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.


  1. I don’t think you can actually make money from giving things to Value Village. I think you can only donate.

    Although they might have some sort of consignment thing, I’m not entirely sure how it works. Did you ask them?

    1. I didn’t find out which location the CDs were being sold at until I got back home and saw it on the blog here. The fact that someone would do something like this just doesn’t make any sense to me…especially if they don’t make any money off of it. If someone got one of my CDs and didn’t like it, they could give it to someone else, or bring it back to the box at Dr. Disc, or use it as a coaster or something. It’s probably a one-time thing, me showing up at Value Village, but it got me thinking about how I really don’t know if there are people out there grabbing the free CDs and then turning around and trying to sell them to people who have no idea who I am.

      It seems a bit excessive to have to put something in a CD jacket saying, “This music is not for sale, and if you sell it I will send a lawyer after you,” but the thought of anyone paying for my music or profiting from it financially doesn’t sit well with me.

      Didn’t you joke once that it would be funny if you found one of my CDs in value village one day for a dollar? It finally happened! But for three instead of one.

  2. Why would anyone want to sell/give away “An Absence of Sway” anyway???? You’re not exactly celine dion (in a good way)!

    I think it could be worth adding some kind of comment on the albums, something along the lines of “for free distribution only” should do the job. Plus maybe something about not to be distributed digitally.

    1. I’ve got it. I will put a little message somewhere on future CD inserts that says this:

      “THIS MUSIC IS NOT FOR SALE. Anyone caught distributing it for profit will be tied to an incredibly uncomfortable chair in a poorly-furnished room and forced to listen to an Avril Lavigne / Justin Bieber mix CD on a continuous loop for two months straight, with all auto-tune removed from the vocal tracks.”

      That might do it.

      Also, it was suggested that it’s possible someone was cleaning their kid’s room, found my CD(s) in there, and donated a bunch of stuff to Value Village as a way of teaching the messy-room-keeper a lesson. This seems like a pretty plausible scenario, because I think by now most people know how I feel about money being involved in music, and even if they don’t like the way I do things I can’t see someone giggling over screwing me out of three bucks at Value Village.

      I’ve had that “messy room lesson” thing done to me, too. Only, instead of donating anything, my mother threw my entire magazine collection in the garbage. Never mind that the only reason things were messy in the first place was because I needed another bookshelf. She hadn’t paid for any of those magazines either, otherwise they never would have been thrown out. Ah…the logic of cheap people.

      1. “with all auto-tune removed from the vocal tracks” is a must. Otherwise the commercially minded person that would distribute this for profit might enjoy the punishment.

  3. dan and found the cd and i was just so shocked and appalled to see it there, especially after finding out how much the cds cost! i wish my dumb camera would have had its memory card in it so you could have seen it for yourself 😦

    1. The cost didn’t bother me…actually, I find it kind of funny that my music was sold so cheaply, mixed in with Michael Bolton and other such stuff. What made me kind of angry was that it was being sold at all when it was supposed to be free. But I’ve since cooled off and realized it was probably a fluke. And it does give me an excuse to put silly anti-commercial disclaimers on future CDs. Still, that picture would be fun to have. Maybe someday I’ll find one of my CDs selling for a dollar at a yard sale and I’ll happen to have a camera handy.

  4. I’d bet this CD was donated in a pile of CDs and neither the person who donated it, nor the person who priced it knew that it was free. Could have been something as simple as a CD that got left behind in an apartment, and the landlord just bundled the stuff up and brought it to Value Village. Besides, whomever bought it, was effectively donating money to liver disease research. So no one profited from your CD.

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