In two weeks' time the new Tank album, War Machine, will be released. It's taken the band nearly eight years to assemble a steady lineup and put together a new record. But for at least 10,000 people, being asked to wait an extra few days is asking too much.
That's the number of illegal downloads War Machine has already clocked up. The argument over filesharing is a long drawn-out one; but the fact remains that Tank are the victims of theft. What does that mean for the band, and rock music in general?
It means we're in danger of never hearing the next Sabbath, Purple, Maiden, AC/DC or Metallica, says singer Doogie White, ex of Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen. New bands struggle to get advances record companies won't take the risk. All we'll be left with is X Factor music, because fans' stole the very thing that gives this scene life: the music.
He admits it's positive that after nearly a decade out of the spotlight so many people want to hear Tank's latest work. If it translates into sales then maybe some good comes of it.
But you get the trotted out lines: If you made a decent album' I can't afford all the albums I want' You guys have made enough money' It's self-justification for theft: they steal music because they can.
Then they say, But I always buy a t-shirt.' Yeah, you do because the merch guy would crack your head if you stole one.
Guitarist Mick Tucker is more philosophical: People used to tape albums and pass them round their friends. This is the modern version. Plus, metal fans tend to be completists so they're likely to buy the album if they like it.
We've fought to keep metal alive and we'll fight anything that could damage the band but on the other hand, if what we lose in album sales is compensated by ticket sales that we wouldn't have had otherwise, then we'll adapt our strategy.
With rock and metal representing over a third of all tour tickets sold in the world, it's an argument worth considering. Other acts have taken the view that their album is effectively a promotional device for their tour; but how does that match with the notion that music which cost time and effort to create is suddenly without cash value?
Guitarist Cliff Evans says: War Machine is not disposable garbage. We want you to hear the album the way it deserves to be heard: on vinyl or CD rather than MP3. It's rock at its very finest. Show it some respect, please.
He adds: The complete package is very good; it contains lyrics, photos and liner notes which help create the right vibe for listening to these awesome songs.
Ex Guns N'Roses manager Alan Niven recently commented that the industry had dropped the ball with respect to packaging: a CD which comes with nothing but a foldover sheet is contributing to the argument that recorded music is not art.
And Sebastian Bach has observed: We make our living by making music. Learn to play, write a song, record it and use it yourself. Because I have to feed my children and pay my bills with mine.
War Machine is released on October 25.
Thanks for the report to RockRadio.