It's difficult to express exactly what I felt when I found out, last wednesday, that the album had made it's way onto the internet. 22nd april - approximately eight and a half weeks before release and only three since the fucking thing was mastered and whilst members of the band don't have shiny little embossed copies there is a promotional cd of the record on sale at ebay for twenty five quid.
I drank a bottle of Jamesons and began to lecture the cat on copyright control. To her credit, she simply fell asleep as Law and Order went about its business in the background.
Myself, Kelson and a couple of the guys at Beggars spent 72 hours or so pissing around, sending angry emails to proud bloggers (and oh, the fucking pride of the feckless thief) and, amongst others, a Russian website that was already charging people for the songs. Motherfuckers. I guess that since the bottom has fallen out of the arms trade, any collection of notes, however obscure, is a legitimate income source.
So, anyway, the fucking thing has leaked despite our desperate delaying tactics and you may have listened to it / be dowloading it this second / have taken the position that you'd rather wait for the actual release - regardless, it feels that getting annoyed about downloading in this valueless modern age is like taking issue with water for being wet or night for gradually turning into day because ultimately the entitlement that most people feel for free music completely overshadows any moral or legal issues and conflicts that may arise in the hearts and minds of better people, people who understand that actions, on both an individual and group level, have consequences far beyond that moment of instant gratification.
There's so much to say with so little effect on this issue, so many well-intentioned but wasted words devoted to it ... but anyway, thankyou for downloading in barely a minute something that we poured a year of our lives into, attempting (successfully, I believe) with a great and furious pride to better our previous low-selling (and leaked three months early) album, a record which flew under the radar for many reasons but mostly because most of the goodwill poured on it happened and had dwindled several months before it was available to buy.
Yes, buy. Such a dirty fucking word. Currency exchanged for goods and services. Food, Clothing, Butt-plugs and fucking H2O. How far, I wonder does this entitlement for free music go? My guitars, should they be free? Petrol to get us to shows? Perhaps I should come to an arrangement with my landlord, through the musician-rent-waiver programme.
Perhaps he should pay me, for his ninth-division indie-cred through association.
You will have to excuse me, people of the internet. It turns out that I just wanted a big party with balloons and streamers to celebrate everything we put into this thing, released into the physical world with a fanfare and fuss befitting its status. I'm not angry (in fact I don't blame you, unless you leaked it, in which case I WILL KILL YOU), just a little worried that the record we made will get lost amongst the debris and leave us playing shows like we just weathered at the laughably bad Camden Crawl this last weekend - fifteen people and a world of disillusion.*
Anyway - please be careful, or we'll get the world we all deserve. Hobby bands who can tour once every few years if they're lucky, and the superstars, freed from such inconvenient baggage as integrity and conscience, running the corporate sponsored marathon of £80-a-ticket arena tours and television adverts til their loveless hearts explode in an orgy of oppressive branding and self-regard. Some of us, in all honestly, just want to make the music we love and play it around the world without living in poverty.
We'll be announcing some deal involving pre-orders of the cd/lp with an immediate download in the next few days.
Do consult your surroundings before proceeding.
*Next time somebody tells me that i can't drink my rider in the building I'm playing in I'm going to fuck them with their own shoes.