*We want your thoughts! Read the post and join the discussion below!*
Our aim, since we wrote our first songs, has always been the same: to connect.” – Counting Crows
As the music industry is forced to reinvent itself, the doors are wide open to creativity, innovation, and experimentation. If you ask me, I’d say it’s an exciting time to watch the reinvention of the once mighty music business model. Especially when we get twists like this:
In a surprising and buzz-worthy move earlier this week, the Counting Crows announced that they were teaming with BitTorrent to release a music package on the P2P file-sharing website. Yep… BitTorrent… One of the biggest banes of “Big Label” existence since illegal downloads (a staple on the BitTorrent site) and P2P sharing cut the financial legs out of a once stable market.
In a letter to their fans, Counting Crows had this to say:
The major labels will tell you that P2P is killing the record biz, after all. But the record biz is not OUR biz. We are interested in making and listening to music we love. We are invested in connecting as many people as possible to as much music as there is. The labels are packaging nostalgia for something that never existed and they are lost. They are investing in dodo futures and getting exactly what they paid for.”
Counting Crows, a band who achieved success through the Big Label business model, have teamed directly with the “enemy” (if you will). Giving away music for free of course isn’t a new idea. These days it’s common practice. What I find fascinating is the decision not to host the download themselves, simply giving it away on their website or through a music outlet, but to specifically partner with a figurehead blamed for bringing down the model that once made CC famous.
It sends a pretty big middle finger to the major labels. Now, I’m not trying to suggest the Counting Crows are hypocrites. The band has long since done away with their record label, choosing to release music independently over the last few years. I just find the wholehearted acceptance and embrace of a P2P organization -commonly used for illegal music downloading- to be an interesting strategy.
150 Million Users
The band makes an excellent point regarding the audience that BitTorrent provides:
There are 150 million users on BitTorrent. 150 million INTERESTED people (or they wouldn’t be here). 150 million people interested in watching a movie or playing a game or reading a book…or listening to a song. And you don’t have to bribe them to do it! You just have to give them a choice.“
The acceptance that the P2P site can give them access to audiences they would never achieve on their own, and then use that as a promotional tool is that part I find fascinating. That acceptance comes full circle with this comment:
I’m not going to pretend there wasn’t a downside to people stealing records but if you can’t see the upside to an audience of 150 million listeners, then you’re too dumb to be reading this anyway. These are our new radio stations.”
To my knowledge I can’t name an artist of this scale who has so directly supported an P2P site like BitTorrent. Like Radiohead giving away their album for free, an established and successful band like Counting Crows can afford to experiment with these kinds of strategies. The discussion changes when you talk about artists on different levels and with different sizes of audience, but the message sent by Counting Crows is strong: The days of the Big Label business model are another step behind us.
What do you think?
We want your thoughts on the move by Counting Crows. Is partnering with BitTorrent significant? Should everyone do it? Should Counting Crows have stayed away from the often illegally used file-sharing service?
It’s an interesting move and we want your thoughts!