Porcupine Tree: 'Music Is Not Software'

According to Porcupine Tree frontman, Steve Wilson the sound quality is only part of what's been lost.

Porcupine Tree: 'Music Is Not Software'
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Having a mammoth music collection used to mean something. It spoke of dedication, it was pure geekdom. Now a music collection means you have a lot of digital storage and a good home Internet connection. Sure most of us have less clutter lying about, but there's been a trade off. According to Porcupine Tree frontman, Steve Wilson the sound quality is only part of what's been lost. "There was something in that magical, romantic, tactile relationship with the album that has been lost by the reduction of music to content," Wilson wrote in a letter to the editor of The New York Times, a response to an article about the missing grand sound in modern digital compression. "Music is not software; music is art. But I've been encouraged by the growing revolt against that iPod culture and playlist mentality." "Kids at shows come up to me to have me sign their vinyl," Wilson continued. "They want to feel as if they're buying into something they can cherish and feel a part of. And you simply can't do that downloading a few files." Thanks for the report to Noisecreep.com.

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    jimmyled
    Ah, Steven. I buy as many albums as I can, but I still think that an iPod is a convenient and compact way to store and listen to music, even though I much prefer CD quality.
    ai4281
    I can see why he would be frustrated with the whole iPod thing. He spends a lot of time and money to try to make his albums sound as hi-fi as possible, but most of the subtle nuances of high quality recordings are gone when people listen to music on iPods through their crappy white ear buds.
    Shoj_
    http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/719... r-craftsman-an-interview-with-steven-wilson/ "Im not trying to say that the iPod is inherently bad. There are some great things about iPods and download culture. The fact that people are arguably listening to more music than ever now, and probably more wide ranging in terms of what theyre listening to than before. And the convenience aspect is wonderful. But what concerned me is that no one was really raising the problems of iPods. There are some really serious issues for me. I can break it down into three basic categories ..." - Steven Wilson Personally, I buy CD's mostly and listen through albums. But if I want to listen to music on the go, of course I'm going to use an MP3 player. Nothing's more convenient th
    98Timberwolf
    Well, I love having my iPod because it is just so convenient, and I used to listen to random songs on it like he is talking about. I still do sometimes, but since I got into BTBAM a while back I have developed a habit of listening to entire albums at once
    Quicksand15
    FaceTomorrow wrote: Steve is completely right. Still, an iPod is a convenient addition.
    Yeah I think so too. I love having physical copies of albums (and fell in love with vinyl lately), but I like to be able to listen my music on my mp3-player, too (with lots of FLACs though ) As long as both can live side to side, I don't see any problem. =)
    Brave Moonlight
    This is why I have all my music in Lossless file types. (like Apple Lossless & FLAC) unfortunately, it's not easy fitting Lossless files on a 4GB iPod
    Krieger91
    i think he's got a point there...ipod and mp3's are much cheaper, and useful than bringing around...say..100 cd's.. but there is certain something lost in not having the actual physical cds
    UnaLaguna
    themetalpig wrote: I wonder how much actual profit Steve gets via cd sales vs concert tiks/merch. Me and my mate have seen Porcupine Tree twice purely because of downloading his music (bought Fear of a Blank Planet tho). Would never have seen him live if not for digital music.
    There's an interview with him on the Roadrunner website from 2009 where he says that Porcupine Tree never make money from touring because they put a huge amount of money into their lightshow and visuals. In an older interview, around the time of Stupid Dream (1999ish), he said that the band members didn't take any of the profit from the CD sales themselves, instead investing all that money into the next album. However, I suspect that isn't the case now, seeing as they're on Roadrunner rather than a small independent label.
    themetalpig
    I wonder how much actual profit Steve gets via cd sales vs concert tiks/merch. Me and my mate have seen Porcupine Tree twice purely because of downloading his music (bought Fear of a Blank Planet tho). Would never have seen him live if not for digital music.
    Kor-Ryal
    Everyone seems to be saying the same thing here.. Great musician with an irritation toward convenience. I can't agree with him, but boy, I saw a live show of him with Porcupine Tree, and it was the best concert I've been to, after Rush and Opeth.
    JD+Thrash=win
    First off let me say that I love buying CDs, theres nothing better than that feeling of holding an album in your hands for the first time. Having said that, I still download a ton of music. This is of the simple fact that much of the music I want to listen to is impossible to find on CD. Sure it can be an adventure to try and track them down, but you try finding Kreator records in Sanity, it just aint gonna happen. So without downloads I wouldn't listen to half the music I do today. Still love the albums though...
    Slap-happy
