This is old news since the album, Barenaked Ladies Are Men, was released months ago, but the album is too cool not to mention.
When I loaded the CD into my computer to rip the tracks, a file browser came up. I started cursing, trying to figure out if some sort of copy protetion DRM non-sense was going to cause me to return the CD to the store, but then I remembered who the artist was. The Barenaked Ladies would not have DRM on their CDs (Steven Page fronts the Canadian Music Creators Coalition which is outspokenly anti-DRM).
I looked a bit closer and noticed that the CD contained Audacity and some UMIXIT software. Audacity! For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it’s a free (as in price and as in freedom), cross-platform and open source audio editor/recorder. I didn’t bother trying to run the software on the CD as it was designed for Windows or Macintosh machines, however I have Audacity on my GNU/Linux machine already anyways.
Looking a bit closer, the album contained multi-tracks for three of their songs! I was able to load them into Audacity pretty easily, even though my GNU/Linux operating system wasn’t officially supported, thanks to their use of free (“libre”) software (Audacity) and free (“libre”) formats (OGG Vorbis).
What a cool idea – giving your fans the tools to remix your songs!
The Barenaked Ladies are living proof that while the recording industry is on its deathbed, the music industry is very much alive. They’ve gone back to their independent roots, where they now have the power to distance themselves from the mistakes that the major labels are currently making (e.g. DRM, treating fans like criminals, etc.) and use other ways to get their fans involved in their music. And it’s going extremely well.