Monday, November 1, 2010

Free Music Blogs

Digg this
What do Chris Stamey, Let's Active, The Killer Whales, The X-Teens, and The Woods Have in common? Several things of course... but one you may not be aware of. Then again.... All of these artists, along with thousands of others, have their works "featured" on music blogs where you can download the for free! Sounds great right?!? I'm not too sure.

It's a fairly recent phenomenon that seems to have exploded in the past few years. Literally thousands of blogs have cropped up that "feature" mostly out of print recordings and most of these sites allow you to download the entire recording for free. Are you looking for a copy of the hard to find "Precision Auto" 7 inch by Superchunk? It's available... for free... you just have to know where to look. You don't need Limewire, Bit Torrent or anything except a browser and some rudimentary knowledge of file extraction and mp3 files. Some have complete artwork ready for you to print out just in case you want to make your own CD.

I'll be honest. I don't know how I feel about these blogs. On one hand some of this stuff is never going to be re-released in any form. These bloggers aren't making any money themselves. Most seem to be passionate fans of a specific genre of music. Most have a policy of removing a link of the artist objects or if the material is re-released. In fact I pointed out to one blogger that the "Van DeLecki's" "Letters From the Desk of Count S.Van Delecki" was still commercially available and he quickly removed the download link and replaced it with a link to the page on CD Baby where you can buy the CD. However it does seem to me that the artists are still getting ripped off.

I do know that Terry Anderson and Jack Cornell had been working on a Woods box set but that seems to have stalled. Terry said something to effect of "why should I spend the money to put it out when it's already out there for free"? Specifically "It's Like This" is on one of these blogs, despite the fact that Twin Tone will still make you a copy on a custom CD for $15. Also floating around is The Wood's "Lost Album". Never released the "free" copy's quality is not great, but the songs sure are. I, for one, would have plopped down the cash for the box set JUST to hear decent copies of these songs. I don't think it's happening. Is it because of these blogs? Are blogs like this preventing artists from making some of their pasts works available to their fans?

I tried my hand at legally selling music on The Comboland Radio website. For 2 years I had all but one of the Arrogance recordings available. We sold a few downloads, but it cost twice the dollar amount we sold to host the website and pay the fees for the "shopping cart" and to accept PayPal. NOT a good business model! I was surprised too. But after thinking about it all of the fans we have seen at the shows in recent years probably had the stuff already. Not everybody felt the need to replace their vinyl with the digital downloads... although they do sound good. Also I shouldn't have sold individual songs. For the same amount of storage space and inventory items I should have tried harder to get some of the other bands to sell some of their out of print stuff there too. Still I'm not sure it would have ever broken even.

I guess I could put the Arrogance stuff up on a blog of my own! I guess I could put ALL of the vinyl have I digitized for Comboland Radio up on a blog somewhere!! (It's quite a bit!) Hell I could put up the all of out of print CDs I have too!!! I could... but I can't. I was a suspected music bootlegger in the 80's. While working at Reflection Sound Studios the studio recorded 4 live R.E.M. shows. OF COURSE a few copies were circulated by the staff. However copies of 2 of the shows got to the outside world. It wasn't nefarious... it didn't involve me... and it was an innocent mistake. However I DID hear about it and several people were/are convinced I bootlegged the tapes. I didn't, but I felt horrible. R.E.M wasn't this huge band yet. I had seen them many times in clubs and dives in the south. I had friends who were working with them. I wouldn't have done anything to take money out of any of their pockets. I still feel the same way.(By the way... I still have my tapes. I check the R.E.M. bootleg list every now and then and as of yet the 2 shows I have are not listed anywhere.)

For what it's worth Comboland Radio is a "legal" Internet broadcast and pays all of the music licensing fees through Live365 (although I would be GREATLY surprised if ANY of the artists ever receive a penny of what I pay in... but that is a another blog for another time).

Again... I don't really know how I feel about these blogs... but they are in great abundance and cover every form of music imaginable. I would be interested in your point of view. If the musicians and artists are against this type of "sharing" then I would have to side with them. Just know that no matter what "the man" does to prevent the sharing of music on the Internet people will figure out a different way to do it.

With all of that said I have just transferred 2 albums to digital, both with Triangle ties, that will start playing legally on Comboland Radio later this week.

1 comment:

  1. Like you, I have run across many of the same artists you mentioned on various music blogs. I too ran into The Woods two albums. I bought one from Twin Tone but the other I could not find anywhere. There is a lot of music from the late 70's and 80's that I would be willing to pay for, but I just can't find anywhere except on some of these blogs. I don't have the time or expertise to buy used vinyl on ebay, clean it up, and digitize it. I know record companies have the rights to some of this music but the artists themselves own the rights to a lot of it as well. There has got to be a way to get digital copies of all this older material into the hands of fans/collectors before it's too late. I just wish I knew how to do it.