Say what you want about rural-hipster-central Omaha, Nebraska (at least in 2002, anyway) and Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes, but the guys from Saddle Creek Records have just earned more of my respect.
The label just introduced a "Digital Vinyl" program, which lets those buying new music on vinyl (LP) also get a free download of the mp3 tracks as well.
”We are fans of both vinyl and listening to music on our iPods, and the two don't work very well together,” explained the label’s Jason Kulpel. “The only real options are to record it and put it on your computer (pain!) or file share/download an 'illegal' copy of a record you already own.”
The program will launch with What the Toll Tells, but Saddle Creek will soon retrofit its back catalog so all catalog releases bought on vinyl will contain the free download codes. To make things nice and simple, the complimentary downloads are provided without DRM that might interfere with mp3-player playback.
What a great idea. Encourage those truly geeky music fans to keep buying vinyl by offering something that is of little marginal cost to your company while providing tremendous utility to the customer. Now that's how the music industry should operate. They should make use of the internet and the low cost replication provided by it, instead of fighting its existence.
No, just lock them down in an unusable wma format so the purchaser of the cd can only use it with the brilliant "play for sure" system. That won't make anyone want to go find a pirated copy on the web. USA! Additionally, Happy Birthday!