Too carefree for sound quality?
In an attempt to keep up with the
freeloading download-obsessed music fans of today, Universal has “leaked” Ashlee Simpson’s newest single, “Outta My Head,” off her a- yet unnamed third studio album, which will come out sometime in March. “Outta My Head’s” official iTunes release is December 11; and apparently Universal thought they’d drum up some buzz (and hopefully erase that whole SNL thing from everyone’s memory) by “leaking” the song on AOL. We use quotes around “leaked” for two reasons. First, is it really leaking if the label goes ahead and gives the song to a major website? The second, most maddening reason is that, on a sound quality level, the song sounds kind of like someone was recording it in a basement with one of those handheld crappy digital recorders we use for interviews at Phoenix HQ. Or maybe it was our mom’s old Sony boom box, with the Cocktail soundtrack still in the tape deck. The volume inexplicably rises and falls, and the vocals sound fuzzy and crackly, and not in the experimental, Grizzly Bear-type way. We got about halfway through before we wanted to yank our sound-enhancing headphones off and throw them across the room. What. The. Fuck. We’re gonna go ahead and guess that it’s not that AOL and Universal couldn’t scrounge up the dough for a decent mastering of this track; rather, it seems the thinking here is that fans will endure the crappy version until December 11, then race to iTunes for the “high quality” version. This faulty logic exemplifies major label thinking as a whole, but beyond that, it’s an insult to the fans. Ok, maybe it’s not so far off from Radiohead’s grand, apparently not planned plan, but at least Radiohead gave us a steady volume level, minus any unintentional crackling, on the first version of In Rainbows. When will the major labels get it?
ALSO, I got to talk to Ted Leo recently, and it was awesome. Check it out here.
UPDATE: The sound quality now seems slightly better. Maybe AOL tweaked it a bit and I should get off of my jump to conclusions mat?