A week or so ago, the Reverend brought you the news of Ladies & Gentlemen...Mr. B.B. King, a ten-disc collection that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the beloved blues guitarist's 1952 signing with ABC-Paramount Records, scheduled for release on September 25, 2012. The bonzo box set includes highlights from King's early days and lots of stuff from his years spent under the Universal Music umbrella, including rare non-album singles and unreleased live recordings. For the fanatical B.B. King fan (and who isn't?), this set will be a mandatory purchase, and for those of us with pockets less deep, a special four-disc version of Mr. B.B. King will be released in October.
However, The Second Disc website (a great place for new music news) is reporting that Universal Music is taking an odd strategy in promoting the Mr. B.B. King box set. The world's largest record label has teamed up with the PledgeMusic website to "pre-sell" the album and raise awareness of its release. PledgeMusic is similar to the better-known Kickstarter fundraising site in that fans can donate money to a project and receive freebies in response. In the case of musicians, it's usually a way to raise money to finance recording of a new album, and fans get a CD or more for their donation.
Considering the venue, and looking over the list of musicians currently pitching projects to fans on PledgeMusic, it makes one wonder why Universal is pushing fans to donate to what sounds like a pretty great box set from, perhaps, the best-known bluesman in the world? What happens if the fundraising campaign doesn't meet its goal (which, as of this writing, with 14 days left, has reached only 61% of its target)? Is U-Music trying to lay off some of the cost of producing a whopping ten-disc set by getting the fans to pay in advance? Inquiring minds want to know! Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Photo courtesy Hip-O Records