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Fugazi, Live: "When we played, we wanted it to be like a free fall."
December 1, 2011 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Between 1987 and 2003, Fugazi played over 1000 concerts in all 50 states and all over the world. Over 800 of these shows were recorded by the band's sound engineers. The goal of this project is to make each of these recordings available to download for a small fee. The standard suggested download price is $5 a show but they also offer a sliding scale option where you can set your own price. (Bonus Banter)
posted by anotherpanacea (58 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
You son of a bitch. I was just making this post.
posted by OmieWise at 5:02 AM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


These recordings are very good. Even ones rated "good," like the first show, sound clear and crisp. Which is kind of ironic since I've always thought the albums come across as kind of muddy in production.
posted by OmieWise at 5:04 AM on December 1, 2011


Fugazi is the new Newsfilter.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:08 AM on December 1, 2011


This reminds me of my favorite Todd Barry joke:

saw this documentary on this band Fugazi, there what's called a punk rock band, they have a lot of integrity they won't charge more than $5 bucks for their concerts, you know there's gotta be one guy in the band who's not happy about this. The drummer is going to snap at rehearsal, hey fellas can we stop a second I had the craziest idea. How about $6, yeah I was thinking that extra dollar times 800 people a night times five shows a week equals I don't have a roommate when I'm 47.
posted by any major dude at 5:48 AM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is not a Fugazi t-shirt bootleg
posted by 23skidoo at 5:59 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, wow, wow. Wow. I know how I'm blowing my birthday money.
posted by Plutor at 6:14 AM on December 1, 2011


Saw them in Austin several times back in the day- love these guys.
posted by PuppyCat at 6:28 AM on December 1, 2011


Why don't cha give it to yer wife?
posted by cmoj at 6:35 AM on December 1, 2011


I've seen a few of these shows but can't imagine paying for the recordings. I would like to hear the first half of the FNB concert in SF's Dolores Park (cuz I got there late and it was super packed), but the state filter didn't work for me ... was that 1999?
posted by mrgrimm at 6:35 AM on December 1, 2011


Yargh
posted by cmoj at 6:36 AM on December 1, 2011


thrilled to find my bands mention when we opened for them in 91..

http://www.dischord.com/fugazi_live_series/albuquerque-nm-usa-91191

very generous band....and they kicked it hard that night
posted by judson at 6:38 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The drummer is going to snap at rehearsal, hey fellas can we stop a second I had the craziest idea. How about $6, yeah I was thinking that extra dollar times 800 people a night times five shows a week equals I don't have a roommate when I'm 47.

Brendan Canty has owned a home in DC for a while now. Clowns like Barry could never resist taking cheap, jealous shots at Fugazi's ethics and business model, but they worked well for everyone involved.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:50 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


... and to end the derail: is anyone else having trouble getting the search tool to work?
posted by ryanshepard at 7:05 AM on December 1, 2011


Even if I am not interested in hearing more than one or two live sets, my inner librarian LOVES that they took all of this audio, digitized it, and made it available.
For that alone they should be commended.
posted by Theta States at 7:07 AM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: You eat ice-cream, everybody knows it.

(I was at that show! It was an awesome moment. Those dudes were totally were eating ice-cream, no lie.)
posted by feckless at 7:10 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Clowns like Barry

It's a joke by a comedian, man. Jerry Seinfeld isn't jealous of Ovaltine's success.
posted by cmoj at 7:12 AM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


... and to end the derail: is anyone else having trouble getting the search tool to work?

I can't work the search tool, or even click onto the next page at the bottom. Tried in Flock and IE.

To re-rail, this looks great and I'm looking forward to exploring it. Pretty sure my sister-in-law played support long ago at one of these shows and that Ian McKaye bought a copy of her band's cassette. Hopefully there's a tape of that show and I can get it for her.
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:15 AM on December 1, 2011


Yargh

Different term. "fugazi" can mean fake, but in this case, the band is referencing "Fucked Up, Got Ambushed, Zipped In" (i.e. dead) from Mark Baker's book Nam.

But speaking of yargh ... YARGH (Amy Pickering!)

Brendan Canty has owned a home in DC for a while now.

So ... why not release these for free?

The goal of this project is to make each of these recordings available to download for a small fee.

Actually, from the site's About page:

"The goal of this project is to create a complete archive of the Fugazi live experience and to make these recordings available."

