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BRAND: The band Barenaked Ladies has a new album out called Barenaked Ladies Are Me. It's the band's first release since its break with Warner's reprieved label two years ago. Barenaked Ladies is inviting fans to participate in this new independent music making. Even asking followers to tinker with bands songs online. Producer Adam Burke sent us this report.

ADAM BURKE: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you exhibit A.

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BURKE: It's an (unintelligible) rocker called, Wind It Up, from the Barenaked Ladies new album.

SINGING

Wind me up, my....

BURKE: How do you like that tambourine?

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BURKE: I know. I didn't notice the tambourine either until I downloaded the song's individual instrument tracks from the band's Web site. Here let's just lose the rest of the song so you can fully appreciate the modest tambourine.

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BURKE: Glorious, huh? And then crack the door on the song. Just a little.

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BURKE: Yeah. That's enough. So, let's say that we wanted to start with the tambourine and create something different. We'd maybe add a little shaker.

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BURKE: From the song. OK. Now, let's grab just a sliver of the guitar part. Nothing too fancy.

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BURKE: Mmm-hmm. And make a fresh groove with it.

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BURKE: You get the idea. I'm creating a new version of a Barenaked Ladies's song with pieces of the original. The tracks are like Legos you can snap together, if you've got an audio software program like garage bands and some time to kill.

Fans could download and remix the new songs months before the CD was released, a strategy that most music labels aren't touching. On the other hand says, Barenaked Ladies's singer Steve Page, this is just one way to get music out in to an ether choked with Podcasts, YouTube videos, mash-ups and Myspace pages.

Mr. STEVE PAGE (Lead Singer, Barenaked Ladies): There is an expectation from the audience of interaction and the biggest things on line are being things that people can actually make valuable contributions to or graffitize as much as they wanted to and tear apart.

BURKE: At this point, dozens of remixes are posted on the band's Web Site. This one, from a twenty two year old engineering student in northern Illinois who uses guitarist Ed Robertson's vocals and adds all new instruments.

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BURKE: Both Page and Robertson really like it.

Mr. PAGE: It totally rocked me.

Mr. ED ROBERTSON (Barenaked Ladies guitarist): It seems authentic in a way like someone knows what they're doing and has taken the time to make their own musical contributions and we've had some professional remixes done of songs over the years, and frankly most of them are being very ordinary.

BURKE: There are other exceptional examples of the song, though not all of them exceptional for the same reasons.

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BURKE: Here's a version that features a drummer on speed and a munchkin lead singer who's had just a little too much angel dust. Oh, and the bass player seems to be drinking tap water.

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Mr. PAGE: What I, what I love is at the end of that remix, that person said, great, I'm done. Now I'm going to upload this. This is going to be great.

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Mr. ROBERTSON: We had a big argument about this because Jim, our bass player, I think just decided that this person was a genius and had done this on purpose and had...

Mr. PAGE: He constructed the music and presented it in a way that was in an intellectual way non-musical.

Mr. ROBERTSON: Jim can be absolutely infuriating sometimes.

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BURKE: So are you guys saying there's an ongoing rift in the band over this remix?

Mr. PAGE: No.

Mr. ROBERTSON: We just don't talk about it anymore.

Mr. PAGE: We can't bring it up anymore. It'll go to fisticuffs.

BURKE: Question. Is this marketing effort helping the band sell CDs? Answer. It's too soon to tell.

Mr. PAGE: We're experimenting. We're going to see what sticks and some stuff we'll abandon, some things will be mistakes, other things will be hopefully great successes and we can learn from those things.

BURKE: The band says if there are enough good remixes they'll release a CD and donate the proceeds to charity. But, a word of caution to all you closet remixers out there, if you're secretly hoping that this brave new digital world might get you a paying gig remixing Barenaked Ladies songs, think again.

Mr. PAGE: Why hire them when we can just put it out there for free? I mean why pay musicians when you could just take the music for free, aye?

Mr. ROBERTSON: Yeah. Hello new century. We're getting you back fans.

BURKE: So for now, maybe keep that day job. For NPR News, I'm Adam Burke.

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BRAND: You can hear the Barenaked remixes or make one of your own at our Website, NPR.org. There's more to come on DAY TO DAY.

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