It’s been an interesting couple of days in the world of online music. It seems that nowadays you have to question the veracity of what you’re listening to before committing to believing it’s official.
Over the weekend a bandcamp page popped up claiming to belong to Jai Paul, the much-hyped XL-signed pop enigma, distributing what was purported to be his debut album for £7 a pop. The online music community lost its collective shit, and the thing spread like wildfire. The 16 track LP sounded unmistakably like a Jai Paul creation, but certain things didn’t add up. Why didn’t any of the tracks have names? Why were the levels and compression rates all over the place? How come XL allowed Jai to sell his debut album directly like this (presumably cutting them out of the equation)?
Today Jai put out this solitary tweet, the only tweet ever from his verified Twitter account:
To confirm: demos on bandcamp were not uploaded by me, this is not my debut album. Please don’t buy. Statement to follow later. Thanks, Jai
— Jai Paul (@jai_paul) April 15, 2013
This rather impressive article from Crack in the Road explains just how baffling this whole situation is better than I could, so please go and read that. All I have to add to this is that I’ve heard from various well placed sources that the relationship between Jai and the powers that be at XL has been frayed for a while now. I imagine this was something of an attempt to reassert who was really in control in the relationship, before a quick retreat once he realised the legal implications. In any case it’s bloody fascinating and I’ll be watching developments closely (no sign of that ‘statement’ yet). Also, this is now out in the world, which is a good thing:
Elsewhere, an audio clip of a roughly 4 and a half minute long song popped up on Tumblr, claiming to be the full length version of the new Daft Punk single featuring Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. Only that wasn’t really what that was either.
The pervading opinion now seems to be that this was in fact a creation of a (presumably deranged) fan, who stitched together various teaser clips into something that loosely resembled a song structure. This situation wasn’t helped by Fun Radio in France, who played this Frankentune (or another iteration of the same idea) and claimed that they were doing so as a worldwide exclusive. Idiots. You can hear the offending creation below.
Both of these cases have fascinated me as demonstrations of music’s ongoing struggle to get into bed with the online community, particularly when both projects exist against a backdrop of hype that is reaching frightening levels.