Kaiser Chiefs get medieval on music marketing

Kaiser Chiefs' fourth studio album, The Future is Medieval, comes out today - but with a twist. The Chiefs have invited purchasers of the record to assemble and sell their own versions, building an online hub where fans they can find an audience for their personal Medievals.

You're invited to select and sequence 10 tracks from a list of 20 songs, design custom cover art, and post the results to a personal Web page; once that's done it's up to you to promote your album - the band helps out with banner ads you can use on your own site, on Facebook, or wherever you like. Should anyone purchase your personal version of the album, you'll receive a 1 pound royalty per sale - that works out to about $1.63 right now - via PayPal.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, this wasn't conceived as a blow against the industry (and it was done with the full endorsement of Universal Music Group, the band's label), but simply a new way to involve fans. Even so, with a number of bands turning to alternative financing models (using general-purpose crowd fundraising sites like Kickstarter or specialists like Pledge Music), it's interesting to see yet another alternative take shape.

- Michael Berk