Friday, January 27, 2012

Guilty until proven innocent?

It's hard to measure the full impact of the FBI shutdown of Megaupload. The site was responsible for a reported 4% of all internet traffic, with millions of registered, paying users happily up- and downloading everything from wedding pics to the complete Lady Gaga discography. 

God knows how many of them were trafficking in crappy Hollywood films or dreck like the latest Chris Brown or Adele. All shit that will be footnotes some day in some knowing culture studies textbook look-back on the early part of this inglorious century, but otherwise forgotten, and thankfully so. As far as I'm concerned, people who up- or download any of that sludge should definitely be fined or sent to jail ... but not for copyright violation. They should be fined or sent to jail for disseminating the corporate roach-vomit that constitutes most of contemporary American pop culture. You don't even want to know what I think should be done to the people who create or publish that shit.

But, seriously. Should Britain have allowed Iran to extradite Salman Rushdie for his blasphemous Satanic Verses? Because that's basically what we're looking at here. One culture's laws trumping everyone else's.

That said, I'm not here to argue in Kim Dotcom's defense. I'm here to lament the loss of countless music blogs, the loss of the communities they fostered, the loss of the evidence of otherwise forgotten expressive culture(s) that they brought to the surface and shared.

Most notably, Owl Qaeda's Holy Warbles, which first had its Megaupload content stolen by the FBI action. As if that weren't enough, no doubt freaking out over the Megaupload action, Blogger simply shut his blog down, claiming multiple instances of copyright infringement. Of--we should be clear--expressive cultural artifacts that were either long out of print (and never to be reprinted) or so obscure as to be readily unavailable to anyone whose head is not a giant interactive encyclopedia.

The last thing I downloaded from HW was a rare, completely out of print album by Marie Jubran, a Syrian artist who recorded mostly during the 50s I think and who doesn't even have so much as an English-language Wikipedia page. I have a lot of Arabic music from the period and a couple of related books, and I'd never even heard of her before visiting Holy Warbles. That is the sort of thing we're talking about. Gone now. Not just the music, mind you, which is lovely. But an artifact that is now once again unavailable for, say, anyone studying the region and period. 

Holy Warbles, and blogs like it, are--for all intents and purposes--libraries. That, really, is their function. Libraries that store things that not even the NYPL or Queens Borough Public Library have. (I should know; I've ransacked both for their CD and other media collections, which I--yes, you guessed it--immediately download to my computer. Will the FBI be visiting our libraries next?)

Another casualty in the FBI's completely unethical shut-down: Madrotter. Run by Henk, a self-described "Dutch guy living in Bandung since 1996," the site links to, or used to link to, some 2,000 out of print Indonesian records. Henk isn't giving up. "As long as I can find an upload service that still works Imma keep giving you people great music," he writes in a recent post. Again, not just great music, but a library. A library that was being accessed by more than 40,000 people a month.

The carnage hardly ends there. The wildly popular Mutant Sounds and Global Grooves were both significantly spavined as well. Then, there's my absolute favorite music blog of all time: The Vault: Japanese Music Junkies Unite, a semi-collaborative blog that housed more than 5,000 Japanese records and tapes, most completely out of print, was also more-or-less wiped off the map. In a very real sense, it's like the Library of Alexandria burning down x 1,000. Or 10,000. No one really knows.

And this, we must assume, is just the beginning. How long before Awesome Tapes from Africa, Moroccan Tape Stash or Monrakplengthai are wiped out as well? Again, we're not talking about shit you throw onto your iPod before heading off to the gym; this is serious cultural evidence. These are, I can't stress it enough, libraries. And thoughtless, good-for-nothing corporate asswipes who supply rat-diarrhea-producing mental aphids like the members of MGMT and Bright Eyes with, like, cocaine-spending money are, essentially, destroying them.

As Lily Tomlin once put it: "I resent losing the ozone just so we can have PAM."

NOTE: Thanks to Jessibird for alerting me to this.


Anonymous said...

Right on!

musique said...

Too bad holy warbles is down :(

Robin said...

Great post and a hard truth, one of the most aspiring functions and powers of the web (conservation of culture, space of discovery) is being destroyed. The void left is for the corporates and their meaningless instant-satisfaction media products.. the pollution of the digital and intellectual universe, protected by law.