    Vinyl is recorded in analogue - although it is degradable it is still a truer representation of the overall sound that was recorded initially. Then there is the time and effort a band/artist take in selecting appropriate cover art, photography and liner notes in order to offer the consumer the best product that is worthy of being paid for. Whilst I have an iPod and use it when I am out and about out of convenience I still prefer to listen to vinyl and CDs in the comfort of my home. I have downloaded songs and friends have sent me files that I have then put on my iPod. If I think that something is worthwhile listening to then I have no objection to going to a music shop and buying the physical product. An iPod may give me the luxury of being able to store up to about 25,000 tracks, but I still think recompense should be paid to the artists involved in making the music in the first place.
    UnaLaguna
    I'm a huge fan of his works but I think his views on iPods and such are a little too elitist. Vinyls over mp3s is like film reels over DVD rips. Sure, it's better quality, but much less convenient.
    JD Blue Venom
    well i can understand his statement if he means kids just having a huge collections of top 10 singles on their ipods, but ive actually gone through some length to search for all my music or have it sent to me by friends, and they are all FULL albums or mixes ive put together myself, and ive kept all my music from the very first album 10 years ago, its all on my toshiba hard drive and i have it backed up too, this (nearly 100GB) amount of music wouldnt fit in my small house steve ya know so sorry for me sending memory disks of your music to enlighten musically retarded friends
    Sitkemkev
    I'd say i'd totally agree. What about if your computer crashes? your entire music collection is gone. Its a lot easier for a computer to crash than someone to break every single CD you have. Besides, your missing out on the whole part of it being an album. Being able to look through the lyrics, the band photos, it really tells a story and brings you that much closer to the music than just ooo i like this song, lets download it. We all seem to be criminals in this era. Even I've come close to this. We all have our iPods, our MP3 players, but the musicians aren't getting enough for what they have. A CD costs more than an MP3, sure, but it is something that not only supports the musician, but also gives a story, from beginning to end. [awaits applause] lol
    KyuNaynne
    I think I am the only one here that would agree with him. MP3 files help a lot to know bands, possibly I would have never known Porcupine if it wasn't for digital music, but having an original CD in your hands, and having an entire collection of original CDs is something priceless... Remember some years ago, when a band you liked released a new album and it was like "damn, I need to get the money to buy it", and it felt like a victory when you managed to own it. Nowadays it's like "good, let's download it right now", it's not the same thing...
    Zombie V.
    If it wasn't for downloading music, I would've never listened to Porcupine Tree in the first place. Once I discovered them, however, I purchased five of their albums. Steven Wilson is the f--kin' greatest, though... so I can't be mad at him for having a different opinion.
    kurtshapedbox
    The man has some points, but to completely discard the good that's been ushered in with bad during the current iPod era would be foolish. I mean if everybody did that in the past we would have never gotten from vinyls to CDs. I still love to go out and really buy a worthwhile album, and listen to my music files often in an album format (as well as playlists) but I'm also very excited for the new terra-byte iPod to come out. If you use your ipod right than it should only broaden your music listening experience, not depreciate it.
    Stampede wrote: Sounds to me he needs to get with the times, man. There's nothing wrong with buying vinyl records and nothing wrong with carrying your entire music collection on your ipod. As long as one isn't phased out completely, then I think currently, with bands releasing digital downloads and vinyl, it's a win win situation.
    this.
    MattyW
    Id love to buy cds and vinyls galore. But the truth is i really cant afford it, ive bought a few cds XD When i get enough money i would happily buy everything ive downloaded in my itunes but until then
    Daedwing
    I love Steven Wilson, I think his attitude towards digital music culture helps make a lot of his music what it is. I met him on Thursday, he seemed very down to earth. I see what he's saying, but I love that with my iPod I can listen to my favourite albums whilst gazing out through the yellow windows of the evening train back to my home in Wales.
    Jack Darkley
    I use an iPod, but every song on my iTunes originally came from a CD that I own and that I paid for. I still listen to my CDs in the car, but when I'm walking around I use my iPod. I can proudly say that I have never downloaded a song in my life and I intend to keep it that way. May physical format live on.
    TheBadPlace
    uk.mace wrote: I love my iPod and almost all of SW's work but as has been said, his stance on iPods is irritating. Although, I don't actually make or listen to playlists; I listen to albums in their entirety.
    Exactly this.
    Stampede
    Sounds to me he needs to get with the times, man. There's nothing wrong with buying vinyl records and nothing wrong with carrying your entire music collection on your ipod. As long as one isn't phased out completely, then I think currently, with bands releasing digital downloads and vinyl, it's a win win situation.
    uk.mace
    I love my iPod and almost all of SW's work but as has been said, his stance on iPods is irritating. Although, I don't actually make or listen to playlists; I listen to albums in their entirety.
    Lindgren
    Brave Moonlight wrote: This is why I have all my music in Lossless file types. (like Apple Lossless & FLAC) unfortunately, it's not easy fitting Lossless files on a 4GB iPod
    This is why I have a 160GB iPod.