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)

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Comments (30)
  1. stef-k  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    So I couldn’t be bothered reading all of that… but The Clash’s Vanilla Tapes are on the Legacy Edition of London Calling…

  2. ko  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    i actually read that whole thing. makes sense. 90% of the “indie” bands who have seen recent success owe a lot to oink.

  3. leslie  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    I can’t believe it’s actually gone…. I’ve relied on it for so long and now I just feel empty. DAMNIT

  4. David  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    I’ve spent all day at libble trying to get an invite, finally I am asked about my Oink ratio, and i tell the truth only to be denied. It only makes me miss oink more, because I would upload obscure things that I knew I would want to see on there. Since they were obscure more or less, they didn’t boost my ratio much.

    Just to justify my rant, I added to the library of obscurities on Oink, and if it is how we are defining it, I shouldn’t be judged on how many people downloaded the torrents, rather on how I made them available.
    I loved oink, my relationship was far too short lived.

    I think what I mean is, maybe the admin at libble aren’t concerned with obscurity, rather with popularity of torrents. and I only miss Oink more.

  5. Ben  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    This is contracting AIDS on September 11th. This is the blood of a loved one staining the fur of a kitten. This is the televised rape of a helpless grandmother by a laughing clown. This is the Holocaust as a reality show. This is Carlos Mencia Live from Darfur. This is George W. Bush’s morning breath whispering come-ons in your ear-hole. This is Hurricane Katrina surfacing in Rwanda. This is a faceful of liquid molten shit.

    There is no tomorrow. Only hot tears. Will we ever know love again?

  6. r b  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    i bought more music in the last two years after joining oink than any other time in my life, based on the fact that i could not only sort out the good from bad, but discover so many great new artists and albums. I’m going to continue buying records put out on indie labels, and the riaa can go eff themselves. long live oink

  7. Anonymous  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    I would not be attending the Minus the bear’s concert soon if I didn’t have OiNK to discover their music. Way to cripple thousands of potential artists for a few mainstream artists who always deserve the money that they get anyway. You’d think the conservative assholes who made OiNK go down would have wanted the 50 cents, Britney Spears’ of society to make less money. Quite ironic.

  8. The Other Matthew  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    Soulseek has a fee? You lie.

  9. Ben  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    I understand that people are upset about the demise of Oink, but seriously, you’re saying that this is the new “burning of the Library of Alexandria.” Get real.

    If it really was chock-full of rare/unkown albums, then it wouldn’t be a bunch of labels making money, would it? You would be taking money from the artists who are slaving around on $15 per diems on tour, living in shitty apartments, and not gaining recognition.

    Seems to me that the Alexandria was like Wikipedia, spreading information. Not someone else’s pride and work.

  10. beefyfunk  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    soulseek doesn’t have a mandatory fee, but you can pay to ‘cut the line’ and get yourself above everyone else waiting in a most undemocratic way.

  11. annie onymous  |   Posted on Oct 24th, 2007 0

    i think we should all make a list of the bands whose albums we’ve bought and whose shows we’ve been to due directly to oink. mine would be ridiculously long and i’m sure 180,000 other people’s lists would be quite long too. it’s a damn shame.

  12. Webbster  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

    I somehow got myself out of the loop. I never heard of this site until the news broke and now I am so pissed because I didn’t know.

    Why does the big corporates go in and shut things down ? Why don’t they work out an agreement with the sites – especially with this one. It could have been an ITunes killer.

    I know they tried to do with with Napster and it turned sucky, but the big companies must have realised by now that theie old revenue streams are dying and they have to embrace the new way of delivering their products – via Oink or similar sites.

  13. Every artist I’ve worked with “leaked” their own album on oink to get some feedback from the fans.

    Long Live OiNK!

  14. chase  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

    I think the ‘big corporates’ don’t work out deals with sites they don’t feel they can make a profit on, and why should they? They own these songs, these sites don’t– if someone was renting my car out while I was sleeping at night, I sure as hell would be furious. Sorry, nothing to feel bad about here. Rock on.

  15. gabe  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

    nothing was ever stored on oink. torrents aren’t music.

  16. Some bands, like The Lavellas (www.thelavellas.com) are trying to get people to download their music for free. All of their albums are yours if you recommend them to ONE person on their site. No guilt, nothing complicated, just mp3 files.

  17. rastafarianlibrarian  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

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

    yea, mysteries of the ancient peoples of the world, versus an out of print clash record. totally feel you bro. here is another one for you, seperated from this paragraph for dramatic effect.

    you are the rosa parks of bad metaphors.

  18. Jason  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

    10 days ago, you could make a bet with someone to name any 10 rock albums by anyone, ever, and you could get them in 10 minutes. Now you can’t. No, Oink didn’t host the files and the files are still out there, but the ease of access to that information is lost. It actually is a lot like wikipedia. It was user generated and more complete than anything else. If wikipedia went down, we’d still have all that information, but not in one central organization system. We didn’t lose any information, just the organization system.

    I dare anyone to name anything that allowed instant access to as complete an archive of the history of rock anywhere.

    But yeah, it was illegal and people didn’t pay for anything so I understand why its gone, but its still sad for anyone who cherishes knowledge to see such a thorough catalog of rock history get destroyed.

