again, great promotion aspects through downloading but obviously, if they're in it for the music, then all that shouldn't matter, right?
    First off, let me say that everyone needs money for one thing or another. Many people want fame, a lot of money, or both, and many of those people, whether they are heading towards these goals, have already reached them, or are simply dreaming of them (like me) would like to do so through music. I myself would love to make the amount of money that famous musicians make, and if I were of their status, my preferred amount of money would be as much as I can get from my sales. By that, I mean that when it comes to my profit, I would want no pirating of my music to occur. However, I would honestly be happy to just make music that people love, and if I knew I had a fanbase as large as all of these great musicians have, I would be perfectly okay with pirating. Really, I would see it as a huge token of gratitude from my fans: people willing to be fined such huge amounts of money or risk time in jail by stealing my music? I mean sure, it's not like they're running into a bank demanding my music with weapons in hand, but it just shows that people liked my music. And sure, I would enjoy them purchasing my albums just as much because that would show they're willing to spend money to hear my music, but like a lot of people, I like music that's made in honesty the most. By that, I of course mean music from the heart, or music that's made for enjoyment over monetary gain (which ever way you want to see it as.) This rant (I will go ahead and call it that due to it being heavily opinionated) probably just got me a lot of downvotes, but that's fine with me. I just wanted to give my voice on the matter, and I'd honestly really like to have a discussion with others in the comments! So whether its agreement or not, please tell me what you think about it all! PS I guess my comment is basically an overstated version of saying that I agree with Carpenter and that I'd like to know what others think.
    Deftones make their money from touring. It's a fact. If they sold jillions of dollars worth of albums and became puppets like Maroon 5, Stef's stance on music downloading could possibly be different. Regardless, I respect Stef Carpenter and the Deftones for not only their contribution to the continuation of real music, but also their selfless efforts to work in the industry.
    Being in a band that toured with some national acts but never actually made it big time, we always gave out our music. We didn't care if people ripped it and gave it out for free. When we found other sites selling our music without us getting any profit is when you have to draw a line. I'm all for more fans and respect Deftones as a whole a lot more after this article
    When I buy a shirt , Pants or shoes I get to try them on before I decide to buy it. It should be the same with music, there is nothing wrong with downloading an album and listening to it before you go out and spend your money on it.
    Crimson Ghost
    That's what singles are for. That's what spotify is for. That's what 30 second song samples on amazon or itunes are for. When you TRY on the pants, you don't just keep them if you like how they fit.
    We don't have any of that in the 3rd world. What is a spotify? what is a sample from itunes? what good is any of that if you don't have dollars, record stores or media coverage about the bands? How can I make a very expensive and delayed purchase based on 30 seconds of sound of a 45+ minute record? What about those records that are out of print?
    Crimson Ghost
    The music business is a business. If there is no money to benefit the artists, then it doesn't do them much good to have fans in those regions. It's unfortunate to live in a 3rd world country, but music is a luxury. It's a harsh reality. Also, on sites like amazon, you can listen to 30-90 seconds per song. That's enough to make a valid conclusion on if the album is worth buying.
    when I try a shirt I don't just try on one sleave, so a single shows you part of the album or a 30 second sample is hardly the same as am entire album you moron
    Crimson Ghost
    Moron? Name calling is the easiest way to make your point invalid, so I won't even waste my time. An educated debater doesn't name call.
    Spotify pays so little to the artist you might as well download the album then buy it as it would end up being practically the same. Also keeping an album you downloaded and didn't like doesn't make a difference. If I streamed it or pirated it either way I still wouldn't buy it. I still say the best advanced are places like bandcamp that cut out the middle man as much as possible unlike iTunes that offers poor quality and takes a lot of the profit. CDs are similar actually, a lot of the money is dispersed to pay for the manufacturing of the physical copy.
    Well here is a different opinion by a Band that doesn't sell millions of albums: You don't have to like the band I just think it's important to hear the other side of the story. And it's basically what the whole thing is about. If you want to support an upcoming band, buy their Album and go to their Concerts. If you don't, download it. If you want to support a big band. Go to their Concerts, but no one would give a shit if you download their albums except their Lawyers.
