Posts tagged “cd”

Wild and Free

Me on bass, Firefly Club, Osaka, Japan, 2001

I had the TV on in the background the other night while I was doing some work around the house–I’ll admit it to you–I was watching E Hollywood True Stories, “Joe Francis Gone Wild.” (Francis is the guy who created Girls Gone Wild (NSFW))

Anyway…about halfway through the show, I heard a really familiar sound fading up in the background. I turned up the volume on the show, and, sure enough, it was a piece of a song from a CD I recorded a few years ago.

ghost7, New Directions in Static, 2004

As the wow feeling of hearing something I had made broadcast this widely subsided, I started thinking about other aspects of the situation: shouldn’t someone have contacted me, shouldn’t I be getting paid for this?

And here’s where the irony, or at least the thought-provoking conundrum, begins.

I know how hard it is to earn a living playing music (or even just to cover your expenses). Yet I have, ahem, “friends,” who download all kinds of “free” musical content. And when I lived in Japan, I had other, ahem, “friends,” who rented lots of CDs from Tsutaya (the Japanese Blockbuster Video) and copied them onto MiniDisc to build their music collections, thus depriving the artists of their cut of a CD sale. (For a great breakdown of the traditional music industry business model, and a startling look at the reality of making a living as a musician, check out Moses Avalon’s website and book, Confessions of a Record Producer).

My initial self-righteousness about getting paid for the use of my music highlighted a clear differentiation I’ve been making between creative “product” that comes out of the “entertainment industry” and what’s made by people like me, whose primary livelihood is something other than their music, art, etc.

Now that any content placed in the public arena is almost instantaneously redistributable, whither goes the business model/s for creative production? Are songs-as-products becoming obsolete, to be replaced by songs-as-loss-leaders, a la the Starbucks/iTunes “song-of-the-week” card?

How, in this freewheeling new world, will it continue to be possible to shift enough units to pay for the production of something like a U2 album or a feature-length film?

CD Cover, George Lynch (ex-Dokken), 2000

New analysis covered over at O’Reilly on Radiohead’s 2007 “pay-what-you-like” experiment for selling their album, In Rainbows, would seem to support the loss leader model, with the attention generated by the online trading of the album seemingly as valuable as any actual money earned through paid downloading.

I’d add as well that firing up the tour bus remains an essential part of the prospect. Aside from tribute bands, no one’s found a way yet to pirate the live performance. (Although perhaps the scenario in Kiss’ 1978 movie, where the band is attacked by a lookalike robot band, suggests one possible model.)

VHS box, Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park, 1978

But back to more grounded futuristic pondering. Is Karl Marx’ dream of making means of production accessible to ordinary people coming to fruition via peer-to-peer content sharing and the free flow of certain types of “raw materials?”

As the “redistributability” of content facilitated by the internet crossbreeds with technology and approaches like just-in-time production, 3D printing, and mass customization, will other types of product production also be wrested from commercial producers?

And will someone from E True Hollywood Stories please contact me about that royalty check?

Out of the box? There is no box. Really.


Software advertised on the web is often showed in some version of what it might look like on the shelf. Even if there is no box; the software is ordered online and downloaded. There’s no physical tangible artifact. No box, no printed manual, no shrink-wrap, no CD. But the box denotes “I’m for sale” and persists as a representation of the purchase.

Note that some of the above may be actually available in boxes, but I suspect most of them are not. Indeed, some of the box images are incredibly simplistic, iconic rather than representative of what you might see in a store. Maybe someone read these Photoshop tips for creating an image of a product box.

So much for fact checking

So much for fact checking. A review from the SF Chron

CD REVIEWS: “In a time of austerity in the music business, ‘Weird Tales of the Ramones‘ is a behemoth, containing 85 songs on three CDs and every single video the band filmed from 1981 to their retirement in 1996. In this unsentimental but nonetheless fascinating document of rock endurance, fans visually and audibly experience the Ramones in their sullen glory, all deadpan pasty faces, ripped skin-tight jeans and off-the-rack leather jackets. They go from snarling through three-minute blasts of rage and irony on songs like ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,’ ‘Cretin Hop’ and ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ to having most of their raw edges rubbed down as they become the benign cartoonish elder punk statesmen of their later years, wading through a myriad of age-related songs like ‘When I Was Young,’ Tom Waits’ far too revealing ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’ and the painfully brilliant ‘I Want To Live,’ from Joey Ramone’s posthumously released solo album. This is a fascinating but hardly weird tale, unless you consider it weird how undervalued these pre-eminent architects of the American punk juggernaut were during their lifetime.

— Jaan Uhelszki.

But I Want To Live isn’t from Don’t Worry About Me (the above-referenced posthumous Joey album), it’s from 1987’s Halfway to Sanity (and it seems to be called I Wanna Live, in fact).

How hard would it be to get that right? I haven’t seen the new box set, but don’t you imagine it includes liner notes that indicate where the songs were from?



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