Why Are All These Artists Streaming Their Albums for Free BEFORE They’re Released?

If you look elsewhere on these pages, you’ll find examples of bands who seem to be giving away the milk before anyone’s had a chance to buy the cow.

Why would Jane’s Addiction stream The Great Escape Artist a week before it’s out?  What’s is Maynard thinking by offering up the new Puscifer album before it’s in stores?

Today’s Audio4cast newsletter gets it bang-on when they wonder aloud about Ryan Adams streaming his new album:

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.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Why Are All These Artists Streaming Their Albums for Free BEFORE They’re Released?

  • October 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Streaming albums has become closer to the norm, and I'm all for it. It's far more convenient than downloading, so is a step toward beating the leaks. And (I think the sales figures will start supporting this soon), it's a truly viable selling tool for the albums.

    Case in point: Puscifer. I wasn't a huge fan of 'V is for Vagina', and wasn't planning on picking up the new album. Then, I was pleasantly surprised by the stream, and am now heading out to HMV on Tuesday for a CD I may never have bought otherwise.


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