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This morning, my husband caught a brief news story on television.  Radiohead is holding a contest in which it is asking people to create a music video for a song from the band’s album, “In Rainbows.”  The contest is being sponsored by Aniboom.com, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and TBD Records. In case you didn’t hear, there was all sorts of buzz about “In Rainbows” when it was released because it was first available as a free download.  (Radiohead’s official site here.)

As I’ve endlessly blathered about on this blog, Nine Inch Nails (NIN) has recently released Ghosts I-IV, with Ghosts I being available as a free download.  The entire album can be purchased as a download for $5 from Amazon.  If you want the two-CD set, it costs $10.  On the heels of releasing Ghosts, NIN announced a film festival, calling for fans to create moving images (NO slide shows!) to go with the music.  NIN has partnered with YouTube for this venture.  The NIN announcement of its film festival came before news of Radiohead’s video contest.

Are you seeing a pattern here?  Why is it, when somebody decides to think outside the box, they seem to jump from one box into another and then everybody else follows?  Okay, so Radiohead and NIN don’t constitute “everybody.”  They are only two major bands doing these creative things with distribution and fan involvement, but did they have to pick such similar things?  Hey, I can see giving away their music, but do they both have to do fan-based video projects?  How many copycats is this going to spawn?  Couldn’t somebody have chosen a fan-based short story or graphic novel activity?  How about somebody jumping outside of the box and into an octagon for a change?

I’m just sayin’ . . . .