Friday, May 4, 2018

After 23 years, Earache finally gets around to updating its website | UNLIMITED | CMU

Earache Records

Earache Records has redesigned its website. Not something we’d normally report on, but given it’s taken them 23 years to get around to it, it seems like an event that should be marked.

The metal-focussed indie label was somewhat ahead of the curve when it launched its original website in 1995. It then dropped behind said curve, eventually settling down on the vast flat surface with no curve in site for over two decades. It’s quite a feat. Admirable, even.

No more though. The Earache website is now all shiny and new. And in order to get back in front the of the tech curve again, the label has also started messing around with the blockchain. There are those who doubt other people’s claims that the blockchain is some kind of panacea for all the music industry’s problems. But that was before the lyrics to Napalm Death’s shortest song, ‘You Suffer’, were encoded into it.

This has come about because the song – which at 1.316 seconds long also holds the world record for the shortest in history – was featured in an episode of US comedy series ‘Silicon Valley’. A character sets an alert to play the track whenever Bitcoin drops below a certain price. In honour of this, Earache has set up a Twitter account – @NapalmDeathBot – to tweet hourly Bitcoin price updates, as well as encoding “Napalm Death – You suffer but why” (the song’s lyric) permanently into the blockchain.

Says Earache founder Digby Pearson: “Although we are positive that Napalm Death aren’t going anywhere anytime soon – their Glastonbury performance for us last year proved that – we are now ensuring that the band will live on forever in the blockchain”.

There is also a serious point to be made, adds a statement from the company: “In an age where information and opinions can easily be suppressed and removed from online records, blockchain technology has emerged as an unlikely tool for battling censorship, prompting student activists in China to turn to the technology in the fight against government curbs. The very nature of the tech means that all transactions become a permanent part of the blockchain and cannot ever be removed or amended”.

“Using a method known as Base58, Bitcoin addresses are encoded as a string of alphanumeric text, where it’s possible to append a comment which itself becomes a permanent part of the chain”, it adds. “It’s here that Napalm Death’s thought-provoking lyrics have been enshrined for all time – a simple but poignant message to transcend the ages”.

So, yes, Earache has not only managed to update its website but also become the first music company to do anything interesting with the blockchain. Congratulations! Check out the website here.


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