Keith said...

Patents only get 14-20 years maximum protection; how have we allowed copyright to extend practically to infinity? Both protect intellectual property.

bandophone said...

I am so sad to see these libraries go. Warbles is a real loss. I will miss the Holy Warbles compilations, that were always eyeopening compendiums to different artists that then sparked my interest to investigate deeper.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for voicing many sentiments that I share. By the way, WFMU's Doug Schulkind has a special Give the Drummer Some radio episode this morning playing all Holy Warbles. Yall join us.

Holly said...

Thank you, Gary. This eloquent essay should be reposted all over the web.

Gary said...

Thanks so much, everyone. And, Holly, anyone can and should feel free to repost any of this, in whole or in part.

Really under the weather today, so will be laying low, but know that I greatly appreciate what ya'll are saying.

Henk Madrotter said...

well i just re-posted this beautiful piece:)

Anonymous said...

Holy Warbles was my favorite music sharing blog. I'm still clicking on it periodically -- still in denial.

If Owl resurfaces somewhere and you hear of it, would much appreciate if you'd pass that info along.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts, exactly. Holy Warbles and Global Groove and several others you mentioned were sites I visited daily, that educated me in myriad ways about music I could have discovered in no other way. AfroCubanLatinJazz, too.

These blogs were labors of love, and I weep for the bloggers whose endless hours of work have been destroyed.

Holly said...

Gary -

Feel better soon, my friend.

I've re-posted & tweeted - I quite feel like a mini-bic lighter at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, but every little bit, right? ;-)

øשlqæda said...

heart thanks, gary, fer the lovely support & this beautifully poignant post. likewise to bandophone, henk, holly, jessibird, musique & everyone else fer the kind words. once i find a safe haven to reanimate, it's on. today i mourn along with ya, like mexican folk do when a loved one passes -- in celebratory memoriam. great things can arise outta seemingly terrible circumstances & this too shall pass

configuratao said...

Owl you friend
happy to ear you
"all greatness
stand firm in storm"
& thanks Gary to do the join
Holy cheers here

Anonymous said...

A very good rant. However, I want to point two things out to everyone. Yes, a lot of these blogs are gone. But that doesn't mean you can't still access the cached pages from them. I just checked the Harry Bertoia discography that was on Holy Warbles. Not only can you get to the cached page, you can also still access the files via other sites rather than Megaupload.

This also brings up another issue. Many times, blogs may go, but their files will stay wherever they were. In instances like these, there is NOTHING more annoying in the world than finding that they need a freakin' password. WHY do people do this? I defy anybody to give one good reason why they NEED to be there. Because if and when your blog goes, then so does access to your files, which may very well still be accessible, in some cases for years to come. So spread the concept, to everybody - DON'T USE PASSWORDS!!! EVER!!!!

Ampontan said...

I think you make an excellent analogy with the burning of the library at Alexandria. I also agree with the spirit of the post in the main.

However, let's not kid ourselves, shall we? Not all of the material that we like that was offered at these sites was so hard to get.

For example, the last upload by Holy Warbles was an obscure Indonesian krongcong compilation with music several decades old, but it was assembled (AFAIK) by Paul Fisher for his Far Side label that reissues Asian records.

Fisher spent the time, energy, and money to develop the expertise in the field, put the music together, get it mastered and manufactured, and sell it --- albeit expensively --- at his website.

Most of the people doing the free downloading could have bought it with little trouble and reward Fisher for his work. All it would have taken was a link to Fisher's site. After all, the Big Music companies we like to diss have also issued some of his compilations that brought music unknown in the West to a wider audience.

It's not as if we're always talking about a K7 or used LP found in a stall in a side street in Java or Morocco or some other place most of us would like to visit but never will be able to.

That said, I admit to a touch of hypocrisy myself. I --- and I'm sure everybody here --- has downloaded stuff that isn't too difficult to buy, and wound up not buying it. I was also a regular visitor to Warbles (and Madrotter too).

To make it more complicated, who can afford to buy all of it, especially unheard? I've thrown a lot of money away buying stuff because it looked interesting, knowing that there was no way I would ever get the chance to hear it first, only to find it was either not to my taste or dreck.

