Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” broke headlines this year with their outside the box way of delivering music sans brick & mortar shops & normal fees by making their album available online for whatever donation fans decided they wanted to contribute. though not the first band to distribute albums on a donation only basis, they were the biggest (that i know of), and thus it brought quite a bit more press, particularly in light of the supposed demise of the record industry classic ways of distributing music.
just the other day i received an email from MAE, a band that for a time was near the top of my favorite bands list. their release “the everglow” was, in my simple mind, groundbreaking for it’s use of album art, song flow, and overall experience to create more than just a collection of songs. unfortunately i felt that their last album was a significant departure from this creativity and thoughtfulness. but i’d never bothered to leave their mailing list, so every so often i get updates & usually dump them.
however, this one caught my eye…it turns out that for their next project they’ve ditched their record label altogether and aren’t even creating an album with a release date. instead, for the next year, they’re releasing one song per month via their website and the cost of the “singles” is solely up to the receiver. this is a somewhat innovative approach in and of itself, but it doesn’t stop there. the entirety of the “donations” given by fans for the music is going straight to charity. MAE realized that more than just making music, they wanted to use their music as a catalyst for world change. and so they hope that the ideas, themes, sounds, and experience of their music would work together with the tactile experiences/expressions of fans lives and the lives of whoever they come in contact with.
i hope you’ll drop by their site, take a listen to & maybe download (& donate) their song for January and participate in a project that i think truly has the potential to be groundbreaking.