Band Makes the World's Most Difficult To Access Album, But It's Still Pretty Cool

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If Vulfpeck taught us anything, it's that getting attention for your music in the internet age requires a lot of flair, a bit of ingenuity, and maybe some performance art. So this week, there's a story of a band that released an album not as a CD, sheet music or a towel, but as a Linux Kernel Module.

In case you're not a nerd, a Kernel is a piece of software on every computer that essentially translates requests from the applications you use to instructions for the hardware on the computer. So if your application needs more ram or processing power, the Kernel is the go-between that makes it happen. But that's the boring part. How the hell would you listen to an album that's a kernel module? Well it requires a lot of running commands.

After you build, you need to load the module and see if it is working, so you can run:

sudo insmod netcat.ko

You should see output like the following from dmesg:

[ 2606.528153] [netcat]: netcat - Cycles Per Instruction - Kernel Module Edition - 2014
[ 2606.528153] [netcat]: netcat is Brandon Lucia, Andrew Olmstead, and David Balatero
[ 2606.528153] [netcat]: 'ogg123 - < /dev/netcat' to play.

Finally, put on some headphones, and run:

ogg123 - < /dev/netcat 

If building an album into your computer's operating system isn't your thing, both digital and analog (cassette!) versions of the netcat album are available for purchase. But, in a way, I really like this idea. Before the internet, music was finite. It was based on who you knew who could burn you a copy of an album. If an album had gone out of print before the advent of CDs, it was something you had to either find on vinyl or settle for a 5th generation dubbed cassette. Finding that record you desperately wanted to hear/own took effort, and the reward was incredibly satisfying. The ubiquity era has kind of erased that feeling. I can download every album James Brown ever released in an hour with five minutes of effort. But the effort made the music more special. So maybe I'll give this a shot.