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Archive for May, 2005

Musicians, come out and say you support filesharing.

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

We’re helping out a musician and artist, Halsey Burgund compile a song based on tracks offered by different musicians. This project has the potential to be really important if lots of people step forward — he is asking any musician to record their name and the statement, “I am a musician and I support filesharing” and he will compile a track based on these recordings. His message to you all follows. It is extremely important right now for musicians to say why they support filesharing and add a gentle yet aggresive public face to the whole issue. It’s important because what is happening with filesharing has in large part to do with how the debate is framed, the major labels have dominated that debate for too long and that’s why we care — because the major labels aren’t in the debate for the sake of musicians, and have been buying their time to control a system that doesn’t work out for more than a handful of musicians. So, follow the instructions below if you’re a musician and you support filesharing and pass this on to the musicians you know, big and small, and ask them to make a simple, powerful, political message in five minutes.

A message from Halsey:

Musician’s voices needed for pro-filesharing music. Let your voice be heard!

What I do:
My name is Halsey Burgund and I write music based in large part on voice recordings that I collect in the field (www.aevidence.com).
They might be specific readings, poetry, narration, opinions etc, but in each case, the resulting song has a specific intent. I am now
collecting recordings for a new song about the benefits of filesharing, specifically that it can be good for musicians. Therefore, I am collecting recordings of musicians making pro-filesharing statements which I will use in forthcoming music.

How you can help:
Go to Aevidence.com and record the text contained therein. Essentially, I want musicians saying “I am a musician and I support filesharing”, but I also want your reasons and opinions on the topic.

Why you might want to participate:
Clearly you are a Downhill Battle supporter or you would not be on
this mailing list. Clearly you think the current day monopolies in the
music industry are not good for the future of music in our society. This is
a way to help spread the word about filesharing and express your
opinion in a different fashion. I will be letting Downhill Battle use the
resulting music as they see fit, so you will be supporting this group’s efforts at the same time.

Thank you very much for your consideration and the assistance in
fighting the good fight. We, as musicians, must come together and
speak out if we want to effect any change. And the more creatively we do this, the better. Collectively, our voice will be heard.

If you want a DHB bumper sticker “I’m a musician and I support filesharing” for any and all contributions, let us know.

Bright Eyes on Leno

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

This is the kind of thing that can happen when real people with real ideas can become rock stars without taking on crushing debt to the system. As usual these days, the evidence is in video form:

Bright Eyes playing “When the President Talks to God” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Easy Downloader .torrent

You should really watch it, and if you’re at one of these no-Bittorrent colleges, here’s the secret link to get it the old fashioned way.

Setting aside how we feel about Bush, do we think it’s a good thing for savants in cowboy hats to be taking apart the President on national TV? Hell yes. And would he have done it if just one pissed-off record exec could decide to let his next album rot in a vault somewhere (along with his legal ability to record new music) ’till his contract ran out when he turned 30?

Well Conor Oberst seems a more than averagely principled or stubborn guy, so maybe he would have. But maybe not.

And the point stands, I think, that the more musicians can get popular on their own terms (without owing powerful people anything) the more popular music can bleed into politics and political philosophy, like anything worth being called “art”, and put power in its place.

So all you Vote Rockers who want to use music to engage people in politics, listen up! Focus your economic and social analysis and your desire to change things on music itself, just for a couple years. Work on weakening the major labels’ grip in any way you can, and build better systems for getting independent music to a huge audience. Then watch what happens. Pop stars will be more helpful political allies, and musicians who share your politics will have a better shot at being pop stars.

Announcing Fort Culture

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

We’ve been writing on the blog here at Downhill Battle for a while, but we always felt like we weren’t really bringing our thoughts together in a coherent usable way. We also felt that more generally there was a world of copyright and culture issues that weren’t being brought together in a clear way that brings out the inter-relationships between all the seemingly disparate elements and highlights what we’re up against. So today we’re announcing a first-take at trying to bring together some of our thinking:

fort culture
Enter Fort Culture

We’ve posted a bunch of mini-articles, not all of them are completely polished, but we’ve tried to get a bunch of ideas in there and it’s an ongoing project. We’re also asking people to help built the site in two ways. The first is by posting comments on the articles suggesting good resources that we can incorporate into the article. The second is for anyone who uses de.licio.us or de.lerio.us (the new open-source version): we’re asking people to tag with the word ‘fortculture’. We’ll be displaying the list on the site in various places, which will be a great way to connect people to fresh stuff. (Thanks for the idea, Brian!)

Our friend, musician, copyfighter, teacher, dynamo Kevin Driscoll was a big part of the team that made this happen, which has been great. Check out his copyright blog when you get a chance.

The site development was sponsored by a grant from American University, so we’d like to give them a big thanks for the support. And thanks to everyone on our email list who’ve already submitted lots of useful links.