Where the Recording Is Headed: Coldplay’s Concert Giveaway

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Prince started it, but the concept of giving away recordings to concertgoers could become a much larger trend.

On Friday, Coldplay announced that it would be giving away an album to those attending its upcoming, summer tour.  The live disc, LeftRightLeftRightLeft, includes versions of “Viva La Vida,” “Death And All His Friends,” and seven others.  “This album is a thank you to our fans – the people who give us a reason to do it and make it happen,” the band stated.

Invariably, Coldplay fans will eventually be able to download those tracks, thanks to a highly-porous web.  Still, the concept is geared towards the superfan, and concertgoers will appreciate the bonus.  On a revenue level, the giveaway shifts that action towards the more lucrative live performance, and away from the declining recording.  Makes sense, especially as artists – whether Coldplay or an emerging act – find it increasingly difficult to monetize the disc or paid download.