I've also bought stuff based on recommendations of world music magazines or music merchants, which they insisted was great in print but not exactly great when it hit my ears. Record companies buy ads keeping those mags afloat and don't like to see bad reviews for their money.

And, in a specific example from Far Side, he was selling a compilation of something that sounded really interesting, but had no sound clips. I went looking at YouTube, and discovered that some people from the county of the musicians involved had uploaded individually all the tracks of the albums those cuts were taken from, in excellent sound.

We all know about the site that converts YouTubes to downloadable mp3 files, so I chose that route. So now what? Will they take that site down too? As well as YouTube?

Again, this was an excellent post, and I agree with it in spirit, but let's not pretend we're all as pure as the driven snow. Site operators said, ask and I'll take it down, but some of them went ahead and uploaded stuff anyway in the hope that they could skate. (To be sure, Bodega Pop seems to be an exception.)

deewani said...


unsugarcoatedreviews said...

Very much well said! It's sad that the words "copyright infringement" have nowadays become magic words that can be used to shut down anyone, even when there's no violation involved. It's like being called a witch during the Inquisition. No evidence needed, you'll just be persecuted.

Chris Albertyn said...

Resonance - thank you. Libraries and public goods indeed. I look forward to seeing what rises out of these ashes.

Gary said...

Wow, good morning, everyone. I see this post seems to have struck a nerve: some 1,300 people visited yesterday compared to the more typical 150 or so I get a day.

Glad to see the negative comments, too. To Ampontan's point (and Ampontan, your comment originally went to the spam folder; I just fished it out this morning), I totally agree that most of us music bloggers and/or people downloading are not 100% pure.

While I appreciate being told that Bodega Pop might be an exception, it's not. A good portion of what I upload is, in fact, in print. It's just that it's impossible to find outside of the country of origin, or even elsewhere online.

But even then, I've put together compilations of things that anyone could have downloaded themselves: the Punk Islam comp, for instance, though there wasn't any one place on the web that all of it existed.(And, yes, some of the songs I included were things I converted from YouTube videos.)

YouTube is an interesting case. There was an article about YouTube and copyright and how YouTube has changed (some) attitudes by certain corporations towards copyright and use recently in the New Yorker, here:

Note that the entire essay is online! And it hasn't affected the New Yorker's sales! (But, then, the New Yorker has never really paid for itself--but that's a whole other discussion.)

Hammer, I don't understand your apparent loathing of Holy Warbles. It doesn't matter whether Owl reuploaded things he found elsewhere on the web--music blogs are about curating, not creating.

It would be pointless to argue most of your other points. I will say, however, that Sono Cairo's stranglehold on recorded Arabic music up until the advent of the cassette is as much responsible for the relative obscurity of some of that region's music of the period as anything else. Sono Cairo did not really allow for much choice.

Also, I don't prefer Japanese music: I just think The Vault was the single greatest music blog out there because it was as close to exhaustive as anyone has yet gotten and because it was extremely well-organized. It was a close-to-perfect library.

Oh, and finally: I love "ass-chandeliers." Thank you for that; it actually made me LOL.

Gary said...

Oh, and one last thing, and maybe the most important: The real point of the rant is that the MPAA and RIAA, and the corporations they represent, who are ultimately behind the FBI's raid of Megaupload, are concerned with protecting income from sales of things like Avatar or Lady Gaga.

However, there were thousands or tens of thousands or more (no one knows the exact number) who were using that site to share things that the MPAA and RIAA and the corporations they represent have no interest in and, more importantly, no legal claim to.

Flash Strap said...

I read this article yesterday via Den O Sin... Thanks for saying it exactly right, fellow.

Today is the first I've seen of the comment section, though. Glad to see you've got a Hammer infection, too. He kind of stuck in my craw last night but today he's got me smilin'.

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll, friend. I've already happily reciprocated.

Much respect.


