I've run into a lot of cynicism and skeptism online and offline regarding the situation with D-Mag and the defective album mix. I thought I should rush in to the rescue and give everyone a good pep talk. Good thing we're in the middle of a political season and I'm warmed up.
Why the skepticism? Have you not noticed that we're already making a difference right here and now? The Metallica forums, then the Steve Hoffman music forums (and the other major music sites, I'll wager), this blog, Ian Shephard's blog, YouTube, and now Wired.
You are forgetting two important things. One, this story has legs. It fits into the same narrative as the Napster fiasco. Did Metallica suffer a tragic error in judgement, or is this the latest insult from rich, old rock stars who just don't get it? That's a story, one the media will pick up on.
Important lesson #2: the internet itself. Read "The Long Tail," which deals with the internet economy, and "Taking on the System," which deals with activism of all stripes in the Millenium. What we are doing as fans is using the technology to mobilize, connect, inform, and share the story. Because of the internet, we have learned that the problems with the D-Mag CD is from the final mixing itself, not simply my bad copy. Because of YouTube, and the dedication of skilled Guitar Hero fans, we can hear clean, distortion-free versions of the D-Mag songs. Because of file sharing programs, we will very soon be able to listen to the Guitar Hero Mix ourselves.
Most importantly, we have opened up a new chapter in the music industry's "loudness wars." It's the most important part of the story: when the music fans rise up and rebel against the tyranny of corporate incompetence. The backlash against the loudness wars is rising, and we are finally ready for a sea change in that sorry saga.
Don't let cynicism take hold, and don't give up. Don't grumble about Metallica and then sulk off. We can win this thing. We can most definitely win this thing. Just look at what the netroots have achieved on a national scale. Fixing a defective record album when a perfectly fine mix exists is far easier. This is child's play.
This is the time to act, people! This is the time to make your voices heard! Good heavens, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus. Look what that simple act resulted in. If we could change the course of history for something so vital, so important...we could easily succeed here, with an issue so very trivial by comparison.
Our goal is a very simple one: we want the true version of Metallica's D-Mag, a clean version, not the terrible, substandard version sitting on store shelves today. I am confident that we will succeed. All you have to do is make your voices heard and spread the word.
Did you read on the Wired article that Metallica were in Europe during the final mix? It's quite possible the band never knew about this fiasco. I'll wager that band and management are closely examining their options right now. All you need to do is keep the pressure up.
Here is what you can do right now. Share YouTube videos with others. Direct your friends to websites and blogs that are discussing D-Mag's mixes. Take advantage of Facebook. Take advantage of MySpace. Send emails to friends. Text five friends and have them do the same. Call radio stations. Email music magazines and websites. Email Metallica. Email Q Prime Management. Email Warner Bros.
I want everybody here to do one of these things. You don't have to be licking envelopes until 4am. This is very, very easy, and it will make a real difference. Metallica's new album is on track to sell 500,000 copies in its first week. That means you have many, many friends who sympathize with you. Make sure you've done your part for the cause. Save D-Mag! Fix the Mix! Save D-Mag! Fix the Mix!