War, A Rock Opera – Now Available For Free Download

After watching the brilliant Israeli rock opera ‘War’ on stage, and blogging about it, I have been corresponding by email with musician Kobi Vitman who created it based on his experiences in 2002 as a reserve infantry soldier during Operation Defensive Shield, and the PTSD that followed. A couple of months ago, when the original cast recording was issued, I tried to convey to Vitman my own experiences as a listener and a fan of the genre, emphasizing the difficulty in trying to track down these musical gems once the curtain closes on the original show. In accordance with my beliefs about file sharing, copyright laws and my own experiences searching for recordings of Israeli musicals, I tried to push for making the entire album available online.

Well, I am so very happy to announce that as of this week, the album is indeed available online and for free. You can still purchase the physical CD, booklet and all, for 40NIS, but if you just want the MP3 files, they are now legally available on WarRockOpera.com. You can still watch the show live in its acoustic version. Check the website for details.


The Elegance of the New and the Mourning of the Old

I have never heard of Oren Lavie        , nor his song titled Her Morning Elegance, until today. Both of them came to my attention hours ago when the music video for the song climbed to the top of ViralVideoChart.com:
ViralVideoChart.com - 2009-01-27

Oren Lavie sounded like an Israeli name and so I was somewhat intrigued as I could not recall an Israeli video that ever went viral. Sure enough, it turns out that Lavie, an unknown Israeli singer, took a giant step towards fame by releasing a stop motion video last week. Within that short period of time, the video has been viewed almost 400,000 times, and was blogged about 1500 times (now 1501). Have a look-see:

Now, I know it is quite easy to dismiss this as one of the many viral videos that enter and exit our screens every week, but I think this is much more than that:
We live in an exciting period of time when new business models are developed and adopted right in front of our eyes and the very nature of art and commerce is evolving. Not everyone is excited about it, though: like the Luddites who destroyed mechanized looms in the early nineteenth century trying to resist the inevitability of the Industrial Revolution, the music industry had spent a decade trying to convince people that there is nothing wrong with the old business models and that sharing music is a crime. When everyone around you is committing an illegal act, including the kid next door and his father the policeman, it is quite difficult to treat piracy like the trouble it is made out to be. Home cooking is not killing the restaurant industry, and home taping is not killing the music industry – it didn’t during the 1980’s when cassettes were used, and it is not killing it nowadays when peer-to-peer file sharing protocols are in use. In ten to twenty years, we would wonder what the fuss was all about, and would find it hard to believe that artists stubbornly refused to adopt new technologies, new ways of communicating and new ways of earning a living.
Allowing people to download your music for free? Of course! How else did you plan to make money?

Fill up your dosage of free culture here and here.

Trent Reznor Puts Another Nail in the Music Industry’s Analog Coffin

[singlepic id=46 w=320 h=240 float=right]American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, like Radiohead and others before them, have just released their new album in digital format absolutely free of charge. Band leader Trent Reznor explains: “I’ve been considering and wanting to make this kind of [instrumental] record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn’t have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective – dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I’m very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference. I hope you enjoy the first four volumes of Ghosts.” (emphasis mine)

Listen to the ninth track off the first (and free) volume:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Now go download it yourself.