In a musical age where generosity is becoming commodity, it’s easy to become cynical of bigger artists giving away tracks, EPs or even albums for free. What’s the perk here – building up buzz for a physical release or tour, record company profiteering or a plain old PR exercise? Well after much pondering, I can’t see how any of these apply to Bradford Cox of Deerhunter releasing four full albums worth of music for free download under his Atlas Sound solo moniker.
This is an act of unparalleled generosity from an artist who has the ability to release these to profit from interested fans quite easily. These clearly aren’t four albums of finished material – many of the tracks are sonic experiments, half-finished ideas or covers of favourite artists – but what we get is a look into the workings of a celebrated musician and how he comes up with the work he does. Many would pay for that privilege, but this move sets a precedent that I hope others will follow. Most brilliant is his forcing of an apology out of Sony, who deleted the uploads, after which he immediately rehosted it. An excellent move from an excellent artist, Mr. Cox, I applaud you.