Monday, June 23, 2008

Feed the Animals: A New Era for Music Creation, Distribution and Monetization

On June 19th, Illegal Arts released Feed the Animals (2008), Girl Talk's follow up album to Night Ripper (2006). The album is available to download and purchase through Girl Talk's Myspace, using a similar pay-what-you-want system to Radiohead's release of In Rainbows (2007) last December. Although professional Artists have been distributing their music through the internet for years, Girl Talk, and by extension Feed the Animals, is truly revolutionizing the way artists create, distribute and monetize music.

Girl Talk or Gregg Gillis, takes small portions of existing pop music and combines them to create something truly new and unique. For example at one point in "Give Me a Beat," Gillis, a former chemical engineer, combines samples from Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Hot Chocolate and Daft Punk. In Good Copy Bad Copy, a documentary looking into modern remix culture, Gillis said that he gets the majority of his music digitally and then uses free software to create his music using only a laptop. Girl Talk effectively leverages his Myspace page, creating a portal to the world and allowing listeners to stay up to date with concerts and download the latest tracks. This means that conception, compilation, creation, marketing and distribution are all done for free with a laptop and the internet. By using the internet for all aspects of his profession, Girl Talk has been able to create a sizable fan base sans large record company and thus has retained more control over his music.

Girl Talk monetizes his music through frequent concerts, often playing up to three a week. In the February 2008, he played a Thursday night snow in Montreal, A Friday night show at Colby College in Maine (where he was paid 10,000), and a Saturday night show in Burlington Vermont. As Girl Talk's popularity grows, he will be able to charge more for two intense hours.

By embracing the combined power of a laptop and the internet, Greg Gillis is turning the conventional paradigm of music monetization on its head and disrupting the space.

No comments: