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Weird Al Says 'Don't Download This Song' 353

Posted by Zonk
from the really-he-would-like-you-to-though dept.
Kazzahdrane writes "Known geek and comedy singer/songwriter Weird Al Yankovic has released the first song from his new album 'Straight Outta Lynwood' for free on his MySpace page. The track is entitled 'Don't Download This Song' and tells of the dangers of illegally downloading music from filesharing sites." His MySpace page is most excellent. "Hi. Al here. No, really, it's Al. Seriously. What, you don't believe me? Go ahead, check weirdal.com. Hit the MySpace link. See if it brings you right back to this page. Go ahead. I'll wait. See? It's really me. I should point out... this means that conversely, all those other people on MySpace who are claiming to be me or implying that they are me... are definitely NOT me. I'm sure they're very nice people... they're just not 'Weird Al' Yankovic. I assure you."
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Weird Al Says 'Don't Download This Song'

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  • E-Card & Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:42PM (#15959017) Journal
    What a great song. My favorite lyric is:
    Don't download this song
    Even Lars Ulrich knows it's wrong
    Also mentionable is:
    Cause you start off stealing songs
    Then you're robbing liquor stores
    And selling crack and running over school kids with your car!
    You can send this song in an e-card at the URL of the song [dontdownloadthissong.com] (which also hilariously allows you to download this song). You can also listen to it there for those of you who have a proxy blocking MySpace at work or where ever.

    I look forward to the music video that is supposed to air on Yahoo music [yahoo.com] at 10:00 PM Pacific Time tonight (August 22nd).

    Enjoy one of the last artists that is still concerned about his fans and music no matter how hilarious and campy it may be. He has the sense to realize that he's very well off compared to his fans and jokes about solid gold humvees and diamond studded pools.
    • Re:E-Card & Video (Score:5, Informative)

      by RonnyJ (651856) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:04PM (#15959144)
      You can send this song in an e-card at the URL of the song [dontdownloadthissong.com] (which also hilariously allows you to download this song).

      It's worth noting that it's also better to download the song from http://www.dontdownloadthissong.com/ [dontdownloadthissong.com], as opposed to the MySpace linked to in the summary (where the MP3 is 96kbps/22khz, as opposed to 160kbps/44khz).

    • Re:E-Card & Video (Score:3, Insightful)

      by w33t (978574)

      Enjoy one of the last artists that is still concerned about his fans and music

      Of course you mean that Al is one of the last of the "old-world artists" - our new breed of upcoming new-school artists are born into a world where fame comes before (not neccesarily with) fortune. And this fame spreads as packets riding on word of mouth.

      I don't have any right to dictate what is proper motivation or not for a creator, but I think an artist who's primary purpose is to make money has his or her head in the wrong p

      • Are you an artist? Specifically, do you live exclusively of your art? If no, then I suggest you stop telling other people to live up to standards you don't yourself live up to.

        I would like it if artists where more concerned with quality then with money. But I try to avoid forcing my views on other people.
        • Who's forcing? I am just stating my opinion. And to clairify, that opinion is not that artists should not make money - quite the opposite.

          My friends are a signed band, but they did go through many years of very crappy financial means before the big break. These friends of mine have earned every dime their contracts got them.

          There are, however, bands and individual artists that magically appear and seem to be entirely concocted from spreadsheets and focus groups: this I do not like.

          Nevertheless, some of the
      • Re:E-Card & Video (Score:3, Interesting)

        by w33t (978574)
        hmm. this is the problem with posting quickly while trying to leave work.

        I do not mean to imply that artist should not make money - far from that in fact. Of course artists should recieve compensation for thier works. But the leechery of hangers-on that has evolved around the artists of decades past has, I think, created a culture where the motivation to create art for money is out of ratio to what I (in opinion) feel is the proper scope.

        Yes, I am an artist - not the best of course - but I make music and su
      • "I understand that everyone needs to eat, but I don't see why any artist, no matter how great, thinks he or she needs to drink Cristal."

        That is not strictly the domain of artists. Everyone is vulnerable to that disease.

        Artists tend to get the big heads like elite athletes do; the camera is on them and they come to believe they are truly great. In their minds they're deserving.

        An interesting thing about people coming into money is that, no matter their background, education, or talents, once wealthy they co
        • Re:E-Card & Video (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:58PM (#15959811) Journal
          That much, at least, makes sense: Most people generally believe they deserve wealth, as a rationalization for wanting it. If they don't have it, the rationalization goes "The rich assholes have all the money, and Bush is an idiot, or the economy sucks for Reason X, and so I don't have the money I should." The wealthy rationalize it like this: "Well, that wasn't so hard. Any idiot can be wealthy if they really try, after all, I did it -- which must mean any cretin who isn't wealthy is a lazy bum who doesn't deserve wealth."

