Los Angeles-based electronic dance music artist PAZ went to great lengths to pull off what he believes is one hell of an April Fools’ prank. According to several posts on his Facebook page, PAZ had 5,000 CDs of his new “From The Bottom Of My Heart To The Top Of Your Lungs” mixtape packaged to look exactly Justin Bieber’s “Believe.” The goal, he boasted, was to have “every Justin Bieber CD at every store in the city” replaced with his own by the time that consumers woke up to do their thing, and no one would ever be the wiser, when they stopped into their local record shops and tried to pick up Bizzle’s album.
So I guess the big question here is: Who on Earth is still buying CDs, let alone one that came out in 2012 and was certified platinum within a month? Well, it turns out that it’s less of a prank and more of a game for PAZ’s biggest fans.
Over the past month, we’ve smuggled more than 5,000 of our CD’s into hundreds of big box stores all over the Los Angeles area, replacing every Bieber CD we find with our own artfully designed impostors.
To make sure they stay on shelves, each handcrafted album has been meticulously disguised to look exactly like Justin Bieber’s record “Believe.” But inside, you’ll find a CD face adorned with cats and pizzas, crowned with a doge in a taco.
Imprinted on the disc is our new album, From The Bottom Of My Heart To The Top Of Your Lungs, an electronic record featuring collaborations and remixes with Dillon Francis, Porter Robinson, Kill The Noise, Syn Cole, Bassnectar and Gramatik.
The ersatz records are shrink-wrapped, bar-coded, and can be scanned and purchased at the register.
Why did we do it?
Because retail stores could be the most powerful outlets for the spread of independent art, but instead they’ve saturated themselves with commercially filtered noise.
So we turned stores like Best Buy and Walmart into artistic canvases by droplifting our art directly into the hands of consumers. If retailers make it impossible for unsigned artists to get into big box stores, we’ll just force our way in.
How will you know which CD’s our ours? Study the photo above of our CD in a store display. We intentionally left two subtle differences in the cover design so you could tell them apart.
Basically, one of three things could happen here: 1) PAZ’s fans start tearing through every “Believe” CD in every store that sells CDs in the greater Los Angeles area, as they try desperately to find the differences between the actual “Believe” album cover and PAZ’s version (I don’t know, the background color maybe?); 2) PAZ’s fans take him by his word and assume every “Believe” CD in an LA Best Buy is actually “FTBOMHTTTYL,” and run the risk of opening it only to discover that they bought an actual Bieber album; or 3) Some poor teenage girl will stop in to buy “Believe” and when she finally gets home to open it, she’ll be greeted by a Doge taco staring in her watery eyes.
Of course, there is a fourth option to consider: PAZ never switched the CDs and this was all just an elaborate setup to get people talking and writing about his new mixtape. Whatever the case may be, well done on an incredibly complicated and layered prank, sir.