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May 18, 2010 6:38 AM   Subscribe

i have let paypal go. old-fashioned wheezy paranoid beast. and i can’t find a simple enough new solution. so, all music is pay-it-forward.

Toronto-based songwriter Jane Siberry, mentioned once or twice 'round these parts and known for — besides the endlessly dreamy and thoughtful music — changing her name to Issa, giving away all (most) of her worldly possessions and being a pioneer in the field of self-determined music pricing, has decided to give all her music away for free as a gift. MP3s and high-res AIFFs are available along with all cover art and CD/LP booklets. Enjoy!
posted by tapesonthefloor (36 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh. Wow.

The most otherwordly show I've ever been to was a performance (when she was Issa) at the Great American Music Hall a couple-three years ago. A remarkable artist.
posted by rtha at 6:41 AM on May 18, 2010


Thanks for the contribution to a free and open culture, Jane!
posted by DU at 6:42 AM on May 18, 2010


Oh. Heh.
posted by rtha at 6:43 AM on May 18, 2010


“If anyone's driving up to Bethnal Green,” she said, “I didn't realize it was so far.”
posted by kipmanley at 6:56 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. Loved me some Siberry back in my university days, and then her music sort of drifted off my radar. It's great to see that she's still making music, and this will keep me musically happy for weeks to come. I may well take her up on the "send me a cheque" offer on the music download page.
posted by Shepherd at 7:02 AM on May 18, 2010


If you're sucking down those AIFF files, please be sure to send her a few bucks. Bandwidth is cheap, but gigabytes of data are nowhere close to free for her. I haven't got time right now to do it, but if some kind soul would put together a torrent, and then send her a magnet URL for it, that would help a lot.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:06 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


A torrent would surely be the right solution to that problem.
posted by pharm at 7:12 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anyone have any recommended starting places? What should I get first?
posted by nosila at 7:16 AM on May 18, 2010


Isn't she that fundamentalist who wrote "Everything Reminds me of my God?"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:21 AM on May 18, 2010


I haven't got time right now to do it, but if some kind soul would put together a torrent, and then send her a magnet URL for it, that would help a lot.

I lack the skills but that is a great idea. Posting a note on her Facebook page would probably be a good idea as well, as that seems to be her fan/forum aggregate place.
posted by Shepherd at 7:21 AM on May 18, 2010


A torrent would surely be the right solution to that problem.

True, but 99.9% of Jane Siberry fans would have no idea what to do with a torrent.

Anyone have any recommended starting places? What should I get first?


I'm not familiar with her recent stuff but When I Was A Boy and Bound By The Beauty contain her two biggest hits - The Life Is A Red Wagon and Love Is Everything. Both beautiful songs.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:26 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I started with When I Was A Boy.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:29 AM on May 18, 2010


I haven't got time right now to do it, but if some kind soul would put together a torrent, and then send her a magnet URL for it, that would help a lot.

I offered to mirror it all for her and her response was "that would be very nice, thank you", and now I have no idea why a .torrent didn't cross my mind initially. Good thinking. If someone else doesn't, I'll get on this as soon as I'm home from a-workin'.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:32 AM on May 18, 2010


Wow. That's incredible. Fantastic.
posted by zarq at 7:32 AM on May 18, 2010


...sorry: The Life Is The Red Wagon
posted by jimmythefish at 7:33 AM on May 18, 2010


changing her name to Issa

As in, the Christian prophet better known as Jesus?
posted by orthogonality at 7:36 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Alison: One More Colour may not be wholly representative of her oeuvre anymore, but it's still the song that irrevocably worked its way into my subconscious when I was five. I'm thankful for this. It's among the most beautiful songs I know.

I love the Rheostatics' cover of it, as well.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:38 AM on May 18, 2010


changing her name to Issa

As in, the Christian prophet better known as Jesus?


She originally chose the name because it was a feminine variant of Isaiah. That was in '06. Apparently she only discovered its connection to Christianity's Messiah afterward.

And then....
Windy City Times: What led you to change your name to Issa?

Jane Siberry: I felt the need to make some strong changes in my life. It seemed important to change my name, so I did. I changed it to a name that I thought was simple, an empty cup. I had never heard the name Issa before, and it turns out to have some wonderful meanings, including a haiku poet in Japan, and the name that Jesus had in India. But two weeks ago I officially changed my name back to Jane Siberry. I felt with the name change, I had gotten in my own way, in terms of devoting myself to my career, making my work available to people. So, Jane Siberry is my name again until further notice, but I feel richer from having been Issa for three years.

posted by zarq at 7:47 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I were interested in doing an article on what Siberry is doing, but in the context of more and more music being released for free as a driver for merchandise and performances, who would be a good interview subject (other than trying to contact Siberry herself)?

I know it's a popular topic, but I'm having a hard time putting my finger on somebody that can knowledgeably explain what Siberry is doing as part of a broader marketing shift in music: a tendency to move from the music-for-cash model to a model where artists release material for free and make more money off live performances, merchandise, etc.
posted by Shepherd at 7:49 AM on May 18, 2010


That link's from the FPP, by the way.
posted by zarq at 7:50 AM on May 18, 2010


Shepherd, if I were you, I'd start with CASH Music.. They're helping artists free themselves from the Amazon/iTunes model and may be able to point you in the right direction. This article explains their goals.
posted by zarq at 7:54 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not exactly what you're asking for... but they may be able to help.
posted by zarq at 7:54 AM on May 18, 2010


dublin - lots of tall handsome and interesting irish men. same goes for the women. light on their feet.

