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Hi. I'm Mike. This isn't updated often.

I Pirated. Then I Bought. Huh.

A couple weeks back, I was feeling the urge to listen to some new music. I have a tactic that I’ve used every so often, and since it results in awesomeness more times than not (like originally finding Anberlin many years back), I decided to give it a go once more.

I took a look at the upcoming release schedule for October over on Absolute Punk, picked a random band, looked them up on Wikipedia to see what type of music they played, and illegally downloaded the advance copy of the album (either on IRC or a torrent site; can’t remember which).

The band I picked was Pompeii. An indie rock band with influences of Explosions in the Sky and Phil Collins, with comparisons to Sigur Ros? How could I not like this band?!

I ended up downloading their new album (which just came out yesterday), Nothing Happens For A Reason. I knew things were going to be wonderful when the first track was titled, “Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (that’s a line from the end of the first Back to the Future movie, if you happen to be uncultured). Combine all that with the realization that I’m actually going to Pompeii on my honeymoon, the fact that “Pompeii” is a great song by Gatsbys American Dream

Well, I have a new favorite album of the year thus far.

But here’s where it gets interesting. I saw that the band had been around for a couple years, and had a previous album released called Assembly. I quickly looked around, and saw that there weren’t any active torrents. Next I went to Amazon to see if they offerred it (both as download and as physical CD). I saw that they only had a couple left in stock.

I figured that since I already loved their new album so much, I may as well just order them both right there on the spot. Threw them both into my cart, chose the Super Savings Shipping, and had them the day after they shipped (which means I got the new album right on its release date).

I’m absolutely in love with this band and their music. I am so glad I went through the motions of my random downloading, because I otherwise probably would never have heard of them, nevermind bought two of the albums. If you’re interested, Assembly is $11.98 on Amazon, and Nothing Happens For A Reason is $13.98 on Amazon; neither of those are referral links, so don’t think I’m trying to make a quick buck, here!

For single songs, I tend to just download the most convenient DRM-free version, but for full albums, I’m all about owning the physical product. I still love opening a new CD, checking out the artwork (I mean, c’mon… look at those!), and knowing that I can rip it to any format and quality that I want as the years go on.

I am in absolutely no way trying to justify anything, or suggest that this is the typical situation or even the exception. Quite frankly, I don’t even give a rat’s ass what you think of what I did. All I’m doing is describing one experience I had. Was it beneficial to me? Was it beneficial to the band? Was it beneficial to anyone else?

Who cares? I just found two new albums that I love to death.

5 Comments

  1. I know the urge you’re talking about. I often feel like I’ve been listening to the same music for weeks on end, so I decide to find something new. Specifically a band I’ve never heard of or listened to before. Unfortunately, once I find a new band I like, I end up listening to them for weeks on end and the process gets repeated over and over again.

    Typically when I find a new band, I’ll see if they actually have a website. These days, most bands do have websites and they typically provide a playlist of some of their music, or at least clips of them. If that’s not available, then I’ll try to find some active torrents to see what a band sound like. Sometimes this fails, as most of the bands I’m trying find no one has ever really heard of, so no one has bothered to put up any torrents of their albums. Ironically, the process you mentioned is exactly how I found Anberlin as well.

    I too like to have the actual album in my hands, but recently I’ve started to switch over to completely digital. It just makes things easier for me, and I don’t have to worry about ripping anything. Besides, I’m starting to run of space to put all my CDs.

    Now, I’ve never listened to Pompeii, so you’re forcing me to give them a chance. Especially after the emotion towards the band you portrayed in this post. Anyway, I’ll throw out a band I just found, though you may have already heard of them; “Mêlée”. It’s more of a pop-rock group, and they’re from Orange County, so you can make certain assumptions already. Otherwise, “The Flaming Lips”, “Straylight Run”, and “The Shins” are some good fallback bands.

  2. Oh, I’ve known Melee since “The War” became a minor hit for them. Good stuff. Haven’t really checked out much of their recent material, though I have it sitting around.

    Straylight’s been a favorite of mine since their inception. I think I actually saw the VERY LAST Taking Back Sunday show when John and Sean were still in the band, and it wasn’t too long afterward that we heard about Straylight’s formation and the original six demos. I’ve seen them countless times and have lots of memories of the shows. I haven’t seen them since Michelle left the band recently, though I’m really aching to since I do love the three-song digital EP they just put out.

    We actually just bought a new CD rack for up against the wall in the last couple months to house the ever-expanding collection. I do play almost every bit of music from a digital playback device (be it my computer which is hooked into the stereo system, or just an iPod), but I still absolutely prefer owning the CD when it’s something complete that I love.

  3. I think i will check this band out. I think there is nothing wrong with what you did if it brings you to something you like and then you go back and buy the stuff thats even more props to the artist. So keep rocking Mike.

  4. I’ve been hooked on “Nothing Happens For A Reason”, ever since checking it out after your tweet last week. I’ve also already recommended the album to a handful of friends. So, I don’t think anyone could argue your “piracy” didn’t benefit the band.

    It’s a shame most record labels don’t seem to see it that way because it means really cool music sharing sites (sharing in the “hey listen to this” sense), like muxtape.com and soundtape.com can never truly get off the ground. And it’s funny, because with direct links to Amazon, iTunes, or wherever to buy songs, those sites would be a gold mine.

    Interestingly, I think Apple sees the value in music recommendation and the fact that there’s a ton of money to be made by giving people quick access to music they’ll like, as evidenced by the new Genius feature in iTunes. Sadly, Apple doesn’t seem to get the social aspect of it, so I’m not expecting to see anything in the way of easily sharing/recommending music to others.

    On a side note, I’m generally a “buy things on CD guy”, but lately I have been picking quite a few albums (and even more single songs) up from the Amazon MP3 Store. When I’m at work and come across something new, the instant gratification factor is just too much to overcome.

    Also, the new Straylight Run songs are fantastic live. I saw them just last week on the tour with Anberlin. That said, it definitely felt like something was missing without Michelle up there.

  5. I know the feeling if getting tired of listening to something for a while (thank God for podcasts). What I usually do when I need something new (and I’m not in the mood for podcasts) is just go to Last.fm and see what my “neighbors” have been listening to. That’s usually pretty insightful. Ever used a service like Last.fm or Pandora to find new music?

    -Jaime D.

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