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Joined: 13 Sep 2008 14:44
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Location: France
I recognize that my words are a little bit harsh.
I didn't mean to establish generalizations ; it's simply the perception I get when I'm reading comments on websites (at least in France) : most of this people wants to strongly assert their opinions. And they do it so fast, that you read "This record is the best new music... it's a masterpiece". But finally they're judging a digital file, which is often not accurate in terms of sound quality.

And to me, there's no notion of surprise in the leaks. Now you know the album will appear 2 or 3 months before the real release. The only mystery consists in "what day".


(sorry for my english)

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01 Feb 2010 08:39
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Joined: 04 Jun 2008 23:37
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I've appreciated reading entries on this topic--music is the one art form that, while I love it, I have trouble understanding how it works and therefore, this discussion has raised a variety of questions which I am posting below (after my mini-rant re: money). (I apologize before hand for the disorganization/rambling…)

1. In terms of money—I want to 2nd or 10th the observation that the creation of music is not free. Not only in terms of the equipment and expertise actually paid for by the artists but in terms of the artists’ own time and effort. While artists create out of a passion that will be manifested even without financial compensation—there is no question in my mind that what they do with their time is fully as (or more) valuable than the work done by bankers, attorneys and baristas (to name a few randomly). Of course, in our marketplace culture, it comes down to commodity rather than all the ineffable stuff that relates to artistic realization.

Also, I’m not sure I know how members of bands that tour at the level of intensity as does Shearwater also keep jobs that would support them and pay for the investment in the touring etc…I would rather they did not have to worry about this and could be full-time musicians. (but my naïveté may be showing here—I also want my writers and visual artists to have more time and enough money).

2. [The questions:] In terms of the art—I am curious what the actual living piece of art is to the musician—is it the release, the performances, the videos, (w/ Shearwater, the Dossier) some sort of emergent whole out of the combined pieces?
How does time affect this?

For writers, there is a clear object—there performances are generally (though not always) in support of the literary object. I am very curious as to how musicians view the relationship between their physical creations (e.g. LP/CD)—that object which remains the same over time, versus the performances, which are (despite recordings thereof) fundamentally about a moment in time.

It seems to me some of this revolves around Walter Benjamin’s (admittedly amorphous) ideas about the “aura” surrounding a work of art. As he said, “One might subsume the eliminated element in the term “aura” and go on to say: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.” Of course, music is currently about mechanical reproduction, for the most part, so his hardcore stance is not entirely appropriate (indeed—we know the “aura” is not lost from music when it reaches our ears in the form of a mechanical reproduction) He focuses, however, on time/ authenticity which seem to be primary issues re: leaks

3. The issue of discovery, I suppose, is a difficult one especially given the sorry state of radio. However, there few places to find music on the air/online. GibsonGrrl mentions Seattle's KEXP (http://www.kexp.org/) which I would like to second as a source for music. I used to listen regularly to Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW (http://www.kcrw.com), although, in recent years I've found it less interesting.

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02 Feb 2010 14:15
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 02:18
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Quote:
Also, I’m not sure I know how members of bands that tour at the level of intensity as does Shearwater also keep jobs that would support them and pay for the investment in the touring etc…I would rather they did not have to worry about this and could be full-time musicians.


Re "Full-time musician": I always imagined there would be a day when I was like , "Woo-hoo! I quit my day job!", as if I'd won the lottery. The truth is I left my day job (stocking and shipping maps for a travel map distributor) with great reluctance. They were great people, and as flexible with my schedule as I could ever imagine a job to be, but even they just couldn't deal with my touring and recording schedule any more; it played too much havoc with their day-to-day operations.

"Full-time musician" sort of gets thrust on you if you want to tour regularly. I've got some musician friends who try to pick up shifts tending bar or waiting tables between tours, or do plumbing/carpentry jobs...mostly because these are what they did before they started touring, and so they had some moral capital built up with their employers. But it's pretty tough to get any kind of job that lets you disappear for many weeks on end, to say nothing of 6 months or so. I'm not complaining, mind; this is a pretty great job, and I feel very lucky to be able to do it. But it doesn't pay very well, and things like insurance are out of reach for most musicians.