Nothing about "small fee."

Are there any interviews with Guy or Ian (or Brendan or Joe) about this project? I'm curious what they have to say about it.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:22 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


mrgrimm: “So ... why not release these for free?”

Well, to be honest, what's a bit surprising to me about these is that every one seems to have been remastered. That's a ton of work, honestly, and for that reason I don't think it's crazy to pay for it. Yeah, I know a lot of those Dead tapes are worked up to as high quality as possible using combinations of board and audience tapes, but that work is done by fans. These circumstances are a bit more controlled than the situations in which the Dead were recorded.

I don't know. They say on the web site you can pay whatever you want. That seems pretty fair for something they clearly worked pretty hard on.

“Are there any interviews with Guy or Ian (or Brendan or Joe) about this project? I'm curious what they have to say about it.”

Knowing the band and their recording habits, my guess would be that they were intimately involved in the remastering even if they didn't in fact do it themselves. But that's just my guess.
posted by koeselitz at 7:31 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


So ... why not release these for free?

Are there any interviews with Guy or Ian (or Brendan or Joe) about this project? I'm curious what they have to say about it.

MacKaye talks about it in this Wired article. This might be the relevant bit:

Fugazi spent an enormous amount of money on this.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:32 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't work the search tool, or even click onto the next page at the bottom. Tried in Flock and IE.

lol. It doesn't work in Flock! ... How about IE?

For the other 99% of us, searching or filtering doesn't seem to work in Chrome or Firefox either.

It's funny. In Firefox/Chrome, select "CA" for the state, select "All Shows" and hit "GO!" ... and it takes you to page 3 of the full results. Most searches seem to just reload the first page, though ...
posted by mrgrimm at 7:37 AM on December 1, 2011


God, this Dischord site is PISSING ME OFF! I signed up for a stupid account (which requires a telephone number and a shipping address - I like to use the address and phone number of Thompson Coburn LLP in D.C.) just to tell them in the "Off and Running" blog post that the search/filtering is broken.

Got my account set up, logged in, tried to post a comment, then got:

2 errors prohibited this threaded comment from being saved

There were problems with the following fields:

Threaded comment polymorphic can't be blank
Threaded comment polymorphic type can't be blank


I give up.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:40 AM on December 1, 2011


why not release these for

There are 18 shows on Internet Archive.

I was going to tell the joke: "I had thought Fugazi was a Grateful Dead cover band since they have shows on Internet Archive, but I listened to one and decided I was wrong", but this doesn't seem the thread for it.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 7:46 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, to be honest, what's a bit surprising to me about these is that every one seems to have been remastered. That's a ton of work, honestly, and for that reason I don't think it's crazy to pay for it.

Fugazi spent an enormous amount of money on this.

Yep and yep. I wasn't sure how much engineering work had gone into it, or if they were just ripping MP3s from cassettes... in a world of iTunes, I cannot complain about Fugazi charging money for archived performances (though I'm not sure they can compete with the free stuff on YouTube.)

I don't know of a better way, but I wish kids could get this music without a credit card or a paypal account... I suppose they will anyway ...

This search/filtering bug is going to bother me all day. I want to fix it!

Search for "san francisco" (without quotes) and you get page 2 of the results; search for "san francisco" (with quotes) and you get all (2) shows in Worcester, MA! Seriously. Try it.

(ARRGH. Now I can't replicate it!)
posted by mrgrimm at 7:48 AM on December 1, 2011


This search/filtering bug is going to bother me all day. I want to fix it!

From Dischord via Facebook:

Hello everyone -- we are doing some tweaks to try to make things move along more quickly and they've temporarily killed the navigation. We'll have it sorted out soon! Thanks!
posted by ryanshepard at 7:52 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Urp. And now the site is getting hammered. MetaFilter effect? ;)

And now it's completely down. I can't load any pages. Oh well. I'll check it again tomorrow... I do wish they just listed an email address somewhere, but I'm sure they know their search/filtering is busted by now. (On preview, yes they do.)

Slight bummer for the other bands on the label: The Aquarium, Soccer Team and French Toast (with Brendan's brother Jimmy) are all pretty good. I really like The Aquarium.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:02 AM on December 1, 2011


“Are there any interviews with Guy or Ian (or Brendan or Joe) about this project? I'm curious what they have to say about it.”

