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Blue Monday by New Order

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 25, 2004

Thanks to 24 Hour Party People, I’m discovering New Wave, albeit about 20 years late. From 1983, here’s the original UK release version of New Order’s Blue Monday (mp3, 10.2 MB), the best selling 12” single of all time.

Reader comments

MacDaraAug 25, 2004 at 1:39PM

If you like that, you’ll want to get your hands on Substance: 1987, a compilation of their post-Joy Division early singles from the mid-80s. There are other New Order greatest hits comps out there, but that double CD was the first, and is still the best. It stops right before the point where they went a bit shit.

RoyAug 25, 2004 at 1:44PM

If you’re impressed by this, you really should check out Substance, their compilation of all their singles up to 1988. It’s a double album, with all the 12” mixes and their b-sides. The only bad thing about that album is you can’t see Peter Saville’s brilliant sleeve designs… though you can check his work at www.cerysmaticfactory.info, under ‘designers’. Enjoy it!

shanecavanaughAug 25, 2004 at 1:57PM

I’ve started getting into it lately too. I’ve been planning on getting Substance for a while now. Check out “Substance.” It’s my favorite New Order song and has been pretty consistent in my rotation for a couple months now.

shanecavanaughAug 25, 2004 at 1:59PM

Whoops. That should be: “Check out ‘Temptation.’”

John BarnesAug 25, 2004 at 2:00PM

CEASE AND DESIST, blue monday is not yours to give away! although maybe we would allow you to give away the football one (with the john barnes rap edited out, because that’s the good bit). I wonder if the RIAA will send me a cheque for dobbing you in?

PeterAug 25, 2004 at 2:01PM

I think this was mentioned in the movie, but New Order lost money on every Blue Monday 12” because the packaging (sleeve in the shape of a floppy disk) was so expensive.

Another tidbit about that song: it cane about when the band wanted to appease the audience betore having to do an encore while they, um.. “partied” back stage. they’d just let the drum machine go, then started adding some sequenced synths and such. someone decided it was good enough to put words to, and voila.. smash hit!

Khoi VinhAug 25, 2004 at 2:03PM

I don’t want to cast any aspersions on “Substance,” — and if you like it, more power to you — but to me it’s always been the least interesting representation of New Order. It includes lots of chaff, in my opinion, but then I’ve never been a fan of compilations. New New Order fans are better advised to start with “Power, Corruption & Lies” (one of the best Peter Saville covers ever) and “Low-life.” Just my two cents.

John BarnesAug 25, 2004 at 2:03PM

Blue monday is the kind of song that gets put on at the end of a wedding reception party, middle of the road acceptable stuff. to have just discovered it… ahh how quaint…

Marc CanterAug 25, 2004 at 2:23PM

Dude - you’re rocking!

24 hour Party People is an incredible documentary!

FYI in 1985 - when that scene exploded in Manchester - Joi Ito was DJing at the Metro in Chicago - when and where House was born.

I was up in the VIP lounge, trying to explain multimedia. I had learned video editing (on a B&W portapak) at the same building - in 1973.

liaAug 25, 2004 at 2:45PM

In 2002, someone released Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head mixed in with Blue Monday and she went and performed it that way live on the Brits. Here’s the live track, Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head (mp3, 3.32 MB).

MerlinAug 25, 2004 at 2:55PM

I’ve been watching 24HPP repeatedly to swipe Ian Curtis’ dance moves. I hope to singlehandedly displace krumping within a month or so.

derkAug 25, 2004 at 3:01PM

NOTE the part of the graphic designer in the movie – always too late, never on time.

Especially, the scene where the designer presents the cover for the new New Order album - inspired by, and shaped like a 1,4mb dikette.

One of the most memorable moments in record-sleeve-dsign-history!

coolmelAug 25, 2004 at 3:02PM

way cool! New Order pop-rocks! be sure to checkout “the early” Cure, Orchestral Maneouvers in the Dark (OMD), Joy Division, Tears for Fears, The Smiths, The Alarm, The Wild Swans, INXS, Information Society, Morissey, etc… lots of good stuff (as well as stuff that sucks) in the 80’s… http://www.nwoutpost.com/nwhist.html
damnit. this comment shows my age :)

JamieAug 25, 2004 at 3:06PM

Damn. You ARE late!

Mark HowellsAug 25, 2004 at 3:11PM

I’ll double up on the Smiths recommendation. I was always laughed away from the record deck at friends’ parties and accused of being “bloody miserable”. How can you not love a band featuring the best guitarist alive during the eighties, and a camp lead singer who sang:

“How can you stay with a fat girl who says:
“Would you like to marry me
and if you like you can buy the ring”?
She doesn’t care about anything
“Would you like to marry me
and if you like you can buy the ring”
I don’t dream about anyone
except myself”

chuggins™Aug 25, 2004 at 3:16PM

I agree with everything posted above, but frankly I’m kinda stunned that you’re just finding this music now. I grew up in northern Ontario and every high school dance from 1988 on* had Blue Monday and a Cure song in it somewhere.

*not that I’m saying I have attended every one since then, that would be far too weird, even for the internet. I started high school in ‘88 is all I’m sayin’.

