This time last year, Kim Dotcom launched the Mega file-hosting service surrounded by dancers. Image via Flickr/Anthony De Rosa
“Entrepreneur - Innovator - Gamer - Fighter - Father - Husband” is how Kim Dotcom describes himself in his Twitter profile. But now he’s adding another identity to that list: music artist.
Dotcom today released his debut album Good Times, which consists of 17 EDM tracks produced by the Mega mogul himself. According to a press release, “The music celebrates Kim’s ever-present philosophy of inspiring people to feel good, have fun and live life to the fullest. Kim was inspired by the Trance and Dance tracks he listened to during his high-speed driving times on the German Autobahn.” It's anything but subtle, as you might guess from an album advertised on the back of a 100-strong fleet of buses.
You can even hear Dotcom himself espousing this YOLO philosophy on some tracks; in “Live My Life” he brandishes his anti-establishment attitude with the mantra, “Don’t like a suit and a tie/ Don’t wanna work til I die/ Don’t wanna nine-to-five/ I just—I just—I just want to live my life.” In an interview with Wired at the end of the year Dotcom admitted he sounded “like crap, obviously,” but added, “Fortunately there's a thing called Auto-Tune so they make it sound OK.”
"I've got to give it to Kim Dotcom, he's the most talented person out there." - Kim Dotcom— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) January 20, 2014
But the release of Good Times is about more than just the music. It marks the two-year anniversary of the FBI raid on Dotcom’s New Zealand home and the seizure of Megaupload.com, the one-year anniversary of the launch of MEGA (Megaupload's file hosting follow-up), Dotcom’s 40th birthday, and, most relevantly, the soft launch of his new music service, Baboom.
With Good Times, Dotcom has made himself the first (and for now the only) artist on the Baboom site, which is set to launch fully later this year. The service combines aspects of the Spotify and iTunes model: artists will be able to sell their tracks, but Dotcom told Wired that users will also be able to access music for free if they install an ad plugin. It’s hard to see exactly what the site will offer yet, as most of it’s still off-limits, but along with tabs for the expected “search” and “library” elements, there are icons for pages called “activity” and “jukebox,” which hint at social and playlist features.
Where Spotify has tried to stay friends with the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) over streaming, however, Dotcom makes it clear he’s not bothered about being buddies:
And while laying down the beats might be his priority right now, he hasn’t forgotten his ideological cause (after all, he is still fighting US extradition in the ongoing Megaupload case, which sees him facing piracy charges). Today was also intended to be the launch of his political party, featuring—what else?—an arena performance of Good Times. But officials poured cold water on those plans, and Dotcom was forced to cancel.
As a German citizen, Dotcom can’t actually stand as a political candidate in New Zealand, but he announced last week that he had founded the Internet Party to “activate non-voters, the youth, the Internet electorate.” He was going to launch the political venture with a birthday party that 25,000 people were registered to attend, but according to the New Zealand Herald the Electoral Commission warned a free party like that could be seen as buying people’s votes and compromise the Internet Party's plans. The launch has now been postponed to next month.
In the meantime, Dotcom’s keeping himself busy with his newfound musical interests. New Zealand’s 3News reports that he’s heading back to the studio soon to record his second album, called Hard Times. “It's not because of difficult times, but because I am going to go into a harder direction, harder beats, with less vox,” he told the news site. “I want to play at more festivals—Tomorrowland, Rhythm & Vines. I want to make music for the crowds where they go nuts.”
If you haven’t been won over to Baboom yet, you can get Good Times from iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and of course MEGA—or act as if Megaupload never happened and buy it on CD. For more on the making of the album, see VICE's recent documentary, which includes a look at the making of the album—and host Tim Pool supplying some backing tracks.