Knowing the band and their recording habits, my guess would be that they were intimately involved in the remastering even if they didn't in fact do it themselves. But that's just my guess.


There was an interview on the AV Club recently with Joe Lally and they asked him about that:

AVC: I know you were working on the Fugazi Live Series before you left. How involved are you in the digitalization process for the rest of the live recordings that you guys have?

JL: Not at all, because I wasn’t there to assist in any of it, and they found a few different people. Really, Ian’s been doing a ton of it, and then brining in other people to get everything into digital format, and some of that was people I’m not even going to know.

And then later, it became Joey Picuri, who was a soundman for Fugazi for years. Really, the project came about because of Joey’s insistence from the beginning, just taping shows. Joey used to write down the songs while we played them, and had most of the song lists. You could go through and listen and check, and sometimes there would be mistakes, but Jesus, he wrote down the names of songs while we played. We had a lot of it documented quite well from the beginning, just because of Joey.
posted by Maaik at 8:05 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh man, Fugazi is SO GOOD live, I can't wait!
posted by Hoopo at 8:22 AM on December 1, 2011


Different term. "fugazi" can mean fake,

Actually, if the commentary track on the Donnie Brasco DVD is to be believed, "fugazi" was made up on the spot as a term meaning "fake." Of course, now enough people know it from the movie that it really can mean that.
posted by cmoj at 8:22 AM on December 1, 2011


So ... why not release these for free?

Yeah, the band does have shows in Internet Archive, and several of them are quite good. Fugazi has actually been pretty forward about their support for taping and trading, even it seems of their officially released material. Here are a couple of policy quotes collected at archive.org:
Subject: Re: Live Music Archive
Hey Matt -

Thanks for writing in.

Here's our policy : As long as no money is being exchanged, we support all sharing of any format of Fugazi live recordings be they tapes, CDRs, or audio files on the web. We do not support THE SALE of any of these formats, even for nominal amounts so our policy is basically - its free or its not cool with us.

All the best - Guy/Fugazi

More Policy Notes
http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/news/00-11/01.shtml

Fugazi Too Late to Dig Napster
We should have run this two days ago when it still mattered
Camilo Arturo Leslie reports:
Coverage of the ongoing Napster controversy has focused almost exclusively on the legal wrangling between that company and the handful of giant record conglomerates that want it abolished. If, as they contend, the file-sharing program siphons away potential music buyers, it would follow that a comparably small, but very successful label like Dischord might take a proportionately much bigger hit to the wallet than the majors. Fugazi's Guy Picciotto was kind enough to answer some e-mailed queries regarding this subject. The following is his response:

"Regarding Napster - I can't really say that I am completely up on the whole thing regarding the RIAA lawsuit but our position on music file sharing is pretty basic. We are totally cool with it. As long as no one is charging someone else for downloads of our stuff we are totally fine with people sharing files of our songs, even unreleased stuff and live tapes.

"We have always had an open camera, video and taping policy at our shows and as long as people are strictly sharing and trading, we are into it. We do have problems with people 'marketing' our stuff surreptiously and charging for it and we discourage that in the limited way we can, but to us Napster is like home taping - the idea that it kills music only makes sense if your bottom line is per-piece profit. If you are into having your music exposed to more people, (something mainstream radio would never do for us), Napster actually performs a service. Hope that makes sense. Thanks for the interest."
posted by OmieWise at 8:31 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guy I know is doing the producing/engineering for this. He was their second drummer for a while too.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:33 AM on December 1, 2011


lol. It doesn't work in Flock! ... How about IE?

Sorry I'm at work and not using your browser of choice man.
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:43 AM on December 1, 2011


Anyone else having difficulty navigating the shows?
posted by Hoopo at 9:09 AM on December 1, 2011


Anyone else having difficulty navigating the shows?

Quit trying to mosh, be cool to the other audience members, and don't shove. That makes navigating Fugazi shows a lot easier.
posted by The World Famous at 9:18 AM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was at one of those Toronto shows. They stopped to mockingly offer to sell the moshers Fugazi branded bottled water.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:27 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh...I anticipate some of the live recordings will be sort of entertaining for that, World Famous. Both times I saw them they stopped at least once because of crowd surfing and people getting kicked in the head. The first show I saw actually had quite a long exchange between Ian and this lanky punk with bleach blond and red polka-dot hair who kept crowd surfing.

