Poet and hip-hopper Saul Williams has also gone the Internet route with The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggytardust!, released on October 29th. This Trent Reznor-produced album makes a few adjustments to the Radiohead formula, namely:
– liner notes available in PDF format
– simpler payment structure (either free or $5)
– higher-quality download (320 kbps MP3 or lossless FLAC files) for those paying
– embedded player to share the album with friends
Reading the site’s more info page made me think about not only how important these sorts of developments are to the economic framework of releasing music, but the social framework. Exploitation of artists isn’t just financial, but oftentimes with regard to creative control over their image (resulting, as it so often does, in labels forcing artists to adopt racial caricatures in the guise of marketability).
Teen Tech Week is coming up soon, and your teens might be interested in a workshop on how they can attain maximum creative control by self-releasing albums using these same methods. Torrentfreak offers a guide on how teens can distribute their album peer-to-peer through torrents. Archive.org will host artists interested in distributing their albums for download via a Creative Commons license. They can also use the XSPF Web Music Player to stream from a website, and provide code to allow others to do the same.