Piracy Just Ain’t What it Used to Be | The Salesmen

Piracy Just Ain’t What it Used to Be


My world if Nerf. There are no sharp corners or hard surfaces. I have never been attacked by a bear. I have never shot a moose. I have never been challenged to a duel nor have I ever worked on a chain gang. My life is soft and easy. My life is like a James Taylor melody. It doeth not offend.

But it wasn’t always this way.

I once willingly participated in the piracy of recorded music. Good stuff too. I’m not talking about some greatest hits album of some band my parents listened to. I didn’t mess with The Eagles or the Steve Miller Band. I didn’t even bother with the great Tom Petty. I was big time. I dealt exclusively with UK releases.

Chinatown was a spooky place for a kid. It was crowded and noisy and nobody really spoke English. The streets were busy with traffic and the darkened alleyways were slick with cooking grease. It was a tough place to navigate on your bike. One startled jerk of the handlebars and you’d be laying flat on your back, wheels spinning, and the contents of you backpack all over the ground. It was the chance you took though. Why buy one album when you could get three for the same price.

Once a month “Lucy” received a large shipment of music from a friend of hers at “Warner.” Now I knew her name wasn’t really Lucy and I knew she didn’t really have a friend at Warner. But I suspect she didn’t really believe my name was “Tim” or that my parents really “knew where I was.” In the world of piracy you don’t ask a lot of questions. It’s the oil that keeps the machine running smoothly. I was fine with this game. Lucy had some of the best product around and she always let me look through it first.

When buying albums out of a small shop at the end of a dark and greasy alley, there were a couple things you needed to know. The first, never trust the album cover. It may say The Clash but it could very well contain a Vanilla Ice album. The second, never trust the album. Listen to it first. I had an album I thought was The Cure once that said “Pornography” on the cover AND “Pornography” on the album. When I got it home (dread) I found myself listening to Reo Speedwagon. I don’t think Lucy was trying to pull a fast one. I just don’t think her friends at Warner have the kind of standards an audiophile such as myself has.

Why do I tell this story? Because what the record companies are whining about right now IS NOT piracy. There is no danger. There are no indescribable and exotic food smells. And most sadly, there is nobody named Lucy saying, “Hey Timmy. Boy do I have some good Wock-n-Woll for you!” Today it is point and click. Today it is soft with rounded corners. It is harder to go to the store and choose what chips you want to buy for your cocktail party than it is to obtain a piece of illegal music. Is it lousy? Sure. We all want to get paid for what we do. But is it “piracy”. No. It’s not nearly dangerous enough to call it that.




Posted via web from The LP Revival Blog


~ by lprevival on February 8, 2010.

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