Henk Madrotter said...

yeah Hammeroid and a lot of those Yemenis stayed on and had their own impact on music here as you can hear if you could download some of the beautiful albums from A. Kadir and his Sinar Kemala Orchestra om my blog. Which you can't. Cause the links are fucked. Great.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion destruction is a part of making space for new. Iconoclasm is of all ages. In case of the FBI against Megaupload iconoclasm is collateral damage. In case of Global Groovers it has an other origin. In other words, in a democratic system also the criminals and fascists can get their share. In fascist systems only the criminal can sustain.

let everybody remember how it felt hammering your own thumb

Freedomblues gone, he had a link to a movie, Bewogen Koper. A movie about antique brass, still used. It is documented so it would be preserved. now the link is gone and with it the movie.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it about time that comments start being moderated here? People should be able to express their opinions in a respectful manner without being subjected to childish name calling and increasingly crude insults! How about getting back to the music?

Gary said...

I agree. This is the 50th comment here, and that seems as good a marker as any. I'll allow comments that add something, but no more trolling or baiting. Thanks, everyone.

Henk Madrotter said...

ow sorry gary posted this before you posted your last one, my bad, remove it if you wan't no problem

Gary said...

No worries, Henk. I did go ahead and remove it, just to be fair. :-)

Henk Madrotter said...

ok:) back to the subject then! i've been posting away, made myself a free account with mediafire and so far so good! wondering what will happen next with all the deletions of blogs going on. big demonstration in poland and other places but i don't think that "the powers that be" will care much about that. i want to watch the latest keiser show because he was going a bit deeper in the whole megaupload thing (i only saw like the last minute or so yesterday)

Anonymous said...

For a racist, self-hating, 38-year old jew from Jordan, with "no time to blog" (despite his laughable "mission statement" on Idiotopia), this Hammer troll sure is on Owl's nuts! And blatantly desperate for attention too, negative or otherwise. What a jealous hater. It's obvious he wishes he could have the same impact on people that Holy Warbles had, but he's too much of a misanthropic loner :)

To Owl: You created a beautiful community with consistently superb sounds. It was always a pleasure to visit. Lots of love and stay up


Gary said...

I'm going to go check on the Keiser show now. Thanks for the heads up!

Also, I think I'm just going to delete all of the Hammer and related stuff here. It's not contributing anything and just ads white, as it were, noise.

tim abdellah said...

Thanks for the shout, G, as well as your thoughtful comments here. Sad about Warbles, but no doubt the Owl will rise again. Hang in there - looking forward to seeing your upcoming piece!

GF said...

@Ampontan: One of things I loved so much about HW was that they turned me onto shit I never would have heard or known about otherwise (like this blog!), and all in a really fun and entertaining way. And I'm fairly certain I'm not alone either, judging from some of the testimonials I've seen around.

Nobody is as "pure as the driven snow" and there are plenty of blogs full of garbage that I don't care to know about. But Holy Warbles was consistently fascinating to me and completely changed my perspective on music. For the first time in years, music was exciting again and my life is richer as a result.

I felt like I was part of something special, too, as someone else wrote. A thoughtful community with no rules or limits on what beautiful music is. This phenomenon can probably be attributed to Owl's presentation (and "personality") as much as any of the music (those mixtapes!), but I haven't really tried to analyze it that much. I just know I'll miss the hell out of the place and hope they Warble on somehow, somewhere, someday. My $.02

Korla said...

Please come back owl! The web needs you.

앤서니 said...

lovely eulogy... i only learned of the death of holy warbles this morning when i decided to see how he was doing in the megaupload implosion.

does anyone remember the great blog apocalypse of about 2 years ago when google/blogger wiped a bunch of music blogs out? with the environ now, it dosen't suprise me that blogs are now disappearing... i just hope mutant sounds doesn't get redacted...


a. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Hi Gary, Have you spent any time looking over Google's new privacy policies taking effect on (I believe) March 1? I just did because I'm sure that they're going to take steps to protect themselves in light of the Megaupload case.

Perhaps I'm being a little paranoid, but this one section has me pondering:

◦Log information

When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This may include:

■details of how you used our service, such as your search queries.
■telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.
■Internet protocol address.
■device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL.
■cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account.

Maybe this is old hat, but I'm wondering if they're going to log every download by every Google user for mandatory turn-over to the Feds in future actions. I just think that forewarned is forearmed.


dayglowjoe said...

holy warbles was my homeland! i am devastated!

Ampontan said...

GW: I understand your reasons for liking Holy Warbles, but consider this: people were doing the same thing before there was an Internet, and even after there was an Internet and before there was file sharing on blogs. was a terrific resource, as was the Southern Soul mailing list. Just realize that one of the reasons for getting all warm and fuzzy was because you and he were sometimes trafficking in stolen property.

In fact, the reason I'm getting contrarian about all this is that people are trying to make this something it isn't.

Instead, they should take a tip from the Mafia.

Some people, libertarians included, think prostitution and hard drugs should not be against the law. Regardless of your position, they are against the law, and if you are caught being involved, you'll pay the price.

The gangsters understand human nature, and understand that there will always be markets for their products. They therefore choose to service those markets. Getting caught and doing jail time is part of the price of doing business in that sector.

I think people would be a lot better off if they took that attitude --- they are dealing in stolen property, after all --- instead of getting all anti-fascist rage against the machine dang this capitalist system anyway. It misses the point entirely.

Global Groove, another popular site, was warned repeatedly before his plug was pulled. Last I read he's whining on his site, please, please, I won't do it again.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. In this case, the bloggers just get their toys taken away instead of doing time.

Besides, another avenue will emerge. They always do.

앤서니 said...


i'm curious as to why you're even posting a comment here, as you're not even a music blogger.

the analogy to trafficking in stolen property is rather foolhardy, at best. there's a HUGE difference between downloading a record and, say, stealing a car and parsing out it's parts, dealing in stolen ipods, or whatever inane analogy you'd like to make.

for example, some of the records were things that had just come out, but were so limited that within a month they were no longer available and selling for several times the original selling price. they also weren't available digitally at all, so for some of us out there with tight purse strings it was the only option to actually hear some of this stuff... that, or by it for an inflated price from a record dealer. does the label and artists make money off that sale? hell no.

case in point: mississippi records releases. mississippi records only releases vinyl and cassettes. for those of us who already purchased said records, this was the only ways that we could listen to them outside of our homes. it also, for me at least, converted into sales. the owl posted a rip of the reissue of the VERY rare Count Vertigo 7" that they reissued. i downloaded that and later that week bought that record at a local store here in portland (where mississippi is based). other releases by said label sell out very quickly and never get repressed, therefor limiting the amount of people that get to hear the music. i've purchased several records that he posted from great distros like forced exposure or local stores because i downloaded them from holy warbles and liked then enough to want the actual record.

some very rare and pricy records posted on music end up getting repressed because of the renewed interest in a record that no one cared about initially. i see rare private press records that go for $500-$1000 get blogged about turn up in stores all the time because of the interest and exposure that blogs like holy warbles provide. would you call that disservice to the artists?

you seem to get the impression that all records are like iPads... mass produced products that are easily available anywhere, anytime. hate to burst your bubble, but that's not always the case.

he also did a great service by keeping resuscitating music that otherwise would be confined to the hands of collectors and archivists. music is art, music is culture, and his archiving and distributing this stuff was helping to spread music around and keep this art alive.

i've noticed that you posted youtube videos in the music section of your blog. youtube should fit under the umbrella of racketeering. they, like megaupload did, make money off other's copyrighted material. why haven't they been popped by the federal authorities? oh yeah... they're owned by google.

do us all a favor, stay away from commenting on music blogs, because you're definitely out of your element.

Gary said...

Ampotan, points taken. It's true that bloggers need to carefully consider (a) what they are uploading; (b) where they are uploading to; and (c) where they are linking from.

That said, my own getting involved in the music blogging world was borne entirely out of frustration. Frustration with a dearth of writing about the musics of other cultures and a dearth of available examples of these musics.

For instance, there is only one published book that I know of on Indonesian pop: Jeremy Wallach's Modern Noise, Fluid Genres: Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997-2001. While I applaud Wallach for writing this book and the University of Wisconsin Press for publishing it, the sum total result is that the published writing (in English, anyway) on Indonesian popular music is, at very best, totally myopic.

So far as readily available examples of that music go, there is the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series Music of Indonesia, which has released 20 CDs. That and a couple of Sublime Frequencies releases and things here and there from Nonsuch, Guerssen and Globestyle (not all of which are even still in print).

