For anyone who hasn't caught this issue; some people got together and did some really very impressive mashups of Green Day's album American Idiot. They put up a site with free downloads and the statement that if you like the mashups, donate money to charities supported by Green Day themselves. No profit, just music.
Not surprisingly, the site was promptly shut down. On Tuesday 13th December 2005, a coordinated protest event will be held. American Edit will be made available everywhere possible and played on as many radio stations as possible. With a bit of luck, the record companies might get the message that people are sick of music being taken away from them.
The thing about these mashups is that whenever I hear them I get about ten songs in my head. I start thinking about these great songs and - genuinely - this makes me more likely to buy them next time I'm in a record shop.
American Edit was never making money, nobody was losing money. In fact, it was more likely that the record companies would make money. It's not like people are downloading American Idiot, they were downloading a sincere creative effort based on the album. What's next? Stopping DJs mixing two tracks together?
Music fans understand: music is a core of our lives, it lives within us and feeds our souls. Record companies do not understand. They are soulless, morally bereft shells, with no appreciation for music. To the record companies the artists, fans and music itself are nothing but opportunities to screw some more dollars into their profit margins. If they ever knew, they've forgotten the roar of the crowd when the first note sounds and the sincerity of the encore shouts.
So on Dean Gray Tuesday, people are protesting. The people who buy albums and go to gigs are going to fight for a mashup album; but really it's just another symptom of the divide between music fans and the money-grubbing bastards who control the industry.