Grampalll Jookabox – Let’s Go Mad from Asthmatic Kitty on Vimeo.

I don’t think Grampall Jookabox really likes this idea, unless I’m misinterpreting their sarcasm. I don’t think Pitchfork should have any say in the value of music. The consumers, maybe. But definitely not one reviewer at Pitchfork. I think they should have used a source like Metacritic to do this, where many opinions are taken into consideration before some kind of score/value is attached to an album.


Music label Asthmatic Kitty Records is experimenting with a new post-In Rainbows method of determining the price of an album. Instead of allowing the consumer to dictate price, Asthmatic Kitty looked to the next obvious choice to determine the value of an album: the music critic.

Today, renowned and respected indie rock critics Pitchfork Media released a review of Ropechain, the second full length album from Indianapolis-based Grampall Jookabox. Employing their 10-point system, Pitchfork scored the album at a 5.4.

Asthmatic Kitty will therefore sell Ropechain for $5.40 for 54 hours from 9am, December 8th.

“Pitchfork’s ten point scoring system, along with their infamous one decimal point makes them the ideal choice for a dry run with this experimental pricing structure. It just makes dollars and sense,” said Michael Kaufmann, A&R.

Moose, frontman for Grampall Jookabox, commented, “I know that it has been a long and difficult road for music critics everywhere. It’s 2008, but until now their point systems had absolutely no effect on the value of music. Today, they rightly take their place as determiners of the value of music. “

Both Moose and Kaufmann are so excited about this new move for the label and band that they quickly collaborated in a music video of “Let’s Get Mad Together” from Ropechain to commemorate the new pricing structure. Moose dons a dollar bill costume and dances while Kaufmann stands on his head.

Whether this pricing structure will proliferate through the entire record industry depends both on the experiment’s success at Asthmatic Kitty Records, and the willingness of music critics to adjust their reviews to fit currency valuation. Just as Radiohead’s album sale did, this move may send shock waves through the industry. It is expected that those publications using grade levels, percentage points, or “stars” may have to quickly adjust. Some have purportedly already started converting their scores straight into U.S. dollars.

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