The following is part of an article from the L.A. Times:
BETTER TO GIVE: Record store managers are always concerned about people sneaking out CDs they didn't pay for. What about people sneaking in CDs they didn't get paid for?
That is something a few managers may find themselves dealing with as a national music and art network has been planting CDs in major chain stores this weekend.
Titled "The Droplift Project" (meant as a reverse on "shoplift"), the CD is a collection of audio collages largely made from chopped-up and rearranged samples from radio, TV and other sources.
The person who organized the venture, L.A. artist Tim Maloney, says it's all legal under fair usage allowances, but says that the issue of sample clearances and unauthorized use of material is so hot in the music business right now that no official distributor or chain store would want to risk a lawsuit by carrying the work.
Hence the creative approach to distribution.
"Even though it's perfectly legal, the cost of proving it with all the music business lawyers is exorbitant," Maloney says, noting that CDs will be sold via the Web site http://www.droplift.org, where free MP3 downloads of the entire work will also be available.
"Our expectations of this are that some people may hear it," he says. "We know we'll never get any money [from droplifted CD sales]. But the fun part, the prank of the whole thing, the performance art of it, is putting it in places where they don't expect it to be and allowing them to say it."
Bob Feterl, L.A.-based territorial director for the Tower Records stores, is amused by the notion and wishes the perpetrators well.
"It might be able to slip by [and be sold in a Tower store], but not very often," Feterl says, noting that it's actually in the store's interest to sell them since they didn't cost anything to stock.
"Good luck to them on that. And if it isn't bought, it would be discovered when inventory comes around, and then we'd bar-code it and enter it into the system and sell it like regular stock. We wouldn't throw it out."