Welcome to jaggedspiral.com v3.0

Jagged Friends and Fans,

Leave it to Jagged Spiral to NOT leave a good thing alone. Despite the lovely comments we’ve received over the years about the jaggedspiral.com v2.0 website, the back-end needed a serious overhaul. We’ve switched from Blogger to WordPress, which should give the website all kinds of comment and usability goodness.

This doesn’t mean the band will post more often, so don’t get your hopes up.

It also has no bearing on how often they play out, so don’t get your hopes up there either. I can tell you the new album is well under way, with no release date in sight. But check back for updates. The old posts and pix should come back online eventually, if I can get Zero to stop playing Blade Kitten long enough to make the changes…

Sweetly,

Sugar

Nine Inch Nails follows Jagged Spiral into Creative Common Ground

[For Immediate Release]

It seems that Jagged Spiral’s marketing strategy is gaining traction among the band’s more famous peers.

Not just another Heavy Rock/Metal band from Minneapolis, Jagged Spiral (http://www.jaggedspiral.com/) smoldered in obscurity until their debut release in 2007 – Days From Evil. The album was every bit as avant-garde and eclectic as its method of its distribution. Released by label Miku Darkly under Creative Commons licensing, Days From Evil is free to download from their website, free to copy, and free to distribute. A Donation link on their website allows fans to contribute any price they see fit for the music. (They call it a “Virtual Tip Jar”).

Other groups, notibly Radiohead and Atmosphere made their albums available for free download, although the Radiohead downloads were removed from the band’s website once the CD was released. [Editor’s Note: Atmosphere’s album Strictly Leakage is still available here]

Now, Audioholics.com has announced that Trent Reznor, primary songwriter and frontman for Nine Inch Nails and historically a Trend Setter in marketing, has decided to follow a similar formula with the new release of “Ghosts I-IV”. The first nine tracks from the album are available for free, thanks to Creative Commons licensing. The entire album spans an impressive 36 tracks of instrumental-only work. The remaining tracks of the album are available for purchase in a variety of formats, including progressively more expensive options, including a $300 Ultra-Deluxe Limited Package, of which only 2500 were made…and have already sold out.

While Jagged Spiral could not be reached for comment, the band’s manager, Sugar, was more than happy to expand on the decision to release music for free:

“It just seemed like the obvious choice for an independent artist starting out in today’s market. When a band like Jagged Spiral is just starting out, they have a limited fan base. If they released their recordings in the traditional model, they would have the traditional results – they would sell a couple copies, and they wouldn’t likely make enough to cover the cost of production. Trent Reznor has a large enough fan base that he can give away a teaser, and still make profit on the upsell.

There’s always a compromise between monetary gain and distribution. Higher cost equals limited distribution, lower cost equals larger distribution, No Cost equals unlimited distribution. When you’re starting out, it makes more sense to choose fame over fortune. Now, people around the world are sharing the songs off Days From Evil through bittorrent, limewire, e-mail and blog postings. And instead of feeling like criminals, they can feel that they are helping the band out. That’s not a ‘Street Team’ that’s a ‘World Team’ working for them 24×7.

The money can come later, once you’ve proven yourself. Crack dealers use the same method, and it works if the product is addictive. Trent Reznor is doing it right now. The first nine tracks off Ghosts are free, and if you like what you hear, and you want more, you’ll pay for it.”

While giving art away for free is not a new idea, and neither is Creative Commons licensing, Jagged Spiral’s idea of allowing the audience to pay them via donations through their website is. Sugar explains:

“Having a method for fans to donate money directly to the artist makes them feel involved in the process; it creates a loop between the artist and fans. The fans provide the resources for the artist to continue, the artist converts the resources into art for the fans. Marillion has this business model mastered. They funded their entire last album production costs off fan pre-orders ,and they’re doing it again this year. They’re working directly for the fans. It’s the internet version of the musician on the street corner with their guitar case open.”

Bands like Jagged Spiral and Nine Inch Nails giving music away for free not only fueled the buzz surrounding their releases, but also fueled the fire between the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the entire independent artist movement.

“We gave them years to come up with something, and you can’t possibly feel sorry for them. The RIAA hung themselves every day that they resisted the internet. They pulled the same bullshit when Dolby “C” and HX-Pro noise reduction got built into tape decks. It’s too late for them now, but they struggle to keep afloat with DRM infected songs on I-Tunes. Bands like Jagged Spiral and Nine Inch Nails are showing the rest of the world how the new system works. The record industry has just been outsourced by the internet.”


couldn’t have said it better myself

I just love the manic intensity of some of the stuff on Lefsetz. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who still care, and those people and I apparently share similar viewpoints. (Seriously, I was thinking of writing a very similar post before I heard of this one!)

http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2007/04/18/sam-cutler-on-live-earth/

So there ya go.

Horns up!

-josh

10 Failed Tech Trends of 2005

Interesting article in an old Extreme Tech issue. By interesting, I mean more than a little galling.

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1906395,00.asp

It’s amazing how much contempt people actually have for “average Americans.” On the one hand, you have the writer pointing to the consumer as THE arbiter in all things tech, as in noting that we (the consumer) don’t want multiple standards. This is absolutely true: when I buy a DVD, or a laptop, I want the thing to Just Work; it’s why people are still buying Apple Computers. The things Just Work.

On the other hand, this constant harping on the public’s inability to “understand” what “good audio” is absolutely insulting. It’s like this: people don’t care. They just don’t. People don’t want “high fidelity” sound because the sound they have is good enough.

Does vinyl sound better than CD? Arguably. Do CDs sound better than mp3s? If the mp3 is ripped at a low bitrate, sure. At 160 kbps or above, does it really matter? Stop for a minute and listen to your surroundings; it’s probably pretty loud. Is that extra dynamic range really gonna make much of a difference on your evening commute, sitting next to a cattle truck on 494? Not really.

It’s not that I don’t care; as I guy who is into all things audio, I want my music and movies to sound great. That they don’t is lamentable. But don’t blame the technology, and don’t blame the public. Blame the people producing all of that crass, relentlessly mediocre material, and the executives who have so much contempt for their audience that they’re convinced that’s what we really want.

-josh