For decades, the music industry has been shaken by multiple transformations regarding music distribution, performance expectations, and opportunities for revenue. Many musicians have risen to the occasion with innovative methods; in 2004, U2 teamed up with Apple to release their new record on a special edition iPod, in 2007 Radiohead let fans “pay what they wanted” for their record “In Rainbows”, and in 2014 Wu-Tang Clan auctioned a single (and only) copy of their record for $2m.
Enter Los Angeles indie duo OYLS. Their pitch; for $4.99, you can purchase visual space on the cover of their upcoming album. The band announced their venture on their Instagram account in a classic 90’s style infomercial video and refer to the endeavor as “a little experiment” that will give fans the opportunity to “have a permanent and tangible mark... on a little sliver of music history.”. With recently released singles titled “Visa (Paid For My Parking Ticket),” “Instagram (You Remind Me Im Worthy),” and “Netflix (Your Product Is Too Good),” the duo presents a satirical take on corporate America, even referring to their scheme as “selling out” -- with tongues firmly in-cheek. In contrast, there is clearly sincerity in what they are attempting. According to their sign-up site --www.buyOYLS.net -- part of the proceeds from the album art sale will go to MusiCares Foundation, a charity helping “musicians with critical financial support as well as mental health and addiction resources.“
Estimated to be worth $50bn, the global music industry has struggled to sustain itself amidst the current pandemic. Selling off the entire album cover would raise an estimated $2200 for OYLS and MusiCares. Though a relatively nominal financial figure, the brilliance of the concept is that it taps into our human desire to be seen and provides music fans with the opportunity to have a presence on popular music streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music. The events of 2020 have pushed businesses in all sectors to adapt, reorganize, and innovate. While music fans across the globe eagerly await the return of the excitement and intimacy of live performances, OYLS is setting an example by offering fans an alternate, yet extremely personal, way to connect with the band. While this pilot project may be small in scale, it could prove to be a critical stepping stone toward musical sustainability during these tumultuous times.
You can reserve your spot on the buyOYLS.net website to get in on your “little sliver of music history”.