At any rate, now that I’ve outed myself as a dork that attended high school dances, let’s get back to talking about you, not me. I’m just surprised you haven’t found this music sooner. Better late than never!

p2Aug 25, 2004 at 3:20PM

for the full mid-to-late manchester experience, might i suggest:

Ceremony - New Order
Do It Clean - Echo & The Bunnymen
“Elephant Stone”, “I Wanna Be Adored”, “She Bangs The Drums”, “Waterfall” - The Stone Roses
“Hallelujah” or “24 hour party people” - Happy Mondays;
“Hit The North” or “totally wired” - The Fall;
Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
Step On - Happy Mondays
“The Only One I Know” The Charlatans UK

MattAug 25, 2004 at 3:36PM

I guess I missed out. All my high school dances, starting about ‘93, had Nirvana and Pearl Jam and the like. 80s new wave doesn’t do it for me =(

quisAug 25, 2004 at 3:36PM

I like these music-orientated posts that are appearing here.

Without further ado, here are some recommendations:
“Decades” - Joy Division
“Dice Man” - The Fall
“New Order” - Dreams Never End

I’m not sure Oasis totally fit into the scope that are being discussed here, but since I’m not sure many of those from the other side of the Atlantic will have heard much you should check out “Live Forever”.

nemoAug 25, 2004 at 3:56PM

The best New Order song of all is “Mesh” off the first EP. It completely freaked me out.

Anyone who doesn’t agree with this statement should be tied down and beaten into a bloody pulp.

PeterAug 25, 2004 at 4:17PM

if you’re looking for a good 80s audio stream, try radioio80s. also available in itunes under Radio > 70s/80s Pop > radioio80s.

sixtoeAug 25, 2004 at 4:46PM

Don’t feel bad. I just “discovered” Echo and the Bunnymen about a year ago when I heard a clip of “Bring On The Dancing Horses” on an episode of the British show “Trigger Happy TV” and googled the lyrics to find out who this hot new band was.

heatherAug 25, 2004 at 4:57PM

i feel so old. i saw echo and the bunnymen in toronto in either 83 or 84 (second weirdest show only to alien sex fiend in kitchener, ontario).

i don’t know that i would call 24 hour party people a documentary… docu-drama perhaps?

haight street is awash in 80s style of late. it gives me a rash.

RickAug 25, 2004 at 5:07PM

What about some early Depeche Mode?

alokeAug 25, 2004 at 5:21PM

chuggins™, i thought it was the dorks who weren’t at the high school dance.

also 808 STATE fits in here somewhere

LazloAug 25, 2004 at 5:59PM

The Retro:Active discs on Hi-Bias Records are good collections of 80s new wave/synthpop — Erasure, The Dream Academy, Howard Jones, Alphaville, The Spoons, The Cure, Fuzzbox, Blancmange, OMD, The Beloved et al. are represented. They can be ordered from amazon.ca or from the label itself — amazon.com charges ridiculous import prices for them. The “Classic Alternatives” box gives you lots more material — it’s available in several different configurations of which the six-disc volume is most comprehensive (and can be had at Amazon, when it’s in stock, for under $20 — which makes up for the less-than-perfect sound quality).

If you’re really digging all that Factory stuff on the 24HrPP soundtrack, the Palatine box set will get you neck-deep into it. For the house/acid house material (Marshall Jefferson, 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald) the Moonshine “Classic Rave/Classic Acid” comps are excellent intros.

joergAug 25, 2004 at 6:32PM

After New Wave you might want to check out Nouvelle Vague (French for New Wave): cover versions of New Wave classics (Cure, PIL, Clash, Joy Devision) in Bossa Nova (Portuguese for New Wave) arrangements.

Scott JohnsonAug 25, 2004 at 6:36PM

Jason,

Aren’t you worried about some RIAA goons coming to your door and asking you to remove the MP3 from your site? The posting is admirable, but I wouldn’t have the balls to make such a post.

RobHAug 25, 2004 at 6:37PM

Just for the, er, record: Echo & The Bunnymen were/are from Liverpool, not Manchester.

jacobAug 25, 2004 at 7:14PM

It does seem staggeringly odd for somebody to be discovering New Order in 2004, but then again I’m a bit jealous, because this implies slipping through high school without ever having to hear Gene Loves Jezebel or EMF, without ever hating Dave Kendall, without wasting precious moments wondering about Morrissey’s nipple bandage. Wow!

(Also, for the, er, record: The “Blue Monday” record sleeve was probably not inspired by a 1,4MB diskette. 1983, you know.)

Buzz AndersenAug 25, 2004 at 7:22PM

My favorite album right now is Grand National’s “Kicking the National Habit.” It’s extremely reminiscent of New Order and the Police, so if you’re into that kind of stuff I’m sure you’d like it.

Oh, and Marc Canter: “24 Hour Party People” is not a documentary.

IanAug 25, 2004 at 7:26PM

It is my duty to say to any American who has not heard of them: STONE ROSES.

DaveAug 25, 2004 at 7:57PM

Welcome to the 80s!

Patrick H. LaukeAug 25, 2004 at 8:38PM

can you believe that they knocked down the hacienda about 2 years ago to build some fancy executive city living flats there…aptly named “the hacienda”?

BenAug 25, 2004 at 9:47PM

Try finding some music by “The Other Two”, its an offshoot of New order, likewise “Monaco” (which had 1 hit).

