Friday, May 22, 2009

New Danger Mouse album to be released as a blank CD-R


The Tech Blog

New Danger Mouse album to be released as CD-R -- blank CD-R

Mon May 18, 2009 11:36AM EDT

Nowhere in the world will you find more creativity than that of musicians who are taking old music, mixing it together, and coming up with something new. Danger Mouse took the mash-up mainstream with his watershed The Grey Album, the audacious 2004 blend of The Beatles' The White Album and Jay-Z's The Black Album, and since then the man has exploded into superstardom.

The problem of course is that The Grey Album was totally illegal, and record label EMI (which owns the rights to The White Album) went to outrageous lengths to prevent its distribution. Those efforts failed, and the bootleg was copied far and wide and eventually earned it serious mainstream coverage (even lowest-common-denominator media rag Entertainment Weekly reviewed the album, giving it an A), despite the shaky legal footing the album sat on.

Now, Danger Mouse -- after hitting the mainstream with his Gnarls Barkley act, among other projects -- is back with a new album, one which is set to be just as controversial. Citing his ongoing feud with EMI over the prior album, Danger Mouse's new Dark Night of the Soul will be released and sold exclusively as -- get this -- a blank CD-R. It will be up to the buyer to find the music through other means and burn it onto the CD.

Per a statement from the Mouse:

Danger Mouse's new project Dark Night Of The Soul consists of an album length piece of music by Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and a host of guest vocalists, along with a collection of original David Lynch photography inspired by and based on the music. The photographs, which provide a visual narrative for the music, are compiled in a limited edition, hand numbered 100+ page book which will now come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: 'For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'

Now I'm not entirely clear what this album has to do with EMI specifically -- does it borrow from new EMI tracks or is this just about the old Grey Album kerfuffle? -- but regardless the idea is pretty spectacular. Fans get what sounds like a really impressive piece of art and are supporting the artists financially by purchasing the album, but since there's nothing infringing on the album, the record industry can't legally prevent its sale. I have visions of EMI executives with steam billowing out of their ears over this one.

And don't forget: You can always copy it to audio tape!

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