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Pirates and Peppers

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by Josh Ray on May 04 '06

Seems the Red Hot Chilli Peppers was raided by pirates and their unreleased album is making the rounds on the P2P networks. Nothing terribly exciting, other than RHCP's Flea doesn't enjoy all the sharing and free love, which he describes in this blog post. Here's an excerpt:

"i guess now it is possible to down load it for free if you want
well
that's not very nice
if you down load it now off one of these file sharing sites
you will be getting a pale imitation of the record
it will be of the poor sound quality of the technique they used to
get it on there
and that will break my heart
it will break john frusciante's heart
it will break anthony kiedis's heart
and it will break the heart of chad smith
yes, we worked for a year and a half to make the epic record of our
lives
and it is sad to me for the business reasons of course"

I absolutely love fleas writing
no punctuation
or sentence structures or
logical divisions of any kind
because really this is how the world sounds
in your
head

I should write like that more often. I'm serious, it reminds me of this one time in college when I decided to write an essay on the splendor of 16th century Italian colonnades after a night of -- in any case, music industry bad boy Lefsetz equates music piracy with free publicity and says anyone who disagrees is a flaming tard (my words, not his. His are much more mature). Regardless of which side you take in this debate, one portion of his recent letter is interesting:

"Decades after Burger King made major inroads into McDonald's market share by announcing to consumers they could have it "their way", backward record companies and artists STILL believe they dictate how people should acquire and play music. God, if they could, they'd have everybody playing CDs in their homes only. So they could hear the "warm", pristine sound.

Well, CDs are pristine. But the sound is so brittle, so unlike music, that I truly believe whole GENRES of music have fallen by the wayside because when listened to on the disc format they LACK said warmth, they hurt your ear and DON'T touch your heart. Ever notice that the only thing that SOUNDS good on CD is hip-hop?"

I disagree. My dream trance, drum and bass, and happy hard core albums sound excellent on CD, so I don't know what he's talking about. But as for the industry still selling discs as the only solution, well, there's the problem. But I do think Lefsetz flies way off the handle, attacking Flea who strikes me as just a blissfully nice guy and likes the way his music sounds and is arranged on the CD and hates the idea of his music getting chopped to bits. So much cursing, I wonder if Lefsetz has been introduced to the Asylum.

Keep reading for the rest of Lefsetz's newsletter and go subscribe if you want more of his thoughts.

UPDATE: THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME CONFUSION AND I'M SORRY I DIDN'T MAKE THIS CLEAR, BUT EVERYTHING BELOW THIS POINT IS NOT YOUR HUMBLE NARRATOR, JOSH RAY, BUT MR. LEFSETZ. THIS IS THE TEXT OF HIS ORIGINAL NEWSLETTER:

http://www.redhotchilipeppers.com/news/journal.php?uid=213

Doesn't this sound suspiciously like the Oscar campaign telling us that a movie is only good if you see it in a THEATRE?

Decades after Burger King made major inroads into McDonald's market share by announcing to consumers they could have it "their way", backward record companies and artists STILL believe they dictate how people should acquire and play music. God, if they could, they'd have everybody playing CDs in their homes only. So they could hear the "warm", pristine sound.

Well, CDs are pristine. But the sound is so brittle, so unlike music, that I truly believe whole GENRES of music have fallen by the wayside because when listened to on the disc format they LACK said warmth, they hurt your ear and DON'T touch your heart. Ever notice that the only thing that SOUNDS good on CD is hip-hop?

But what blows my mind about Flea's e-mail is two things:

1. The fact he sent it.

So, I'm sitting here at home, eagerly awaiting May 9th to buy the album of my favorite artists, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and its BASSIST, its CORE MEMBER, tells me the album is available all over the NET? Shit, I've got to file up the P2P app. I've got to go to AltaVista. I've got to GET IT!

People were ignorant, out of the loop, and Flea informed them. They call this ADVERTISING! And Flea just advertised in the greatest word of mouth forum of all time. The word is going to spread like wildfire. Couldn't ANYBODY stop him? Get him to shut his mouth?

Which brings us to number 2:

2. What a fucking Luddite.

"it will be of the poor sound quality of the technique they used to
get it on there"

What the FUCK does THIS mean?

I've heard of rehearsal tapes being leaked. Of it not being the final version. But Flea doesn't say this.

What exactly is this technique? Did they invent some new way to convert music to files while I was sleeping? Other than ripping?

And getting it on there? Like there's a central server that hosts ALL the pirate files, that they're not on individuals' hard drives, available to others.

How could it be that everybody under twenty knows what the fuck is going on with computer music, and MANY OLDER THAN THAT, and the guy making the music is completely fucking ignorant?

Flea, do you own an iPod? Is there anything on it? How did the music get on there?

Meanwhile, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are selling their album on iTunes. The difference between MP3s on the Net ripped at 128 and the M4A files sold at the iTMS is like the difference between a BMW 325 and a BMW 330. If you don't know the difference, that proves the point. Because there almost IS no difference. Furthermore, if the leaked files are ripped at 160, or 192, as advance copies so often are, they'll sound BETTER THAN THE FILES YOU BUY!

What business is Flea in? The career business, or the DISC business?

