Counting Crows Distributes Songs And More Via BitTorrent

from the good-for-them dept

Five years ago, we wrote about a fascinating writeup by the keyboard player for the band The Counting Crows, in which he discussed his views on piracy and the music industry. While we didn't fully agree with what he was saying, his viewpoint was definitely worth reading. He was worried about the industry collapsing, but at the same time admitted that the band really made their money on live shows anyway, so getting more music out to the world helped increase ticket sales. He was a proponent of DRM however, and blamed the industry for putting out CDs that had no DRM as being part of the downfall of music sales, and later claimed that it was a three way struggle between the music industry, the tech industry and consumers over how the music industry of the future would be shaped. Of course, that seemed a little extreme to us. You can craft solutions that really benefit everyone, by using the technology to provide a better solution for consumers that makes them more willing to pay the artists.

And, in fact, it appears that The Counting Crows may be coming around to that view themselves. The band -- no longer signed to a major label -- released an album a few weeks ago, but also quickly followed it up by releasing a bunch of songs, liner notes and artwork for free via BitTorrent which you can find here. The band's manager, Aaron Ray, seems to recognize the importance of using free to connect with a larger audience. According to Dave Thier's article at Forbes:
For him, The Counting Crows is an ideal band for this project — they have massive name recognition and a well-known live show, but they aren’t seen as relevant in 2012. The deal gives old fans a low-barrier way to reconnect with the music, and BitTorrent’s massive install base pushes them farther into markets where record labels have little to no penetration, like Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

“The recorded music business is shrinking like crazy,” Ray says. “Recorded music is basically free – why are we beating around the bush? Counting Crows came off their label and embraced this new theology. It’s the best way. BitTorrent has the most installs, people come there for a reason. We need to be where the people are.”
What's unclear from the article is if they're also using the free promotion to drive people to buy other things (the album, live tickets, merch, etc.). It's always great to see bands embracing what the tech enables, but I definitely would like to see it paired closely with smart business models, rather than just "give it away and pray" that it helps the existing business model.

Still, in the meantime, we're being told across the globe that the only purpose for BitTorrent is "piracy," even as we see more and more artists using it to their advantage. That seems like a pretty big disconnect.

Filed Under: counting crows, drm, free

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2012 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the "market" is made of people. People who make decisions. People who chose to operate legally and ethically, or illegally and unethically.

    Or, in my case, people who choose not to operate at all. You see, I've given up on the music industry. I don't really need it. I buy one or sometimes two indie or foreign CDs a year, recced by friends. I don't download at all, through iTunes or otherwise. There's already enough music in my house to play continuously for 2-3 weeks without repeating anything, so why do I need more? I don't listen to the radio, I don't borrow from the library. The music industry has effectively turned me off of new recorded music entirely.

    (I still go to concerts, by the way.)

    This is relatively recent for me - starting about 3-4 years ago. I lost interest in tv before that, and I can proudly say I've been to see an average of about 1 movie per year in the theater for the last 10 years, with maybe 20 loans from the library in that decade. I do almost all my reading online, following free authors. I do buy a few books or comics used if I see something that really catches my eye.

    I don't just do it because I don't have much money. I do it because I'm sick of the repetition, the formulas, and the dull methods the major industries use. If I read one more Robert Jordan ripoff, I may cry. If I hear of one more fourth installment in a dying movie franchise, I absolutely will laugh my head off.

    Want to know why profits are supposedly falling? It's the way the industries are structured to encourage creators to follow certain formulas. Forget piracy - if you want to really get the attention and money of lots of people, get more creative. Those formulas are killing interest. And that's why indie movies are starting to scare Hollywood.

    Piracy is a scapegoat. The MPAA and RIAA are doing this to themselves.

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