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The following is part of an article from Orlando Weekly:
(Original article http://www.orlandoweekly.com/music/tba/index.asp?tba=139)



Sample-minded subversion

by Mark Padgett
Published 8/1/00

How do you get an indie CD loaded with samples of questionable origin onto the shelves of major music retailers without following the existing corporate-heavy rules of distribution?

You droplift it.

Last weekend, in a guerrilla tactic that was part publicity stunt, part protest, L.A. artist Tim Maloney unleashed "The Droplift Project," a daring compilation CD of audio collages and musical pieces that makes a statement much louder than the 29 selections offered by the contributing bands recruited from around the country, including Orlando electronic outfit Alamout Black. (Quality of content is almost beside the point here, but, for the record, the tracks range from sampling genius to unlistenable audio exercises.)

Organized over the Internet, Maloney's world-wide "agents" walked into music shops and left a total of somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 copies of the CD on store shelves. (Local agents report that Orlando's floating its fair share.) The main targets were the bigger chain outlets, like Camelot Music, Tower Records and Sam Goody. And since the CD has no price tag or bar code, lucky shoppers who stumble on a copy are encouraged to try and get it from the store for free. But if the retailer wants to charge for the disc, Maloney's OK with that, too. (Subversives can't be choosy.)

Monroe and his digital do-gooders just couldn't resist the opportunity to make a stand about the current anti-indie climate under which music is produced and distributed. And they're also making a statement about sampling -- or "media appropriation," as "The Droplift Project" art work proudly declares. In fact, every track on the CD contains samples -- taken from everything from radio and TV to the kitchen sink -- making it theoretically impossible to legally produce under current copyright laws.

Overall, "The Droplift Project" is sure to aggravate the Recording Industry Association of America and its lawsuit-happy legal team. But no laws were broken, assures Maloney, citing the law's fair usage allowances in a brief article in last Sunday's L.A. Times, which included his quote: "We know we'll never get any money [from the droplifted CD sales]. But the fun part, the prank of the whole thing, the performance art of it, is putting it in places where they don't expect it to be and allowing them to say it."

Sampling-rights champion Negativland would be so proud. Can't find the disc? Go for MP3 downloads at www.droplift.com, along with art, press coverage and a video of actual drops.

Monroe's doctrine: "It's not entirely clear what's going to happen when people pick them up," says Ian Monroe of Alamout Black, whose politically charged "Traitors" is track No. 8 on "The Droplift Project." But the Internet savvy group (they've made strong use of MP3 technology in their promotions) is along for the ride. For their track alone, Alamout Black spirited samples from at least 20 to 30 different sources. "I stole a lot of the phrases from a CD that you are supposed to use for role-playing games," says Monroe, with more than a hint of glee.