Over the years, hundreds of artists have shared their music online for free. These are mostly newcomers who realize that exposure can ultimately help grow their fanbase.
Some established musicians have ventured down this part as well. For example, Radiohead shared their music via torrents and Nine Inch Nails even ran their own torrent tracker in the past.
Ten years later the music industry has changed, particularly the discovery part. With the rise of online streaming subscriptions and the dominance of YouTube, sharing music via BitTorrent has gone out of fashion. But that doesn’t mean it’s lost its purpose.
Torrenting Master Recordings
Late last month, Australian ‘rock’ band ‘King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard‘ started an experiment that highlights the power of sharing. The band decided to release the master files for several recordings, including concerts, completely free of charge.
The collection of nine recordings, covering more than a hundred individual tracks, are available for download via torrent magnet links, directly from the band’s site.
The King Gizzard approach differs from other more traditional giveaways though. While anyone is able to download and share the music for free, the band doesn’t want this to be a one-way street. Instead, it invited the public to create their own bootleg releases.
“Yo indie labels, bootleggers, fans, weirdos. We’ve got a deal for ya… If anyone wants to release these albums, you’re free to do so. Below you’ll find links to audio master files and cover art,” the band notes.
As far as we know it’s the first time that a band has shared their work while encouraging fans and even labels to create their own releases. For most artists, this is impossible to do as they are usually restricted by the record labels who own part of the rights.
‘King Gizzard’ aren’t asking much in return either. However, if people use the master recordings to create their own releases, they’d like some copies to sell in their own shop.
“Feel free to get creative with it if you like – it’s yours. Only deal is you’ve gotta send us some of them to sell on GIZZVERSE.COM – whatever you feel is a fair trade is cool with us.”
This is a great opportunity for fans, who would love to see ‘their’ release in the official store. And small labels may want to seize the opportunity as well.
All the master recordings are being offered via magnet torrent links, using public trackers such as Opentrackr.org and RARBG.to. This means that the band doesn’t have to pay bandwidth costs, aside from hosting the initial seed.
Video Clip Files
This isn’t the first time King Gizzard has experimented with torrents and free sharing. Just a few months ago, it released the raw audio recording and raw video clip files for the single Automation, encouraging fans to get creative.
This resulted in some great fan-made projects, several of which can be found on YouTube. This includes a video created by Jaron Hall, who used his video editing skills to create his own video clip.
“This was a super fun project to learn and incorporate some new video processing techniques such as ASCII conversion, deep dream neural networks, replicating a Windows 95 desktop environment,” Hall writes.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard hopes that the bootleg editions will be just as creative. Thus far, the response has been overwhelming.
“HOLY SHIT thanks everyone who hit us up with a plan to bootleg records already!” the band wrote on Twitter. “Don’t forget you gotta send us copies for us to sell on gizzverse too. Whatever you feel is a fair trade for the use of our tunes.”