Henk's Madrotter blog, on the other hand, had some 1,500 examples of full-length albums from the region along with information about each of the recordings and artists featured. While no one blog can ever hope to be exhaustive, Madrotter, as an endeavor, was the least myopic portrait anyone to my knowledge has ever painted of Indonesian popular and folk music.

While Paul Fisher's work in this area is certainly to be applauded, I really don't see why his own work would need to be paid, but Henk's not. Here's where the disconnect lies for me. Henk has done a lot more work, and all for free, than Fisher, Smithsonian, Wallach, Sublime Frequencies, etc., combined.

I also don't see the connection between music bloggers and the mafia. The mafia exists for people associated with it to make money; they would never give anything away. They have infiltrated and, certainly in some cases, run the businesses represented by the RIAA and MPAA. Megaupload was shut down, in part, to benefit the mafia in America.

For all their talk of wanting to protect artists, the corporations represented by RIAA and MPAA could care less about the welfare of any artist. They care about their money. And that is all that they care about, have ever cared about, and ever will care about.

Robbing Henk of his files, NONE OF WHICH INFRINGED ON ANY US COPYRIGHTS, was, plain and simple, an illegal and unethical act perpetrated by people who are or who have at least some indirect ties with the American mafia.

Henk Madrotter said...

Funny thing, I posted a few mediafire links on my blog this week, all very old, very obscure records, and all have been removed for "violation". Now, I checked a few other blogs and their new mediafire links are just fine. So, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that means somebody was complaining about those links to mediafire and they removed them. The only person that I can think of, the only person childish and spiteful like that can only be that "hammer" guy who was shouting rudely in this comment section earlier this week. So typical....

Sorry for bringing this up here but this has been a very, very frustrating week blog-wise so to speak....

앤서니 said...

thank you gary, well said.

the purpose of blogs like holy warbles, madrotter, mutant sounds, your blog, and many others is to help archive a nd spread music that would otherwise be lost to the ever shifting cultural tides.

the entertainment industry is losing NOTHING when someone posts an indonesian record that's 60 years old.

his analogy that blogs, like the ones i mentioned, are dealing in "stolen" goods is laughable at best... stolen from who? the artist that is no longer alive? the label that doesn't exist, or if it did, certainly could care less about something that they let go out of print decades ago.

this is about preserving art and passing it on to others.

i've had a few labels and artists actually thank me for posting records, ones that were still available directly from them. they were happy that they were getting any exposure and that someone actually cared enough to go to the trouble of writing about them.

i posted a LUDUS cassette that's ridiculously rare 2 years ago. i worked with the person who released the cassette 30 years ago to post it on my blog. i had a lot of LUDUS fans personally thank me for the trouble i went to just to get that recording back out into the public. if my blog got pulled, or mediafire pulled my files, that recording is essentially lost.

i posted a sally strobelight lp on my blog. i had actually posted it without permission, but contacted her to get her ok with the clause that i'd take it down if she objected. she was totally fine with it and we've maintained a friendship since then. it's still available on itunes... i actually got my download from there. she still doesn't care because itunes is a huge racket... worse that the major labels. she makes hardly money off the sales on itunes. technically i'm a "pirate".

i have many more similar stories just from my tiny little blog. i do it because it makes me and others happy.

i don't think Ampotan will ever understand that not everything is about financial reward. it's about love.

앤서니 said...

@Henk Madrotter

i wouldn't doubt it was that "hammer" guy who reported your files. he seems to hold some weird grudge about certain bloggers out there doing what he doesn't do, which is actually blog.

i hope you can pick up the pieces, i'd only recently found out about madrotter, and it was becoming one of my favorites.

cheers! a

Henk Madrotter said...

Well, for now It's wait and see what happens, I think I'm also blocked by mediafire, been trying for days but can't get anything uploaded there anymore, pretty frustrating, for now focusing on my production work for a few Spokane, Washington State rappers:)

Gary said...

Anyone wishing to get their Megaupload files back should visit:

Henk Madrotter said...

hmmmh but only for those basedin the USA i read

Anonymous said...

Gary and 앤서니 : Not to intentionally nitpick, folks, but it's not "could care less" (which implies the opposite of what you're trying to say) - the correct term is I or they "couldn't care less."

Anonymous said...

Gary wrote:
"While Paul Fisher's work in this area is certainly to be applauded, I really don't see why his own work would need to be paid, but Henk's not. Here's where the disconnect lies for me."