  19. Mr. Pumpy  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

    Hmmm?I don?t know. I didn?t use Oink and I guess it?s a bummer that it?s gone, but it is sad to see people nearly dopesick without it. The fact remains that intangible files do not create the all encompassing warmth that is experienced when holding a nice CD booklet or better yet a killer vinyl record cover. Feel it. Smell it. That?s right kiddies?smell the vinyl. Maybe I?m an old crankass, but honestly?you can still find 7 inches, 12 inches, CDs that are worth the dough and do more than fatten the coffers of the big 5. Go buy something, or go hiking or read a book or something. Better yet?make some music you boring sods!!!

  20. rastafarianlibrarian  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

    “I dare anyone to name anything that allowed instant access to as complete an archive of the history of rock anywhere.”

    ooh a dare. sorry, but a collection of torrents does not equal an actual catalog of information. what you had was instant access to the music. trying to paint it as some kind of all healing digital archive is rather disingenuous. it was free music.

    now you may have to actually do a little research for your record collection. it might cost you actual money to acquire things, and maybe…just maybe, you might appreciate what you have a little more, if you have to pay for it. or in the case of radiohead, decide if you want to pay for it.

  21. oink has contributed significantly to the fact that myself, among countless other obscure artists, have uploaded their music onto the site and have people listen to them that wouldn’t have otherwise. if it weren’t for the fact that i uploaded an unmastered version of my debut album the day after i finished recording it, the few blogs that have shown an interest in my songs probably wouldn’t have been able to find out about me at all. oink was not only a very useful tool as far as finding long-out-of-print bootlegs and lost tapes, but it’s damn near essential to the artists who don’t have the word-of-mouth it takes to get signed, nor the funds to release their work themselves.

    oink, you will be dearly missed.

  22. Nick  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

    Got to the Hype Machine…

  23. randy  |   Posted on Oct 25th, 2007 0

    Ah ha ha ha ha ha!
    Boy it cracks me up reading all the intense hipster whining over the loss of their favorite ‘invitation only’ place to STEAL NEW MUSIC. And it’s even more hilarious reading all the totally BS rationalizations about how it wasn’t just about theft; that it was such a wonderful archive of treasures, blah blah blah. The file-sharing ‘community’ is and always has been in complete and total denial about what they’re doing. It’s theft, people, pure and simple. Just admit that you want to get your music for free and with as little effort as possible, and that you don’t really give a rat’s ass if the artists make any income from what they supposedly do for a living. Be honest about the fact that you’re just self-centered thieves; I can respect you for that honesty, at least. But all the high-minded excuses and double-talk justifications just make you folks sound like the cheap-ass shoplifters that you are.
    And no, I don’t work for a record label. They suck too, in a different way. I buy my music directly from the artist (at shows, from their website, etc) whenever possible.

  24. autumn  |   Posted on Oct 26th, 2007 0

    Haha because you buy them directly from the artist means that you don’t put money to the record label? interesting. Okay, thanks, I never realized that…

    Also, call me a “self-centered thief” all you want, but again you are failing to address how much EXPOSURE sites like OiNK bring artists. If it’s self-centered to test out an artist before I choose to support them financially, then so be it. I’d rather utilize the convenience of being able to decide in whom I invest my cash rather than blindly funding potentially shitty music. I must be a rotten thief and indeed crazy.

    Every argument has its loopholes. Chill out, calm down.

  25. ladder  |   Posted on Oct 26th, 2007 0

    whateves. i don’t care. i’ll stick to my soulseek thank you very much.

  26. wobbly  |   Posted on Oct 26th, 2007 0

    If the vanilla tapes aren’t a valid example, how about the Grateful Dead Acid Test Reels? Definitely have never seen an official release, and in The Electric Kool-Ade Acid Test, Tom Wolfe says he thinks they were all lost. And yet i have them. Or countless Jim O’Rourke limited-release recordings (100 copies or less sold) that have made their way to fans of his music. Or my record, which never made its way to anyone except through oink.

    I didn’t even download that much. I used oink almost exclusively for things that couldn’t be bought for any price, and i delighted in seeding out of print albums so other people could have them.

    That said, buying major label albums is paying for the infrastructure to distribute and market obsolete physical media, and paying for lawyers to fuck with you when you try to check out other bands using the internet. And every artist i know (personally, and there are several) makes all their money from live shows and merch anyway. Having a published album is just a way to get their name out there, same as having their album on oink, except somebody else was getting money for it. The REAL thieves are the record labels who got artists to sign away the rights to their music for purposes of publishing.

  27. Ted Hammers  |   Posted on Oct 29th, 2007 0

    I’m glad the authorities finally had the balls to take down these pirates. The last thing we need is more lazy bums in the world stealing music. Want some music? Go out and get a fucking job!

  28. Ted Hammers  |   Posted on Oct 29th, 2007 0

    And another thing. Stereogum fucking sucks both my left and right nuts. You people are a waste of flesh.

  29. Ted Hammers  |   Posted on Oct 29th, 2007 0

    Loser punk ass kids!!! YES, I do work for the RIAA. HAHAHAHA.

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