Danger Mouse is a musician perhaps most know for his The Grey Album which is a mashup of Jay-Z’s The Black Album and the Beatles’ The White Album. The album is often used as an example of the tension between remix culture and restrictive copyright law and the DMCA.
Danger Mouse appears to be exploring this tension again by selling fans a blank CD-R on which to burn a peer-to-peer downloaded copy of his new collaboration called Dark Night of Soul. According to the Guardian’s article Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse unveil new album – a blank CD-R!,” an undisclosed legal dispute with EMI prevents them from releasing it through traditional channels. This surely is evidence that the world of content, the web and distribution is in a Wild West phase where what’s right, wrong, and the law are all getting sorted out.
I like that Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse are adding value to their music. The official CD-Rs come as part of packages consisting of a poster, or a accompanying book of photographs by David Lynch. Music is copyable. Other things aren’t as easily.
Similarly, in support of his new album, former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker recently put on a five day event in a Parisian art gallery. He had jam sessions, played music for children and yoga classes, etc. His album? Copyable. The experience of that event? Not so much.
This is interesting to me, of course, because I think that libraries would benefit from concentrating as much or more on providing uncopyable experiences as on the logistics of shuffling around copyable content.