I recently ordered Oneohtrix Point Never’s R Plus Seven (review forthcoming) off of Warp Records‘ mail order and download service Bleep.com. Without going into too many details, through a mixture of computer and human (my own) error, they accidentally charged me an extra $200. Obviously, I contacted customer support. They quickly and easily refunded the erroneous charges, and they guy helping me alluded to a “special gift” that they would send by way of apology for the inconvenience. I was expecting a poster or something, maybe a few random stickers. What I got was, well frankly, fucking awesome! A few sweet stickers for Autechre‘s Exai, Mount Kimbie‘s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, Nightmares on Wax and of course Bleep. There was also the new remix album (2xCD!) Feast/Beast by one of my favorite Warp artists Clark, which I am very excited to check out. But the really exciting gift was Artificial Intelligence II on cassette. This is a compilation made by Warp all the way back in 1994. Classic Warp Records featuring Autechre, Polygon Window (old Richard D. James side project), The Higher Intelligence Agency, Richard H. Kirk (of Cabaret Voltaire fame), and more. Listening to this album really drives home how Warp has been at the forefront of electronic music for over two decades. The songs still hit as hard today as they must have back in the heady days of the ’90s. I know that most record labels probably don’t have the money to send out swag like this, but I thought that it was a really nice gesture. No need to tell you Internet denizens that piracy has been a huge problem for record labels, and the way to combat piracy is through things like this. Not necessarily free stuff (though it’s much appreciated), but really high quality customer service that makes music consumers feel good about spending their hard earned cash supporting great artists and labels. Hell, I was sold just on the speed and ease with which Bleep solved my (very expensive) problem. The Internet allows an unprecedented dialogue between artists, labels and consumers, and the players that are coming out on top in this age of rampant and easy piracy are the ones that are fostering fruitful relationships and creating loyal customers. Hey, I’ll just admit it: I pirate music, like, a lot. I’ve pirated albums put out by Warp. But now that they’ve shown that they really value me as a customer, I want to spend more money on Warp releases. Well, I’m out to rock out to this sweet tape.