Comment of the Moment: That $.99 MP3 of NYA "Cinnamon Girl"
So earlier in the week, we blogged on the MP3 Release of Fillmore "Cinnamon Girl" with news of the tracks availability amongst some controversy.
In particular in the post, we took exception with a Glorious Noise review by Jake Brown:
Glad it's out there and available, but it's a bit of a bummer that those of us who opted to purchase the CD or DVD version of the Archives will only get to hear this song in lo-fi, compressed MP3 or AAC format. I know, I know, we got what we bought, caveat emptor, but stuff like this just makes Neil look like a greedhead."
Not to get into the whole "greed" issue, but we have a lot of confidence that those who have followed Neil Young's career for many years, understands that money is not the driving force behind his art. Like we say, it's only fuckin' money people.
So -- lo and behold -- but Jake Brown has responded to the post. Here's Jake's response:
Hi, I'm the guy who wrote the original post on Glorious Noise. Thanks for the link. I'll try to answer the questions posed directly to me.
Thrasher: "So we ask Mr. Brown & Mr. Anonymous, would you prefer that Neil not make releases of his music and stop touring?"
No. Not at all. I love Neil and have purchased almost everything he's ever released, often in multiple formats. I've seen him in concert several times and have always loved it. While I opted not pick up Fork in the Road based on the songs in the videos Neil released, I sincerely hope he continues to tour and release new music. However, I don't think he's the best person to oversee the release of his archives. I think it should be left up to someone who could be a little more objective and less...weird (example: not wanting to release the "best" version of "Flying on the Ground" because it's "too real" or whatever his goofy excuse was that Jimmy McDonough recounted in Shakey). Someone like Joel Bernstein.
I love Neil, and I love his music.
Matthew Lintzenich: "Jake, if you don't like it, don't buy it. And if you're soooooo terribly upset that ***YOU*** bought the CD or DVD version of the box set (that's right - YOU - Neil Young did not reach into your pocket, steal your wallet, go to the store and buy it for you...), well then you have ONLY YOURSELF to blame."
I acknowledged this in my original post (we got what we bought, caveat emptor). I'm not at all upset I bought the CD version of the box set for $69.49. That still seems like a great deal despite the fact that it contained two discs I already owned. In fact, the general release of "exclusive" BD-Live content makes me extremely relieved I didn't shell out the hundreds it would've cost me to buy the box, a Blu-ray player, etc. I'm far more upset that my CD box doesn't include "The Losing End" and "Out on the Weekend" than I am about the Fillmore "Cinnamon Girl." Overall, I love my CD version of the box. I imagine that someday I will upgrade my home stereo system to higher fidelity, and when I do, the Archives box will probably be my next purchase. Until then, I have the music.
Matthew Lintzenich: "On that note, shouldn't Jake be happy to get to hear this track? And just how else does he expect it to be available online?"
As others have pointed out, Wolfgang's Vault has been streaming its recording of this song. And I was extremely happy to get to hear it back in June when I first discovered it there. I posted something to Glorious Noise immediately after: "I gave Neil the benefit of the doubt, assuming that a quality recording of that song maybe didn't exist. Or maybe Danny Whitten dropped his guitar in the middle, or something. But no." It sounds awesome.
The Silver Seed summed up my feelings far more eloquently than I did. The undeniable fact of the matter is that Neil omitted tracks from the original releases (and I realize that in this case it was audio quality issues that nixed it). We don't know whether or not it was his objective to "entice fans to purchase the top-tier BR Archives set" or to "sell them the missing pieces at a later date." But that's the kind of action that makes some people think he's being shady.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not thinking Neil's out there trying to figure out ways he can get another 68 cents from me. After all, the Archives only sold 5,000 copies in the first week. That's how many of us hardcore Rusties there are. If each of us buys a digital copy of the Fillmore "Cinnamon Girl," Neil's label miight earn $3,500. Not sure what Neil's royalty rate is, but I'm guessing that the money is not his motivator here.
But it's still annoying that the iTunes version is priced at the premium rate of $1.29. iTunes has three pricing tiers now. Neil could've put this up there for 99 cents (or even 69 cents if he was feeling really generous). It's moves like this that just SEEM greedy. To reiterate, I'm not suggesting that his motives are to squeeze every penny out of his fans -- because there's barely any money in it for him -- but stuff like this just has the appearance of money grubbing. That's all I'm saying. It just doesn't look cool.
Ideally, it would've been cool if he could've offered a free CD-quality download for people who have purchased either the box or the original Fillmore disc. Whatever, though. It's his deal. And he's made it abundantly clear that when it comes to his archives, his decisions are far from rational.
Good old Skakey. You gotta love him. Keep on rockin'.
Archives Guy: "Read the Post-Informer article on your BD-Live download for the straight scoop on this track."
Is there a way for those of us who just purchased the MP3 from Amazon or AAC from iTunes to get the scoop?
Thanks Jake for writing. While we don't agree, you're a good sport.
So, wonder what this is all about? Here you go, stick it in your 'pod and crank it.
Watch out for the greedy hand, greedy hand...