Apparently when you’re issued your membership to the RIAA, you receive not only an ID card, glow-in-the-dark lapel pin, and mystic watch fob, but a pamphlet titled “10 Ways to Resist the Inevitability of Change,” which begins:
1. Whenever the subject of improving the marketing and distribution of music through technology is introduced, jam your fingers into your ears and belt out—with Mermanesque verve—“There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
2 – 10. See 1.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad. The fact that outfits like the iTunes Music Store exist at all indicates that the music industry gets part of the equation. However the
promotion of copy protected CDs and the continued existence of radio payola demonstrates that the industry still has a foot in the Stone Age.
Thankfully, there are bands who see technology as a help rather than hindrance in the brutal music business. One of them is
Sexohol, an LA-based band that understands that not only does sex and rock and roll sell, but that technology can go a long way toward selling it.
Oh sure, the band has the requisite website with bio, pictures, contact information, schedule, and band-branded stuff, but they’ve taken a couple of important extra steps. To begin with, earlier this year Sexohol began
selling its Enjoy! album on iPod shuffles . Just pungle up $10 over Apple’s asking price plus shipping and handling and you get a 512MB or 1GB shuffle preloaded with the band’s album, both loaded onto the shuffle as a playable album and as data files that can be copied to your computer. The shuffle features stickers with the band and album’s logo (additional stickers are included).
And today the band released a streamable version of Enjoy! as a Dashboard widget. If you’re not hip to widgets, it’s like this:
Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) includes small, one-function applications that can be called up to the Mac’s Desktop with the press of F12. Sexohol has
released a free widget that, when activated, allows you to stream any of the album’s 12 songs to your computer as long as you have a live connection to the Internet. Within that widget you can not only listen to the music, but navigate through the album and view pictures and song lyrics. The album continues to play even after you’ve dismissed widgets so you can listen while you bang on your computer. And if you’ve purchased any of the album’s songs from the
iTunes Music Store, the widget uses system calls to find and play the local copy.
When I compare this kind of innovative thinking to the dinosaur notions of copy protecting audio discs and buying off radio DJs with sneakers I can’t help but shake my head. Why isn’t the rest of the music industry embarked on such bold technological explorations?
Maybe it just needs someone smarter to show it the way.