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
    weneedhelp (profile), 15 May 2012 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I'm sure he told you all about how much money he was making and how happy he was to have his work illegally exploited by the pirate bay who keep all of his money and pay him NOTHING. "

    Nice try shill, the pirate bay didnt exist back then. This was BEFORE the interwebs were popular. Try again.

    "Peter has seen a lot more money from Labels than he'll ever see from the pirate bay and other sites illegally exploiting his work and paying him absolutely NOTHING! "

    Wow - I'm sure he told you all about how much money he was making and how happy he was to have his work illegally exploited by the major labels.

    "I support the artist choice to make the decisions that are right for them" - Unless they choose to use the Pirate Bay, right?

    "not to have those decisions taken away without consent or compensation." Like the majors currently do. Right, couldn't agree more.

    "Welcome to the Exploitation Economy... why are you so threatened by Artists for An Ethical Internet? " - Dont kid yourself, there is nothing ethical about anything they suggest or the way they go about trying to get it implemented.

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