          And me? Technology is the only expensive hobby I have. If I suddenly had a fortune, I'd probably still eat ramen, and I'd probably wear the same clothes, live in about the same amount of space, ride a bicycle in a small town or own a sensible car, and so on. I'm told all of this is rare.

          Basically, if I was paid more per hour, then past a certain point, I'd simply work fewer hours.

          I don't understand the point of working long hours at a high-paying job to support a family you rarely see living in an awesome house you're barely in except to sleep and a cool car you drive to and from work in.
          • Re:E-Card & Video (Score:3, Insightful)

            by p0tat03 (985078)

            While your spirit is admirable, it probably won't last if you ever got rich. I've known some people who claim to only want a low-key lifestyle for themselves, modest car, etc, but when the money started rolling all of that went ouf the window.

    • by strider44 (650833) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:29PM (#15959731)
      > Enjoy one of the last artists that is still concerned about his fans and music no matter how hilarious and campy it may be. He has the sense to realize that he's very well off compared to his fans and jokes about solid gold humvees and diamond studded pools.

      Is it ironic that the song makes me want to go out and buy his new record, giving Weird Al the money I think he deserves? I do believe it is!
  • by nizo (81281) * on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:43PM (#15959024) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if SCO has licensed his "Dare To Be Stupid" song yet?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:58PM (#15959115)
      I wonder if SCO has licensed his "Dare To Be Stupid" song yet?


      What do you mean his song? We're talking about SCO here. The real question is "Has Weird Al paid the license fee SCO demanded for his use of their song?"

  • by PixieDust (971386) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:52PM (#15959078)
    The RIAA begins researching ways to silence this insolent artist who seems hellbent on allowing people to access music (even if it IS his music) for free. They've been cheated out of their share. The following were just decided on by the super secret RIAA meeting on financial vengeance. Step 1. Get Angry Step 2. Talk about how you're cheated. Step 3. Sue Wierd Al and anyone who downloads the song (it says explicitly do NOT download the song,. it's in the title!) Step 4. ???? Step 5. Profit!
  • by therpham (953844) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:53PM (#15959083)
    Weird Al and MC Lars should have a rap battle about music piracy. They'd sell millions of records. Or have millions of downloads. Or soemthing.
    • by Shads (4567) <shadus AT shadus DOT org> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:20PM (#15959224) Homepage Journal
      Lars... yah, what an asshat. I used to be a big metalica fan, then the whole mess with napster and live recordings and etc... I lost all respect for them as a band, they're trying to get rid of everything that initially 'made' them as a band. F'that.

      Napster BAD! [campchaos.com] (as if you haven't seen it)

      I can understand that artists want to get the money for the work they're doing... I respect that. Hell, I've even mailed artists money in the mail when I've downloaded songs I really liked (prior to itunes mostly) and I've had some good responses back from them doing that and some interesting t-shirts and signed stuff too I might add. Shrug, the whole drm, screw our fans, etc... it just gets on my nerves.

      In the end the fans aren't the only ones hurt the bands are too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bruitist (987735)
        I'm pretty sure he was referring to the rapper, MC Lars [mclars.com]
  • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:58PM (#15959110) Homepage
    His MySpace page is most excellent.

    Was this summary written by Keanu Reeves?
  • Another free song (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RyoShin (610051) <[tukaro] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:02PM (#15959138) Homepage Journal
    Looks like his actual site server is getting trashed, but the last time I was there you could download another song, "You're Pitiful".

    It's pretty app when thinking about the steretypical Slashdot person. :o

    From what I can remember, he put it online because some copyright/trademark thing kept him from using it on the next album. Not sure what it was, though. It looks like you can at least listen to it on his MySpace page.

    One thing I love about Weird Al's songs is that he does his research. In the song from this "article", he mentions such things as Kazaa. In "All about the Pentiums", he throws out a lot of technical terms.

    Weird Al is one of my favorite people ever. He's pretty good to his fans, he fights the true fight, and is hilarious to boot. I can't wait for this next album.
    • Re:Another free song (Score:5, Informative)

      by RonnyJ (651856) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:12PM (#15959183)
      There's an overview of what happened over 'You're Pitiful' here [npr.org].

      Basically, James Blunt approved the parody, so Weird Al went ahead and did the track, but then James Blunt's record label objected - so Weird Al released it for free on his website.

