Music as a System: The Unfinished Album

1399
240
Share:

Here at the Toilet ov Hell, we like to discuss the creative value of heavy metal (and music in general) as a form of art. Our typical means of encountering this art is through one of two media: (1) a written, recorded, produced, and packaged performance of the artist’s work that stands as a unique snapshot of that artist’s progression and abilities at that period of time; or (2) a live performance that may vary from previously recorded songs and may show a more dynamic approach to artistic evolution. While recorded music is static, live concerts are more fluid and may give a better representation of how the artist views his art while also enabling interaction with the crowd. However, albums represent a type of all-or-nothing statement whereas live performances may lose some of the integrity of personal creativity in favor of entertainment value. What if there was a third way, though, a different path whereby artists may continue to dynamically change a particular performance without the immediate (and possibly biased) feedback of the crowd? Today we explore that middle ground by way of an unlikely source.

Mid-February this year, Kanye West released his seventh album The Life of Pablo through streaming service Tidal. Intriguingly, despite initial comments claiming that the album would remain a Tidal exclusive, West eventually released a different, modified version of TLoP on April 1 on other streaming services and digital download. In the interim period between the two dates, West changed the mixing job on multiple songs, modified the length and vocal work on track “Wolves,” and added additional tracks missing from the initial version. West claimed that this tinkering had always been his intent, viewing the album as “a living breathing changing creative expression.” Tidal users, then, were granted an intimate viewpoint to see an artist dynamically modify what should have been a static artistic statement.

Obviously, West’s work with TLoP varies from the way most metal bands release music. True, there have been slight alterations made to songs as bands change and grow over time, often as a result of a certain band member leaving (compare Megadeth‘s “Mechanix” to Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen”), but most changes come in the form of a remix or remaster. Though these updated versions of songs may indeed contain slight alterations (compare the 2004 remix of Cynic’s “How Could I” below to the original), most simply sound slightly different and rarely alter the initial performance itself. Moreover, these remixes and remasters are often driven by a number of other factors, including profit, label pressure, or lack of availability, and very often do not reflect a dynamic change in artistic style or intent.

However, the immediacy found in Kanye West’s alterations and the short time period over which the changes were made are not entirely without precedent within the world of art and entertainment. In fact, two distinct models may have informed West’s efforts and provided him with the motivation to open his unfinished product to interaction and criticism. First, analogues for modifying a static work of art over time can be seen in the film industry, though the length of these modifications may seem more alike to the remix/remaster methodology than what West did with TLoP. The second form of media that may provide a more direct comparison, though, is video games. Open Beta testing, community forums, and online users have transformed the world of video gaming into a much more fluid and transitory expression that its initial conceptions. The artistic value of video games here is irrelevant; what is important to consider is how game developers now release unfinished products into the wild and incorporate user suggestions for improvements before finalizing development. The remainder of this article examines both models and presents a number of questions regarding how either of these two methodologies could be applied to the world of heavy metal.

Can you imagine a world where Gorguts release a one-track album that grows and transforms over a period or months? Would you be supportive of Abyssal restructuring certain passages to find the perfect atmosphere only a few weeks after they first release an album? How would a band like Mastodon even go about releasing tinkered tracks in a way that all those who first heard the album can enjoy them? We are very likely on the edge of a bold, new frontier with riveting and terrifying potential.


The Film Model

Although a number of filmmakers have released modified versions or director’s cuts of their work over time, far and away the most prolific (and perhaps egregious) example is George Lucas. George Lucas’s magnum opus, Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977. Four years later, the titles Episode IV: A New Hope were added. For the film’s 20th anniversary, Episode IV and its sequels were re-released in theaters with an additional 3 minutes of footage. Most of that extra run-time consisted of new, digitally enhanced scenes that Lucas has claimed were more aligned with his initial vision of the film. Episode IV was released again on DVD in 2004 with further modifications to it and its sequels, bringing them more in line with Lucas’s interpretation of the Star Wars universe. Further revisions were made prior to the 2011 Blu-Ray release. Had Lucas never sold the rights for his Empire to Disney, it is entirely possible he would have continued to modify the films until he passed.

Intriguingly, Lucas’s constant modifications have generally been viewed, both by fans and critics, as uninspired at best or vastly inferior to the original visions at worst. Despite the greater timeline, though, these modifications bear far more in common with the way West changed TLoP than with the remix bonus tracks that are often tacked onto the end of remastered metal albums. So why is West’s tinkering considered artistically intriguing while Lucas’s meddling is nearly universally damned? The explanation is likely twofold.

First, the artistic merit of the original Star Wars film was likely due to both Lucas’s vision and producer Gary Kurtz’s influence. Return of the Jedi, often considered the weakest of the original trilogy films, lacked Kurtz’s oversight, allowing Lucas to craft the story in a way that lacked much of the drama and heft of its two predecessors. Perhaps it was the lack of Kurtz’s input that allowed Lucas to re-imagine his films unopposed, adding in silly and puzzling digital effects that contribute nothing to the final product. Second, Lucas has made it exceptionally difficult to acquire the original version of the film of which fans who initially saw it in theaters have such fond memories. The 2011 Blu-Ray release did not contain the original theatrical versions, and there is debate over whether the initial version of the film is even the one preserved in the National Film Registry. Efforts from Lucas (and now Disney) to seemingly bury the original versions of the film beneath a veritable avalanche of remasters has spurred some fans to attempt a digital “despecialization” in order to recapture the magic of the original.

If metal artists seek to follow the film model, perhaps Star Wars should act as a cautionary tale that the current artistic vision should not usurp the bold artistic statements of the past.


The Video Game Model

In comparison to films, video games seem to offer a much more compatible model for artistic interaction and manipulation. One of the most interesting cases from recent memory is the third-person shooter online RPG WarframeWarframe began its life as Dark Sector; if you watch the original trailer shown at E3, you’ll notice a vastly different game than the one eventually released as Dark Sector in 2008. After developers Digital Extremes decided to take Dark Sector in a vastly different, non-alien based direction, they shelved the original art and concept, only to breathe new life into them five years later as WarframeWarframe entered open Beta Development for PC in March 2013, and the game has technically remained in an early access, unfinished form since then. Players who logged onto servers at that time may recall the lack of enemy diversity, scant smattering of planets, and low choice in weaponry. Today, the game is exceptionally polished, allowing players to equip their frames with wings, ally themselves with varying factions, and summon feral beasts to do their bidding. So what changed?

