Friday, April 08, 2005

Fuck the RIAA

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI have frowned upon the RIAA ever since they initially declared war on music lovers, but I never actually joined the growing boycott against RIAA affiliated companies. As of yesterday, things have changed.

I am constantly downloading live recordings of artists that I love and artists that I'm curious about, with the intention of discovering new music to enjoy and new artists to support by means of purchasing albums and concert tickets. The internet site that I frequented the most to download shows was Easytree. Clicking on that link will bring you to a message from the site administrators stating that the site has been shut down due to being threatened with a lawsuit.

This is not Napster, or Kazaa, or some other outlet where people can share copywrited material that is being sold in stores. In fact, Easytree banned the sharing of material from artists who explicitly stated that they did not approve of such a thing. Easytree was a place to download recordings of live shows, recordings that serve as archival artifacts of the myriad forms of musical art being made and shared by musicians, many of whom may not be affiliated with major labels and encourage such distribution of recordings that serves as a sort of grassroots promotion. I would be completely oblivious to many of my favorite musical artists today if it were not for such avenues to share live music. I have actually purchased many albums by such artists, allowing these people to recieve financial support from me that would not exist if it were not for the ability to freely download their tunes.

There are still other options out there for finding and downloading live music, although about 3/4s of what I downloaded was accessed through Easytree. This bothers me so much that I would feel like a grade A jackass if I didn't join the boycott against the evil RIAA and the labels represented by them. So, as of today, I will refrain from purchasing albums from RIAA affilated labels. It actually won't put too much of dent into my musical appetite since a majority of the artists I listen to are affiliated with independent labels. The Bad Plus may have released a new live album via Sony this month, but I won't be biting (or should I say buying). I'll instead listen to the other live recordings I have of them, including a recording of their Ann Arbor show from last fall that I attended and later wrote about.

The following links are for sites that provide info and commentary on the RIAA situation:
Downhill Battle
RIAA Radar

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