Although I note in the drop-down menu they've listed the venue as being Porter Hall at the University of Ottawa rather than at Carleton University. U of O wishes they had good shows like Carleton did. They could never support it, with all their students busy all the time, like studying and shit.
posted by Hoopo at 9:28 AM on December 1, 2011


Sept 17, Dublin, McGonagles, Recorded YES, Available NO.

I thought I was finally going to get to hear that gig that I wasn't allowed to, nor could afford, to go to. Mum, Dad, Fugazi, it's not fair, you just don't understand. *slams door* *walks off in a huff*.
posted by Elmore at 9:48 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


couldn't afford a Fugazi show?! Times were tough indeed.
posted by Hoopo at 10:46 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought I was finally going to get to hear that gig

They're going to be adding to the archive monthly until they catch up.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:53 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got to see them just once, at Metropolis in Montreal in 93 (w/ Shudder to Think; I still have the ticket stub of course), but that was enough. By far the best show I've ever seen or probably ever will see. Unfortunately not yet available.
posted by Flashman at 10:53 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was a pretty good time period to see Shudder to Think, as well.
posted by OmieWise at 10:57 AM on December 1, 2011


Are there any interviews with Guy or Ian (or Brendan or Joe) about this project? I'm curious what they have to say about it.

An article from the Washington Post, including quotes from the band.

Additional interview material from the band in the Post's Click Track blog.
posted by inigo2 at 11:35 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


My one show is not recorded. But it was good!
posted by stargell at 11:41 AM on December 1, 2011


couldn't afford a Fugazi show?! Times were tough indeed.

Yeah they were. I was sixteen living in Ireland just in the nineties. Also I'd seen Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr, and maybe the Pixies already that year.

Off topic, but related, I was gobsmacked to see that Springsteen sold out here today in 15 minutes at 95 euro a ticket. The way things are going by summer it will cost that much just to drive to the RDS.
posted by Elmore at 11:44 AM on December 1, 2011


They're going to be adding to the archive monthly until they catch up.

I thought as much and I'm delighted, but didn't want to miss my chance to act like an angry teenager. Why do you have to be so reasonable? *slams door* *sticks in headphones* *turns cassette around in walkman and plays silence instead of fast forwarding to save batteries* *presses play* *smiles*

posted by Elmore at 11:47 AM on December 1, 2011


That site is taking a pounding. Good thing I'm a patient boy. I wait I wait I wait I wait.
posted by tim_in_oz at 11:53 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your time goes slowly down the drain.
posted by Elmore at 12:31 PM on December 1, 2011


Fugazi was way too organized and focused, they're clearly suffering from a lack of weed and booze.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:30 PM on December 1, 2011


I saw Fugazi play plenty of times, and I've never been one to really remember individual shows all that well, at least not in terms of whether one song or another was particularly good, but Fugazi played my favorite overall show ever. The best one I've ever been to, the one that thrilled me the most for every band on the bill. It was in Storrs, CT in 1991, and the bill was Beat Happening, Autoclave, Nation of Ulysses, and Fugazi. I still can't imagine a better bill, although I've seen better, more intimate, shows that were more exciting as they unfolded. (Bikini Kill around this time was always a winner.) But that show, god, it was four of my most favorite bands ever. It isn't uploaded yet. I'm really curious to hear what it sounds like. I was pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing.
posted by OmieWise at 1:31 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any recommendations for specific shows that are available? I've been meaning to check out Fugazi for ever. I like Minor Threat.

We actually met Ian MacKaye and his brother, at our dads' college reunion around 1983, we stayed on the same floor of this one dorm. Didn't chat much but my little sister became a punk rocker soon after.
posted by msalt at 2:07 PM on December 1, 2011


The fire marshall kicked us all out of this one, and sadly, it was not recorded.

http://www.dischord.com/fugazi_live_series/dallas-tx-usa-52988
posted by roboton666 at 3:08 PM on December 1, 2011


So ... why not release these for free?

As Ian says in this interview... They had $5 shows, charging $5 or optionally less down to $1 (or more if you want to be generous) seems completely reasonable given the huge amount of time, effort, etc. that must've gone into this.