Over the course of the game’s lifetime, Digital Extremes have maintained a free-to-play environment and frequently interacted with the community. DE regularly hold direct streams where they announce major changes being added to the game, and forums have always allowed players to criticize balance issues or other problems they notice while playing. Although it may be inaccurate to describe Warframe as a work of art, the widely accessible model employed by Digital Extremes bears more than just a passing similarity to Kanye West’s handling of The Life of Pablo.

Like the film model, this open video game model also presents certain issues for metal, though. Most importantly, Warframe is an experience built on interactivity; there is a much narrower division between creator and consumer. By heeding user complaints and developing the game in a way to maintain approval, Digital Extremes could easily be accused of crossing the barrier from artistic statement to entertainment product. Kanye West, similarly, may be accused of compromising his initial vision in order to ensure greater profits. Though there is nothing wrong with entertainment or a desire to make money, doing so at the expensive of artistic integrity is a decisive way to alienate fans and critics within the heavy metal community.


The Metal Model

Ultimately, this article leads us to a series of questions without immediate answers. However, I believe these questions are important to ponder as we enter into a brave new world where records don’t sell and the internet allows for instant connection and access. In fact, the immediacy of instantaneous connectivity seems to be one of the key differences between the two proposed models. With streaming services, it seems that bands, if they desired to do so, would be capable of releasing an unfinished product to the fans; then, as the band either revisited their own work or as fans and critics made their voices heard, the band could then modify that product to ensure a wider appeal or a more definitive artistic vision. However, this model, the Kanye West method, begs a whole slew of questions.

  • Does a modified artistic product lack the integrity it originally possessed? If, for example, a band removed or re-recorded a problematic section of a song, does eliminating that flaw eliminate some of the intent and human nature of the art that makes it important in the first place?
  • Does this model require an expensive production budget? Will this even matter as bedroom bands with home recording equipment become more predominant?
  • Does appealing to fans with an evolving album create the same level of intimacy as a live performance?
  • Will records be seen less as genre benchmarks and more as evolving concepts?
  • Would this model work without streaming services? If so, how?

There’s a lot to ponder here. Thanks be to Guac Jim and Dagon for their insightful discussion on this topic. Please take to the comments and let me know what you think.

(IMG VIA, VIA, VIA)

Did you dig this? Take a second to support Toilet ov Hell on Patreon!
  • Dubs

    inb4: Kanye West sucks. The quality of his output doesn’t really matter to the article. FWIW, I don’t particularly like what I’ve heard from TLoP, but the release method is what’s interesting.

    • hieronymus bossk

      I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard one of his albums or songs. With the exception of a small handful of artists, I’m pretty ignorant to hip hop.

      • MoshOff

        So, you’re a normal rap fan.

        • hieronymus bossk

          “Causual” is even too much. More like I listen to Death Grips and Spoek Mathambo every now and then.

          • Dubs

            Check out Clipping inf you like Death Grips.

  • I kind of surprised you did draw the comparison between this and everyone’s invlovlment in the Toilet… with regards to the continual development.

    Great write up, bud.

    GL

    • Dubs

      Huh. That’s a dimension I hadn’t really considered, but blogs have sort of a weird position in the chain of art and entertainment.

      • I think it is kinda outside of the topic you were discussing, but, the model could be considered the same… Know what I mean?

        • Dubs

          Yes, I’m with you. I think, if you look at what we’ve done purely from a content curation standpoint, we follow a similar model.

  • Eliza

    That wonderful feeling when you’re reading an elaborate TovH post…

    • That wonderful feeling when you’re trying to read an elaborate TovH post and you don’t understand a shit and you stare at the screen with open eyes and blank mind because language incompetence.

      • Eliza

        This articles are useful to enhance your English vocabulary.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Great topic and great writeup Dubs. Does it seem like there are more or fewer big-budget remasters than there were 10 years ago?

    • Dubs

      The main ones I notice doing it are really well-established acts like Metallica, i.e. the bands with the capital to toss behind it.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Right. I remember awhile back it just seemed like every band with even a modest following was doing remasters of old material. Maybe it was due to digital methods making it cheaper or high bitrates becoming more common, but it seems like it’s gone back to the big hitters as you said.

        Wonder if vinyl’s got anything to do with that, the pendulum swinging the other way.

        • Dubs

          That’s an interesting thought. Blackbeard has even commented that the recent vinyl boom is really a false bubble since we aren’t buying vinyl simply because it’s the only method we have of hearing music.

          • Eliza

            I think a lot of people just want to have the vinyls just because they’re retro now.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I collect vinyl because my CD player doesn’t work so it’s the only way I can listen to physical media besides my computer.

          • that has to be one of the most expensive work-arounds. but go vinyl!

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            To be honest, any new CD player you’re going to buy is going to break down once you spin Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell.

          • the JJD Struggle is real.

          • Eliza

            But he probably has that on vinyl.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Vinyl is physically stronger. Give Meat Loaf a few more spins and the vinyl player is going to break down the same way the CD player did.

          • Eliza

            And then JJD will only have his computer. It might self destruct.

          • Eliza

            If that’s the case, then you’re a rare instance. I once heard some people in a music store buying vinyls saying that they don’t even own a pick-up, but they thought the big cover art looks cool.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Why not just…buy a new CD player?

          • Dubs

            Or listen to CDs on the computer

          • W plz! Hard disk drives are the thing of the past!

          • Dubs

            I’ll fix your computer, give you hard drive for free.

          • COAL ROLL

            I buy vinyl because I’m a bandwagoning poser

          • Eliza

            I bought two (expensive) vinyls last summer, without realising that my pick-up is had been broken. I feel the same as you now.

          • COAL ROLL

            What did you buy?

          • Eliza

            Master of Puppets and Rust in Peace. I feel even more like a poser.

          • Solid choices. Posers are people that ditch both records. (Except for Molenaar, he won my heart and he can ditch Tornado of Souls solos everyday <3).

          • Eliza

            Nice of you to say that. Just as a fun fact, MoP was significantly more expensive than RiP. Make of that what you will.

