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Letters & Comments, January 7, 2009

"Yes, it certainly was a banner decade for thieves and the people who love them namely the ISPs and consumer electronics manufacturers."

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Naughty Aughties

Re: "My Favorite Things: Aughties Edition," by Miles Raymer, December 31

"Being able to walk around with tens of thousands of songs has transformed people's listening habits, and some of their social habits as well." Wait a second: who has tens of thousands of dollars to spend on music? Oh, I get it! When you say they changed their social habits you mean they all started stealing music and depriving artists and songwriters of their livelihood while trying to convince themselves they aren't doing anything wrong and in actual fact are sticking it to the evil record labels who are uncool in their treatment of musicians as you said above even though you then refer to the Untrue album by Burial which you never would have heard if it wasn't for his label, Hyperdub, which championed his stuff in spite of the fact that the artist is so against self-promotion that he was quoted as saying that only five people that he knows personally even know that he makes music. And Hyperdub is distributed by a major, so careful with your distinctions between indies and majors. So let's get off on the right foot in the new decade by sticking with what we really know. Let the people who talk about music talk about music, and let the people who understand the inner workings of the music industry talk about the music industry.

Yes, it certainly was a banner decade for thieves and the people who love them namely the ISPs and consumer electronics manufacturers. But let's all make a conscious decision in the coming year to figure out what side we're really on. Don't say you love and support the people who make your music for you and then rip them off. I can't handle that level of cognitive dissonance any more.

wtf

Let the RIAA sink ("Illegal Downloaders Spend The Most On Music": www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/illegal-downloaders-spend-the-most-on-music-says-poll-1812776.html; "RIAA Wants Songwriter Royalties Lowered": news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/05/015231). Fuck these money hungry greedy bastards. They're the ones who are ruining music by reducing it into an industry as opposed to art form. They keep on pushing crap like Nickelback and Beyoncé. They spend so much on marketing and radio play because the music they want to push sucks ass.

To quote Fenriz of Darkthrone:

"Sure Nickelback has sold 18,000,000 records, but nobody would want to be seen in one of their shirts cuz everyone knows they suck!"

The good thing about downloading is that it helps weed out all the crap. You can decide whether or not you want to choose to buy or not to buy that band's album. People who download the good shit end up going to shows, buying merch like shirts and hats and end up helping artists get enough money to pay for gas and food to the next show. Hell, some of them are hardcore completists who would prefer to buy the vinyl version of an album. Unless of course, if your knowledge of music is limited to the shit that's constantly on commercial radio. Remember the feeling when you made mixtapes for your friends and vice versa? Downloading is almost the same thing, except that it's a lot faster and you can discover a lot of different bands from around the globe without the need to listen to the radio. Thank goodness for online resources such as myspace and last.fm, as well as some hardcore music nerds from around the world, it's easier more than ever to find out about an obscure prog rock band from Italy to a very kvlt black metal project from Brazil. These "titans of industry" are threatened so what do they do? Try to screw over the little guy.

baby jesus must die

Miles Raymer replies:

Actually the bit about changing social habits was a reference to the vast number of people who keep a pair of little white earbuds between themselves and the rest of the world, but I'm willing to address your concerns about file sharing. As a person with a lot of friends in the music industry, and as a musician with a record that's been downloaded off of Rapidshare more times than it's been purchased, I would love it if more people paid for more music. But the file sharing genie's already out of the bottle, and trying to convince or force people not to trade music is a less effective use of our time and energy than finding other ways for musicians to get paid for their work. We're in the middle of a transition from record sales being a primary source of income—an era that only lasted for 50 years or so—to some other paradigm that's still being figured out. A lot of good musicians are unfortunately getting screwed in the process, but I don't think that music as a profession is about to go away.

Old News

"Re: "Five Cold Corpses in a Barn on the North Side," posted by Cliff Doerksen, January 1

I love [your blog] Bad News From the Past, as the proverbial fat child in the parable of the cake. God bless you.

In your database digging, have you ever run across the gland-robbing hysteria that once gripped Chicago and other metropolitan areas? I've always wondered if these stories were the precursor to the modern organ-theft urban legend.

krrraft

WGN in a Nutshell

Re: "WGN's Audience Isn't Small, just Gray," posted by Michael Miner, December 28

I listen to WGN for their coverage of the Cubs and the Cats. And in my 30s, I grew to listen to the station fairly regularly, but in recent years, the lineup has become so weak.

I was never the biggest Spike fan but he grew on me. The new guy is polished but still sounds like a tourist. When the Score dumped Mike North, Mully and Hanley became my morning choice.

Jon Williams's pseudo-intellectual patter doesn't work, Cochrane isn't nearly as funny as he thinks he is and is just plain bad radio. Meier is meh. Sirott's show is decent but only an hour. Finally, it's been a crime to hear Milt descend into right-wing conspiracy-land.

For sports, Kaplan's show is a ghost of its former self without Waddle. Everyone else in the sports department aside from Eanet is unlistenable—esp. Jim Memelo. I guess I can't blame 'GN for sticking with those guys on the weekend. But the new weekend talkers are awful. If I wanted to listen to that junk, there's WLS.

My Name Here

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