Monday, June 18, 2012

Why I buy and own music

Tonight I came across 2 very compelling articles. The first is I Never Owned Any Music to Begin With by Emily White. The second article is Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered by Dave Lowery. I would recommend reading the article Emily White wrote before delving into the Dave Lowery article.

My take on the Emily White article? Well while I will concede that digital music is the present and future. To say that digital music shouldn't exist at all would be ridiculous and make me look silly, if not ignorant. Lets face it, pandora's box has been opened and it cannot be closed shut again. That said, what really got to me was Emily's attitude of self-entitlement. This quote says it all..."All I require is the ability to listen to what I want and how I want it. Is that too much to ask?". Not counting her internship with NPR, I doubt that young woman has worked a minimum wage job in her life, but if she has she certainly hasn't learned squat from it.

Emily mentions Spotify in her blog entry. I found this article on Spotify from last year. Just some food for thought about using Spotify. I don't. Never have.

This just absolutely blew me away..."As I've grown up, I've come to realize the gravity of what file-sharing means to the musicians I love. I can't support them with concert tickets and t-shirts alone. But I honestly don't think my peers and I will ever pay for albums. I do think we will pay for convenience". Can we say LAZY? That just reeks of pathetic. I pity Emily and her being willfully ignorant. If Emily really did "love" the artists that she listened via downloads she would at least download legally whether through, cdbaby, bandcamp, and/or itunes. Downloads aren't expensive.

I really love Dave Lowery's response to Emily White's blog entry. He really goes into depth and dissects a lot of her statements in the most articulate and professional manner one could ever hope.

For me, I love music. I have friends in the Twin Cities who are musicians, djs, promoters, podcasters, and bloggers. I have absorbed a lot of information from them about the local music scene here in Minnesota. After learning enough information about the small yet tight goth/industrial scene here in the Twin Cities, I knew the best way to show my support is to go to as many shows as I can and to buy their music. The same can be applied to those artists who makes an effort to perform in Minneapolis.

This past weekend I made an unplanned trip to Cheapo Records. What did I find there? A copy of the rare and out of print Burning Empires limited edition cd for $8 (as opposed to $75 on ebay). It was used of course but the fact that I found this gem makes the twenty minute ride to uptown on the 6E all the worth the time and energy. Sure the EP is on iTunes and I could have downloaded it but finding a physical copy of the album was like finding the Holy Grail for me. I also found Grendel's 2004 album Prescription Medicine and Lacuna Coil's Dark Adrenaline. For me, to own a rare, out of print copy of Burning Empires is truly priceless. With digital, I just can't get that same feeling, that and I am not crazy about the sound quality of MP3s but that is my personal take on it.

I suppose if you live in a city or town where record stores are non-existent, it would be a lot easier to download. Of course you could always just order online :\. For me though, I love making trips to the Electric Fetus and Cheapo Records. There is a pure job that I get out of rummaging through the cd racks looking for that diamond in the rough. Sadly people like Emily White are why record stores have become non-existent in recent years. Why go to a record store when one can just download? Laziness is not an attractive trait nor is that self-entitled attitude that Emily had when she wrote that article on NPR's website. One can only hope that someday Emily will find enlightenment and realized what a selfish little girl she was when she wrote that article.

EDIT: Last night I went to see Caustic live at The Saloon. I ended up buying a copy of  I Can't Believe We're Re-Releasing This Crap from Matt Fanale (i.e Caustic). I briefly chatted with him. He was clearly appreciative that I was buying one of his albums. This for me makes it all the more worth buying (and owning) music directly from the artists at shows.  Emily White says she loves the artists that she listens to. Really by participating in the act of pirating other people's work through file sharing? In the past year or 2, I have seen the site bandcamp become used by many artists. There is a minium price set by the artist but it is pretty dirt cheap. I have bought a couple of cds via bandcamp from Erica Dunham of Unter Null/Stray. Being a huge fan of her work, I have thrown in a few extra bucks her way. I didn't have to but I did. Why? Because I wanted to show my support for the work she puts into making music.

Another popular trend I have noticed in the past year is kickstarter campaigns. A lot of bands have been creating campaigns via Kickstarter to help fund their musical projects. Artists like Amanda Palmer and Matt Fanale of Caustic had created campaigns that proved to be immensely popular with their loyal fans. Not only do fans are rewarded for supporting the likes of Caustic, Amanda Palmer, Ego Likeness, etc...ect... with an array of cool swag but the money they donate goes directly to the artist to help fund the project. I like this approach. Not only does this mean that the artist has control of his or her work as opposed to a record label but you know that where the money is going to. Memo to major record labels: your days are numbered.

 Music is not a commodity nor should it be. It is the results of the time and energy that artists invest in to give music fans like myself music. I don't know which I loathe more...the [major] record labels that enslaves artists or music listeners who treats music like a commodity and thinks more about themselves than their so-called "favorite" artists.

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