Monday, January 13

(I'll figure out a standard for this quoting thing, one of these days.)

Stephen:

Bren: Yes, all of my mp3s; and no more RIAA (in theory). No more Arlo Guthrie, The Red Hot Chile Peppers, Weezer, No Doubt, 95% of radio, et cetera. My current fix for hearing new and cool music is to find something good on cdbaby.com via their excellent search/browsing/listening features. Then I check mp3.com and see if that artist has elected to share some of their songs. If they have I download their selections, if not then I accept that. Either way I mark down the band into a database of Bands I Want CDs From, moving up to Bands I Will Buy From if I consistently enjoy their music.

Fair enough. It's not a length to which I'll be going, but I understand it.

I won't be boycotting RIAA approved media (and certainly not bands on RIAA-member labels) in a strict sense any time soon, because I think that giving them any more control over what I can listen to is a mistake.

What I will do is continue to explore the musical world outside of their domain, and continue to bypass their hold on the good music within it as much as possible. There's still no law against buying used CDs (or tapes, or vinyl, or player piano rolls, or sheet music). Laws pertaining to filesharing remain essentially unenforceable. The mix tape and the burned CD won't be going away any time soon. If I ever believed that obeying the law was a moral imperative, I don't any more, and I'm going to continue seeing these things as valid tools in the ongoing quest for more and better and truer music.

All but a few of the dollars I've spent on music in the past two years have been channeled into purchases of media and merch directly from artists, a little used media, and a lot of live music. Maybe this isn't optimum. My actions are perhaps statistically insignificant. Regardless, I'm quite certain that in music it's possible, if sometimes inconvenient, to escape the standard lie.

I don't doubt that there's a universe of excellent music existing outside of the nexus of RIAA-member record labels, generic chain music stores, and radio as a wholly owned subsidiary of Everything That Sucks in Media. I stumble across it on a regular basis. Sometimes I find myself surrounded by it and I'm awed that anyone can move through life in what should be the most musically alive civilization in the history of the world and remain deaf to it.

I just watched most of Under the Radar, which is a repeated smack upside the head with the sheer possibility of the music that lives and breathes outside the crushing embrace of officially sanctioned mainstream success. Music which may sometimes starve to death out there in the unpredictable dark, but which does not die the officially sanctioned death of Behind the Music sponsored mainstream failure.

(One of these days I'm going to swear off bad extended metaphors for good, but they sure can be fun.)

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