I want your input.

05.18.2010

I’ve been thinking about making changes in a lot of ways lately; in my life, people I associate with, even this blog. Something that I’ve been sitting on for awhile now is whether or not I want to continue offering free full album downloads.

I’m not going to beat around the bush. Obviously, I download a fuckton of music. I am perennially broke, and my appetite for music far, far outweighs my discretionary income. No part of this switch is meant to be any sort of real commentary or cursory glance towards downloading culture or filesharing or any of that. As music lovers who spend a good amount of the day on the internet and tracking down sites like this one, it’s safe to say that I do it, you do it, we all do it. I understand that.

But the fact of the matter is, unless we have express permission from the artist or label, what we are doing is illegal. No matter how big we make that BUY link underneath our reviews, no matter how many mental gymnastics we perform to rationalize that free, high-quality full album downloads actually help the artist, the majority of people reading this site are going to click and download and rock out without a care in the world. Of course that doesn’t describe everyone who reads this, and I want to personally thank anyone who has taken the initiative to purchase something they found out about on here. But we’re all friends and peers, and we’re going to be honest- that’s not the most traveled road and we all know it.

I always sort of viewed what we do here as a way to give back, creatively, to the arts that inspired us. Writing is definitely the main way that I express my creativity at this point, and what better way to do it than in a form of dialogue with the absolute best, most forward-thinking music out there? That has been the main goal of this site from Day 1 back when it was just me typing a couple sentences on Tumblr. I always sort of viewed posting albums as a form of letting a friend borrow a book so that the two of you can be enriched by it and get high and talk about it and stuff like that. The last thing I ever wanted this website to be was a mere loading depot for free music and leaked albums (which we never have purposely posted). We would continue, however, to post albums that the artists or labels themselves have given us permission to share, as well as any music licensed for non-commercial use i.e. Creative Commons. If something you read or see or hear on this site were to inspire you to go find one of the billions of links to a free download, more power to you and yours. We just will no longer be the ones supplying you with it.

So I put this question to you, my fledgling yet crucially important reader base: Would you continue to hang out with us here at While We Were Yolanda & Bruce if we discontinued the practice of offering download links in our blog posts? Keep in mind that this switch to legitimacy will never prevent us from filling you in on all of the best music, new and old, that lights our fires. This will also, hopefully in time, allow us to team up better with bands and record labels themselves in order to do things like interviews with some of the artists we talk about, more show reviews, exclusives, and other stuff I can’t even think of. It’s pretty exciting. I might be off base with this, but I feel like those of you who actually come here for the writing and music selection would stick around, and the people who would get pissed off and leave for greener, more ZIP-filed pastures weren’t the ones we were doing this for in the first place.

So this has gone on long enough, but I really want to hear your opinions. Either leave a comment or shoot me an email at briancbohan@gmail.com with your thoughts, and as always, thanks for reading.

Brian B.

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8 Responses to “I want your input.”

  1. Max Says:

    I kind of hate that I think this way, but if you didn’t post a download link but reviewed it well, it won’t change whether I’m going to buy it or not, I’ll just find somewhere else to download it.

    This is all kind of a fucked up situation, because by ending your sharing of download leaks won’t stop people from downloading or cause them to buy, it’ll just lead them somewhere else.

    All this being said, I really enjoy all the writing here, one of the few blogs whose reviews I actually always read, despite the length. Even without links, I’d stick around

    • Brian Says:

      i know i’m talking to you about this right now but i want to post a reply for others to read:

      like i said above, the goal isn’t to do my part to end the scourge of illegal downloading or anything like that. i’m under no delusion that people will go find downloads based on something they read about here. all that’s changing is that this will no longer be the place to both read about the music AND download it for free.

  2. Rob Says:

    Hey bro,

    I think I agree with you. I’m sure that most of your readership are aware of the multiple options for obtaining music online. The only real reason I think for having links here on the blog could perhaps be for albums that are hard to find, vinyl rips, etc. Re our recent fb conversation, I think your writing fits nicely between the behemoth journalistic machines like pitchfork, and the generally excellent kind of work being produced by magazines like WIRE, amongst others. I guess what I’m saying is that there is a directness of focus here. You share what is really good while at the same time being able to write about bands like Castevet, Snowing etc which would probably never get coverage in publications like WIRE. One blog which I think has a good paradigm is rosequartz.blogspot they post select tracks from albums so that you can at least have one song on your ipod to pique your interest.

    • Brian Says:

      good look rob. i think it’s safe to say that we would definitely have one or a couple mp3s or videos to sample the sound of whatever we are talking about.

  3. dave Says:

    Brian,

    i love the idea of interacting with labels and artists more, and if removing download links is the thing that stands in the way, i am all for it.

  4. Nick Says:

    I think that removing the downloadable links is putting you into a very different category of blogging. The only reason I go to blogs that aren’t album based blogs are because they offer something really unique, maybe its amazing mixes or sessions they do with artist, maybe video. From time to time I’ll follow a blog just because of their taste but then mine changes and I move on. If you’re going to be interacting with artists more then I think this is the way to go. If not I’d steer away.

    • Brian Says:

      OK, I understand that. I definitely agree that sites that offer that kind of thing are obviously the best, and we are not there yet. But I don’t plan on having anything except the lack of a link change for now. We’ll still have a stream or link to a song or two for sampling purposes, or videos or something. And hopefully more dynamic stuff in the future.

  5. anon Says:

    I’m a little late to the party here, as you’ve already made the change, but I’d just like to say I support what you’re doing. As a savvy Internet user, I have the means to acquire any of this stuff if I’m curious; as a productive member of society, I have the means to purchase it if I’m down (though it may mean a missed meal). What I’ve always used this site for is a compass, to get me to something I’ll hopefully be into. Removing the links hasn’t changed this function, it’s thrown it into the forefront.

    Awesome blog, great job.


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