Smashing Pumpkins mainman Billy Corgan has announced that the band’s next album will have 44 songs, which will be released individually as free downloads, starting this Autumn.”There will be no strings attached,” he blogs. “Free will mean free, which means you won’t have to sign up for anything, give an email address, or jump through a hoop. You will be able to go and take the song or songs as you wish, as many times as you wish.”So how does the band make money? Corgan says they will sell 11 limited-edition four-song EPs as collectors’ items, and then a full 44-track box set when all the songs have come out. It’s an increasingly common model, particularly for artists with established fanbases who’ve gone it alone at the end of a label deal.The plus point for Corgan and other artists going down this route is the additional creative control. Few labels would sanction a 44-song album based on “The Fool’s Journey, as signified in the progress of the Tarot” which aims to break down “the journey of our life here into four phases as made by these different characters; the Child, the Fool, the Skeptic, and the Mystic.”Of course, you can argue that with no label hovering behind them, artists could still benefit from someone – a manager, their peers, whoever – playing the devil’s advocate role and asking whether you really need that many songs and if the theme is just a teensy bit self-indulgent. But if quantity turns out to be quality, the Pumpkins album promises to be quite an affair.

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