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With 10 Songs Of Silence, Band Puts Free Tour On Spotify's Tab

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We'll end the hours with an innovative business proposition. When a funk band from Michigan planned its upcoming tour, it had one important condition, all the shows must be free. The band is called Vulfpeck and they decided to finance those free concerts with a new album. It's called "Sleepify."

JACK STRATTON: Vulfpeck released "Sleepify" the album last week on Spotify. This album is different than our previous albums. This album's much quieter. In fact, we believe it's the most silent album ever recorded.

CORNISH: Band leader Jack Stratton.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The most silent album ever. It's a collection of absolute silence. Ten tracks. The ploy generates cash through Spotify, a music streaming service. Listen to the album all night long, Stratton says.

STRATTON: When you listen to a Vulfpeck song on Spotify, Spotify pays us a half a cent. So if you were to listen to "Sleepify" all night on repeat, you'd generate $4.

CORNISH: OK. So the question is, why would anyone do that? Why buy the sound of silence? The answer, according to Jack Stratton, it's cheaper than a $20 ticket to a show. And the band is really raising money this way, according to Stratton. He says, so far, they've made about $5,000 with about a million plays.

SIEGEL: That's about a million plays of nothing.

CORNISH: Right. And the band will hold their free concerts in the places where people listened to "Sleepify" the most.

SIEGEL: We expected Spotify to be silent on this whole issue and indeed, they would not talk on tape. But they did call us back. Spokesman Graham James says he thinks this is a clever stunt, but he said, we prefer Vulfpeck's earlier albums. He added that "Sleepify" seems derivative of John Cage's work, Cage composed "4 33" which is also silence.

CORNISH: Unfortunately, we can't play you any excerpts from "Sleepify." Prolonged silence triggers alarm at NPR member stations so instead, we offer an earlier song from Vulfpeck.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.
Robert Siegel
Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.