If you were a young, Internet-savvy indie-rock enthusiast in the first few years of the 21st century, chances are you downloaded a Pedro the Lion MP3 or two from Epitonic, the early-adopter Free Music on the Internet! site that positioned itself as a legit Napster alternative and had an alright run of it from 1999 to 2004. (The site is still preserved from seemingly the day they closed shop, if you want a disconcerting jolt of nostalgia. Super-excited for that new Hot Hot Heat record!) “It was very difficult to monetize digital music back then,” notes one of the site’s co-founders, by way of explaining both their premature exit and, now, in 2010, their attempt at a resurrection. Y’know, because monetizing digital music is a piece of cake now.
Ah, but let us see what Epitonic 2.0 has up its sleeve — the site announced its intent to relaunch by year’s end today with, of course, a Kickstarter page requesting a $4,650 donation to get the old band back together. Follow ’em on Twitter, etc. Though clearly geared toward an overwhelmingly indie/”indie”-centric brand of music lover, the site had its appeal; whether it can possibly compete with the MP3-lousy music-blog armada that sprung up in its wake remains very much to be seen, but we’d very much like to see them try, and in the interim, Pavement’s “Greenlander” is still available for download. If you want more music for free, go pay for it.