Subscribe To The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols have decided to get all creative with the music distribution for their new album, Earth To The Dandy Warhols.

It’s a subscription model. $35 a year lets you:

* download the new album today (pre-release)
* download b-sides, etc. as they are released
* get CD/poster when it comes out
* get 10% off merch store
* participate in ticket pre-sales
* get a chance to win custom guitar pedal

It is not explicitly stated, but the suggestion is the subscription would entitle one to all new material as it is released during the subscription year.

I like the idea of a subscription model to get your music directly to fans, but have a few issues with this particular implementation.

$35/year is a tad steep. It’s not a ton of money, but it’s more than most magazine subscriptions, and the releases will probably be less frequent. The Dandys release a new album every 2-3 years on average. I’m not sure they release enough non-album music to make up that much difference. This definitely isn’t a way to get a discount on the Dandy’s music. This is for the True Fans only.

The web site is a mess, design-wise. The font colors are hard to read. The page is formatted too wide for smaller displays, but the content is restricted to a narrow band down the middle of the page.

The subscription portion of the page is clearly designed for Internet Explorer, though it works somewhat with Firefox (PC and Mac). In Opera, there is no indication that something isn’t right – the page just doesn’t load.

The site requires the latest version of Flash. Not just Flash (which is bad enough) but the latest version.

I know the Dandys aren’t doing the web site design and programming, but I hope they at least take a look at it. It’s just plain bad design and makes most of the mistakes one can make when designing a web site.

The MP3 files themselves are encoded at 320 kbps, which should be plenty high quality for almost anyone, though I wouldn’t have used iTunes and its obsolete ID3v2.2 tags to do the encoding. I would also have included track numbers in the file names so they played back in the correct order when opening in a media player. But these are minor squabbles – the music is all there and of high quality.

And it only cost $35.

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