          • that makes sense considering RiP >>>>>>>>>>>>>> MoP

          • Eliza

            *Internet high five*

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            I wouldn’t go that far…

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            I know Metallica and Megadeth hate is cool now in 2016, but I can’t really see how MoP and RiP are not good albums.

            Black Album and Countdown to Extinction on the other hand…that’s debatable.

          • yup, some people still debate those two albums…and they’re wrong. having one good song (“Ashes In Your Mouth”) does not a good album make.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            This may be an unpopular opinion, but I actually dislike CtE more than Black Album.

          • I stay with CtE. I truly like that album.

            I never liked Black Album. Never understood that record. Is a mess.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            I think Black Album has a higher “guilty pleasure” factor. CtE felt just extremely bland to me, without the “guilty pleasure” thing going for it. I haven’t listened to either in years though.

          • Yeah, I think it is more a matter of personal taste.

            But, I really dig that record. I just love Megadeth, so I’m very biased.

            With Metallica I just take MoP and AJFA, to be honest.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            RtL, MoP and AJFA are in my rotation. I have Kill ‘Em All in my collection, but I only very occasionally jam it.

            From Megadeth I only have RiP and Peace Sells… in my collection and that’s really all I need. I have listened to other albums by Megadeth, but I feel no desire to go out and buy any of them.

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            Good albums.

          • Eliza

            Yes, they are amazing albums. I’d say the best of both bands, even if I may like And Justice for All a little more than Master.

          • COAL ROLL

            I’ll take both of those off of your hands if you’d like to re-home them where they will get lots of use. I can paypal

          • Eliza

            I don’t intend of ever giving them away/tacking the plastic wrapping off.

    • if you’re discussing movies, this is absolutely true. the invention of DVD and then Blu-Ray caused everyone to go “whoa, our movie looked like shit, time to clean it up!”

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Cleaning it up a bit and altering the source material are two different things.

        • don’t forget about replacing guns with walkie-talkies

          • Eliza

            Where did that happen?

          • in the South Park episode “Free Hat”, Steven Spielberg replaces guns with walkie-talkies in the remastered edition of “E.T.”

          • Eliza

            That seems like a funny premise for an episode. I only watch South Park occasionally.

  • hieronymus bossk

    I like when bands modify or change the way their songs are played. For example, Swans typically terraforms their past songs to flow with their current material, to the point where it is sometimes like a completely different song. Melvins tend to morph their songs depending on how they feel that day at soundcheck. I like it better when bands evolve their older songs this way it doesn’t feel like they are just replicating the same emotions/feelz over and over without much variation. Gotta figure if you get bored playing a song a hundred plus times on the road, you should definitely “update” the song at least a little.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      I like NIN’s live version changes.

      • Dubs

        Me too. NIN live albums are always interesting because Reznor calibrates the songs to fit the personnel he currently has.

        • hieronymus bossk

          I remember watching the Tension tour documentary where a few shows in he basically said “fuck it”, and completely scrapped the setlist and live show for a new one with a different bassist and background singers.

          • Dubs

            The backup singers he brought it added a whole different element. Very cool.

          • sweetooth0

            the best version of The Wretched I have ever heard was the one from the last tour with the backup singers. Totally kick ass.

          • Dubs

            I’m glad there are at least two other NIN fans here so I don’t feel so alone. I really enjoy the bootleg live concert he released before the hiatus called “Another Version of the Truth.” They play only with a really soulful solo at the beginning of the song that changes the mood completely.

          • Eliza

            I’ve been meaning to get into NIN for a while, but I don’t know where to start. Can you recommend me some albums?

          • *hijack* The Fragile

          • Dubs

            Don’t listen to Jimmy. The holy trinity are Pretty Hate Machine, The Broken, and Downward Spiral. Listen to them in that order to hear an impressive artistic evolution.

          • Eliza

            Thanks for the advice!

          • Dubs

            You’re welcome. I am the resident NIN stalker megafan.

          • Eliza

            I know that feeling when you get someone into a band you’re a huge fan of. In my case, I haven’t spoken to that person in months, but it doesn’t matter.

          • hieronymus bossk

            I remember you wrote the article about their Broken movie.

          • Dubs

            I did indeed. Thanks for remembering.

          • hieronymus bossk

            And when you’re ready for it, The Fragile is an experience.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Somewhat Damaged >>>>>>>>>

          • hieronymus bossk

            I recall for a while they had two setlists. One was called “Assault” and was all their darker, heavier songs.

          • sweetooth0

            That one was actually put together by fans I think. Reznor allowed people into shows from the tour for The Slip with professional recording gear (cameras and mics) and then everyone collaborated on a mutli ange, multi channel live dvd/bluray. Pretty cool. My fave from there is the rendition of In This Twilight where he adds an almost jazzy piano outro

          • Dubs

            Your memory is correct. It was his way of letting fans be part of the final NIN statement.

    • Dubs

      Tool played Schism differently when I saw them live in 2009.

      • hieronymus bossk

        Tool has played a few songs with added parts in them lately. The added a whole section to “Opiate”.

      • Eliza

        You’re so lucky that you got to see Tool live.

      • YourLogicIsFlushed

        I love how they are playing it now. That tempo change is neato.

        • Dubs

          With a faster section in the middle?

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Yup. I can’t remember if they did it that way when I saw them in 2007, but yeah the 2009 tour version is interesting because unless you’re really listening for it, and know the song well, you can easily miss it.

          • Eliza

            Should I be worried if I spotted the differences immediately?

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Nah, that just makes you a superior human,

      • hieronymus bossk

        This makes me tingly in the hate-pants.

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          This makes me tingly in my melvins-pants

          • hieronymus bossk

            Goes well with their new album.

    • Faith No More did this on their last tour by changing up their songs for live purposes. I thought it was a nice touch to hear the songs slightly different than what was recorded. It made for a unique live experience.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Live being the key point.

  • Jom Pootersan

    In reference to your video game point, similar things are happening in sports, particularly baseball, where more professional teams are viewing players as interchangeable cogs in a wheel rather than just starters and back ups. It’s interesting to see our world overall becoming more fluid.

    That said, I could accept a band/artist receiving create input from fans in a sort of one-off, gimmicky project; but in terms of overall music, I’ve always maintained artists should be left to create their own art, regardless of what fans want/think. But if they want to for a full length album, that’s their prerogative

    • Dubs

      The intention of art is somewhat of a bigger concept to tackle here. When Guac and I were discussing this, we noted that while art considers the audience, it isn’t specifically made for the audience’s approval.

