Barenaked Ladies have a new album coming out September 12th – Barenaked Ladies Are Me. It is being released under their Desperation Records label and that is going to make it interesting. They are working with their management group Nettwerk Music Group to change how music is released and money is made. Others have done things like this, but I think this is going to be the most comprehensive effort.
This Wired article titled No Suit Required explains well what they are up to:
The freedom from major-label constraints that BNL now enjoys was at first "nerve-racking," Page says. The feeling passed. For the new album, Barenaked Ladies Are Me (read: army), McBride and BNL have reinvented the release campaign, starting with the music itself. The band wrote 29 new songs, which will be packaged and sold in a variety of formats, including a CD, four different digital versions, a 14-track collection for Starbucks in Canada, and a second full-length disc, Barenaked Ladies Are Men, due early next year.
And that’s just the beginning. Between ringtones, acoustic versions, and concert recordings, those 29 songs have been multiplied into more than 200 "assets" – song versions – that can be used individually or in conjunction with others to create a product. "Because the copyrights are in one place [in BNL’s hands], we can be really creative," McBride says. Hardcore fans can buy 45 of those assets on a USB drive; others can download the special Sims versions (recorded in Simlish, no less). "For decades, people in music have used the number of albums sold as a measuring stick for success," McBride says. "We’re trying to get people to see beyond that. It’s about revenue from music, however you make it – selling concert tickets, licensing to TV, or selling packed USB drives."
You can see some of the effects of their campaign already. You could buy the standard CD off Amazon. On iTunes, you can buy a normal version or a version that can only be pre-ordered with special songs. If you order it through the BNL site, you get the first 13 songs and a bonus acoustic CD. Their blog indicates these are the two options available right now.
You might be interested in the deluxe verson with all 29 songs up on iTunes. The Wikipedia entry on the album reports that the standard album appeared on-sale in iTunes for 12 hours before changing back to pre-order back in August. The same entry also says this full version became available yesterday. Hard to tell how long it is going to be there. It still appears as of the writing of this post. Seems like a benefit for the truly passionate BNL fan who is paying attention; seems odd they would make the same mistake twice.
Here are the free tracks you can find right now scattered around the internet:
- Easy (Studio Version) – I found this link in an ad in Dwell Magazine. It is on the last page of the October 2006 issue. I subscribe to Dwell, but I have to say it is odd that I made it all the way to the end and happened to find it.
- Wind It Up (Video Edit) – This track is the only one you can download off their MySpace page. You can also listen to Bank Job, Sound Of Your Voice, and Easy.
- Easy (Live) – This track is hiding on the DeviantArt site. BNL is working with them and hosting a T-shirt design contest for the upcoming tour.
- Running Out Of Ink (Live) – This is where it gets a little crazy. I played with the link for Easy above and wanted to see if I could find other tracks. This was the only other one I could find.
- Home (Studio Version) – This track was on the Paste Magazine Sampler this month. I am going to post it here. If someone gets upset, I will take it down.