Analysis: Everything Is Wrong With Free Moby MP3 Story

Analysis: Everything Is Wrong With Free Moby MP3 Story
Moby and David Lynch

Glenn Peoples of wrote an excellent article (see below) on Moby’s email to Bob Lefsetz last week. It’s a good idea to see both sides of the “free” coin. At the end of the day Moby is loving the fact that he’s generating a ton of free press. True innovator.

Via – Glenn Peoples – Billboard Magazine
“Was the power of free the reason Moby’s song “Shot in the Back of the Head” was the best-selling track in the debut week of his new album, “Wait For Me”?

As Moby wrote to Bob Lefsetz, “it’s the track we’ve been giving away for free for the last 2 months and that we’re still givng (sic) away for free.” The comments were re-posted by others, including “The Long Tail” author Chris Anderson. Techdirt thought Moby’s comments prove “free music doesn’t cannibalize paid music.” TorrentFreak declared “Moby is doing very well indeed from that track thank you very much, despite its ‘free’ status – or maybe because it’s free.” Music blog Hypebot asked its readers, “Still need proof of the power of free?”

In the social media age, it is natural to expect a free download to go viral, create a buzz and provide a lift to the artist. But Moby’s comments resulted in two flawed assumptions: the free download helped sales of the track, and the free download did not cannibalize sales of the track. While it is illogical to conclude that a free download would not cannibalize sales – very few would buy the individual track if they already owned it – it’s more reasonable, but not always correct, to expect a free track to influence purchases of that track.

“Shot” is really a tale of old-fashioned marketing and the creation of awareness through multiple channels.

Only one track, “Shot,” was given away at yet there are a handful of tracks that people are listening to and buying in far greater numbers than all other album tracks. Through the first week of the release of the new album, “Shot” and “Pale Horses” were the bestselling tracks on the album and getting a big marketing push. “Shot” has been streamed about 131,000 times at MySpace as of Thursday, July 8, while “Pale Horses” has been streamed about 65,000 times. Streams of the two other album tracks available at his MySpace page have 8,000 and 6,000 streams each. Other than “Shot,” there are four tracks that sold far more than all other album tracks. All four have female vocalists and one of them is “Pale Horses.” Continue Reading Billboard Magazine Article (Click Here)



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