Greatest Hits & Illegal Downloads: Not Good Gifts!

Even if you love crappy music, it’s not an excuse to give crappy gifts.

As I stated last week, the season of greatest hits albums has come, for better or worse. Let me do you a favor as a music lover and suggest you stray from these insidious marketable creations. Taking someone’s creative works, dissecting them, and then repackaging them in a neat, easy-to-buy new product not only strips away a lot of the best parts of music in album form, but also places musicians in a class of product designers rather than artists. So, do your loved ones one better and get them a few of the musicians’ best releases (if you need help, visit and check out the ratings they’ve given most everyone’s discographies).

I guess it’s the week for rants… Deep Elm Records owner John Szuch posted a long article on the label’s website about illegal downloading and the state of affairs following Radiohead’s “free album” plan. For those who might have missed it, Radiohead released their newest album, In Rainbows, in October exclusively via a website allowing customers to pay whatever they felt appropriate, even if that meant nothing at all (the reported average is about $8 per download according to gigwise).

While I must say Szuch brings up some very valid points, he fails to mention why bands like Radiohead have been pushed to do such maneuvers. Facing downloading as the death-nail of their industry, what did pretty much every major label do? Instead of lowering prices on items that typically cost less than a few dollars to create, they pushed suggested retail prices up towards $20! Let me get this straight, to battle people stealing your music, you’re going to charge those who are still loyal more?? And people ask me why I never buy CDs anymore…

What You Can Buy Me For The Holidays

Rufus WainwrightContinuing the trend of the month being slow for new releases, there’s only one album hitting shelves this week worth mentioning: Rufus Wainwright’s Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. This double CD (or DVD) features everyone’s (okay maybe just mine) favorite contemporary crooner doing a song-by-song remake of Judy Garland’s infamous 1961 Carnegie Hall performance. As if this concept weren’t enough, Wainwright has a 36-piece orchestra backing him. Between his great singing and witty editorializing, how could anyone not love this?

For those like me who prefer the “out-dated” format of vinyl, a lot of classic releases are getting the vinyl reissue treatment this week as well, including a number of Depeche Mode albums on 180g vinyl, N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton, and a Nick Drake LP boxset entitled Fruit Tree.

Places To Be, People To See… Or Maybe Not

Boy, there’s very little going on in the way of live music this week in Richmond. Cake is playing at Toad’s Place on Sunday (12/09) if you’re really bored. Otherwise, just plan to do the First Friday Artwalk and attend holiday parties wearing tacky sweaters.

  • error

    Report an error

Sean Patrick Rhorer

There are no reader comments. Add yours.