If Pink Floyd gets its way, you won’t be downloading single songs from the group’s catalog much longer. The longtime British band won a High Court ruling this week against record company EMI regarding online sales of the group’s music. Floyd wants its listeners to consume its works as originally intended—in the context of a complete album.
In a career spanning more than 40 years, Pink Floyd has released very few singles, most notably 1973’s “Money” from the classic Dark Side of the Moon and “Another Brick in the Wall” from 1982’s The Wall. To be sure, the majority of Floyd’s works, from Animals to Wish You Were Here to A Momentary Lapse of Reason are, for all intents and purposes, concept records. As such, its not hard to understand the band’s wanting listeners to hear all songs in their proper respective context.
According to published reports, EMI plans to fight the ruling indicating their contention that the term “record” in their contract with the band constitutes a “physical thing” (ala a record album or CD) and does not apply to online distribution. I find EMI’s line of thinking ludicrous and as disrespectful to the integrity of the artists’ work (physical, digital or otherwise) as those illegal downloaders they and other record companies spend so much time and money fighting each year.
As to who is right and who is wrong? I would suggest sitting down in a comfortable chair in a room with soft lighting, throwing on a pair of headphones, closing your eyes and listening to Dark Side from beginning to end. The answer will soon make itself apparent—in stereo.