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Smashing Pumpkins' MP3 tells label to fornicate off

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Indie rockers The Smashing Pumpkins have released their last album on MP3 in order to give their record label, Virgin, what they call a "final 'fuck you'."

Virgin is owned by EMI, one of the world's 'big five' record companies.

The Pumpkins' album, Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music, is being distributed on Napster, the controversial MP3 sharing service, and a number of independent Web sites in place of a traditional CD release. The reason? The band is annoyed with what it sees as the poor support it received from Virgin.

According to online music site Sonicnet.com, cited by CNet, the band decided to go for MP3 as a "final 'fuck you' to a record label that didn't give [the Pumpkins] the support they deserved". The Pumpkins announced earlier this year that they were splitting up after their world tour.

Of course, it's easy to see such actions as the start of a new trend of major artists taking control of the distribution of their music. However, almost all of those who have chosen to bypass record companies and release tracks straight onto the Web do so after seriously falling out with their labels.

If there's a trend, then, it's one of disgruntled musicians attempting to give their labels the kind of seeing to they feel their labels gave to them. How seriously the labels take this open to question - getting pissed of with a label and issuing music on your own a well-established band tactic, though the Pumpkins and co. have given it a new twist by opting for an MP3 rather than CD release.

Apparently lead singer Billy Corgan ran off a very limited vinyl edition of the album and send them to friends and fans along with a note encouraging them to convert the songs to MP3 and put them on the Internet. They seem to have complied. ®

Check out The Register's coverage of the Napster controversy

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