      • Jom Pootersan

        Live concessions should be made much before studio ones. When someone pays to see a band in person that is a direct form of interaction between artist and fan. In that instance, what the fan wants should be taken into heavier consideration. They are performing FOR you.

        When it comes to studio albums, artists make their music, release it, and people can choose whether or not to interact with it. Much more indirect.

        At least this is my take on the whole thing.

        • Dubs

          I tend to agree with you, though many bands (usually black metal bands) do not consider a concert a performance for the audience. Think of bands that have super weird rituals they do or stand with their backs turned to the crowd.

          • Jom Pootersan

            Agreed. And I do love alternative live versions of songs as well, so perhaps I’m a bit of a hypocrite.

            I guess you could argue for some BM bands performing live at all IS the concession

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I only like it if a band releases an incomplete live album and then they end up releasing the full show. Not a fan of purposely leaving things unfinished.

  • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

    Superb article Dubya! Star Wars and the Manowar rerecordings were the first things to come to mind when I started reading.

    For me personally, I think it is best to enjoy an album in its original form. It captures a time and sound that nothing else could possibly do. Fast forward 20-30 years and bands will play things differently live and naturally change things up a bit. Some older bands tune lower live to make it easier for the singer, does that mean I want a rerecording in this new style? No, I’ll just by the live album. Rush practically rewrote Working Man into a reggae jam for live performances a while back, and it was really cool. But could you imagine them rerecording their debut album with Neil and reggae, completely erasing Rutsey from history? That would be unfair, thats why they look forward with their music not back.

    Manowar truly pissed me off when they rerecorded Battle Hymns and Kings of Metal. No Ross the Boss, no Manowar. They’ve made it difficult to hear their albums in their original forms and swept Ross under the rug. I find it disrespectful to the legacy of the band. Musicians should be proud of the albums they make in their time, not ashamed and dwell in the past. They should strive to make the next album that much better.

    • Dubs

      What do you think of the open modification period?

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        In which a band releases their music for input before a final product?

        • Dubs

          Maybe not input, but at least release an unfinished version and tweak it as they spend more time with it.

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            It’s an odd line to walk. On one side, I think bands need to write and release the music that comes from their hearts, not critiqued by outside opinions. On the other, if a band thinks they need the help and want to get the input, then they should do what they like, but keep it in the creative process not as a retrospective change.

          • How would that differ from a regular demo?

          • Dubs

            I think the only real difference is that we don’t usually hear an entire demo version of an album. Usually just a few tracks. The Kanye method basically grants us access in a short period of time to hear how something evolves.

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            In a world where everyone has far too many opinions, I don’t think that method benefits anyone. Some people will not like that a song ended up being scrapped, or that a section that they really like was changed, while others will like the finished product more. I just don’t see who wins in the “let everyone see the process” besides diehard fans of a thing, but at the expense of the casual listener and the excitement that comes with hearing something that is new and complete.

    • Eliza

      The very last paragraph is truly inspirational!

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Haha!

    • nobody puts Boss the Ross in a corner.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Especially not Joey DeMaio

    • RustyShackleford

      That’s a good point about the detuning some bands do, like Metallica. I don’t need rerecordings of Kill Em All or Ride the Lightning down a half step, with 110% more of James Hetfield singing “YEAHHHHHHHHHH” haha

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Rusty gets it.

    • CyberneticOrganism
      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        “Upload the mohterfucker” hahahahahaha

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Wonder how many takes Joey needed to get that stupid line down, because you just know they were recording that stupid little video all night

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            Oh, hell yes they were. I really want to meet the guy and get to know him, see how much is him and how much is the act.

    • Max

      There’s apparently a similar situation with ZZ-Top, in that between their ’70s output and their ’80s output, they started using synthesizers and drum machines. Nothing wrong with that; except that what they then did was re-mix all the ’70s stuff with “updated” electronic sounds for CD release. The only way you can hear the “organic” versions of the ’70s albums now is on out-of-print vinyl or presumably YouTube upload.

      I think what really pisses fans off in these situations is the lack of OPTION. I can empathize with Lucas for feeling that the original 1977 cut of Star Wars is only 60% of the movie he had envisioned, hence the endless tinkering; but to also actively stamp out distribution of the original cut is taking it too far.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        The ZZ Top situation is another excellent example. I love ZZ Top and Frank Beard is a solid drummer and in this case they literally cut his contributions out of the music. You no longer could get his playing or talent. He put a lot of effort into those recordings and they were wiped away.

        • Max

          It’s really strange.

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            And totally irritating.

  • With regards to original media, my Dad has been pestering me for the last two weeks of Van Halens “Zero” album.(just a bunch of sweet early recordings ). Pretty neat representations of songs they polished up for LP releases.

    Check it out!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODKt0d44jZk

  • Good job assembling this post and thoughts, Dubs!!

  • I wonder how many artists would put aside their ego and treat their music as a work in progress for the public at large to make suggestions to the product. Bands who work with a producer come into a recording studio with “drafts” of their songs and the producer fine tunes the songs into the finished product that is heard for public consumption. The role of producer would be undermined here and so this concept may only be limited to artists who self-produce and do not have a huge ego.

  • Dubs

    Link makes the point that this would be similar to having an entire album in demo form rather than hearing just a few demos as bonus tracks.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      I friggin hate demos as part of like “bonus material” *coughSteveWilsoncough*.
      I don’t see the point of releasing drafts, unless you expect some biographer to analyze your process in some future.

      • Guacamole Jim

        I actually like them. It’s a cool snapshot into the creative process of the artist. At least, that’s how I view them.

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          Same, it captures a moment

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          True, but I’ll listen to them once then delete them from the album playlist lol. When I listen to an album I don’t really want to hear the same songs twice all the time.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I’ve not yet finished the article, but I wanted to chime in now and say I don’t understand the thought-patterns that lead into questioning a video games artistical value.
    Regardless of your enjoyment of them, it’s as a format hardly different from movie.

    • Dubs

      Take it up with Ill Papa.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        ??

        • Dubs

          Joe has opinions on vidya.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Ah, I see, alrightythen.
            Now if you didn’t mind answering me why is your comment, this one that I am replying to posted an hour ago????

