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July 03, 2009


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Rock music isn't the best garden in which to raise a flourishing legacy. Chances are (if you're lucky and talented), one or two popular or influential records you made when you were a kid, will be kept alive by the fans, and everything else you did in subsequent decades will have ignominiously gone to seed. I think The Cult is one of the exceptions that proves the rule, because, even though their great '80s records will always define the band, they've managed -- in their 21st century reincarnation -- to make new music that people notice, download, purchase, review, discuss, and appreciate. A small but significant unintended consequence of the digital music revolution: Rock musicians can finally escape the tyranny of the record-store bin, in which their few shining moments remain forever available at list price, while the remainder of their output goes missing or shows up sporadically, bearing the retail badge of irrelevance (whether a cut-out price-cut or a "used/rare" price-hike, it hardly matters!). Now, musicians willing to embrace digital distribution, independent of the "music industry," can promote and distribute their CURRENT output, and actually see it treated as music, in its own right, instead of something like annoying dust to be brushed off the display of their "classic" records. The Cult are downright exemplary in this regard, for having taken charge of their music. Most recently, they've been releasing multimedia "capsules" that feature new songs, live recordings of some of the band’s huge hits, and behind-the-scenes video. Rather than revisit the traditional method of releasing a long form CD, the band is pioneering a new way of providing material. Capsules span formats including vinyl, digital, USB, CD and DVD and can be purchased at: http://cultcapsulestore.com. The Cult also do cross-platform distribution, releasing iTunes tracks for download and on-demand streaming, as well as free downloads of unique, timely recordings, like "White," recorded live in Oct. http://aderra.net/Cult_download.html


Ian Astbury the best

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