There is a growing number of artists who are taking their music promotion directly to their fans by offering streaming access to it online. Why not – it’s a great way to give people a sample – and if they like what they hear they might buy a song, share it online, or buy a ticket to a live performance.
Singer songwriter Ryan Adams‘ latest album Ashes and Fire went on sale this week. For the past few weeks, listeners could sample songs or listen to the entire album online at NPR Music, SoundCloud, or at the Ashes and Fire website.
Some might think he’s crazy, offering his entire album upfront for all to hear. How on earth will he sell albums? In fact, I think Adams and a growing number of artists understand that the formula for selling songs has changed, and restricting access to your songs isn’t the way to get folks to buy your music. Instead, offer a listen to everyone. In fact, offer them the chance to hear your whole album! If they like it, do you think they’ll be satisfied with returning to the website every time they want to hear it? Of course not – they’ll buy it, or the songs they like from it. And maybe they’ll come see a show as well.
NPR’s digital platform is diverse and often sets the standard for ways that broadcast stations can expand content online. As evidence of that, this week they debuted the new album by Norah Jones. Debuting this album as part of their “Exclusive First Listen Series”, NPR offers a huge value proposition to listeners who can go online and listen to Norah Jones new album The Fall song by song, or in its entirety.
The album, by Grammy award winning Jones, features songs written by Ryan Adams, Jesse Harris and other noteworthy musicians. It will be released on Blue Note Records on November 17th, which means that for two weeks you can hear it exclusively on NPR. Previous albums debuted in this series include Bjork, Moby, Regina Spektor and Leonard Cohen. A pretty diverse bunch for a brand that used to be primarily associated with news or classical music.
I’m listening to Norah’s album now and loving it. The start of the album was preceded by a preroll for Bose. Apparently, NPR is not shying away from an ad supported model online…