from the good-guys dept
In the pantheon of massively talented musical acts that also get and embrace the power of the internet, of using free music to make money, and of emergent business models, the folks behind Run The Jewels stand particularly tall. The duo, Killer Mike and El-P, have managed to make themselves household names through a combination of freely available music, a positive and often humorous level of interaction with their fans, and the kind of forthright public statements that create a bond with those that follow them. It’s all so perfectly well done that you would think Run The Jewels was following some kind of a script, but it is pleasantly obvious that these are just really good guys who happen to also make fantastic music. They also occasionally, and far too infrequently, write blog posts, including for Techdirt.
The most recent version of all of this started with a Twitter user complaining to El-P that he or she typically listens to RTJ on Spotify and had no idea where to get their albums. Another Twitter account piped up confirming that, like the rest of the RTJ catalog, the albums were available for free download on the group’s website. That same Twitter account mentioned that he also bought the albums through iTunes purely out of a desire to support RTJ. This, of course, happens quite frequently, which is virtually ignored by the “Piracy is killing music, argghghgh!” crowd.
What doesn’t happen as frequently is what came next from El-P.
we make our music available for free as well as sell it because we know that sometimes you just don’t have the dough for music and we trust that if you do and you really fuck with us that you will support. we will do that forever. https://t.co/kc7T7qqqtY
— el-p (@therealelp) October 19, 2018
And we always will. That’s how you know when a philosophy has moved beyond a tryout of a gimmick and into a more dogmatic adoption of a business philosophy. And there can no longer be any doubt that behaving this way is simply good business. However, I’ll be damned if all of this doesn’t come off far more genuine than had it come out of a boardroom of suits looking to maximize profits. The truth is that El-P is just a really, really good dude. This is the impression one gets seeing interactions like this. And it fosters a bond with the community of fans of RTJ.
This is honestly one of the biggest reasons I got into y’all.
— ?Boney Guy Grinned? (@TonyHighwind) October 19, 2018
There are many more replies like that. And why not? Why wouldn’t a musical act being human and awesome to its fans not foster a closer bond and desire to support that act? That seems like common sense to me, even as it eludes far too much of the music industry.