Today, when everything is downloadable, you have to be creative with your music release to get people to dig in their pockets and give you cash. You can release in a kick-ass CD packaging, custom USB sticks, or vinyl pressing in Los Angeles. Here are some of the most elaborate music releases of all time.
(If you’re an indie musician on a tight budget, you may come up with something as awesome but not as expensive. There are 1001 ways! E-mail us and we’ll give you options.)
Nicolas Jaar – Don’t Break My Love (The Prism)
Don’t Break My Love is a label sampler curated by electronic musician Nicolas Jaar, showcasing tracks by artists (himself included) associated with his Clown & Sunset Aesthetics label.
The compilation was only released in one format, known as The Prism, which took the form of a palm-sized aluminium cube. Supposedly designed to promote physicality and connectivity in music, The Prism was a rechargeable player complete with a limited controls and a pair of headphone sockets, so that two people could listen to the music at once.
Datarock – Catcher In The Rye (soft toy)
With 2011 track Catcher In The Rye, Norwegian electronic pop band Datarock released, in their worlds, ‘the most extravagant single in history.’
The track was issued on a custom USB drive stashed inside a fairly cute, diamond shaped soft-vinyl toy named Translucent Red. Not only did the drive contain the single itself, but it came bundled with a grand total of 113 bonus tracks, 1500 photos, 20 music videos and a 60 minute concert film. Which is fairly good value, even at the $50 asking price.
White Stripes Record Player
The Stripes start selling tiny record players called Triple Inchophones, along with 3″ records that can only be played on the Inchophone. They also release one tune, “Top Special,” solely on 3″ vinyl pressing.
The Flaming Lips – Zaireeka (four CDs to be played Simulatanously)
The Flaming Lips’ eighth album Zaireeka was inspired by vocalist Wayne Coyne’s Parking Lot Experiments – a series of concerts that involved 40 separate cassettes tapes being played simultaneously on different car stereos.
The album itself was set of four CDs, which were intended to be played simultaneously across any configuration of four different stereos. The idea being that factors such as the position and quality of each CD player, natural reverb and slight variations in synchronisation would create a different listening experience each time the album was played.
The Strokes frontman is offering MP3s of the tracks in a USB stick that also doubles as a sleeve for a mini lighter. It’s a clever way for an artist to incorporate their album into an object some fans never leave home without, encouraging discussion (and promoting the album) from anyone asking to borrow it. The next time you ask someone for a light, you may find yourself inadvertently learning about new music you missed through more traditional advertising channels.
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