Conor Oberst Is One of My Kind
For almost the entire decade the music industry fought tooth and nail against the Internet. That didn’t work out too well for them. So it’s nice to see that music documentaries are embracing the Internet as a massive distribution pipeline. The technology of streaming Internet video has gotten to the point where we can stream hour plus HD films remarkably well. I wrote about Arcade Fire’s documentary, Miroir Noir, free stream on Pitchfork, which was great promotion for the physical and digital versions. Today, Conor Oberst threw his documented hat into the ring by offering free HD streaming and downloads of One of My Kind at non profit CauseCast.org. The aptly titled film documents Conor “accidentally” forming a new band, the subsequent recording of two albums in Mexico, and constant touring all over the course of 18 months. Unlike Miroir Noir, there is no limited run for the free stream of One of My Kind. The biggest difference is the selling point. Miroir Noir has a set price for physical and digital releases. One of My Kind uses a pay-what-you-want model by encouraging donations of any amount to CauseCast.org. This is the future of music documentary film distribution and the future of independent film distribution in general. The first release is a trailer that goes viral through PR and word of mouth. Next, stream the film in its entirety for free. Then, offer the film in digital and physical formats for a set price or a pay-what-you-want model. Finally, promote a physical copy with exclusive bonus features. This model will prove successful over time because of the much lower costs involved with distribution. Not to mention you target millions of people who actually WANT to see your film and support you as an artist. “Ahhh” but you say, “there’s no physical release for One of My Kind. Your theory is bupkiss!” Oberst didn’t do this for nothing. The documentary features recording footage of forthcoming album Outer South, due out May 5. That one, you’re going to have to pay for. Here’s a link to Stereogum for a free and legal download of first promoted single “Nikorette“.