Suffering for Sufjan

Feature

Friday, April 17, 2009

Alec Duffy won the rights to an unreleased Sufjan Stevens song. Rather than posting it online, Duffy shares the song via private listening parties in his home. This decision has earned him a few enemies. Produced by Studio 360's Eric Molinsky. You can contact Duffy to hear the song HERE.

Contributors:

Eric Molinsky

Comments [6]

alex

i understand where the guy's coming from, but come on...he wants to teach people about the value of good music by not letting them listen to it? not every sufjan fan in the world lives in brooklyn, or even wants to listen to his music in a stranger's apartment. i get that he has the right to do whatever he wants, including the right to hoard it, but i think if he truly appreciated the song he'd set it free:)

Apr. 23 2009 07:03 PM
Ruth

As is the case with most modern media endeavors, I feel like there was some misrepresentation. I was the girl who was interviewed on the anti-Duffy side, although I'm not REALLY anti-Duffy. I was interviewed for this piece for about half an hour, and my sound-bites probably amounted ot less than thirty seconds. I'm not complaining, because I recognize time-restraints. I think Alec's idea was creative and interesting and I understand what he stands for.

However, I don't think this sort of "stick it to you" spiteful response is necessary. Maybe he wants to teach my generation a lesson. That's fine. That's not what art is about in my opinion, but if that's how he sees it, fine. My favorite idea for what he COULD have done is put it online, and to access it you've got to lay down a buck or two. The money all goes to charity. I'm practically salivating over here for the chance to easily raise a ton of money for something I care about that would help people and make a difference. This would have been a creative, worthwhile alternative. Yet Alec wanted to teach us a lesson on the transitoriness of life and file-sharing. That is certainly his right. Am I disappointed I'll never hear it? Sure. Is it going to kill me? No. Am I going to insult him over it? Of course not (I was not one of the folks who posted a nasty comment). I hope he has found this to be a rewarding experience, along with everyone else who has attended one of the listening parties.

And a response to Chuck's comment, "These rabid fans can always go cut themselves in the converted basement "apartments" of their parents' suburban homes."

You can stereotype that this is what I'm like, but I can assure you, I'm not at all interested in being "rabid," cutting myself, or living in my mother's non-existence basement of her non-suburban home.

Fortunately for us all, in the end, none of this really matters.

Apr. 20 2009 10:56 PM
beta

From what I've read here and elsewhere, you'd think this guy has the entire library of music written by Sufjan under lock and key. I don't understand why these "fans" feel such an enormous sense of entitlement to a gift that Sufjan gave one person. Alec is free to share or not, and I think it is very sweet and generous that he is going so far to share his gift with others.

Any fan even remotely familiar with Stevens' prolific career must be aware that there are likely dozens of songs written by him that they have not heard, and may never hear. In a world still learning all the benefits of endless, perfect copying- I am tired of the "negatives" being so casually tossed off as negligible- an event can be recreated as many times as you like, but I'm of the belief that endless repetition diminishes the experience.

The singular experience is a rare thing these days, and Alec has chosen to preserve that for something he clearly loves very much. Considering that so much of Sufjan's work addresses the magic fragility of the moment, you'd think his fans would appreciate someone doing his best to honor that spirit.

Apr. 19 2009 07:50 PM
John from Memphis

I have friends who play music, and I myself write. For some reason, my friends record their work, and I try to avoid burning mine. This process is called recording. While it has its downsides, it also has its benefits. I think history has shown that the latter far outweigh the former. Humans have been developing techniques for maintaining artistic achievements for centuries. What if Shakespeare had made the ill-advised decision to auction off the rights to his work in this way, and the winner had decided to limit their distribution for the sake of enhancing the enjoyment of them by a fortunate few? It might have indeed enhanced that first (and last) experience for those few, but it would have destroyed scholarship and gone a long way to ruining future literature. Reading is rereading, and listening is re-listening. In the interview, the rights-holder responded to a complaining fan who wanted to hear one of her favorite artist's works more than once by saying that life is like that--nothing she experiences can she experience more than once (roughly). No. She can experience a beautiful piece of music more than once. Except the one he is holding from her. I agree with all of the positive aspects of your position and do not agree with stealing art via file-sharing. But shame on you for not weighing the positives against the negatives, and trying to come up with a fairer solution (i.e., give the rights back so the song can be on a future album). I am not and will never be a Stevens fan and ask only why, if you feel that this is the proper way to distribute his work, you don't plead that he does the same.

Apr. 18 2009 09:46 PM
Chuck from Brooklyn

The deal was he got to do what he wanted with the song. The key there is HE does, not THEM. I actually like the fact that he is not making a buck off it. I find those whining fans disgusting and indicative of the "what I want is what I should get American youth". Learn a lesson you twits.

At the very least is seems this song won't be in an episode of Grey's Anatomy or selling VW's.

These rabid fans can always go cut themselves in the converted basement "apartments" of their parents' suburban homes.

Apr. 18 2009 10:40 AM
James

When this story started I was thinking what elitist twit this guy is. Furthermore, I found myself gnashing my teeth when he suggested that cookies and tea were more appropriate for listening to Sufjan Stevens than beer and cigarettes. It's really annoying when people put guidelines on how you should listen or perceive music, as if listening itself were the artform rather than the music. But I digress...
However, I kind of like the fact that the song won't be diluted by all the mindless, hobby downloading that goes on. Maybe this will keep the music from languishing on millions of hard drives with episodes of The Office. Along with that it's also going to keep a lot of people from genuinely enjoying it. Oh, well, you won the contest Duffy! Three Cheers...

Apr. 17 2009 12:47 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.