I don't really listen to a lot of rock music anymore these days. I'm more of an electronic fan, but I do remember Counting Crows from back in the day with that crazy CG rabbit dancing around a lady in her skivvies. It turns out that the band has put out a new album and they're turning towards a radical promotion tool to get the word out - BitTorrent.
If the band was still with a traditional label, they wouldn't be allowed to do such a thing. The RIAA still thinks that BitTorrent does nothing but facilitate piracy. Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz told TorrentFreak that BitTorrent is the new radio. In that spirit, the band has teamed up with BitTorrent Inc to release a sampler with four songs for free to their fans.
It isn't a weak release either. The download comes with high-resolution album artwork and liner notes from Duritz himself. It's the kind of digital release that you see from the likes of iTunes Special Edition albums that usually cost $5 to $10 more than the regular album.
Duritz didn't just stumble upon the idea of giving away music for free to drum up support for an album. He told TorrentFreak that he has been a longtime proponent of giving away music. He says that you just can't ignore the 150 million people who actively use BitTorrent. He explains his thinking while taking a shot at the recording industry:
“I can dwell on the negatives, but I don’t want to miss out on the fact that there’s 150 million people who I can give songs to. You either treat it as just a money drain, like the record companies do. Or you can treat it as it actually is, which is a conduit, meaning it runs both ways. You can either cry about it or make use of it. File-sharing is no different from the rest of the Internet, it is a tool that connects the entire world."
He goes on to say that the Internet has liberalized music. According to Duritz, the record labels have never been good for bands. Only the big stars got a contract, and even then, they only saw 20 percent of the revenue after the labels took their cut.
BitTorrent may be the new radio, but it's more than just that according to Duritz. Radio implies that the consumer has no control over the content they listen to. It's all up to what the record industry wants you to hear. With BitTorrent, the consumer has control over what they like and don't like.
He finished up by saying that giving away the songs for free will draw people to the record, which will then draw people to the concerts. That's all they can ask for. He says that it's no small thing when the Internet has enabled him to give something to so many people.
This isn't the first time that a major artist has come out in support of BitTorrent and file-sharing as the new form of radio. Music legend Neil Young came out in January saying that piracy was just the new way for music to be shared among the masses. Unlike Young, however, Duritz doesn't see a future for record labels.
Regardless, it's nice to see artists being proactive in regards to the Internet and what it can do for artists. I'm not afraid to admit that I have downloaded music before to try it out. If I liked it, I went out and bought it. My CD collection is a testament to that. If I didn't like it, I just deleted it. Bad music isn't even worth keeping on your hard drive.
To download the new Counting Crows sampler, you can do so here.