Then if you edge towards the Smiths and Pet Shop Boys try “Electronic” which is a mixture of various players out of those bands. Disappointed being the original track.

JoshAug 25, 2004 at 10:05PM

That Kylie / New Order mashup is pretty sweet!

If you are just getting into this music, all I can say is: buy “Heart and Soul,” the Joy Division box set, and get “Power, Corruption, and Lies.” You’ll never regret buying the Joy Division set, and the essays in the booklet are awesome. Another great find in the same period is A Certain Ratio — you can buy a great 2CD retrospective called “Early.” They are like Joy Division, only funky.

schianoAug 25, 2004 at 10:46PM

Wow, Kylie / New Order is actually a great mix… i definitely enjoy it, thank you!

Mike JangerAug 25, 2004 at 11:28PM

Definitely check out SineWave Radio. They have similar taste (mix in some punk, alternative and pop here and there), and keep mixing different things into the rotation (both old and new).

bonaldiAug 26, 2004 at 1:07AM

Someone from A Certain Ratio bought my good friend’s dad’s house. That makes me cool.

Ed StoneAug 26, 2004 at 6:23AM

May i just echo a previous comment and say: better late than never!

Also, the Kylie/Blue Monday track is by 2 many djs, from As heard on Radio soulwax Vol 2, which is an entire album of glorius mash-ups, all mixed together, inlcuding “Dreadlocked Woman” which is an amazing cross between “Dreadlock Holiday” (‘I don’t like cricket, i love it…’) by 10CC, and “Independent Woman” by destiny’s child.

2 many djs are a belgian duo, and they have done about 7 “as heard on…” albums which are unofficial releases (god bless soulseek) plus there really is a radio soulwax show with them on (but in belgium, obviously. lucky belgians). Some of those bootlegs are even better than the official release, because they couldn’t get copyright clearance for loads of the tracks.

more on all that here: http://www.2manydjs.org/

go. download, er, i mean, buy. enjoy.

and then there’s balance005, mixed by james holden - amazon link. The first CD of that is the best mix I have ever had the privilege of listening to. And i’ve listened to a lot of mix cds.

“You pick up this working girl, hooked on crack…”

ahhhh. excuse me, i must go and listen to it right now.

MattAug 26, 2004 at 6:34AM

Crikey, you’re late! I think I have coolmel’s record collection. P,C+L is something you need, clearly. Watch out, there are some dreary NO albums and tracks too. Personally, I really liked Shellshock (single, ‘86?) - it had the same mix of punchiness and symphony as Blue Monday.

Coming late to the MADchester scene but yearn for familiar beats ? try the Stone Roses remixes album (Amazon UK - has reviews).

paul haineAug 26, 2004 at 6:45AM

If you like Joy Division/New Order, you might like The Killers as well…

yenayerAug 26, 2004 at 7:45AM

Why don’t use Musicplasma and check all the groups related to New Order .. The Cure .. OMD .. Joy Division .. u will get the whole picture

Sean MeadeAug 26, 2004 at 7:51AM

iirc, ‘Electronic’ is Bernard Sumner from new order and Johnny Marr from the Smiths (ie, not the Pet Shop Boys).

i love their song ‘getting away with it’, so bought the first, self-titled album, but haven’t really liked anything else by them.

PeterAug 26, 2004 at 8:09AM

Sean: correct, but Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys did some guest vocals.

gummiAug 26, 2004 at 9:04AM

Sean/Peter > the whole PSB and Elec. collaborated on the track ‘Patience of a Saint.’ On the first album.

The 1988 re-release of Blue Monday had a fantastic B-side, an instrumental version of the track, remixed. Technique is worth a look, too.

Mr. SunAug 26, 2004 at 9:06AM

I was late to find 24 Hour Party People too, and loved it — but promise me you’ll find and play New Order’s Temptation and then tell me how you feel when he booms:

Thoughts from above hit the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go

Man that creeps me out in a good way.

Tom DolanAug 26, 2004 at 10:13AM

Jason, it’s been mentioned above but what makes you think it’s right for you to distribute this music at will? I’ve worked for the band, and while flattered by your enjoyment, I’m sure they’d be displeased at your promotion (as will the legal owners of the recording, Warner Bros Records). Personal philosophy about copyright is fine, but as you choose, shouldn’t an owner have the right to proscribe terms of use of their content?

John BAug 26, 2004 at 10:42AM

Well, Jason’s DLs will lose them less money than selling copies of the record ;-)

GrahamAug 26, 2004 at 11:00AM

Wot no Public Image Limited? Gang of Four? Wire?

liaAug 26, 2004 at 12:36PM

as will the legal owners of the recording, Warner Bros Records

Not that this answers what you’ve said head on, but Warner Bros quite recently sent mp3s out to mp3 bloggers as part of a PR campaign blitz. I’d be very surprised if the music industry hasn’t been covertly sending stuff out to mp3 bloggers as well as seeding P2P file sharing networks and striking conversations on forums to start underground buzz for certain acts. Jason has at least 15k readers any given day, if he wasn’t a friend I’d be questioning whether WB put him up to this to drum up interest in New Order’s catalog.

(And don’t even get me started about how appalling it is that the labels don’t let musicians own their own life’s work. Prince talks about this in interviews with Rocky Mountain News and Wired published just this month.)

