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Well, yesterday I got a glimpse at another interesting way to market new music on the Internet, and it was a pretty sweet glimpse at that as it involved the complete streaming of the new Queens of the Stone Age album Era Vulgaris.
Have bands chosen to stream entire albums before?
I'm sure they have, but this one seems to have gotten a bit more press because the QOTSA are one of the more popular bands out right now. I've mentioned this album before as one of the ones I was looking forward to hearing for a while now, and so when I found them streaming the entire album, not just the single etc, I had to take a listen. This stream might be "spoofed" to discourage stream rips, but its hard to tell and I can get past that for a chance to listen to the album straight through before it's released.
I should correct that and say, I can get past that for a chance to listen to the complete album with the permission of the band... I'd rather not condone or encourage any full album leaks.
As a promotional technique, this idea seems like a smart one because the more people you can get to listen to your music, the more people might come see the band play live, might buy the album, might buy the band's back albums. Sure, people can hear singles anywhere, but to be able to preview the entire album is a very attractive option, especially to people like me who cannot purchase every album they may want to when they hear a good single. Hopefully this is just another step in the changing music market on the Internet... a step towards a place where it is far easier to find and listen to new music without all the controversy.
How does the album sound you maybe asking?
Well, my first impressions are that it sounds far bolder than any of the Queens of the Stone Age's previous works, a bit more experimental, progressive and hypnotic at times, but doesn't sound quite as dark as their last album. I definitely think these songs fit in with their complete catalog of work with a bit of a consistent musical theme, which is actually quite strange for a group that has had rotating members. Both Trent Rezner of Nine Inch Nails and Julian Casablancas of the Strokes were supposed to have been involved in the writing and recording as I believe I've mentioned previously. Although you definitely can't hear either of these two directly, I do hear a bit more of a NIN influence than on previous records and there's also a slight lounge feel on some songs, which has also been known to come through in the Strokes music before as well, but in both cases, they never really "sound like" NIN or the Strokes. Instead the band remains firmly in the realm of the QOTSA feel, but breaks new ground at the same time... If that's even possible.
Overall, I think it sounds like one of the most exciting rock albums to come out in a while, or at least this year. Some songs really really struck me as just great on my first listen so I'm looking forward to picking it up when it's released and really delving into it, with a good pair of headphones of course.
As always though, these things are quite subjective, so take a listen for yourself. If you like it, make sure to buy the album when it comes out... I know I will be picking up a copy.
Here's where you can find the complete stream: http://www.qotsa.com/news/default.aspx?nid=8085
In a year from now, we'll see if more bands have taken to promoting their albums like this, offering fans a chance to listen to it in it's entirety before it's released.