Jay Bennett’s New Album Available for Free Download

MP3: The Engines are Idle

Former Wilco mad scientist Jay Bennett has released his latest album, Whatever Happened I Apaologize, as a free download from Rock Proper. Click here to grab it free and legally.

I was just having a conversation yesterday with my friend Megan about how changes in the industry are real and not just talking points that music geeks obsess over. Bennett might not still be setting the world on fire with sales, but he is a respectable solid name that can certainly sell enough records to make it worthwhile for any small label to work with him.

Which makes me think about local bands who don’t really tour: why aren’t you just releasing your music for free instead of spending $1,500 for 1,000 CDs that you’ll never sell…. If it’s good enough for Jay it’s good enough for you.

From the press release:

Rock Proper is an online music distributor providing free, high quality, album-length downloads with the legal consent of their creators. Please download this music, share it, and enjoy it in any non-commercial way you deem appropriate … In addition to Jay’s record, our site features 10 great reissues for your listening pleasure. Many of these records were recorded at Jay’s studio, Pieholden Suite Sound and document some of the many collaborations of a close group of friends focused on Chicago’s far north side.

  • Jay Bennett

    Which makes me think about local bands who don’t really tour: why aren’t you just releasing your music for free instead of spending $1,500 for 1,000 CDs that you’ll never sell….—may I add, that this doesn’t just apply to local bands pressing up a few thousand CD’s, I’ve had 3 major label record deals in my life, and have 5+ gold records, and you know how much money I have seen from all of this.. $150…TOTAL, over my entire career, chew on that, when you think about major labels as being some kind of pot of gold.

    Also, you really nailed down the whole vision of rockproper…”we have a lot of talented friends whose music we think should be heard…let’s just gather it up and F%%$#@$ing give it away” it’s either that, or sit on it, praying for some kind of miracle, that in the end is no miracle at all. Jay W. Bennett

  • Dan Aloi

    Wow, Jay … that sucks worse than the textbook (Jayhawks?) example Steve Albini once posited back when the companies actually sold “product.” Here’s hoping that gigging, t-shirts, production gigs, and building better mousetraps pans out for you and other talented creative people…

  • I miss the old way of music.
    It’s sad to think my younger siblings will never have the experience and excitment of waiting for an album to drop and waiting in line to get it because chances are it will leak before the actual release date and all they have to do is download it.

  • As somebody who’s band just did the whole “1000 CDs for $1500” thing, this hits me right where I live. We tossed and turned over the decision, but when we asked the folks on our mailing list what they wanted, they wanted CDs. Now, to be fair, we didn’t ask them what they would want if they didn’t have to pay for it *at all*. But that’s a pretty scary bridge to cross… To ask yourself “What if we can’t get paid ANYTHING for this stuff?” brings up questions of viability that it only costs us the un-recouped portion of that initial $1500 not to have to answer.

    Anyway, thanks for the album, Jay!

  • Gonzo

    I’m still a bit old fashioned when I think in terms of creating a “record,” which is also considered a “document” and I think it’s good to have things “documented” in “hard copy” as well as digital. And I think a lot of musicians probably just like to be able to hold a physical object in their hands as testament to their hard work.

    And I love going thru other people’s collections to find something new. And I still love seeing cool packaging and art work. I’m in to that kind of shit.

    All that being said, I do think it’s silly for a local band to press something that will sit in their basement. I think bands need to find new ways to move physical product. Maybe use it as some sort of “lost leader.” Sell it for 3 bucks or even at cost. Give a free copy away with every t-shirt – just tack a couple bucks to the t-shirt price. Give a copy away with admission to a show. I don’t know, but I still like to believe that the internet shouldn’t be the only place to get music.

    I do think it’s great that someone can put stuff out there to download at no cost if the main goal is for people to hear it – which I guess is the “main” priority as a musician/song writer.

    Thanks Jay

  • avvie

    While I understand Gonzo’s sentiment that pressing dust collectors is silly, I have this story to offer:

    I was called to do some construction work at someone’s house who turned out to be a well-known local singer/frontman. While working there I stumbled across a couple of boxes full of unsold discs from his last band. So I took one. I still play it fairly often, and upon hearing it a couple of my curious friends sought the disc out and bought it.

    but, the current generation wouldn’t be interested in that at all :(

  • While “free music” is great to get people interested, I think giving it all away becomes problematic for a working musician. I realize you qualified your statements with “local bands who don’t really tour,” but when you ARE playing shows (locally and across the country) with no guarantees, often CD’s and merch are the ONLY way you’re making money.

    Also (and I think this issue has been addressed several times on the DW forums), listeners often place more “value” on an album they have to buy, rather than something given away for free (depending on how it’s done). There’s an odd diminishing rate of return with music (on both ends of the spectrum).

  • Billydeewhitehall

    We never truly appreciate what we get for free or easy.