16 April 2006

One very important thought

Boards of Canada have a new EP coming out on the 6th June, 'Trans Canada Highway', with 4 new tracks and an Odd Nosdam remix of 'Dayvan Cowboy'. To coincide with the ep they are releasing their first video, again for 'Dayvan Cowboy', and it's available for download from Warp for free. What's interesting (apart from the fact that it's a really great track, and free) is the fact that Warp have made it available in .mp4 as well as .mov and .wmv, especially for your iPod.

And it's free.

This is a good thing.

You see, unless I am mistaken, music videos are essentially advertising for a single, and a single is basically advertising for an album (and I know I have seriously dated myself there with that statement, as we all know albums are dead, baby, long live the ringtone). MTV is just one big ad that tricks people into watching it with pretty colours and flashy lights. When iTunes launched their video store, the first content that was made available, beyond Pixar shorts, were music videos, and outside of the US this is still pretty much the only video content you can access through their site. And they charge for it. They charge for downloading a three minute ad for a single.

I'll say it one more time - they charge us to watch an ad.

I remember watching 'Demolition Man', and laughing at the scene where they are listening to a radio station that plays nothing but "classic" advertising jingles. I remember shaking my head in amazement when I first saw a program dedicated to 'The Best TV Ads, Ever (III)'. However iTunes takes that one further by actually getting us to pay for the experience of watching an ad.

Now don't get me wrong, I have no moral qualms with advertising, far far from it in fact. However I strongly believe that advertising should be used to support content, not replace it. This is why I am delighted by Warp's decision to provide 'Dayvan Cowboy' as a free download - they are acknowledging the fact that it is an ad for Boards of Canada's new ep, a brilliant and beautiful ad, but an ad none the less.

Go and download it, it's great. And while you're there, preorder the ep; if it is anything like 'The Campfire Headphase', it should easily make your Top Ten list for 2006.


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