Elisa Bray: Caught in the Net

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The Independent Culture

Since Radiohead paved the way with a pay-what-you-want download of In Rainbows, new artists have been coming up with variations on the theme. Dave Edwards's one-man electronica band Minotaur Shock is selling the new album Amateur Dramatics online from Monday, download-only through 4AD, at www.minotaurshock.com, but he's decided what he thinks each track is worth and is charging accordingly, rating each on such criteria as technical and musical difficulty and fun/replay value. The cheapest is 33p for "Two Magpies", the most pricey 77p for "Beekeeper". It still works out at a typical £6.39 to download the lot. If you haven't heard Minotaur Shock before, listen to the tracks and see if you agree.

Edwards explains: "Now, let's be frank; you and I both know that, if you were so inclined, you could probably use the internet to download Amateur Dramatics absolutely for free. I am not suggesting that you would, I am just acknowledging that the average Minotaur Shock fan is a person who is aware, savvy and generally knows what's what." Then the plea: "I don't make enough money out of music for it to be a career; I have a day job. I have a little family and a big mortgage, hence it's difficult for me to tour. I couldn't afford to pay a band even if I wanted to. This isn't a sob story, mind, it's just a subtle way of guilting people into paying for the music." Quite.

Esser is selling his new single "Headlock", for download only, from www.myspace.com/esserhq, but if you buy his T-shirt (at gigs and online), a unique bar-code and catalogue number will enable you to claim the download for free online. He's signed to Transgressive and the single is out on Monday.

James Yorkston is releasing 1,000 box sets, including his album When the Haar Rolls In, on CD and vinyl. In one set is a golden ticket entitling the recipient to a song to be written for them by Yorkston. You can buy the set from his site, www.jamesyorkston.co.uk, or from his label Domino Records, which has opened a new digital store at http://digital.dominorecordco.com.