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A major artist makes his new CD freely available on his website. Has he gone crazy?

When a major(ish) artist makes his new CD freely available on his website, prior to release, clearly something odd is going on. How will he make any money?

One of the fundamental precepts of music is that you can make a lot of money out of it. Let's face it, that's why we do it, isn't it?
;-)

You can make money by selling CD's. But what if you give your music away for free via the Internet? Will people still buy your CD?

One's first thought could easily be that if people can get the music for free, then they won't have any need to buy. But maybe it doesn't work quite like that...

The artist in question is Joe Satriani and the CD is titled 'Super Colossal'. Now I have to say that I don't spend my evenings listening to Joe Satriani CD's, but I respect the people who do. You can listen to the entire CD here.

My feeling is that this will work. Notice what he hasn't done... he hasn't made each track downloadable individually. You can only stream the entire album, with no track markers.

Also, he has interspersed the tracks with his own commentary. This is great in itself, hearing the artist talking about his own tracks and some of the recording techniques used.

Add to that the fact that most people don't have their computer connected to their hifi, and the conclusion is that although you can listen to the CD, you don't actually have the CD.

My prediction is that this will work. More people will be encouraged to buy the CD because of this style of marketing than will decide not to buy because they can listen on the website. And of course, the file could be pulled at any time.

What do you think? Would you promote your music in this way? Or is it too much of a risk?

By David Mellor Monday March 20, 2006