      "I have a long-standing history of respecting artists' wishes," Yankovic writes. "So if James Blunt himself were objecting, I wouldn't even offer my parody for free on my Web site. But since it's a bunch of suits -- who are actually going against their own artist's wishes -- I have absolutely no problem with it."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Dragoonmac (929292)
      "Weird Al is one of my favorite people ever. He's pretty good to his fans, he fights the true fight, and is hilarious to boot. I can't wait for this next album."

      If you check out the preorder page for "Straight outta Lynnwood" it looks like it's a great deal.
      $13.98 gets me a full audio CD, A second side with all the tracks in 5.1 PCM, Instrumentals for all the tracks, and 9 music videos (with one from that dude who did ren and stimpy). This album looks too good to pirate!
      • by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:26PM (#15959508) Journal
        Oh my gods! Making people buy the album by actually MAKING IT WORTH BUYING instead of at RIAA gunpoint?!

        Who the hell is the label behind this?
        • Is there a way to buy this album without contributing to the RIAA? I'll definitely get it, but if I can't get it straight from a non-RIAA label then I'll have to wait until I can get it used.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dtfinch (661405) *
            I'd pay double if all the money went to Weird Al. He probably makes 50 cents of the $12-$15 we spend on one of his CD's.

            Unfortunately, the copyrights are owned by his record label, now Sony, which bought the record label that bought the record label that Weird Al started with, or something.
    • by braque (16684) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:38PM (#15959543)
      One thing I love about Weird Al's songs is that he does his research. In the song from this "article", he mentions such things as Kazaa. In "All about the Pentiums", he throws out a lot of technical terms.
      But that's of course because Weird Al is Larry Wall [perl.org]!
  • Pfft (Score:5, Funny)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:08PM (#15959166) Homepage
    Weird Al doesn't tag his MP3s when he rips them. For shame.
    • I noticed that to - after saving DDTS to iTunes, only the title was immediately available. I wrote in Weird Al Yankovic, and assumed the album had the same title as the song :/
  • by ewl1217 (922107) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:08PM (#15959167)
    Somebody please tell me that got Slashdotted...
  • I'm reminded of MC Frontalot's Charity Case [frontalot.com], where he's "begging ya'll to believe his CD isn't free!"
  • MC Lars (Score:3, Informative)

    by unixbum (720776) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:19PM (#15959218)
    I think MC Lars had it better:
    Download this song [myspace.com]
    • by cloricus (691063)
      For those of you in the back rows that hadn't realised by now because you may be a bit thick ... This Weirld Al song is a parody of MC Lars - Download this song...
    • Maybe he chose to give it away for free rather than let the RIAA screw him and us by snagging an extra 85% of the money we throw down.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)
      yes, it's iTunes fault Wierd Al went in and renogiated his contract so that he got less for digital sales.

      Please, Wierd Al should have understood what he was signing. The label is screwing him, not iTunes.
  • Speaking of myspace (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hmccabe (465882) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:41PM (#15959316)

    Since we're already spending so much time here and acting like junior high kids, I want myspace style slashdot profiles. Imagine what this would do to the community. When you read a post and think to yourself "Overweight, Undersexed Wow junkie" you can click the link and see their photos to confirm your suspicions. Plus, think of the fun we'd all have writing the CSS code to design our pages. Instead of harping on people for their grammar, we could point out how their profile page isn't XHTML compliant.

    Taco would be everybody's friend by default, but if you're friends with the real CowboyNeal (or a girl) you would totally put that in your top eight.

    Our mail system would be IMAP though

    • by boingo82 (932244)
      Hah - I was wishing for that this morning. I bet most of the users here would have a bad case of the angles though.
  • Direct Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:01PM (#15959415)
    For those without flash: http://www.dontdownloadthissong.com/tracks/DDTS.mp 3 [dontdownloadthissong.com]
  • OMFG - the label! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:49PM (#15959584)
    Weird Al is distributed under a faux independent label, Volcano Records, which is owned by Sony BMG, who brought us intrusive DRM and is a proud part of the RIAA intellectual "property" lawsuit cartel. Now I have to get a new goddamned movement for my irony meter!
    • Re:OMFG - the label! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:23PM (#15959708)
      Weird Al is distributed under a faux independent label, Volcano Records, which is owned by Sony BMG, who brought us intrusive DRM and is a proud part of the RIAA intellectual "property" lawsuit cartel. Now I have to get a new goddamned movement for my irony meter!

      Weird Al was originally on a very obscure indie label called "Scotti Brothers." Its name was changed to "Volcano" when another label bought them out, then that label was co-opted by Sony BMG. So yes, he is distributed by Sony, but it's not exactly a diabolical plan on Weird Al's part. Actually I have friends who were in another band on the "Scotti Brothers" label, and found themselves in effect Sony artists. Which is not a good thing, because Sony won't honor the Scotti Bros. terms or release them from the contract-- so their first few CDs are basically buried forever.