She may be something of an eccentric, but Goddess bless all our eccentrics, poets, shamans, tricksters, and discombobulators.
posted by blucevalo at 8:11 AM on May 18, 2010


I know it's a popular topic, but I'm having a hard time putting my finger on somebody that can knowledgeably explain what Siberry is doing as part of a broader marketing shift in music: a tendency to move from the music-for-cash model to a model where artists release material for free and make more money off live performances, merchandise, etc.

Part of it has to do with embracing the fact that people are going to download, and to use that as a positive and not a negative. The logic, as I understand it, is that most people who are going to download your music for free, rather than pay for it, were never a market in the first place.

But, the downloading creates fans that might pay in the future, will attend shows, buy merchandise and generally create buzz. Look at today, for instance - she would never have sold any records to any of you bums today, but she might get a few cheques out of it now and definitely gets more exposure.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:20 AM on May 18, 2010


Nthing the torrent suggestion. A good way to pay it forward as well. I'd be sure to take my ratio cap off for this one.
posted by thecjm at 8:49 AM on May 18, 2010


I think I saw a site on Lifehacker built in Java that was P2P like bit torrent, but you didn't need to install anything.

Or maybe it was a dream. Either way, somebody should build a site that's like rapidshare, but that works like a torrent behind the UI.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:12 AM on May 18, 2010


I'll wait, and see if one of you beautiful people puts up torrents.

Just put her tour dates in my RSS feed. Been wanting to see her for years, but this kind of thing makes me more actively watch for nearby dates.
posted by QIbHom at 9:27 AM on May 18, 2010


Psh, I've been doing this for years.
\I'll refrain from linkwhoring.
posted by toekneebullard at 11:09 AM on May 18, 2010


somebody that can knowledgeably explain what Siberry is doing as part of a broader marketing shift in music

David Byrne wrote about that
posted by bhnyc at 11:49 AM on May 18, 2010


Where to start? I'd suggest "When I Was A Boy." It contains two of her absolute best songs ever, "Calling All Angels" and "Love is Everything." But the rest of it is equally excellent, including "Gospel According to Darkness," "An Angel Stepped Down (and slowly looked around)"...

Where you go from there depends on your tastes - she's pretty much run the gamut from folk to pop to jazz and all kinds of combinations in between.

"Bound By The Beauty" is an all-acoustic album, which at the time was a big shift in direction for her after years of expansive synth/pop. Particularly good here are "Hockey," "The Valley," "Everything Reminds Me of My Dog," and "The Life is the Red Wagon."

"The Walking" is one of my favorites - the first album of hers I ever got. It features two songs so "epic" in scope that they start to stretch the definition of "song": "The White Tent The Raft," and "Bird in the Gravel." The latter is more of an audio film, with characters coming and going. This album also has the song "Red High Heels" with which I found turned several people into fans when I played it for them back in college. ("Well I don't care if I'm on my own again - start alone, end alone - so my love maybe I'm glad I met you on the way?")

I think the album "Maria" got maligned by some fans. It's pretty much full-on improvisatory jazz. I read she and the musicians wrote most of it over just a week or so in the studio, improvising together. But the musicianship is stellar- Tim Ray's piano playing is so rich it makes me jealous (I play piano a bit). Also here is what may be her "magnum opus," the 20+ minute piece "Oh My My," an imagistic meditation on growing up, breaking down, breaking free from addictions, and learning to stand back up again.

Unfortunately, her recent stuff......I'm afraid I have to say she's not what she used to be. Part of it I think is actually due to stuff like what this post is about, and how she's deliberately chosen a path of relative poverty. I get that she's trying to be about the music, not the profit, but... I got her most recent album "With What Shall I Keep Warm" largely because I saw it contained, at long last, a studio recorded version of a song I've heard her do in concerts for over 10 years now, "Walk On Water." The song, done live, has made me cry a few times. But the recorded version...kinda falls flat for me, and it feels like part of the problem is lack of resources (read; $$) to get the kind of studio time, musicians, and tech to fully realize everything the song can be. I understand she had problems back in the early 90s with the kind of control Warner Records tried to force on her (basically a big label has no idea what the hell to do with an artist like her) - and yet, it shouldn't be lost on anyone that the album I hear so often considered her "best" ("When I Was a Boy") had outside producers on it like Brian Eno and Michael Brook.
posted by dnash at 12:02 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Psh, I've been doing this for years.
\I'll refrain from linkwhoring.


Well, could you actually make a living by otherwise selling your music? If not, then it probably doesn't count in the same way here.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on May 18, 2010


"The cistern contains. The fountain overflows."
posted by Twang at 1:36 PM on May 18, 2010


The downloads aren't working for me at all. They error out. I would love the torrent files.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:13 PM on May 18, 2010


Love her voice, love her inclination and ability to free her music. Not gonna actually download any right now, since Calling All Angels is on the Until The End of the World soundtrack and that's about all I need. (That record got me into Can and Nick Cave!)
posted by klangklangston at 6:57 PM on May 18, 2010


aiff -> flac, THEN torrent. Smaller!
posted by mendel at 7:44 PM on May 18, 2010


I wonder if Bandcamp wouldn't be a better solution than torrents -- leave the tech to someone else so she can get on with it. Also, you can set it up so people can pay nothing, or whatever they want (I just did this yesterday with an artist I like there -- track was free but you could pay whatever you wanted IF you wanted, and I tossed her $5).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:51 AM on May 19, 2010


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