It’s finally happened. The whole entire internet has run out of things to write about.
Last week, Skwerl (real name: Kevin Dale Cogill) posted some newly leaked Guns n’ Roses tracks on his blog. What happened? Exactly what you’d think would happen. He was told to take them down. On top of that, he got a visit from two FBI employees. As dramatic as that sounds, my old guitar players little brother got a similar visit from two FBI agents for some shady kid bullshit he was up to. It happens. Skwerl cooperated and immediately took the music down. No harm, no foul.
What is the big deal? Honestly, I have no fucking idea. But it’s been reported on by rollingstone.com, wired, and a couple other content-starved websites. There are a few potentially interesting aspects to the story, but none of them have been reported on at all. For example:
1. Instead of anonymously sharing the music with the music-loving internet community through widely accepted avenues (torrent sites, etc.), why did he choose to re-tag the files with his sites web address and post them exclusively on his own blog? Remember, he wasn’t the source of the files getting out, just a middleman.
2. Rather than posting downloadable MP3 files, he posted a stream player. People could listen, but not download. I could be mistaken about this part, but I’m pretty sure that’s the way it went down.
3. This is less important maybe (as if any of this is important), but it’s something I couldn’t help but notice. Skwerl claimed these files to be “final, mastered versions” of the songs. To my ears, they clearly are not. The overall relative volume of the tracks alone give away the fact that they are not final masters, and some of the songs just can’t be final mixes in my opinion. I would be amazed to hear the released version of Chinese Democracy with these exact versions on it.
When Skwerl finally launched this site, I suggested that he add a forum that didn’t come down on file-sharing amongst the users. That’s exactly the way it was done on an old site that he worked on, and it worked wonderfully. Users got to know one another, made requests, and music was shared. In addition, no files were hosted on his server. That keeps his server from taking a hit, and it takes all the heat away from the sites owner if/when anyone in a suit notices that the files are there. On the flip side, it also keeps your name and photo from being plastered all over the internet for 15 minutes. And no offense, but people in Los Angeles don’t exactly go there to lay low and fly under the radar, nameen?
In the end, I fully support his decision to “share” the leaked tracks, but I do question the way in which it was done. At the end of the day I’m just glad to have some new Axl jams on my iPhone. So for that, thanks. I guess this makes me one more website with nothing better to write about.