Chopping up albums

I expect you’ve now heard the news that Pink Floyd were victorious in their legal case against troubled record label, EMI, which reached its conclusion yesterday.

In a lawsuit filed last April, lawyers acting for the band argued that EMI should not be entitled to sell Pink Floyd’s extensive back catalogue – a back catalogue second only to that of the Beatles’ in terms of value – as individual tracks online so as to “preserve the artistic integrity of the albums”.

EMI argued that the contentious clause in Pink Floyd’s latest contract, signed in 1999, five years before the boom in legal digital downloads (which states that they have no right to sell any of Pink Floyd’s music as single tracks other than with the band’s express permission), only applied to physical copies and not digital ones.

EMI were ordered to pay an estimated £60,000 in costs, with fines still to be decided, and banned from selling Pink Floyd’s music online.

A challenge on the amount of royalties that band members receive from online sales has also gone in the way of Pink Floyd. It is the first royalties dispute between artist and record company ever to be held in private, as per EMI’s wishes.

So, a triumph for art over corporatism… or all a bit unnecessarily precious? Would you do the same for your music if you felt it were open to exploitation and if, through a lifetime of commercial accomplishment (which had created successful careers and all its trappings for many others, don’t forget), you felt you had very much earned the right to protect your work from being dissected and packaged in more profitable bite-size pieces to suit interests other than your own?

Are you disappointed that you may soon be unable to individually purchase Pink Floyd tracks online, or would you always choose an album in its entirety because of its characteristic “seamless” nature? Should it matter if the creators of the music would ideally prefer you to listen to their work as one continuous piece, or should the consumer always have the right to choose?

It’s cheaper to download an album than each of its tracks individually, after all.

Besides, isn’t love for the mellifluous the reason why such effort went into making Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd what it is (and why familiarity with the albums from which the songs were taken meant that, for many, Echoes didn’t really work)? That wasn’t merely a carve-up job with the songs idly presented in any old order.

Go on, as NME’s Luke Lewis set me off with his blog post yesterday, which songs – from any classic album, not just Pink Floyd’s – could you live without if you chose to purchase digitally rather than in the formats that many of us still cherish.

I’ll go first: Blood on the Tracks’ frenetic ‘Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts’ by Bob Dylan. There, I said it. (Forgive me, Bob.) More often than not, it gives me an instant headache. As does Don Henley’s ‘Man With a Mission’ (from Building the Perfect Beast). But I can skip these songs when my head is feeling particularly delicate and they remain part of two of my favourite albums regardless. Granted, when purchased, there was no option to pick and choose each song, nor to preview them freely at leisure. However, I still feel that today’s wider choice is mostly irrelevant to me when it comes to downloading music, and surely this should be all the more true when it comes to concept albums.

In fact, of Pink Floyd’s more obvious concept albums, you’d be hard pressed to find a track that does not segue at either its beginning or end.

Can you imagine ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ not turning into ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’? Or ‘Overture’ from The Who’s Tommy not concluding with the joyous announcement that ‘It’s a Boy’?

I’d enjoy sharing your examples of the perfect song segue, if you care to.

So, lots of questions to end the week with and perhaps to aggravate you well into the weekend, but I have (almost) managed to refrain from asking whether we should condone public flogging as the only punishment befitting the heinous crime of savagely butchering Dark Side of the Moon.

Now, there’s a thought… Dare I suggest that maybe EMI got off lightly?

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

71 thoughts on “Chopping up albums”

  1. In the final analysis, the music should belong to the artist. So, if The Floyd do not want their music sold as individual tracks, so be it. If The Floyd decide to release a compilation of individual tracks, so be it. They should have creative control over how their efforts are presented.

    And in the end, I suspect that this had nothing to do with money and everything to do with what is right. How would you feel if you woke up one morning to discover that a label had ripped your masterwork into various pieces and started selling it bit by bit… all without your knowledge or permission?

    Good for you, Pink Floyd!


  2. This was an important decision by the judge. EMI’s defence consisted of a petty and pathetic quibble over the difference between physical and digital media.

    EMI are sliding further away from respecting their artists following their acquisition by Terra Nova and hopefully this creates a standard for a future in which EMI will work with their artists and not against them.

    It is right that artists are allowed to decide how their music should be sold online- as individual tracks or as complete works. Kate Bush’s ‘Aerial’ (also on EMI) has never been available on iTunes because the second disc is intended to be heard as a complete work.

    EMI did get off lightly – but I notice that iTunes continues to sell Pink Floyd albums as individual tracks today.

  3. It should be what the band wants or in the case of Pink Floyd, what David wants. Stuff the big corporations, they’re only interested in profit, not art.

    IMO, The Dark Side of the Moon is one of many LPs that shouldn’t be chopped in any way, but if the band agrees, well so be it.

    This is coming from somebody who only likes to buy vinyl, so maybe I’m a bit old fashioned. Yes, I have downloaded Live in Gdansk and it is on my computer, but if I want to give it a good listen, I’ll play the LPs.

    I’ve only had Echoes for a short time. I had no intention of buying it, but when I saw an LP set for sale I couldn’t resist. Does it work? Well not really well, but as a fan I’m glad I’ve got it.

    On another note, the documentary Which One’s Pink? aired down here last month. It was good and sad to see and hear the late Richard being interviewed, he did look well and was in good spirits.

    I’ve never been a big Roger fan (after he left PF) but I got the feeling that he’s now sorry about how things worked out, I suppose he did make his own bed.

    Nick’s man cave made a lot of us blokes take notice and David was cool and calm as always.


  4. Definitely a triumph of art over Corporatism. How could EMI possibly think the original agreement was somehow negated by the invention of a new medium. Was there a separate agreement for vinyl, CDs or cassettes over the years? Chancers, that’s what they are. They chanced it, they lost.

    As for damages, I think them coughing up a whole album’s worth of royalties for every single track sold would be a good starting point – seems only fair. They could always inflate Guy Hands and fly him over Battersea Power Station too.

  5. It should be as it was decided in court. The band should have the ultimate say in how its albums are sold. If the song was previously released as a single, there will probably still be a single available but if the song went with the album, then the album must be sold should one desire to purchase it. It’s all about album sales if you ask me. How could they possibly release a single from an album without the consent of the Band?

    Cheers to Pink Floyd for this monumental victory! A victory for all Bands and Artists.

    I’d rather have the entire Album and it will increase the value of the single if it is ever released as one.


  6. I’m glad Pink Floyd won their case against EMI. I’m wondering if Roger was on board as well when this went to court?

    For me if ever I have my iPod on shuffle and a Floyd track comes on, it just feels wrong, especially when the track is from D.S.O.T.M. I’m guessing a band must have put in a lot of thought into track running orders, it must be frustrating for them.

    I bet Van Gogh is glad his paintings aren’t treated this way, can you imagine them carving up “sunflowers” selling the individual blooms? Maybe they tried and got an earful.

  7. Personally I listen to albums end to end, the way they were released.

    Nowadays, I guess they are just songs, well they are to my kids anyway.

    As for the artist who does not want to see their music fragmented. Well, if that artist has been successful then I guess they have the resources to fight this kind of thing. However, if the artist has not had the same success and still has bills to pay then I am guessing that, as much as they would not like to see their work fragmented, the royalties would still be useful.

  8. I think most fans would probably agree that Pink Floyd songs from a particular album should generally not be listened to separately as they form a single artistic recording in the form of an album.

    Good on Pink Floyd for stopping EMI releasing individual tracks against the band’s wishes and against the terms of the 1999 contract.

  9. Either position seems a bit silly to me. What are you going to do next? Prevent people from listening to single tracks from DSOTM and force people to listen to the whole album in order?

    1. …that’s not the issue. The issue is that someone else as the artist(s) wants to decide how the art is packaged. It is you that will decide at the end how you consume it, but you should have a chance to see/hear/feel as it was intended by the artist.

      Near-topic: I do not like TV stations that do interrupt movies with commercials, because they destroy whatever the director tried to do. Sadly I do not expect any legal case for that behavior…


    2. Not silly at all. The artist has a right to say how his art is sold. Purchase the art in its entire state. If you wish to cut it up after you purchase it that is your right.

      Good for you Pink Floyd!

      Barbara P

    3. Sander,

      in my opinion, people’s private behaviours were not the point in this argument. I think EMI is the point and their decision to make money ignoring the artists’ opinions.

      I personally appreciate very much Pink Floyd’s coherence in defending their work.

  10. Hi,

    I do think that the artists do the art and that it should be their own decision what they do. A (good) album is like a book to me; I couldn’t imagine buying single songs as well no one I know buys single pages of a book.

    I find this very interesting:

    EMI argued that the contentious clause in Pink Floyd’s latest contract, signed in 1999, five years before the boom in legal digital downloads … only applied to physical copies and not digital ones.

    Until now labels tried to convince us, that physical=digital, in matters of cashing in. I think that’s the first time I read that they admit that there is a difference…

    Best regards


  11. I think that the album is greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps an album like Dark Side of The Moon should be downloaded in its entirety as one track? Can one download simply a movement from a piece of orchestral music?

