Say what you like about Kim Dotcom, but the man is certainly tenacious. After being well and truly dismantled by the combined efforts of the FBI and a New Zealand anti-terrorist force, most people would still be at home, licking their wounds.
But for this larger-than-life German with a colorful past worthy of a Hollywood movie (he’d love one of those of course), backing down was never an option. Once released from prison he picked up where he left off, building a brand new lawyer-pleasing cloud hosting company and becoming an outspoken privacy advocate and Internet surveillance critic.
Rewind more than two years ago, before that frankly stunning January day in 2012, Dotcom was working on a project intended to shake up the music industry. His Megakey product was a tool designed to block ads as users browse the web, replacing them with ones from Dotcom’s own ad network. This would generate revenue to help pay for ‘free’ music, a controversial technique which led to Dotcom stating that it would only activate itself on sites in the Alexa 100 – a take from the rich and give to the poor mechanic.
It was envisioned that Megakey would dovetail with another service, Megabox, but that particular naming convention will no longer see the light of day. In 2013 Dotcom confirmed to TorrentFreak that his new music offering would be called Baboom.
Today, the eve of Dotcom’s 40th birthday and the one-year anniversary of the launch of Mega.co.nz, will also see the release of Dotcom’s brand new album, Good Times. Various tracks have already been heard around the web, from the rowdy ‘Party Amplifier’ to the Dotcom alter-ego-featuring Live My Life. With production genius Printz Board, erm, on board, the sound quality is as good as you’d expect.
Dotcom can do old-school CDs too (pic courtesy of Dotcom lawyer Ira Rothken)
Good Times is being promoted online by Dotcom himself and on radio, but it is also enjoying some traditional offline marketing, with Dotcom’s face currently plastered over the back of around 100 buses.
The really unique aspect of the album, however, is its integration into the launch today of Baboom. Billed as a ‘soft launch’ of the yet-to-debut full service, Dotcom’s album is the centerpiece and sole musical attraction.
Baboom’s only current offering, Kim Dotcom’s ‘Good Times’
At the moment the Baboom site is a fairly straightforward affair. As an early preview most features are disabled although fans can read all about Kim, look at his pictures and videos and, of course, listen to his music. All of the tracks from the album are available to download for free in three formats – MP3, FLAC and .WAV. There’s also some samples to download for use in a remix competition.
Additionally, those who wish to pay for the album can do so, but no money changes hands on the Baboom site. All sales are directed to iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp. Dotcom’s Twitter feed is embedded into his artist page but there are currently no other signs of ‘social’ elements woven into the music experience. Music discovery processes will also have to wait.
Of course there are many unanswered questions over where the service goes from here. Most iTunes or Spotify-like streaming services have the backing of the major labels which together provide tens of millions of licensed tracks. At this stage, considering Dotcom’s somewhat stormy relationship with U.S.-based rightsholders, it seems unlikely that Baboom will be able to compete on volume. While a focused and personal artist-to-fan experience could be on the cards, Dotcom only does big….so watch this space.
The full Baboom service is currently penciled in for a late-2014 launch.