I read somewhere that "Wendy" was a made-up name, from Peter Pan. Wikipedia has better information, as one might expect, but it doesn't matter since this is about a real Wendy, and her name is presumably not her fault. The Wendy in question is Wendy Waldman, a famous singer and songwriter. I am a fan. I have a number of her records, which term I use to denote the 12" vinyl disks that were in vogue a number of years ago. I came by these in the usual number-of-years-ago way, too. I either bought them from stores, found them in cut-out bins, or were given them by friends who were on promo lists. I had, I thought, all of her albums, the last of them being the 1987 gem "Letters Home."
Did I mention that I was a fan? I listened to these albums endlessly. I love her songwriting. I love her singing. I would consider writing one of those gushing encomia of her oeuvre with a bit of lit-crit thrown in about the lyrics, and suitable metaphors for her stunning delivery but for the fact that I've never done that and would rather practice in private. I still listen to these albums endlessly. So I hope Wendy will forgive me for what I did, ca. 2000: I went to Napster to look for Wendy Waldman music that I did not already possess. And I found some. Specifically, I found the song "Living is Good." I downloaded it from Napster. I listened to it and listened to it some more...
I'm almost certain that I've mentioned that I'm a Wendy Waldman fan. So, I was surprised and interested when I encountered a long letter from her that was published in a recording magazine to which I subscribe. It appeared under this heading:
Mix magazine and I received numerous letters about my Oct. 2000 Insider Audio [Paul Lehrman] column, "Caught Napstering." Songwriter Wendy Waldman's response is, not surprisingly, the most articulate. Many other responses have followed, and they appear here as well.
Fortunately the original article and responses remain available, at least as of today. (And, despite my proven penchant for sending "letters to the editor," I did not participate and this grouping is Richard-free.) Wendy's letter, a passionate criticism of downloading, engendered no guilt in me since I legitimately possess her actual physical records. And since this was in the day before there were licensed online music stores, I did not have the option of purchasing "Living is Good" for $.99 or whatever.
Wendy, who had to my knowledge no recent solo albums, was in a band called Bryndle. Of course I owned the CD, which had come out in 1995. I'm not sure when I purchased it, or exactly when and where I discovered that they were working on a second album, but that notice inspired me to look it up on the internet. I found their web site, and in the process of trying to order the second Bryndle album, did my best to help Wendy with the groceries. Here's my letter to Bryndle's record company, which also manned the Waldman discography:
26 December 2001
I would like to advance-order the new album, and possibly backorder the "Best of WW" album if it's going to become available again. Will you accept a backorder to save my trying to remember?
And while I'm asking questions:
I remember Ms. Waldman whining a year ago about Napster and its effect on writers. But what's the alternative if even she cannot/will not legitimately sell her own stuff? I have quite a few WW vinyl LPs and would happily buy any I don't have. I can't even find anything on eBay!
Anyway, looking forward to the new Bryndle. The previous CD was excellent, and I even got to see the band perform in NYC. Thanks,
Who responded as follows:
-- Hi Richard, You can certainly advance-order the new Bryndle CD;I've already started that process with a lot of orders. As for the Wendy Waldman CD, I'm not sure there's any plan to re-issue that for many (mostly cost-related) reasons.
Thanks for your interest.
And there you have it! At least in the year 2000, ancient history in the DRM wars, you have an artist who complains about losing money to illegal downloads, but when offered money was unable to supply the goods. Of course the situation is somewhat different now, but the wars will continue since the situation is, as I pointed out yesterday, unsatisfactory from everyone's viewpoint.
Ending, Happy, 2 ea.
This story (about the missing song) has a happy ending. In a spasm of organization, I put all of my digitized LPs on one computer after I got one with a large enough disk. In the process, I found that I did have the missing album, and I had simply neglected to transfer it to the same location as the rest.
This story (about DRM) I also expect to have a happy ending. It will take a while, though.