    Personally I prefer vinyl or CDs. I like the product and its wrapping. So another debate would be the packaging, the wrapper, the sleeve, the case. Is there a digital equivalent? There should be. Perhaps bands and record companies could work to add this physical content digitally? A mini website of information to complement the music. Or video footage to complement the track? Sound and visual information complementing each other. Why is video content different to mp3 content in this age of digital? Perhaps because of IP bandwidth?

    I think to yield to single track downloads is perhaps short sighted when in the near future a ‘digital track’ of say David Gilmour could include a live hologram of his performance in front of you if chosen, with full sleeve notes.

    You can probably tell I do not use downloads, and it is not from lack of understanding or required technology…

  12. I dunno, I believe Pink Floyd and Dr Gilmour have a right to package their music however they like as they are the artists and it’s their work. But who wouldn’t want such tracks as the live pulse version of Comfortably Numb or the Live Gdansk version of Echoes being released as singles?


  13. Just one thought though…

    Echoes – Best of Pink Floyd, as much as I enjoy the way it all segues together didn’t that have tracks from DSotM on it? 😕

  14. EMI’s behaviour and Pink Floyd’s wishes are two different things.

    * EMI/any record label should not be allowed to do what they want (ie just to increase profits, they don’t care about ‘art’) with music that doesn’t belong to them. So I’m glad that PF won their case against EMI. They must retain artistic control.

    I agree with Luke Lewis, editor of music website, who said:

    “It’s a noble last stand. ITunes is such a market leader it can bully bands into doing what it wants. It’s good a band like Pink Floyd can use their own clout to fight back.”

    I hope/think that many other bands will follow their example.

    * As for PF’s wishes, on the other hand, I think that not all their albums are concept albums and some individual tracks could be sold on the web without damage (Echoes, Wish You Were Here, High Hopes…). Isn’t it a modern and easy way to reach out to new listeners, to introduce this wonderful music to the youth?

  15. In any case between an artist and a corporation, I’ll always side with the artist. Music (good music, anyway) is an art form, not just a product, and the artist knows best how it should be presented, and sold.

    I won’t knock the “Echoes” anthology. It’s an excellent primer for a newbie Floyd fan, and I rather enjoy it as road music. When I have the time to kick back at home, I prefer to enjoy the albums in their entirety. Although certain albums such as “Dark Side” are seamless works of art, certain tracks do stand quite well on their own, such as “Time” and “Money”.

    I could make the same case for The Moody Blues’ “Days of Future Passed”, where “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin” are stellar singles.

  16. For me, it really depends upon the artist and the music. Some albums are merely collections of songs; how does it matter in which order you listen to the songs from, say, “Introducing The Beatles?” And if you do want to have those songs in a given order, you can buy them and put them in that order.

    But DSotM and WYWH in particular should be experienced sequentially. “Any Colour You like” is meant to go between “Us and Them” and “Brain Damage,” and is not as strong as one track as it is in context with the rest of that fine album.

    Same for “Sgt Pepper.” “A Day In The Life” is one of the most powerful tracks ever recorded, but it is even more powerful as the closing of this concept album. Let’s only hear that album as a unified whole, please.

    So for me it depends upon the artist and the album involved.

  17. I am happy, and very relieved, for Pink Floyd’s triumph over EMI and this is why:

    Remembering when I was young and hearing some of Pink Floyd’s songs for the first time (they were great, of course), but later hearing an album from which that song came was, forgive me, orgasmic. Listening to singles, is almost unsatisfying… definitely anticlimactic! If the song was that good, it always left me wanting more. That’s what Pink Floyd did for me – they gave me that immense satisfaction. Other bands/artists did as well, but Floyd did it best. Pink Floyd, to me, tells a story with all of their albums, not just with words, but with their music.

    My point is, though, Floyd’s decision to sell entire albums only is not only fair, but it makes sense in my opinion. Any artist would want you to understand their work as it was meant to be – through their eyes. It’s why they do what they do! By putting the kibosh on the sale of individual songs, this ensures that Floyd’s vision/idea will stay true. Besides, it’s their work, their creation, and it only makes sense that they have say over what happens with their music. That and it just seems so adversely wrong for the middle man to take a piece of art that someone poured their heart and soul into and pretty much do whatever they please with it. Some things should be left untouched.

    All speculation on my part, but I think I’m done now. Ah, how I’ve missed “The Blog”. 😉

    Hope you’re doing well and enjoying a great weekend, FEd.


    1. Thanks, Sarah. I’ve enjoyed coming back from the weekend and reading all these well-thought comments.

      Thanks, everyone.

