Hugh Cornwell Is Still Not A Taxi Driver; Musician Learns To Embrace Free

from the good-for-him dept

Jean Savoye, a reader here at Techdirt, sent in a submission using the provocative title that "Hugh Cornwell Is Still Not A Taxi Driver," and wrote about how former Stranglers' frontman, Hugh Cornwell, appeared to be embracing some of the concepts we talk about here as a business model. On his official website, he's offering up his latest album as a completely free download. However, he's pairing that with a much more complete business model. Like Trent Reznor, Cornwell is also offering a few different options for those who want tangible (scarce) goods as well -- such as a CD, DVD or vinyl.

But Cornwell seems to be going even further in recognizing the power of selling scarcities. The DVD mentioned above is actually a film showing much of the recording process that went into the album. However, the film itself was also shown in some theaters -- with Cornwell attending each of the showings and doing a Q&A session at the end of each one. In other words, he's recognized yet another important "scarcity": access to the artists and (once again) that means much more than touring, as seen here.

As for the title of the post? Well, back in 2001, Cornwell was doing an interview with a website, and the interviewer showed him Napster and explained it to Cornwell. While Cornwell didn't react totally negatively (he seemed to think it was cool for rare or live tracks), he was very much against his studio recorded songs being up there:
I cannot condone the posting of music that I spent money making, being given away for free.... When I see that my new album has been posted, and everyone can get that for free, if that carries on I'm going to go out of business.... Napster is good in some ways, but if maybe just one track was posted from a commercial record, as a taster, because I know a lot of people who go to Napster are real fans who want the original artwork, want the real article, and are not happy having something that's downloaded. But then there are other people who are getting it for free, they are not giving me anything, and there has to be some sort of royalty paid or I'll have to become a cab driver.
Well, seven years later, Cornwell is posting his own music, and having it given away for free -- and he hasn't gone out of business or become a cab driver. He's figured out a business model that takes advantage of that free sharing of his music. Always nice to see musicians progressing along that curve.

Filed Under: business models, free, hugh cornwell, music, stranglers


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  1. identicon
    corkbender, 17 Sep 2008 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Unknown?

    Hugh is not unknown in America. The Stranglers during Hugh's tenure were great.

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