    I read it. I get what they're saying but they honestly sound like spoiled brats who don't realize that if they don't like it they can always, you know, GET REAL JOBS. Playing in a "small" band that tours, records, etc. is hard work and requires a ton of sacrifices... if you love it, you suck it up and keep going. If you can't handle the pressure, bitching, whatever, get the hell out and punch a clock. Be grateful you had a chance. Most don't. Most people have to deal with way more than a few fans complaining about trivial bullsh*t - Working hard, bosses, customers/clients, the pressures of an actual job. If these kids thought that starting a band meant they were gonna be rich and famous then they're just naive or delusional.
    Yeah, reading just this single post may makes them sound like spoiled brats. but trust me they aren't i've been following them around for about 2 or 3 years now. They have been around since '04 or '05 i think. They had jobs beside the band the first few years and only quit them because of the band, because if you want to have a succesfull band you have to go full time at one point. And trust me they bust their asses of to get to where they are now and they are really not a whiney bunch of fellas. this post is just an exception. usually they just post updates about touring and recording and they care A LOT about their fans. you can ask them basically anything anytime via twitter, fb, whatever and in nearly every case they will respond. I asked them once if I could get a guest list spot for a show they play in germany, because i didn't have any money to afford the ticket and i immediatly got back to me telling me that this would be no problem. Just wanted to clear that up, they are not whiney and they worked really hard to get where they are now. And by the way, who the f*ck downvoted me because i stated my opinion?
    They don't look or sound all that original and interesting though. I think that could be a reason why they're not as big as they wish they were. Maybe making better music would actually prevent fights among their fan base.
    It's not like I needed another reason to like and respect Stephen Carpenter but now I have one. Not only is he an amazing guitar player and a class act but he's got one of the best attitudes toward music piracy that I've ever heard from an artist on a major label. Awesome!
    also, downloading allows people to fully enjoy their shows since they will know the songs
    Would he say this without the millions already earned?
    If you think he's earned "millions", then you clearly don't know how the business works.
    Do the other four members in the band share Stef's sentiments? I'm pretty sure Chino doesn't, I wish I could find the video with him stating the opposite point of view that Stef has here. I bet if something happened where Stef couldn't tour anymore he'd be singing a whole different tune. How you gonna buy that weed you smoke without those album sales? I see what he's saying, though... I just don't agree with it. To be paid to do what you love, ain't that the dream?
    i would argue nowadays artists make much more off of merch and touring than actual album sales. its been like that for a while now. thats why its so cheap (if you're paying for it) to get their music from places like itunes and the like. you can get whole albums for half of what an actual cd costs in a lot of cases.
    Crimson Ghost
    Bands can't tour without record sales, unless they want to fund the tour themselves (which is extremely difficult). Good record sales means the label will put you on tour. They won't be making any money off merch and ticket sales if they can't afford to tour.
    How can you have good record sales if record labels care about the american and european market only? what about the rest of the world, where vevo makes content unavailable? Some bands will never tour outside of the states or europe, to places here in Latin America. Do we deserve to be left out? I think not.
    Crimson Ghost
    what's your point? if you're not buying an album OR seeing the band live, how is the band benefiting by having you as a fan?
    I think he was trying to say that when it's impossible to buy the music or watch the band live in his country then piracy makes no difference. As I said in my post higher up, quite often the only alternative to 'stealing' is to not acquire the music at all. I honestly couldn't care less that record companies are losing cash when they're not providing for most of the world. If anything I would promote piracy as it might force these companies to rethink their business models.
    How am I benefiting by not listening the music I like?
    Crimson Ghost
    It's not about YOU benefiting, it's about the artist benefiting. It's their job.
    if you had read the article, Mr Carter states that it's not just a job, they do it because they enjoy it and the best way to enjoy it is to know that other people are listening and thinking "this is good, that guitarist is pretty cool..." or maybe even inspiring someone...
    Crimson Ghost
    It's hard to enjoy it when your band ends up $10,000 in debt from going on tour... People who play music will always have the passion to play. If someone is dedicating their life and career to music, you can bet that they want to make money doing it.
    "Good record sales means the label will put you on tour. " Save for the artists who have "360 contracts" with their labels, this is not true.
    Crimson Ghost
    360 deals means the label will make money off you playing live, as well as your merchandise, publishing, and album sales. It's the last kind of contract you want to sign
    ^ Damn, beat me to it. People make way more money on merch and ticket sales these days than they do on album sales.
    Bands don't make money from album sales, record companies do. Bands make money touring. Piracy helps bands more than it hurts them.
