Embattled Folk Singer Michelle Shocked Made A CD About Digital Music Execs That Can Only Be Heard By Dogs

Back in March, a funk band named Vulfpeck came up with a way to game the Spotify payout system by streaming an album full of silence to raise enough money to go on tour. The band ended up making almost $20,000 from the stunt. Alt-folk singer Michelle Shocked is trying to do the same thing, but going about it in a slightly more political way. She recently released a silent album on CDBaby.com called “Inaudible Women,” containing 11 brief “songs” named after big-shots in the music industry. With titles like “David Drummond (Google, Youtube),” “Robert Walls (Clear Channel),” and “Chris Harrison (Pandora),” she’s calling out people who run the digital streaming world. Shocked is associated with a campaign called CopyLike which, according to their website, is made up of artists who defend their copyright and intellectual property.

Shocked insists that the album isn’t exactly silent, though. Instead, it’s aimed at a completely different audience: dogs. “We love our furry friends. They share our beds, our toothbrushes, and they share our burgers,” she said in a weird video introducing the project. “We decided we would make a high album — in fact, the highest album ever made. Just so that my friends Spot and Rex can hear it, not audible to human ears, and to raise money for my tour … Never in the history of recording music has it been this easy to keep Spot happy and support working musicians.”

The album doesn’t appear to be on Spotify, though. And while Vulfpeck were successful and didn’t break any specific Spotify regulations at the time, the streaming service eventually removed the band’s album and changed the rules for that sort of thing.

Shocked was in the news last spring after her extended homophobic outburst at a San Francisco concert resulted in other venues cancelling her shows. Via HuffPo:

Shocked made headlines after the bizarre incident, which took place during a show in San Francisco, Calif., on March 17. The tirade included references to preachers getting “held at gunpoint and forced to marry the homosexuals.” Shocked even said, “God hates fags.” The audience walked out and demanded refunds.

Shocked was scheduled to tour at venues across the West Coast, but many were cancelled following her rant in San Francisco. Most recently, Shocked staged a sit-in in Santa Cruz to protest a cancellation. She wore a ski mask, sunglasses and duct tape across her mouth scrawled with the words “Silenced By Fear.”

On Monday, the 51-year-old born-again Christian sat down with Piers Morgan on CNN and defended herself. But even CNN questioned Shocked’s lucidity, describing her appearance as “a rambling, and confusing interview, that at times struggled to remain coherent.”

“I admit I made a mistake, Piers,” she said. “If I had the chance to do it again, I don’t think I would have taken the audience up on their choice. I had presented an entire performance, and I framed it as ’truth,’ and then I came out back out for an encore, and they requested ’reality.’ And what has consequently taken place ever since then is my manifestation of how little I think of reality.”

Although she attempted to delve into her portrayal of that so-called “reality,” Morgan wanted to cut to the chase and find out if she considers herself a homophobe or not.

“If you want to keep this simple for the audience, let me just give you a straight no, I’m not homophobic,” Shocked insisted. “But I don’t think … the truth I don’t think lies in the simplicity. It’s in the nuance, and that’s been completely lost in this.”

Comments (14)
  1. Who the fuck shares their toothbrush with their dog? I mean, I love my dog, but I’ll be damned if I let her use my toothbrush. Get your own, dog!

  2. Mental illness ain’t nothing to fuck with. (Also, digital audio doesn’t work that way, frequencies inaudible to human range are filttered out.)

    • i’d say it’s more accurate that most streaming services have those frequencies filtered out, not all digital audio.
      if you’ve got raw .wav or .ogg then all of those extra frequencies are still kicking around.

  3. Finally! Someone is stepping it up.This is a smart and accurate political statement. All those musicians not getting paid what they should. I love the idea— music for my dog. Keep it comin…… smart lady!

  4. i got no love for spotify so i don’t have any problem with michelle taking a shot at them, seems like fair game to me. if this is how she wants to go about expressing herself i say more power to her

  5. i think it’s cool that she’s still going strong and beating the system.. spotify can be a ripoff for artists, and she’s exposing that to the world.
    My friends and I have been fans of her stuff for years, and am glad to see her doing so well. !

  6. Glad to see Michelle is back sticking it to the man! Spotify is just the change from the record labels, but so little money makes it back to the artists. What a funny way to get back at a big corporation!

  7. I am totally in love with this idea! How funny is it to play a cd for dogs! They even have TV channels dedicated to them. I wonder if other animals can also hear the album. Just because we can’t hear it, doesn’t mean others can’t. This truly is art.

  8. So, at best this is a silent alt-folk concept album for born-again Christian dog owners. Hope they made enough!

  9. The formats allow specifying a sampling rate high enough to encode frequencies audible only by bats– or way, way beyond, since .wav can go up to 4.3 GHz– but how many people are likely to have digital-to-analog equipment capable of reading it, producing the resulting waveform, and delivering it to the speakers? All sorts of components in most folks’ audio path have band-pass filters in place to block out the high noise.

    Even with an electrical engineer in tow, creating a system capable of the feat would be a horrendous project. You can’t very well overclock a commodity D/A chip, so you’d have to build a D/A stage yourself. Even twenty years ago, D/A was the sort of thing that made (digital-electronics-trained) EE grad students queasy. It’s MESSY…

  10. She stole the silent tracks idea from Vulfpeck, she stole the song titles from David Lowery’s blog The Trichordist, http://thetrichordist.com/2014/07/22/shirtsoffourbacks-vote-which-enemy-of-songwriters-should-be-focus-of-new-campaign/ and she lies about it being on Spotify. Then she lies about the high frequencies and tries to trick dog lovers into buying songs “only the dogs can hear.” . Yet somehow she is now hailed as a hero of the Copyrights community? She’s a con artist, that’s all. And an unoriginal one to boot. Bah!

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