Beck's Sheet-Music Gambit And Six Other Alternatives To Just Putting Out A Boring Old Record

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This week neo-pop superstar Beck announced the release of Song Reader, a new "album" in the form of sheet music. The finished product offers nothing to listen to; just 20 sheets of notation collected in a "lavishly produced hardcover carrying case," according to the publishing outfit McSweeney's, which is working with Mr. Hansen to release this artful experiment.

People praised the project; others derided it—although not surprisingly, many musicians leaned toward the former. As the Beauty Pill's Chad Clark put it: "There is zero incentive to release music conventionally right now. It just feels dumb/masochistic. Might as well try shit. Why not?"

A solid point, and one that many of Clark's musical brethren have taken well to heart. Here are some of the more innovative ways that artists are trying to get people to pony up for music these days.

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Live: Jack White Expands His Sound At Roseland

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Benjamin Lozovsky
Jack White w/Alabama Shakes
Roseland Ballroom
Monday, May 21

Better than: Sweating profusely in Wichita.

Jack White doesn't seem like the type to reminisce. He's certainly wrapped in more nostalgia than penny candy, and his unflappable rise as the most artful Americana reconstructionist and thorough throwback rock star of his era has always been based around an ephemeral dialogue with the past. Still, looking longingly inward towards his own experiences and previous work never seemed to fit into White's eccentricities—slowing down for resurrection or remembrance was never an option when constantly moving and expanding one's creative abilities was the key necessity to survival.

But after the dissolution of The White Stripe, White was put in the uncomfortable position of momentary stasis. It was a true turning point, a thoughtful juncture where pure momentum didn't matter anymore. During the first of two concerts at Roseland Ballroom in support of his first solo album Blunderbuss, White seemed more aware of a tangible past than ever.

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11 More Ways For Jack White To Release A Limited-Edition Musical Work

Categories: Jack White, Lists

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via Third Man Records
"Three weeks prior to the April 24 release of his debut album Blunderbuss (Third Man Records/Columbia), Third Man Records has premiered the as yet unreleased Jack White album track "Freedom at 21" exclusively via 1000 flexi-disc records attached to helium balloons launched from the label headquarters in Nashville on April 1st, 2012.

Envisioned as an experiment exploring non-traditional forms of record distribution and a way to get records in the hands of people who don't visit record shops, the label was sure to use biodegradable latex balloons and all-natural twine in the process....

Statistics for similar balloon launches show a recovery rate of approximately 10% so it's quite possible that less than 100 of the 1000 records launched will ever be discovered. Whatever the numbers, the "Freedom at 21" flexi-disc will surely be a highly sought-after collectible for years to come."

What crazy distribution strategy will Jack White think of next? Some ideas:

11. Timed drive-by of a series of cars, each traveling at 30 mph, playing the song in succession

10. Christmastime popcorn-ball lawn-toss

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Q&A: Violent J Talks Jack White, "Lick Me in the Arse," And Why Doesn't Think Insane Clown Posse Is Really Getting a Better Public Reception These Days

"We went to [Jack White's] mansion--his fresh, huge, gated mansion--I'm talking for real, man, a real-deal mansion, you know? An old colonial huge house. The whole thing, all fresh, was white and red. White house with a big, red chimney!"

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Going to find as many excuses to use this picture as possible.

Yesterday, the Internet blew up when Third Man Records announced a Jack White collaboration with Insane Clown Posse on a Mozart song. "We knew it was a pairing of one of the most respected, loved, you know, hippest artists in the world, meets one of the most hated bands in the world," says Violent J today, the first time we've talked since we ran into him in the airport. "And I think that's what he set out to do. He knew what he was going for." We'll let him tell you the rest.

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Yes, Jack White Has Produced a Mozart-Sampling Song For Insane Clown Posse

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Shaggy was wearing these same slippers at the airport.

These guys have more in common than you think. For one, Detroit. For two, Jack White recently divorced and has a history of publicly collaborating with his romantic partners, Violent J just recently ended a long relationship with Infomercial superstar Sugar Slam. Jack White clearly relishes the predictably boring "head explodes" reactions to his bonkers projects, Insane Clown Posse exist. Probably the most surprising thing about this collaboration is that Jeff the Brotherhood ended up on here, but then again, Nashville is small.


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Jack White And Stephen Colbert Will Turn The High Line Into A Record Store Later This Morning

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This week the late-night yuk/yakfest The Colbert Report has had all musically inclined guests, with performances by Bon Iver, Florence + The Machine, and Talib Kweli; last night the host took his turn when he handled vocal duties on "Charlene II: I'm Over You," a collaboration with the Jack White-shepherded goth-garage quartet The Black Belles. In a slick bit of tv/retail/Summer Friday synergy, Colbert and White will sell the single (on tri-colored vinyl!) when Third Man Records' record store on wheels parks itself at The Lot at The High Line, located at W. 30th St. and 10th Ave., later this morning. "The Rolling Record Store opens at 11 and the jams get kicked out soon after," according to Third Man, so get cracking. (Those of you who can't get to the west side in time can also buy the single online.) Clip of "Charlene II" after the jump.

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2010: The Year In Music Photos

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The year in music, circa 2010, started at the Cake Shop, with a shred-down to the New Year courtesy of Siren Festival MVP-to-be Marissa Paternoster and her band Screaming Females. After a tour through the NYE fetes of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, that night ended amidst a marathon show at Bushwick's Shea Stadium, right around the time the Blastoids' drummer poured paint on his kit and started splattering away.

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Jack White and Conan O'Brien Cover Eddie Cochran on Conan Debut

Categories: Jack White, Video


When Conan O'Brien said goodbye to Late Night last year, his buddies The White Stripes appeared to play live and wish him well on the show's final eipsiode. So after Conan's brief sojourn to The Tonight Show, it only makes sense that his return to a comfort zone -- this time to basic cable on TBS's Conan -- would come complete with a christening appearance by White. O'Brien joined the modern day guitar god, sharing vocal duties for a rollicking duet of Eddie Cochran's classic "20 Flight Rock." Check out White's time on the couch with Conan below.


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All Tomorrow's Parties NY 2010 Additions: Shellac and the Greenhornes, A Cincinnati-Born Trio Who Coincidentally Includes Two of the Raconteurs

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Today brings more confirmations for the three-day line-up of the Jim Jarmusch-curated All Tomorrow's Parties New York. Adding to the stellar list of Explosions in the Sky, Raekwon, Sonic Youth, the Breeders, Fucked Up, Girls, and the Stooges doing Raw Power are Shellac (credited in the press release as "House Band," which they more or less are), Hallogallo ("Michael Rother and Friends perform the Music of Neu!"), Text of Light (which includes Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo), and the Greenhornes.

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