Idlewild - Post Electric Blues

So Idlewild's great experiment ended for me yesterday when I received an envelope, customs declaration and all, containing the record that I preordered eons ago, and the poster with my name, and everyone else's (image of someone else's) that preordered the thing.

Also in the package was a note, asking very politely that I not give away for free that which I paid for months ago, and alerting me that each cd has been individually watermarked to track uploads. I don't know if that's true or not, but my Google search for an image of the cover revealed that it doesn't seem to have deterred a fair number of people from sharing away anyway. Sad, really.

Anyway, this has been an interesting journey for me, because it's the first time that I've participated in something like this and felt, pretty much all the way through, that the band bit off just slightly more than it could chew. Here's a recap of what was originally promised (from Myspace) with markups to reflect my experience:
By going to idlewildmusic.com you will get details on how to pre-order and what you will receive. [The order process was...sketchy? A secure purchase is a secure purchase, I guess, but make it look like something I can trust.]

These include a limited edition CD album (with free download version [Never happened.]) in exclusive packaging & including at least one bonus track. This will be shipped within weeks of completion & before any standard release.

You can get your name to appear in the CD booklet with the album and on a roll-call on the web site. [No roll call yet, not that this was a huge selling point.]

Access to download 15 free tracks from live recordings at the King Tuts "album by album" shows [Except the shows for Warnings/Promises and Make Another World. This process was riddled with bugs and caused a bit of a tempest in the WordPress teapot.] In December '08 & access to a members only section of the web site [Users needed to remember completely nonsensical passwords generated by WordPress (mine was ur2EsFuz32s@) that weren't changeable.] with album progress updates, exclusive photo and video content from the recording and preproduction process with diaries/blogs by individual band members and lots more.

Signing up will also automatically enter you into draws for special prizes.
So here's the thing: the record is really good. A joy to listen to. And while it's too fresh still for me to rank it in the Idlewild pantheon, I'm already confident that when the dust settles I'll still like it much more than at least Make Another World, and I'll take great pride in recommending it to people, and maybe once in a while showing a friend my name in on the enclosed poster.

I like it so much, really, that I feel a bit shitty even pointing out the bumps in the road along the preorder process, because it's not like the band itself hasn't acknowledged them, and been pretty up front about most of them. Still, a little more preparation in this era of bands shrugging label support and handling distro themselves would have gone a long way. Here's to hoping Idlewild tries something like this again for the next record, and that it works a little better.

**Update** I spent some time talking to my friend Andy about this on his podcast last night, which is now posted here.

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