As you may have heard, the Internet Archive has lost its first fight to defend their right to digitally lend books. This means, potentially, the loss of their millions of e-books.
It’s for these reasons that you should donate, if you can. But the people who benefit the most from a digital library are the people who don’t exactly have money lying around – so, in the Archive’s own words, actively using the archive is just as important.
That’s why I’m bringing back our Internet Archive series! Back in 2020 I had taken up the hobby of posting about things you could find on the Wayback Machine. I really do think it was one of the few things keeping me together back then, since it wasn’t like there was anything else to fuckin’ do. Tumultuous times like these feel like a good enough reason to bring it back, and why not branch into other parts of the Archive too?
Today, I’m looking at “Music From Doom Vol. 1”, ripped and uploaded courteously by “de usual archiver”.
Let’s take a look at that cover art:
Because when I think DOOM, I think gargoyles. And it’s not like DOOM has an iconic logo or anything…
What’s the deal with this? The uploader insists that this is not a bootleg, no matter what the cover suggests. And you know what, after some digging, I think I can take their word for it! This is a CD published by MP3.com, a defunct music-sharing website that ran from 1997 to 2003. Apparently during the website’s prime, they had a service known as “Digital Automatic Music”, where indie musicians would submit their albums in MP3 format for MP3.com to distribute CD-R copies through their online marketplace.
It’s easy to find proof that Bobby Prince published a CD through MP3.com. The only thing I can’t find any tangible evidence of, and yet the most important part to me, is if it actually had this godawful cover art. There are forum threads of people discussing it – no one mentions the cover. The Wayback Machine has Bobby Prince’s page on MP3.com – long after he stopped selling the CD. God damn it!
The CD’s back cover matches many other MP3.com albums that you can find through Discogs, so I’m inclined to believe it, as absurd as it is. The real problem is that while you can find plenty of amateur-looking covers, they seem to be largely made by the musicians (hey, did you know Lemon Demon started out on this site?), shooting down my initial theory that this cover art had been made by a completely disconnected intern being told to make album art for “a video game about demons”.
Did Bobby Prince himself make this art? And why? I’m sure as hell not going to bug him about it, but it perplexes me.
Commenters on Discogs use the cover to argue that the CD isn’t real:
Phobos_Anomaly: Is this even real ? That cover art is a joke, can’t believe it.
Casketkrusher2: Ofcourse it isn’t real. What did ya’ think? The cover is so Doom like don’t you think?
crost_daergon: Exactly my thoughts. It totally looks like a bootleg. Oh well.
The audio itself is fine; since it was MP3s burned onto a CD, the audio quality isn’t amazing, but I don’t really have an ear for that kind of thing anyway. What it is, is the original midi files having undergone some sort of “sonic enhancement”. Stereo reverb, I guess? There are two ‘live’ tracks that have live guitar by Steve Maitland mixed in with the midi guitar. The album’s page on Discogs notes that the 18th track is a built-in MP3 player so that you can listen to it on any PC, which I think is pretty cool stuff.
I might as well note that this CD is a MP3.com-branded reproduction of “Doom Music”, a nearly identical CD that Bobby Prince had distributed through Amazon. His decision to switch was motivated by Amazon’s blatant patent trolling, when they decided that Barnes & Noble wasn’t allowed to have one-click ordering on their online store. I had no idea this was even a thing until I started this article; I guess Amazon has always been scummy. But MP3.com turned out to be not much better, because they briefly banned Bobby Prince on the pretenses of him not owning the rights to his own music.
I shamefully know very little about MP3.com to share here otherwise; I got all of my music from LimeWire, so I had no real reason to be looking at an online marketplace. It feels like a damn shame in retrospect, because it turns out it actually had a ton of free stuff! If you’re interested in delving into that, there’s a massive (nearly a terabyte!) archive of rescued MP3.com tracks on – where else? – the Internet Archive. I might cover that one later.
Do you have any info or personal history with this website? Do you know if that cover art is real? Was there ever a volume two?! Let me know in the comments below.