bootlegging the bootlegger: cool IP lawsuit that never happened + the art that happened instead

Some music kept me from physically exiting a car, and for a really long time–like 20 minutes. I didn’t know what it was but knew it was the cleverest  mix movement I’d heard in years. Temporal and mathematical perfection. Art.

Here’s the deal.

Numero is a certified music center of gravity and archival record label “devoted to dragging brilliant recordings, films, and photography out of unwarranted obscurity.” They’re on “a dirty, labor-intensive mission… and it’s urgent as all hell.”

The car-confining auditorial bliss I experienced had been bootlegged from Numero:

Over the course of seven years and over 70 releases, a fan began to create a mega-mix of his favorite loops, breaks, and vocal snippets, chopping them all up and piecing together an incredible musical narrative–a 40 minute, saw blade-labeled 12” boot that was pressed and seeded to [a] handful of DJs and producers. Naturally, word got back to Numero, but instead of issuing the obvious cease and desist letter, the label decided to go one better. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so in a true nod to all fans out there, the Numero Group, via our Numero imprint, is issuing Eccentric Breaks & Beats as an homage to the breaks and beats collections of yore, bootlegging our own bootleg, as it were. It took some time and effort, but we were finally able to track down the creator of this essential collection, and delighted to discover that it was the apocryphal label and production team, Shoes, who have previously re-worked Moodyman, Al Green, Miles Davis, and dozens more. Featuring over 50 tracks from some of the best artists associated with Numero, it’s both an essential turntable item and an intriguing musical puzzle.

So yes: Numero took a liking to the bootleg (“Numbero”) and in turn bootlegged the bootlegger’s bootleg. Which fixed me in the car.

It ‘s a win, win, win: we have Numero’s mission + brand + stuff uniquely promoted, Shoes’ talent originally captured and boldly distributed, and me, a happy and paying consumer of the affair. I ordered a CD. I didn’t want the MP3 but a “hard” souvenir copy. At checkout I got this screen:

Numero is clearly human and knows how to both create and ask for the sale.

Suing is good and I’m all for IP. But it would be interesting to learn what other products there would be if companies occasionally did this. Like an intentional truce window to nurture creativity. A business development “jam session” where feeding freely off each other is allowed.

For now, I’m anxiously awaiting a fine little parcel.

Update: Side 1. Side 2.


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