While all of us are constantly thinking of new ideas on how to generate revenue in today’s music business, No Doubt has come up with a solution of their own – they’re making their entire catalog available for download – for free.
According to MTV.com, No Doubt will be offering their entire back catalog of music in digital format, for free, for fans who purchase tickets to their upcoming tour. (Technically, it’s not really “free”, as opposed to, “at no additional cost”. But you get the point.)
There are some stipulations – like the deal only applies to tickets priced at $42.50 or more before extra fees, excluding lower price levels and lawn seats. But otherwise fans who sign up online when tickets go on sale on Saturday will get each and every digital song, beginning with the band’s self-titled 1992 debut up through their 2003 The Singles 1992-2003 collection.
That includes The Beacon Street Collection (1995), their 1995 breakthrough Tragic Kingdom, 2000’s Return of Saturn, 2001’s Rock Steady and the 2003 Everything in Time (B-sides, Rarities, Remixes), plus their cover of Adam and the Ants‘ “Stand and Deliver,” the only new recording included in the set.
“Since the band is heading back to the road, we wanted to find a cool way to get people listening to our music and stoke them with a great deal at the same time,” said No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont in a statement announcing the deal for the 80 songs. “With this download, it’s easy for fans to get psyched up to hear our music live once again, and that rocks.”
Although not common, it’s not the first time an act has done something like this. As the article mentions, Prince gave free copies of his CD (yes, a physical copy – not a download code), Musicology, to everybody who attended his 2004 tour.
If the proposed Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger goes through, then we are about to witness the formation of a major power player in the music business, whose main business is not recorded music, but rather live performances. Will this type of concept of giving away free music to boost ticket sales become the norm?
How will this effect the future of the music business?
Will music itself no longer be a product for sale, but only a promotional tool to sell performances and events?
This is not the first incident of offering free music to boost ticket sales, and it certainly won’t be the last; but this is a clear indication of where the major players in the game are leading us as an industry.
Question is, where will it lead us?