King Gizz are releasing a copyright-free album that anyone can press and sell
The type of band that puts out four full-length albums in a calendar year doesn’t care too much for traditional release schedules.
But while on the surface it may appear that King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are simply offering up the final of their four 2017 records as a free download to fans, in the manner of so many other artists, where this release differs is in the way they are giving it away, and how they suggest their fans treat the record.
Firstly, it’s an audiophile’s treat, with different masters, file types and a level of instruction that you usually find on production masters – which these are. For the band are also giving high-quality artwork, and instructions on the best process to follow when pressing CDs and vinyl copies.
“Ever wanted to start your own record label? GO for it! Employ your mates, press wax, pack boxes. We do not own this record. You do. Go forth, share, enjoy.”
Now, what are the parameters here?
It seems like the band are offering this music under a creative commons licence (CC or CC BY), which means others can distribute or “build upon” the work, even for commercial reasons (i.e. selling vinyl copies).
For example, all NASA footage is copyright free and can be used in commercial works in any form – that’s why so many awesome-looking clips set in space are probably done for a fraction of the budget you’d assume.
Assuming this is the case, “We do not own this record” would suggest they are even employing a looser licence than a CC, as this statement suggests a surrender of copyright, which isn’t the case with a CC licence.
It’s possible this is just a statement thrown out there in the spirit of the band and their late-’60s-leaning mindset. You can’t own music, maaan. That kinda thing.
Aaaanyway, assuming this is the case, and that anyone is free to press, distribute, market, sell, and otherwise exploit this record, what’s stopping EMI from doing so?
Or, on a smaller scale, a store like Repressed Records in Sydney, who also run indie label R.I.P. Society?
They would — at a loosely-educated guess — be the Sydney store that has sold the most copies of the last eleven or so King Gizz albums (it’s exactly eleven, I checked). You’d expect them to stock the new album, on vinyl. So, why wouldn’t they press up 200 or so copies, using the vinyl pressing chain they already have in play, and offer it as a limited-pressing R.I.P. Society vinyl for $40? Or press CDs for (roughly) $2 a pop for a 500-copy run.
By chance, John Dwyer, the main guy from San Fran garage band The Oh Sees, and co-owner of indie label Castle Face Records was on Marc Maron’s WTF a few weeks ago, and mentioned that King Gizz were one of the few bands on his label constantly making a profit for the label. And that’s in the U.S.
It will be interesting to see how far enterprising fans take this opportunity. As the band suggest, if done properly, this could be the perfect way to start a record label. And a new King Gizz record is a fairly safe bet, too.
Here’s the statement for those whose browser hates Insta-embeds.
This album is FREE. Free as in, free. Free to download and if you wish, free to make copies. Make tapes, make CD’s, make records. The following files will be available to download at 9am Friday 17 Nov, Melbourne, Australia time at kinggizzardandthelizardwizard.com
1. DIGITAL MASTERS & ARTWORK:
This is the best option if you wish to download the album for personal use. Available as high quality MP3 files 320 kbps (≈100 MB) or uncompressed WAV files (≈500 MB). Each version contains hi-res digital artwork of the front cover at 4000 x 4000 resolution.
2. CD MASTERS & ARTWORK:
If you wish to press CDs you will need to download the DDP master and CD Artwork template. The DDP master is the format used for identifying information on optical discs. This master has the tracklist, ISRC codes & metadata embedded. In this .ZIP file you will also find a folder with a CD template, front cover art and extra artwork for back cover, inner tray, spine and booklet that you will need to put together yourself.
3. VINYL MASTERS & ARTWORK:
The vinyl master is a completely separate master to CD & Digital masters. There are physical limitations to what the head of the lathe can produce when cutting vinyl. For this reason these files will not sound normal on generic Hi Fi speakers. Only use this master if you wanna press vinyl. It will contain a Side A and a Side B WAV file as well as a PQ log for both sides with metadata for the pressing plant. In this .ZIP file you will also find a record cover template and a folder full of artwork ideas you can use to make your own back cover, spine and inner sleeve.
Ever wanted to start your own record label? GO for it! Employ your mates, press wax, pack boxes.
We do not own this record. You do. Go forth, share, enjoy.
P.s. If u wanna make cassettes I don’t really know what you would do. Be creative. We did it once but it sounded really shit. Maybe try the WAVs idano
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.