Producer, DJ and half of the duo known as Gnarls Barkley, Danger Mouse continues to show that he’s just a bit more ahead of the times than the recording industry would like. DM (and collaborator Sparklehorse)’s new album, Dark Night of the Soul, is finished, but is unable to be released due to legal wrangling with music giant EMI.
So he has decided to release a book of photographs which serve as visual accompaniment to the songs and a blank recordable CD labeled “‘For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'” Since all of the songs on the album are already available on the Internet, if one were so inclined, a do-it-yourself version could be easily made. The album can be listened to for free in its entirety on NPR’s web site.
This rather clever marketing method comes as no surprise given Danger Mouse’s history. He burst upon the scene with the unlicensed mashup of The Beatles’ White Album and Jay-Z’s The Black Album entitled, of course, The Grey Album. EMI leapt into action and cracked down on those posting the album and a star was born.
I really dig DM’s music, but even if I didn’t I would still purchase this album to send a message with my wallet. I believe this is the future of music. Despite the best efforts of the industry the digital genie is out of the bottle. Music piracy is not going away. The sooner they realize that the old business model is not going to work in the future (or even the present), the better it will be for everyone.