Would-be REM Archivist Shut Down
Universal stops a blogger from restoring REM's first demo tape
The blogger, who goes by the name of Analog Loyalist had previously worked on restoring the singles catalogues of The Smiths and Joy Division, and he had started to make moves to restore the earliest work of R.E.M.
However, Universal Records, who own the band's IRS Records catalogue, issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice for an R.E.M. post on the writer's sister site The Power of Independent Trucking featuring a restored version of the band's first cassette demo, with early renditions of "Radio Free Europe," "Sitting Still" and "White Tornado."
"Tell me, what role does the IFPI [International Federation of the Phonographic Industry] (of which Universal is obviously a member) have to do with unreleased material recorded when the band had no record contract?," Analog Loyalist wrote. "These were demos freely given away by the band. On low-fi C45 cassettes. And the IFPI thinks it's their business how?"
The blogger is now reconsidering whether to pursue the project. "So you can see why I'm very hesitant to move forward with this blog, only because I don't want to see my efforts as a writer/archivist/engineer wasted," he writes.
The blog explains how the restoration would have been undertaken. The tracks used are "taken from the best/earliest possible sources to avoid modern mastering techniques which crush the dynamics," and the artwork is "scanned at the highest possible resolution and the type was reset when possible using the original fonts."