Thursday, August 26, 2010

steal this music! (or not)

I try not to gush too effusively about musicians I like - mostly because I don't really know much of anything about music and am afraid to expose my ignorance to a more knowledgeable public. So I think, instead, I will endorse some music I like as a concept, a group known as Elisaray.

There a two reasons why, conceptually, I like this band. The first is that they are local. My little brother hangs out with the vocalist guy, who is the little brother of one of my friends. So I - who think that real, live music ought to be a part of the creation and experience of community - think that this band is groovaliggytastic.

The second reason is that they are letting you pay whatever you want to for their albums. This is, I think, one of the most intriguing and bizarre developments that has come about because of the knowledge explosion (implosion?) of the internet. The facility of web-based file-sharing has democratized music, rendering creative licensing laws impotent, if non-existent. This has wrenched the control of music out of the hands of Massive Corporations, who have discovered that they cannot legislate morality on the internet.

While I tend to think that stealing music is bad mojo, I am very much a fan of the response of many musicians to this challenge to their livelihood: they have posted their music online and have given the consumer the right to choose what they wish to pay for IT. This is, of course, ridiculous and un-American. It is also profoundly delightful and, for many of these artists, has actually worked.  Apparently there are a lot of people out there who resent being treated like a cog in the consumer machine, but don't mind dishing out money to directly support musicians they like. Although there are no doubt many freeloaders, the practically negligible distribution costs of the internet allow many artists to actually make as much or more money than before.

So do me a favor: go to this website. Listen to the music. Click on the other album they have on bandcamp and listen to it, too. It's sort of a "Damien Rice meets Bob Dylan meets Sufjan Stevens" thing.

If you like it, listen to it it again. If you still like it, then BUY IT. Honor the trust they have given you and help real, live musicians continue to make real, live music.

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