The difference is that Fisher, and others doing reissues, invest time and money to put out the music: production of cds, remastering, researching notes, printing costs, etc.
I'm sure you can see the difference between that and someone like madrotter, who, with all due respect, is just uploading existing lps with little or no comment. I'm a big fan of Madrotter's blog, but it's not in the same league as someone who's putting together reissues. Take Will Holland for example. He moved Colombia to hunt records, interview musicians and research the music, put together a killer cumbia comp and then some douchebag blogger uploads it and becomes a "hero".

Holy Warbles, while offering some amazing out of print music, crossed the line on many occasions, imo. If these guys can't at least make their money back on these reissues why would they bother to do them at all? Money made on one most likely goes into the next.
(I don't mean to suggest that madrotter is uploading new reissues, he's not as far as I know)

Ampontan said...

Enseoni: So, comments are closed to everyone but music bloggers? That's an interesting theory. It's like saying the only people who can discuss politics are the people who run for elections.

By limiting the access to their recorded output, Mississippi records is creating demand/scarcity for their product. You may not like it, but it's an understandable tactic for a sector that isn't going to have much sales to begin with, and is within their rights.

Yes, we all know that sometimes people buy what they download for free. We also know that most people don't, and that nobody buys everything they first download for free. In other words, this is no excuse.

Gary: The analogy is not giving away for for free / selling contraband-illegal things, but providing illegal services. It's a bit disingenious in today's wired world to claim that US copyright law gets you to skate.

As for the dearth of published material, I understand that point, but as I mentioned in my previous comment, there was at one time a lot of knowledgeable people posting at places like and Southern Soul, to name just two. They included active musicians, record compilers, and producers. You thought Hammer was bad, salsa star Willie Colon was a human blowtorch in flame wars.

As for Henk, he does upload currently copyrighted stuff, albeit rarely. He was the first to provide the krongcong disc that was HW's last offer, and HW said that Madrotter had it first.

He also offered a jaipong disc called Robot Percussion, at least until recently (link may not work now). That is also licensed and released by Paul Fisher at Far Side. I have no idea about the contractual arrangements, but the music on the krongcong disc was so old, the musicians might not be alive to reap the benefits. Robot Percussion is only a few years old. By uploading something that any of us here can purchase within a matter of minutes from the Far Side website means that he might have deprived the artists of some royalties.

And finally, in my first comment, I did admit this was complicated and included myself among the hypocrites. Henk put up a lot of great cassettes of music unavailable outside Indonesia that I availed myself of. Believe me, I've bought discs from an Indonesian CD merchant on-line, and she didn't handle them.

If he wants to put up some 70s dangdut on cassette before it got too heavy metal/synthy/drum machined, I'm ready.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"If these guys can't at least make their money back on these reissues why would they bother to do them at all? Money made on one most likely goes into the next."

I see the point that Anonymous is making. The best reissue companies for African-American pop music are Bear Family, Ace and Old Hat Records. These companies offer superb mastering, well-researched and professionally written notes, rare photographs and often extremely rare recordings. This is costly to produce and then to turn around and see some bloggers giving them away for free (sometimes up to 10CD box sets) just a short time after their release is really galling and unconscionable.

Anonymous said...

@Anon a.k.a. Ampontan: Whoever uploaded that latest Original Sound of Cumbia box on Soundway _is_ a "hero". I ain't got the kind of funds to spend on pricey shit I've never heard, but when I finally did hear it, I saved up and bought it. Something tells me you downloaded it too, Anon, but you can't have it both ways.

You say Holy Warbles "crossed the line", and yet something tells me you eagerly downloaded every new release they ever thought worthy to promote. Casting dispersions on someone who believes that music made by humans should be heard, while hypocritically downloading the very same shit, makes you the "douchebag".

Henk Madrotter said...

ollutnope, i've never posted those, although i posted some of them but only a pic of the cover to let people know that that stuff is out, i always go by the "three year" rule, i don't post anything that's at least 3 years old so folks that put it out can make their money....

Gary said...

A suggestion to all Anonymous commenters: Please sign a name, even a fake name, to your comment, it will make it easier to respond to each of you individually, especially as more of you, with diverse opinions, arrive. Or, I suppose we could treat you all as one giant Hydra, each head a different political affiliation or personality type.


