Friday, 15 May 2009

Free Download Friday #10: Sponsorship - The Way Ahead?

Following my recent We7 post (New Music on We7) I've been thinking about different models for distributing music. Despite We7's failure to make the advertising supported model of free downloads work, my suspicion is that advertising, in some form or another will continue to grow in importance.

It's already happening to an extent. For example, I mentioned newspaper distribution deals in the We7 post but you also see it in sponsorship deals for concert tours and recently I've come across a few sponsored download sites.

Today I'll mention Feed the Beat - Taco Bell's "Virtual Music Music Fest". Taco Bell doesn't have much of a presence in the UK but I think they are a fast food chain. (Anyone from the USA want to confirm?) It looks like they had some sort of online vote and are currently offering three tracks from the winners as free downloads:
  • Fireflight - Unbreakable
  • Hit The Lights - Pulse
  • Thousand Foot Krutch - Bring Me To Life
I assume that Taco Bell is paying the artists/record companies something for the privileged of offering these tracks for download. I think my favourite is Bring Me To Life but check them out and let me know what you think. Also, advertising supported music distribution - is it really the way ahead?


Jeff said...

Canada here, but yes, Taco Bell is a fast food chain specializing in mainly Mexican-style foods.

To be honest, I'm really surprised that advertising in music has not yet caught on. People accept ads in TV shows, before movies, in all sorts of print media, and on the Internet (have I left anything out?) - why not music? I had no problem with We7's ads, but I did notice something peculiar about them - about 99% of the ones I heard were about We7 itself. Maybe we need something like Google's Adsense for music - ads that are personalized to individual downloaders.

Whatever the case, as long as it helps me obtain music for free and is not too intrusive (e.g. nothing like "We interrupt this song to bring you an important message from..." - We7's placement of ads at the beginning of songs was fine, thanks), I'll certainly guve it a try.

Oh, and no DRM - so far I've found nothing that will turn me away from a site faster than someone trying to restrict where and how I can play my music.

David said...

When I first started listen to commercial radio, I found the adverts extremely intrusive and very annoying but it didn't take long until I got used to them. Same was true with We7 but I still think the Unique Selling Point was the availability for download of the ad free versions after you had paid for them by listening to the adverts for a month. That would still be my preferred way to go with ad supported downloads... although the Taco Bell style sponsored download looks promising too.

David said...

Oh, and DRM - agree 100%... The subject of a future post I suspect. :-)