          • Video games are not art* and video gamers are shitty manchildren**.

            *there are a handful of things on the fringe of the medium that are art.
            **some people, like Dubya, are actually nice people who don’t threaten women on Twitter for changing the breast size of video game characters.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            CaLL of DouTy Is TOTeS ARt BRaH ACtuAly ALL FpS GAm3S ARe aRT beCAU se TEHY FUKkINg RUL:E
            *slams 4 Monster Energy drinks*
            *doesn’t clean up bedroom*
            *is 14 yrs old*

          • The Tetrachord of Archytas

            If I pick up an instrument and play someone else’s song am I making art, or am I interacting with someone else’s art? Does that make a version of something we identify as art as no longer art? Same with watching a film..is my vhs art whether or not I’m interacting with it? (Using vhs for funzies) video games are entirely a creative endeavor so it is art in that sense. Whether or not it’s high art or pop art or low brow is game specific. Fairly certain you can find early opinions on film that that disagreed it could be “art.” The sad story of games is that they came about during our current strain of bullshit capitalism so whereas we can at least look to a time in music where it wasn’t considered by the masses by a pure entertainment product games will never be that way

      • CyberneticOrganism
    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Other thought of note, reminded of this by Warframe: Borderlands began with realistic graphics and next to no humorous content.

    • Depends on the game too. Something like Mirror’s Edge or Ori and the Blind Forest are obviously artistically valid endeavours, whereas something like Dark Souls (remember, favorite game of all time for me) can be debated on artistic merit. Insane attention to detail in level design, plot, items, etc. does not necesarily equal artistic (I would argue that it is, but devil’s advocate).

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        In literature we have stuff like Chick Lit made purely for entertainment and most would argue, devoid of artistic value – yet no one will dispute literature as an art.

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          I’ve never heard the term Chick Lit before… Is that a frequently used saying in your part of the world? Seems like a sexist way to say “Pulp”.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Wikipedia
            Chick lit or Chick literature is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly.[1] The genre became popular in the late 1990s, with chick lit titles topping bestseller lists and the creation of imprints devoted entirely to chick lit.[2] Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships.[3]

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Interesting, I pretty much assumed the definition, just somehow never heard the phrase.

          • Eliza

            It’s the same as “chick flick” which is a pretty widely used term.

        • Would you argue that all video games are art then? Are you willing to consider League of Legends art?

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            I don’t know if every video game is art per se, or even if every piece of art has to succeed “at being art”
            But if you question VG’s artistic value you’re questioning all of it. And it’s just a format for a work of art, as literature or films are – the format itself and it’s qualifications are irrelevant to the end product – it’s artistic value is up to the creator, not the format used.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            So basically, it doesn’t matter if you consider LoL art or not, VG’s are a platform that can be used to create art – it’s really up to the makers (our views an what is art and what ain’t will eventually be revised anyways), and undermining their artistic value is undermining the possibility of artistic expression through them, which in turn is a ridiculous claim.

          • That’s an excellent counter point and argument. This makes much more sense and allows for e-sports, shitty games, and artistic games to all co-exist as video games without conflict of whether gaming can be used as a platform for artistic expression.

            Similar to how many power metal bands aren’t exactly using music as an artistic platform versus how a lot of artists do create very special things

  • Guacamole Jim

    It needs to be said that the reason the Star Wars remasters have been so universally reviled is because Star Wars had years and years to cement its legacy in the hearts and minds of the public. You can’t take something that’s so solidified in a culture and edit it years later without getting some kind of backlash. That’s the difference between it and Life of Pablo. LoP had only been out a short period of time before the alteration – barely enough time for fans to form any sort of strong opinions about the songs.

    Regarding re-interpretations of songs: I think metal needs to take a page out of the jazz textbook. Jazz has “standards,” a group of songs that artist after artist played, each time putting a different spin on it. Some artists even recorded their own songs several times, in different contexts and situations (Thelonious Monk comes to mind). I’m not saying metal needs “standards,” but I think metal could learn from such a fluid approach to songs. A song recorded by an artist may have worked well for that time – and then years later, something may inspire them to re-record the track. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s pretty cool to hear an updated, modernized version of an older tune. And we already accept it in ways – specifically, when artists do special acoustic performances of songs.

    So, to take a look at one of your points: Will records be seen less as genre benchmarks and more as evolving concepts? I say they should be. A piece of art should never be set in stone – the only caveat I would place here is to ensure the original work is available for anyone to experience. Without the original, the re-master (or whatever) loses its purpose.

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      Well put. It’s the time paradox that irks me.

      • Guacamole Jim

        I think that’s the biggest problem. The longer the time distance between the original the re-issue, the more backlash the re-issue is going to receive.

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          Precisely

    • Dubs

      Methinks you repeated my point, “Second, Lucas has made it exceptionally difficult to acquire the original version of the film of which fans who initially saw it in theaters have such fond memories.”

      • Guacamole Jim

        Not so much a repeat as an elaboration on a point I felt could be expounded upon.

        • Dubs

          Fair enough, you beefwitted applejohn.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      As much as I want to agree with the idea that things should be allowed to evolve, I almost prefer that they don’t. If a stand-alone thing becomes a series and needs revisions to fit into the larger concept, I can get on board with that, but changing and re-releasing songs seems like it kills “Art” of a thing. I’d rather an artist move on from something rather than come up with a better idea years down the road and then change it. It’s like revisionist history or something. Imperfections are part of the whole thing. Perform it differently live, but leave the recording alone.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        What are your thoughts about releasing a seperate, decidedly altered piece? Like acoustic versions and the like.

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          I think those are fine, it’s more of a remix than a re-alteration. Personally, I am not a big fan of acoustic remakes of full albums, but when bands remake select songs from a mix of albums I think that is more interesting. When it is just two versions of the same thing, they seem to be forcing you to decide which you like better, when that shouldn’t be the point.

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            Okay cool. As long as a band doesn’t come out and say “this is the definitive version”

      • Dubs

        The imperfection is something I only hinted at but I think bears further consideration. Flaws are part of what make art relatable.