      This actually happens quite a bit with Indie bands, they sign contracts with small labels (which are usually somewhat vague, as neither have access to top-notch entertainment lawyers) and the labels are bought out by the majors-- and the bands find themselves having to deal with exactly the people they were trying to avoid.

      • Looks doubtful (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aepervius (535155)
        Liability and contract don't end when a firm is bought by another one. So by refusing to honor a previously signed up contract with scrotti brother that they bought on, sony would not only open themselves to liability, but likely void the contract freeing to sell the CDs.
  • Better call Alanis. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gothic_Walrus (692125) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:10PM (#15959853) Journal
    The (semi-ironic) twist here?

    The album, according to Amazon, is being released as a DualDisc, and that means that some computers and players won't be able to handle the album [wikipedia.org]. Of three computers in my dorm room last year, none of them could play the newest Springsteen album.

    Because of the format choice, there might be some people that don't have any choice but to download the song, either legally (assuming iTunes sells it like they do some of his other albums) or through other means.
  • by Workaphobia (931620) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:08PM (#15960052) Journal
    Our story begins with a skim over the day's Slashdot headlines. The regulars are all present: Government X adopts OSS/ODF, Mr. Nobody gives a loose overview of security problem Y, and SCO does transparently underhanded deed Z. Yet one topic in particular grabs my attention...

    Being a Weird Al fan, and well-aware of the problems he has collecting from his label, my mind registers the topic both as a must-Read-More and as another chapter to take note of in the long saga of digital music rights. With significant anticipation, I add it to my other fifteen or so open tabs and proceed to work my way through my article reading queue.

    I (grudgingly) visit myspace, but something's amiss. There is no download link! Nothing in the navigation menu, the news posts, or the comments make mention of where I can obtain the song, yet visitors proceed to comment on how much they enjoyed it. Looking for an alternate link, I return to Slashdot, only to find more reactions without mention of any download difficulties. And so I begin to worry irrationally: "I'm the only one in the world who can't listen to Weird Al!" I've had usability issues with myspace before, but normally after a minute or so of misguided clicking I'm able to stumble upon something that hints at actual content. I try two other domains, weirdal.com and dontdownloadthissong.com, only to find the former hopelessly slashdotted and the latter unusable. My frustration continues to build.

    I reflect that perhaps it is a browser compatability issue - I am using Konqueror after all - and try my luck with firefox. After configuring it to *not* attempt DNS queries over IPv6, that I might reach the content I so desperately seek this century, I find that myspace persists to mock me. It is as if some divine administrative force knows my IP address and has modified the web server specifically to torment me.

    I search for torrent files - first through links from kind slashdotters looking to boost their karma, and when that fails, via KTorrent's integrated search plugin. Bittorrent.com? No matches. Isohunt.com? Nada. Mininova? Bytenova? Torrentspy?! My heart races as I continue to exhaust the list of built-in known search engines, until... Aha! The Pirate Bay has found one match, uploaded a mere twenty-two minutes ago.

    But to use a torrent from the most infamous peer-to-peer site in existence, what would that make me? Is the torrent legal? Just because Weird Al chooses to distribute it on his webpage doesn't mean he releases that right to others. I'm sure under these circumstances he couldn't possibly mind, but not having heard of the song's existence prior to reading Slashdot, I simply do not know the record label's stance on the matter, or whether they even have partial rights over this particular mp3. But it does not matter - I must have the song!

    The irony - that I am bittorrenting a free-as-in-beer song that possesses a satirical name mocking filesharing litigation, and am potentially committing a copyright violation in the process - is not lost on me. My idealistic side taunts the RIAA, "I just DARE you to try to sue me over this, my only infringement!" My pessimistically pragmatic side notes that the unusual circumstances would make no difference, as I would be forced to settle, and never see my day in court anyway.

    I emerge from my digression to the present.
    No peers or seeders. For the moment, the music industry and other enemies of Peer-to-Peer breathe a sigh of relief.

    Then it occurs to me that the song might be unreachable to those who have not installed the dreaded Flash Plugin. But why? A slashdot commenter mentions that the song is indeed in the mp3 format, so it is not as if my lack of such a player could possibly prevent me from obtaining this song. For what kind of sick madman would consign a publically-downloadable mp3 to the clutches of a proprietary system and that system alone?

    As a rule, I have abstained from using Flash on my desktop's Gentoo installation. This self-denial is due to a combination of fac

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