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, 16 May 2012 @ 12:07am

    Re: 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.

    *** Actually, you're wrong. By supporting the Exploitation Economy you are removing the choice from artists to distribute their work how they chose, whether to give it away, charge for it, stream it, etc. They are forced to have their work exploited illegally, for profit, without consent or compensation by tech/internet companies like the pirate bay. But if you'd like to make a statement about how The Pirate Bay should not be supported for operating illegally and unethically by exploiting artists WORSE than labels, I would applaud you for having the ethical integrity to do so. ***

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

    *** So any artist who disagrees with you is an asshole. Wow Mike... Must have hit a nerve to resort to insults. So I guess you really do hate artists, or is it that they're all just assholes if they don't agree with being ripped off worse now in the Exploitation Economy online than that were by labels. You know how to win um over, agree with me or you're an asshole... er, uhm... ok... ***

    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.

    *** No Mike, it does appear you hate musicians. Why else would you resort to name calling of an independent artist who has embraced your theories, is not signed to a label, and does not support the RIAA? Sorry Mike, it appears through actions and deeds, you do in fact hate musicians. Also, factually there are less working professional musicians now than a decade ago. It shouldn't be the hard to understand. The record industry is 60% smaller than it was a decade ago, and there are 45% less working professional musicians than there were a decade ago. And don't start in with the CCIA Lobby Report bought and paid for by Google. ***

    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.

    *** MIke, you support the pirate bay. The Pirate bay is illegally exploiting artists for profit. They've been convicted in court and sentenced to jail time. Maybe I'm wrong, just come on out and say that you don't support The Pirate Bay illegally exploiting artists. Just say it if you really mean it. I have a funny feeling you just won't say it. You'll come back with some BS about how you don't believe the pirate bay is exploiting artists (despite being proven guilty in court). You'll just keep supporting a system that rips off artists WORSE the then the labels did... Fine, but have the balls to own it rather than hiding behind some kind of nonsensical double speak ***

    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.

    *** You have a very few exceptions, if any, of artists making a sustained professional career in the last decade and you have an entire industry of artists suffering. You are, factually wrong. Again, 60% smaller industry, 45% less professional musicians. You can't have a smaller industry, less sales, less revenue, and less professionally working artists and claim victory, that's some damn funny math... I'd suggest getting a better calculator. ***

    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?

    *** A fair and ethical internet works by protecting the rights of ALL citizens including creators. You chose to exclude artists from your internet so that they can be exploited by corporations who profit from the illegal exploitation of their work, which is WORSE than the labels ever did. maybe brush up on your HUMAN RIGHTS... ***

    http://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/artists-rights-are-human-rights/

    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.

    *** No, no you don't. ***

    I'm not trying to shut down innovation and tools. I believe artists should have whatever choice they want.

    *** No, you believe in the innovation of exploiting artists worse the the labels ever did without consent or compensation. You remove choices from artists by not allowing them to have control over the distribution and monetization of their own work online. Sorry, but you are supporting the exploitation of artists, not the liberation of artists. And guess what, we're onto you. We listened to you, but now we know you are the new record label boss. You are the new RIAA. You are the new preacher of lies to musicians. You are the very thing you told musicians you were protecting them against, except You are worse. ***

    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.

    *** Right, after a decade of your half baked ideas not working with any degree of statistical success, it's the musicians who are the "Moronic Assholes." I'm glad to see that you think so little of musicians if they should just simply disagree with your half baked ideas that work at best as a novelty and never as a business model. When you preach about t-shirts and touring, You are admitting there is no sustainable money for musicians online. it also shows you vast lack of understanding of how record producers, songwriters and other non-performers get paid in the value chain. But I understand why. It's lot easier for the companies that pay you consulting fee's to make a profit by exploiting musicians illegally than to actually pay the fair cost of legitimately paying the artists. You are the one selling artists out down the river to protect your own financial interests. Wanna prove me wrong, start financing some bands, start investing in some artists. ***

    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.

