The Fish
for 13 April 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 
Suck Staff
 

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief

 

Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director

 

[the fixin' pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
Production Manager
and Rhythm Guitar

 

Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor

 

[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager

 

[Copy Edit]
Erica Gies
and
Merrill Gillaspy

Copy Editors









	
Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text
 

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman
Co-Founder

 

Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor

 

Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch
Suckgineer

 

Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor

 


T. Jay Fowler

Production Manager

& Ass Kicker

 

[yes, it's a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
Erin Coull
Production Manager

 

Monte Goode
Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine

 

Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

The Beat Goes Online

I wonder if you might have
missed some important points
in your MP3 manifesto: issues
of quality and standards, for
example. While I'm all for
the fall of the record
giants, I'm also for
listening to good music
(i.e., well-written,
well-recorded music). The
problem with mass MP3
distribution is that even
more people with no talent
will be circulating their
dreck, if only because they
know how to use a computer.
Thus bands like Poop Project
(or whatever crap you
mentioned) become popular
when they don't deserve to
be.

It's a touchy issue, and I
don't want to ramble on and
bore you. I'm in a band,
we're trying to get some
attention, I don't own a
computer, I don't want one,
and I certainly don't want to
be beholden to one to hear
music. Call me a luddite,
but I actually like kicking
back on the sofa with the
stereo on rather than getting
square-eyed in front of a
video screen. The current
label/record company
situation is unfair and
unfortunate for artists, but I
think MP3 has its own
intrinsic unfairness to
people who work hard at
making music, not being
computer geeks.

Brian McGuire
<bkmg@hotmail.com>

PS As a fan of Suck.com, I
was also confused by the
stroking you gave MP3. It
kind of freaked me out,
actually. Choose your messiah
wisely.

I'm not sure what you mean by
the "stroking [I] gave MP3."
I can assure you, there were
no improper relations between
me and that file format. As
for the other stuff, I figure
you either didn't read the
first part of the two-part
MP3 extravaganza, or you're
doing a lot of drugs.

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

You discuss the prospect of
global email distribution of music
with the MP4 file format.
Since that file format
includes its own
player/executable, that
prospect takes on more
meaning in the wake of
Melissa. I can't wait to try it
- unless, of course,
distributing executables by
email goes out of fashion for
some reason.

Also, about Weird Al's
original efforts: I'm not a
big fan, though I like some
of his stuff. But the song I
consider his best, "One More
Minute," is an original - and
one I've become somewhat
associated with by performing
it myself.

You can hear an MP3 of my
band performing another song
at http://thor.prohosting.com/
~jimburr/SongSubv/Math/
machords/machords.html.

<jimburr@hotbot.com>

Sure, MP4's embedded player
is problematic, but do you
think that means they won't
come up with an alternative?
And in any case, a little
virus can't be any worse than
most of the songs being
distributed, right?

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I really enjoyed reading your
two-part essay on MP3s,
especially since I
"discovered" MP3.com about a
week ago and have been
gleefully downloading clips
from bands with names like
Tears for Beers. One thing I
noticed very quickly was
that, like everything, 95
percent of the songs on
MP3.com are crap. Given that
the average song is a
10-plus minute download o'er
my 28.8 Kbps modem, there's a
moderate investment in taking
a gamble on a new band.
Nevertheless, I, lacking your
cynicism, see MP3 and its
successors as a way of
opening up quite a few good
bands to the world. Yes,
there is some good music out
there, if you can find it.
The current music industry,
remember, has shoved a lot of
awful, awful music down our
collective throats. In my MP3
world, I'll never have to
listen to Limp Bizkit.

I suppose what the whole
Internet music scene is
missing is a means of telling
people about good bands. To
me, that's the real joy of
radio. If I find a station
that caters to my taste, I
can expect to be introduced
to a lot of good stuff that I
normally wouldn't have heard.
I'd like that from MP3.

In the future you describe,
popular music is ruled by
commercialism and media. But
how is that really different
from what is prevalent now?
Many musicians have to
compromise their sound or
image for popularity. Or, in
the case of groups like the
Spice Girls, they are nothing
but commercialism. Give me a
guy with a guitar, a mike,
and an MP3 encoder any day.

<phopkins@geocities.com>

I've gotten some recent
feedback from sites out there
that are trying to fulfill
that filtering function -
breakingartists.com, for
example.

