Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Crystal Castles = Thieving Bastards?

A video here
A weblog there
An even older weblog there.

So Crystal Castles have been copping 8-bit songs wholesale, not crediting samples, and one of their t-shirt/album cover designs hasn't been paid for after they discovered who the artist was. Even on of their early logos (Chanel) and their name (an excellent old computer game) are taken from other sources. It begs the question 'Has anything Crystal Castles created been their own work? '

And yet no questions have been answered by the band. They've made statements about the t-shirt sales in Vice (rebuked by the artist in the blog above), but nothing about the music has come up yet. One of the songs they've lifted has been recredited to the original creator in a roundabout way on Myspace (Crystal Castles versus Lo-bat), yet other songs which have been made commercially available have not. So they've made money from the work of others that they've repackaged as their own.

Part of me suspects the music press doesn't want to pose the questions. They'd would be showing themselves as fools for being duped by a band who once claimed they got their 8-bit sound from wiring an Atari sound chip into a keyboard. The other part of me wonders if they don't want to slaughter the fatted calf. Crystal Castles have been hailed in some parts as genuine contenders, a real hot new tip. To shoot them the poison arrow doesn't benefit the industry, who presumably have spent some serious cash to get this band the insane level of exposure they've had over the last couple of years. They've been everywhere, even getting a guest spot on oversexed, overdrugged, overcut teen drama Skins.

And if you damage bands that have cost a lot of money to build up, you lose access to other bands in the future. Everyone keep smiling, and don't ask those questions in the interview or they'll walk (good on Vice for having the stones to sneak it in at the end of the interview).

I hope I'm proved wrong here, and that the music press steps up to openly ask the questions. But the more time that passes, the less interesting the story is. Are the band just waiting it out?

So, while not too many people outside the 8-bit community seem to give a toss about this story, I have to say it's something I feel very strongly about. Not only is theft of this kind wrong, but it damages the rights of artists who choose not to copyright their work in order to allow non-profit creative collaboration and use. The Creative Commons licensing system is only as good as the weakest link, and if Crystal Castles can get away with this level of alleged thievery there is a strong chance CC licences won't be worth the pixels they're displayed with.

Come on Crystal Castles, 'fess up!!!
Come on, indie press. Have some stones! Do your job!!!

1 comment:

ksine1 said...

great job on this! this is ultimately about the laziness of 'journalists' to even research the music they write about, the laziness of 'artists' to even bother creating their own sounds, and ulimately the laziness of the 'fans' who don't want the shint new bubble they got sucked into to burst! overall lazy leeches of music biz sucking eachother, and cryscraps music conveys the bloated empty mindedness that new dance music has become. cryscraps don't even cut it as camp electroclash..which they also copy so naively.