This Saturday, The Times newspaper gave away an R.E.M. live album as a free download from iTunes. They claim it is a first for a British newspaper... and who am I to disagree? They also say that the paper will be giving away more free songs all this week.
sponsorship as a model of distributing music free to fans while still generating revenue for artists and it seems to me that a download model must be more cost effective for newspapers than cover mounted CDs. I expect therefore that, although the giveaway from The Times may be a first, it will not be the last. I'm guessing that iTunes is sharing some of the cost of this distribution in some way and that the hope is it will bring new business to both the Times and iTunes. And, although R.E.M. are already a major band, I guess they hope it will generate interest in their new live material.
I'm not sure yet what music the Times will be giving away this week as I can't find any information on their website. The only thing I could see is a post that Mr Hudson's Supernova is currently on offer as a download from their website However, this seems to be download in exchange for signing up to a mailing list rather than an iTunes link.
I'll let you know what the downloads as and when I find out myself.
What do you think of sponsorship as a model for distributing music? Do you know of any other examples?
Update: It looks like it is single downloads rather than whole albums this week. Unfortunately, you only have until 23:59 to download the track, so I missed the Monday download because I only got around to checking the paper just after midnight. Scunner! (The R.E.M. download window of opportunity was longer - I had from Saturday until Monday.) In case you want to buy the paper and get a download, the downloads for the rest of the week are:
Tuesday: Newton Faulkner "If This Is It"
Wednesday: Placebo “Battle For The Sun”
Thursday: Seasick Steve “Didley Bo”
Friday: Speech Debelle “The Key”
Saturday: David Gray “First Chance”