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Getting Past the Industry to Love Music Again
Have We Lost That Loving Feeling?
06/30/09 at 03:40 PM by Adam Pfleider
I thought I got all my ideas out in this entry, but it seems another interview this week has shined some similar light on the subject.

Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear recently sat down with Pitchfork and had some keen things to say about the leak of their new album:
Pitchfork: The record leaked online before its release. Was that a disappointment?

ED: Well, it happened, literally, maybe five days after we mastered it. That was a really huge shock because it came from a really sort of shady-- no one ever confessed to it, but something sketchy happened. It was a really huge bummer that it happened so soon. We knew it was gonna leak and we were prepared for that, but really, the biggest bummer for us was that we spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into making sure that it's a really rich recording-- recording it to tape and doing all these nice sonic details-- and then it leaked and I remember listening to it and it sounded like an underwater YouTube stream or something. It was really, really bad. And so it's just a bummer to think of everyone's first impressions of this album being this horribly compressed, terrible-quality version of the album.

But that said, the excitement behind it and everyone's reaction was really encouraging and exciting for us to see. I think people find their own way of showing support, whether it be through an album sale or coming to a concert or even just telling some friends about it. Obviously, the leak didn't hurt us because we debuted in the Top 10. You've gotta be sort of Zen about it. I would never be angry at someone for downloading the album. Sometimes people just wanna listen to it first to see if they like it and that's totally fair. I'm as guilty of that as anyone else. The only thing I find a little strange about the download culture now is that people have so much music at their fingertips that it's really easy to dismiss an album quickly. I'm speaking from my own experience, where I've caught myself downloading a bunch of albums and then I sort of listen to one and I'm like, "Eh." And I wasn't really giving it my all or listening to it in the right order. I caught myself one day where I was like, "What am I doing? This is so not how this artist intended it to be."


Pitchfork: There was time to develop that relationship. Now I feel like it's so hard to develop a relationship with anything because music moves so fast.

ED: There are so many more releases that people have access to. I don't know, maybe there were this many releases when I was growing up and I just didn't know where to look for them. That's probably very much the case. But it just feels like there are a billion [new records] every year. A lot of people are curious and excited about stuff, and one of the great things about the Internet is that people are excited about music and wanna hear a random album from a band somewhere in Romania or something, and to listen to all sorts of stuff from around the world. They have access to new stuff that they would have never had access to [before]. But sometimes I feel like it's a total overload. Where you're like, "I can't even focus anymore." You know?

Pitchfork: Sure. Everything feels disposable.

ED: It is definitely much easier to feel that an album is disposable-- to dismiss an album or delete the tracks you don't like or to just throw it into shuffle or whatever. But that being said, it's a case-by-case situation and that's the way it is and there's nothing we can do about it. People digest and process music differently, and I'm sure that was the case even when I was a kid. I'm not critiquing the general public, I'm speaking from my own experience of being guilty of deleting a track that I didn't like. Then I'm like, "Wait a second, that's not fair. Why am I doing that?"

I raised the font of the points that hit my thought process the most: (a) supporting artists after downloading (pre-post leak) (b) not spending enough time with a particular album and (c) having such a huge library of music, that like a Wikipedia page, it's disposable.

I agree with all of Droste's points. I wonder if the last point will weed out the first two, or if it contradicts why we hate the major Top 40 industry to begin with? If we can critique music quickly, the public could in fact dismiss good bands, and the elitist might not let others grow.

Droste's point of using a leak as a judge is a good one, but with artists changing their Myspace pages to allow for complete streams of their album, the idea is still an illegal one that can be gotten around. I'm listening to the new Poison the Well album right now, but still understand that I can't just take it with me on the go, and maybe that's one of the main points to obtaining a leak.

Another thing I've been thinking about is criticism and avid opinion judged against a wide critical panal of tradiotional magazine reviews and niche blogs and Web sites such as Pitchfork and Absolutepunk. I think we're getting keener as readers to say, "Well I like indie music, so the new Sunset Rubdown must be one to check out," or "I really like post-hardcore, and Drew says he really likes the new Devil Wears Prada album, so it must be worth checking," and so on.

I think we should all take advice from Droste and really sit down with the albums we hear a buzz about. We should sit down with new albums from our favorite artists and try to understand their progressive ways. In the end, maybe it'll change our view on music as we knew it, and open us up to something new, instead of disposing of a new creative direction.

Those iPod gigs are getting bigger, but how much music do you have that's just there taking space? Go, listen, and see why someone told you to check it out. You already got it illegally, at least make the best of it.
Tags: Leaks, Illegal Downloads, Pitchfork, Grizzly Bear
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