#Free

The DAVID LOWERY v. NPR INTERN debate…

So… a couple of days ago, a young intern at NPR wrote a blog post about how she ‘never owned any music in the first place’. And then today (or, I guess, yesterday now), David Lowery wrote a very concise, thought provoking reply (which you should read as it is one of the better pieces of writing about ‘stealing’ music that is out there on the internet). And then links to both posts have been floating around on the twitters and tumblrs (and I just got a Lefsetz Letter about it in the old inbox… which includes some his common bullet points of “just make good music”, “Lady Gaga”, and “Spotify is great and no one believes me”).

For me, I think the best / most interesting point that Dave makes is the one about how all these companies (like Google, your internet provider, etc.) are getting rich off of all this so called ‘free music’.

“But it’s worse than that. It turns out that Verizon, AT&T, Charter etc etc are charging a toll to get into this neighborhood to get the free stuff. Further, companies like Google are selling maps (search results) that tell you where the stuff is that you want to loot. Companies like Megavideo are charging for a high speed looting service (premium accounts for faster downloads). Google is also selling ads in this neighborhood and sharing the revenue with everyone except the people who make the stuff being looted. Further, in order to loot you need to have a $1,000 dollar laptop, a $500 dollar iPhone or $400 Samsumg tablet. It turns out the supposedly “free” stuff really isn’t free. In fact it’s an expensive way to get “free” music. Companies are actually making money from this looting activity.”

Now, yes, Emily the Intern, definitely put her foot into it (everybody is ‘stealing’ music… but nobody ever says that out loud). But after spending way longer than I should have spent reading some of the comments on her NPR post, I couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for her. To me, it seems like a lot of people left reading the great Dave Lowery post thinking that Emily and the millions of young people who have a similar relationship with purchasing music (or the lack thereof) as the big villains of this story. But I don’t know, maybe we should point the pitchforks at the people counting all the money being made from (as David nicely put it) “charging a toll to get into this neighborhood to get the free stuff”? Yes, this whole ‘I want access to everything, all the time, for free’ attitude that the interent has produced is more than a bit troublesome for anyone making the content that everyone expects for free… but I have a feeling that the ‘expect it for free’ attitude is born out of the ‘I’m already paying over $100 a month to have the internet on my phone and at home’. And don’t get me started on how expensive it is to heat a house in England (in fact, I wrote a blog post kind of about that already)

Anyways, I mostly just wanted to pass on the link to that Dave Lowery post. It’s a long, but good read. And it struck a chord with the ‘record label’ side of me as well as the ‘music listener’ side of me. Since I have those two sides, I agree with a lot of what he says and also disagree with some of it. Or rather than disagree with some things, I just don’t feel as passionately about shaking my fist at Emily the Intern. Especially in a room with a mirror in it. I am, afterall, loading the most recent epsidoe of Games Of Thrones and The Daily Show as I type this. You see, this ‘I want it free’ vs ‘everybody should pay all the time’ thing is a bit complicated, with a lot of moving parts.

Also, to Dave’s point of “is it really that inconvenient to download a song from iTunes into your iPhone?” I would just like to add, “is it really that hard for Apple to make it possible to download music from Bandcamp while on an iPhone?”*.

*If it is now possible to download music from Bandcamp on your iPhone, I retract that statement. I just remember back when I had an iPhone, you could only seem to purchase music from iTunes. I find things like that a lot more annoying than Emily the Intern’s prom date giving her 15 GB’s of free music. Although, I also find giving someone 15 GB’s of music annoying. Not so much for the lost artist revenue, but for the thought and time that didn’t go into picking just the perfect 20 songs, putting them in the perfect order, and just giving that… and for the 100’s of songs in that 15 GB’s that got thrown into iTunes and were never listened to (but rather just added to the grand total of an ‘I have this many songs on my computer’ drop).

As nice as it would be, it may not be possible to ever get a bottomless coffee. But for this week only, you can get Caleb Groh's great album 'Bottomless Coffee' for free. And then you can listen to it on repeat and have yourself a bottomless 'Bottomless Coffee'.

The Best Friends With Wolves Club sent me an email last week saying they busted out the casio and would have an EP ready to release soon… and cha cha cha, here is that EP (it’s called ‘Cha-Cha-Cha!’. It’s 14 minutes of catchy, upbeat indie pop. Songs about love and death, kind of like a sunnier Tim Burton love story (and fittingly, with those themes, a Cure cover). Or as Eric says:

"You could listen to this while rollerblading."

So get out your ‘whatever brand rollerblades come in’ rollerblades, put on your oversized headphones and matching shorts, and then get out of the house and soak up the weather (I’d say ‘soak up the sun’, but I’m in England and that is not always possible). 

But before you do all that, head to Bandcamp and download the whole thing for free-free-free! (otherwise, your rollerblades, headphones and matching shorts won’t feel like such a good idea)

Black Coffee & Cherry Pie has a new album out called ‘Odd Vantage’… and it is both excellent and free. So, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t go pick up the whole thing right now.

Seriously, why are you still in this post? Oh… you’re still listening to this song because I didn’t write enough words to fill up 3:26. Fair enough. But after you’re done listening, head over to his Bandcamp page and get the whole thing.

