Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Costello record IS a record!

Whenever I've talked up the move some indie labels (i.e. Touch and Go, Sub Pop, etc.) have made with new releases -- making free digital downloads available with the purchase of a vinyl LP -- I've gotten little response. Might as well say "who cares," right?

Well, check this out: Billboard reports that Elvis Costello's next album, Momofuku, will be released (for now) solely as a RECORD bundled with a digital download on the Lost Highway label on April 22. NO CD!

There have been iTunes exclusive tracks and EPs released with no CD (Smashing Pumpkins, Paul McCartney, etc.), but these weren't full albums. Prince has released some internet-only downloads, but his site has gone kaput and nobody outside of his die-hard fan-base knew about them. Even Radiohead's 'pay what you want' download scheme eventually gave way to a traditional CD release (which debuted at number 1).

That an artist of Costello's stature is going the vinyl + download route and leaving the CD format out is very interesting indeed. This is one to watch. Will more people feel inclined to buy a turntable so they can "spin the black circle" while waiting for their iPod batteries to recharge? Will other artists follow suit? Is the CD really going to follow the cassette, the 8-track, and the brittle 78 RPM record into media format heaven?

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