Published Dec 19, 2008As of this week, White Whale Records is letting you, the consumer, set the value on music. Yes, that's right: White Whale has gone pay-what-you-want, allowing the music-buying public to pay as little or as much as it wants for some fresh sounds.
The new pricing model was launched Wednesday (December 17) at the webshop of the Toronto-via-Vancouver label, which for the next month will let shoppers pay any amount and receive entire albums by the likes of Mohawk Lodge, Octoberman and Precious Fathers as 320-kbps MP3 downloads. You can also pick up CD and LP versions of White Whale releases, but unlike the MP3s, those come with minimum donations ($10 for a CD, $15 for a T-shirt).
In an interview with Exclaim!, White Whale label head and Mohawk Lodge principal Ryder Havdale said: "Everybody has a different idea of what they think digital and physical music is worth these days, and I like the idea of making a conscious decision about what you'd like to pay."
Havdale went on to say that, even though you could pay as little as one cent for an album download, he does hope people value the music a little higher than that, for his sake and theirs.
"I'd rather it'd be easier for people to buy music than to download it for free because you tend to value things you've paid for a little more," he explained. "I buy a lot of music on eMusic and I care more about music I've purchased than music I've gotten for free from another avenue. Even if it's only a couple dollars, I give it a better listen and prefer that be the case with our fans and customers.
"Our primary objective of the label is to get our music heard. We're all for file-sharing of our records if you dig it. That said, there has been a considerable amount of energy, time and money invested in each record we've released. And, it'd be nice if people appreciated that and contributed an amount they're comfortable with."
Along with the new webshop, White Whale has new releases by Tusks and Poorfolk, as well as a few records waiting in the wings, such as the sophomore effort from Vancouver shoegazers Precious Fathers and the long-awaited Adam Franklin/Handsome Furs split seven-inch, Shine a Light. As of yet, though, there is no firm due date for either release.
Mohawk Lodge "Wear 'Em Out"