  18. First of all, I’m an album zealot. I disdain bonus tracks (I’m not even sure if I’ll ever by the Final Cut remaster because interjecting WTTBF in the middle of side one just feels weird) and albums that I can’t listen to straight through tend to get banished or resold. Some albums that fit into this category are Green by REM (Stand) and Achtung Baby by U2 (Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses).

    Regarding the EMI decision, it has more to do with the contract. EMI chose to agree to this contract. They should abide by it.

  19. Sander is missing the whole point of what this is about. Bands should have control over their own preference as to how the music should be heard, ie: albums that flow from one track to the next.

    OK, most bands write songs that can be singles as that is how they earn more money.

    Floyd’s format is as albums I’m glad to say. I agree with Graham Knight, on iPod shuffle Floyd songs actually sound like they have been broken up.

    So well done Band versus The Money Grabbers (oops sorry, Corporation).

  20. My problem with the album Echoes was not that it rearranged or resegued the songs (that actually worked out just fine IMO), but that it completely butchered some of the songs. A 17 minute Echoes (the song) is an abomination. The timing of the whole song got completely ruined.

    That shows an advantage of the customer being able to break up tracks because when I listen to Echoes (the album) I replace the butchered Echoes (the song) with the full Meddle version. Obviously it was butchered because it had to fit so many songs on a single CD, but on an iPod that isn’t an obstacle.

    But I do not have a problem with the artist selling an album as they choose. I as a customer hold the ultimate power in that I can choose whether or not to buy at all. Being a Floyd fan of course that’s not an issue for me when it comes to buying Floyd. But it has stopped me from buying a lot of other albums from the likes of ELO, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen.

    And I’m not an iTunes fan, so I’ve never really looked into buying individual tracks from these artists.

  21. Well, I feel the same way as FEd does regarding ‘Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts’ and yes, I’ll skip it from time to time, but an album is essentially in itself an artistic moment, a complete cycle from beginning to end. It has to be the artist’s choice whether this could be appreciated in sections.

    Now some other important business… when’s (if ever) the Meltdown show going to be available on CD? I can’t believe it’s not out there!

  22. I will not miss the ability to download Pink Floyd’s music in bits and pieces from the Internet. I already have pretty much everything on my iPod, downloaded from my CD collection… 21 discs. 😀

    Good for Floyd for sticking up for artistic integrity.

  23. I consider this to be a no-brainer.

    Clearly it should be the Artists’ decision on how an album is to be sold. (Do we still call them albums?)

    As far as I am concerned, EMI got off very light; and if I were the judge in this case, I would have granted ALL of the monies from individually sold tracks to Pink Floyd. I haven’t personally read their contract with EMI, but if I understand this correctly, there was never a mention of selling ‘individual’ songs. I say that EMI crossed their boundaries by doing this.

    Nothing but corporate greed; and all EMI got was a slap on the hand.

  24. WTG Pink Floyd, I am happy that they won their lawsuit against EMI. Pink Floyd isn’t just like any other rock bands or other artists, they are one of a kind, with a high standard regarding their albums and shows. So with “See Emily Play” being their only single ever published out of an album, it must have been clear to EMI what their principles are.

    So sad that EMI even risked a lawsuit after having been their record company since 1967, just to try to make PF another cash cow. I am really glad that principles won over greed.

    1. “See Emily Play” is not the only single from PF that was not part of an album. How about “Point Me At The Sky,” “Arnold Layne,” “Candy and a Currant Bun,” “Paintbox,” and “Julia Dream?” Not to mention the original version of “Careful With That Axe, Eugene?” It’s true that after these singles, Floyd chose to work only in albums, a decision they stuck with right up to “Another Brick in he Wall” in 1979, which preceded the release of The Wall by many months.

      All of this aside, I agree that the other tracks from PF should be kept with the albums they originated from — and not sold out of context just to make money for EMI.

    2. Dan, I stand corrected, thank you for your insight, actually I didn’t know that.

      But as a matter of fact, PF always had a different approach on everything, not only of the release of their albums as one whole artwork, didn’t they also refuse to perform one or two of their songs on TV shows? I am sure they never appeared on any TV show performing a song, the first time I saw David performing a song on TV was in 1984, a show on the ZDF, sadly I had no VHS recorder then, so I didn’t tape it.

    3. I actually own a 3 inch 2 track CD of PF’s “Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)” and “One Of My Turns.” Actually still in its original packaging and never played.



    4. Ulli, I don’t mean to contradict everything you say here, but…

      When Syd Barrett was in the band, Pink Floyd did appear regularly on British television to promote itself. They were made to pretend to sing and play their instruments as the record played. In the days when Syd was increasingly unstable, this became a liability as he would just stand there and stare into space while the rest of the band were acting as if they were playing live.

