Artists Speak Out Against Leaks
To post or not to post, that is the question for not only hit albums and budding superstars, but albums by lesser known artists that are months away from being officially released. The debate just received input from two prominent artists—prominent in certain circles, that is.
Sleater-Kinney, the seminal riot grrl three-piece from Olympia, WA, posted a letter on its website that asked people to not post songs from its upcoming album. The page—and most of the site—is currently down, but
Donewaiting has the full text. An excerpt that explains their position, which isn’t all about the money:
“It’s scary to imagine that this leak might actually affect our livelihoods, but ultimately this isn’t about the fear of people not supporting us financially as indie artists. We don’t think of ‘The Woods’ as some product getting out there early, we think of it as our art and lives and dreams. For us it’s about respect and about people supporting us by being aware of our artistic intent. We ask that you please respect our wishes to present this record the way we intended. We’re certain that you would want the same for your own endeavors, artistic or otherwise.”
Atlanta-based electronic producer
also had a few words for people who had put online music from his yet-to-be-released album. And I quote:
“To all you wonderful people that have downloaded my fucking album. thanks!! To you fantastic people responsible for posting my fucking album = an extra thanks to you!! I should shelve this album, let the computer have it, quit Prefuse and start a hand clapping orchestra. If I could afford to give this album to everyone – i would do it, but instead i fucked up and forgot i was wearing a sign around my neck that says; “I work for free!”, my bad… Alright – big up yourselves. Gracias…!”
These aren’t, mind you, multi-platinum artists who are using the RIAA to combat piracy. These are musicians on independent record labels, successful but on a smaller scale, the ones who have often had harsh words for the RIAA’s tactics. Compared to Metallica, who has been demonized as greedy millionaires for its fight against piracy, these artists have a smaller core group of fans and depend on the support of every one of them.
While Sleater-Kinney framed it as an issue about artistic integrity, Prefuse obviously looked at the uncertain economic impact involved with Internet leaks. My guess—just a guess—is that Sleater-Kinney worries about the economic implications of leaked music but didn’t word it in such a way. It may be an artistic issue, but what are the chances they—and their record label—are worried about lost sales?
As rock musician Ted Leo once put it, “a few hundred downloads that aren’t later backed up by purchases can be the difference between us paying rent or not.”
It’s Jayson Blair’s Fault…Or Dan Rather’s?
This blurb from
earlier in the week showed just how low journalism has sunk:
“CBS has green-lit the pilot for ‘Love Monkey,’ a one-hour comic drama based on the novel by former Post reporter Kyle Smith that’s a guy version of ‘Sex and the City.’ … The big change from the book is that the protagonist no longer works for a tabloid.
‘Senior execs at CBS weren’t sure journalists pass the likability test,’ said a source. ‘It’s now about an A&R man at a record label
A label A&R guy more likeable that a journalist? I didn’t know the press was in such dire straights. The RIAA will be emboldened by this news. More lawsuits on the way?
Podcasting Goes Mainstream?
Podcasting, which isn’t a broadcast as much as a normal MP3 file that can be downloaded and listened to as one sees fit, is getting some very mainstream attention. The NY Times recently ran an
on the Internet’s latest trend. Want to know more about podcasting? Visit Dan Gillmour’s blog and check out his
post; it has a video that explains the technology. Also, visit
ipodder.org, a site devoted to podcasting that was set up in part by former MTV VJ Adam Curry. And see Playlist’s own
Podcasting: Hear What the Buzz Is About
A Podcast of Your Own.