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A Thousand Lies

Nine days from now, on the 2015 Autumnal Equinox, Wednesday, September 23, A Year of Songs will be 10 years old.

After over 400 posts that included 300 songs — that were downloaded over a half million times from Archive.org — I admit, I had let the pace slack. OK, I put a landing page randomizer on it so people would see something different every time they visited and pretended that was close enough for blogland.

But, of course… the caged bird must sing. If you can call it singing…

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Download Cheater’s Blues

Download Cheater's Blues

Once upon a time there was a magical kingdom, ruled by a magical king.

The king had himself once been a knight errant but through his adventures he’d earned a small fortune — more importantly, he’d learned magical powers from the wizards of the east.

In those days, the most powerful magic in the in the land was so potent, it was known by just three letters — IPO. Even today, though the magic has faded, those letters are still very powerful.

But, in those days, the magic of the IPO was everywhere.

And most notably in the magic kingdom founded by the wandering knight. Through the magic of IPO, the knight was able to raise almost a half billion pieces of gold. (In our time, that would buy 33 thousand Toyota Corollas, fully equipped with factory air and power windows and locks.)

But the magic of the IPO required that the kingdom appear to be a happy and prosperous kingdom — so the king decided to give money to his citizens every time someone heard one of their songs. (Did we mention this was a kingdom of musicians? Weird, huh?) The king called it Pay for Play… PfP.

As one might imagine, this was greeted with great joy by the citizens of the kingdom. Most of them had never received a single shekel for their music and never expected to.

But with great good fortune, sometimes comes danger. And in the magic kingdom, this danger showed the face of greed. Soon, the musician citizens were learning devious magic of their own, pretending to listen to each others music, and pocketing the money.

The king seemed oblivious to the trouble in his streets. But he must have realized that, in a kingdom of musicians, there could only be so many people listening at a time — for he tried various means to lure travelers in to hear his musicians.

One of the lures was in the form of big lists of the most popular songs, which he called “charts.”

Soon, the biggest cheaters in the land were at the top of the charts, based on music that no one really heard. And sometimes the greedy musicians were also magicians and they plied the devious tactics of their trade, esoteric magic like IP Masking. They even used soulless robots to listen to music for them…

But a few musicians in the magic kingdom raised their voices in protest [that’s where today’s song comes in. —TK] , calling out for their fellow musicians to eschew greed and trickery… to do the right thing and to stop tricking the king and working the evil magic that kept the banal and vapid music of IT wizards at the top of the charts.

But it was already too late.

Unknown to all but those who were conversant in the esoteric writings of The Business Section, a strange and terrible new magic was eating at the very foundation of the magic kingdom…

And it was this strange and terrible magic which brought down the magic king, who was forced to sell the magic kingdom for little more than a song to one of the old kingdoms once known as The Seven Sisters. But that’s a story for another time…

[I’d like to acknowledge that the story above is hardly the first fairy tale telling of the rise and fall of a rags-to-riches-to-rags internet/IPO story — probably not even the first to apply such a format to the story of the not-quite-named startup above. BTW, all that remains of that once-high-flying company is its dot com nameplate, now simply a portal for commercial music promotion.]

Download Cheater’s Blues

Spent all night on the DSL
downloading music straight to hell
I got the PfP
Download cheater’s blues

I’ll download your page you stream mine
Neither one listen that’ll be just fine
I got the PfP
Download cheater’s blues

I used to play music now I just swap downloads
cause sharpenin’ my chops is too darn slow
I got the PfP
Download cheater’s blues
I use to play music now download swappin’s all I do

Didn’t I see you
on the bulletin board
You were waving your T1
and lookin’ to score
You had the PfP
Download cheater’s blues

Y’ offered two whole pages
for just one song
you seemed kind of desperate
seemed like something was wrong
You had the PfP
Download cheater’s blues

You said I.S. was on your trail
they were sniffin your packets
like a hound after quail
You got the PfP
Download cheater’s blues
And you thought chart position
was the only thing that you had to lose.

[bridge]
I used to write songs I don’t do that no more
Now I spend all my time on the bulletin boards
With crazy vampires, psychos and more
just swappin those downloads and bumpin the score
I used to love music and I listened all day
Now I ripped out my speakers and threw them away
Cause there’s swappin to do and there’s stations to play
I got 5000 songs to download to day

Spent all night on the DSL
downloadin music straight to hell
I got the PfP
Download cheater’s blues
I’ll download your page you stream mine
Neither one listen that’ll be just fine
I got the PfP
Download cheater’s blues

(C)2000 TK Major

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