As his track record supporting the controversial distribution of music via MP3 exhibits, Chuck D shows no fear in the face of technology.| But even as one expects the unexpected from the Public Enemy frontman, his latest move may be his most unconventional yet: the seminal rap group's forthcoming There's a Poison Goin On will be the first album to be released on a 100MB Iomega Zip Drive computer disk.
"Technology beats technology every time and Poison's the whooping stick in this matter," said Chuck D in statement released by Public Enemy's Web savvy new label, Atomic Pop. "Regardless of what critics, cynics and the industry say about this, the fact that the album is on a Zip disk is mind-boggling."
According to Atomic Pop founder Al Teller, the Poison Zips, which will contain the complete fourteen-song album and the video for the lead single, "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???," will be available for $16.98 at the label's Web site beginning next week. The album can also be ordered as an MP3 or A2B digital download for $8 or as a conventional CD for $10. The CDs will hit brick and mortar stores July 13. Teller says the label is exploring the possibilities of also releasing the Zips to retail, perhaps even in computer stores.
Teller says the album and video only take up about eighty-five percent of the Zip disks, leaving customers fifteen free megs to store additional files. If you're thinking about running off bootlegged copies, though, forget it. Teller says the music will be encrypted onto the disks and playable only in conjunction with a Liquid Audio player, so attempts to duplicate the album won't be easy.
According to Teller, Chuck D was behind the Zip initiative from the get-go. "He's been very vocal about wanting to utilize the technologies and service Public Enemy's music as aggressively as could be done, so we were all on the same page when we were kicking around ideas, and this one seemed to strike a responsive cord in all of us as a really interesting thing to try," he said. "It emphasizes the increasingly important role that computers and Internet technology is playing in the future shaping of the music business."
And sound quality? "Excellent," assures the label chief, comparing it to disc and digital options. "You could sit there and do A to B to C tests if you like."