The Dumb Customer
A few weeks back, Brittish progressive rock band Big Big Train hauled out a spammage that their record Far Skies Deep Time is available for our listening pleasure on Spotify.
Not having listened to BBT for a few whiles, i took the bait, and it was good. Especially the opening track Kingmaker was much to my liking. It’s like if Selling England were made in 2011 (but without the wigs and double neck guitars).
So i did what i often do when i like an independent prog band: i offer them some monetary support and as a token of my patronage, they send me a CD (which often lays forever unplayed on some shelf). In the case of Big Big Train, this is especially easy since an album from them costs between seven and eight quid sterling, which includes worldwide p&p.
It was only a few days later i did find that i’d already bought Far Skies from the band a year or so before.
The Customer Service
When a thankyou message a few days later arrived from Greg of BBT, i replied that you are very welcome and in fact your record was so mind blindingly good that i’ve bought it twice. But thankfully i’d bought the special “MALS” edition including the track Kingmaker which was not on the original version. I didn’t expect a reply, but one i got.
Uh, says Greg, according to our records, you did in fact order the original version and it is already in the mail.
Well duh again. Stupid stupid me.
BBT have a very liberal approach to distributing their music. They understand that obscurity is the enemy for a small band so they have over 90 minutes of their music available for streaming or download on their site. For free. Nice deal. And when they re-issued their album The Difference Machine with an extra song, they told fans that had bought the original edition to email them for a link to that new song. For free.
Really, really nice deal.
So i asked Greg whether there was a download for Kingmaker.
Sorry, says Greg, but we’ll send you the Special Edition as well. Merry Christmas from Big Big Train.
Guys. You prog. Hard.
Share and enjoy
Since i now have three copies of Far Skies, two of which are identical, i want to spread the joy. I’ll send my extra Far Skies to One Random Commenter to this blog posting, either on www.navelfluff.org or its mirror navelfluff.posterous.com. Comments on the social nets don’t count, so if you’re reading this on Facebook, come on over for a visit to the real deal. I’ll give you a few days or a week.
And even if you don’t win, you can listen to Big Big Train free and legally both on Spotify and on Last.FM. And hey, maybe spinning polycarbonate just ain’t your thing even if the music is.
Hats off to my colleague Pauliina and to Derek Sivers for the idea and the inspiration, and to Greg Spawton for being such a nice guy and who intrinsically just seems to grok what good customer service means.