      In the days when David GIlmour had just joined the band, he was made to pretend to be Syd. It would be about a year after that before they started refusing to do TV shows unless they were allowed to actually play.

  25. I still remember vivedly the first time I listened to DSOTM. It was played from beginning to end, and I thoroughly loved the progression and the musical journey I was taken through. Love it.

    My first listening of the Wall was the same – now that’s a storyline which should only be listened to in sequence.

  26. I’ve always thought the main aim of every work of art is communication.

    No one, but the artist can tell the actual meaning of his creations, how they have to be released and which should be the best way to enjoy them.

    EMI had no right to chop up “The Dark Side Of The Moon” if Pink Floyd didn’t want it to be done, no matter if the digital download didn’t exist when that contract clause was signed. An album remains the same, because its meaning is the same, whether it’s released on LP, cassette, CD or digital format.

    Yes, when an album is published, everyone who buys it has the right to listen to it as he prefers, skipping the tracks he doesn’t like, or changing their order, even though this could compromise the meaning, because no one can be obliged to understand it the way the artist wants, but this problem, in my opinion, has really nothing to do with the relationship between the artists and their record companies.

    My point is that, since record companies wouldn’t exist without the artists’ work, they should respect them much more than they do.

  27. Well, without the artist there is no record company? This is sort of a which came first. They both don’t exist without the other, I suppose. But in terms of who has creative authority over the finished product? Seems like that is what needs to be spelled out in a contract. With the invention of new technologies maybe the artists need to get better legal document wordings in order to protect their creations. After all the band won’t be around forever to fight for the integrity of their work.

    When it comes to books, many authors works are changed by publishing companies with the view of increasing sales and movie companies purchase the books with the view of rewriting to ‘improve’ the translation to movie goers. Sometimes you end up with a movie so rewritten that you don’t recognize the original book. To me a crime. So the same with music.

    However, as a consumer, I do have favorite pieces that I like to replay or play on their own, but it is never as satisfying as playing the entire album. Especially if it is one of those remarkable creations that tell you a story with the music like DSOTM.

    Congratulations to Pink Floyd as they have fought not only for themselves but for many others going forward. It does all boil down to integrity. The integrity of the art which Pink Floyd is trying to maintain. The integrity of the record companies which apparently they are dispensing with in favor of greed.


  28. Hey all,

    Being the Devil’s advocate that I am… 😀

    In concert, neither PF, David or Roger have any compunction to playing individual tracks from albums. Therefore why should they protest when EMI offers them for sale? I am betting that a lot of us will throw on DSOTM, listen to a couple of favourite tracks and take it off without listening to the whole album. Horrors of horrors we might also put it on shuffle play. 😉

    Cheers, Howard

    P.S. Hope things are well with you FED.

    1. Bottom line: EMI signed the contract stipulating that Pink Floyd had the right to deny EMI the right to separate tracks. If they did not want to live by that they should have negotiated the right to do so.

      I suppose you can argue why PF would want to do that, but you really can’t argue their right to do so. And in either case I can’t see how anybody can argue on EMI’s side. They broke the contract. If they wanted more rights they should have gone to the bargaining table rather than break the stipulations of the contract.

  29. Happy that EMI has to “eat it”. If justice prevails they will have to pay more for the years that they benefited from the sales of Pink Floyd music.

    On a lighter note, glad that spring is coming up shortly!

    Happy days.

  30. The artist is the best judge as to how the material should be presented, and record companies are tools of distribution that have only the rights granted to them by the band. This means that, no matter how great DSOTM or The Wall are, the fact that they are great to listen to continuously is irrelevant – the contract is the only thing that matters, in that it is the agreement between the artist and the distributor – if one of them breaks the agreement (whatever it is), that is the problem, not that someone might hear Any Colour You Like out of sequence (although I agree about the quality, etc. of that).

    Having said that, some bands get squashed into one-sided agreements when they have no leverage; in that case, it’s just the unfortunate cost of raising one’s profile.

    I think it would be wise of PF to allow sales of individual tracks, because this is how some new listeners will find them, but that doesn’t appear to be a concern of theirs.

  31. A lot of songs of PF are songs demanding continuation after the end (if it’s not a last song of an album). But the last song hasn’t begun… It’s why I think that it’s a good decision.

    Best wishes for all!

  32. Just read the article you mentioned on twitter, “Pink Floyd force you to listen to the bad bits” from Daily Mash. It is HILARIOUS!! Not for those who can’t bear a satirical put-down of Floyd and its music.

    Me, I concede that Floyd is not for everyone. So I can laugh along with this obviously deranged author. 🙂

    1. 😀 I’m glad you saw the funny side and could laugh at it, Dan. (That makes three of us.)