It's funny, I used to see bands at clubs and think, man, they totally made it. They have a van!

JM


02 Feb 2010 19:20
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While most musicians I know of haven't really 'made it' in many regards, I think they have in at least one: being appreciated for doing something you enjoy. While I know this is something that is applicable to many other professions, I've not seen many people come up with the kind of adoration for actors or writers that the have for musicians. If you ever go to the merch table after a show, and the bands are selling their own merch, fans will just fall all over themselves to give compliments to guys who took like 2 weeks from their day jobs to tour the east coast; and, more often than not, many of these bands aren't prepared for it. I can't even calculate how much many of these musicians have impacted my life, and it becomes hard to describe, even to them. But I guess we all try to do it in the ways we can, often with our wallets.

I forget how that was in relation to this thread, but there's probably something in there.

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02 Feb 2010 21:10
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I have a question:
What do we think about leaked studio materials, such as demos? Those certainly cost money to make, and while they might not be releases which had a marketing budget, they are something which the artist put time into.
Opinions?

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08 Feb 2010 17:27
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Joined: 03 Jun 2008 12:01
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Location: windsor, on
As a listener, I figure if they don't leak I won't hear them, so I'm for it.

If I were an artist, I suppose my opinion would be contingent on whether I ever intended to release them for money, the source of the leak, and how embarrassing they sound to me.


08 Feb 2010 17:58
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John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats developed a habit of destroying unreleased studio work after a leak of "Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg" made its way online. It seems his issue was not in the album being shared, but that the leaked masters were half a step too fast. I, honestly, think this is an overly dramatic stance to take, but I do understand the desire for total creative control over one's work, and destroying those things that embarrass you is a pretty fail-safe way to assure that is preserved.

The Mountain Goats forum has a "passionate" thread about the matter, and while most of it consists of bitchy finger-pointing and condemnations of "fans" who would dare listen to unauthorized material, there are some interesting points made, and a younger and more chill John pipes in now and again with the opinion of the musician whose work is in question.

http://www.mountain-goats.com/forums/re ... 321,page=1


08 Feb 2010 18:35
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pretty everything has been said here already.

i have a policy: i download, i listen, i like, i buy. i don't like - gets deleted. i love - i buy everything. some albums i've got in 6 editions - standard, limited, deluxe, vinyl, promo, re-release, whatnot. plus singles of course. and i am an unpaid intern, but still manage to get the things i really care for. even download-only stuff, which i hate. that's like paying for air, bad quality air! screw that, datafiles are not music. music is live or on record.

as for leaks: i am terribly impatient. seeing the leak is the same as getting the album, it is the same emotion - happiness, excitement, joy. and then, when the physical product arrives, it's like a second level to the excitement: artwork, packaging, full quality. for me, leaks double the fun.

as for people who only download and never buy: screw you. don't spend your cash on fucking cocktails in a shitty bar but on some culture, moron. leaks should only be available to people who genuinely care about music. to bad that hasn't been invented yet.

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09 Feb 2010 05:18
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sea wrote:
pretty everything has been said here already.

i have a policy: i download, i listen, i like, i buy. i don't like - gets deleted. i love - i buy everything. some albums i've got in 6 editions - standard, limited, deluxe, vinyl, promo, re-release, whatnot. plus singles of course. and i am an unpaid intern, but still manage to get the things i really care for. even download-only stuff, which i hate. that's like paying for air, bad quality air! screw that, datafiles are not music. music is live or on record.

as for leaks: i am terribly impatient. seeing the leak is the same as getting the album, it is the same emotion - happiness, excitement, joy. and then, when the physical product arrives, it's like a second level to the excitement: artwork, packaging, full quality. for me, leaks double the fun.

as for people who only download and never buy: screw you. don't spend your cash on fucking cocktails in a shitty bar but on some culture, moron. leaks should only be available to people who genuinely care about music. to bad that hasn't been invented yet.


Well said.


