Remember When Music Got The 6am Visit From The Goon Squad?

The familiar logo. Toxic apparel printed across the record’s inner sleeve: Home Taping Is Killing Music.

As an expression it has appeal; the anachronistic charm that – in the same way as shellac, 78rpm, 8-track cartridge, and a relevant New Order – will mean little to future generations too busy guffawing at our primitive ways to spot any nuance or charm. Positively medieval, we were back then, with our puffball skirts and Frankie Says t-shirts and a mother who confiscated our freshly-purchased Birthday Party single because she was convinced she’d heard Nick Cave wailing a “dirty word”.

There was a fair degree of bloodlust and weird science about in the 1980’s. Even before home taping finally finished off music – leaving us with little more than white noise and taxi drivers phoning in their reactionary opinions to talk radio – video had snuffed out the radio star, synth-pop wombat Howard Jones performed on nationwide, early evening TV with some kind of chained-up gimp boy in tow (mundane recollection: here – that’s shitty VHS for you), and people willingly exchanged their hard-earned cash for Huey Lewis And The News albums (I’ve never actually met anyone willing to admit purchasing a Huey Lewis album, but somebody somewhere harbours guilt; expect a 6am visit from the goon squad, whoever you are).

But it was tape that did the real damage. C60 – never C90, whose extra half hour of playing time arrived with the promise of a hearty mangling courtesy of the cheap imported hardware we’d received for Xmas. My Cassette Pet, indeed; copyright theft at an early age, swapping home-made Ultravox tapes in the playground whilst we waited for something better to come along…

Bow Wow Wow / C30, C60, C90, Go! 

4 thoughts on “Remember When Music Got The 6am Visit From The Goon Squad?

  1. I’m pretty sure I have a shoebox of old C90s still in my basement. That’s a fun label. I don’t ever remember seeing it on any of my albums but I remember the refrain.Rings familiar with the debates currently being held all over the internet right now.

    • Might have been a UK-only campaign, to be fair, but yeah – a high proportion of late 70’s / early 80’s vinyl arrived with the Home Taping Is Killing Music logo smeared across the inner sleeve as if the final wail of obsolete technology.

      What the message really said, of course, was Home Taping Is Eroding The Savage Profits Of Major Record Labels… but I doubt that the campaign would have been anywhere near as successful if the primary victims were the cocaine habits of record execs.

      As for piracy these days; it’s such a complex concept – something I’ve contemplated writing about – because music aggregation (and the fiscal realities there-of) is not only a different beast to that of the ’80’s, but it’s also evolving constantly. At the bottom of every page on LGM I urge each reader to head directly to their local independent record and buy should they dig the subject matter.You buy records, I buy records – often based upon blogosphere recommendations; therefore it appears disingenuous that the music industry often treats us as no better than bootleggers selling cheap, knock-off albums at dodgy street markets.

      As I mentioned: a complex subject.

  2. I’ve got a badge and a t-shirt (bit tight nowadays) with the Home Taping Is Killing Music logo.
    (See my Twitter pic). As for piracy… I’d say that it’s people like us that keep the (independent) music industry alive. Thanks to the blogosphere I discover recordings that I didn’t even know existed. And bought them.

    Liked the way ‘Homefucking is Killing Prostitution’ disc by Kiwisex appropriated the slogan and logo.

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