Regarding the commercialism of the
future not being any
different from today - that
was my point. Before MP3 was
a factor, the Web was
supposed to democratize print
media, allowing anyone to
become a magazine publisher.
Four or five years later,
there are very few
noncorporate Web publications
that have managed to attract
a substantial amount of
attention; I imagine it will
be the same with MP3. There
will definitely be a
Drudge-like band out there,
but there might not be two.

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 
The Beat Goes Online

I love your MP3 articles. And
I bet my pals in Big Poo love
them even more. But next
time, consider writing about
those few MP3 artists who
make actual, um, good music.
Like, (ehm, cough cough) me,
Master Zap, found at
http://www.mp3.com/zap/.

I was just selected, together
with 19 other artists from
MP3.com, to be on its first
widely distributed (10,000
copies, no less) promo CD.
That will be fun.

<zap@Master-Zap.com>

Master Zap,

If you're going to
shamelessly promote yourself,
follow through on the urge
and send me one of those
promotional CDs. Don't you
know that music critics don't
really pay attention to
anything until they get
something for free?

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Interesting, insightful. I
particularly liked the
flash-forward about rappers
doing the news. Are you by
chance a Philip K. Dick fan?

On the other hand, I hope you
do 15 minutes in hell for
every person who spends yet
another day with that
plodding Sonny Bono song in
their head. "'Lectrically
they keep a baseball score,"
indeed.

Put a note in your will to
have them send you off with a
bottle of BBQ sauce,
à la Pigpen and his
JD.

<Glenn.Evans@metrokc.gov>

Have never read Dick. Do own
at least three copies of The
Beat Goes On,
however, and
can't believe you're
dismissing it strictly on
account of its syntactical
inversions, which pretty much
every rock lyricist is guilty
of at one time or another. My
advice: Listen to it about
100 times in a row; you will
really start to like it.

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

While I have little
substantive disagreement with
your two columns regarding
MP3, I think perhaps you and
many others both hyping and
fighting MP3 are ignoring a
key fact. Namely, people
don't listen to music on
their computers. Sure, that
RealAudio feed of Beth Orton
makes for fine background
music while one slaves away at
the office. But a computer,
when compared to decent
stereo equipment, pales. The
Rio, you say? A portable unit
has some benefits, but if MP3
is ever to become as prolific
as it is hoped/feared, there
needs to be home rack units
and more affordable portable
units. Imagine an
Ellison-esque home MP3
player/smart appliance with
gobs of swappable memory and
the ability to download
straight from MP3.com -
lower-end versions with less
memory and no direct download
capability. While I'm
intrigued by the
possibilities MP3 holds,
until my computer can double
as a stereo (and I've seen no
multimedia speakers that can
handle that) or my stereo can
handle MP3, I'll sit on the
sidelines and watch, thank
you.

<EJameson@miller.shandwick.com>

While your point is a good
one, it seems software is
driving this market more than
hardware; I'm guessing
hardware will follow shortly.

Best,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

I love Suck, but these
musings on the future of
music and the Internet are
the stupidest fucking things
I've ever read. Please stick
to making fun of people. What
makes you think you're a
social critic?

jusitn, sf
<neisulej@WellsFargo.com>

Justin,

I would be happy to make fun
of you if you tell me more
information about yourself.
Right now, all I know is
you're the loyal Suck boy who
can't spell his name right.

Socially,

Huck

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 The Shit
Left for Dead in Malaysia, Neil Hamburger, Drag City, 1999
The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, Mark Dery, Grove/Atlantic, 1999
Crazy from the Heat, David Lee Roth, Hyperion, 1998
Keep It Like a Secret, Built to Spill, WEA/Warner Brothers, 1999
Abbott's Pizza Company, near the corner of Abbott-Kinney and California, Venice Beach, Los Angeles (delivery hours limited)
Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd, CD remaster, EMI 1994
Motorhead, CD remasters, all
Det Som Engang Var, Burzum, Misanthropy, 1998
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Nashville, Tennessee
A History of the Modern Fact, Mary Poovey, University of Chicago Press, 1998
V., Thomas Pynchon, HarperCollins Publishers, 1999
The Coffee Mill, Emeq Refaim, Jerusalem, Israel
The Salesman and Bernadette, Vic Chesnutt, Capricorn Records, 1998
Good Morning Spider, Sparklehorse, Cema/Capitol, 1999
Third Floor, Anderson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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