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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Intellectual Property and Going Straight


I downloaded my first legal song yesterday. I have downloaded a few bootleg songs via Kazaa.com in the past but I found the process unreliable, time-consuming, and the computer viruses that piggy-backed on the music made maintenance on my laptop a chore. I deleted the Kazaa program from my computer along with the few illegal songs I had downloaded. This wasn’t on some moral grounds because I felt guilty about stealing music; I just wanted to purge all of the viruses from my hard drive once and for all.

I heard a song in a coffee shop yesterday. It was an acoustic version of an old Alan Parsons Project tune. Alan Parsons was some sort of dorky art rock band from the 80’s and I always hated their music. The song is called Eye in the Sky. The original version was horrifically over-produced and utterly forgettable. It wasn’t completely forgettable because I sat up as I heard the new version on the coffee shop stereo. At first I was struck by the rawness of this woman’s voice and the stark acoustic arrangement. I had to listen up to the chorus to realize that I knew this song but I had to struggle to recognize its origin. Her rendition of Eye in the Sky was so good it made the original sound like an awful counterfeit.

This singer obviously found more in this song than I did when it was all over the radio back in 1980 something. How she found the beauty in this piece is fascinating. It's like someone finding a diamond ring at the beach with a metal detector. Now that I listen to her version I can see that some of the phrasing is pretty remarkable. The composition is simple enough but you can say the same thing about a lot of Cole Porter's music.

The song was on the Muzak system so no one working there could tell me who the singer was. I started thinking about all of the times I have heard a wonderful song on the radio and then was never able to hear again. I remember once when I was living in South America I heard a Brazilian song on the radio that immediately grabbed me. By chance I had a tape recorder next to me and was able to tape the last part of the song. The station I was listening to never gave the names of the artist so I was stuck trying to track down the singer with only a few measures of the song recorded on a crappy portable tape recorder. I kept that tape with me for years but I was never able to find the song again.

With this song I had better luck. I knew the original song so I did a Google search and I found that the name of the new artist is Jonatha Brooke. I had never heard of her but I haven’t paid much attention to pop music lately. I loaded the itunes® software and downloaded the song. The whole process cost me $1 and took a couple of minutes—time and money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

Although I certainly can afford to pay for downloaded music I don’t feel the least bit guilty about burning a borrowed CD on to my laptop. I really like The Killers CD Hot Fuss, and I’m sure they are nice guys but I’m not going to lose any sleep over the fact that I borrowed a friend’s CD to make my copy. I have spent enough money on music already for more than one lifetime. From what I read about the recording industry the artists don’t make much on sales commissions and rely on advances and concert performances for their livelihood.

This story doesn’t have a completely happy ending because I don’t think the itunes format merges with my Windows Media Player. They wonder why people bootleg songs from the free sites.

EYE IN THE SKY - Alan Parsons Project

Don't think sorry's easily said
Don't try turning tables instead
You've taken lots of chances before
But I ain't gonna give any more
Don't ask me
That's how it goes
'Cause part of me knows what you're thinking...

Don't say words you're gonna regret
Don't let the fire rush to your head
I've heard the accusations before
And I ain't gonna take any more
Believe me
The sun in your eyes
Made some of the lies worth believing

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don't need to see any more
To know that I can read your mind, I can read your mind

Don't leave false illusions behind
Don't cry 'cause I ain't changing my mind
So find another fool like before
'Cause I ain't gonna live anymore believing
Some of the lies while all of the signs are deceiving

1 comment:

  1. u are so very helpful.. thanks for the info about jonatha brooke's remake of eye in the sky. just heard it and i'm captivated. thanks. ur site is very helpfulÜ


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