In the Mid ’80s, when I was a gawky kid of 14 or 15, I’d make a short trip from my house at least once a week to visit Smokey’s Records. I’d pour over the latest issue of Billboard Magazine, scouring for news of my favorite bands and tracking their position on the weekly charts and occasionally, I’d even buy an album. One of the bands I watched most keenly was Madness, who had a couple of songs that managed to crawl into the top 40.
The music industry has been on my mind for the last decade, but it’s been at least twenty years since I paid much attention to the charts.
Lately though, Madness is in the charts again, and I’m pouring over music related stats again. These days though, I’m interested in another kind of madness: Harvey Danger’s experiment in giving away their latest album as a digital download. This time out, I’m not a passive observer. I put together the server and software infrastructure that’s made it possible for over 57,000 people to download the album as high quality digital audio files in the last two weeks. The cost is probably less than the budget for doughnuts during the production of their second album.
I’m interested to see how this little experiment turns out.