Friday, November 18, 2005

...on a stick.

Next Tuesday sees a new-ish release from my beloved Barenaked Ladies, in a format that (to my knowledge) has not been utilized by a mainstream band before.

In case you can't read it above, Barenaked on a Stick is a reusable, 128 MB USB flash drive, featuring: a re-release of BNL's last album, Barenaked For The Holidays in mp3 format,as well as additional content such as live songs and ad-libs, a demo of "Aluminum" (from Everything To Everyone), and some video/photo content. You can erase the drive and re-use it as many times as you like. The price is $30.

I give BNL and their management major kudos for thinking outside the box - and for being adults and trusting consumers by directly giving them mp3s, without the copy-protection. (I suppose there's the possibility of DRM, but I highly doubt it.)

I have mixed feelings about the product. It doesn't work for me as a flash drive, because most 128 MB, USB flash drives are half the price. Plus, if I were to buy a flash drive, I wouldn't buy anything smaller than 512 MB or 1 GB. And I have most of the the holiday album, anyway. However, for me, it works because:

1) The content past the holiday album is just enoughto justify my purchase. I don't have the live tracks (and while I do have some of them in previous live versions, I do believe that their performances just get more solid as they continue touring). And the ad-libs are probably worth the price alone - anybody who's attended a BNL show knows that the ad-libs are what make the experience so much better than just a normal concert. I'll be curious to see how many are included. I'll never use the photos or buddy icons, but I'll probably enjoy the behind-the-scenes video...despite the fact that this kind of content is usually given away for free.

2) While I don't need a 128 MB, USB flash drive, I will definitely find use for it, especially since I don't own a USB flash drive already.

Let's put it this way: if this release was on a CD, I wouldn't be buying it. I'd probably just wait to get the additional content by some "other" means.

I've been waffling over the "will it sell" question for the past few weeks. It treads a line that may not justify the price point for many. Hardcore, completist schmucks fans like me will most likely buy it, because it has some additional material. In the grand scheme of things, how many of us are there, in relation to the people that show up at concerts and buy the studio albums? Fans who already have the album and don't need to own everything aren't going to be interested. Plus, I'd say that even slightly casual fans who weren't interested in buying Barenaked for the Holidays aren't going to be interested now. And then you have the fans who are bit older and probably don't know what the hell to do with a flash drive. I'd guess this is a small number at best when talking about BNL fans, but you never know.

Any thoughts? I can guarantee that anybody who reads this blog won't be buying it, even if they're BNL fans - they just don't care that much to own it. Is it that simple? Will that be the general consensus?


Post a Comment

<< Home