LalitreeAug 26, 2004 at 12:37PM

can you believe that they knocked down the hacienda about 2 years ago to build some fancy executive city living flats there…aptly named “the hacienda”?

Apparently in the ads for the condos the slogan was “The party’s over…it’s time to come home” or something like that. I thought that pretty clever and kinda sad at the same time.

jkottkeAug 26, 2004 at 12:54PM

I think this was mentioned in the movie, but New Order lost money on every Blue Monday 12” because the packaging (sleeve in the shape of a floppy disk) was so expensive.

I remember it from the movie, but it might be a myth:

“this is incorrect and a common misconception. The sleeve of the 12” cost so much that it denied Factory an extra profit of just under a penny (UK) on each copy sold. Peter was determined to keep the ‘floppy’ sleeve and convinced Factory to go with the idea. However, demand and production cost and timings meant that the sleeve became progressively more simple with each repressing. The profits from the sale of ‘Blue Monday’ were large to say the least”

I agree with everything posted above, but frankly I’m kinda stunned that you’re just finding this music now. I grew up in northern Ontario and every high school dance from 1988 on* had Blue Monday and a Cure song in it somewhere.

Then Northern Ontario was a cooler place than Northern Wisconsin. The only music I ever listened to as a kid was top 40, heavy metal, and country (the latter two not by choice). That’s all the radio stations played and I didn’t have any cool friends who knew about music smuggled in from the “outside world”, so that sort of limited my options music-wise.

And it’s not that I’ve never heard of or listened to music by New Order, The Cure, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, etc. (although I’d never heard of Happy Mondays before I saw the film), but I definitely missed most of it at the time and haven’t before considered it all together in context as New Wave. As with art or movies, it’s sometimes hard to appreciate something unless you know a bit about how it fits into the grand scheme of things.

jkottkeAug 26, 2004 at 12:56PM

Jason, it’s been mentioned above but what makes you think it’s right for you to distribute this music at will? I’ve worked for the band, and while flattered by your enjoyment, I’m sure they’d be displeased at your promotion (as will the legal owners of the recording, Warner Bros Records). Personal philosophy about copyright is fine, but as you choose, shouldn’t an owner have the right to proscribe terms of use of their content?

I absolutely do not have the right to distribute anyone’s music without their permission. If asked by New Order, Warner Bros., or the RIAA, I will gladly remove it from my server. As for why I’m doing it, a few random thoughts:

- I’m not permanently hosting mp3 files on my server. They’ll stay on there for a few days and then I’ll delete them.

- I’m not charging for the mp3.

- Because I posted that song, I’ve got fifty people (so far) discussing New Order and their music, nearly all of it complimentary. Thousands read the post and the ensuing thread yesterday. About 1000 people downloaded the song in a 12-hour period. Perhaps all that interest will spur some purchasing in the future, in the form of CDs or concert tickets. According to my Amazon Associates reports, one person has already purchased a 24 Hour Party Party DVD. Not a justification, but something to consider.

- Sales of Blue Monday will not be negatively affected by this post. No one who read this post or downloaded the mp3 was, prior to yesterday, waiting for an opportunity like this to find a free copy of Blue Monday rather than purchasing a copy. That is, if you’re trying to say that 1000 downloads of the mp3 equals $1000 in losses for Warner Bros. (1000 copies @ 99 cents/copy), that’s just plain wrong. Besides, Blue Monday is already freely available on mp3…it’ll take you about 4 seconds to find hundreds of copies on Kazaa or Usenet. It seems unlikely that the particular copy that I’m offering for a few days will be used by anyone down the line to significantly affect Warner Bros’ or New Order’s ability to make money selling music. Again, not a justification.

- My use of New Order’s content in this way seems to me to adhere to the spirit of fair use, although it definitely isn’t fair use legally. In my opinion, because of the Internet (among other things), copyright law needs to be adjusted for the benefit of society at large *and* for the companies and artists who wish to make money selling music.

- I’m quite willing to have my mind changed on all of this. I really believe that there is almost no downside for New Order, Warner Bros., or the RIAA in my posting a single New Order mp3 to my site for a limited time and that there is the potential for a lot of upside for them, but maybe I’m missing something. You’ll have to make a pretty strong argument though…I’ve listened to a lot of them over the past few years and nothing’s convinced me so far.

Some related links:
Morning News roundtable with mp3 bloggers
USA Today article on mp3 bloggers
MP3Blogs Aggregator
Warner Bros is using mp3 blogs to promote their music
Bjork says, “God bless the internet”
Jeff Veen on How I stopped buying CDs and started loving music

TatoAug 26, 2004 at 12:58PM

Check out some early Depeche Mode. “Black Celebration” and “Behind the wheel”, just to name a few songs.

Though I’m not completely sure it can be labeled as New Age, it’s still good stuff!

barlowAug 26, 2004 at 1:17PM

I second the recommendations for the Smiths, though I guess I grew up not believing they were “new wave” because there are almost no computers in their music; 12 tracks of guitar work, yes, but nothing very key-boardy. A modern band that sounds Smiths-like (started by a guy who grew up listening to the Smiths) is the Pernice Brothers; you can check them out on iTunes.

