TRMW Archives

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October 6, 2006

David Byrne vs. Insound (and Indie Rock)


“Haven’t you seen the signs? They tell you to download 25 tracks for free? They tell you to buy the new single from your favorite band? Like it was the new Fergie record! Ninety Nine cents this and a Dollar Twenty Nine that. Then they have the nerve to sell you something that you can only play on one kind of machine? Don’t you see what’s going on here???

They’re trying to kill the album! They’re destroying the very thing that made Pet Sounds, Exile On Main Street, Marquee Moon, Spiderland and Slanted & Enchanted possible. They’re killing the thing that bands sell blood and wash dishes for. They’re killing the reason that record labels curse printers and obsess over test pressings for. This is not even 1% a joke. They’re killing the album.

Well, we’re not gonna go down without a fight. You know we sell CDs and LPs. Well, now we’re gonna start selling MP3s. Albums only. MP3s only. No fancy formats. Starting in October. Shop the same way you shop for CDs and LPs. Only, after checkout, we’ll get you access to the album as a set of MP3s.

You want to shop at Insound? You want to call yourself an indie truist? Well, put up or shut up. We’ll still have free sample MP3s. But we’re not selling anybody anything for ninety nine cents. And we’re not breaking up the album. Go somewhere else for that. We’re here to sell you what the artists and labels want you to hear. CDs, LPs or MP3s. You choose.

The battle is on. Don’t sit this one out.”


“This whole album thing is a completely arbitrary construct. It only has been around for 50 years or so, and it’s probably going to go away,” Byrne said. “What we think of as some of the greatest pop music that’s ever been made – whether it’s Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday – those are not albums. (They were) singles or EPs…”

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Blast from the present!