Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sylvester on Mp3 Album Blogs

Nick Sylvester rants away about this particular virulent breed (although he indirectly - and unfairly - implicates Aquarium Drunkard).

The worst of these blogs post entire albums, steal onesheet copy, utilize free hosting services (against the terms of service of those services incidentally) and then rake in advertising dollars as the hit rates go up.

Not really looking to get into the morality discussion, or the "what blogs can and can't do, what's a blog's real function, etc" one. We can take for granted that upping a new album from a living, breathing artist who supports himself off this stuff or wants to--that's pretty shitty, even if you disclaim that "All music posted here is for a 24 hour testing period. It is not my responsibility to make sure that you follow these rules, it is your own. I will not be held accountable."

MP3song blogs can rationalize teasing an album, drumming up interest, etc. The best of them have focus past NEW SHIT NEW SHIT, either curating old with new or taking advantage of the internet's collective memory to preserve some random seven-inch or mixtape freestyle nobody will remember if someone doesn't decide it should be.

Verbatim (that's my new unhip way of saying "Word") to that.

However, Sylvester also posits that this will lead to even shorter cycle lives for albums that deserve a longer "listening period" - I'm not sure I totally agree with that. Of course, Sylvester likes mostly shitty music so maybe the short life span he worries about has to do with that. No, good albums were "lost" just as much in the 60's as they are today. Eventually the shitty stuff gets flushed or turned into an object of nostalgic derision.

UPDATE (8:11 PM): Nick has taken down the link to Aquarium Drunkard's hit rate page...

12 comments:

Thrasher said...

Interesting read. Thanks for the link. I suppose this sort of argument has only begun. rules are being made & broken everyday...

verbatim -- nice word

Bill said...

Well I wish someone would post entire albums which are in artificially short supply so as to make them "collector items". Stooges Funhouse Sessions for example.
On a related note most "new" music sucks...really bad.It has always been this way and always will. Thanks to digital technology your bad self-indulget amatuerish masturbatory "art" is freely available and "owned" by millions.
Not cluttering up landfills, thrift store bins and collector's shelves.
Don't worry you weeren't going to see any $$$ from it anyways.If you can't earn a living in music by live performance records ain't gonna help either.
Thanx for the FREE tunes!

Jim H said...

Bill - Well, that's why I said Aquarium Drunkard was unfairly (though indirectly) tarnished with Sylvester's brush since when he or she posts entire albums, it's stuff that's either in some sort of legal limbo or rare, hard to find shit. AD has been brushed by the RIAA for posting some embargoed Ryan Adams stuff. But when he is contacted he's responsive and takes it down. Sylvester was talking about the guys who don't give a shit and are doing it either for ego or to get hit rates (which I would add, eventually leads them to suck in some advertising income.)

I am not of the "most new music sucks" school, though but you are right, a lot of music sucks. Listening to the entire SXSW MP3 collection certainly is proof of that. On the other hand, I think 2005 and a little bit of 2004 saw a big burst of great songs and an interesting new attitude. don't know why - some people say it happens when there's a war and certainly the 60's and the 40's were high points in popular music. The 80's were a high point in underground music and was also the high point of the Cold War (which seems to make some sorta sense - since both were covert and cultural wars). Anyway, it's nice to be on the crest of this new wave - don't know where it's going to take us.

dana said...

Y'know, I realize that this could be construed as an apples-and-oranges argument, but Sylvester's not exactly one to talk when it comes to media ethics, is he?

Jim H said...

Well, not to attack the messenger but Sylvester has been on my shitlist since his grandstanding review of The Warlocks album. But I can agree with him at times, too, right?

Bill said...

I'd say the best 40s music was post-war.. country electrified RnB jazz proto-electronic and proto-rock.
As for the 60s much of the best originated before "the war" was really cranking or came from the UK.
Personally my favorite music and film ran from 71 to 80. 1971 was a very magic year( look at say VV pazz and Jop poll and a list of films.
MP3 blogs are new to me(very)I assumed the AD guy was actually involved in promotion for record companies.
I wouldn't have ever wanted to listen to the whole SxSW crap in any year.Always too desperate and business like.
I still think Nirvana's success all but destroyed "Indy music" for all genres.Various cultural and social trends contributed to the collapse as well(much harder to make and listen to live music on a shoestring anymore leading to a decline in working/middle class participation).
I have some hope the destruction of the traditional music industry business model will spur a resurgence.
Enough spewing off the top of my head for now.

dana said...

He crapped on the Warlocks? I piss on his grave, then.

Anonymous said...

yeah, mp3 album blogs are bad news, that's not a surprise.

just as illegal as using napster in its heyday to download the new Sugar Ray or Blink 182 in 1999. but these blogs are probably much less widespread? how many people know these things exist?

mitch

Jim H said...

Yeah, maybe - some of them are popular but Sylvester undercut his own argument by not being able to find a decent size hit counter for one of the many album blogs.

I went and looked at some of them and I was probably too hasty to say they were selling advertising. There's only one that I saw (looked at about 16 blogs) that is selling advertising. IT's also the most popular one.

Jason said...

Nick's just jumping on a bandwagon that's already been rolling for sometime. Sylvester cannot even write an article without making things up. It's great to see such a reputable writer take up an article like this.

Jim H said...

I see they've even removed his name from the Pitchfork site. Oooof.

He shoulda never messed with The Warlocks.

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