The disc business is dying. All you've got is your name. And you want to do NOTHING to tarnish it. So people will give you money in the future. For live performances. For merchandise. AND music, when all this P2P trading is monetized.

Shit, it's as if Flea accused his fans of getting the files on the INTERNETS, in the style of our beloved President.

And who is getting these files? Certainly not fans of Mariah Carey. No, rabid RHCP fans. Who are going to buy the album ANYWAY!! Unless they believe it sucks. Can you blame them for wanting to hear it first, before they buy it?

But they really want to hear it because that's just how much they love the RHCP. And Flea has now pissed on them. By saying he doesn't understand them.

Shit, if Flea were smart, he would have told these people to GO ONLINE AND CHECK THE NEW ALBUM OUT! It's SO fucking good it'll blow their minds. He could have been WITH them as opposed to AGAINST them.

I haven't seen such ridiculous bullshit since Lars equated stealing a file with stealing a couch. Showing he had no comprehension of bits and bytes.

Sure, they're both right. People should pay for music.

But the companies they're signed to won't let consumers acquire music the way THEY want to.

The street date is no longer inviolate. Marketing campaigns are bullshit. The dike is leaking and is about to break.

Furthermore, did you read that Canadian study that said P2P had essentially NO IMPACT on CD sales? (http://michaelgeist.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1168&Itemid=85)

Yup, people are gonna buy the CD anyway. Especially one like this, with 28 tracks.

Utterly fucking ridiculous.

Legalize the trading and shut up.

AND be thrilled that people WANT your stuff. Your fans control your destiny, don't EVER forget that.

And while you're at it, pull down "Dani California". Best song the Peppers have done in eons.

--
If you would like to subscribe to the LefsetzLetter,
http://www.lefsetz.com/lists/?p=subscribe&id=1
If you do not want to receive any more LefsetzLetters, http://lefsetz.com/lists?p=unsubscribe&uid=ccaa74aaa51d5f7f17140597d7ea405a

Comments

Often when I wade into a vinyl vs. CD debate, I can't help but think of the irony from my own occupational life. In 1983, I landed a job as product specialist for dbx, which sold high-end signal processors explicitly because records sounded so poor. The advent of the CD, naturally, put the company's consumer division out of the business and me on the so-called street. I survived, of course, but the debate is really quite funny to me more than 20 years later.
Well, if the new single is any indication of how the album will be, I'd be mad as hell if I bought it. In fact, I'd be upset if I'd wasted bandwidth on it. I don't know what they're thinking. I used to like RHCP.
And one more thing. . . Did anyone happen to actually buy their last release? I did, and the one thing I notice throughout is the abhorrent sound quality. Even on my iPod and my Altec office speakers it sounds like hell. But now, apparently, they've become concerned with sound quality and "warmth from top to bottom"? Give me a break. . .
Alright you go to Picasso, and your in the profession of print making. You tell MR P. I want to sell copies of your paintings. He says sure. Then the Print maker filters the painting to show the blue themes the red themes and the black themes and sells them separately. He digitalizes them, and there are these new great digital frames that are the size of a average window which can display the artwork in perfect condition. These themes are than made public, and people download them and have the painting in full, or in parts displayed all over thousands of homes. Picasso finds out. And you’re saying he has no reason to be upset, because they sell his original work for so much money. The point of fact is this music we listen to was made by a person. We can hate the industry for how it operates the way it sells the music to us. But when an artist makes something and people get copies which they play all the time, there should be so kind of compensation for the artist. Did you enjoy the music you listen to. Okay then that didn't appear out of nowhere. Give the artist some kind of respect. He doesn't need to care how the CD sounds really as long as he knows his tone is the great when it is played. Not on the recorded disc. He is a musician after all and not a recording engineer.
I hope everyone realizes the part after "Keep reading for the rest of Lefsetz's newsletter and go subscribe if you want more of his thoughts" is not me, it's Letsetz. So all the cursing and wild proclamations are not my words. I absolutely agree that artists need respect. Personally, I'm torn on the distribution issue. I find lots of interesting stuff on P2P that I wouldn't otherwise have heard. But then I seek out the CD because, you're right, the ripped ones are horrific in most cases (and, ahem, illegal). The good news is iTunes music store is growing rapidly and with any luck Jobs will put lossless tracks on ITMS. We can never force people to only purchase CDs, we must change how we get the good content to people who want the music. An interesting question: if ITMS came before Napster, would there be a P2P problem?
Whoa. Gotta side with B.Riley here. I don't get how all of a sudden Flea rants about pirated MP3s being of "poor sound quality" when their own source material is crap from a sonic point of view to begin with. Ever tried listening to "Californication"? Man, that gotta be among the most compressed, megalimited, over-gained POS I've ever heard (for the sound, not the music!!). I wonder if RCHP hires chimps for sound engineers on their releases, because I fail to think of any other good reasons for this to happen. Besides, those who really care about the music AND the sound of a favorite band end up buying the CD (or vinyl) anyway - because they know better. I wouldn't be happy with a collection of bootlegged MP3s alone. Even at 320 kbps, compression is still compression. But we're a small bunch - most people simply don't care enough or are able to tell the difference. Specially if all you have to play music is one of those iPod docking thingies. However turning music fans into criminals and calling them names doesn't strike me as the best solution either.