Record label Ghostly finds a new way to offer value in the age of online distribution with Matthew Dear's latest release.

Over the last decade, the music industry continues to face perhaps it's biggest hurtle: how to offer value in the age of digital distribution and a culture of free. While artists can and will generate money from touring, labels have become somewhat of an endangered species. In the wake of this, labels look for added value packaging that entice record consumers; this can often lead to cheesy promo codes and bonus footage, but sometimes the label seems to get it right.

Enter Matthew Dear's new album Black City, which is out on Ghostly. Attempting to recreate the atmosphere of the album, Ghostly partnered with Boym Partners to create the Black City Totem. Part sculpture and part souvenir, consumers are sent the the object with a code for digital download or streaming when they purchase the album. Admittedly, this doesn't offer the straight utility from direct downloading, but it does push labels to think about how value and aesthetic branding should go hand and hand.

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