      The Daily Mash is hilarious. You should read some of the advice that their ten-year-old agony aunt gives.

      Their piece about BBC 6 Music, another topic discussed here recently, was also very funny.

    2. Thanks to you and FEd for the Daily Mash mention; I’d never heard of that, and it looks quite good.

  33. Dan’s full moniker has just reminded me of Steely Dan, the band not the fictional ‘instrument’!

    I am in a dichotomy. In some senses I cannot imagine listening to their tracks as singles, but in another way I can. Why is this?

    The music would work well as singles, but I have always listened to them as albums. The old cliché that certain music can become the soundtrack to your life? Certainly. ‘On an Island’ seems to be intrinsically linked with certain memories, some happy some devastating, in a period of my life. Is music a way of organising memories, linking emotion with art, that ‘shuffle play’ cannot replicate?

    (Psuedo intellectual nonsense coming up.)

    Perhaps the postmodernist iPod generation’s deconstruction of canonic narratives and its elitism is creating an intertextuality between genre that is progressive as it is critical of received ideology?


    Nah, I will leave the dialectics to FEd. Marx was right. Either Groucho or Karl will do. Money. 😉

  34. FEd, I have not read the transcripts from the court, but is there any truth to the rumour that EMI officials began negotiations with:

    “Come in here, Dear boy, have a cigar. You’re gonna go far.”

    But stabbed themselves in the foot with:

    “You gotta get an album out. You owe it to the people. We’re so happy we can hardly count.”

    At which point it was ruled they were just riding the gravy train…

  35. Hmmmm… I didn’t read every entry here but from skimming through it seems everyone is on the side of PF. So let me give another perspective and note that I do not work in the industry.

    If we were to take the statement that PF music should only be appreciated in its entirely as released on an album and you should not be allowed to download individual tracks then if I was EMI I would have also countered with the following.

    1. Does that mean that radio stations should not play individual tracks as well? So a radio station would have to play the entire release?

    2. When PF or David performs or performed in concert, were the entire releases always played in order or was the concert interspersed with songs from various releases?

    I think we know the answer to both of those questions and it just further points out how absurd this lawsuit was. The fact is that the argument here is not about creativity it is about money. If the online downloads had a more fair royalty agreement then this suit would not have seen the light of day.

    Unfortunately I do not see this as a victory for PF because what it does is limit the availability of the music based on the modern day. This participants here are full on fans who appreciate every ounce of the music and releases. However, there are many more people out there who only want a song or two and not a whole release.

    How many here own Works, A Collection of Dance Songs or Echoes?

    If you truly believed that PF music should only be enjoyed based on its original release and in its entirety, then you would never have bought a greatest hits collection of PF music. That would be sacrilege.

    Fact is that bands need record companies as much as record companies need bands. A corporation like EMI looses lots of money every year on bands that never make it. Do recording labels take advantage at times. Absolutely they do. But don’t think for a moment that artists don’t also take advantage of the labels at times.

    What do you think a greatest hits release is all about? Many times that is the way an artist fulfils their contract with the label. Instead of releasing new material they release a greatest hits release.

    And the statement that an artist best knows how to present their material needs to be qualified by the word some. There are some very creative people out there that don’t know squat on how to package their art and present it to the public.

    I truly think it is sad that the artist is now forcing people to purchase entire releases instead of what they really want to listen to. Hmm… sounds like greed to me and sounds like Communism too.

    I just wonder how many here would have been disappointed if on David’s last tour, all he did was play OAI without the second half of assorted PF material.

    I guess you can call me the “black sheep of the blog.”



    1. Hmm… sounds like greed to me and sounds like Communism too.

      Pink Floyd are greedy communists? I think I like them even more now. 😉

    2. Andrew, you are raising interestings points, and actually, I totally forgot that there are some PF compilation albums. But in those cases, as well when David is performing PF songs, it is about the artists deciding which song to play or release.

      It would be interesting to read the exact lawsuit to get the whole picture. Is there any link to that document?

    3. Dan,

      It is Pink Floyd conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

      Dr Strangelove.

    4. A greedy communist? What a contradiction in terms.

      Not really. The ones that are in power of the party are just as greedy as any other person. Certainly the ones in power at the Kremlin back then had much more than the public. They didn’t have to wait on bread lines, they had it all at the expense of others. Just like other political models through the years.



    5. “Your Commie has no regard for human life, not even of his own.”

      Communism is quite popular worldwide, well, outside the states…

      In fact some of my best friends are communists.


