Hopping onto the hot new trend of artists sharing their albums for free, Bob Dylan has announced that he will release a torrent of his new Frank Sinatra covers album into the waiting mailboxes of AARP subscribers. As previously reported, Dylan recently paid tribute to Sinatra with Shadows In The Night, in which the 73-year-old musician sings standards popularized by the late crooner. Now he’ll distribute 50,000 copies of that record for free, on CD, through the U.S. mail, to subscribers of the American Association of Retired Persons’ magazine, in what is the perfect combination of art, physical format, distribution, and audience.
Dylan announced his bold foray into the world of file sharing as part of an interview with AARP—his first in three years, and a publication Dylan sought out specifically, rather than talk to the old fogeys at Rolling Stone. In it, he suggests that AARP’s 35 million-member audience of people 50 and older could possibly find something appealing about the idea of an album of Bob Dylan singing old Sinatra songs.
“A lot of those readers are going to like this record,” Dylan says, ever an iconoclast willing to take a bold stand. “If it was up to me, I’d give you the records for nothing and you give them to every [reader of your] magazine.”
And so he will—or, at least, to a randomly selected 50,000 of them, some of who will still probably call up AARP support, demanding to know how this album ended up in their inbox. Of course, for those who want to delete Shadows In The Night, it’s as simple as dragging it to the trash.