The popular rock band Counting Crows are going BitTorrent. The band has made four songs off of their latest release available for free download in an effort to attract new fans. The album, titled Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation), was released last month and features15 tracks. In a departure from their past, the Crows have made this CD a collection of all cover songs.
The BitTorrent release features not only the audio files, but also liner notes, and artwork from the album. Frontman Adam Duritz, during an interview with Mashable, said “I don’t know how I didn’t think of this earlier — it’s the most obvious thing in the world since BitTorrent has such a huge global reach. It’s not just about getting music to the people who would buy it anyway — even though that is, of course, very good — the hardest thing to do is make new fans.”
Kudos to the Counting Crows for taking this route and seeing the benefits that many, or most, artists and labels seem to be clueless about. Getting their music out there for people to hear is the first step towards gaining new avenues of revenue. Some fans may elect to buy the CD’s, but even those who don’t will perhaps spend money on a concert ticket or, at the least, promote the band to other listeners.
This approach may seem like a no-brainer for established stars who already have fans looking for their material, but it is a bit tougher for the unknown artists who want to get noticed. However, this may generate the publicity to get more bands to take this approach, and there are some great success stories from those who have taken the free approach early – just ask Jonathan Coulton or the guys from OK Go.