Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Money Music for nothin' ...

Money Music for nothin' ...

First of all, after doing a Technorati search I see that some folks are writing about Tim Fite, but why isn't everyone? None of the sites I read regularly have mentioned him -- and that includes some of the biggies that really should be -- or his newest album, Over The Counter Culture, that he's offering for download, from his site, with his label's approval ABSOLUTELY FREE.

I first learned about Fite through a piece Greg Kot wrote in The Chicago Tribune, and then promptly forgot to download the album. Maybe that's why no one is writing about him. Folks, including me, seem to have rapidly shrinking memories so if we (I) read about something on a Sunday that isn't available for download until a Tuesday, we (I) might forget to do so.

Luckily, I was listening to the Sound Opinions podcast on the way home yesterday and they open the show with a chat with Tim Fite about the album and why he decided to release it for free digitally even though he's already signed to a well-regarded label. His reasoning was solid: how can you record an album lambasting consumer culture and the rot it's developing from within our society, and then expect people to contribute to that consumerism buy paying for the music?

Don't jump to conclusions and think that Fite is saying all music should always be free, even though he does admit that would be nice. At the moment there still isn't a truly foolproof model in place to support artists in such a way so that we can enjoy their output totally without any sort of financial exchange. However, in this case, the message of the music seems to have had a powerful hand in at least dictating the manner in which the music couldn't be delivered, so I applaud Fite for making that distinction.

And what about the album itself? It's damn good. Mainstream hip-hop may be strangling itself with gold chains and suffocating under piles of puffy fur coats, but Fite displays originality that continues to remind everyone that the underground is still bubbling with fresh talent.

No comments: