While listening to music, I stumbled on the strangest rabbit hole when a pivotal song of my youth came on Spotify, P.M. Dawn’s Set Adrift On Memory Bliss
However this is not the beloved version from my youth (which, thankfully is still on YouTube for now):
The re-recorded version, which is the only version available on Spotify and the other streaming services features a different vocalist, and a significantly inferior production value – yet this is the only version available on their Spotify artist page.
I scoured the Internet to see if I could find any press release or story that described what happened, but couldn’t find anything. I feel a little bit like Marty McFly after returning to Biff’s 1985, the only one realizing everything has changed.
I did finally stumble on a discussion thread where other like-minded people were asking the same question, but really only found this conspiracy-theory explanation:
This is in no way an “official” answer, but I think one need not look too far.mykescipark
P.M. Dawn’s Prince Be (the mastermind and principal songwriter, arranger, vocalist, and performer of their entire “legitimate” catalogue) was, for years before his passing, incapacitated and unable to perform and record due to a stroke and complications from diabetes.
Doc G, the Attrell brothers’ first cousin, effectively took over the name back in 2009 and set out releasing phenomenally shitty music (including both originals and dreadful remakes of PMD classics) under the P.M. Dawn brand. Along those lines, he re-recorded “Set Adrift” in 2013 and began hawking his insulting, weak-ass version of the song to every crappy, MS Paint-designed ’90s compilation in the known universe.
I don’t know what may have specifically changed in the rights arrangement for the P.M. Dawn catalogue under Universal Music Group (current rights administrators for Gee Street/Island Records), but it does indeed appear that Doc G has found a way to have all traces of that song pulled from the digital universe. (“Set Adrift” has to be the biggest cash cow in the P.M. Dawn universe, though, so I’m kinda shocked he found a way to do so.) Presumably any remaining “accidental” appearances of the original have to do with licensing terms negotiated at the time of release.
That’s the best explanation that I could find, and it does seem to fit the facts in this whole thing, but it’s extremely unfortunate that this knock-off version is the only one available on the streams, and troubling that the original can be so easily wiped out. I get that books go in and out of print all the time, but we’re talking digital media, where storage is virtually free, having their content removed from the zeitgeist.
If anyone has the actual explanation, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise I’m choosing to believe this theory and set adrift on my own musical memory bliss.