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. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 15 May 2012 @ 12:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry Mike, that's BS... the "market" is made of people. People who make decisions. People who chose to operate legally and ethically, or illegally and unethically.

    Indeed. But that's not what you said. You were arguing that somehow those of us here were somehow making that choice for you. You're wrong.

    In the meantime, we've found that non-assholes who engage with their fans seem to be making more money.

    YOU chose to take away the choice from artists because you HATE artists that disagree with you.

    I don't hate anyone. I pity some foolish people, but I really don't spend much time on them. Lots of people "disagree with me." I have no problem with people who disagree with me. I just feel bad when they not only fail to embrace tools that make their lives easier *but then* lash out at the people trying to help them. I don't understand why such people lash out at the messenger, but I guess they have an inability to look in the mirror carefully.

    You HATE artists that don't want their choices taken away from them by people like you promoting an even greater injustice than labels... you're promoting the oldest business there is, exploiting artists for profit, and your double talk about the "Market", guess what Mike, YOU are part of the market.

    Um. Again, I don't hate anyone. And I certainly don't support exploiting artists for profit. Is that your go to line? I'm a fan of creativity. I spend a ton of money on music, movies, books and other content. I love supporting artists -- and I spend an inordinate amount of time helping artists embrace amazing new tools properly so they can make more money.

    Any technology can be used legally or illegally, guns, cars, anything. When it's used illegally, as in the case of Illegally Exploiting artists for profit, that should not be tolerated by a decent society.

    It's not. It's illegal. But certain misuses are seen as more problematic than others. And, as we've seen repeatedly, for artists who take the time to understand, they have no problem embracing the tools available to do better.

    But I guess you like promoting the whole sale exploitation of artists by removing their choices because you are a part of the Exploitation Economy. No wonder you don't support a Fair and Ethical Internet, you only support one that profits massive corporate gatekeepers with billions in cash reserves.

    You really don't know very much about me, do you?

    Explain to me how this "fair and ethical" internet works?

    It scares deeply to support an artists choice, because they might not chose what serves YOU! God forbid, Mike that you would support artists having an OPEN FREEDOM OF CHOICE! Instead of ONLY the choices you wish to grant them (sound familliar?). Hypocrisy anyone?

    I support artists having a hell of a lot more choice than you. I'm not trying to shut down innovation and tools. I believe artists should have whatever choice they want. But I also believe that when the market tells them their choice sucks, or that the market tells them they won't support them, because they're moronic assholes, that that does NOT give the artist the right to lash out and attack services that many, many other artists find useful.

    No, I have no interest in limiting anyone's choices. I just recognize that some people make bad choices. From the sound of it, you have a history of making a lot of bad choices.

    Artists have been embracing the internet for 10 years without labels, and they are worse off for it. Your lies and propaganda are wearing thin on the very people who have been giving you the benefit of the doubt...

    Weird. The artists I've seen who really embrace things all seem to be doing better. It's true that some pretend to embrace things, or are so clueless that they think putting songs on iTunes means they embrace the internet. Some of them may be worse off. I find that sad, because they could be doing better. If you're a failing artist, perhaps you should let us know where you've fun into trouble and folks around here may have some useful suggestions.

    It might start out by not attacking anyone and everyone and making huge assumptions about them as you seem to do regularly here. You're a very angry individual. I do wonder how that makes your fans feel.

    Separately, I don't do "propaganda," and just in the last week I've received nearly half a dozen random thank yous from content creators saying they're learning useful things from the site for their own careers. So, I'm at a bit of a loss as to how you think you know what anyone other than you seems to think.

    If the internet is working so well for musicians, why are the so many less professional musicians working? Salon reports... 45% LESS professional musicians working...

    Again, if you're not very good and you think that iTunes is embracing the internet, well, that may mean trouble. Transition is tough on those who are bad at adapting.

    As for the BLS stats, that's misleading at best. If you look at the actual entertainment industry -- BLS code for arts and entertainment is 71, you see pretty decent growth. You see pretty big growth for independent artist, as well (43%).

    Furthermore, BLS is predicting pretty big growth in the musician and singer category over the next 10 years, as more of those folks stop whining about the past and learn to embrace the future. They're looking at 10 to 19% growth over the next 10 years. That's not bad.

    Are you suggesting all musicians who don't follow your specific advice are morons and idiots?

    Not at all. Lots of people don't follow my advice and are perfectly smart. I'm just saying that some morons are failing and lashing out at people. But if you fail because you're a moron, you have no one to blame but yourself.

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