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5/31/2005

An open letter to purveyors of fine mp3 blogs:

Dear purveyors of fine mp3 blogs,

I really respect what you do. You take your free time, surely unpaid, to write and post about music you want the masses to hear. You're the equivalent of that friend who used to invite people over to play records, tapes and CDs whether they liked it or not, just to show them what they were missing out on and needed to buy. But now that the Internet is our shared living room, we all get to hear new music (at our leisure, no less), which is fantastic.

For the most part, you all are pretty respectful of the artists you're recommending. You usually only post one or two mp3's from an album, for a limited period of time, along with tons of bio info and even links to purchase the record. But sometimes when multiple mp3 bloggers all get excited about the same artist, a dangerous thing starts happening. In your efforts to have fresh content for your readers, you all tacitly refuse to post the same mp3 that's already been posted elsewhere. If a record gets really popular, then you can have five, six or more mp3s posted from one album across the blogosphere for people to collect.

This is happening now with the forthcoming Sufjan Stevens record, Illinois. Granted, the record does have 22 tracks on it, but there is no fair and sane reason that I should have already collected SIX of those tracks, nearly a third of the record, without even looking for them and well over a month prior to the release date. (This also happened with Arcade Fire last year, and has probably happened with other records I didn't notice.)

Clearly the mp3-bloggerati is still a small population of bloggers, and each of you are obviously aware of what other tracks from an album have been leaked, since you take pains to post different songs and new content on your own site. My suggestion to you is to have a gentlemen's agreement to collectively keep the leaked tracks to a maximum of three amongst yourselves, and whomever posts those three first "wins" (if you're keeping score, and I reckon you do). Then, in a nod to that mp3-blogger's superiority, if you wish to write about the record you will have to simply link to their already posted tracks instead of uploading new ones (and screwing over the artist - a very indie artist in Sufjan's case).

How does that sound?

To alleviate some of your guilt, rest assured I will still buy the Illinois record from the comely and talented Sufjan Stevens when it comes out on July 5th because I can already hear that it's going to be great.

Your friend,
artisthenewreligion

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