      • Guacamole Jim

        I think one of the most interesting parts of this whole debate is how it could never have existed before recorded music was possible. There would have been no such thing as an “original” and a “re-release.” All music would be performed live, and every time a song was performed it would vary slightly from the last time. Nobody would have ever asked for this level of (I shudder to use this term) purity we demand; it wouldn’t have been possible. I guess now music has become like visual art in that the finished product, due to its recorded-ness, is an actual “thing” – a static piece of art capable of existing beyond the live performance. Nobody wants to mess with a painting once it’s complete; we’ve adopted the same attitude toward music. But the question is: is this attitude healthy? Music existed for much longer without being recorded than it has with recording capability. Should we not strive to recapture that fluidity?

        But then of course you have to ask questions about the impact sheet music would have on this supposed “fluidity” and I’m not in the mood to write a full article as a comment, so I’m leaving it here.

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          Mind blown.

        • 100% agree with this. People build their own personal connections to art independent of the creator’s intent and see any deviation as a betrayal of that (oft accompanied by cries of “sellout” or w/e)

          Are you familiar with Beck’s Song Reader?

          • Guacamole Jim

            Exactly. And no, I’m not. What is it?

          • An “album” he released with no recordings, just the artwork and sheet music, with the intent that people would perform and record their own versions however they wanted (see also @The Tetrachord of Archytas:disqus’ comment about the Art of Fugue not being written for specific instrumentation)
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_Reader

          • Guacamole Jim

            That is exceptionally awesome. I mean, in a way it’s been done before, lots of times (people write music that others perform; it’s not new) but his particular way of doing it, coming at a specific moment in history, actually makes doing it into something new.

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            The betrayal thing is real, and I don’t think consumers of a thing have any right to express that opinion if the artist wants to make a change, but I think for me it is something different… that I am struggling to figure out. That Beck thing is sweet though, I like when things are purposefully morphing, but I think the artist is betraying themselves to a certain extent if that was not the original intent. But then there’s also the part of my brain saying “why not make it better if you can?” and I don’t know how to convince myself that that is the correct opinion.

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          Very interesting point. Obviously my previous comment was all personal viewpoint, from the perspective of the here-and-now. When discussing art philosophically like that, I can see my opinion differing from what I think is actually the “right” way to think about art.

          When it comes to “should we strive to recapture that fluidity” I really want to say “well why is the old way the superior way?” but I don’t know how to answer my own question…

    • There are some cases where re-recording would beneficial. I would love to hear all the old Agoraphobic Nosebleed stuff with a real drummer and more contributions from Kat Katz.

  • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

    How many people would freak the hell out if Black Sabbath rerecorded their first 4 albums with the new drummer and altered song structures?

    • let’s ask some old people

      • COAL ROLL

        YES

      • ME GORAK KING OV CAVEMEN!!!

        WHO OLDER THAN ME!?!?!?!?!? SABBATH PERFECT!!!!!!! SMAAAAAAAAAAAASH POTENTIAL RE-ASSTER!!!!!!!!

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          SABBATH ROCKS

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY
          • Eliza

            The second I saw the song title, the bass intro started playing in my head.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Why does the volume cut out like that? They should re-record and remaster this.

    • Eliza

      It would be ugly. Like, pitchfork-and-torches-mob-running-after-you ugly.

    • I think the response would be people losing their collective shit since that material has been ingrained in their memories as classics that should not be tampered with.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Exactly

    • JWEG

      I’d rather see re-recordings of the Sabbath albums not featuring Dio or Osbourne

      …so I could not buy those versions either.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Hahahahaha!

        • JWEG

          But seriously: the only physical versions of the non-Dio or Ozzy Sabbath albums I’ve seen in brick-and-mortar record shops are those multi-disc special editions that came out just before Sharon decided to make it seem as though Sabbath doesn’t exist outside the Ozzy era(s).

          And that was only at Scrape Records, which is no more.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      I think it would be really interesting to hear that now, given their great influence. As long as it was made clear they were new, changed-up versions and not there to replace the old ones.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        It would be… interesting…

        I see that as the purpose of current live recordings.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          Aye, but it would only be the same if all the members of the band consciously worked to make the songs remarkably different in a live environment, in which case it might make more sense to give them the proper studio treatment to ensure nothing is lost.
          Live recordings work best if the compositions are allowed to live, or consciously changed, but not too much – if there’s an actual air of reworking a piece I often wonder if I really can pick up every new nuance from a live environment.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      I was pretty uncomfortable when Sharon Osbourne announced they’d be re-recording drum and bass parts on Ozzy’s early albums as a result of a royalty dispute. What a garbage concept that was.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        Another good example of rerecording gone wrong.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Exactly. Leave that shit alone, man. Does your first album from 30 years ago not sound up to par sonically with what’s being released today? Good, it’s not supposed to.

          • Dubs

            You bring up an interesting comment that we only really glossed over here. Leaving an imperfect early album in place helps remind of an artist’s growth.

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            Well put good sir

  • Of course people should have their albums open to tinkering. All albums should add more high falsettos, guitar solos, and power metal

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      I kneel before your almighty power.

    • Sir Tapir The Based

      So all albums should suck?

  • Dubs

    Christian and I have continued this conversation on Facebook, and he pointed out the fact this seems like an issue of semantics where we’re not calling a demo a demo.

    • Guacamole Jim

      What constitutes a demo? Had Kanye released LoP specifically stating it was a work in progress, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But he didn’t – he released it as a finished product (unless he’s trolling us all, but to us it was a finished product and has to be treated as such). A demo is a work in progress – it’s something you put together to get the ideas out before you do a proper recording, or a new arrangement, to create a finished product.

      • JWEG

        I think the wrinkle here is that sometimes the ‘demo’ version of a song is the only version ever, for whatever rationale is made for not carrying that one song forward to a ‘proper’ album (or EP).

        If a demo is truly indicative of a work in progress, then a track that’s only ever seen in demo form is literally an unfinished work.

        [Edit] Also: didn’t we recently have a ROTW with this exact subject?

        • Dubs

          We are definitely getting into the realm of semantics here, but what I envisioned with this question is a final product being tweaked further. The original Star Wars film can’t exactly be called a demo.

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          The term demo,to me,means that a band understands and establishes the piece as an unfinished product and a promise to make it into a fully realised idea.

          • THE RESULT OF NOT FULLY RELEASING THE FINISHED PRODUCT? DEATH.

