20070718

Stars: The Leak, The Industry, the New Album


Despite the fact that everyone else who blogs about the new Stars record will probably copy/paste the same statement here, I find it hard not to. My thoughts on the flipside...
Friends, fans and supporters of Stars ...
On September 25th, Arts&Crafts will release Stars' fourth studio album, In Our Bedroom After The War.
We love it and are excited and proud to be bringing it to the world.
We enlisted Joe Chiccarelli to mix the album. He finished in early June, passing the tapes along to Emily Lazar at the Lodge for mastering. Last Friday, July 6th, a final master was delivered to us.
Traditional music business practice says we are to begin sending out copies of this album now. We give advance copies to print publications in hopes of securing features that coincide with our September date. We meet with radio stations in hopes of securing airplay. etc, etc.
Inevitably someone will leak the album.
Throughout this process, the most important people in this value chain, the fans, are given only two options - wait until September 25th to legally purchase the new album or choose from a variety of sources and download the album for free, at any time.
We hope you'll choose to support the band, and choose to pay for their album. However we don't think it's fair you should have to wait until September 25th to do so.
We believe that the line between the media and the public is now completely grey.
What is the difference between a writer for a big glossy music magazine and a student writing about their favourite bands on their blog? What differentiates a commercial radio station from someone adding a song to their lastfm channel? or their myspace page?
As such, we are making the new Stars album available for legal download today, four days after it's completion. The CD and double vinyl versions of the album will still be released on our official release date, September 25th. We hope you will continue to support music retailers should a physical album in all it's packaged glory be your choice of format.
It's our hope that given a clear, legal alternative to downloading music for free, you will choose to support the creators.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Sincerely,
Stars and Arts&Crafts
So Stars and their label leaked the album on purpose and I'm all for it. Finally some proactive thinking from the record industry instead of just reactive thinking followed by endless bitching about piracy and whining about how they are only making billions instead of tens of billions of dollars a year. Anyone familiar with successful business models knows that continuous adjustment to an unstable market is what makes or breaks you, but so far the recording industry refuses to put in the effort to stay ahead or even on top of the current trends that are sweeping them off their feet. Independently-minded and progressive labels and bands like Arts & Crafts and Stars are pioneering the new standard. And they're friggin' Canadian!

Climbing down from the soapbox, I just have to mention that this album is great. More often than not, anticipated albums are a letdown. It's just hard to stay on the cusp of relevance for a few years and only the best can pull it off. Stars are one of those unique bands. The perfectly balanced male/female vocals of Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell dance over melancholy piano and a swirling symphony. Just often enough, a throbbing bassline will carry the day until a perfectly eccentric and poppy chorus relieves it of its duty. This is indie-pop at its best, still as relevant as ever, still impossible to find in google image search. While I digress, this fantastic record does not.

Listen:
Midnight Coward
Barricade
[from In Our Bedroom After the War|buy it!]


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