One of my all-time favourite bands is The Tragically Hip. I've loved them since I first heard "Blow At High Dough" on Q107 back in 1989. I remember vividly going to Sam the Record Man at Yonge and Dundas to pick up the album Up To Here with my buddy Joe that summer. I've been hooked on this band from Kingston ever since.
I've read a couple of articles today about The Tragically Hip and their feelings about those who illegally download their music via P2P networks. The two I recommend you read are this one from Chartattack and this one from the Toronto Star. They both say pretty much the same thing. According to Universal Music Canada, during a five-week stretch from March 30 to May 7, there were more than half a million attempts to illegally download the latest Hip single, "Vaccination Scar". "To me it's an ethical question," Hip bassist Gord Sinclair said in a statement. "If you hear something you like, go out and support the artist."
Support the artist? There isn't a band on this planet I've supported more. When you see that list of Hip albums in my collection they were all ripped from original CDs that I own. If you visit my Ticket Stubs page, you'll find several stubs from Hip concerts that I paid serious money to obtain. When the new CD is released in June, I plan to add the CD to my collection and I intend to rip that CD into MP3s because that's how I actually listen to my music.
Having said all that, and keep in mind I've personally spent hundreds of dollars in my life on Tragically Hip CDs, concert tickets and concert tee shirts, you can add me to that list of 500,000 people who went hunting for a free download of "Vaccination Scar". I love the tune and I want to hear it but the CD is unavailable. Universal Music Canada will tell you the track is available as a legal download from Puretracks.com for 99 cents, but this is unacceptable to me. I would gladly cough up a buck for this tune legally if it was available from Puretracks.com as a DRM-free MP3. Read the Puretracks.com terms and conditions for heaven's sake. And from their help page, "All of our music files are in Windows Media format". I want my MP3. Why make a digital music file only available in .wma format? This forces the consumer to buy a product in a proprietary format so they have to use Windows Media Player to burn it to CD only to rip it from CD to MP3. Puretracks.com can call me when they get this right.
I'm not at all comfortable with The Tragically Hip judging their fans like this. It's libel to backfire. How many Metallica fans were turned off by their hate-on for Napster? I'm not going to turn on the Hip for this stance, it just pisses me off. It's never pretty when rock stars attack.