    *** If you can't attack the argument, attack the person. Again, anyone who disagrees with you is either an "asshole" or has made a of bad choices. Well Mike, you're half right. The worst choices I've ever made was actually listening to your half baked ideas, and I'm not the only one. So how many artists do you want to call assholes and accuse of making bad choices? Why do you want to attack your readers Mike? Isn't that like bands attacking their fans? ***

    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.

    *** No Mike, you are lying, the facts just don't support your assertions. I can't believe people actually pay you for this nonsense, you must be spinning things pretty hard or they just want you to write fiction for them. Come to think of it, I'm sure it's the fiction part. Ted Cohen and Tom SIlverman completely debonked the myth of artists doing better, it's just statistically not true... or, do you think Ted Cohen is an asshole too? Is every artist on tunecore an asshole too? Wow, your asshole list is a lot longer than your successful artists list... no coincidence ***

    http://blog.midem.com/2009/12/breaking-through-the-noise/

    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.

    *** More projections and pathologizing, it figures that's what happens when you are out of argument. I'm actually really happy. No matter what happens I've done well enough for myself that I don't need to worry. I'm just calling you out on your BS and you don't like it. If you are feeling any anger, it's yours, own it. Personally, I find your whole shtick amusing. ***

    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.

    *** Keep telling yourself that. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't full all of the people all of the time. You have been stabbing the toes of a sleeping giant and you don't even know it. The silent majority is waking up. You math does not add up. You are the new label boss. You are the new RIAA. You are the new order of artist exploitation and people know the truth in their wallets and in their hearts. You have lied and deceived and you the word is spreading. Today it may just be me posting here, but tomorrow, there will be many more. ***

    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.

    *** Same to you. If the best you've got is the very old business of exploiting artists that's an old business indeed. Youv'e had a good run at it for your bosses. There's absolutely nothing innovative in ripping off artists for profit and you get the grand prize for bamaboozaling more artists and supporting a system that rips them off WORSE than any label ever did. You are the problem. You are the new label Boss. You are the exploiter of artists. You are the new RIAA lying to artists about their best interests. If you didn't fear artists you would support their rights to a fair and ethical internet where they are stakeholders in sharing in the revenue of their labor. But instead you support an exploitation economy of illegally exploiting artists for profit. Shame on you. ***

    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%).

    *** That's just factually not true. There's a 45% decrease in "musicians and artists' from 2002 - 2011. You are intentionally conflating the data to make a false claim that can not be substantiated. Just like you can't refute the dramatic reduction in recorded music sales so you use a metric of "transactions." That's like sophmore year HS school logic, do you think people really don't see what you are doing? Wake up Mike. The gig is up. I may be the voice on one musician, but the silent majority has woken up. You half baked nonsense could only go on for so long. Enjoy it. But it's going to come to an end. If your smart, you'll recognize the error of your ways and side for artists rights and an ethical internet for all citizens. ***

    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. http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/27-2042.00 They're looking at 10 to 19% growth over the next 10 years. That's not bad.***

    *** Let me know what else you seen in that crystal ball MIke, because thus far you haven't done so well. Artists are hurting and you are supporting the Exploitation Economy in sites like The Pirate Bay who are ripping off artists WORSE than labels ever did. We now know you are the new Label King. You are the new RIAA / CCIA... you have your own mafIAA to rip off artists with. You are no different than anyone else who has ripped off artists to further their own career, I'm sure your bosses are very proud of you. ***

    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.

    *** Funny Mike, do you really not read what you write, in your post above you've called artists who don't agree with you "assholes" and "moronic assholes"... Oh well, have it your way. Buckle Up. The word is out. You hate artists, especially the ones who disagree with your support of them getting ripped off worse than ever before. But hey, enjoy being the new king of artist exploitation and lies. Enjoy it while it last, because ya, know... all things change Mike... learn to adapt and evolve... LOL... ***

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