While the music industry digs in its heels to battle online music distribution, quirky New York alt-popsters They Might Be Giants are charging straight ahead releasing their latest effort in the MP3 format.
TMBG rolled out the eight-song EP "Working Undercover For The Man" this week on Emusic.com, making individual tracks available for 99 cents and the entire album for $7.99. Users can download the songs in the MP3 format, and Emusic plans to ship a copy of the CD to the first 10,000 customers who buy the entire EP.
"As the world moves towards MP3, this will show a lot of people how easy getting their music off the Net really is," TMBG guitarist John Flansburgh said in a statement announcing the move. "Giving our audience the music in both MP3 and CD formats lets everybody relax."
They Might Be Giants' move does in fact come at a time when music biz anxiety over online distribution is at an all-time high. After the four major U.S. record labels filed
suit against MP3.com, a court recently ruled that the site's downloadable music library violates copyright law (see "Court Rules MP3.com Violates Copyrights"). That setback came after artists such as Metallica and Dr. Dre filed suit against the online music distribution tool Napster claiming copyright infringement (see "Metallica Sets Legal Sights On Napster" and "Dr. Dre Sues Napster").
However, They Might Be Giants have long experimented with new ways to bring their music to fans via their official Web site (at www.tmbg.com) and their long-running Dial-A-Song service, which has also gone online (at www.dialasong.com).