2008 releases artists digital downloads guitar music

The Charlatans “You Cross My Path”. And dandelions.

Remember that old post I wrote, about other bands hopping onto the “free download” bandwagon? Well, for the second time in as many days (check out the first regarding the Nine Inch Nails, “Ghosts”, here), I’m linking to it again. Why? Because The Charlatans have come through on their word, releasing their entire new album, for free download.

The Charlatans - You Cross My Path
The Charlatans release “You Cross My Path”

Just a day after the announcement by Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor (aside: I wonder if these guys coordinate?), The Charlatans have released their new album, “You Cross My Path“, in free download form on the XFM site. Bonus feature: you can download the entire album in zipped format, or alternatively on a track-by-track basis.

As Tim Burgess, frontman for The Charlatan’s says on the site:

“We always knew this album was gonna be given away for free, even before we started writing so we wanted to make it the best album we’ve ever made. This isn’t a case of left over tracks and b-sides, we wanted to give our fans a quality record.”

You know, all of this really does signal a massive shift in the way the arts are looking at contemporary releases, and I hope that the average consumer pays attention to that fact. It’s not only happening in the musical realm, but also in the publishing world. In case you haven’t noticed, Neil Gaiman and Harper Collins are releasing his, quite frankly, staggering novel “American Gods” for free. Gratis. Nada. This is experimental of course, and they’ll be watching how real sales are affected.

But, all of this… music, novels, etc… it’s something that Cory Doctorow (and thanks for pointing me to this metaphor, Neil), once referred to as “dandelion seeds rather than mammals“. The idea there is that a mammal produces a few offspring, but at the cost of a lot of resources. A dandelion produces a huge amount of seeds because the cost in resources to the dandelion is small, but those that sprout, sprout.

Here’s hoping that the dandelions sprout.

Oh. And how is The Charlatans album? Well, it’s not going to be for anyone. But for those of us who hanker after the old days of Charlatans and Stone Roses, it just might be your cup of tea. Here’s a sample track, “Mis-takes”, to help you choose…

Listen: The Charlatans – Mis-takes

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