  36. Bravo to P/F (Master Gilmour) for taking on the machine and coming out on top.

    Tell me, is the “greedy” label responsible for the success, or is it the tireless pursuit of pure perfection by these highly talented individuals, who by chance came together at just the right time to create the most wonderful and unique MUSIC ever to grace my 33 vinyl – 8 track – cassette – CD – DVD – iPod players? I enjoy long play and lone for the simpler – less complicated times that rush back when story from song connects.

    Great job David, am so looking forward to more that you may have to give.


  37. I may have to duck and run, but it seems to me this is a power struggle between the band and EMI. With that said, I am strongly in favor of artists doing whatever they like with their work. It’s theirs, after all. I resent it when someone tries to commandeer it. I still resent Michael Jackson for buying the Beatles tunes and selling them for soundtracks to ads.

    As for breaking up albums, I don’t see that it matters. I don’t download, but I often put on an album and play one song 3 or 4 times before I put the album away, so I’m already breaking them out, I suppose. Of course, I do have the option of playing the rest of it, don’t I? 🙂

  38. On the way home tonight I heard a DJ on radio commenting about this lawsuit. In short she basically said, the artists can certainly come together and agree on something like this but they can’t put aside their differences, come together and perform again.

    A different perspective and interesting insight.



    1. I don’t know, but I would imagine if PF ever did get back together there would be an unmanned Hammond in honor of Richard on stage. Richard is sorely missed and was always a genius catalyst (speaking of his work and contribution) of the band. We know he and David were like brothers.

      I find myself going from site to site looking for Richard’s solo work to see if they have any I can purchase. I’ve heard many of his solo songs, but I’d rather have it on my playlist at home.

      That was interesting, Andrew.

    2. Bruce,

      I agree with you in that without Richard it just would not be the same and extremely unlikely that a reunion would ever happen with the other members. I do think that Jon Carin would do a fine job but there certainly would be a missing dynamic.

      As for Richard’s solo work, that too is something I would love to get my hands on however it really is very difficult to find and I refuse to spend a small fortune in obtaining it.



  39. EMI should have known better. Pink Floyd have never liked releasing singles. As I recall the band had to be dragged kicking and screaming in to the singles charts in ’79 with Another brick in the wall.

    But I think it must be noted, if EMI had not signed a deal with Floyd, where would we be today? I’m sure in the early days the band had some close friends in EMI, but times change and so does technology, and probably along came new management with new ideas who wanted to get on the gravy train and started all this bother. Seen a million times, some one else’s mark on something that ain’t broken.

  40. I certainly agree that as a rule, in the case of Pink Floyd, you really do have to listen to the whole album to appreciate just how good the music actually is.

    However, I can think of one or two Pink Floyd albums where missing large portions of the album out of your purchase would not be so bad – I’m looking at you, Final Cut! 😀

  41. Phew! hope I am not too late…

    I like that Pink Floyd won their case, and think artistic control is important to maintain.

    Favourite segue?

    I think at the moment, it has to be Us and Them to Any Colour You Like… (do I have the confidence to post this without double checking the track listing, LOL.)

    In fact any of them in the second half are pretty damn good, but another springs to mind, on Abbey Road (or does that count as a medley rather than a segue?).

    Speak soon. 🙂

  42. Music released in an album should be respected as part of a larger message. Music released as a single is of course made for a more lighter consumption. So it was in the vinyl days and so it should be nowadays, even if the media is different.

    In the digital era dissecting albums into single tracks can indeed alter the original message and scope of the track, which loses the conceptual flow where it was originally developed.

    But the digital era doesn’t necessarily mean misuse nowadays. An independent artist or label can easily set up a digital shop and configure how the tracks can be sold, individually or within an album.

    The tools are there and are flexible, the issue is when they are used regardless of the artist identity and respect for the art.

    Can you ask a novelist to pick a chapter in the middle of the book and sell it?

  43. I think when an artist creates something, they work hard to get the editing, cropping, framing and labelling just right. Marketers hacking out the juicy bits is wrong. To cut up your own work is up to you, not someone else. If Michelangelo wanted to, say, cut up the Mona Lisa and sell it in individual jigsaw pieces, that should be fine – for someone else to do it, is vandalism. Novelists wouldn’t like to sell chapters one by one. The single song release, to me, is like the short story, and the album, is like the novel.

    “Mother will they try to tear your little boy apart!”

    (They might, but don’t you let them!)

    You’ve won a victory for us all, hurrah! I’m gonna celebrate!

