Korn has announced its next release will come in the form of four digital EPs rather than a formal album. Some non-metal bands like Radiohead and the Bouncing Souls have toyed with the idea of foregoing albums for periodic EPs/singles, and I applaud the idea. It encourages immediacy, lowers the price point and engages fans.
But Korn is doing it the, well, Korn way. The four EPs will be spread out over a 12-month span, and you need to subscribe to a $6.95 per month plan to get the music. Again: 12 month subscription, four releases. And they’re not proper new songs. Per Revivl:
I start doing some research and find out that the material on these EP’s are unreleased tracks and a demo version of a new song which appear on their “real” release.
That’s all I needed to see to know that this is more of a fan club then anything else. Yes they are giving away 4 digital EP’s but it’s not your main release. You still have a major label to push your main album. I can’t say that I’ve ever thought about it before, but unless you are willing to put your best stuff on the line with none of the traditional hand rails to guide you through the process, then it’s not breaking any new ground. I will say in Korn’s defense that they aren’t pushing it like they are the next NIN’s or anything like that but when you read the headline it certainly looks like they are trying something different.
So what if this was their main release? What if they really did separate the main record into 4 EP’s spread out a 12 month span. Well at $6.95 a month, the fans would be paying a much higher price if they stayed in the entire year but if the band could offer more value then it does become a bit more interesting. I love the idea of continuity but I really think you would have to offer a version that could be purchased or given away in combination. However if you did that then it becomes a fan club again. Would users be willing to pay more (like a subscription) but also receive more stuff like tickets, merchandise, etc but without any other alternative to get the album? Legal alternative that is! Yeah that could be a problem.
We’re hoping to get more details on this soon, but for now, it seems kinda sketchy.