too much typing—since 2003


missing by half what we wanted

The music industry, presumably, wants us to buy its products, such as CDs. I purchased an actual, physical copy of the wonderful new CD by the New Pornographers, Twin Cinema, the day after it came out (I was traveling the day it came out).

The music industry, presumably, would prefer that if downloading files must continue, consumers at least pay for such downloaded file, so that the usual flow of monies might continue to their designated (notice I don't say "appropriate") recipients. I've paid for several tracks I've downloaded from a couple of legitimate online purveyors of MP3 files.

Here is a song by the New Pornographers called "High Art, Local News." It was given away on a promotional 7-inch single to fanatics who lined up early in the morning on the day of release to be at selected record stores early enough to acquire a copy of the CD that included the single. I was not among that number, and so I thought my chances of legitimately obtaining a copy of that song were limited - at least until such point as it (inevitably) shows up on a compilation or something (see A.C. Newman's "Homemade Bombs in the Afternoon").

Then I heard that one of those legitimate MP3 downloading services was making this track available. However, it was not available to people who had bought the actual, physical CD. It was not available to people who, having bought the actual physical CD, wanted to pay only for this particular track. (Most tracks at this service are available for single purchase, for around a buck.) It was available only to people who purchased the (artwork- and packaging-free, low-resolution) online version of the Twin Cinema album, at this site's full price. (That full price, I will note, is only a couple of bucks less than the real copy costs - even though paying that much for a 128 kbps copy of an album is foolish. You probably know which service still encodes its files at the scuzzy lo-fi rate I'm talking about: c'mon, get with it, and offer at least 192 kbps.)

Thus, my only legitimate choice in acquiring this track is to pay an additional $10, for one, 128 kbps track.

Perhaps, given this situation, the music industry might understand why even people who once supported it in its battles against downloading (I can name two prominent bloggers who formerly sermonized against free filesharing, both of whom have since recanted and, in fact, post MP3s or other-formatted downloadable music at their sites) feel thwarted in their desires to play nice, and feel that defying the industry is a better choice, in publicizing good music, than is being robbed by paying ten bucks for a single low-resolution track.

Of course (as you'll hear) this is not that track. It's from the single, and its ID3 tags reveal its source. (Probably not a viable e-mail - but then, I haven't tried.)

Addendum: An Allegory for the Music Industry's Relation to its "Content Providers" - With the Additional Bonus of Being a Kick in the Crotch to Those Religious People Who Imagine That It Is Only Humans' Sinfulness That Leads to "Perversions"


Anonymous said...

I actually got a copy of the 7" when I bought the NPs CD (several days after it came out), and hadn't gotten around to listening to it yet -- I hardly ever break out the gramophone -- so I appreciate your posting the MP3!

flasshe said...

The 7" didn't come with my copy of the CD, which I got at Best Buy on the first day. Not that I would've been able to do anything with vinyl anyway. Thanks for posting it!

David said...

I came close to hitting my local music emporium on August 23, but more pressing matters prevented me from doing so until the next day, when they weren't offering the single. I don't usually search out things like this, so I'm always pleased to come across them accidentally. . . so thanks very much.

I also appreciate your reflections about downloading and record companies (as I persist in calling them), as well as your addendum. Truly, the music industry is shooting itself in the foot.

Mac said...

I am a huge NP fan and thank you for posting the mp3.