While finishing up production on the Zubatto Syndicate record, one of the things I’ve been struggling with is the whole concept of a “release” in the digital age. When the mastering is finished in just a few short days, there is no reason in the world that I can’t just release the record to the world digitally, despite the fact that a physical release (in the form of CD and vinyl) may still be months away and any release performances will have to wait until early Spring at the earliest for personnel reasons. From a publicity standpoint, the benefits of the “release event” are obvious and as a one-man operation, the attraction of having one big target looming on the horizon instead of several smaller ones is a sizable one.
On the other hand, I’ve been working on this record for several months (the music itself for over a year) and it sounds great. I want everyone to hear it. Now.
Additionally, there are some significant benefits to decoupling the digital release from the physical one. For starters, I can start selling it online right now, along with pre-orders for the physical media and raise funds for production of the CDs and vinyl. Having a digital release could also help to spread word of mouth about the record before the physical release hits. Who knows? It might help me get more people out for the release party and make the publicity work for the record easier.
As someone who grew up with vinyl records and then CDs, it strikes me that this is another sign of the end of the dominance of physical media in the distribution of music. I’m not ready yet (and think it would be insane) to completely forgo the physical packages and artwork but I will concede that such a day seems to be coming soon. I’m heartened by the resurgence of vinyl and hope to be producing LPs for listeners who still enjoy the experience of sitting through a record and perusing the artwork.
Doing a digital pre-release of the Zubatto record is a bit of a gamble on one hand and an interesting experiment on the other. This record is currently my “baby,” so I’m not totally keen on using the release as an experiment to help us all better understand “The Future of Music” or something like that, and I can’t really afford (literally) to gamble anything on anything. But I can see the very real advantages to decoupling the digital release from the physical production and putting the record out digitally as soon as it is finished.
So, therefore, get ready. The Zubatto Syndicate record is coming, sooner than you think! If you’re an early adopter who rips all of your new CDs to a giant hard drive and then never opens them again, you’re in luck. If you’re an old school CD or vinyl fan who likens listening to things online to peeking at your Christmas presents early, you’ll need to hold on just a little longer.
Stay tuned here and at http://www.zubattosyndicate.com.