Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kim Dotcom launches Baboom, debut album

Kim Dotcom performing at Rhythm And Vines. Source: Scoop

Kim Dotcom launched his music service Baboom on Monday (coinciding with the anniversary of his arrest in 2012), and the first music release available on the site is his own album, Good Times. Producers include Printz Board (Black Eyed Peas) and guests include Tiki Taane and Laughton Kora (formerly with the band Kora, who are now a 3 piece). If you wondered what the incredible voice of Laughton Kora would sound like skewered thru Autotune, here's the record for you.

The album/website launch/birthday party for Dotcom was due to be celebrated with a massive free party at Auckland's Vector Arena, capacity 12,000 (the previous venue Shed 10 was deemed too small), with over 25,000 people RSVPing for tickets.

The party was cancelled after it came to light it maybe conflict with Dotcom's plans to launch a political party to contest NZ's elections later this year. The outcome is Dotcom now has a mailing list with 25,000 names on it.

The press release for Kim Dotcom's album says that "The music celebrates Kim’s ever-present philosophy of inspiring people to feel good, have fun and live life to the fullest. Kim was inspired by the Trance and Dance tracks he listened to during his high-speed driving times on the German Autobahn."

Which goes some way to explaining the style of the album, reviewed by Gizmodo as "ear-wrangling electronica mayhem, still whirring and buzzing in my mind, squeezed into an hour-long playlist." The review is not all negative, with the writer finding at least one song to his liking. Go and have a read.

The Sydney Morning Herald reviewed Baboom, noting that "The long-term plan for Kim Dotcom's new music sharing service is to disrupt the industry, but in the short term it just looks like a way to showcase his own work. Baboom.com launched in preview mode on Tuesday with the founder's album, Good Times, used to show people what to expect when the site goes live later this year.

MegaUpload and Mega founder Dotcom's site intends to be a hybrid of Apple's popular iTunes and digital music service Spotify. "My idea is that artists should make their music available for free, and fans should only pay for it if they really like it,'' explains Dotcom in a video on Baboom."

The managing director of Baboom is Mikee Tucker, currently label boss of Loop Recordings, and the man behind Fly My Pretties.

Baboom plans to return 90% of each sale to the artists. The 'pay what you like' option will of course be familiar to anyone who has used Bandcamp, which has a very similar royalty rate.

It seems like Dotcom's Baboom may be a bit late to the party, when there are existing technologies already doing the job very well for musicians. Nothing I've seen yet suggests Baboom will be doing that job any better.

ArsTechnica say that "The new "late 2014" timetable for Baboom is the service's latest slip. At the January 20, 2013 launch of Mega, Dotcom said his music service would follow in June 2013. In November, he told Wired it would be "a few months" after January 20." 

Late 2014 would also coincide with NZ's election, if the Prime Minister declares the election date for the usual time, November.

Dotocm has talked in the media previously about wanting to create jobs in New Zealand, his adopted home. But the development for Baboom was outsourced to Portugal.

ADDED The same week as Dotcom soft-launched Baboom, Dr Dre unveiled Beats Music, a music service extending on his Beats By Dre headphones brand. The Hollywood Reporter says "According to the NPD Group, annual sales of headphones are now US$1.8 billion, and with 27 percent of the market, "Beats by Dre" still is the leader." 

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