…so I downloaded the new Elliott Smith album last night, and I’m conflicted. I mean, I totally respect the notion of paying respects to the artist. I sit through the credits of movies I like, I (usually) pay the “recommended donation” at museums, heck, I even tip the girl who makes my burrito when I go out for lunch. Plus, I’m 35, fer cry-eye – I’m getting too old to be the kind of guy who trawls bittorrent search sites looking for mp3 discographies and x-files episodes (see? even with that reference I’m dating myself. Gillian who?). I’m too old to abuse the complimentary after-dinner-mint tray, I should be too old for downloading music.
But, on the other hand, the guy’s dead. No children, no dependents. Paying for the album won’t support him any. So if my $13 doesn’t go to the artist, where does it go? To insound? To Kill Rock Stars? Larry Crane? Does it just go straight to The Man, who’ll use it to continue to Keep Us Down?
And also, I’m not down really with buying mp3s or mp4s off the web, because (insert generic DRM argument here), and you don’t get any physical product. I can credit my first musical awakenings to rifling through my parents’ record collection in 7th grade, and I doubt one can re-create those times with an iPod. Plus, hard drives inevitably fail, I won’t have a backup, because I’m like most people, and I’ll be screwed.
So, the ethical post-hipster dilemma. To buy a CD I don’t necessarily need, for an album I’ve already got a (digital) copy of. hmm.
p.s. This is a facetious argument, I know. Elliott Smith was one of the best songwriters of our times, and even even if he doesn’t benefit personally, I have to give my props (especially since I stole “either/or” back in the audiogalaxy days).