Extraordinary Machine

I was reading about the new Fiona Apple album, Extraordinary Machine, that you can’t buy. You can read about the details here, but the gist is that Fiona recorded an album that her label refuses to release. Of course the album has made its way to the internet, and the torrent is pretty easy to find.

Now, I don’t download music. There are many reasons why I don’t:

1) I prefer albums to singles, and I think that downloading has hurt the album as the dominate art form in popular music. Downloading creates an atmosphere where it makes more sense to create one, or two, great songs. There is less of an incentive, artist or financial, to create an album when its pieces will be picked apart by fans on the internet.

2) I love CDs. I like holding something, and leafing through the booklet. I like looking at album covers.

There are other reasons, but basically I love music and it feels like stealing to me. These are the reasons why I don’t download, I don’t really begrudge anyone else the practice.

The reason why I bring up the Fiona Apple album is that I can’t buy it, or hear it legally. Breaking the law is the only option. Now I am not fashioning myself after Thoreau, personally I never liked old Henry. But my questions are: Is downloading this album different than downloading Kelly Clarkson’s? Does the quality of the music make a difference? Once a piece of art has been created doesn’t it have a right to be heard by anyone who is interested?

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