Indie band fights back with free album download giveaway

In a sea of music piracy, declining record sales and a live music boom, indie band The Crimea is fighting back. Dropped by Warner Music last year after its debut album sold 35,000 copies, the band has decided to offer their next release for free and begin focusing on touring to rake in revenues.

Fans will be able to download in its entirety the band’s next record, Secrets of the Witching Hour, at no cost.

Manager Steve Taverner, said a large percentage of bands is struggling to make money from CD sales; however, fans are flocking in droves to live music venues. He also noted merchandising is becoming more and more lucrative, going hand-in-hand with the recent concert craze.

“I’ve been in the business for 25 years, and I’ve never seen a live scene like it,” Taverner said.

Secrets of the Witching Hour will be available Sunday, May 13. Drummer Owen Hopkin said he feels a strong online presence will widen the band’s fan base.

“We want to harness the power of the Internet,” Hopkin said. “If it’s on there for free, we’ll reach more people than the orthodox route of selling the record.”

Traditionally, many acts give away single tracks in exchange for a secure way to purchase upcoming projects. The move marks The Crimea as the first established band to offer an entire album for free download.

Industry insiders are comparing the increase in live music popularity to the surge of festivals in the 1960s and 1970s, when bands like the Grateful Dead gained millions of fans based on non-stop touring schedules and merchandise sales.

The Crimea began in the UK on the V2 label as The Crocketts. After being dropped, members Hopkin and Davey MacManus formed Crimea. The band released its debut, Tragedy Rocks, on the Warner Music label in 2005, and was later let go following the 2006 single release, Lottery Winners On Acid.

from the May 2-8, 2007, issue

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