Monday, June 20, 2005

Spaceboy [Napster], I've missed you

I am recovering Napster user. I have been since the spring of oh-one, or whenever it was that they shut the sucker down. Wait, wait! Hold your angry emails! I'm not scum, or a leech (mostly)! What I enjoyed about the service was the unique opportunity to sample diverse music at a high speed -- a feature necessary for pinning down the highly mobile, on the go, no frills youth market segment. With Napster, finding a buddy with new music you've never heard of was a simple "Browse User's Files" click away. With Epitonic and similar sites, it's a chore to find music that fits your discriminating taste quickly. But with a service like Napster, if you like Rocket From the Crypt and Hot Snakes, you've got pretty good odds of finding some more Swami stuff from the guy who has both in his catalog. Since forking over the cash for an iPod, I've been forced to find similar ways to predict my music taste and find new artists. Audioscrobbler works OK but I've still got bad feelings from when they jerked us around a few years ago (It works! It doesn't work! You listened to Avril 34,819 times yesterday! Nobody listens to the same music as you! Now hundreds of people do!). Allmusic is a staple, but often very much off the mark (their "star" rating system must be a relative star rating. Relative to what, no one knows). So I was thrilled when I came upon Fiona's Stairway to Heaven Forum. I'm not scared of posting it's location here (it's supposed to be fairly hush-hush) because nobody really reads this page anyway, and Stairway to Heaven is already so massive we rape open FTPs and Dirs with the force of a thousand angry elephants. But the incredible thing about the community is the variety of genres, ages, tastes and quality of the music and posters. It's a hodge-podge of "collectors," or as we say, music snobs. Last night I was thrilled to find a five disc Pumpkins box set put together by the man himself, including demos from as early as '88, live versions of Gish-era songs, and an alternate version of "Spaceboy." I almost peed my pants. Then this morning I discovered that it's all been posted by Billy himself for free. Not that it will take any of the fun out of listening to it. I can't wait to get home and crank "Mayonnaise". But there's a certain thrill in stumbling upon something new and hearing it for the first time. It's better than drugs (somebody should have told me that years ago). So I post this as a community service to all. But, as the mantra goes, please Hammer [downloader], don't hurt 'em [the artists][implied: buy some CDs].


Blogger RiSE said...

I discoverd that smashing pumpkins box set last year. If i remember corretly billy c put it together as a gift for freinds. I believe it was called The mashed potates box set? There was a ton of more sp stuff i never heard including a bunch of live stuff and radio recordings. Also one of the worst covers i ever heard..... billy coragan covering the joker by the steve miller band. its HORRIBLE! I have it all if you want any of it.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Ben Shepard said...

Haha, thanks, but I got it already. I haven't listened to the Steve Miller cover yet, but now I am excited about it.

9:34 AM  

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