The Flaming Lips are a great example of a career act nurturing a niche audience with a consistent perspective on life as a creative process and a unique range of merch to match. Most recently,The Lips' work with limited USB releases embedded in objects, such as a Gummy Fetus or an actual human skull, has been the center of merch-related attention. Yet, despite such coverage, a lot of cool content seems to get scattered and lost in the process of unveiling these projects.
The Flaming Lips have a rich creative past that has earned them a unique place in music history. This series of recent USB releases embedded in objects is a reminder of their commitment to a psychedelic aesthetic tied to physical experience in a digital age.
Wayne Coyne Often Releases News Updates via Services like Twitgoo
Wayne Coyne, frontman for the band, described the Gummy Skull creation process and his hands-on involvement:
"Everything about these things is made as if I'm doing a painting or something just here in my house. But they're these strange limited-edition objects that also hold this brand new music that we're kind of making at the same time as we're making these objects."
Next up was a Gummy Fetus with embedded USB stick that creeped out a few.
Many of these projects sell out pretty quickly, even at $150 as a typical price point, yet the music is also released for free.
News of the "Strobo Trip Light Illusion Toy" began appearing as early as May and the gradual release in batches at recent shows made the toy a coveted boxed offering. It includes a USB release of a six-hour song with a fundraising aspect. Sean Lennon reads names during the song of folks who donated $100 or more and raised at least $20,000 for local causes.
Now under development is a 24-hour song and, eventually, a way of gathering these releases together. The 24-hour song is planned for a Halloween release in a limited number of human skulls, as possibly shown in the thumbnail at the top of this post, to be provisioned by Skulls Unlimited International.
In discussing his thoughts about the various releases, Wayne Coyne stated to Wired:
"I think by next February we will have a giant collection. But I don't know what the format would be. We talked about it being available in a life-size version of me...You buy this thing, and in my feet, head and hands would be songs."
This is a pretty wild approach to merchandising and it's interesting to see how Coyne, in particular, releases info about projects through social platforms like Twitgoo and TwitVid.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He blogs about web business models at Flux Research and the world of dance at All World Dance. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.