The Declaration of MP3 Whoredom Independence!

I am an mp3 whore. I collect those sound files with .mp3 at the end and I'm proud of it. I have a great, eclectic taste in music, and I love this shit. I listen to mp3s all the time. At home. In the car. Everywhere I can. If I were a radio DJ I'd play nothing but mp3s. mp3 sharing is every human being's God-given right. It's inalienable. It's the epitome of seeking the joys of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There are people who try to figure out how to stop people from pirating mp3s but they suck, so they're not important. And people who think music has to be popular to be good need to jumpstart their grey matter. "There's something inside your head!"

There's a bunch of reasons why mp3s rock. I have a bunch of CDs sitting here. They were blanks when I bought'm. Now there's a whole bunch of mp3s on them. I've got storage discs which contain about 160 mp3s each; taking advantage of every byte of the 650 megs available on each disc. I also make a lot of audio CDs which can play in my 12 CD Changer in my car. This makes my mp3s mobile. Someday I hope to get a Nomad or one of those multi-gigabyte thingies that hold thousands of mp3s in one little device that I can take with me wherever I go, but I'm waiting for them to get big enough. And cheaper. It took the big companies awhile, but the available hardware is just now starting to catch up to the economic demand, and the prices and quality improve almost monthly.

I don't usually mess with those fly by night webpages which were obviously thrown together by lamers. That's like sniffing glue. Screw that. I inject the Internet right into my damn veins.

I'm really into mp3.com. I know the uninitiated thinks it's full of shit, but that's cuz ya don't know how to dig. With perseverence and courage, you can uncover some real diamonds in the rough. I collect music from bands like The Argument, Suzanne Brindamour, Thomas Regin, Diana Lorden, Paul Tabachneck, Jenny Bruce, Penny Framstad, Kathleen LaGue, Picasso Jones and a whole bunch of other artists who you've never heard of and probably never will but I think these guys are the greatest. I mean Lizette makes Marilyn Manson look normal. Wow! She's way mental and out there and I like where she takes my ears when she's singing. Ginger MacKenzie is more talented than Jewel and Britney Spears put together and she's sexier than Madonna cuz GingerMack's got alabaster skin and firey red hair and ..ooh wow she's somethin'. I got one of her CDs.

Yeah, I buy CDs too. In my collection there's easily forty CDs i have bought as a direct result of mp3. That's a conservative estimate. How do I justify collecting mp3s? I don't have to. Before I got into mp3s, I bought maybe one or two CDs a year. Maybe. I've bought more CDs in the past year or so than ever before in my life. Maybe some people just collect music without ever planning to buy anything but I use stuff like mp3.com and napster to go window shopping with my ears. I ask myself "Do I wanna spend money to support this artist or that artist? Do I want access to other stuff I can't get online for free?" So yeah I actually spend money too. I got two albums from Fisher and I'm thinking about buying her new one that just came out. I bought one of Kati Mac's CDs, and they're so cool they sent me another one au gratis which was awful sweet of 'em. I haven't bought Jaded's yet but I'm thinking about it. I got 3 Shot West's album when it came out and Zeeza's got way too many albums. I bought one but I'll never get all that.

Zeeza's got so much music online you can't even download it all you'll blow up a server. She's a hot SubGenius folk country rock jazz soul blues crooner from Quebec Canada and when she starts singing in french I just melt. She's done some duet work with Harvey Mandel which is simply delicious. And on top of buying albums, I also like supporting local talent like The Touch and 3 Shot West and Gropius and Sonja Jevette and Kristy Kruger and Annie Benjamin and man the list just goes on. However, since I'm a night worker and they make me work weekends a lot now, I don't get to go out to Deep Ellum and support their gigs like I used to, so it's nice having the music. Just the other day I ordered CDs from Red Delicious, Tollak, and two of Dawson Cowals latest works. One of them's his new Christmas album. Some great stuff on there.

It's not that an MP3 Whore has bad taste in music. His music tastes are off kilter with what the masses out there are willing to allow the big record companies to stuff down their throats. I'm looking for stuff that speaks to me directly, not crap that's designed specifically to appeal to a wide audience. I don't want mayonaisse. I don't want bland crap that a bunch of men in suits gambled money on hoping millions of people would buy it on impulse after a media blitz. I'm looking for stuff that has rhythm and words and a sound that reaches into the internal organs housed within my rib cage and shifts them around a little bit. Stuff that takes my heart and slams it up against my lungs a few times. Stuff that puts meaning back into the word "rocks", which was almost the most overused word in the english language, second only to the word "fuck" (see George Carlin).

