Benn Jordan, also known under his electronica moniker The Flashbulb, has uploaded copies of his newest album "Soundtrack To A Vacant Life" to What.cd, The Pirate Bay and other torrent trackers in order to bypass the ineffective means of traditional distribution.

theflashbulb

The album download comes complete with an info file that addresses the readers with "hello listener...downloader...pirate...pseudo-criminal...", and then continues:

"If you can read this, then you've more than likely downloaded this album from a peer to peer network or torrent. You probably expect the rest of this message to tell you that you're hurting musicians and breaking just about every copyright law in the book. Well, it won't tell you that."

Instead, Jordan emphasizes with downloaders, asking why anybody would bother to buy CDs anyway anymore in the age of iPods and MP3-filled hard disks. Jordan believes the answer is that people still like to support their favorite artists, but that they really don't have the right options to do so.

"Want to buy a CD just to show your support? If you don't particularly like CDs, don't bother. Retailers like Best Buy and Amazon spike the price so high that their cut is often 8 times higher than the artist's. Besides, most CDs are made out of unrecyclable plastic and leave a nasty footprint in your environment."

Jordan hopes that his newfound file-sharing fans will instead donate, and maybe buy his and other albums as FLAC downloads directly from his label's website. He won't reveal how many people have donated so far, but first reactions seem to be encouraging. The download has been promoted to the front page of What.cd, and the site's admins actively encourage their users to donate.

Jordan doesn't seem to be too sure that his experiment will pay out, but he believes that new models like these are inevitable and that holding on to the old ways of doing business will actually increase piracy. From his blog:

"Record labels arenít meeting the demands of their customers. Thatís why music piracy is destroying the music industry. No matter how many people you sue, how many torrent sites you take down, or how many idiotic methods you come up with to protect the date (Key2Audio, DRM, etc)Öpeople will always prevail at doing what they want to do. At some point the industry needs to come to grips with that fact that their business model is changing, and they have to devise new business plans inside the parameters of the situation. I donít think donation is the long-term answer, but it is hell of a lot better than pretending 85% of your audience doesnít exist."

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