The Montreal indiepop outfit Stars’ forthcoming album, In Our Bedroom After The War, may have atrocious cover art, but that fact probably wouldn’t stop leak-happy downloaders from trying to snag the album from some enterprising member of the media who decided to share his pre-release copy with his friends. So the band and its label, Arts & Crafts, decided to pre-empt the OiNK faithful with a legit digital release yesterday–four days after the album’s completion, and almost two and a half months before physical copies of the album will go on sale. From the band’s official site:
Traditional music business practice says we are to begin sending out copies of this album now. We give advance copies to print publications in hopes of securing features that coincide with our September date. We meet with radio stations in hopes of securing airplay. etc, etc.
Inevitably someone will leak the album.
Throughout this process, the most important people in this value chain, the fans, are given only two options – wait until September 25th to legally purchase the new album or choose from a variety of sources and download the album for free, at any time.
We hope you’ll choose to support the band, and choose to pay for their album. However we don’t think it’s fair you should have to wait until September 25th to do so.
We believe that the line between the media and the public is now completely grey.
What is the difference between a writer for a big glossy music magazine and a student writing about their favourite bands on their blog? What differentiates a commercial radio station from someone adding a song to their lastfm channel? or their myspace page?
As such, we are making the new Stars album available for legal download today, four days after it’s completion. The CD and double vinyl versions of the album will still be released on our official release date, September 25th. We hope you will continue to support music retailers should a physical album in all it’s packaged glory be your choice of format.
It’s our hope that given a clear, legal alternative to downloading music for free, you will choose to support the creators.
This is a pretty savvy move on the part of the label and the band–and it’s not too much of a stretch to think that there will be a fair amount of people whose consciences will be pricked by this plea (especially the part where the fans are elevated to the same level as the media, because ego-strokes = cash, at least where we come from). The SoundScans on this album next week will definitely be of interest–as will the inevitable complaints of those die-hard BitTerrorists and Digg users who seem to think that free music is their God-given right, and who aren”t afraid to take to their keyboards and complain about it. (Brave souls, they are.)