Herohill just put out a big, free Leonard Cohen tribute album, which features a ton of Canadian artists covering the great bard of Montreal. On first listen, this Teenage Kicks version of The Partisan is my favourite… although I wish someone would have done ‘Passing Through’. And I wonder why no one took on ‘Hallelujah’. Although, that’s probably because Jeff Buckley’s perfect cover is too intimidating to try and best.

Did I mention the whole thing was free?

I just received a lovely test pressing of Lizard Kisses previous single ‘Water Tap' in the post (which came on clear vinyl in a hand painted sleeve… which is quite a nice piece of eye + ear candy), around the same time as this brand new track of theirs was released on a massive 100 track compilation from the folks over at Beko.

I haven’t downloaded the full 100 track compilation (as I don’t really have the time available right now to responsibly consume 100 more tracks in my iTunes), so I can only say with confidence that you really should go pick up the gorgeous 'Water Tap' vinyl and definitely download ‘To Recapture’. Although, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a bad idea to also download the free 100 track compilation from Beko (and I probably will too, just at the moment, I have so many other things I have’t listened to properly yet and the thought of putting 100 more tracks on top of that made feel a bit like one of those dirty cat hoarders).

Inspired and the Sleep keeps rolling out the ace tunes, on what seems like a monthly basis, and Take Pills keeps that streak going. This song hits ultimate head bobbing mode when the flute drops, so wait for it.

And then go download it for your own personal consumption. It is free after all. Grab it on Soundcloud or Bandcamp. And since Tumblr Tuesday was almost today (if it hadn’t been yesterday), and since Inspired and the Sleep just gave their site a makeover, you should head over there and give them a good followin’.

And take your pills (whether that be E, Vitamin C, or just your standard Chill Pill).

I discovered this new Zach Rogue track (aka Rogue Wave) on a recent 8tracks mix from Zach’s latest side project, Release The Sunbird. It is a great mix of tunes. Besides a bunch of other great artists, it features two of Zach’s songs, which are both available as free downloads.

Here’s the free download link for You Were Kind, and you can find the download link for the other track (as well as listen to the full mix + read more about Zach’s other project) over on 8tracks.

My friend Patrick Porter's creative output always makes me feel like I am the least productive person in the world. As I was at home listening to the unmastered tracks off his upcoming Frozen Fish LP and thinking up a release plan for that (while running back and forth from the post office mailing Valentines Day cards), Patrick released a brand new, 16 track album called 'Adagio For Piranhas’. For free, all nonchalantly. The 16 tracks is really mind blowing once you find out how many tracks will be on the Frozen Fish LP (hint: a lot). The guy is a song writing / recording machine (and don’t forget painting machine too).

Here is what Patrick had to say about this album:

“Ups downs smiles frowns. Sun river windows and baby blankets draped on electric wires. Download it now FREE as per a limited-time (all time is limited) offer. And listen to it LOUD, chum.”

That’s right, it is free, but only for a cryptic ‘all time is limited’ limited-time. So get it in ya.

I have no idea what this song is saying, or how to pronounce its title… but it is still pretty damn catchy. Google translate tells me that it means “stor industrial project I”, but I think something may have gotten lost in the translation. If you would also like to get ready in the morning while bouncing around to this song, you can download the track for free over on Just Another Snake Cults Soundcloud page.

Just Another Snake Cult: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bandcamp | Soundcloud

Damon Guyett is a young man from Ontario, a young man who is spending his days and nights cooking up music in his basement bedroom. And I think he might be on to something. His Bandcamp page has a few singles up for grabs, as well as a full length album, and there is plenty of evidence of a musically creative mind at work (and you can get them all for ‘pay what you want’). On ‘Cough Cough / Naked House' (the full length where this track is pulled from) there are some misses and there are some hits (including a great, but too short, song called 'Hit’) and then there is everything in-between. It can feel a bit scattered, but it is also growing on me the more spins I give it. Perhaps that’s because I’ve been feeling a bit scattered lately.

Based on his most recent single, a track called G’mornin, I think there might be something really great being cooked up in that basement bedroom in Waterdown, Ontario.

Damon Guyett: Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr |Soundcloud

Shakey Graves has yet to put something to tape that I haven’t dug completely. So it is no surprise that his Lucinda Williams cover is the one that stands out to me the most on the great covers compilation ‘We All Go Twang’ (the great, country fried blog When You Awake is responsible for the mix tape). Besides the Shakey Graves cover being brilliant, the whole thing is magic. With great, twangy covers of songs from Led Zeppelin to The Magnetci Fields, even if this mix tape wasn’t free (which it is), it would be a must download. Get it HERE.

And while on the topic of Shakey Graves, I recently saw that Rollo & Grady named ‘Roll The Bones' as one of their favourite albums of 2011. So I just thought that I would mention that that album would definitely have landed at the top of my list too, I just wasn’t sure when it was released. His Bandcamp page cheekily puts the release at 1987 and I thought I had downloaded it back in 2010. But memory is fleeting thing. All I know is that it is one of my favourite albums of recent years, and Shakey Graves is one of my favourite artists of recent memory. You should check him out, if you haven’t already (since we’re on Tumblr, why not start with his Tumblr).

Shakey Graves: Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Soundcloud

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