I never got to see them live, sadly, and have heard all the archive.org recordings. Can't wait to start going through the stuff in the official archive.
posted by sparkletone at 3:30 PM on December 1, 2011


So ... why not release these for free?

This is a very good question. Not because the recordings should be released for free or because there's any compelling logic or argument behind the question's implication that they should, but because of how revealing it is of a massive cognitive defect in our modern culture's ability to understand music and art in general and the nature of both creative endeavor and of the process of getting an artistic creation from the point of creation to the point of public awareness and distribution.

The members of Fugazi are not in it for the money. They didn't sell their soul, right? They're not trying to get rich or beg for your dollar. So, again, why are they charging for these recordings? For that matter, why do they charge for their excellent studio albums? Why charge $5 for concert tickets, rather than $4 or $3 or $2 or $1?

(A little math: The Black Cat in DC has a capacity of about 700 people. Assuming that Fugazi played 1000 shows at an average of 700 ticket-purchasing audience members per show, they could have made $700,000 more for every extra dollar on the ticket price. So remember that those guys are cool enough to have given up hundreds of thousands of dollars each just so that they could keep the ticket price ridiculously - ridiculously - low. Nobody would ever have scoffed at paying $10 for a Fugazi show - ever.)

I had a super long megacomment written about why I, as a member of a band with a new independently-released DIY album, have lots of music up in free places and have our new album up on Spotify and free for listening on Bandcamp and youtube videos and stuff like that but why we're charging a small price for legit downloads of the songs. But it was a ridiculously-long comment and I changed my mind about posting it. If you ever see me at a meetup and you want my opinion about it, I'm ready to rant.

I'll leave it at this: I am a performing and recording musician and I will pay $5 each for as many of these Fugazi shows as I can before my wife figures out that's where the money is going. Because the members of Fugazi worked to create something of value. Because someone worked long hours cultivating the collection of recordings, organizing them, and preparing them for release. Because mastering recordings is hard work and an artform unto itself and it has tremendous value. Because everyone involved in the release of these recordings deserves to be paid.

And because, unlike virtually every single popular artist in the world today, Fugazi are exactly what they purport to be. They write and produce their own music. They don't present a romantic fiction of an identity to the world for the purpose of building an audience and selling a product. Because, unlike virtually every popular artist in the world today, nobody has to have an argument on the internet about whether or not there exist youtube videos somewhere where you can just barely tell that under the overproduced sheen, they might actually be competent musicians able to actually perform the songs that they paid someone else to write for them and then made sign a confidentiality agreement about.

For all the praise that modern pop icons get in spite of being obviously and undeniably money-making figureheads manufactured by teams of marketing people and a conference room full of songwriters, producers, and studio singers and musicians, people should be begging - begging - to give their money to Fugazi.
posted by The World Famous at 6:40 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


So the big question for me is -- will the guys record another album?

If it's as good as The Argument I will get a boner.

If it's as inconsistent as End Hits I will have a sad.

But I'm loving The Evens so I guess that's something.
posted by bardic at 9:31 PM on December 1, 2011


That was a pretty good time period to see Shudder to Think, as well.

I've been trying to get a copy of the 9:30 Club's video of StT's final show with Adam Wade (summer of '92) for about fifteen years now.

I was 18 and it left me almost ecstatic - especially the version of "Red House" that they did that night. I had never seen so much real, naked emotion on stage before.

The 9:30 videos - another great 80s/90s trove that needs to see the light of day . . .
posted by ryanshepard at 6:49 AM on December 2, 2011


So the big question for me is -- will the guys record another album?

I think they probably won't, but they seem to be open to it. The problem is that Joe Lally is living in Italy and the lack of financial motivation does actually reduce the incentive, given the costs of further collaboration. (Even cool non-market types have to pay airfare.)

Ian Mackaye articulated a potential interest in the Pitchfork interview in the context of playing Occupy Wall Street:

There's no question that we love each other and that we're a family. Joe lives in Italy so it's not often that we're all in the same place, but the four of us were together last week for a few days, which was great. There's no question that we still see each other as band members. Ultimately, if circumstances line-up in a way that makes it possible for us to play and the desire was there, we would do that. And then, at that point, we might be interested in being a part of something.

