gotta sell it while you can…

…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).


posted in Music, rant by chip

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3 Comments to "gotta sell it while you can…"

  1. JessicaSophia wrote:

    Actually, you shouldn’t abuse the after-dinner mint tray because the mints have feces on them.

  2. tdeclercq wrote:

    Power to the people, Chip! I have to admit I totally agree with you. On some level, I think copyrights should expire once the original artist(s) die. On the other hand, it seems that America’s main export is entertainment, so if we start sticking it to the man, we may be actually sticking it to ourselves when we realize that America suddenly has very little that it actually produces anymore and suddenly has a significant amount less income coming in because no one is paying the big companies and there is no more trickle-down. Sad but perhaps true.

    I’ve been thinking of joining Napster or Rhapsody. You don’t have to download anything and you can listen to whatever you want whenever you want. It’s kind of like cable TV. The only problem is that the idiots who run those companies don’t make their product Mac-compatible. When are people going to realize that the supposed 10% or whatever Mac market is actually a much bigger percentage of the home market and thus the market that would subscribe to these services?

  3. chip wrote:

    This evening I’ve been looking into, and it seems to be a pretty good compromise. Pros: files in mp3 (not crazy rhapsody-or-napster only files), no DRM, somewhat high quality of downloads. Cons: files in mp3 (no m4a support), since there’s no DRM no major label will touch it, so only indie acts. But a lot of the labels I like are on emusic, and it seems like a good place to discover new artists, which, honestly, is something I’ve been lamenting for a long while.

    If I take the plunge, I’ll post somthing here about my adventures…

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