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New installment of my column Ordinary Machines is up today at Pitchfork! It’s about the influence of mislabeled mp3s on filesharing sites. A few footnotes:

1. I am loving the conversation it’s generating and it’s fun to learn about people’s own personal “Innocent Civilian”s. Katherine St. Asaph’s story is great. And the thought of Tom Ewing thinking for one moment that an ABBA cover of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” existed is legitimately breaking my heart.

2. Something I did not really get a chance to tease out: “shameful” as some of these memories and misunderstandings can feel now (THOUGH), for a lot of people this was a legitimate source of musical discovery, and often the kind that pointed you in the direction of an artist you might not have found otherwise.  

3. There have been a lot of really interesting— and, ultimately futile— attempts undo the damage of P2P mislabels. I came across this blog called Mislabeled P2P, which “is basically a source to help prevent the mislabeling of song titles and artists on peer to peer file sharing networks, namely the ever-popular Limewire,” as its anonymous vigilante author stated in an introductory post in 2009. They wrote a few blurbs with the noble aim of, say, educating the public to the fact that “Sex and Candy” was not a Nirvana song. (“Marcy [Playground]’s John Wozniak has a much deeper, [more] monotonous voice than Kurt Cobain’s.” A-HA!) But like so many well-intentioned blogs and coveted Wordpress usernames, its author abandoned Mislabeled P2P after 5 posts. It’s quiet the way a dead mall is quiet. Something about its silence says something about the impossible scope and ultimate futility of the task.

4. Seriously can we talk about this screenshot. 

5. One of the artists most often mistagged on p2p sites was, true story, Weird Al. The best site I found in my research (and, to my knowledge, the best site in the history of the internet) is a fan-created page called Songs Not By Weird Al, which provides authoritative confirmation that Weird Al did NOT write such p2p hits as “Beer Polka,” “I Bit His Ear,” “Bohemian Rap City,” “Wrong Foot Amputated,” “I Hate Big Butts,” “I Like Big Butts” (“This song is by an individual named ‘Sir Mix-A-Lot’”), “What If God Smoked Cannibus,” “Oh Taliban,” and “Oops! I Farted Again.” I bet he wishes he did, though.

  1. thefloatingopera reblogged this from lindsayzoladz and added:
    I (don’t) miss LimeWire. If you do(n’t) too, read this.
  2. minskr reblogged this from lindsayzoladz and added:
    I remember hearing Weird Al credited on the radio for ”Star Wars Cantina”, and I remember “Weenie in a Bottle” making...
  3. bryanheg reblogged this from lindsayzoladz and added:
    Napster was where I found Minor Threat, Texas Is The Reason, and Sunny Day Real Estate in 5th grade. Thank you guys...
  4. lindsayzoladz posted this