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Killola offers fans a digital "living album" with its latest release

August 20, 2010 | 10:00 am

Killola Dogtag

In the digital wild west that has become the music industry, indie bands are trying all kinds of things to make money.

One Los Angeles alternative rock band, Killola, has come up with the concept of the "living album," which it is selling while on tour for its latest album, "Let's Get Associated." 

Here's how it works. The album comes in the form of a dog tag that looks like the ones soldiers wear around their necks. This one comes with a slide-out USB stick that has all the usual bits: music, photos and videos. So far, not that unusual from the USB wristbands that artists have been selling for years at their merch table.

What sets Killola's tags apart is that fans can use it to get access to the bands' future concerts and music releases. Each time fans plug in the USB drive, it checks to see if there are new songs or messages from the band. If there's a concert, fans plug in the USB tag into their computer during the event to tap into a live stream.

Killola The band's bassist, Johnny Dunn, worked with Aderra Inc. in Los Angeles to create the product. Aderra, which records live concerts on to USB drives and sells them to fans after the event, did a trial run of the product in June and have since streamed two live shows, said Edward Donnelly, Aderra's chief executive.

Dunn said his band has sold about 400 of the tags so far at $40 a pop. He said his band will continue to feed the USB with fresh content while they're on tour for their current album for the next four months. Sadly, Killola's concert Saturday night at the Roxy in L.A. won't be live-streamed due to restrictions on recording set by the venue, but Dunn said fan-recorded videos may become available sometime after the show.

Why give away so much? Dunn says the world is different now than when he was a teenager listening to the Beastie Boys and Guns 'N Roses.

"I remember having their posters in my bedroom, but that was it," Dunn said. "With the Internet, we feel we have a personal relationship with our fans. You can’t just put a CD out every year now. You have step out of that poster on the wall and become a real person. With technology, it’s remarkably simple to do that."

-- Alex Pham

Top photo: A Killola USB dog tag, which costs $40 and comes with three albums, music videos and access to live streaming concerts. Credit: Alex Pham / Los Angeles Times.

Bottom photo: Killola band members Johnny Dunn, bassist (top, back); Dan Grody, drummer; Lisa Rieffel, lead singer; and Mike Ball, lead guitarist. Credit: Thaddeus Bridwell.