Smashing Pumpkins Latest To Embrace Free Music… With A Reason To Buy

from the really-free dept

It looks like another “big name” band is recognizing the power of free. The Smashing Pumpkins have announced that its latest album will be released entirely free:

Each song will be made available absolutely for free, to anyone anywhere. There will be no strings attached. Free will mean free, which means you won’t have to sign up for anything, give an email address, or jump through a hoop. You will be able to go and take the song or songs as you wish, as many times as you wish.

And quite an album it will be: the band is working on releasing 44 songs. The idea is to release a song at a time starting around Halloween (the band is just starting to record them now) until all 44 songs are released. But, the band is also offering up a “reason to buy” as well:

We will however sell highly limited edition EP’s (of 4 songs each times 11), and details of how those EP’s will be made available are still being worked out. Because the songs themselves will be free, the EP’s will be more like collectors items for the discerning fan who will want the art itself, along with the highest possible audio quality available. The EP’s will be more like mini-box sets rather than your normal cd single. We may also offer other variations for sale, say for example a digital single with a demo version of a song. The commitment that is most important is the one I’m making to you: that the music of ‘Teargarden by Kaleidyscope’ will be available for free to everyone. All 44 songs: free for ALL.

When the entire album is finished, it will be compiled into a deluxe box set which will also be made available for sale. Those who have bought the EP’s need not worry, as the box set will not be a recompilation of the limited edition pieces.

Sounds cool to me. Give away the music for free, connect with those fans, and then give them a reason to actually purchase something physical and scarce that’s much cooler than just the music. Great to see another “big name” figuring all this out as well. And, before people say that the band can afford to do this because it’s already huge and well known, most of the artists we discuss doing this sort of thing are small artists, who do it to establish themselves to get attention. Claiming that this only works for one type of artist is an increasingly naive statement. Smart musicians of all sizes are recognizing all of the opportunities that using the music as a free promotion presents.

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Comments on “Smashing Pumpkins Latest To Embrace Free Music… With A Reason To Buy”

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Nick Novitski (profile) says:

Ooh, ooh, me first!

“If this works, it will only be because [THE SMASHING PUMPKINS] are [ALREADY POPULAR]. A band that was instead [NOT YET POPULAR] could not replicate [THE SMASHING PUMPKINS]’s success. If, on the other hand, the results turn out discouraging, then obviously that acts as a general proof for all bands that the model doesn’t work.”

Does that sound about right?

MarksAngel (profile) says:

Re: Ooh, ooh, me first!

Well I don’t know if I saw a local band and they we’re a damn good act, sure I was take the music if they we’re giving it away. If they had a way for me to support them buy purchasing t-shirts or live show tickets, then I would do it. Music is good music and if you want more of it then you’ll do what you can to promote your favorite artists.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Ooh, ooh, me first!

Ok, my turn:

“If this works, it will only be because [THE SMASHING PUMPKINS] are [NAMED AFTER SOMETHING JUVENILE DELINQUENTS DO ON HALLOWEEN]. A band that was instead [NAMED “STEALING EASTER EGGS”] could not replicate [THE SMASHING PUMPKINS]’s success. If, on the other hand, the results turn out discouraging, then obviously that acts as a general proof for all bands that the model doesn’t work.”

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ooh, ooh, me first!

What in the world?

“You have no ability to respond to debate when you’re wrong”

What great orator has the ability to respond to debate when they’re WRONG? Difference of opinion on the other hand…

“When mommy stops sucking on your tits, try the outdoors”

Mommy sucking my tits? You didn’t do so well in biology, did you my friend?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ooh, ooh, me first!

“Does that sound about right?”

Almost. Next time try throwing in some baseless and completely irrelevant insults and/or accusations against Mike. “Idiot”, “Puppy-hater” and “Communist” are all excellent choices, but I encourage you to experiment and find your own! Perhaps you could throw in an accusation of being a Ghostbuster, or being in league with Satan himself. Anything that will bewilder your audience enough to give you the illusion of making sense.

But you’re off to a great start! The RIAA would be proud (but only because they’re too dense to realize this is all sarcasm)!

keepaustinbeard (profile) says:

good to hear

i’m a huge pumpkins fan, so i was kind of disappointing to hear some of the stuff corgan has been saying about what is happening to the music industry. i guess this shows that whether you think new technologies are doing good or destroying something that you love, it makes no difference. this is reality, and artists that are finding a way to do well in this new world are the ones that will succeed.

imbrucy (profile) says:

I love the difference in what they are giving away and what you have to buy. It’s great because they are giving away the basic song, but the extended versions are a collectors item. I bet it will work great because casual music fans probably won’t really appreciate the solos and other extra stuff the band adds in the EP version, but big pumpkins fan will more likely love that stuff. It really shows a great balance between giving away the easy stuff but offering better items more targeted at real fans.

iNtrigued (profile) says:

This actually makes alot of sense

It is pretty much like the ultimate preview of a song, everything but the best riffs. If you think about it, that is one of the main reasons people go to concerts. It isn’t to just hear the song, you can do that off your iPod. No, what people really want is the experience and that little something extra the band gives when they are live.

I mean really, this eliminates pirating all together. Who would still want to go and pirate the ep song, but the douches of society?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Just read the billycorgan blog ....

In the comments their seem to be people who have never read techdirt …..

“That sounds really nice? … but I don’t personally understand why Billy would give away 44 songs for free. I mean, billy needs to eat too, right? And I want billy to eat. And it’s his sweat and blood that went into the music, no? I guess I just don’t understand the music industry anymore. Fans should neither demand free music, nor should artists supply it, at least not on such a vast scale as 44 songs.”

so I pointed them here …. Big Ole GRIN … I love this site ….

Yohann says:

And another one...

I knew there was a reason why I liked The Smashing Pumpkins. They’re music went in new directions in the early part of the century (new sound). They think out of the box and go in new directions. Over the years, I lost interest in the band because I didn’t want to spend money (or even had it to spend) on music.

Free music will give me a reason to stick around and keep listening to them. It’s a great business decision. Glad to see more and more bands are finally figuring it all out and connecting with fans. That’s how a heard of animals becomes stronger. Leave the weaker ones behind while the stronger ones lead the pack to safety. The best bands will eventually succumb to this or a similar business model.

—- IN FACT!! Can Techdirt make a list of all *safe* bands that are embracing these new models? I’d like to see a list on the website labeled something like “List of safe bands!” —-

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