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:

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.

93 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    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.
    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.
    yes....uhuh....whatever you said, I agree with you...
    OMFG TITIEZZZZ!!!! It's getting old.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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!
    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.
    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.
    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?
    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.
    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.
    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.