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not completely 100% "legal" when it comes to downloading mp3s. In fact the day they actually make all this downloading, they'll have to pry my collection of Beatles mp3s from my cold dead fingers. I got like 150 Beatles mp3s plus stuff the guys still alive have churned out since their historical breakup. I mean let's be real. There were the 8-tracks, the vinyl, the cassettes, and the CDs not to mention the video tapes and other media. If the record companies think I'm going to buy all this shit AGAIN they got another think coming! And then there's REM and Oingo Boingo and The Smithereens and David Bowie and a bunch of artists whose albums I have, but I'm too lazy to convert everything to mp3 myself. Especially at present while it's still so damn easy. I mean eventually the Powers That Be in the world may find a way to make it more difficult to do this, but right now one can never have too many mp3s. And I'm hoarding now in anticipation for the day when THEY figure out how to slow it down and make it more inconvenient. I don't believe they can ever stop it, but they can eventually make it harder to do. What I find interesting, is except for a small percentage of idiots who don't think things through, though most record labels are pissed, a vast majority of artists don't care. You can tell which artists are in it for the music and for the fans, and which ones are in it cuz they can't buy that eleventh Porshe. Also, mp3 technology allows artists who otherwise would never have gotten a break through the closed-minded and gutless corporate topheavy recording industry to be heard over the Internet. This means the playing field is being evened out, so artists who have limited talent and are depending on the record industry's commercial machine to push their crap may feel the squeeze in the next few years. This'd make someone like Lars Ulrich pee in his pants. The vast talent out there on the Internet, from AtoZ: Apples & Oranges to Zeeza and Harvey Mandel, are not only levelling the playing field but they're raising the bar. If anyone with a computer, a musical instrument and some talent can churn out stuff this good, it makes the people who are already considered stars sweat a little. I've heard a lot of stuff that puts the crap on top forty radio to shame. If record companies want to keep from losing what clientele they do have, they need to quit making decisions by committee, and pissing out junk that is more vanilla than Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli and Michael Jackson combined! The pop scene is getting worse. Not better. Mp3 sharing is a direct result of the consumer uprisal. The rebellion against drowning in schlock! Fuck the RIAA! It fucks you! Turnabout is fair play, isn't it? Damn right!

But the record companies would only be shooting themselves in the foot. Because I AM a consumer. I do still buy this shit when it suits me, but that's only when I find stuff I really like. Until they make this illegal, this is my opportunity to try out all those bands I've heard about but never got around to trying because I wasn't willing to plop down fifteen bucks on hearsay or loud expensive publicity and advertising. I had heard of Godhead. They're okay, but I'm glad I didn't waste money on them. People were going on and on about Jeff Beck and I almost bought into the hype, but although he is very talented with the guitar (rivaling Jimmi Hendrix occasionally) he's just not my thang, y'know? But I'm glad I had a chance to find that out for myself. I mean I never even heard of Erin McKeown before Napster. She's cool. Next time I see that name in a record store I'll pick one up. And I can find rare stuff too. There's a cover of Nine Inch Nail's Head Like A Hole that's done by Devo which really kicks the roof in. I never woulda found that one by conventional means. But maybe they want to stop this precisely because I can try before I buy. I might have bought some recent motion picture sound tracks when they came out, until I heard the tracks on Napster. Now I'm glad I didn't, but had Napster not existed I woulda had no choice but to buy it and find out the hard way I wouldn't have enjoyed it.

I also collect stuff from my favorite comedians, like Robin Williams and George Carlin and Bill Cosby, and also come across new comedians and comedy troupes that I'd never heard before, and probably never woulda heard cuz they use the Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say On the Radio. And that brings me to radio. Radio SUCKS. It's sucked for a long time. Here in north Texas they just played musical chairs with all the radio stations, moving different stations up and down the dial. I guess they were trying to confuse the diehard alternative fans into listening to a Christian radio station. It was crazy. But the two best stations ever in Dallas (The Zew and Q102)aren't with us anymore. I don't know how the crap can stay afloat and the gems sink out of sight. I don't care. I have a 12 CD changer and all this music. Radio can curl up and die for all I care.

So you can call us names. Mp3 whore. I'll accept that. Muffy the Magic Goat. I don't care what you call us Mp3 fans. Our numbers are growing. There's more of us than there are of them. Any government or commercial organization needs to keep in mind a very important lesson if they want to play a game and try to separate us from our musical freedom of choice: The only winning move is not to play. Turning this into a victimless crime like they have anything else that's fun will only anger and frustrate the consumer further. It's bad PR, and ultimately bad business. Making this illegal will do the same thing to music collectors that it's done to marijuana users, ladies of the night and gun enthusiasts. It will turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into outlaws. It will sweep it under the rug, force it into organized crime, and the only people who will make money off of it is criminals. Illegalizing personal recordings of mp3s will CREATE another line of business for the bad guys, which may ultimately be what some people in Washington DC and other parts of the world are privately salivating for behind closed doors.

