Record labels and recording artists have been debating pretty much since the dawn of iTunes whether it’s better to make music freely available online, thus increasing its exposure, or to keep it locked down over piracy concerns. In the past couple of years, the online stream has become more & more common (check out NPR Music or Archive.org), allowing fans to hear new albums before they’re released, while ostensibly preventing them from downloading them for free and hurting sales.
One of my personal faves, Ryan Adams, has a new wrinkle: to promote his new record Cardinals III/IV, his Facebook page includes an online stream that the visitor must “unlock” by clicking Like.* I thought it was a cool solution – a measurable way to generate social buzz around a new release. Fans get to hear the new record, while Ryan & his record label get to spread the word far & wide on Facebook.
Now I’m wondering what else could benefit from the “click Like to unlock” scheme…photos/videos from the concert you saw last night? white papers or other semi-premium content? retail coupons?
*It should be noted that the stream started for me without first Liking it, perhaps because I had previously Liked his page?