    Crimson Ghost
    Please read my comment above
    band can tour with facebook/myspace/youtube. I have friends signed to a big label and blah blah. But, the Reality is that record companies profit from album sales, while bands profit from touring - club guarantees and Merch (NOT including albums). I actually never listened to/cared for Deftones until I illegally downloaded Saturday Night Wrist. Now they are in my top 2 or 3 favorite bands of forever. Still won't pay $40 for a tshirt.
    Wow! awesome interview, for a long time Stef was the quiet one on the band, im glad he does more interviews these days and he seems to be a really cool guy... He is the reason why i play 7 strings and he also introduced me to Meshuggah... jamming with him would be my ultimate dream.
    No wonder I love this band so much.... they care about having fans, not just the money they make hand over fist cuz they're the fricken Deftones!
    I only buy albums off Itunes because I only buy albums I know I'll like and I don't care about anything else, I demand quality in the music I listen to, I hate low quality mp3s, my ears can hear any flaw in the quality. It started with awesome sounding Vinly and Tapes then CD's and that was all cool, but then mp3s came and the quality sucked. plus with tapes you could always record the cd or whatever for your friend and share music for free that way, that was alot better and remember what real friends were? this facebook, apple age sucks.
    Sounds like this guy got a 98kbps mp3 from napster back in the dial up days and based his permanent opinion of of that and a recent spin of fallout boy's webrip album. There is something called 320kbps my friend. If you're like me and have a large hard drive you can even download in FLAC.
    Your post kind of confused me. Tape was a rather low quality format and I'd take an mp3 with a good sample rate any day. Also wouldn't it be easier to copy digital files over analog ones for sharing? Also you said you don't like low quality but then you say you buy from iTunes which is a lower quality than CDs and even most digital downloads offered by other services.
    At work I listen to music off of Pandora. When i hear something that I like enough to buy, I put it in a list. Those streaming royalties are better than nothing.
    Love this. And it explains a lot - their last two albums didn't really sell much better than the rest of the ones after White Pony, but all of a sudden every one ****ing loves the band again. I wasn't crazy about them before Diamond Eyes, but I downloaded it out of curiosity and ****, they're one of my favorite bands now.
    Sam Rulez D00d
    Love this band! Personally, I don't illegally download though. I think if something is being sold for money, it's not my choice whether to pay for it or not. But that's just for me, I wouldn't mind if fans illegally downloaded my band's music if I were him either. He's right, those people become fans!
    I say even paid downloads suck. Physical copies are definitely worth the money, but the only time i will download (paying of course) is if the CD has been out of print and is near impossible to find. i torrented an opeth concert once, and i felt like shit, so i bought a flag and started my journey to buying all their albums, xD
    Well you cant blame people (like me) who download because they cant find the music they want in a record stores (full of kpop / one direction / justin bieber albums)
    Well this provokes the question of should art be free. As a musician and music lover (and broke mother****er) alike i think that in order to keep music around, especially electric music in a quality manner, I believe that we have a duty to pay for our art. No i know how the old counter argument goes "the band doesn't make almost any money from album sales" but thats just not true. A band on a record label will be quickly dropped if albums don't sell and a band on their own, well that goes without saying. I leave you with this question: Do you walk into your favorite restaurant and leave without paying?
    A lot of smaller bands fan-wise don't actually make very much money through sales as they do touring. The labels front all of the money for distribution and recording time in the studio and get paid back through cd sales. Imo they all need to cut out the distribution of physical copies and just release their album digitally on bandcamp for "name your own price." It gives people the option of streaming your album and paying what they think it's worth. People like to have choices instead of having to judge how good your music is from 30 second clips. I would actually pay money for the music if it's good as I'm sure a lot of others would. It cuts out the large costs of physical copies. We live in a digital age and bands and even labels need to start thinking about ways to cut their costs by pandering to that fact and finding the best ways make money off of it. Bandcamp is so much better than Itunes or any other website because of that. It lets you stream the music and pay money for it if you want and the bands that do whole "name your own price" thing still make decent money on their albums because real fans still buy music they like not because of some sort of moral code, but because they like that band and want them to keep making music and the only way for that to happen is if they make some money on it or they learn to record everything on their laptops.
    They are so high... And a true artistic opinion, but of course, giving your work away does not make money.