The bar has been raised. The revolution was not televised. It was digitized. It's already here. It's been here. It's on the move.

MP3's make me so happy. NAPSTER GOOD! RIAA BAD!!!

I have a lot of MP3s. Perhaps more than I deserve.

But I like every single song that sits on my hard disk or offloaded onto CD. I am not in a position to download anything and everything I see on the Net for I own a crappy 56k. If I am downloading a song I don't know, it is because of a recommendation, or I am a member of an Audiogalaxy group.

I am a music LOVER not a liker, I can't help it.

It kinda pisses me off when I see college students (or perhaps people at a liberal workplace) with their T1's and seemingly unlimited storage space who have shitloads of MP3s but quite clearly do not listen to them.

Any genuine MP3 nut will know there are certain rules to follow:

  • Name your files correctly
  • Don't keep incomplete tracks
  • Don't keep (and therefore help spread) MP3s with glitches.
  • 'Download anything' people almost certainly won't want to spend an extra 20 seconds tagging and renaming a file, much less listen to the track in it's entirety to check for errors. (Or even if it's the right fucking song in some cases).


    So, I'm the "good" MP3 whore. I download because I want the songs.

    They are the "bad" MP3 whore. They download because they might as well use up some of their bandwidth.

    (Or maybe I'm just a jealous dial-up user who has to wait ages to get his illegal music?)

    Thank you for listening.

    How I whore mp3's

    Most of the time I either download to try new artists or to get some song I heard. While I'm getting the song I might as well get the whole album. My collection feels messy unless I have a lot of full albums.

    First I pick my poison. I usually go with eMule or Soul Seek. If I know exactly what artist I want and I don't have any of their music then I will get a torrent going. Soul Seek is best when you don't have any artists in mind. These programs are very good at getting large quantities of music quickly. Soon the amateur mp3 whore will be overloaded with junk. They will probably have one folder with a lot of files in it. These files will use just about every name scheme available. Thats why they are (still) amateurs.

    How to 'git er done':

    Pre-requisite: Download music. If you see a full album go for it at once. Pounce. A full album can be considered N times less work than individual songs where N is the number of songs on the album minus one to three.

    1. Take the music you want to sort out of the Incoming folder and put it in a folder called 'Music to sort' (or somthing like that, I don't really care).

    2. Open up Tag & Rename. Select all the check boxes. This can be done manually or automatically by clicking the check box in the tool bar or hitting ctrl+a. If you see a lot of blank spots and pink don't fear; Hit F11 to copy id3v1 to id3v2. If you still have a lot of pink then you need to add tags yourself. This is where you wish you downloaded a full album since if you did your work is easy. All you have to do is go to the "get tags from filenames" tool and your done. If they are all different then you might have to put them in manually.

    Note: I am assuming that Tag and Rename is an unfamiliar application. My recommended method for learning a new program is to play with it. Since the worst thing Tag n Rename can do is mess up an album. Never tell it to look in your music collection. There you can really mess things up, besides it will take an hour to list all the items.

    3. Make sure all the tags are right. Never skip tags. The 'essential three' are artist, title, and album. If its a full album then add track numbers and make it an 'essential four'.

    4. Use the "rename files" tool to make all the file names standard. The best format is Artist - Track.mp3. It makes everything look nice and keeps your files organized by artist in explorer. Some times this creates duplicates between albums. If they are identical save one. If they are different then name one differently.

    5. Move your files into a folder called somthing like 'music to add'. This is sort of a last stop to make sure that you have only one copy of each file. This is also your last opportunity to make sure everything is right. Remember that different edits are not duplicates unless they sound the same and have the same length. If they do they are not different edits.

    6. Add the songs to your music folder and tell Winamp (or your music player of choice) to look for the new files. Just don't say you use iTunes since its not a great player for the dedicated mp3 whore. Winamp has the best features for a windows mp3 whore.

    7. While you were doing all this you should have been listening to a the mp3s to make sure they are good. Never let your music collection get contaminated. Contamination must be filtered out through use of multiple folders. You can make a mistake once maybe even twice but three stops and your sure to have pure mp3 goodness.

    This is where Winamp really has some good features. It will tell you what songs you added in the last couple of days so making play lists and listening to all of the new songs is easy. With these lists you can keep track of songs that you don't remember the name of.

    Listen to your collection all the time. Mix it up and have fun. Try to support those you like.

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