Sunday, July 23, 2006

They're Giving It Away

I'm not the only one who knows it's hard out there for an indie. A few days ago I posted about one of my bigger brethren who sold to a major company to survive. There's simply not enough long term return in the traditional model to sustain the enormous marketing and manufacturing budgets necesary to create band/brand ubiquity.

Labels such as Nitro Records are now starting to give it away. The first half of the new album from CA's Hit The Switch is now posted for free on the Nitro site. The second half will be posted soon. The reason?
With stores giving less space for independent CDs these days, indie labels and young bands are under an unrealistic pressure to sell a lot of CDs very quickly,” says Jerod Gunsberg, Marketing and Sales at Nitro Records. “By giving away the music online for awhile we can take that pressure off and focus on getting people to hear the music and let the band develop at a normal pace.
As a marketing strategy, this is an interesting idea. The label keeps it's identity as a tastemaker and creates a flood of people listening to their band. (As free tracks from "signed bands" are somehow deemed more valuable than those from unsigned ones.) For the sake of Nitro and it's band, I hope it works in creating a host of new fans.

I do wonder however, what the long term strategy of this is. Will Nitro be taking a managerial / merchandise piece of the band to recoup some of the lost sales? It seems they are hoping that the download traffic will be part of a story that enables them to convince Best Buy and Hot Topic that this band is worth keeping on the shelves.

Should be a fun experiment to watch. If anyone can get periodic 'scans or other numbers on this, please post to the comment section.

song links:
1. The March of Dissent [MP3]
2. Operation Northwoods [MP3]
3. Heavenly Deception [MP3]
4. Shift [M P3]
5.Mr. Abrasive [MP3]
6. Anarcho-Syndicalist [MP3]

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