Vulfpeck listed their 10th track spot for their new album “The Joy of Music, The Job of Real Estate” on eBay back on August 7th. Fans had the opportunity to bid on the item with the promise of complete artistic freedom. Whoever won could submit anything their hearts desired: Maybe a law firm ad, a real song, or my favorite option, some sort of fart track. For some more perspective, in one day the bidding reached over $36,000.
Vulfpeck is pretty notorious for stunts like this. Back in 2014, the band released an album “Sleepify” that consisted of ten 30-second tracks of silence. Followers were encouraged to stream the album while they slept. The record was pulled by Spotify about a month later. The band ended up receiving $20K in royalties and were able to fund a free admission tour in September of 2014.
The bidding was finalized at more than $70,000. To be clear, all of this money was donated to various DonorsChoose projects for music teachers. A band by the name of Earthquake Lights rightfully got the spot and filled it with a song “Off and Away.” A lot of fans complained that the song was not funky enough, wasn’t Vulfpeck-y enough, etc. Was it not the point to get something completely different? Do I like the song? Not at all. Is it the worst song I’ve ever heard? Not by any means.
Earthquake Lights are not a well-known band, with less than 15,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and only 4,394 followers on Instagram. With the rates that Spotify pays its artists (a whole other issue), there is such a small chance the band itself could afford this. Thanks to r/Vulfpeck (a Reddit page), I learned a little bit more about how Earthquake Lights might have swung this. The band leader, Myles Rodenhouse and his brother Jake both have studios in LA and NYC. Jake also happens to be the Managing Director of Rodenhouse Family Office. For those unfamiliar with the term, a family office is a private wealth management advisory firm. They make money for people who already have a lot of money. Myles and Jake’s studios also happen to be some of the office’s artistic investments.
This further proves that regardless of how talented, creative, or innovative an artist might be, if they don’t have the money or if they’re not in the right place at the right time, the opportunity for success is so limited. While I was hoping for some fart sounds, Earthquake Lights played by the rules regardless of whose money it was. Now we have a mediocre track and a much more exciting story.
PS: Definitely listen to the whole album! In my last post I wrote a little bit about “Poinciana” which is on this album. Another favorite track is “LAX,” so fun and funky, as always.
PPS: There is also a whole other debate over whether “The Joy of Music, The Job of Real Estate” collection counts as an album or not. I am not motivated to get into this.