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), 17 May 2012 @ 2:07am

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

    And also, thanks for the true colors, so a single independent artist with no ties to the a record label and no love of the RIAA is an "asshole" to you? Wow, just wow.

    I said no such thing. You are now simply making things up.

    Whether or not an artist is independent or on a major label is entirely independent of whether or not he is an asshole.

    I merely said that artists who are assholes seem to have a harder time making money.

    you really do hate artists don't you?

    Not at all. Why would I spend so much time helping artists make more money if I hated them? Weird accusation.

    You deserve your reputation amongst the artist community.

    I have tons of friends who are artists. They seem to think nice things about me. I'm glad that you agree that I deserve the reputation.

    So the way to not be asshole artist is to agree with you and allow corporations and companies to illegally exploit my work.

    Again, that is not what I said. I find it odd that your only mode of speaking is to lie about what I said. You should stop doing that.

    How you make money is separate from whether or not you're an asshole. Both asshole artists and non-asshole artists can agree or disagree with me at their will. My only point -- as clearly stated -- was that in the modern era, it seems that non-asshole artists who embrace these things are doing well. Asshole artists don't seem to be doing as well.

    That is not a statement that says those who disagree with me are assholes. It's a statement about what is happening in the world.

    Mike Masnick says artists who don't want to get ripped off are assholes... nice headline...

    That would be a lie, since I said no such thing.

    Given how often you link to that ridiculous trichordist site, I can only assume you're the guy behind it. Nearly ever post on that site has the same formula: take statements totally out of context or twist them into things that were not said. I guess it's no surprise that you would do the same here.

    I'm not sure what you think you're proving, but it's hard to take you seriously this way.

    If you'd like to debate, or even just talk, I'm always happy to talk to artists who agree or disagree with me. I've even managed to convince more than a few who originally disagreed with me that what I'm saying is not the ridiculous strawman they've claimed I've said.

    Feel free to contact me and we can chat. Perhaps I can help you do better in the market.

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