Music distribution has yet again become a hot topic, thanks to the recent shutting down of Megaupload and this week's D: Dive Into Media conference (in which
Grandpa Granola Neil Young said fantastic, point-on things like piracy taking the place that radio used to occupy: a free, low-quality method of checking out music easily).
So it's a fine time to check back in with Tender Loving Empire, who announced their incredibly ambitious Priceless Music Project at the end of last year, and now have more details on how exactly it will work. The video above, narrated by TLE's Jared Mees, spells out the wide range of payment options that are going to be available to music consumers—starting with TLE's release of Y La Bamba's new album, Court the Storm, on February 28. You can pay nothing (cheapskate) or you can pay a lot (showoff), but the point is that the whole way we buy and receive music is different, so there's room for a completely different model, so why not start from the ground up? Tender Loving Empire is still raising funds to develop the project (go here to donate), and unfortunately they still have a long ways to go before reaching their goal.
I'm certain, though, that this is going to be good for both bands and fans. Because it's one of those ideas that's so audacious, it could actually work. The heart is in the right place, and all the ingredients are good—in fact, I'd say TLE's primary goal isn't to turn the industry upside down, or to maximize profits, or anything like that. It's to smush bands and their fans as close together as possible, allowing for the monetary part of those relationships to intrude as little as possible.
At any rate, if Tender Loving Empire is involved, the music is going to be good—which at the end of the day is the most important thing. And here's proof: TLE is offering a new, free, seven-song sampler of bands on their label to help pump up the Priceless Music Project. It's kind of staggering how good the comp is, with incredible new songs from Radiation City and Y La Bamba, as well as just-as-good older songs from Typhoon, Loch Lomond, and Jared Mees. You can download it right here.