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Calling musicians to speak out (literally) for file-sharing

Halsey Burgund hears voices.

The 31-year-old Bedford musician is fascinated with words: with the ways people speak them, with the shades of meaning they can convey, with what they tell us about ourselves. Traveling around with a wooden recording booth, Burgund tapes strangersí conversations and recitations, later melding their random musings with music he composes. He calls the project "Bring Your Own Voice."

Many of the songs are available on an album called Words and Voices, released under Burgundís "Aesthetic Evidence" moniker. But now Burgund is working on a new project. Heís inviting musicians to log on to a special recording interface on his Web site (www.aevidence.com) and record eight words, which heíll later work into musical compositions: "I am a musician and I support file-sharing." If you want, you can also talk a little about why you do.

Burgund has his own reasons. "Itís a great way to spread my music around, and a great way of hearing music that other people are making," he says, adding that the record companies who decry it as a way to steal money from musiciansí pockets are telling only half the story. "File-sharing is a technology that musicians can benefit tremendously from."

Still, Burgund wants to make it clear that this project is not a call to steal music. "I do support copyright, of course. I make a living by creating material and, in one way or another, selling it," he says. "Iím not trying to incite everyone to go out and download as much copyrighted material as possible." At the same time, Burgund sees big business twisting copyright laws to benefit its own pecuniary interests rather than to spread culture and foster creativity.

Of the dozen or so performers whoíve submitted spoken-word samples so far, probably the best known is multimedia artist DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid (a/k/a Paul D. Miller). Academic, artist, and activist Kembrew McLeod, author of Freedom of Expression®: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity (Doubleday), also added his two cents. But, says Burgund, "I really feel strongly about wanting to get voices of anybody who wants to speak on this. I think it would be less compelling to have it be filled only with famous people."

File-sharing has created a world where music fans are not just consumers, but active participants, and Burgund has taken that to heart, making it easy to record your thoughts. Just have a computer equipped with a free Macromedia Flash plug-in, and follow the instructions on the site. Says Burgund, "Nobody needs to do anything except make sure their microphone is on."

To record your pro-file-sharing message, visit Burgundís Web site at www.aevidence.com/filesharing/filesharing.php.

Issue Date: July 29 - August 4, 2005
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