File sharing is good for bands

From the department of it's-time-to-return-to-live-performances:
Alan McGee, the musical impresario behind Oasis, has hatched an audacious plan to make new singles and albums available to download free, a move that threatens to throw the music industry into confusion.

This month, the Charlatans, the Britpop band that McGee manages, will offer their forthcoming single "You Cross My Path" free to anyone who wishes to download it from the website of the indie music station Xfm. The Charlatans, who have had British number one albums with Some Friendly, The Charlatans and Tellin' Stories, will give away a second single and then their forthcoming album, as yet unnamed, in the same fashion. McGee and the band believe that the business model for selling music is moribund and that future income will largely come from ticket sales for live shows and merchandising.

Speaking from Los Angeles, McGee said he decided to give the Charlatans' music away after they were offered a deal he considered less than satisfactory by their record company, Sanctuary. "I thought, 'well nobody buys CDs anyway'. If you talk to a 19-year-old kid, they don't buy CDs. In eastern Europe, nobody buys a CD – everything is digitally downloaded from the internet for nothing. I came to the conclusion, 'Why don't we just give it away for nothing'."
I'm actually a fan of The Charlatans, and Alan McGee was also instrumental in the success of Ride in the early 1990s. I think this approach is inevitable - on the one hand, file sharing has resulted in increasing losses for the corporate music world, but on the other hand it is resulting in the importance of live performances.

In the past, the strategy was for live tours to support album sales. Now with recorded music becoming virtually free as a result of file sharing, bands are now switching to using their recorded music to support live tours.

While technology and file sharing allows anyone to reproduce a band's studio work, nothing in technology can yet replace the experience of seeing a good live band. Importantly, it was live music, not recorded music, which drove innovation and popularity in rock music. File sharing and free albums might destroy record companies, but it won't destroy fans or bands.

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