I had seen Client several times before – mostly in Germany, though, where they are more popular than in the UK (1). Sarah Blackwood (aka the lovely ‘Client B’) had started to substitute some of the lyrics with their German translations. However, last November when supporting Anne Clarke in the Underworld in Camden I heard her sing “gib mir mehr, mehr, mehr” instead of “give me more, more, more” as the chorus for Pills for the first time in London – much to the delight of the not-so-small German crowd in the audience. (Actually, my mate and I reckoned that about a 1/3 of the audience must have been German.) The same thing happened on the 28th of March… and when DAF had finished their set you could actually hear the audience shouting “ZUGABE!” instead of “encore!” or whatever English fans might be shouting in situations like these.
Well, all that might only be a slightly amusing anecdote and not overly surprising. London is an international city and nowadays it is not so unusual to combine a gig with a weekend stay in London thanks to budget airlines. What became apparent, however, is the absurdity of the record label system in our time and age.
CLIENT are quite an independent band in the truest sense of the word. Both founding members having had plenty of experience with the music business in their earlier careers decided to do their own thing. They manage themselves, they have their own record label (in the UK) and instead of a gigantic marketing machine they cleverly used the Internet and an approachable non-rip-off attitude to build a solid fan base. However, since the release of Heartland they do have a German record label (Out of Line), which in itself is not a bad thing. But it can lead to a rather absurd situation like the following:
The new album Command has been released on March 6th in Germany. It won’t be released in the UK until sometime in June! Asking Client B who (wo-)manned the merch stand whether they might be selling copies of the German release she said that no, they were not allowed to do that. Indeed, they did not even play any new songs – according to another fan on the CLIENT forum again due to label requirements. Apart from the irony of a German who moves to the UK, the motherland of CLIENT, and who now has less opportunities to see them live and get his hands on the new album later, there is another annoying fact here.
Why, on earth would anyone still do silly things like this?! We live in the age of the Internet for eff’s sake. People can and do jet over to another country to visit a gig by their favorite band. Yet you still see a CD published in one country months earlier than in another and the band is not even allowed to do what importers or people on Ebay will do anyway: selling copies of their new album on their own concerts!
And no, of course you can’t get it as a legal download from iTunes of eMusic because those bastards also compartmentalise MP3 downloads by country. I am not a fan of stealing music myself (although I do defend very strongly each person’s right to make a copy of a CD that they own (2)) but this is another case that makes me wonder why the music industry does not see why some people resort to illegal downloading. Do they really think that while everyone is preaching globalisation consumers will much longer be content with DVD players with regional codes, DRM and messages like “Sorry, the video you requested is not available in your country”? Wake up, guys!
(1) That is true for several artists… Actually, when Anne Clarke was on stage last November someone from the audience shouted “We love you Anne” to which Ms. Clarke replied “You must be German then”. And yes, I do know what you’re going to ask next. No, I don’t know why the Hoff was so popular in Germany. Yes, I do apologise for this on behalf of my country.
(2) Although the music industry sometimes tries to make you believe otherwise it is (at least in Germany) still perfectly legal to make a copy of a CD that you own and GIVE IT AWAY to a friend. Can you believe that? Outrage! Theft! Lock them away – they’re even worse than rapists or murderers those damned pirates! Well, I think that it’s perfectly alright as long as you don’t upload it on some file sharing service. I myself have discovered more than one artists by someone giving me a copy and I then continued buying their music when I liked it. Apart from that… half of today’s kids would not have been born had their parents not been able to give a mix tape to their sweetheart. Anybody ever thought of this? 😉