The thing that amazes me about the Cure is that this is stuff I was nearly beaten up for listening to as a kid in the rural south and now I hear “Pictures of You” in an HP commercial, and the music sounds as well-recorded and engineered as any music being made today. Same goes for the Pixies as far as being way ahead of their time.

Jason, I guess the only concern about the download is that though you’ve presented great reasons why doing what you’re doing *should* be legal, that doesn’t make it legal, in fact. I would just hate to see you get in trouble or fined or both.

Don WakefieldAug 26, 2004 at 1:50PM

what makes you think it’s right for you to distribute this music at will?

While I haven’t downloaded the sample, I probably will, to finalize my decision whether to order a New Order CD. Based on all the chatter here, I’ll probably be dropping twenty or thirty bucks at the iTunes Music Store, and buy at least two CDs. You are correct that the label legally controls these tunes, and can restrict their access as they please.

This doesn’t change the fact that I would not have spent any money on these guys without the great discussion that Jason’s infringement has engendered. Chew on that.

rabAug 26, 2004 at 1:58PM

I am unashamed to admit I grew up in this era; I saw New Order play live twice in their prime and used to make trips to the Hacienda to see most of the afore mentioned bands play in their natural habitat. Great times :)
I had always (rather naively) believed that most of the British scene was lost on the US and am heartened by the responses in this thread. While we’re on the subject of 80’s underground legends, somebody has to mention spacemen3 and the jesus and mary chain - these bands had a profound effect on my outlook on music.

JeremyAug 26, 2004 at 3:54PM

I’d second the Pernice Brothers recommendation - Joe Pernice is also an unabashed New Order fan (aping a riff from Low Life on one of the tracks on their most recent LP, Yours, Mine, and Ours, in addition to covering Leave Me Alone off Power, Corruption, and Lies on a previous effort (under the moniker Chappaquiddick Skyline). Their full catalog is available directly from the band at www.pernicebrothers.com.

I too saw New Order a few times (once on a bill with Echo and the Bunnymen at a show where Ian MacCullough was so drunk he fell off the stage and hurt his leg, so he spent the remainder of the show sitting on the edge of the stage). The one thing that stands out in my memories of New Order live is that Bernard Sumner had a tendency to step out of the spotlight when not singing, giving the eerie impression that they were awaiting the second coming of Ian Curtis…

BrianAug 26, 2004 at 5:21PM

Joy Division/New Order has always been one of my favorites. I remember buying the imports of Everything’s Gone Green and Movement. Dreams Never End is a great one. Like Ceremony, I think it was originally written by Joy Division. I had a fit when I first saw The Perfect Kiss video on MTV in like 85. Amazing. I finally got to see them live when they toured for Technique, I think. They played with PIL and The Sugarcubes.

24 Hour Party People was a good movie. I wrote blurb about it last year. It’s on the bottom of this page if any wants to read.

Becky FAug 26, 2004 at 5:29PM

Ah New Order. A band almost without equal, except for maybe the Smiths. Glad you’ve discovered some brilliant music, Jason, even if it’s later than some did. I’m still listening to it all 17 years after I first found it.

Also: Ed Stone-I am obsessed with PQM’s brilliant track “You Are Sleeping” (“you pick up this working girl…”). Heard it on the really excellent Sharam Global Underground Toronto Mix. I’d love to hear that dropped late night in a club. “Black AM” is another great track on the Sharam mix. I look forward to checking out the Holden mix…thanks for the rec!

Anonymous CowardAug 26, 2004 at 7:00PM

You are not so smart my friend.

Be prepared to pay out the *ss for lawyers when multiple parties decide to sue you….. or worse, attempt to make an example of you over a track from 10+ years ago.

Better get a good lawyer now…..

MattAug 26, 2004 at 7:39PM

Above all else, ‘Closer’ by Joy Division is a definative album. ‘The Eternal’ and ‘Decades’ are two of the best songs ever written…

Earl HammersmithAug 26, 2004 at 8:26PM

If you like New Order, and want to tap into the vein of the greatest music ever, you need to follow the labels that this music originally appeared on.

New Order are not a Warners group. That shit spewing den of dogs could never release a group like New Order. They are a Factory Records group. You need to listen to Section 25, The Durutti Column, A Certain Ratio, and all the other truely great groups that appeared on that classic and most great of labels, run by the genius Tony Wilson.

That music is orders of magnitude better than the garbage of today. I know you want more. Rough Trade records released so many pieces of fantastic music that you will never again have to suffer the trash that crap groups currently assail you with. Early Mute records are an excellent source. SubRosa, early 4AD records, Beggars Banquet, Postcard, Early Creation Records….that is more than enough to be getting on with.

Before you die, you must hear “Colossal Youth” by Young Marble Giants.
Before you die, you must hear the first three LPs by Wire.

Then, you can die knowing that there is nothing more.

