Packaging Band Member Remains A New Way To Sell Albums

Negativland Don Joyce remainsSales of physical product are declining year after year yet record labels, artists and bands continue to release them. As formats that you can hold in your hand become much less desirable, it’s more difficult to get the public interested in purchasing them. The experimental San Francisco band Negativland has found a way to go beyond the usual value-adds included with some physical albums though. It’s packaging the remains of a recently deceased member along with its latest release.

The band is including a plastic bag of 2 grams of member Don Joyce’s ashes along with every purchase of the band’s new album The Chopping Channel via mail-order as a way of incorporating him into the new project. Joyce died of heart failure in July of last year.

I’d normally say that this is a very appropriate Halloween story and promotion except for the fact that the band announced the album available for pre-order two weeks ago. Still, it seems pretty creepy to me personally, but the band’s fans seem to be into it.

Although Negativland appears to be the first band to include ashes of a deceased band member with an album purchase, it’s not the first to include fans when distributing the stuff. The surviving members of the band Sun City Girls tossed some of the remains of their late drummer, Charlie Gocher into the audience every night during a memorial tribute tour. Could this be a new trend in music?

Negativland also had two previous members of the band die last year. Richard Lyons, 57, and Ian Allen, 56, both passed away but were not included in The Chopping Channel as they weren’t current members.

I guess this is what happens as bands, and band members, age. It gives the fans one last way to cling to something that will never be again, except the music, as always, lives on.

[Photo: Courtesy of The Artist]
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