Are CDs Old Hat? Nick Hempton Explores a New Way of Releasing Music

A few days ago I told you about my new CD. It will be a traditional release, meaning there will be physical CDs as well as downloadable tunes on iTunes etc., but these days quite a few artists are choosing alternative ways to release their music. I’ve heard of albums being released only on vinyl and only as downloadable tracks, but one of the most interesting experiments I’ve come across is Nick Hempton’s Catch and Release

Nick has released three traditional albums (check them out on his website but he wanted to try something different to further engage the public. The idea behind “Catch and Release” is that the audience will follow Nick’s process for writing the tune, rehearsing the tune, recording the tune, and then releasing the tune. This process will happen every 6 weeks for a year. (Note: Nick isn’t seeking crowdfunding. He just hopes if you like the music, you’ll download the song for $1)

Here he is describing the project:

In the face of a music industry that is rapidly changing, I think this is a bold idea. Many artists and people in the industry claim the CD is on the way out; that people would rather download a tune from the internet than purchase a disc. At the same time, more and more people are releasing music, meaning it is harder and harder to discover independent artists amidst all the noise. With that in mind, I think Nick’s project is a good way of making his music stand out: allowing the public to engage in the artistic process so they feel more connected to the finished product. 

Do you like Nick’s idea of sharing his artistic process? Do you prefer digital downloads or CDs? Let me know in the comments! 

PS – I have it on good authority that if you subscribe to Nick’s Blog, he will send you a tune for FREE. 

PPS – I’d like to be your Facebook Friend

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10 Responses to Are CDs Old Hat? Nick Hempton Explores a New Way of Releasing Music

  1. Joe Bruno says:

    Although there is no denying the convenience of the CD and downloading, there is something to be said about dropping the needle and listening while reading the liner notes and, many times, admiring the cover art. I just felt more connected with the music because vinyl made the experience more interactive.


  2. John Sachanda says:

    Champian, looking forward to the new album. Unfortunately, I can’t make the release party. As for release tactics, I think you need to consider many ways to release music. The current technical environment offers a wide variety of options, which is good and bad. Good for the low cost easy access and bad for all the competing messages that fly across the network because it is low cost easy access. I would suggest trying many different ways to get your music available to a wide variety of listeners, then focusing on what works best for you. I encounter the same obstacles in trying to market my services. Your charm and personality will bubble you up to the top if you just make yourself available to a few new fans every day. This can be accomplished by capitalizing on the fan base outside NYC. Perhaps an online release party would be good. You could host a webcast and provide some commentary about the music and feature some samples. I would love to hear Champian ‘Live’ without travelling to one of your concert venues. Best of luck with the new release.


  3. Ross Osborne says:

    I like physical CD’s. Though I have a lot of vinyl records (hundreds) and even bakelite 78’s, I like CD’s best. I think vinyl appeals mostly to those who grew up after it was phased out. I do understand that a well made vinyl record can reproduce sound more accurately than a CD, it also requires top notch equipment and absolutely impeccable care of the record. Also, my hearing isn’t what it used to be… I can’t hear all the very high frequencies that give analog sound its superior quality, but I sure can hear the scratches and skips. The digital age has certainly brought with it new possibilities. Pandora, for instance. (I’m one of the odd ones, apparently, who hears something on Pandora and then buys the record.) I think “Catch and Release” or something similar would be very cool and lots of fun, like live music in a way, the listener being included a bit more in the creative process, but I would still like to have the physical CD. One reason is my kids are not into Jazz (I still have hope) but I would like to leave my records and CD’s as a treasure for my grandchildren. The oldest is 7, and just about ready to start attending Jazz shows with Gramps.


  4. I’m reminded of Jonathon Coulton’s “Thing a week” project. He launched his music career by committing to posting a piece of music recorded by him every week for 52 weeks. Most of it was all original and all of it was mostly awesome.


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