Since they decided to screw conventional record-industry models by leaving Columbia (Sony Music) last April, the famed techno/dance-beat band Groove Armada have been pampered by their new sponsor Bacardi for the last year or so. The Rum manufacturer has been helping the band with touring and recording, and now they have set out to try a distribution experiment that probably has great chances of succeeding. BLive Share is a website set to promote the duo’s new up coming four-track album in a rather original way.
Upon singing-up to BLive Share you get one of GA’s (Groove Armada’s) tracks for free. Share it to 20 people and you get the second track for free. Send the second track to 200 people and get the third one for free. The same applies to the fourth one by sending it 2000 people (I don’t think many people will share 2000 tracks though, and those special prizes will only be delivered to the hardcore fans. By ‘great chances of succeeding’ I refer to the overall effect this promotion technique will have on the band’s popularity as well as its album’s).
Top sharers “will get a very special award from BACARDI and GA, with the top regional sharers also picking awards”. So not only do you get tracks but you also get “special awards”! Yay! Since this is a contest, there is a due date, and that date is when GA’s new EP comes out (in 19 days and 3 hours according to their timer).
Is it a coincidence that two days ago I posted an article on a start-up called NoiseTrade that embraces a similar model for connecting bands and fans? I think not.
Radiohead’s ‘pay-what-you-want’ model opened quite a lot of doors for the evangelists of music promotion and marketing, and focusing on exponential sharing techniques is just a ripple of that phenomenon that took a year and a half to mature. I now strongly believe that NoiseTrade’s and GA’s (or should I rather say Bacardi’s) initiatives are onto something big. It has entered the realm of the general consensus that music is now free, or “disposable”, or at least has reached some stage of liquidity that doesn’t undermine its value as an art form , but that has just renders it a strong medium to ignite buzz. A band’s traction will be judged by its capacity to be shared – a band’s word-of-mouth, or rather mail-to-inbox score will become an tangible and powerful credential.
Groove Armada’s Andy Cato explains the train of thought:
Sharing music has always gone on — it’s giving music away that’s the problem. We wanted to come up with a 21st century version of what we used to do with cassette tapes. When you give music away for free it’s disposable. When you share it, it’s done with love. The online sharing application will be available until March 2nd, when the EP becomes available via commercial digital release.
Just to show you where this can go in terms of viral promotion, the renowned and illustrious BoingBoing.com, ”Directory of Beautiful Things’ (I love this site by the way) has partnered with Bacardi and GA to launch a contest starting today (February 10) and ending on March 2cd. (Not much to it: go to the BoingBoing post here and follow instruction to maybe win a 16gb iPod Touch).
This is the visual result of that partnership after only a couple of hours:
This model was screen-shot from the BLive Share website. More than 320 of GA’s tracks have already been shared only through BoingBoing in a matter of hours (I must admit I would’ve excepted more coming from BB, but hey, that’s already pretty good).
So is altruism the future of music promotion? Anyone have an opinion on this? Mruff?
PS: This post was intended to give tid-bits of music info. The post above inspired more than I had initally planned so it has now become THE post of the day, and all the other music news might as well just go to hell, except one – Derek Sivers (CD Baby and MuckWork dude etc.) attended the MIDEM 2009 conference/tradeshow last month and brought us back some cool littel interview-videos of some featured music companies. Check them out on Music Think Tank or www.sivers.org :)