Alternate Routes is a column from Flavorwire contributor and WFMU DJ Jesse Jarnow, in which he’ll explore music solely distributed outside the Big 3 of Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon.
Aphex Twin’s recent celebration of digital freedoms in the form of a massive SoundCloud dump is the opposite of a new paradigm for the music industry. For starters, Richard D. James isn’t (directly) making any money off the nearly 200 tracks and counting he has posted since late January under the name user48736353001, even enabling the “download” option on material that once might’ve constituted several hefty box sets. For another, James’ feat almost definitely isn’t repeatable. In a matter of weeks, James more than doubled the amount of music in his already weighty discography. But whether or not it represents any kind of new direction in music distribution, it clearly constitutes a new kind of experience for the obsessed listener, and a perfect channel for James’ prolific brand of dense electronic music.