Back on Feb. 7, label Blood Music posted an interesting proposition for buyers on their Facebook page: you can buy their upcoming "mystery artist" vinyl, but you're not going to have any idea what you bought until it showed up at your house. A lot of people were skeptical, there were some posts floating around questioning the whole thing and that was that for about a month.
On Apr. 8, Blood Music posted again on their Facebook with an interesting stipulation in the description of the whole project.
"The mystery band has no idea (to our knowledge) about the nature of these releases and that was somewhat integral to the spirit of this project. We felt we needed to release these records without any information leaking on what they were in order to fulfill the entire scope of working and selling an open source release. This is an uncommon method of releasing music, and we didn't want to attract any potential controversy before the records already made it into peoples' hands. This could be done by quietly leaking copies into distribution – but since we sell about 90% of our records directly – we had no other choice. The only way to avoid any larger potential controversy was to do it in 'secret.'"
Blood Music went on to describe the artist, later found out to be Cloudkicker and more specifically on vinyl pressing of the EPs The Map Is Not The Territory, Portmanteau, and ]]][[[ for one release and The Discovery as the other, had his music listed under the Creative Commons license. That basically means anyone can do whatever they want with the music as long as they attribute it to the original artist (which is some serious paraphrasing- you can read Blood Music's extensive post here). Blood Music did talk about how they went about the process a little bit though, back when the releases weren't being revealed.
"After combing the necessary legal documents, we set out to assess the materials. We had no contact with the artist in creating these works, and we had to dig up the highest resolution materials possible.
Any original artwork that could be salvaged for printing was assessed, and one front cover (MYSTERY 2) had to be totally re-drawn from scratch. Though, we believe we re-drew it so closely that without tipping anyone off to this – they may never have known the difference.
There were not enough original art panels to complete the records, so we had to supplement parts of the artwork, using the artist's other publications as references. We purchased one of the artist's other LPs and scoured Wikipedia for other open source artwork available using Creative Commons licenses and used several of these on the MYSTERY 1 release.
Next, we ripped the highest quality audio available and worked together with one of our mastering engineers to carefully prepare it for vinyl. This took a few passes, but we got something that sounded good.
We submitted the project in secret to the plant and got test pressings back that were some of the best cuts we've ever received.
Full of excitement, we pressed the whole thing and put it for sale as the Mystery releases."
So far, everything is still totally legal and it ends up you can absolutely do this. Now Blood Music has posted they have given Cloudkicker's Ben Sharp a copy of each vinyl pressing and are awaiting him to make some sort of comment on the whole thing.
Regarding the Mystery releases: we contacted the artist after sending some royalty money their way, asking them not to kill us. There is no word on how much Cloudkicker's Ben Sharp will be receiving for the sales of his music either. The whole thing is insane if only for the fact that this has never happened before- we're literally seeing history being made here and maybe even the rethinking of the Creative Common license in general if it comes to that. Here's what Blood Music said on Monday, Apr. 14.
"They responded cordially but seemingly confused. We wound up explaining the situation, and they thanked us for the information, and that was all.
We still have no idea how they feel about this. Clearly, they set the rights up for this to happen but perhaps didn't actually expect it to occur (or occur so suddenly). It is the first time in history this has happened! We know of one other well-known artist who tried the same thing, and their experiment failed – they wound up pressing the records themselves.
The artist still has yet to see the final items. So, until they make a statement, we are just as in-the-dark as you. They did not seem angry, though! And that is all we can say.
We are proud of what we've done and lots of people have expressed huge excitement over the artist and the subject matter. So, we only hope they will see the items and appreciate them as *almost* everyone else has.
We have no more information until they decide to make a statement."
Now we wait.
[Huge thanks to Heavy Blog Is Heavy]