You all know that I use this blog to show off some songs that I think are amazing. One song a day, every day. The funny thing about this project is that I’ve always been an “album” guy. I enjoy making mix tapes as much as the next guy, and I really love this project that I’ve been working on all year. Those are very song-centric behaviors. However, when I’m listening to music for pleasure, I listen to whole albums. I think that they have stories to tell. Sometimes they do, anyway. If the artist meant for you to listen to individual songs, they would have released eleven singles instead of an album.
As you know from reading this blog, I ALWAYS encourage you, my dear and loyal reader, to purchase a copy of the album from which the song du jour comes. I even go so far as to encourage the purchase of a physical copy. I know that some people have abandoned the practice of buying physical copies, but I recently got back into it. I don’t always buy physical copies, but I do when I can. My ability to actually store them is becoming a bigger and bigger problem, but it’s not stopping me from growing my physical catalog. I love the packaging. I love reading the liner notes. Holding the jewel box in my hand as I listen to the music for the first time. Looking at the pictures and the acknowledgements in the notes. Smelling. Yes, smelling the liner notes. This goes back to the 1980s when all cassettes released by the WEA (Warner, Elektra, Atlantic) conglomerate smelled of grape flavoring. Remember that?
In the early 1990s, we used to plaster our rooms with the CD longboxes, like tiny posters. Remember longboxes? They were brilliant. I miss them so much.
A lot of “music lovers” these days don’t know anything about physical formats. Some have never owned a physical copy of anything. Worse than that, some have never paid for any of their music. And they don’t understand what they’re taking for granted when they take those digital files from pirate sites.
I won’t lie and say that I’ve never been a part of a file sharing exchange. I take a lot of steps, though, to eventually pay for things that I’ve gotten for “free”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out and bought a physical copy of a CD which I already had a “shared” digital copy.
Today, I read a fantastic blog post written by David Lowery of the band Cracker, and formerly of the less annoying Camper Van Beethoven. He goes into great detail about how the pirating of music is devastating to musicians. And he gives specific examples of how it breaks down. All of this was in response to some intern at NPR who proudly proclaimed that she’s never paid for music. His response is here.
I strongly urge you to read every word. It’s brilliant.
After you’ve read Lowery’s essay, and you get the itch to go on a CD shopping spree, let me know what you buy. Especially if they’re records that I’ve suggested.