Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Absurdity of Release Dates: Redux

Toronto based electronic duo Crystal Castles was set to release their eponymous second record (soon to be known as The Creepy-Girl-in-the-Graveyard Album) on June 8th in the US.  As discussed recently on this blog, the significance of physical release dates has diminished significantly in recent years, and indeed such dates may bear no significance at all at this point.  The fate of the aforementioned record lends credence to this point.

You see, someone decided to leak the new CC album in its entirety about six weeks prior to its scheduled release.  This is the new law.  In response, Fiction Records has pushed forward the release date of the album to May 25th, with an online release date of April 23rd.  In other words, tomorrow.

The capacity for self-delusion within the record industry is nicely encapsulated by the fact that there are now two upcoming release dates for an album that has already been released.  It is rather stunning that, eleven years after the development of Napster, the industry seems more clueless as to how to manage its product each day.  Record companies continue to believe that records are treated by the culture as fetish objects to be cuddled, coddled, and collected, when in fact our relationship to music is more transient than ever, and albums are now as easily accessed and disposed of as Metro Cards.  Whether or not the consumer ultimately benefits by taking control of distribution is hard to say, but certainly the days of record-release-as-event are gone, and for its own solvency, record companies like Fiction will need to re-evaluate how they approach dissemination of their artists' work.

As for the Castles themselves, their music is divisive to put it kindly.  Some would argue that they are at the forefront of a movement called "glitch-punk" (a label corresponding to indie rule #4: all new genres must be hyphenated composites of pre-existing genres), while others would argue that they are as exciting as 4:33 and as innovative as Computer Scooter (cf 4:33).  Personally, I enjoyed their first record, and I'm excited about their future.  Two songs from the new LP are included below:

Crystal Castles - Celestica

Crystal Castles - Doe Deer


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