If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
The current reality is that all new album releases are going to leak, whether the artists and labels like it or not. In the most guarded cases, a new album hits the web only a couple of days before its scheduled release date. In worst case scenarios, an unreleased album leaks a good couple of weeks before intended. That’s why in the past year there has been a dramatic increase in bands streaming advanced copies of their albums on their own terms, most notably via NPR Online. It makes perfect sense: instead of having the only way to listen be an illegally (often via BitTorrent) downloaded copy, the record labels and artists get to control the message and marketing that surrounds a music fan’s first listen.
Enter Pitchfork Advance, a new streaming service from the online music magazine where you can go listen to Yo La Tengo’s new LP Fade right now (Matador, releases Jan. 15). And it’s not just a stream of the audio files, an interactive booklet of information and artwork being served up while listeners have their first taste is a key component of the service. Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber told Mashable, “I’ve been surprised by the lack of innovation in digital album art over the last decade, especially because artists and labels are still designing elaborate packaging for physical releases.”
It’s a great idea and another new option for artists on how to maintain control of the album release process. As far as Pitchfork’s efforts into this technology? We give it a solid 7.4.