But is it, really? We keep seeing evidence that radio – as in, FM radio – remains the strongest promotional platform, by a longshot. That is, despite its tendency towards endless repitition, homogenization, commercial breaks, and deejay spasms. Or maybe, because of those tendencies.
In fact, radio is a major reason for the mega-successes of legacy groups like Counting Crows. But not going forward: ahead of a major tour, the Crows just released a ‘BitTorrent Bundle’ that includes four tracks, hi-res album art, and liner notes. And this is the new fan connectivity outlet for this band: “It’s a way to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime,” Crows frontman Adam Duritz explained. “It’s the cure for Babel.”
“These are our new radio stations. Nobody’s carrying a boombox on their shoulder waiting for you to tell them what they can listen to anymore. But everyone has an iPod in their pocket and a choice. Everyone.”
It’s really hard to argue against choice and flexibility, though it’s hard to compete with the overwhelming promotional push of radio. Either way, plenty of fans will ‘pull’ the Crows bundle. “So we’re going to give 150 million people some songs they can fit in their pocket and then let them choose for themselvesListen once, twice, a thousand times, or not at all,” Duritz explained. “It’s up to you.”
The Crows jumped off the major label train in 2009, when they waved buh-bye to Geffen Records. But majors are the best avenues for getting mainstream radio play, which means that Counting Crows may not have had a choice in this matter. Duritz, meanwhile, has assumed the cliché position of outspoken major label enemy – despite being one of the biggest major label beneficiaries of the past two decades. “The record business was never all that great for bands,” Duritz recently told Torrentfreak.