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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.

David Chap­lin

Fish Hoek

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