          • JWEG

            If that’s the case, and a track never actually gets a fully realized form, does that constitute breach of promise?

            What if a band creates a fully-realized cover version of a demo. Have they fulfilled the promise, or just subverted the original artist’s intent that it only ever be a demo.

            What if the demo-creating band was a second-wave Black metal original? Could that change it at all? Maybe being perpetually demo-quality is the whole idea.

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            If a band can’t or doesn’t see a need to adjust their demo and release it as the standard version then promise kept. But don’t call it a “demo”

    • whew! article and Disqussion over. (J/K, if it wasn’t clear)

  • BobLoblaw

    Always thought this was a great idea. If I remember correctly Bjork released something similar as well.
    https://youtu.be/4tXixZK67xY

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Jarzombek is the shit.

  • The Tetrachord of Archytas

    I think a model to think about is the composer model (or classical, or art music). This is kind of a different approach because it asks what makes a song distinguishable from anything else. In the Renaissance, for example, a lot of composers were just writing different arrangements of folk or sacred melodies, where the original author isn’t even known. Bach too, he has his chorales, which are Lutheran melodies where he came up with his own counterpoint. But those aren’t just choir, he has improvised organ versions of all these things too. Or take for example, one of the greatest musical mysteries, in my opinion at least (but I can make a good case for it) is the art of fugue. It’s a massive intricate work by Bach that was never written for specific instruments. So the very essence of what makes the piece a piece is different in this model, because interpretation is written into it.

    • Dubs

      Very interesting point. I was reading a bit more about improvisation in music last week, and my understanding is that most classical composers would write into their music that certain instruments were expected to ornament sections differently, so it would ultimately vary based on the players performing it.

      • The Tetrachord of Archytas

        Yeah that would be more Renaissance than classical. If your want to be specific, classical is basically 1750 when Bach dies to around 1824 when Beethoven dies. The John cage era of pre minimalism brings this back a lot too as a backlash against the egotism of the romantic era. So a lot of things are written for no specific instruments. But it boils down to a lot of different ideas. I think you have to examine what you think makes a song. Is it words, or riffs, or melodies, is it texture? There’s not a right answer, per say. Like with Guac talking about jazz standards, the same idea is true here. The difference is that I think genrr is such a confused subject these days. Coherent music of any kind is usually built on “basic materials” but post romanticism starts to really play with what makes up basic materials. So Debussy does the same thing Bach does, except instead of melodies and modulation, he’s using shapes and lengths of time to structure his music. Minimalism (which by the way, I think the case could be made that people who don’t like minimalism are the people who don’t like change) does this with texture. These are art movements, but we call them genres, whereas Bach would identify a genre based on what type of instruments were being used and whether or not it was sacred or secular. so to indentify, the art itself as individual would risk it being a challenge to be defined as metal, because metal is as much a movement as it is a genre.

        • Dubs

          Touching solely on your last comment there, it’s interesting to see everything that gets tossed under the metal umbrella now. Harsh noise, aggressive jazz, and a number of other styles seem to be part of the movement despite sharing little similarity with classical heavy metal.

          • The Tetrachord of Archytas

            Yeah super interesting indeed. It’s interesting too because the fact that metal is so misunderstood is almost a strength. Like people just think anything that is louder and more distorted than classic rock counts as metal…widely inaccurate but the thing is, there’s way more room to explore. If a metal band wants to go soft or get weird, people may not like it, but no one is going to come up with a definitive way to explain metal that excludes it. But if average joe indie rock band wanted to get heavy, like really heavy, they wouldn’t be able to as freely because it would be too metal

        • Do you think you can explain in a very simple way (I mean, so I can understand) this part of your comment?

          “Debussy does the same thing Bach does, except instead of melodies and modulation, he’s using shapes and lengths of time to structure his music”.

          • The Tetrachord of Archytas

            I think so! Music can be a lot like architecture. So you have different types of buildings (house, fortress, church etc). I’ll avoid getting really elaborate because you can sub categorize everything (i.e. Different types of houses etc) and that would still line up with what I’m getting at. To make a building, you need materials like wood or stone. The next piece is design/aesthetic. Art Deco versus gothic (not super fluent in architecture styles but either way I hope this makes sense). You can make a house out of wood, and you’ll have to decide what aesthetic you want too. So, it would be fun to explain each of those elements in detail in relation to music but you’re question was specific. So basically, musically speaking, no one is inventing new structures. so lets say Bach builds a house out of wood, Debussy says, oh well houses are good I’ll build one but I’m going to use stone. Musically, bachs materials would be melody and rhythm, he’s gonna have a melody, and then he’s gonna develop it and then it’s gonna repeat Bach to where it started. Because of the harmonic ideas of his time, he’s going to essentially be fitting into logical proportions (which people respond to) incidentally. Now Debussy wants the same proportions, but he’s doesn’t use melody and key in the same way. Instead of an entire melody pattern, he’s boiled it down to two notes. And then based on how long his first section is, the length of the following sections and the return of his original material are going to line up accordingly.

          • I’m getting it.

            (You’re great!)

          • The Tetrachord of Archytas

            Thanks! I find it to be a helpful metaphor that could probably warrant a pretty sizable written piece. But the point is to help give a framework for listening to “objectively good” music

    • That Art of Fugue thing is interesting, man. Will check it out! Thanks!!

      • The Tetrachord of Archytas

        You can literally hear Bach die in it

  • Spear

    “Does a modified artistic product lack the integrity it originally possessed? If, for example, a band removed or re-recorded a problematic section of a song, does eliminating that flaw eliminate some of the intent and human nature of the art that makes it important in the first place?”

    I think an artist is perfectly justified in going back and touching things up or rerecording stuff entirely. If an artist can’t achieve what their vision with the tools they have, but are able to do it later, wouldn’t it make sense for them to release a new version more in line with their initial vision?

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      What if they did have the tools, but just not the right ideas at the time? Since I am not a musician, I have to think about it in terms of writing. Like I never am missing tools when sitting with pen and paper, but years after I write something, I come up with a better conclusion, it would seem weird to change it if it was already “published.” No?

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        If an artist can’t alter his/er work later on, doesn’t that mean he/she has lost the rights to it altogether, that the work is in fact the property of an unnamed public?
        Art without regard to personal expression, only the concern of satisfying the consuming public?

