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Just a short post to celebrate the notion of USB Stick Discographies.

We live in an always-online world where increasingly we prefer downloadables and streaming media over physical products. And that’s certainly the case in the world of music (…with the possible exception of vinyl junkies).

One special case for me is the trend of artists releasing most or all of their back catalogue on a USB stick. Rather than leave fans to trawl around gathering the various tracks and releases and special editions and so on, some artists make an all-in-one bundle that saves you the hassle and bandwidth.

Here are three I’ve bought:

(Jonathan Coulton + Creative Commons) <3 USB Sticks

Jonathan Coulton Creative Commons USB Stick

Who: Jonathan Coulton

What: A 1GB green USB stick containing the JoCo Looks Back album and all the source tracks for it.

Awesome because: A fund-raising release for Creative Commons to celebrate the release of the ‘best of’ album “JoCo Looks Back”, this stick highlighted the power of the CC licenses to encourage remixes and derivatives.

What else: I already owned all this music, but getting at the multi-track source material was was a great bonus. I’m not into remixing, myself, but in my last job having high quality multi-track data proved very useful for building fun in-house tech demos.

Wheatus’ Brendan is a USB Stick

Brendan B. Brown of Wheatus is a USB Stick

Who: Wheatus

What: A 2GB stick containing the recent studio releases from Wheatus (Hand Over Your Loved Ones, Too Soon Monsoon and the Jupiter and Lightning EPs) as 320kbps MP3s, along with photos and videos (live & behind the scenes).

Awesome because: It’s a USB stick full of the band’s music, shaped like the lead singer of the band. You pull off his head to get at the music. Tremendous.

What else: If you only know Wheatus for Teenage Dirtbag, you are missing out. Go listen to Suck Fony and their latest releases.

Steve Lawson on a Stick

It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Steve Lawson on a stick

Who: Steve Lawson

What: A 4GB stick containing 20 albums as 320kbps MP3 or FLAC and a 45min concert video.

Awesome because: An insane amount of music – plus a live performance!

What else: I’d listened to about two tracks on his embedded Bandcamp player before jumping at the chance to purchase this stick. Yes, I could have trawled the web downloading each album in turn, but the idea of receiving a treasure trove all at once in the mail is just too exciting.

Bonus: Listening to this is without a doubt going to make me want to pick up my bass again…

There are still lots of interesting ways to use physical media to distribute your music these days. One-shot badges, live on-the-spot concert recordings, QR Codes, personalised concert recordings… And I’m still a sucker for a cheap CD at a live show.

Short post, simple point: Downloading and streaming may be the dominant force today – but let’s take a second to appreciate the beauty of a big ol’ bundle of music, right there in your hands.

I leave you with this (slightly disturbing) image:

Off with his head!