It is very easy for me, you, everyone and their mother’s horse, to ponitificate about the benefits and detractions of file-sharing, digital downloading of music over the Internet. Studies seem to show the exact opposite conclusions as to the effect on CD sales of downloading depending upon who paid for the study.
But now a rapper, Tech N9ne is putting theory to the test: he has made his entire already-released album available for free download on his site. He thinks he will sell more as a result of people hearing his music for free – that takes balls the size of church bells. I hope he is right.
- Tech N9ne and MSC Entertainment, the fledgling company that released “Absolute Power,” are betting that fans who have not heard Tech N9ne will buy the CD if they hear it, a stance dramatically counter to that of many record company heavyweights who say downloads are eating away at sales.
“We’re banking on the fact that kids will buy good music,” said Travis O’Guin, Tech N9ne’s manager. “That’s why we’re giving the entire album away on the Web site right now. We’re trying to take a different angle and side with the fans and let them be the decision-makers.
“If what we have works, then it will be proven that good music can, indeed, sell. It will also be another indicator that something is wrong with the system.”
….Tech N9ne said the real reason that major labels discourage downloading is that the music they release does not pass muster.
“I think that a lot of these labels know that their artists are whack and if the fans get a chance to sample their CD before they buy it, they won’t buy it because there’s only one or two good songs on there,” he said. “But in our case, we believe in our music so much that we’ll let you sample our CD, our whole CD, and that you’ll still go buy it. I feel like our music is that strong.”
Although it is too early to tell how Tech N9ne’s commercial campaign will affect the long-term sales of “Absolute Power,” MSC Entertainment is ready to react if sales start to grow.
“If this does well,” said MSC owner and founder Marc Cerami, “we’re going to run as fast as we can run.”