Something old, something new. The soundwaves are always undulating back and forth like so. Same goes for tech innovations within the music world. Here we explore two novel approaches to every artist's goal of getting his or her art to the people.
OLD-SCHOOL: SNAIL MAIL RISES AGAIN
Mail-order used to be a thrill for record collectors. You'd join a club and get physical packages sent to your home; you'd tear into those puppies and pop them into your music player. Every arrival was like a Christmas gift. Nowadays, most people just get bills and needless coupons in their mailboxes. How depressing.
Enter Keep in Touch. The concept mimics a Cheese of the Month club, entwined with the lost art of penpalling. Each month, the company sends to subscribers a cardboard "flexi-postcard" with a different song embedded into the material, which can be played on a turntable. The KIT folks admit on their Facebook that the sound quality is "exactly what you'd expect from playing a cardboard postcard on your turntable. It's gritty but playable." Thankfully, each postcard comes with a digital download code, so if the cardboard audio doesn't tickle you, the song can frolic in the cloud.
Memberships cost $65 in the United States and $90 (U.S. dollars) internationally. Participating bands include Cloud Nothings, the So So Glos and Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz. The Big Ups track "Rash" will also be part of the Keep in Touch series and is streaming at SoundCloud.
NEW SCHOOL: PUNK BAND GAMBLES ON BITCOIN
Dollars are for old fuddy-duddies. Bitcoin is the virtual currency with bite.
One might say that the non-counterfeitable online dough is so radical, it's punk rock. So why not have a punk rock band sell their wares with these digital doubloons?
Riverboat Gamblers are taking a chance on this new payment method with a blue vinyl offer. In the first of a series on End Sounds, "Dead Roach"/"Sound on Sound" (Big Boys Cover) can be purchased the old-fashioned iTunes or direct-order route. But buy via Bitcoin and receive a limited-edition cerulean version of the single. Pretty nifty.
What do you think of the Keep in Touch and Riverboat Gamblers experiments? Would you buy vinyl via Bitcoin? Would you want to listen to cardboard audio? Let us know in the comments!