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 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But, but ... Piracy!

    I don't need to promote my music on techdirt, to a bunch of people who support an exploitation economy by ripping off artists worse than any label ever did.

    you people are so clueless as to not even be able to have the integrity to admit that you are illegally exploiting artists against their will, how does that make you a hero?

    how is it that your solution to one injustice (labels) is an even greater injustice in piracy?

    At least have the balls to own it, just say you hate artists, don't believe they should be paid, and they you LIKE exploiting artists... say that you LOVE exploiting artists and seeing them struggle... just have the balls to own it.

    That's what you are doing. You could be supporting a fair and ethical internet for all citizens, including artists, but you'd rather exclude artists rights so that corporations and companies and can profit from the ripping off artists just like artists have ALWAYS been ripped off... but now, YOU are not only ripping off artists yourself, but you are supporting an Exploitation Economy.

    Nice, good work... keep ripping off artists and enjoying your exploitation of other human beings, that makes you a hero?

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