If you’ve spent much time online over the past month and visited a number of music blogs and/or mail order record outlets, you’ve undoubtedly come across a plethora of banner advertising for something called Feedbands. A vinyl LP subscription service, for $19.95 a month, Feedbands touts they’ll “discover exceptional artists”, (“curation is our game..our team carefully chooses killer albums that deserve a place among the greats”). Their business model aside — promising that each title is bound to be “an instant rarefied collector’s item”, there’s a couple of Grand Canyon-sized holes in this sales pitch, not limited to the following questions — who exactly are these self-styled curators, and what exactly is their criteria for “great?”
A cursory glance at the Feedbands site is not quite revelatory. We learn, for instance, that Feedbanks promises, “the album you’ll get each month will rock. It might be any shade from the color spectrum of musical genres, but we guarantee that it. will. rock.” And as much as I hate to regurgitate an old quote of mine, knowing how to rock is about as impressive as knowing how to tie your shoes. Perhaps less so.
If you’re wondering which all-time Monsters Of Rock have informed Feedbands’ R&D team, check out the following :
What bands influence your musical taste?
We listen to so much good music it’s hard to rank, but a handful of our team’s favorite bands include (in no particular order): Wilco, Led Zeppelin, The Black Keys, The National, The White Stripes, Vampire Weekend, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Cure, Daft Punk, Modest Mouse, The Who, Pearl Jam, The Beatles, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Jack White, My Morning Jacket.
What, no Muse? In other words, their tastes are “influenced”, by, y’know, everything. It’s all good. It’s all interchangable. A generic label hunting for generic talent. This isn’t an independent record label, it’s a fucking algorithm.
The individuals responsible for Feedbands aren’t identified on the site, nor is there much info to be found regarding their prior efforts putting out real records. But it’s a fascinating, if somewhat twisted take on things that’s almost impossible to imagine actually catching on. When there’s actual labels with histories, track records, genuine points-of-view, etc., putting out stuff that reflects their real passions (as opposed to say, a company whose “curation” process includes a smartphone app via which the public’s votes “will help us decide which bands we press to vinyl”), who exactly is gonna waste their time on an operation that can’t even tell you who they’re working with? “This month’s band is an incredibly talented psychedelic synth-rock group that’s something like gritty Radiohead with a Beatles-in-their-India-days influence, and we do not use those names lightly” — no, I’m sure you guys had weeks of meetings before you felt comfortable dropping the names “Radiohead” and “the Beatles”.
Of course, if this is actually some sort of elaborate (and expensive) conceptual prank, my hat’s off to these folks. Because the only persons dumber than the bands participating would have to be the investors.