Get Behind Me, Audio Pirate

Obeying a link from The Paranoid Mod this morning, I found The White Stripes' new album, Get Behind Me Satan - due for release 2005-06-07 - spoiled on the internet. Not reviewed-spoiled but available-spoiled: tracks 1-6 here and 7-10 here!

The link I have for tracks 11-13 doesn't work but I'm sure they're out there if you want them. I don't need them, because I've heard enough already to buy the album when it releases. For me, downloading TV shows and music works just like a listening post in a record store or watching a show during its free run on network TV. It doesn't make me any less likely to buy a certain CD or DVD - if anything, sampling more material blows open my selection and helps me try new things. I think I contribute more cash, not less, to support new music as a result.

Is sharing digital media over the internet illegal? It depends where you are, of course, but it seems to me like the authorities are always trying to justify their case. Several websites claim it's about as illegal lending your favourite album to a friend, and others urge the music industry to catch up and maximize the benefits (like I described above) of new technology.

Jay-Z made The Black Album available online in pieces to encourage people to remix it, and we got DJ Dangermouse's The Gray Album out of it. No matter what Paul McCartney thinks, that's a fine piece of work. Wilco made Yankee Hotel Foxtrot available months before its retail release in exchange for voluntary donations to their favourite charity and a pledge from fans to buy the LP later. On release, it entered the Billboard chart at #13. When A Ghost Is Born somehow escaped onto the internet, they responded not with a lawsuit but with a corrected list of song titles! Their manager said, "real music fans are prepared, even anxious, to prove their loyalty and support their favorite artists... these people are not the enemy."

As I said, I sleep just fine at night but I know others here who either disapprove of sharing on moral grounds or are scared of being caught if they run a program like Kazaa. On which side of the rip/burn debate do you sit? Does it depend what material is being shared, or who owns it?

Years ago, someone who knew someone who worked on the cover of Massive Attack's Mezzanine brought a copy of that album to a friend's party in London, weeks before it was released. Someone else tried to burn it right there at the party and got busted by the first someone. Ah, good times...

Now share like it's going out of fashion!


Blogger Brad said...

I like "sharing" music.


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