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          Once you publish a thing, I think I prefer the idea that it is no longer yours. Kinda makes things interesting. Or I may just be playing devil’s advocate. I don’t know anymore.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            I understand your point, but I can’t make myself to really believe that something that I made, from my heart-blood, for myself (and for others – but not just for others) would cease to be mine.
            Meant for the enjoyment of others, sure, but on my terms.

      • Spear

        Well, if it didn’t mess with continuity, then why not? I know as a musician that if I come up with better parts for old songs, I’m going to go back and change them. And with the advent of things like Bandcamp, it makes it very easy to put out those updated songs without the fanbase having to pay out the ass for new releases.

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          But it sorta does mess with continuity. Then there are two versions out there, and you look like an idiot for not coming up with the good one before you released it. Instead, sell the movie rights with the better ending and keep the story as is, and for some reason I think that is fine since the two should be different entities.

          • Spear

            Well, I think it makes more sense pertaining to music than to writing.

  • All I know is you all are making my head hurt. There is too much logic-ing occurring for me to keep up. Leaving me at a loss for words. Which, is saying something.

    GL

  • RustyShackleford

    I’m all down with this concept of things being opened to continued tinkering, but it comes with a few problems. First, I’d always want to have actual official access to the original. This is complicated with streaming, since I don’t think we really own the stuff we’re listening to. If I liked Kanye’s original more, and then all of a sudden it changed, I’d want the original back, not through pirated means but the actual official version.

    Also, would hate for music to start going the route of games where albums come out with some unfinished sections or, god forbid, technical issues that they decide to clean up later. Not sure that could really ever happen with music, but just a thought.

    Either way, cool idea and great piece Dubs. Yup!

    • Waynecro

      I was going to make a similar statement. I don’t mind if artists change their songs over time, provided they don’t try to eliminate the original. If I prefer the original version, I’d like to be able to listen to it no matter how many iterations the band releases later.

      Your video game comparison is interesting as well. “Jimmy wasn’t able to record his guitar solos and backup vocals for songs 3, 7, and 10 by the release date, so we’ll put out a patch later.” That would be a nightmare.

      Another concern I have is that bands will alter their music on the basis of fan comments/opinions rather than on the basis of their own artistic vision. I just don’t want things to get to the point at which fan gripes about aspects of songs prompt artists to make changes merely to satisfy fans.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        I agree. I see music as too personal of a concept.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I think I’m generally ok with artists being able to tinker and toy with their work and release multiple versions, except that it irks me when one particular version becomes considerably more accessible than another. I think the public should always have a free choice between the 1993 version and 2004 rejigger, producers/original cut and directors, etc.

  • Count_Breznak

    Thing about Warfarm is: Nothing much changed, really. It’s always only more ways of nothing to do, in different colors. Yes, there are improvements in how you do things, melee 2.0, dmg 2.0, archwing, creepy kid,….but there isn’t really anything you can do that you couldn’t do before. Farm farm farm….

    • Dubs

      I stopped playing it just before the archwing patch. Too much grinding.

      • Count_Breznak

        I play it in bursts of about 1-2 months. Get everything that interests me, fool arround a bit, quit. Never spent actual money.
        I started back when it was an actual beta and not just a convenient excuse..its shinier now, but essentially the same.

  • Warheart

    Kanye did that because his album was widely pirated, the exclusivity of Tidal failed horrendously. And everyone knew it, so he had no other option but to release the album in other platforms, since everyhting was already leaked, and more importantly, the people were pissed off and publicly supporting the “illegal” sharing, the only thing he could try to incentivate the acquiring of the album was to modified it’s content. That’s it. Not a touch of genius or anything, just media marketing.

    If memory don’t fails me, Dimmu Borgir did something similar with Death Cult Armageddon.

    • Dubs

      He’s also millions of dollars in debt. But you’re sort of missing the point.

      • Warheart

        Yeah I know, but I thought it was necessary to give some context, since the article made it look like Kanye was frustrated with his “art” and changed it immediately after release, and thus beginning a new trend in music. I don’t see it like that.

        • Dubs

          With Kanye, there is always, always money and ego involved. I’m just listing the reasons he gave. The reason he opened it up from Tidal was to try to recoup that loss from his worthless clothing line.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      What did DB do? Release DCA early or something?

      • Warheart

        The album got leaked way before final release, so as far as I know, Dimmu Borgir did change the production in regards to mixing and mastering.

  • Pentagram Sam

    Haven’t read all the comments yet, but an idea that I think would be cool in the metals world is something like the Misfits did back in the seventies and eighties. Esp today with the advent of releasing a few songs at a time, or even one at a time do what they did with their multitude of 7″ releases.

    Put out batches of two songs, three songs, a song, four songs, and then when you hit about a dozen, re-record em and put em on an album. Some of the songs might have new ideas that came to the band after tweaking them in live shows. Hell, the songs from the first batch might even be two or three years old at this point! Here’s your chance to change em up!

    I’ve brought this idea up to some friends and it doesn’t seem like many people in the world of metal like this idea. Dunno the exact reasons why it rubs people the wrong way, maybe because of the old school mentality that permeates much of metal, but lots of metal seems to want the full album experience and if there’s changes, it only happens live. Boss’ post aboot the Rush reggae thing got me to think of how Gamma Ray does a similar break in the song I Want Out live now. Do I wanna cd with that on it? Prob not as the song’s been out since 1988. Would I dig it if I saw em live? Abolutely

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      Interesting idea. I think that bands releasing their demos in physical format to the public is kind of the same idea.

  • Max

    A very interesting question.

    I don’t think that we’re comparing quite the same thing when we compare movies, video games and music. For one thing, a game is already an “interactive” artwork in that every time anybody plays it, they’re altering “the plot”. Also, in movies it’s generally assumed that the producer or director makes alterations rather than the many, many other types of artist, craftsman and technician who are as equally responsible for the nature of the final product but without actual power to determine that.

    Whereas in small ensemble music, it’s (presumably) a little more “egalitarian” and invested in the individual contributions. Tony Iommi wouldn’t be able to delete the Ozzy Sabbath albums and reissue them with Dio’s vocals – in a similar way that Ian McDiarmid’s visage replaced the original actor for the Emperor’s first appearance in Episode V – without major repercussions.