Day: July 2, 2010

Born free…died slightly less free.

Someone was selling AN ABSENCE OF SWAY at Value Village for three bucks. Thanks to Danny for letting me know.

To most artists, this would either be amusing (the thought of your CD sitting beside the likes of Celine Dion and Bryan Adams in a glorified bargain bin is pretty funny if you have a sense of humour) or insulting (the thought of your CD sitting beside the likes of Celine Dion and Bryan Adams in a glorified bargain bin is pretty offensive if you’re a self-important douchebag with an inflated ego and no sense of humour, as is the lower-than-low price).

For me, it stirred up some different feelings.

First I thought it might be a joke, poking fun at how adamant I am about giving my CDs away for free. Just to be sure, I went to all three Value Village locations in the area and combed through the CD sections. I found a cheap copy of Bad Music for Bad People by the Cramps, which was a nice surprise, but nothing of my own.

Then I learned it wasn’t a joke after all.

I guess one of two things must have happened here. Either someone found out about the free CDs at Phog and Dr. Disc and saw a way to make a few bucks by taking them for free and then turning around and selling them somewhere else, hoping no one found out about it (if this is the case, way to make enough money to buy a pack of gum, and good job spitting in the face of what I’m trying to do in the process), or something else happened.

I remember being at Dr. Disc a few months back, at the old location, and running into a guy who said a lot of nice things to me about my music. He said he would send anyone who was interested over to the black box of free CDs as sort of his way of “getting the word out”. Sure enough, a few minutes after leaving the store, he returned with an older guy and told him to grab some free CDs. “How many can I take?” the guy asked. He must have grabbed a good half a dozen CDs when he found out it was alright.

This isn’t meant to be judgemental or bigoted in any way, but he kind of looked like someone who might not even own a CD player to listen to the music on. With the clothes he was wearing and the look of hard living etched into his face, he appeared to be potentially homeless, and he didn’t seem to have any genuine interest in the music. He had no idea who I was and no desire to find out or talk to me. He grabbed a bunch of CDs without even looking at them.

It’s possible he went to Value Village and got some money to eat or something in exchange for my music, though even for five or six CDs I doubt he got much, since the most anyone’s CDs seem to sell for is three bucks a pop. And I’m no Celine Dion.

It’s impossible to say for sure what happened and how my music ended up there. All I know is, somehow, through someone’s intervention, CDs that are supposed to be free ended up at Value Village, and someone paid for them, perhaps not knowing they could get them for free somewhere else. It doesn’t matter that it only cost them a few dollars. It’s the principle of the thing.

Now I’m wondering if I need to put a disclaimer on the box at Dr. Disc and on my CDs themselves making it clear that I in no way condone anyone selling the CDs, and if I discover this sort of thing happening anywhere I will go after whoever’s doing it and serve them with a cease and desist letter, and if they continue selling my music I will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law for copyright infringement and unlawfully distributing my intellectual and creative property without license or permission.

Just because I make a point of not making money off of this stuff doesn’t mean anyone else is allowed to, and it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t own my music. The whole point of giving the CDs away is to take money out of the equation. Anyone who brings money back into things is acting in direct opposition to my wishes and defiling everything I stand for. I consider anyone who does this to be an enemy and will act accordingly.

I’d rather have someone destroy my CDs or throw them in the garbage than sell them anywhere. If I ever come in contact with someone who ended up paying for my music somewhere, I will reimburse them whatever they paid.

My music is not for sale. It never will be. End of story.

Here I thought this would turn into a three thousand word rant full of profanity, but I guess I just don’t have it in me right now. Still, I think the point comes across. Or gets across. Or plays lacrosse.