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Downloading: Lost Opportunities

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This past Saturday I had a little free time in the afternoon so I thought, hey, why not paw my way through some used records? Off to the local used vinyl emporium I went.

Second only to the smell of books in a used bookstore, the vinyl greeted me with a scrumptious eau-de-Black Circle. Over the years I’ve spent a ton of time flipping my way through records…and there’s something about the smell of ’em that dredges up memories of my youth. Anyway, enough with the nostalgia stuff. Lemme get on to the loot.

Close To The Edge – Yes

I’ve never owned this before, either on CD or vinyl. Though I usually prefer live versions of things, it’s nice to hear Siberian Khatru in its original form. Oh yea, and the sound is so much better than the digital versions I’ve heard.

In And Out Of Focus – Focus

70’s Dutch progressive rock at it’s finest (hmmm, doesn’t that sound like a car commericial? “…and a rear passenger space with the most foot room in its class”) Everybody remembers them for the ‘hit’ song “Hocus Pocus” (which reminds me of that tune by The Darkness). They sort of disappeared after that.

Sunburst Finish – BeBop Deluxe

Bill Nelson (did he make the Rolling Stone list?) played some fantastic guitar way back when. If you can find a copy of this (big ‘if’ there) check out the song “Crying To The Sky”, which reminds me of Prince’s “Purple Rain” by way of Jimi Hendrix.

8:30 – Weather Report

Easily my favorite Weather Report record. The live “Birdland” kills.

It Takes A Year – Will Ackerman

Can’t get enough of the three amigos of “New Age” guitar: Michael Hedges, Alex DeGrassi and Will Ackerman.

Expectations – Keith Jarrett

Jarrett in a modern jazz setting. You can’t go wrong with Charlie Haden and Dewey Redman either.

Les Chants Magnetiques – Jean Michel Jarre

Jarre’s first recording using digital synthesizers. Not as good as Oxygene, Equinoxe or Zoolook…but nothing beats those records.

Just As I Thought – Davis Sancious

Keyboard and piano player on the early Springsteen records. I’ve got another solo piano record of his and it’s mighty fine. Being the Springsteen completist that I am, just hadta pick this one up.

Body Meta – Ornette Coleman

Score! Any Ornette release on vinyl is a cause for celebration in my book. This one features Prime Time at their funkiest. Guitarist Bern Nix really mixes it up with scratchy rhythms and tangled leads.

Encore – Tangerine Dream

These guys have, like, a million records out there. I’ve always wondered what a group like this would do in a live setting. I guess I’ll find out.

Crystal Silence – Gary Burton & Chick Corea

Burton and Corea’s landmark recording. It’s very fine, though maybe not quite as good as Live in Zurich. Ever seen these guys play together live? It’s scary, like musical conjoined twins.

Wings Over America – Paul McCartney

Even though I’m not a huge McCartney fan, this record’s always been a lot of fun for me. The live “Live and Let Die” is spectacular.

Now, after I got all this stuff home, all cleaned up and inner sleeves replaced…I got to thinking about the ongoing “Downloading Is Killing Us” phenomenon that the recording industry is going through.

The industry sees each and every downloaded song as vanished money. Yep, those little mp3 files represent lost revenue. While I don’t really agree with that sentiment, I do have a problem with the phenomenon of kids who see all music as ‘free’. It creeps me out. More than that, it makes me realize that a big & important part of the culture that I grew up in is now seen as without value by the younger generation.

It’s a sad thing….but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

The industry needs to look at reliable, low-cost and unlimited digital downloads as opportunities. One part of the file-sharing thing they seem to completely not get is the fact (I will use the word ‘fact’ because I’m absolutely certain that this occurs) that exposure to new music inevitably leads to demand for more music. People will sample here and there if the price is low and the experience is painless…and they will want more. Just look at my weekend LP trip. As far as the record industry is concerned, I might as well have downloaded ALL of that music because they certainly didn’t get a dime for it. And now, after listening to the majority of the albums, I’ve added several artists to my “want” list. Yes, there is more Yes, Focus, Keith Jarrett, Tangerine Dream and Gary Burton in my future. There’s no doubt about it.

Downloaded music can easily serve the function once the domain of commercial radio (before ClearChannel squeezed the life out of it): spreading the word on new artist’s music.

Or…the RIAA and its partners can continue to waste money and time in their hopeless effort to stuff the technological genie back into the bottle. At the end of that road is the unemployment line.

(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)

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About Mark Saleski

  • Eric Olsen

    What a great haul! classic BeBop Deluxe, maybe their best – grotesquely under-known and -appreciated. Nice Mark, thanks!

  • yesiree, i was very happy with that trip.

    while listening to Sunburst Finish i did wonder why those cuys werent’ more popular.

  • Eric Olsen

    I love Nelson’s later, ambient stuff as well.

    The rest of your haul is also excellent.