The times they are a-changin' when it comes to releasing an album, and Bob Dylan is definitely keeping up with them.
His 35th studio album, "Tempest," is officially due out on Tuesday, but his record company Columbia is harnessing the power of the Intenet to the fullest to generate buzz.
On Wednesday, all 10 tracks were available for streaming for free, and for an unspecified limited time, on iTunes, Apple's online jukebox, which hailed "Tempest" as "remarkable."
But it all started on August 27 when opening track "Duquesne Whistle" got its world premiere on NPR Online, the US public radio website whose All Songs Considered blog is best known as a springboard for little-known indie acts.
Two days later, the video for "Duquesne Whistle" was unveiled on the website of the left-leaning British newspaper The Guardian, which has a large readership in the United States.
Then last Friday, listentobobdylan.com posted a map of locations in the United States and nine other countries where selected tracks from "Tempest" would be available for random streaming onto mobile devices.
That idea uses an app called Sound Graffiti, which requires fans to go to a specific address to hear a tune and get an opportunity to pre-order "Tempest" from Apple's iTunes online music store.
For those who prefer something closer to brick-and-mortar music stores, temporary "pop-up shops" will be open from Monday in New York, Los Angeles and London where Dylan fans can buy "Tempest" and other albums, some autographed.
Rather than Greenwich Village, where Dylan got his start in smoke-filled folk music clubs in the early 1960s, the New York shop will be in the achingly trendy Meatpacking District amid the city's fashion week.
Tuesday is September 11, but Columbia Records denied any link between "Tempest" and the 11th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
"There are many logistical factors that go into determining a release date," a spokesman told AFP by email. "The September 11 release date ... is completely coincidental and unrelated to the tragic events associated with that date."
Dylan, 71, released his first, eponymous album in 1962.
© 2012 AFP