So you know how VH1 has those awesome "I Love The [fill in decade here]" shows? Well, apparently 2008 means enough of the 2000s have happened and they have started showing "I Love The Millennium." I happened to catch the 2000 and 2001 editions the other night, and I enjoyed a super flash-back to my senior year of high school (1999-2000) and my freshman year of college (2000-01). (Who didn't LOVE that Shaggy song, "It Wasn't Me"? That's what I thought.)

Anyway, one of the segments was dedicated to Napster. Napster was a huge phenomenon when I was a freshman in college. I know 2000 doesn't sound like that long ago, but the majority of people my age had only been using the internet regularly for a couple of years at that point. Most of my friends got their first e-mail address in high school, and I didn't even have an AIM screen name until I started college. So to suddenly have a network where you could find any song you wanted (along with live/rare/poor quality cuts, too), it seemed pretty rad. Augustana, the college I went to, even had AugieNap–a mini version of Napster that just went between all the computers that were linked into the Augustana network. For some reason, to me, using AugieNap seemed like an acceptable way to get music because it didn't feel like "stealing," it just felt like borrowing from a potential classmate. 

One of the quotes from a commentator during the Napster segment was something along the lines of "Shawn Fanning: The person who single-handedly took down the music industry."

I don't know if I necessarily agree with that statement, though there's no doubt in my mind that Napster played an integral role in digitizing people's music collections. If it hadn't been Napster, though, it probably would have been something else. I am not one who will stand on a soap box and preach about the pitfalls of illegally downloading music–if that's what you feel like doing, no one (except maybe the RIAA) will stop you.

I am, however, not a fan of when music gets leaked before it is finished. I have a lot of respect for musicians and the recording process–partly because it's the industry I work in, but mostly because I would never be able to write a song, let alone record it, so I am constantly amazed at the whole process. And while I am not a musician or an artist, I am occasionally a writer. And I know that if an unedited, first draft of something I wrote got published without my consent, I would be furious/devastated. 

As long as records are being leaked, there's always going to be music that gets out without the bands' final artistic approval. But recently, it's been happening with more than just the music. Last week, Matches frontman Shawn Harris had to issue a statement explaining that a leaked version of a video for their song "What Katie Said" was not the finished version and didn't reflect the band's goal concept. 

Bands shouldn't have to do that. A painter with a gallery show wouldn't open without the proper lighting. A sculptor wouldn't unveil a statue if the face wasn't finished. So why should bands be treated any differently? I know that the internet makes so much accessible, but I guess I just wish more people would respect bands as artists so they weren't constantly having to explain that what is leaked wasn't finished. If they have a specific context in mind for a song, an album, cover art or a video, they deserve the freedom to present that to the public for the first time in the way they want.

I know that's asking for way too much, but I dunno. I guess it just bums me out.