By ALEX HAUETER / Lincoln Journal Star
Friday, May 04, 2007 – 02:54:41 am CDT
A career in music is hard, and getting started can be expensive, so Cory Kibler is in it to just enjoy himself. In fact, he has no problem just giving away the fruits of his labor.
Although the recording industry and established artists have objected to the spread of music online, the Internet has been a valuable tool for up-and-coming musicians to share their work. Kibler and his friend, producer C. Howie Howard, who works with local bands Skink, Robot, Creep Closer! and the Killigans, have taken that to another level.
The two friends started Mr. Furious Records in September 2004. In the label’s short history, it has released 19 albums.
Without pressing a single CD.
Mr. Furious Records takes advantage of the Creative Commons Public License to release its artists’ work for free online. The label was born out of a need for artists to be able to get their music out there without losing money.
“We felt it would make music a lot more fun if we took the monetary aspect out of it,” Kibler said.
Kibler, the frontman of Robot, Creep Closer!, used to play around Southeast Nebraska in a band called Shacker, but said it was frustrating to spend money on studio time and CDs that people weren’t interested in.
Howard has faced the same problem.
“The economics of selling music on CDs got stressful,” he said. Bands will often pay for 1,000 CDs but sell only 200 or 300 and barely manage to break even.
Something had to give, and the idea for the low-overhead Mr. Furious was born.
Howard runs the label from his home in Kansas City, Mo., pays about $160 per year for Web hosting and uses recording and mixing equipment he already owns for his for-profit work with artists.
Starting a Web label is something anyone could do, he said.
“Somebody could do it for a couple hundred bucks with a four-track machine,” he said.
Despite the label’s low cost and the free exchange of music it allows, Kibler stressed that the contributing musicians — mostly friends from the Midwest and his old home in California — all take it seriously.
“We want the recordings to be studio quality and the songs to be totally legit,” he said.
Howard added that the downloads are all variable bit rate mp3 files, which makes them of equal or better quality than music purchased from sites like iTunes.
Kibler’s new CD, “The Silent Woods,” will be Mr. Furious’ 20th release, and he’s celebrating Wednesday with a release party at Duffy’s Tavern. To keep with the spirit of Mr. Furious, he’ll be giving away copies of the CD, which consists of nine original folk songs he’s written over the past three years and recorded this winter.
For Robot, Creep Closer! fans, the release party will offer a look at Kibler’s mellower side. In his solo work, he attempts to tell stories that his listeners will relate to rather than being highly personal.
“The solo songs are so much more mellow, and not just because it’s acoustic guitar and vocals,” he said. “In Robot, Creep Closer! we’re all about being ridiculous. We try to put on a show so that people will be into us even if they don’t like all our songs.”
Reach Alex Haueter at 473-7254 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .