GOING WITH THE FLOW
Your mention of the TBWA Hunt Lascaris anti-piracy campaign for Tsotsi ( Go with the flow, Finweek, 17 October issue) recalls the late Frank Zappa, who presents a neat example of the article’s rather Taoist message.
For all his infamous relish in profane buffoonery, it is less well-known that Zappa was a rock star who composed similarly to a classical master – painstakingly writing out a precise score for every instrument, and woe betide the musician who played a single note out of place. Throughout his career, bootleg recordings of Zappa’s live performances were sold by pirates, and this incensed him. It seems this was not because of foregone revenues, but rather that their quality did not meet his near-OCD recording standards.
His inspired response in the early Nineties was to “beat the boots”. He rounded up as many illegal recordings as he could find, and copied them!
With quality disclaimers to distance them from his authorised releases (he referred to them as “burnished turds”), he licensed them to a different label, which sold them cheap, in boxed sets, complete with extra packaging goodies of the sort that obsessed fans just love.
The bottom fell out of the illegal bootleg market after that.