Mp3s have forever revolutionized the way fans listen to their music. No longer do people buy whole CDs for the single stuck in their head. Rather, they can download the track, get their fill of the one-hit wonder and move onto the next hit with the click of a button.
But instead of seeing the age of mp3 as the commercial downfall of the wonderful world of music, some artists are taking the opportunity to explore the options available to them given this new medium.
While Weezer, the band at the forefront of the pop-rock combination, prepares for the release of their new CD, they personally update their site at www.weezer.com almost daily. Amidst the flurry of news and excitement they took a little time out to upload an mp3 and video from Maladroit, the upcoming album's title.
The now defunct Smashing Pumpkins took this concept of releasing music online one step further with their release Machina II: Friends and Enemies of Modern Music. Billy Corgan, in the bald
state of mind that he is, decided to give back to fans who have supported his endeavours all these years. And what better way to do that than to make the album available in CD-quality mp3s on the band's Web site (www.smashingpumpkins.com). Not enough? Well three EP versions are also available.
In the past, artists have released remixes, acoustic sessions and other versions of songs on rare, expensive EP records. Now, artists such as Nine Inch Nails (www.nin.com) release exclusive Web remixes of songs on the fly via their Web sites.
Taking this concept to an even further extreme, Celldweller (www.
celldweller.com), an independent artist from New York, allows fans to download the base tracks used to make up his track "Symbiont." Fans can then use those samples to recreate the song in their own image. The remixes can be submitted to the dweller himself, and if he likes what he hears, he'll post them on his mp3.com site for the world to hear.
Previously, artists have been known to be flamingly uptight about the circulation of bootlegs-live or unreleased recordings that the artist receives no compensation for. But Primus, who already break down barriers through their music, are also beginning to break up this traditional mindset. On their Web site (www.primussucks.com) fans can download entire shows of bootlegged material from their "bootleg barn." The mp3s range in quality, but all are available free and in full form.
mp3s are opening up many new possibilities for artists and labels alike. Whether or not major labels will realize that stopping Napster doesn't solve the piracy problem and jump on the bandwagon, well that's a whole new story. But until they do, artists and fans alike will continue to fuel an alley open to a plethora of possibilities.