So maybe if the movement grows and enough people spend enough money on these shows....
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:39 AM on December 2, 2011


people should be begging - begging - to give their money to Fugazi.

there are a lot of younger, newer (i won't say better) musicians who need it more. that's all i'm saying. i'm not gonna throw Fugazi, etc. more money when i can give it to the aforementioned other bands on the Dischord label. no matter which way you slice it, the music i want to listen to will always be much, much more than i have money for, so i have to be considerate if who i pay.

unlike virtually every single popular artist in the world today, Fugazi are exactly what they purport to be. They write and produce their own music. They don't present a romantic fiction of an identity to the world for the purpose of building an audience and selling a product. Because, unlike virtually every popular artist in the world today, nobody has to have an argument on the internet about whether or not there exist youtube videos somewhere where you can just barely tell that under the overproduced sheen, they might actually be competent musicians able to actually perform the songs that they paid someone else to write for them and then made sign a confidentiality agreement about.

I don't want to eyeroll, but it's almost impossible not to, and I'm a big fan. You sound like one of those "music sux today amirite YouTube commenters" Fugazi wasn't anywhere near the realm of "popular artists," certainly not relative to the phony megastars you seem to reference. They also produced Repeater themselves, but they've certainly worked with producers on their albums.

It seems like you're comparing apples and oranges. Better comparisons might be Samiam or The Angry Samoans or Fear. I'm pretty sure those guys actually perform songs they wrote themselves...

anyway, it's cool idea, but i'm more likely to throw $5 to a homebrewed artist or new act on bandcamp. there, you know the artists are getting 85% at least.

there are *countless* new music artists who deserve your attention and music money.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:23 PM on December 2, 2011


mrgrimm, I typed the below comment and then realized that I think you and I really see eye to eye on this and I don't think we disagree or ought to be arguing about it, and I think my comment may come across as fighty or argumentative. So before you read it, I just want to say right off the bat that I don't intend to be arguing with you. I just think you didn't quite get what point I was trying to make. People should be begging to give their money to lots of artists other than Fugazi, too. Your point is taken and I agree with it.

I don't want to eyeroll, but it's almost impossible not to, and I'm a big fan. You sound like one of those "music sux today amirite YouTube commenters"

The thing is, music doesn't suck today. A lot of it is great. It's just not what it purports to be. I grow more and more convinced that not a single purported backstory of an artist or recording that gets popular enough for the general public to know about it is even remotely true.

Fugazi isn't the only honest band in the world, I agree. But the less popular the artist, the more likely the artist is to have integrity and the more likely it is that people will openly wonder why the music isn't free. It's ridiculous.

Fugazi wasn't anywhere near the realm of "popular artists," certainly not relative to the phony megastars you seem to reference.

Yes, that's part of my point. Nobody asks "why doesn't Katy Perry just give her albums away for free?" People want artists with integrity to work for free. And it doesn't help that the big music industry publicity machine convinces people that there are not armies of people working to bring music to market but that it's really all the work of a single musical and creative mastermind who just also happens to be a skinny twentysomething blonde girl.

They also produced Repeater themselves, but they've certainly worked with producers on their albums.

I would posit that "producer" in the context of a Fugazi album means something so completely different than what it means in the context of a major label pop album in the year 2011 that we should probably come up with a different term so that people don't confuse the two things.

It seems like you're comparing apples and oranges.

Indeed. I'm saying that, for a society so willing to shovel cash into the pockets of people selling obviously phony apples, it is nauseating to see anyone asking with a straight face why the delicious oranges are not free.

anyway, it's cool idea, but i'm more likely to throw $5 to a homebrewed artist or new act on bandcamp.

Bandcamp is cool. I have a brand new album up on Bandcamp right now. I'm more proud of it than any other music I've ever done. According to Bandcamp's statistics, people are listening to it quite a lot. A lot more than they're buying it. Because why would they buy it when they can just listen to it for free? People don't buy music because it's good. They buy music because it has been effectively promoted. They don't download Fugazi live recordings because they're good. They download them because Fugazi has spent 20+ years cultivating and building an audience and a critical mass of public awareness. The fact that Fugazi is legitimately awesome is a bonus and an additional reason for them and the people who worked to bring the recordings to market to be paid for their work.

there are *countless* new music artists who deserve your attention and music money.

Yes, I absolutely agree. Absolutely. Without question. And there are no artists who deserve to have people ask "why not release these for free?"
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on December 2, 2011


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