  44. Hi all. Oh such an opportunity for us all to get on our soap boxes. Wehey!

    Pink Floyd, from their first album, “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” have been well known for wanting to do things their own way and producing their own music, despite protestations from their record company. They would not be bound by the traditional 3 minute track. After “Arnold Lane”, “See Emily Play” and one other single about “Reaching the Sky”, they made a conscious decision not to release any more singles. Citing their music on their albulms as the only vehicle that would portray their artistic approach. So why should EMI be surprised that the Floyd want to maintain their artistic individuality and only issue their music in its original form, ie as an album?

    There can only be one reason, and that is that EMI thought they could get away with it because of the new medium of the internet and no one has caught on until now. Sorry EMI, you got away with it for a while, but you have been caught out now!

    Anybody want my soap box. I’ll rent it out to you, good price, know what I mean?

  45. FEd,

    I came across A Curious Thing whilst peering on Amy Macdonld’s website, which is rather pertinent to the recent events referred to on this blog entry.

    Perhaps David’s site could/should join this initiative?

    The Kate Bush video is very apt… 😉

    P.S. Don’t ‘well-up’ too much, watching the Fron Choir one…

  46. I guess I have the minority opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I support Pink Floyd’s lawsuit and I support the court decision. But issues raised are not soon to go away.

    Yes, most, or at least, many artists (particularly album-oriented artists) prefer that their songs are heard in the context of the entire album. But the fact is, many of their songs are or were played on the radio, apart from their album. (I would never have heard of Pink Floyd if it weren’t for American FM radio in the late 70s…)

    Secondly, the LP is a thing of the past. It’s very sad, but with the rise of other forms of media (8-track, then cassettes, then CDs, then mp3s…), the way the original album was meant to be heard is gone (unless one still buys vinyl albums instead of CDs). The experience of hearing WISH YOU WERE HERE on CD instead of vinyl is substantially altered.

    Thirdly, there are the uses of music that listeners make of it. With all the talk about the artist & the corporations involved, it’s easy to lose sight of the listeners. People do not passively listen to music, but are rather active listeners who make their own uses of music.

    As long as I’ve been a music fan, I’ve been manipulating music for my own pleasures. I remember as a 13 year old desperately wanting a live PF album (which then didn’t exist, except for UMMAGUMMA). Playing around with my cassettes, I used to mix crowd noises in between some of my favorite PF songs, in order to create my own imaginary PF concert.

  47. I think MP3/iPods are for sheep. They rather quantity over quality. I either go for a first pressing on vinyl OR a properly mastered CD. Only time I download anything is if the album is out of print (either that or convert from a vinyl or cassette to CD).

    What Pink Floyd did was TRIUMPHANT! There’s also talks of Pink Floyd leaving EMI and taking its catalog with them (Queen are also doing so as well and they are on Hollywood Records, owned by Universal Vivendi, in the US and Canada). PF were on Sony/CBS and had a great relationship with them (also David and Roger still have solo deals with Sony BMG outside Europe so it makes sense for PF to revert catalog back to Columbia/CBS/Sony in my view which may be the case).

    Why on Earth did they revert the post-DSotM catalog back to EMI (only The Division Bell, PULSE and, for the US and Canada, Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live are on Sony BMG right now).

  48. I still own a record player, about four CD players and two double cassette players. I like having the artwork and so forth. Also downloading and listening with earbuds can do more havoc to the eardrums and cause tinnitus.

    Anyhow, off topic (my fault). We have devolved into a soundbite world and people have attention spans the size of a flea. I think cutting up the Pink Floyd discs were heinous. If I play a Pink Floyd and/or David Gilmour and/or Rick Wright album, it is start to finish.

    Queen’s first eight albums I can play start to finish. All of Genesis’ albums from Nursery Cryme to We Can’t Dance I leave unscathed. Then when I did backups of the Genesis albums’ original mixes from LP, I would add the non-album tracks to end of CD-R conversions as bonus tracks. Same applied for the Styx catalog on A&M, Supertramp’s albums from Crime of the Century to Brother Where You Bound I play uninterrupted. The Eagles’ first six albums I play the whole of, same with Rush. The Who’s Tommy, Who’s Next and Quadrophenia should be played as a whole. Jethro Tull’s Thick As a Brick and A Passion Play albums were just songs that were an entire album long (43 and 45 minutes respectively).

    I think 5.1 is where it is at. The MP3 appeals to the lowest common denominator. Now we live in an age where dreck like Britney, Lady GaGa and Beyonce have ruined music. I have gone to classical music due to my disenchantment on music. Same with movies, I don’t watch anymore. Same with TV.

  49. Good for Floyd. Artists have to make compromise after compromise for record companies; it’s nice to see them win this.

    Every time I hear Us and Them (a phenomenal song, of course) and anything other than Any Colour you Like directly afterward, I cry a little. 😀

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