Friday, February 18th, 2005
All Hands On The Bad One
So one of the things causing a bit of an uproar in the indie rock eddys of Lake Blogosphere is this from the ladies of Sleater-Kinney asking folks to not download their new album, The Woods, before it’s officially released on May 24 (the full text of the letter is no longer on their website. Intrepid interneters can no doubt find it, though). Of course, this is like asking a dog not to lick its nuts – simply not going to happen. But still, it raises some interesting questions.
Opinions are like blogs – everyone’s got one, and they’re usually poorly spelled and not updated frequently enough. My personal take on it is that if the artist asks you not to download it, then that should be the final word on the matter. No one is going to die from having to wait a couple months to hear a record. I don’t care how big a fan you are, you are not going to die. Your organs will not be harvested without your consent in the middle of the night. Nothing bad will happen to you. You can wait till it comes out and buy it – because you were intending to pay for it, right? – and there you go. And if you’re eager to get it for “be the first kid on your block” bragging rights… come on. No one cares. Anyway, it seems pretty simple to me, but then I’m one of those folks who still likes the tactile experience of physical media and believes in the album as an artistic entity greater than just the sum of the tracklisting. You know, a freak.
Naturally, there’s been a lot of debate on this – I’ll link to the discussion on the Donewaiting message board which I think is a pretty good micorcosm of the debate. Some think the fanbase should respect the band’s wishes, others are of the mind that once its out of their hands, even unofficially via advance promos, then nature (such as it is) will take its course and the band should appreciate the fact that their fans are so rabid. And then, of course, there are those who have the whole “Music should be free!” angle and are not only about downloading the record, but in distributing it as widely as possible. Don’t ge me started on those people. I want to punch those people in the kidneys.
And from here, I segue into leaks in general. I don’t do leaks. Not because of any particular high moral ground, though that is a consideration, but because I’m too lazy to go looking for them (yes I know how easy it is – I’m THAT lazy) and because I never listen to them. I have a copy of the new Decemberists album on my desktop. Total plays? Zero. Generally speaking I don’t listen to music on my computer – an mp3 or two here and there if I’m too lazy (that again!) to get up and change the CD in my stereo, but the occasions on which I’m willing to listen to a full record on my computer? Very few. My stereo sounds better and I’ve usually got craploads of stuff I’ve actually bought to get through, to say nothing of the promo stuff that’s been showing up in my mailbox with increasing regularity. Usually, stuff that I haven’t made the effort of actually going out and buying, I forget I even have it. This isn’t to say that if I come across a leaked track or two I won’t grab those to whet my appetite, but entire albums? Nah. I like going to the record store on new release days, buying the record, tearing off the cellophane and listening to it proper-like, not piecemeal. Which brings me full circle to the “I’m a freak” observation from earlier.
It’s like they say – you don’t value that which costs you nothing. And if I were to start listening to records that aren’t due out till, say, May (hello Sleater-Kinney, Spoon), when would I find the time to listen to stuff that’s come out in January and February? There’s a never-ending backlog as is, last thing I need is to jump the queue. That would disrupt the natural order of things and I truly believe that if that happened, reality as we know it would cease to exist. I don’t download leaks because it safeguards the universe.
The preceding was probably more meandering than I’d intended. It was profound in my head, really. But then, my grocery lists are profound in my head as well. I thought I had another topic I was going to explore tangential to this one, which is the whole matter of distributing leaked materials over, oh let’s say blogs, but this post is long enough as is. Maybe I’ll get to that another day.
Update: Here’s Colin Meloy of the Decemberists’ letter to folks who had leaked copies of Picaresque last month, courtesy of Brooklynvegan. And this thread on Last Plane To Jakarta is also a very good read on the topic, thanks to Largehearted Boy for the pointer.
Will Johnson of Centro-Matic keeps a tour diary of their recent stop in Athens for for Flagpole. This would be the same tour that once again, doesn’t cross the 49th parallel (well, technically Toronto is well south of the 49th, but you know what I mean), only coming as close as Buffalo on March 3. Even after I went to Chicago to plead our case… But that’s okay, if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed will come to the mountain. Centro-Matic is on my must-see list for SxSW.
Lacunae lists off 100 things he loves about comics. Cheers for #9, the “wuffa wuffa wuffa” issue of Cerebus.
A little late, but still cute – Rachael Yamagata offers up some advice on how to survive Valentine’s Day. She forgot #11 – “wuffa wuffa wuffa”. Hmm, okay, that probably came out wrong. From Achtung Baby.
So my streetcar hits a car on the way to work this morning, making me 30 minutes late. Newsflash lady – the streetcar couldn’t turn even if it wanted to.
np – Doves / The Last Broadcast