Musical Notes -- 09/19/03

Friday Five

1. Who is your favorite singer/musician? Why?

I couldn't name one single performer; it would have to be a long list. The short version of that list would have Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Janis Joplin... What's that? Sounds like I'm stuck in a time warp, listening to music I listened to when I was in my twenties... Oh, okay, you want to toss in Springsteen (and maybe Pure Prairie League and Commando Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen?) to take care of my thirties?

Look, I tend to listen to lots of classical music. If I'm not listening to that, I'm probably listening to stuff from that above list (especially the first four on the list) or to more contemporary artists (like Melissa Etheridge, Jewel, etc.) or to real oldies, music from the 1950's (ranging from Fats Domino or The Platters to some one-hit-wonder do-wop groups) or maybe even the R&B music that so strongly influenced rock & roll, performers like Lightnin' Hopkins. A few years ago I used to enjoy listening to the same radio station my kids liked, but then the station was sold and changed format to play more mainstream pop crap and we all dropped that station.. (Jill is strongly into punk-influenced rock, like the Deftones -- some of which I enjoy, and have even gone to a number of concerts at Lupo's with her -- She most recently saw Less Than Jake there and I was tempted to ask if I could tag-along, but I was too busy with work to be able to spare the time. Jeremy has quite eclectic tastes, but seems strongly attracted to techno and rap.)

I must confess that in a search for something to listen to while in my car, I recently began listening to a country station -- and for a while I was enjoying it -- however, I've now been listening long enough to realize that they have the same kind of limited play list as a pop station and after only a few weeks I'm already tired of most of the songs they are playing. (Not only that, but even with Johnny Cash being nominated for half a dozen MTV Video awards -- and yes, I actually wasted at least an hour of my time watching that incredibly stupid show because of those nominations -- and his album selling well and then his recent death, I never heard them play a single one of his songs.)

2. What one singer/musician can you not stand? Why?

I don't listen to stuff I don't like so I'm not sure how to answer that. I suppose any (or all) of those slobbering sub-literate "gangsta" rapper jerks.

3. If your favorite singer wasn't in the music business, do you think you would still like him/her as a person?

What a dumb question. I have no idea what any of those on my list for question one are like as human beings. I like them as musicians and performers. Since I've never met any of them (attending a concert doesn't exactly count as meeting someone) I know nothing about them as people.

4. Have you been to any concerts? If yes, who put on the best show?

Let me name two: I saw Fats Domino in concert (a college show, probably 1964) and thought it was marvelous, a really good show; and I've seen Dylan twice and thought his Montreal concert in January of '74 was great.

I was at Woodstock (yeah, the original one in '69) and that was an awesome experience but that was a whole bunch of performers.

5. What are your thoughts on downloading free music online vs. purchasing albums? Do you feel the RIAA is right in its pursuit to stop people from downloading free music?

I have never burned a CD with music downloaded from any P2P file-sharing sites and have no intention of ever doing that.

However -- I think RIAA is absolutely wrong in its attempts to run roughshod over all of us -- innocent and guilty alike -- and I wish failure and corporate bancruptcy upon the whole crew.

There would not be a problem in the first place if this collection of suits and crooks were not so intent on ripping off both their artists and their customers. Hey, who just recently paid $140 million in penalties to various states because of illegal price-fixing? Who has been busy violating the property rights of its customers? Who pushed for the DMCA which extended copyright for decades longer (not to protect artists, but to protect the corporations that own copyrights on seventy year old cartoon characters? Who pushed for this law that is a blatant violation of freedom of speech (making it illegal even tto discuss vulnerabilities in their various copy-protection schemes). Who is now seeking to violate the privacy of any person who connects to the Internet? Who has been suggesting the deliberate use of computer viruses to attack and destroy all data on any machine that they think may have been involved in downloading music?

Haven't you ever wondered why an album on CD cost more than that same album on tape, even though both the blank recording medium and the manufacturing process are cheaper for CD than for tape? Somebody recently pointed out the difference between a CD recording of Chicago and a DVD of Chicago. The DVD costs, on average, about two dollars more than the CD, but in exchange for that extra two bucks the motion picture studio is giving you not just the music, but the entire movie, plus the theatrical trailers, documentary information about the production, director's comments, a number of deleted scenes, etc.

A few years ago IBM had come up with a scheme where record stores could be connected to a vast computer database of music, customers could come in, listen to music, select what they wanted and have it burned to a CD right there. No need to ship any inventory. No need for the overhead of warehouses and distribution channels. No such thing as running out of stock of a best seller. No such thing as turning a customer away because only a limited number of albums could be kept in stock. Even the smallest music store could have every album "in stock." Why haven't you seen this? The recording industry hated the idea. They feared the technology, they feared loss of control.

They thought they could control technology. Computers and the Internet surprised them. They managed to stop Napster. Now they face a multiplicity of peer-to-peer file sharing. Their answer to that is to to declare war on their customers.

I'm not some teenager running to the mall every week to get the latest hot album. Over the course of a year I might purchase maybe a dozen or so CDs for myself and/or my wife. I might have been a more profitable customer on an individual album basis because half of the CDs I bought were of albums whose up-front costs had been covered decades ago.

No more. The R.I.A.A. has really pissed me off and I am boycotting all CD purchases from any major record company. Yeah, you say, as if they care about losing my business.... well, I don't know if they will care or not, but at least I will know that they're not getting my $16.99. Times twelve.
  • Note -- yes, I know, I didn't put a link for every performer I mentioned -- I got tired.
  • Another Note -- Many people have complained about having to buy an entire album just to get one or two good songs, that very often record companies take a couple of good songs and then add a bunch of second-rate songs as filler. My daughter complained about this in her journal earlier this week about purchasing the latest Less Than Jake CD -- and I quote: "I listened to it on the way home... rather... I forced myself to listen to it. I think its their crappiest cd ever..... I think I only like 2 of the 14 or so tracks... blah.... "
  • And a Third Note -- I had thought this was going to be a short entry, guess I got carried away
  • A Final Note -- Sheb Wooley -- of the 1958 #1 hit Purple People Eater fame -- passed away on Tuesday. I had only associated him with that novelty song, had made no connection him as an actor who had appeared in so many movies, mostly westerns (as a featured player, not as the hero).

previous entry

next entry

To list of entries for 2003

To Home (Index) page