This has turned into an all out scavenger hunt, apparently with the prizes being new music from Derek Webb’s not-yet-released album, Stockholm Syndrome.
Some places to follow the developments:
Yesterday, I inadvertently discovered one of the pieces of the puzzle. Checking my twitter search for ssyndrome, @thievingpoet noted that one of the words (r_eal) on the second of the emails posted on DerekWebb.com had been hyperlinked, and leads to a form page.
I immediately jumped over to investigate.
The form page had a single text box preceeded by the number 1 and surrounded by quotes. I knew that there had to be a clue somewhere about what to enter in that form box. I went back to the emails to look for words in quotes. There were none. But, I did discover that one of the words (trouble) was hyperlinked in the first email. This link leads to an article on Relevant Magazine’s website that was somewhat critical of this publicity stunt.
My previous hunch was satisfied when I found that there were in fact several words in quotes in the article (click through to the links to see them). When I entered these words in order on the form page, I received the download of a zip file called tsvtkd.zip. The zip archive contained a premix mp3 of the song “The Spirit vs The Kickdrum” and a rtf file (text) that contained only the characters “10-2-4″.
Of course, as soon as I figured it out, I @ replied @thievingpoet with the news, and posted a comment on the ongoing discussion at We Are the Stories.
I’m happy that I got to make a small contribution to the process, although, I can’t take full credit . I would have never went on my hunt without the original tweet from @thievingpoet.
On to a different discussion of this whole fiasco:
This “publicity stunt”, “alternate reality game” or “heist” as some people are referring to it, seems to be having two effects on the interested parties.
There are those who are not so enthralled with the whole idea of the “heist”. Some are frustrated that it is moving slowly and is somewhat complicated. Some are upset at Derek directly, as they feel that engaging in a publicity stunt undermines his “authenticity” (especially if the “trouble” with the record label turns out to be manufactured to facilitate this process).
Then are those who are taking it at face value and playing along (like myself). This is a very creative way for an artist to reach out to their fans and get them involved (similar things have been done before, so this is nothing new).
To me, this is Derek’s music, and he can do with it whatever he wants, and release and/or promote it however it wants. I find it ridiculous to hear some of the commentary from those following this who are down on the whole idea with some type of self-righteous music purist attitude. No one’s making you play along.