Recording Industry Comes Up With Brilliant New Way to Sell Music—As Long As No One Steals It

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RCRD LBL, a new joint venture by Downtown Records and Engadget editor Peter Rojas, launched today, marking the first attempt to run an MP3 blog that pays artists such as Mos Def, Art Brut, and Justice a fee in order to give away their music for free. Though they've secured deals with several top-drawer indie labels and sponsorships from Puma, Virgin, and Nikon, RCRD LBL can't help but seem like the latest in a series of questionable business models from an increasingly desperate music industry. (Surely we're only a few weeks away from some company announcing that they'll give CDs, concert tickets, and T-shirts away for free, but take a higher share of their artists' branded USB-drive revenues.) The people behind RCRD LBL obviously have good intentions (and a pretty good roster, we might add), but we can't help but wince at the naïveté of their polite request that readers refrain from reposting their "exclusive" MP3s elsewhere. Isn't that a bit like asking some shady stranger to keep an eye on your valuables while you visit the restroom? —Matthew Perpetua

RCRD LBL [Official site via Idolator]