Pirates! Argh!

Good day all,

Once again I am going to date myself, when I first started listening to heavy metal I did so with a vinyl LP on a record player. There was a simple art to playing a record but an art all the same. The first record player I owned did not have motorized arm that place the needle on the record gently, I had to do that. At the time coordination was not my strong suit so I spent a lot of time retrieving the needle from the middle of the LP where I had accidentally dropped it trying to play the first song on the record. This went on for years until technology caught up with itself and the usefulness of the cassette tape was born.

What was great about cassette tapes was we were able to copy our LPs from our record players and listen to them on the go. But to perform this feat of recording on to cassette one had to place the tape recorder in the correct location by the record player to be able to copy all of the music correctly from both sides. Again, to listen to our music you had to have a working knowledge of sound so that your recording didn’t sound like it was recorded through a tunnel. Let me tell you something, until they came out with the record player/tape player combo this process was sometimes long and difficult. Remember, there are two sides to an LP, so you have to stop the tape at just the right moment so you can flip the record, and then restart the recording process. Plus there were decisions that had to be made on which cassette tape one would use for the recording process. There were different time length cassettes, 60, 90, 120 minutes , if I remember correctly, but you had to be careful which you chose for which album you were trying to record. Using a 60 minute tape for a Rush album may be a mistake you would regret later.

After the recording process the fun would begin, it was time to hook up with my friends and trade the tapes we had recorded of our albums. We would spend hours sitting around, listening to our newly minted tapes and trade back and forth for tapes of albums that we didn’t have and someone else did. Then the advent of the dual cassette player emerged and our ability to record became even easier. At this time the music industry was starting to move away from the LP and more into the distribution and advertising of cassettes. It was awesome, my father built me a wooden case where I could properly display all of my cassettes, sometimes I would get a bug up my butt and order them alphabetically, or by genre, or by size, whatever, the cassette made listening to music that much easier. Pretty soon after this time cars started having cassette players in them and we could listen to our tapes while we traveled, oh yeah and don’t forget the advent of the Boom Box. But the point is that the cassette made trading tapes with my friends easier and we had the ability to take our music with us.

But here is an interesting thing that I remember from my tape trading days, if I liked a tape of an artists that one of my friends had recorded and traded to me, I would go out and by the original cassette by the artist. If I didn’t like the album, then I didn’t. But what I did do as much as I could, and completely unaware of the implication was contributed to the bands that I liked by buying their original material with all of the packaging. That was important to me, I needed the liner notes, the pictures, the lyrics, and a copied cassette tape did not do that for me. I didn’t necessarily do it because I felt a need to support an artist by buying their music as opposed to sticking with the recorded cassette, but that is what I did.

Lots of people talk about what the problems are for the music industry, especially heavy metal, and one of our problems is the technology that has given us instant access to our favorite bands and artists and their material has turned into a detriment to the artists themselves. When someone does all of the work that music artists do and then to have a majority of their work stolen by illegal downloads just plain old sucks! The argument gets made that this also happened when we were recording our cassettes back in the day and in a general regard this was probably true, but I can guarantee that most people spent considerable money supporting their bands, plus we didn’t have this ease of access. I have seen in a few forums recently that people excuse their illegal downloading by buying an artists t-shirts or going to their concerts, not enough. Bands may make their money on the road, but a record label isn’t going to send out a band that can’t sell enough copies, and illegal downloads are not part of the SoundScan process. So if you want to see your favorite bands fail and disappear into oblivion, then keep performing those illegal downloads. There is plenty of legal free streaming and downloads on the web on metal websites, record label websites, and artists websites, go to these places and do it the right way. Seriously, look how easy you have it now, you don’t even have to be a sound engineer to record an album like we had to be back in the day. Boy, did I go through a lot of needles.

 Song of the Day: http://youtu.be/R5CUqLwPl1Q

Until Later, Peace,



One thought on “Pirates! Argh!

  1. Bringing back memories. Nice post. Cassettes, records, and tape trading. Kids just don’t know how easy they got it these days.

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