I have little time for piracy but I have even less time for the music industry. The former because I am not a spoilt man child who expects to have something for nothing, the latter because I wish to give them something and they often provide me with nothing.
There is a particular song I’ve always adored. Indeed a specific version of it, actually. Despite being a metal fan, I do have a weakness for a girl and an acoustic guitar, so my music collection features Tori Amos, Sophie B Hawkins and others. In 1995, I got myself a copy of Amanda Marshalls debut album, and it is pretty good. I had bought the first single “Let It Rain” on cassette and the B-side (kids, ask your parents) was a live version of another album track called “Last Exit To Eden”. An ode to the uncertainty of walking away, it features one of my favourite opening verses ever.
The walls are thin here in this motel room
Some fool is raging overhead
He’s preaching the Gospel
Johnnie Walker Red
Which I think is a simply wonderful line.
The album track is good, but the B-side is live, in Montreal I think and is just Marshall and an acoustic guitar. And given that Amanda Marshall has a supremely powerful,earthy voice, it becomes a soulful, bluesy, pain filled number. I adore it. If I could sing, I’ve often thought about learning the guitar just to play it.
And yet, I can’t buy this track on MP3. Hell, I can’t even find it. I have a second hand recording from the original cassette. The closest I have is this YouTube video.
The guitar isn’t the same and there is a backing band. The soul is still there but it gnaws at me that this other version, my perfect version, is out there.
This week, several prominent websites blacked themselves out in protest at SOPA/PIPA – two laws currently being drafted to prevent online piracy. However, because the entertainment industry has bought and paid for the US political system (to be fair, they are not the only owners and the UK Parliament is almost as bad) the laws are so broadly drafted as to shut down the entirety of WordPress because I happened to have linked to that YouTube video above.
Yet, as previously stated, I wish to purchase the song and pay real money for it. I can’t. The closest I can get is the video above, which means I put everyone with a WordPress blog in jeopardy. Punishment of innocent people for being unable to purchase a legal item. It isn’t just a stupid situation, it is an insane one.
And that is before we consider that many of the major participants in the music industry are law breakers, from sampling, copying, drug taking, gang warfare, prostitution, exploitation, fraud, assault and battery and various other shenanigans that come with “hell raising rock stars”, “record producers” and “music executives”.
Of course, a piece of paper is the worst padlock ever invented, so absolutely nothing will change. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – piracy is not killing the music industry, the music industry is killing the music industry. It chokes off its own air supply, forces product people don’t want onto them and then wonders why the consumer goes off to the equivalent of a back street hustler in order to get the product they want. Black markets exist because they supply things to people that they want but can’t get.
Anyway, we all know the arguments. Point is, here is a great song. It isn’t the best version, but unless I can figure out just how to get hold of that in this day and age, then it is the best I can do.