09 Feb 2010 16:59
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Joined: 08 Feb 2010 08:19
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Storm and Static wrote:
I have a question:
What do we think about leaked studio materials, such as demos? Those certainly cost money to make, and while they might not be releases which had a marketing budget, they are something which the artist put time into.
Opinions?


Torn on this one. I remember when Radiohead's Hail To The Thief leaked - wasn't quite demos, further on than that, but wasn't the finished version either.

Jonny Greenwood issued a statement that the band were mortified because they felt that the leaked versions were not what the band intended people to hear, ever.

And yet, the unmastered version - the one I was never meant to hear - is my favorite; something got lost in the polishing.

In terms of studio demos, I think that - yes, the band will have put effort and money into it and would be kept for posterity; I'd also hope that the band would make them available at a later date, to share with the listeners. If they liked it enough at the time to record, then chances are people will want to listen.

I think I kinda like what John Frusciante did with Shadows Collide With People - released a glossy, highly produced CD, and then posted the demos and acoustic sets on his website for people to download.

I don't like leaks, and yet I sometimes can't help myself. But then I'd only download something I know I'm going to buy, probably in many formats! And then I'd delete the digital copies and have to re-buy them again... and again...

I think I can understand the disappointment an artist feels when hard work is leaked ahead of a launch - I'm guessing there's a sense of a loss of trust somewhere along the line.... but does that get negated at all by any positive feedback coming out of a leak?

Music costs, for sure. The whole piracy issue is a difficult area. As a freelancer, it's like me turning up to work, doing a full day or a week, and then the employer turning round saying "we've seen what you can do. we don't like it, we're not paying you". You can't take that work back. It's done. I totally get the musicians' point of view on this.

Yes, the leak comes from piracy and a breakdown somewhere along the line, but then are the people that download an album once, in advance of release, in the same group as people that will continue to download and not pay for many years after the album is out in the wild?


10 Feb 2010 18:36
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Joined: 08 Sep 2008 19:25
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Location: Geneseo
JackAltman wrote:
John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats developed a habit of destroying unreleased studio work after a leak of "Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg" made its way online. It seems his issue was not in the album being shared, but that the leaked masters were half a step too fast. I, honestly, think this is an overly dramatic stance to take, but I do understand the desire for total creative control over one's work, and destroying those things that embarrass you is a pretty fail-safe way to assure that is preserved.

The Mountain Goats forum has a "passionate" thread about the matter, and while most of it consists of bitchy finger-pointing and condemnations of "fans" who would dare listen to unauthorized material, there are some interesting points made, and a younger and more chill John pipes in now and again with the opinion of the musician whose work is in question.

http://www.mountain-goats.com/forums/re ... 321,page=1

I try to occasionally contribute to the Mountain Goats forum, but I often feel a bit daunted to post on there. That said, I've read that thread before, and it's a damn interesting one. John's stance is a very interesting one, and one I can respect (similar to his stances on many other topics; he's a musician I can get behind in every respect).

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10 Feb 2010 19:23
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"They have a van"

That is a noble dream and should be celebrated. I'm not being sarcastic..!

This has been a really interesting discussion to read. And although I really don't have anything new to comment about leaks, well just to say: I buy the music I love, sometimes I find out about it via copies, mainly though via free listening sites (spotify etc) but I always buy either: the things I know I would have bought anyway (the tapes I would have lovingly turned over to only-able-to-rewind in my walkman) or because there is something beautiful and paper-based to play with released too.

I buy music for a self serving reason mainly though - I want the people who make the music I love to continue to be able to make the music I love. And musicians need to pay the bills (but not the unavailable insurance apparently). Not a moral choice but the right one all the same.

Maybe I'm not living in the real world but it really breaks my heart that you have to deal with this side of things.


24 Feb 2010 15:52
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I really like the Paypal van donation button on the merch site. In a perfect world, that would be all it would take to keep a band afloat. I would certainly contribute had I not spent a good chunk of money on TGA already, and if I did not intend to spend more on/at a show in April.


24 Feb 2010 16:57
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