It would appear that my endless ranting about the state of music in this world has begun to spread like a cancer on the internet. Now, whether I am directly responsible or not, I will consider this a win in my book. Los Angeles band, Gas Station Robber has chosen to adopt the Radiohead, NIN code and give their music away for free via their website. Now who is Gas Station Robber? Well, you don't know them. But unlike all the other unknown bands polluting our beloved internet, this band has chosen to eliminate their crappy music carbon footprint. To do this they have put their music up for completely free download. Now whether this marketing concept will work or not is still to be seen. One thing is clear though. This is not a bad idea.
When entering the site it is pretty straight forward. Large mp3 player on the right, a song auto-starts and text makes it very clear to download all music for free. You have the ability to submit your email address to be notified when a new song is posted and there is also a "support" button. This is basically a paypal donate button. I do like how you don’t HAVE to go through any type of transaction or email submission to the get the songs. An excerpt from the home pages main paragraph reads:
"We are committed to the idea of free indie music so all of our songs are available to download with no strings attached."
It appears that this is in fact the case. The band shows a confidence that the music itself will create returning fans and possibly soft sell donations and merchandise purchases. Profiting off the sales of CDs and mp3s is a constant misnomer of the music world. Any basic entertainment law class will tell you that no band will have enough sales to start making money off their CD revenue. All that money goes to labels, management and other success related entities. And without the help of a label's advertising and marketing you are left to your own skill set to make that happen. Those are pretty bad odds. So instead, Gas Station Robber has chosen to cut out the overhead of CD production, marketing and advertising campaigns as well as myspace spamming.They use the real world value of the word FREE and hope that it will return in the form of secondary sales through ticket sales, merch sales and donations for the music.
So what about the actual music? Is it even worth this write up? My honest opinion is yes. Gas Station Robber is an electroacoustic two piece that bridges many gaps in current mainstream and indie music. It has very strong production, obvious movements in the song structure, very catchy melodies and infectious choruses. The secondary instrument parts stretch however, adding sounds more common in the experimental electronica of Boards of Canada. This push and pull of instrument sounds against the soft, articulate melody makes it sound less like an AIR ripoff and more like Notwist spinoff. And in today's watered down, image based electro subculture, the"faceless" feel of their promo photos suggest less worry about the look and more about the music. Anyone who cares about the state of music today will find that this group not only has the talent, but also the foward thought to move into new concepts of how to get their art to people.