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, 15 May 2012 @ 12:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    >but people don't expect to get free pizza, and they shouldn't expect to get free music.

    No one expects to get free music. You're refusing to address the point Josh brought up. If you don't make your product available by legal means people will either get the product by less legal options, or go without. Either way, you don't get paid.

    >you might not like copyright law, but that's why it exists, to protect artists, from the greed of corporations.

    If that's the intent of copyright law, then copyright law is doing a horrible job. Aside from the recent Megaupload and Pirate Bay cases the most significantly mentioned cases involving copyright infringement are targeted at singular users. Most of which (Tanya Andersen, Sarah Seabury Ward, Marie Lindor, Larry Scantlebury) were innocent. Your "greed of corporations" claim is a joke.

    >all the people here that have a problem with the clowns at the RIAA and Labels need to take a long hard look in the mirror to realize if you illegally exploiting an artists work, or empowering others to do so, you are worse then the labels and the mafIAA you claim to despise.

    Why, because the man on the street demanded levies on blank media, brought charges against people based on unverified IP harvesting methods, paid for laws that would incriminate almost everyone and called everyone a criminal scumbag? For someone who claims to be an independent artist and have no love for the RIAA, you seem to have much more to rant against normal people.

    >both are exploitation but least one offers contracts and pays.

    Are you really not aware of cases where artists have to fight labels to get their royalties back? If you're thinking this is some one-off phenomenon that happens to nobodies, Eminem and "Weird Al" Yankovic are amongst this group. The offering of contracts adds nothing to this argument aside from saying, "I will rip you off, and I have this sheet of paper to prove it."

    >I don't really care about labels and I now care less about the likes of you who are worse.

    Again, for someone who claims to be nonchalant you're finding bones to pick with everybody. I listen to the few CDs I have occasionally for my music or peruse the local classical music radio station. I have no intention of "exploiting" anyone, and you being a broken record insisting that I am somehow ruining the lives of artists is absolutely disingenuous.

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