And as for your rationale behind posting the file, no amount of logic, explanation or reason will save you from the RIAA monster when it flashes its teeth at you. Of course, you are completely right, what you are doing can only help Warners sell CDs. But they are not interested in that. They are not interested in the fact that like a radio DJ, you are simply playing a song, in a delayed and piecemeal fashion. They are stupid. That is why they will never release a group like New Order, and it is left to the independent labels to embrace both the new groups, and the new technologies.

hanxAug 26, 2004 at 8:27PM

I discovered New Order some 12 years ago. In 1989 my dad came back from Moscow where he was working for a german company building the very first compact disc factory of the (then) Soviet Union. He brought back strangely silkscreened CDs with multiple layers of paint on them, some completely transparent, some half-shiny half transparent - test CDs that were faulty. Some of them were looking quite normal but we didn’t have a CD player back then so I just put some of them on the wall for decoration and that was about it. 2 years later my dad bought a CD player and while not having too many CDs i dug out those russian ones very excited to hear what’s on them. Most of them were unplayable but there was one that caught my attention. It took me another few years to find out it was actually the Substance album from NO but I was hooked on their music from the very first moment I heard it.

I was listening to Blue Monday as I drove home from work tonight and then I read this post and I just felt like I need to write all this down.
(Sorry for the long and preposterous babble)

CTAug 27, 2004 at 12:40AM

Yikes, welcome to the ’80s.

If you take a liking to New Order, you might like the acoustic version of Bizarre Love Triangle performed by Frente (search the usual spots for it; “usual” meaning Amazon or iTunes, of course ;) ).

Torley WongAug 27, 2004 at 2:42AM

Wow! Way cool! [b]Flashback![/b]

And on a tangent, don’t forget DarkMateria’s “Picard Song” which has a nice riff on this.

Thanks Jason! :)

SharynAug 27, 2004 at 10:41AM

Ah the, memories. I was lucky enough to find older, music savvy friends in my small town…who smuggled music from the outside world to our nearly-rural Minnesotan burb. This led to me seeing some fab shows. In ‘87, The Cure on their Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me tour at the old Met Center. Depeche Mode playing Northrop Auditorium in ‘88. And in ‘89 PiL and The Sugarcubes, playing at St. Paul’s old Civic Center, with New Order. That was definitely a favorite.

Tom DolanAug 27, 2004 at 11:07AM

Jason, I think you know me well enough to know that I understand your points. I also understand the value of publicity and promotion, and as all who have mentioned it have said, this thread is likely to lead to purchases of New Order material benefiting all business parties involved. It’s also arguable that editorial or critical debate on the song makes the posting of the MP3 fair use—though as you note, that argument would likely not hold up under duress (posting an excerpt would likely be fine).

I agree with you that copyright law needs to be adjusted, and I know you appreciate many of the complexities involved. That said, (for an outrageous example, just to make it personal) I think you’d agree that if someone chose to start selling a book called The Wisdom of Kottke without your permission, and made a million dollars, you’d persue legal action supported by the fine print at the bottom of your layout. Getting ripped off hurts when you’re the artist. The fact that you’re giving something away (that someone else is selling) doesn’t make the issue much different, and free, unlimited distribution can be even more injurious to a product than for-profit illegal trade. Note: people often make the side note about concerts, t-shirts, etc. upselling if music is given away but these are not revenue streams controlled by the record label. In most cases the record label simply buys one thing from the artist: the exclusive right to reproduce their recordings. Also of note is that this is a business relationship that the artist has willingly entered into—they have sold the rights to the music to publishing and distribution companies.

My simple bottom line is this: An owner should have the indisputable right to set the terms that surround the distribution of the creative work, excepting fair use and public domain. As someone who makes their living doing creative work, I cannot imagine it any other way. However well intentioned or even beneficial it may be, New Order (or in this case the licensed owners of the work, Warner Bros) should [and do] have the right to say, “No thanks, we’d prefer to not have the type of publicity and promotion distribution that you think is good for us. We get to decide what we think is good for us, not you.” This is how it is with the content on Kottke.org—you control the terms of distribution, and rightly so.

In the end, I fear that all this type of practice ultimately will spawn is more difficulty for artists trying to make a living, more restrictive legislation, and more user-unfriendly rights management technology. That’s a lose-lose-lose.

Tom DolanAug 27, 2004 at 11:12AM

PS: Earl, I’m well acquainted with New Order’s history and I own an almost complete set of recordings produced by Factory. I heartily second all the bands you mention. Sadly, in today’s file-sharing environment, it’s the small independent labels (the Factorys of today) that are suffering the most and the true indie is a species at risk of disappearing altogether. I work with them, and I see the issue first hand everyday.

liaAug 27, 2004 at 4:05PM

Sadly, in today’s file-sharing environment, it’s the small independent labels (the Factorys of today) that are suffering the most and the true indie is a species at risk of disappearing altogether. I work with them, and I see the issue first hand everyday.

Oh please.

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats has said: I am totally in favor of tape trading, and file sharing never did anything wrong by me. People got into The Mountain Goats after downloading my stuff. The only people who are afraid of file sharing are the people whose albums are so dull presentation-wise that nobody cares about owning the actual finished product, and the people who have so little connection to their listeners that said listeners have no reason to care whether the artists they like are getting reimbursed for their efforts.’

Indie labels and distributors can’t afford the massive PR blitzes the majors use to promote their artists. They frequently give away the catchiest songs on albums (i.e. would-be singles) as mp3s as a way to get listeners like me interested in music. You’d be hard pressed to find a single fan of indie rock who can’t tell you they’ve gotten interested in at least a dozen bands, bought their records and tickets to their shows, because they first downloaded mp3s off of sites like Epitonic, mp3 blogs and filesharing networks. If anything, file sharing is surely in the running for best thing to ever happen to indie labels and their artists.

