In Which We Establish Our Personal Stance On This RIAA Mishegas

I Think You’re Gonna Like It

by Molly Lambert

I was thinking about this Oink/RIAA debate all day. Unlike my male compatriots, I am def-not a Libertarian. Generally I am Gynarchist, first, a Jewess second, and a humanist/liberal third. To those that were offended by Alex’s post, I apologize for my birthmate’s conduct. I believe he was invoking the ghost of Leo Frank, after I praised Georgia so floridly.

Leo Frank, the only white person on record to be lynched.

I definitely care less about politics than my parents, who are NPR Liberals. I think this is probably true of my generation in general. Not that we are necessarily apathetic, but to tell the truth I haaaaaate eco-liberalism and I would probably kill myself like Kurt if I lived in the Pacific Northwest. I do not want the polar bears to die either. Once you tell me how to stop it, I promise I will help.

= the RIAA

Some commenters thought Alex stepped over the line by comparing RIAA supporters to a lynch mob, but we’ve never written anything remotely as shockingly awful, bilious, and petty as the emasculated Richard Johnson wrote about Vanessa Grigoriadis in the New York Post and that shit got printed yo!

Haters: this is you (cl0wned)

It’s funny that the people who criticize Gawker always do so for its supposed bitchiness, only to publish shit that is much bitchier (and way less funny!) than Gawker. Carla Blumenkranz’s n+1’s hit piece on Gawker will no doubt be as scathingly self-righteous and shrill as n+1 always is, written in the Margaret Dumont pitch we also hear the RIAA’s supporters using in our head. Maybe Ben Kunkel has some Proustian reverie about quills and ink and writing while the candle burns low in the tipperthwick, but we are pretty sure he downloads music and jerks off to internet porn like everyone else.

And this is us. Haaaaay!

Any author can have their text reproduced on the net and it doesn’t actually degrade the quality of their work. Some mediums, poetry for example, actually benefit from becoming a browsable database. So much of this debate is about relative “value.” The idea that text is somehow more valuable on paper than online is straight up idiotic. People always dismiss new mediums and medias as “ephemeral.”

A mouse riding a cat riding a dog. Would you have seen this without the web? I THINK NAWT.

Television has only escaped that mantle in the past ten years, as The Sopranos, DVD box sets, and Boomer nostalgia have re-established it as the great art form it is capable of being. Books and print will not go away that soon, just like radio didn’t cede to TV. They can all exist, there is no conflict. But there’s definitely nothing more “real” or “authentic” about a piece of paper than the screen you’re looking at except that this one hurts your eyes way more. Online media is already realer than Real Deal Holyfield.

This is us (cupcaking)

The beauty of all this is that art can now easily be reproduced, one of Warhol’s many excellent points. It’s not like the artist has one painting and when they sell the painting it’s gone. None of the copies are made less valuable by the others existing. As toy collectors should all know, making things more valuable by limiting their run does not actually give them more artistic merit.

pondering Schrodinger’s infinite cat

It’s like the indie snobs who think vinyl is inherently superior to mp3 files. Look I am all for vinyl. I think vinyl sounds wonderful, and I love the crackles and pops on my dollar records, I think they add character. I think the medium is the message and that certain things (like R.E.M. or Weezer) can even sound BETTER on a cassette tape than on CD. Music, as much as it informs our lives, is not always in the forefront. Often it is just on the background while you are cooking dinner and that’s fine too.

This is you, SNOB

And I know indie musicians are striving for that kind of crackly authenticity and all, but it’s a pro-tools world we live in. And as the black-white music debate has pointed out, rap music is generally on the forefront of (ayo) technology, which makes this a debate along the lines of the Rock Music/Pop Music split that is somehow still an issue for some music bloggers.

Pitting rock against pop is a false ass binary, much like pitting pornography against women, or the RIAA against criminals. The War On Free Music is like The War On Drugs or The War On Terrorism. None of these things are going to go away now just because war has been declared against them!


In the very near future someone will create the first “legitimate” internet artwork (of course you can argue that things like World Of Warcraft, Flickr, and This Recording are already that) Frankly I’ve always been a snob and a populist, so I don’t see much wrong in a medium being widely available. Freedom of information is gonna get crazytown soon.

I do not proclaim to understand how the net works, but that’s why Max Silvestri and Gabe Delahaye are around to clear it up for me.

As a connaisseur of music, I accept that recording quality and compression and levels and all that stuff is going to vary wildly on downloads. It really doesn’t bother me. If I didn’t have access, I would just hear less music. The amount of recorded music in the world is nearly infinite. Even if I were to spend all my time downloading for the rest of my life I would not be able to hear it all. Nor do I encourage trying.

But would I rather have LESS access? Of course not. I too have not used a downloading client in a million years. I go to music blogs and message boards. I have never once felt guilty about it. I do not think that makes me a sociopath. Get used to Serato and albums being available for download before they are mastered. It’s still more or less the virtual frontier and those who cannot adapt will die.

Some halloween songs from the fifties and sixties that made me look up the Mr. Show “Monster Party” sketch on YouTube, which you can now watch on the brand new This Recording YouTube channel:

Molly Lambert is Senior Editor of This Recording. She has 112 problems, as of right now.

Night Of The Werewolf – Lee Kristofferson: mp3

Monster Holiday – Lou Chaney: mp3

The Werewolf – The Frantics: mp3

The Cave (Part 1) – Gary ‘Spider’ Webb: mp3

The Cave (Part 2) – Gary ‘Spider’ Webb: mp3


Posts from Tess Lynch!

Tess cracks the web open like the cream filled clam it is.

She gives you even more reasons not to go outside than just Malibu being on fire.

She shows you funny things to imagine buying while you are bored at work.

She recaps America’s Next Top Model.

She chats about the Arcade Fire.

6 thoughts on “In Which We Establish Our Personal Stance On This RIAA Mishegas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s