In November 1968, the Beatles released their lily-white self-titled double LP, soon (cosmically and) universally known as the "White Album".
In November 2003, Jay-Z released his apparent swansong, the Black Album. I could hurl superlatives at ya, but I know you'd rather hear it from Pitchfork.
On January 16 this year, DJ Danger Mouse derived the logical conclusion. The Grey Album remixes Jay-Z's Black with samples drawn solely from the Beatles' "White". Just 3,000 records were pressed, and distributed to indie music shops.
But EMI, titular custodians of the Beatles' music, went vigilante on the shops stocking the record. Cease and desist letters forced all copies of the Grey Album off the market and onto the internet. Since then EMI has been shaking angry fistfuls of C&Ds at any website so temerarious as to offer visitors the opportunity to listen to the music they wanna hear.
What this situation plainly calls for is mass civil disobedience. So this Tuesday February 24 is Grey Tuesday, a window of twenty-four hours in which hundreds of sites will offer the album as a show of defiance against copyright despots.
I can't make the album available here, so I'm joining the cheersquad. m-b.o will be one amongst myriad sites dressed up entirely in grey to show support and raise awareness of copyright issues. Cool idea, whoever thought of that.
Two reasons for my involvement: One, it's a rockin' album. It greased the metaphorical cogs of Pete's BBQ yesterday, slipping it neatly into second gear. People deserve a chance to hear it.
Two, the copyright system that allows this kind of brutalising of creativity is the very same one which, two weeks ago today, our government decided that "Australians will benefit through closer harmonisation" with. As an artist and creator in various guises, I find that deeply troubling.
The problem is global, and exacerbating. When you can't read Ulysses out loud in a Dublin pub on the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, something has gone terribly wrong.
Link: Grey Tuesday
Joseph | 22 Feb 2004