Last month, The New Yorker profiled Vampire Weekend and revealed an awkward moment between the band and Tom DeLonge during which the Blink-182 front man tried to sell the guys on his purportedly revolutionary, vaguely defined music website Modlife. But when we caught up with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, he told us that’s not how it went down at all: “The article made it look like he was some weird, pushy entrepreneur and it wasn’t like that. It sounded very reasonable and I thought he was a really nice guy.” By “it” Koenig is referring, of course, to Modlife, which DeLonge is now pushing publicly, along with the free release of Love, the new album from his other band Angels & Airwaves. Being truth seekers above all, we wonder: Is Modlife reasonable? Or is DeLonge in fact a “weird, pushy entrepreneur”? It’s Vampire Weekend versus The New Yorker, y’all! Let’s go!
Okay, here’s DeLonge’s plan, as sketched out to Billboard: (1) Release Love for free online. (2) Rely on corporate sponsorships with Live Nation and Hurley to get 20 million downloads. (3) Sit back and wait for all the new fans to come rolling into Modlife, where they'll sign up for monthly memberships (at $6.95 a pop), giving them access to “digital content.” Says DeLonge: “If only 5 percent of that 20 million came back and interacted with the Modlife platform that powers our Web site, the revenue would far exceed anything we'd make from a major label, in any way, shape or form.” Also: “We're redefining the music business. And I honestly think we're going to be 10 times bigger because of it." So the idea is to use corporate partners to push free music that will entice people to pay for more music? Sadly, this is neither revolutionary nor amusingly stupid, but just something lots of people have already basically done. The first ever Vampire Weekend versus New Yorker truth-off ends in a draw, then.