Take a look—if you haven’t done so yet—at the central detail on the artwork for “King Of The Beach” (Fat Possum/Coop, 2010), Wavves’s latest album. What is that dog doing there? Smoking a joint? What is that floating over its head? A marijuana leaf. Nathan Williams doesn’t hide the fact that he enjoys smoking grass, which explains why he’s decided to sell weed grinders (those plastic devices used to grind the buds) with the Wavves logo stamped on them as a merchandising item, in keeping with the band’s imagery. This would just be an anecdote if there weren’t many people out there who think selling atypical merchandising could be a solution for the record industry in the near future.
In early August, Hypebot.com devoted an article to Sub Pop, in which the label’s manager Megan Jasper expressed a similar idea in the face of the decline in sales the label is experiencing: “Although Sub Pop is primarily known for its many fine artists and their really very fine recordings (also grunge), we're not at all opposed to expanding into the fine world of t-shirts, hats, beer cozies, and key chains. We used to give many of these tchotchke items away for free in an effort to entice people to pay for the music, but we're considering flipping our strategy so that people pay for the toy and receive the music for free.”
Sub Pop’s art director Jeff Kleinsmith has also some ideas about it: "Regardless of age, there's always going to be people who prefer to touch and make stuff that's like, physical […] CDs may end up being little books. We've talked about this at work, where you might spend the time to do a cool package, it just doesn't have a disc in it. And instead of a disc, you've got a little piece of paper that says 'go here for your download.' So you're getting everything about it except for that plastic disc, you know. I would love to see that. […] That could be a magazine, it could be a shirt, it could be a sticker on a banana, it could be anything, really, that has that download. It could be a poster, a thing associated with this music." It could be anything, but Wavves has already made a choice.