Thursday, March 13, 2008

REM: Accelerate Release

There have been quite a few reports over the past couple of days about REM's plan to release their new album on iLike. Michael Stipe is quoted by msnbc as stating:

...the way people embrace music "has certainly changed in the last 5 or 10 years. I think you can either go with it or sit back and watch it happen, and I would rather be out on the field than in the bleachers."

The article goes on to say that the album Accelerate will be made "freely available to anyone using, Facebook, iTunes or any of the other social networks and sites that offer an iLike application for their platforms." It will be available as a free stream from 24 March 2008 with the CD being released on 1 April 2008 (no joke) according to Yahoo Music News.

Earlier this year the band also set up a website with ten takes of the video for the first single, Supernatural Superserious, allowing fans to mix their own version of the video clip. Twenty seven different versions of the clip have been posted to YouTube.

Its great to see another band experimenting with different distribution methods, business models and encouraging user generated material. Despite being signed to a major label (Warner), REM have been active in attempting to negotiate the digital environment. They have contributed to events with the Future of Music Coalition as well as been listed in the past with EFF as one of the bands that will not sue people for sharing their music.

This is certainly a step in the right direction but fairly conservative compared with Radiohead and NineInchNails. Nonetheless it helps to illustrate the opportunities created by the internet, for established artists to maximise the opportunity for their music to communicate with their audience as well as encourage user contributions and sales.

msnbc, R.E.M. debuts album on social networking site (11 March 2008)
<> at 13 March 2008

TechDirt, REM Puts Album on iLike (12 March 2008) <> at 13 March 2008

Digital Music News, R.E.M. Offering Streaming Album Debut on iLike (10 March 2008) <> at 11 March 2008

TimesOnline, R.E.M. to debut new album on Facebook application (11 March 2008) <> at 13 March 2008

Yahoo Music News, REM Like iLike (11 March 2008)
<> at 13 March 2008

Other articles here.

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