LazloAug 27, 2004 at 4:14PM

Check out some early Depeche Mode. “Black Celebration” and “Behind the wheel”, just to name a few songs.

Thank you for making me feel about 70 years old by calling “Behind The Wheel” early Depeche Mode.

liaAug 27, 2004 at 4:22PM

Also of note is that this is a business relationship that the artist has willingly entered into—they have sold the rights to the music to publishing and distribution companies.

“Willingly” is such a charming word, it’s not as if even the luckiest of new bands caught in bidding wars between major labels have the option to retain their rights.

As Courtney Love points out in her marvellous treatise on how labels screw artists over way back in 2000: Record companies stand between artists and their fans. We signed terrible deals with them because they controlled our access to the public. (…) When you look at the legal line on a CD, it says copyright 1976 Atlantic Records or copyright 1996 RCA Records. When you look at a book, though, it’ll say something like copyright 1999 Susan Faludi, or David Foster Wallace. Authors own their books and license them to publishers. When the contract runs out, writers gets their books back. But record companies own our copyrights forever.

John BlazeAug 27, 2004 at 4:28PM

There is a re-mix floating around done around the 91’-93’ rave/acid-house craziness. The orig. warps me back to grade school…. One of the best dance tracks of all-time. If you can the find the 90’s remix… hit me up.

John

Tom DolanAug 27, 2004 at 9:11PM

Lisa, you’re right indies (and majors) frequently make the choice to give free tracks away as promotion. It’s the wholesale distribution of whole albums that cuts into sales, and you’re just rationalizing if you think that doesn’t hurt any organization trying to stay afloat by selling music. Artists indeed may benefit from file-sharing, or giving away their music for free in many ways, if they can turn that into a fan base that will pay to see them perform, buy t-shirts, etc., but a record label (usually) sees none of that revenue. The artist (legally, and I’d argue ethically) doesn’t even have the right to say whether it’s okay or not, as they have sold that perogative to the label when they made their deal.

Lia, you’re right as well, record labels screw artists. Pirate CD manufacturing plants in Mexico screw artists. The guy selling CDs in Times Square screws artists. People giving away something an artist is trying to sell [arguably] screws artists—but in the end, I’m not debating the business model, my simple stance is it’s the legal owner’s right to be the entity that determines how promotion is done.

As I said above, I completely agree (with you, Jason, and Courtney) that copyright is in need of very serious reform. I don’t think that fact justifies file-sharing or [if I’m an artist or owner] you making the decisions for me. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

EmilyAug 27, 2004 at 11:54PM

Check out The Cure’s “The Walk” off of Japanese Whispers (1983). The sound is very similar to “Blue Monday” and the two songs came out within a few weeks of each other. Robert Smith got major flak for it, although he claims it was a coincidence.

Tom DolanAug 28, 2004 at 1:23PM

Woops, Lia (sorry not Lisa)—that’s what I get for writing late at night. Final thougths: Thinking and legislation that surrounds copyright desperately needs to evolve. Relationships between creators and publishing, manufacturing, and distribution entities also need to evolve to address inequities. The engine of technology will [hopefully] ensure that this happens, as (so well demonstrated by Kottke.org and Josh Marshall, etc) individual voices, without corporate champions, become more viable competitors for mass attention.

In the meantime, see file-sharing and Jason’s post for what it is: civil disobedience, getting something that has value for free illicitly, and an infringement on the rights of the owner. Again, as a creative professional myself, I ask is my rights be respected, and in turn, I think it only honest for me to respect the rights of others—regardless of whether I like the terms they have set. If I didn’t know Jason better, I might contend this whole thread is a stunt to get publicity and attention from mainstream media as the MP3 bloggers did so successfully with their Warner-NY Times dust-up. ;)

Andrei HerasimchukAug 28, 2004 at 3:44PM

Tom and I have had a conversation over this issue before. He knows I’m in large agreement with him on this issue. A few points.

I’m not permanently hosting mp3 files on my server. They’ll stay on there for a few days and then I’ll delete them.

That’s an irrelevant point, and shouldn’t factor into one’s decision on whether to go above and beyond current copyright law.

I’m not charging for the mp3.

But do you make money from your web site? Does your web site help in promoting you as an artist or designer, from which you make money? If so, then you are indirectly making money from posting the MP3 and promoting yourself and popularity.

Because I posted that song, I’ve got fifty people (so far) discussing New Order and their music, nearly all of it complimentary.

I’m sure that would largely be the case without posting the song and just making the comment. You’re high enough profile that this would be the case I’m sure.

Thousands read the post and the ensuing thread yesterday. About 1000 people downloaded the song in a 12-hour period.

So, if New Order is selling that single for $2.00 a pop in stores, then you just cost them $2,000 in one day. Chump change for them for sure, but factor it in if 100 popular blogs and web sites across the planet did the same and received the same traction with the song. And then factor that over a longer period of time. It all adds up.

Perhaps all that interest will spur some purchasing in the future, in the form of CDs or concert tickets.

The keyword here is “perhaps.” What right do you have to help promote New Order on the “hope” you might be able to help them sell more albums, concert tickets, or whatnot? Why does New Order not have the right to take such a risk willingly? Just because you think you might be able to help them out with some potential financial risk, no matter how large or small?

