OiNKLessness: From An Artist’s Perspective

There’s been no loss of reactions — ranging from desperation to amusement — over the demise of the piggy. We understand the need to vent and mourn, though — OiNK seemed like an incredible resource (not that we got around to using it, of course). And it’s more than just the loss of a place to pirate music. As reader Nylund put it:

Yes, it provided a way to get free versions of widely available popular albums, but it also archived and cataloged the last 50 years of music better than any other place on Earth. Many of which are not readily available for purchase anywhere. It was an excellent record of one field of human achievement and now its gone … How about the Clash’s “Vanilla Tapes” that were lost on a subway train 30 years ago? On Oink, but not in stores.

It was the digital music version of the burning of the Library at Alexandria.

They destroyed the greatest historical archive of rock so they could make a couple more bucks off Rhianna’s “Umbrella”.

So yeah, the event that launched a thousand blog posts has clearly affected music fans and audiophiles in ways more than just a convenient place to steal the new Modest Mouse, etc. But what about from an artist’s viewpoint? From the impassioned and eloquent response of DJ Rupture, for one, the concerns are similar:

Via DJ Rupture’s blog

In many cases, I believe that downloading an album from Oink would be both faster (more on this in a bit) and give you more information about the CD than sites like iTunes.

Think about that? a free website, which gives fast downloads of music at equivalent or higher quality than the paid music sites. And this free site has an incredibly deep collection of both new and old releases, usually in a variety of file formats and bit-rates. It?s overwhelming! First thought: wow, Oink is an amazing library. Second thought: wow, I really need to start selling DJ Rupture t-shirts, CD sales will only continue to drop & I gotta make money somehow!

For fans, consideration of the music comes before questions of money and ownership – this is how it should be. Any system that doesn?t take that into account as a central fact is going to generate a lot of friction. When I say ?system?, I mean everything from Sony to iTunes to white-label 12?s that cost 8-pounds ($16.38!) in London shops and only have 2 songs on them. (I bought a bunch of these last week, and it hurt).

Oink didn?t offer solutions; it highlighted the problems of over-priced, over-controlled music elsewhere. Oink was an online paradise for music fans. The only people who could truly be mad at it were the ones directly profiting from the sale of digital or physical music. (Like myself! F%5k!)

Rupture then echoes what many of you are saying in the last OiNK thread

Oink had everything by certain artists. Literally, everything. I searched for ?DJ Rupture? and found every release I?d ever done, from an obscure 7? on a Swedish label to 320kpbs rips of my first 12?, self-released back in 1999. It was shocking. And reassuring. The big labels want music to equal money, but as much as anything else, music is memory, as priceless and worthless as memory?

About a week after I shipped out orders of the first live CD-r Andy Moor & I did, it appeared on Oink. Someone who had purchased it directly from me turned around and posted it online, for free. I wasn?t mad, I was just more stunned by the reach? and usefulness of the site.

The big take home:If sharing copywritten music without paying for it were legal, than Oink was the best music website in the world … Oink was not ?extremely lucrative? as the BBC boldfacedly claims. If I remember correctly, a one-time donation of 5 pounds would do something-or-other, but it was a far cry from Soulseek?s monthly privilege fees. Nor, for the record, did Oink ?lead to early mixes and unfinished versions of artists? recordings circulating on the internet months ahead of the release.? – this is strangely ironic, since Oink would strip user privileges if they were caught circulating unfinished or unofficial album versions. This was a site run by audiophiles and music obsessives!

Depressed? Take stock, audiophiles.

But Pandora?s Box has been opened. Remember when Napster croaked? Piracy file-sharing is so much easier now. The anal-retentive British site admins kept Oink organized. Bittorent architecture kept Oink efficient. Oink?s alleged 180,000 users won?t forget how useful it was. The next Oink will be sturdier & more multiple. The overall movement is towards more ways to share music & ideas with like-minded individuals on the internet.

The way I see it, this can only be a good thing for music fans. And what musician is not first a music fan?

Hmm. Lars Ulrich, maybe? Also: An official response? (Thanks, Judy)

Tags: DJ Rupture