The Basement Tapes

Those of you who are Bob Dylan and The Band fans have surely listened to The Basement Tapes. I have always loved the feel of those recordings. The songs are easy, the band is having fun, and it makes for a great listen.

I wish more basement tapes were available. I don’t really understand why there should be one “definitive” version of a song. But that’s usually the way it is unless we are talking about hip-hop where they do a number of mixes for commercial distribution.

One of the real possibilities of digital music distribution is that artists can sell more music and more versions of the songs they record.

I am listening to the demo tapes from Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot record. I found them on the Internet available via Bit Torrent. I read a review of them in Popmatters and then just did a Google search and found them. It was simple.

It’s a great set of songs. Many are different, and sometimes better, versions than what’s available on the record. Many are songs that didn’t make it on the record. I’d have easily paid another $10 for this set of songs but nobody is making them available commercially so I’ll just get them for free.

Imagine if every artist was able to offer a much larger library of music than they currently offer. Sure the record label isn’t likely to spend a lot of marketing dollars against anything other than the final version of the record. But for those fans who want more, they could make it easy to buy more music and make more money for everyone involved.