According to my Amazon Associates reports, one person has already purchased a 24 Hour Party Party DVD. Not a justification, but something to consider.

Again, would they have bought that DVD from the comment alone? Was the MP3 absolutely required?

Sales of Blue Monday will not be negatively affected by this post. No one who read this post or downloaded the mp3 was, prior to yesterday, waiting for an opportunity like this to find a free copy of Blue Monday rather than purchasing a copy.

You have no way to prove for or against this statement. This is a red herring point of debate.

Besides, Blue Monday is already freely available on mp3…it’ll take you about 4 seconds to find hundreds of copies on Kazaa or Usenet.

That does not mean the song is free. That’s an incorrect way of thinking about this issue, imho.

My use of New Order’s content in this way seems to me to adhere to the spirit of fair use, although it definitely isn’t fair use legally. In my opinion, because of the Internet (among other things), copyright law needs to be adjusted for the benefit of society at large *and* for the companies and artists who wish to make money selling music.

I would even say if the copyright laws changed — as they rightly need to catch up with technology — this particular example would still not fall into fair use. Let’s look at an extreme example.

Say a white power organization did the same thing you just did. They posted the song because the love New Order and they love the name of the band. They post the song on their website and talk about how great the band is and get more people who want to join white power organizations from the community discussion that surrounds it. And it works to help them get 1000 people to download the song and they have 1000 new leads to attempt to recruit.

Should New Order be able to stop that group from using their music for their cause? No money is made by the white power group when they do this, just good old American free speech is generated.

What’s the difference between your “fair use” of the song and the white power’s organization’s “fair use?” When is New Order able to prevent either of you from using the song in basically the same fashion, even though your goals are entirely different? At what point does New Order get the right to say, “stop using what we created for your own purposes.”

I’m quite willing to have my mind changed on all of this. I really believe that there is almost no downside

The downside is the slippery slope. When the creator or artist of a creation loses control over their work unwillingly, we all lose. Tom said this already, although not in direct relation to the point I’m trying to make. More legislation might come to muddy the waters even more drastically than it is now, people are already becoming more trained to think they deserve artist work for basically free, and artists might start to make less money to live or have less incentive to create.

People need to stop thinking of the file sharing issue as largely a way to stick it to the record labels, IMHO. There’s far larger issues at work on this and the ramifications of various positions need to be thought through in more detail than just thinking people should have access to whatever they want to access to because it’s easy in the digital age.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m glad to see you discover New Order. They are one of my favorite bands. Tom gave me a gift of New Order’s Low Life, shrink-wrapped with the original vellum sleeve! A Peter Saville classic that I’m keeping for all time. And my favorite album from the band.

As an artist and designer, I’m sad to see you post an MP3 in this manner further promoting the idea that all this stuff should be freely available without regard to what the creator of the music/writing/photo/design wishes. I think that’s dangerous territory.

Civil disobedience is fine. Just fess up to that if that’s what you are trying to do. But all those justifications you posted ring false to me.

Andrei HerasimchukAug 28, 2004 at 4:06PM

Lia, for every John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, there are artists who don’t favor file sharing. That just means there are multiple sides to this discussion.

The real issue is what is the right thing to do in the grand scheme of things regarding copyrights and content. What about copyright law needs to be changed? Just how far does the public’s right go when compared to artist’s rights? And how can we foster a creative community that can thrive in the future given changes to the copyright laws?

Digital technology has made it easier for people to be lazy with regard to paying for content, especially music and soon to be movies and high-res photography. Books will also follow once they become more accepted as fully digital. This will happen in less than 10 years, mark my words.

Yet, we are creating a dangerous mindset that copying anything digitally isn’t illegal or harmful, at least this is the thinking in the general public at large. (Ask around.)

Imagine it this way: Back when folks invented the combustible engine, they couldn’t have forseen the enormous problems pollution would be one hundred years later in the form of airplanes and automobiles. Actually, with some imagination and thought on the scale of using combustible engines across the planet, I’m sure they could have, and potentially even planned for how to deal with it. But, at this stage, the automobile and combustible engine have fostered a culture of people that believe driving is a God given right or that we have an economy that relies on it such there is no other way around it when clearly we are heading for disaster less than a century from now.

We have fostered a dependence on oil and gas. We as a society and culture have allowed that too happen and have been lazy in our responsibility to the planet in what harm we are doing.

We didn’t think ahead.

While not on the same scale, digital technology is fostering a laziness in people right now in how they think about acquring content. What needs to be done is rigorous thinking about what digital technology means to artists and content creators, and their relationship to the public and their audience.

I’m glad John Darnielle digs file sharing. More power to him. But there’s more going on here that needs to be discussed.

jamieSep 01, 2004 at 5:02AM

a guy i used to work with did the video promo clip for one of the official blue monday remixes. it was only about 3 years after i met him that this was revealed when he sent me his cv. i asked him how he could not go around saying “hi! i worked with new order!” when meeting people, but i’m an asswipe and he’s not.

Stephen ClarkSep 03, 2004 at 10:30PM

The further we move away from the 1980’s, the more I listen to “new wave” and “alternative” music from that time period, and the more I realize what an amazing time that was for truely groundbreaking music.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.