I would be very appreciative if somebody could convince me why this isn't at least kinda lame.
The announcement was made Monday morning- pay for it now, get it in September. This will not be the much anticipated project produced entirely by Pete Rock and DJ Premier, either. No tracklist was given, but we were told to expect features from David Byrne and 2 Chainz. I'm sorry, but that does not sound like a promising enough rap record for me to pay for months in advance, without the prospect of being able to return it to my friendly neighborhood record store for 75% credit if it fails to deliver.
This wouldn't be the biggest deal in the world... were they not asking for $45 for the vinyl. That blew me away. The only sense of that I could make is that it's actually a very fair price for international heads. Assuming the record is pressed domestically, it's about $18 to ship a single record overseas (I am also assuming the shipping was included in that $45. I could very well be mistaken about that, which would leave no silver lining whatsoever).
For those of us in the habit of buying records in this country though, that's quite excessive! I would not pay $45 for it at the record store, with their insurance policy. I sure as hell am not inclined to pay that much six months before I get my hands on it.
Now I hate the record and music business a great deal, and always try to be supportive of artists turning their backs to it. I don't get this one though. The main reason I hate the biz is because it inflates prices for music because of increasingly unnecessary superfluous corporate bullshit, sucking up money that should be either going to artists or staying in our pockets. But it's a lot tougher to get excited about new ways of doing business if it's the consumer who's actually getting screwed in the end though. As principled as I am, I could give a fuck less if Jimmy Iovine's Xanax-carrier gets a cut of my dough if they're giving me a competitively priced product.
And while a Kickstarter may seem neat and revolutionary and cutting-edge to many consumers, for those of us in the vinyl community this is really just another pre-order, which are becoming more and more controversial. There is a lot of great stuff coming out on smaller independent "boutique" labels, with people putting in the work tracking down demos and lost rarities and pressing them up in limited runs of a couple hundred. Some of them, like Dope Folks and Chopped Herring, are thoroughly reliable. Others, however, are not. At least two of those operations have seen dudes suddenly disappear with everybody's pre-order money, and I can think of a third who was having major issues along the same lines that may not have been resolved. Slice Of Spice, who are actually considered one of the more on-point outfits operating this way, shipped me a copy of their Lord Finesse instrumentals with a big fat fucking scratch on the first track. Apparently something similar happened to a DJ who's put in a lot of work for a long time out here- I saw them beefing online, with the label accusing him of lying to them about the damaged record. Not cool. It's quite possible that Slice Of Spice is who De La is working with on this project.
Vinyl collectors have become increasingly leery of this setup. So while people used to DLing all their music may be excited to deal directly with the artist, I'm sincerely wondering why quite possibly the greatest group in rap history needs my money, and so godddamn much of it, six months before they can get me my record. The boutique labels run by rap fiends on shoestring budgets have to operate like that. De La Soul, on the other hand, is clearly choosing this. Some peeps of mine put out an LP last year, people who have homelessness in their recent past...they only pressed up 100, at $20 a pop with individual hand-made covers, and I got them a couple weeks after placing my order. De La Fucking Soul is pressing up 2500 copies and charging at least twice as much, with an ETA of half a year?
Seriously, somebody tell me how this isn't lame.
There is also a package on the Kickstarter where you can pay them to follow you on Twitter and retweet your shit. I love you guys too much to give you the impossible task of explaining how that isn't hella lame.
Also, if any of you yahoos are in the Bay Area, I will be the guest DJ at 80's rap night at The Elbo Room tomorrow night. It will undoubtedly be a party.