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Open letter to Portugal. The Man

December 30th, 2006 · 1 Comment

Portugal. The Man,

I share MP3s with a lot of family and friends, and someone gave me your album. Well, I’m glad they did because it was amazing from start to finish. I was driving earlier this evening, and your album “Waiter: You Vultures!” came on my playlist. It was a seriously psychedelic experience. When I got home, I found your Purevolume page and it linked to the YouTube video for “AKA M80 The Wolf“. It made the entire album experience that much more amazing.

So I bought your album new on The MP3 copy I had was illegal, but I think it was said best in Escape from LA: if freedom is outlawed, only outlaws have freedom. I never would have heard of you without MP3 sharing, because I don’t like listening to commercial radio or watching TV. I wish there was a different way to support artists that didn’t involve buying the CDs or a broken MP3 from iTunes. First, I know labels can be pretty gay about paying artists and are just dirty in general. Sony even put computer viruses on teeny bopper CDs, I mean what was with that? And second, even though most people say iTunes is fair enough, there are still people like me that just don’t want Apple to say what’s fair. I don’t have or want iTunes or QuickTime which they force on you if you use iTunes. But I do still want to support artists like you. So I bought the CD, even though I’ll probably only use it to rip it again into MP3 with a higher bitrate.

Now I’d like to ask, what do you think the best way to support artists today is?

I hope you write back, and if you do, I’ll post it on my blog, where I’m going to post this letter, with some links to your material.



UPDATE: January 5, 2007

Unlike other letters I’ve written to certain politicians *COUGH* Senator Hilary Clinton and Senator Chuck Schumer *COUGH*, I receieved a response to this letter. Many thanks to Portugal: The Man for taking the time to acknowledge their fans. The content of the responses really goes to show that these guys are the real deal. See below, and enjoy!


thanks for the love buddy. first off, thanks for buying our record. these days it’s hard to get people to do that. it’s so easy to get it for free, most pepople don’t bother. i’m guilty of that as well. on the other hand, we have no problem with anyone downloading our shit. we’d rather you have it than not. we don’t want to waste anyone’s money. steal it….. if you really like it, pick it up for the artwork. that way we know anyone who buys it is a fan. cool with us.

bands will surely have to adapt to the age of file sharing, but it’s not impossible. you might have to dump some extra money into expensive and original packaging and art for the cd’s. that always makes me want to have a legit copy. there obviously isn’t a whole lot of money in music anymore, but i think it makes the music better, or at least more real. not many do it for the money. now it’s for the love.

to answer your question, you can still support your bands by going to the shows, picking up a shirt, and saying hi. we love what we do. we’ll keep having fun as long as anyone is there to listen. thanks for the support and come say hello to us if you see us coming through your town.


Tags: Computers · Technology

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Rich // Jan 3, 2007 at 10:53 pm


    good note. We always like to see friends sharing good music with each other. I will pass it along to the band as well, but I thought that I would answer as they are in Alaska right now and web connectivity can be an issue. I am the band’s manager. I hear what you are saying. It is a dilemma. CDs are miserable, I too can’t wait to rip them and get them on the computer/iPod I was just speaking with my friend how I am excited for the day when I can take the several thousand CDs I have and stick them in the garage never to touch them again.

    The easiest answer to your question is the most direct thing you can do to support virtually any band is to buy merchandise directly from the band. It does not matter whether it is clothing, stickers, CDs, etc. The band will get a good percentage of that purchase.

    Live shows are another great way to support bands. It is important to keep in mind though that most often the support bands on the shows are getting paid a flat amount no matter who enters the venue. It is the headliner who makes more money when the show sells out. Rarely does that trickle down.

    True many record labels are “dirty” but that should not be the concern of the fans and consumer. Bands sign record deals with labels with their eyes open, fully knowing the pitfalls, that is their choice. Bands have to make their own decision and live with the ramifications of those decisions. There are many reasons they will make that decision to sign with a record label and it is usually based on necessity and the record label fills that need by providing some financial backing for recording, marketing, and distribution.

    It is more difficult then ever to become a successful artist. I guess it is important to define what we mean by successful. We are not defining success as millions of records sold, or fancy cars, or super model girlfriends. We define success as the ability to continue practicing your art freely as you see fit without the concern of where your next meal is going to come from. Artists should be allowed to make their art their profession without the distraction of that job bartending or waiting tables.

    …back to my point. It is harder then ever to become a successful artist because of several reasons. First is the overwhelming amount of schlock that is forced fed to the American consumer as “music” has about as much artistic integrity as salad bar and the sheer numbers in which seem to get released every week. Second the ways in which an artist can actually make money are getting fewer and fewer, and lastly and to me most importantly is that true art takes time. True art is rarely universally embraced on its first go around. To me art is something that provokes emotion and thought and makes me look and think at things differently. That can be uncomfortable and that can take time to truly understand and appreciate. Today’s artist are rarely afforded the the opportunity to develop. When you consider the greats of music, literature, paintings, architecture, or any art form it is rare the the greats are embraced immediately.

    Sorry for the extended commentary, but you did it right. You supported the art. Now go tell some more friends about your favorite records of the year.

    Best Regards


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