you drive away in my volvo

So this is interesting. By way of the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times, drummer Josh Freese, formerly of Devo, now of A Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails, is offering a variety of price packages for his new album. For $7, you can download the album from his website. For $15, you get a CD/DVD. But from there, things get progressively weirder. For $50:

-CD/DVD and digital download.
-THANK YOU phone call, from josh, for buying “since 1972”-You can tell me what you like about my new record you purchased, or what you thought sucked…
Ask whatever you like” Is maynard really that weird?”or”Which of Stings mansions has the comfiest bed?”or” Are DEVO really suburban robots who monitor Reality, or just a bunch of Dads from Ohio?”
or “Why dont the Vandals play more stuff off the first record?”
It’s your five minutes to yack it up- Talk about whatever you want!

All the higher price-point packages are similarly built around personal contact with music celebrities. For $2,500 you get:

– Signed CD/DVD and digital download.
-I give you a drum lesson. Or (for all you non-drummers) I’ll give you a back and foot massage (couples welcome)
– Pick any 1 member of the Vandals or DEVO (subject to availability) to accompany you and I to either the “Hollywood Wax Museum”.
– Or if you’re not into that we can do the lunch buffet at the “Spearmint Rhino”
-A signed DW snare drum.
-Take 3 items of your choice out of my closet (first come, first serve).
-Change diapers and make bottles with me for an afternoon (preferably AFTER the lunch buffet at the Strip club).

It’s not entirely clear, in the upper brackets, whether lunch, drinks, stripper tips, etc. are included in the package price. But if you’ve got $2,500 to throw at a day with the drummer from Devo, then, I guess, who cares?

If you’ve got $75,000 to swing around, Freese will not only record and market a 5-song EP about your life, he’ll also join your band for a month. No, seriously. If you don’t have a band, he’ll be your personal assistant.

The weird combination of celebrity glamour and personal drudgery makes this one of the most fascinating experiments in capitalism I’ve ever seen. It’s a brilliant marketing gimmick, of course (I’m thinking about forking over the seven bucks right now, just because it seems so cheap by comparison), and Freese openly admits that he’s going to videotape most of the more outlandish “prize” activities for use on his YouTube channel. But it also seems to lay bare the process by which musicians actually make money — a staggeringly tiny portion of which has anything to do with recording music, and most of which is a peculiar combination of grueling physical labor and making people feel special.

Bizarre and excellent. I’m tempted to spend the fifty just to ask him why he did it.

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