Lessons Learned from Secondhand Sureshots

Dublab released a short video about 2 months ago, called Secondhand Sureshots. It was probably only about 12 to 15 minutes long, but I think it will have a lasting impact.

The concept for the project was to take four well-established (but still largely underground) instrumental hip hop producers, send them to different LA thrift stores with $5 each, and have them shop for records.

The producers would then return to their labs and create a beat (ie: musical piece) using only the records they bought within their $5 cap limit. These beats were pressed to vinyl, and each copy was given a handmade, art-piece album cover. Beautiful. Copies of the finished product were then taken back to the thrift stores and reinserted into the thrift store record bins. I don’t know what that’s supposed to say, but I like the reciprocal symmetry of it all.

The whole art project was documented and Secondhand Sureshots was released online, for free, for about a week. It was then it was pulled down and some trailers remained online to promote the film.

Now Dublab and Stones Throw Records are selling the DVD, a vinyl copy of the finished tracks wrapped in hand-made album covers, and 2 slip mats for $60. I think it is a great deal, and a great way to market what is a wonderful and strange little project. Also, by putting their emphasis on engaging consumers in a full experience, Dublab and Stones Throw are able to sell this larger package (at a higher price) rather than only the CD and DVD of the documentary.

In an age of instant digital downloads, this emphasis on a handcrafted object that music fans understand and engage with at a deeper level could offer another option to the music industry, or possibly, some inspiration to journalists, digital storytellers and other multimedia producers. The value-add has never been more of an added value.

In spite of all the digital marketing speak above, let’s not lose sight of the core cool: this is ultimately a nifty little documentary and album aimed at a niche, dedicated audience. One that includes me.

The producers, Ras G, Nobody, Daedelus, and J-Rocc are all talented weirdos, and I’ve been influenced by their music for a while now. I found it very cool to hear their thought process (or feel process) for diggin’ in the record crates and making beats. And because I didn’t know in advance that the documentary was only going to be online for a week, and was so impressed by the well-crafted final product, I’ve decided to buy the full package.

Maybe you should too. Or release your own multi-format art piece?

The Trailer:

dublab presents…SECONDHAND SURESHOTS (preview) from dublab on Vimeo.

Have some multi-format art pieces to share (of your own or otherwise)?

Let me know in the comments.

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