Flight of the Superstars


It’s funny: my favorite artists are releasing a can of whup ass on the music industry right now.

Prince is giving away albums for free in the daily newspaper: here’s 14 new songs to chew on along with your morning crossaint.

And then there’s my favorite band in the whole wide world: Radiohead.

First there came a note from our favorite imp on guitar: Johnny Greenwood.

Hello everyone.
Well, the new album is finished, and it’s coming out in 10 days;
We’ve called it In Rainbows.
Love from us all.
Jonny

and according to pitchfork and the press release:

A new Radiohead album will arrive in cyberspace on October 10! It’s called In Rainbows. And it appears that Radiohead have chosen to not sign with a record label and are releasing it themselves via their website, at least for now.

You can pre-order it from their website right now as a download or an $80 “discbox.” What’s a discbox? I’m so glad you asked, madam.

“THIS CONSISTS OF THE NEW ALBUM, IN RAINBOWS, ON CD AND ON 2 X 12 INCH HEAVYWEIGHT VINYL RECORDS.
A SECOND, ENHANCED CD CONTAINS MORE NEW SONGS, ALONG WITH DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTWORK.
THE DISCBOX ALSO INCLUDES ARTWORK AND LYRIC BOOKLETS.
ALL ARE ENCASED IN A HARDBACK BOOK AND SLIPCASE.
THE ALBUM DOWNLOAD AUTOMATICALLY COMES WITH THIS PACK.”

In Rainbows will be out digitally on October 10th. And released in discbox format on December 3.

Sounds pretty, frickin cool, huh? Most of the guys here in Wondaland know my feelings on this: i wish my favorite artists would get into the concept of the infinite album: sell a VIP pass or membership online that entitles you to crazy goodies throughout the life cycle of an album or given project…

Imagine Prince bundling his 14 new album tracks, along with 2 concert tickets to the closest show near you, a few special merch items, along with demos, b-sides, remixes, and video streams of every concert on the tour…for something like $99. You could put in your password and watch his concerts with your girl on Friday nights! You would also be entitled to any “goodies” that popped up during the term. A Christmas song, or live tracks from his Super Bowl performance, etc. I would buy a VIP pass in a heartbeat, and so would you!

Anywhoo, back to Radiohead. So they’ve got the $80 discbox. And you’re probably casing an old woman right now and getting ready to hit her upside the head to get the money–morals be damned!! But hold on!

There is some good news for those of us that are, ahem, financially challenged…If you order the download only, you can pay HOWEVER MUCH MONEY YOU WANT for it. Like, there’s no set price. Like, yes yes, you heard me right: you set your own price. Like, you can pay zero dollars and get the best album of the year for free…

II.

About a month ago we met with Big Boi.

He’s frustrated with the way Jive dropped the ball on the latest Outkast album. And he and Dre can’t wait…one more album and they can do their thang anywhere they want….maybe they could even sneak out the back door of the label right now…hmmmmm…

Nate and I urged Big to think about all his options. It’s simple: what we’re witnessing is the Flight of the Superstars. Radiohead doesn’t need EMI. Prince doesn’t need Warner Bros, Universal or whatever corporate pimps he’s chosen to distribute his product this month. And truly, Outkast doesn’t need Jive, or Def Jam, or anyone else…

They could put their next album out themselves: a double disc with a website where you could remix the songs and get premium content. They could distribute the album for free with copies of the New York Times or USA Today. THEY COULD GO BACK ON TOUR. They could have an enhanced CD with videos for every song. They could have Target pay for the album and put it free in every store. And have a special order “discbox” for VIP members that would contain more music, and access to live concert streams.

I would pay at least $50. How about you?

p.s. it’s funny, or perhaps not so funny…subconsciously i reduced the price point because i kept imagining that guy at the gas station charging you five dollars for that “new new ‘kast”….

will black folks pay $50? Will rock geeks get behind a black/urban/yet pop sensation at $75 a pop? what’s your thought?

And what would you like to see Outkast do with its newfound freedom? What kind of album configurations? In what mediums or media?

I’ll share it with Big Boi. I’ll tell him THE PEOPLE have spoken…

–chuck lightning

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