Anonymous said...

no, I'm not Ampontan, whoever that is....and no, I don't download newly released reissues, so I'm not a hypocrite (at least not on that account!). The old "I needed to hear it first" is BS, you can hear it on itunes or amazon or whatever.
fyi...original sound of cumbia is avail on amazon for 23.99 for 55 can't tell me that qualifies as "pricey".

"I'm not Ampontan"

Ampontan said...

Someone without the courtesy to give us an idea where he can be traced wrote:

"You say Holy Warbles "crossed the line", and yet something tells me you eagerly downloaded every new release they ever thought worthy to promote. Casting dispersions on someone who believes that music made by humans should be heard, while hypocritically downloading the very same shit, makes you the "douchebag"."

So tell us, how was your visit to Straw Man Island? You seem to have picked up a few tricks from the natives. "Something tells you", eh?

Do you often hear voices in your head?

Anonymous said...

Um . . . actually Ampontan, the expression is "casting aspersions", not dispersions. Just saying. Rick

Henk Madrotter said...

"As for Henk, he does upload currently copyrighted stuff, albeit rarely. He was the first to provide the krongcong disc that was HW's last offer, and HW said that Madrotter had it first."

Funny thing is, I don't even own that disc, somebody send it to me to post it, way back, if I would've known it was still copyrighted I wouldn't have posted it, All HW had to do was tell me and I would've removed it ASAP....

"He also offered a jaipong disc called Robot Percussion, at least until recently (link may not work now). That is also licensed and released by Paul Fisher at Far Side. I have no idea about the contractual arrangements, but the music on the krongcong disc was so old, the musicians might not be alive to reap the benefits. Robot Percussion is only a few years old."

I don't know about Far Side, it's very, very rare that something that comes out here gets released outside Indonesia. I actually posted that one some 3 years ago, (I think) realized it wasn't out that long, removed it and re-posted it a long time later when I thought it wouldn't hurt the artist to post it by then. I actually got a much newer cd by Ega Robot, came out around two years ago and I didn't post it for the obvious reasons....

I think I'm going to try Divshare now, see how that goes and you can bet that anything I'll post is so old, it wouldn't even hurt the artists great grand children:)

I've got hundreds of incredible super rare jaipong tapes to share, loads of Orkes Melayu, 60's India movie soundtracks and all kinds of other incredible stuff and also lots of very nice 70's dangdut for you ampontan:)

Oh and Gary, about what's written about Indonesian popular music, you should check out some of the work of Andrew Weintraub, he wrote some incredible stuff and his Dangdut Stories in Indonesian translation will hit the stores here this month, he's coming here and we'll be hanging out together, really looking forward to that....

Gary said...

Henk, thanks for the Weintraub tip; I'm going to start hunting for two of his books now: that Dangdut Stories book and, possibly relevant to this discussion, the Music and Cultural Rights book he did with Bell Yung. Most appreciated!

Everyone else, I'm really glad to see how passionate you are on this topic. One thing that it looks like only one person has brought up here, and maybe it's such a huge topic that it's difficult to address in some dork from Queens' comments fields, but ...

What ABOUT the fact that copyright law, as it stands now, protects works for nearly a century after an author's death, whereas patent law only protects the patent owner for 20 years?

Doesn't it seem odd that if I write a cute story about a talking mouse, I'm protected for life + 75 years (or whatever the current time-frame is) whereas, if I invent a cure for cancer I'm only going to be rewarded for that for two decades after I've patented it?

Is this, like they say, anything?

Henk Madrotter said...

I've got the Dangdut Stories book and it's an excellent read, learned a lot from it!

Gary said...

Here's a recent report some of you may have seen. Universal Music Group takes down a YouTube video because they don't like the content:

These people are ass.

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

I agree with you whole heartedly. Enough with the crap out there.

Anonymous said...

I agree on 99% you're saying, but what's not mentioned is that Holy Warbles should have stayed of posting downloadable files of labels like Finders Keepers.
That's not very smart and hardly defensible. A link to their label should have been enough.
These people put a lot of work in bringing it to the public and the blogs share em for free.

Wait some years i would say.