Chris Newbould | February 15, 2014
De La Soul have brought back the peace and love vibe that filled their debut album 3 Feet High and Rising by making seven albums-worth of their back catalogue available for free download.
The free offer lasts for 25 hours on the band’s website, to celebrate the impending 25th anniversary of 3 Feet High…’s release. Fans will have to get in quickly though – the offer ends at 11am EST (8pm UAE) today (Saturday 15th February).
The group’s music had become frustratingly hard to purchase through legal means, and demand appeared to be heavy enough by midday Friday to overwhelm the group’s chosen download provider temporarily.
It wasn’t just listeners that were excited about the move. Music industry insiders were watching with fascination as well: “From a creative standpoint and a marketing standpoint, I think it’s terrific,” said Sophia Chang, a manager for GZA, Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest and former record label executive. “I think everybody’s talking about them. I think they’re all over social media. I think they remind people of how incredibly, incredibly influential and innovative that album was.”
De La Soul rapper Posdnuos, meanwhile, told RollingStone of the band’s “trying journey” to get the music cleared for release on iTunes and other similar services. He added: “It’s been too long where our fans haven’t had access to everything. This is our way of showing them how much we love them.”
Al Branch, the general manager of The Blueprint Group, which oversees the careers of Lil Wayne and Drake among others, says he saw a day when a major act might attempt to reach a fan base in such a way out of frustration: “I always knew as the world becomes more and more digital and smartphones come into play that this day was coming,” he said. “It makes you think from the perspective, if you’re an artist, what’s more important? Is it more important for you to sell albums or is it more important for you to keep your brand afloat and tour and keep going hard?”