Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tip of the Week – REM gets social and streams new album for free

REM has always done things a bit differently than the other major bands and performers. When it comes to sharing music, they seem to have a good grasp of what their fans want.

Mr. Bargainista is an avid music fan but other than music, news, the odd video and business transactions, he doesn’t spend much time on the ’Net. I’m usually the one showing cool things to him. So when he told me that REM was going to release their next album, Accelerate for free on Facebook, I was both pleasantly surprised and intrigued.

REM will be streaming Accelerate using the social networking application, iLike. Fans will be able to listen to and share the entire album using iLike, Facebook, iTunes and several other social networking sites for free on March 24 – one whole week before Accelerate’s April 1 release date. The iLike launch will include all 11 original tracks and an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the making of the album.

Connie Crosby pointed me to the NinetyNights video promo they started on January 1. Every night from now through March 31, REM is releasing a video in HD for one night only. Fans are able to embed the video on their blogs, link, share, and download the videos for free. Have a read of the usage policy – fans can pretty much do whatever they like with the files.

Tonight is Night 75 and I’ve embedded Mr. Richard for your viewing pleasure:

What do you think of REM’s approach? Will you be listening on March 24?


  1. Anonymous11:22 pm

    It's an interesting concept, but I'm not sure if it is as game changing as what Trent Reznor did with the release of the new Nine Inch Nails album, or even what Radiohead did with the last album. Letting users listen while on Facebook or Bebo? It seems like they are interested in appearing hip and tech-savvy, while trying to minimize the risk of giving the album away in any real usable, shareable way.

    I also wonder about the amount of interest there will be for this, given the general demographics of Facebook. An interesting experiment, but in the end, I think they will get more press for doing it than actual listens.

  2. Hi Drew,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. You know far more about the music industry and new distribution models than Bargainista.

    I wonder if iTunes will actually be offering downloads. REM is being pretty free with their videos during NinetyNights.

    Regardless, I give them props for trying something new and realizing the old model isn't working anymore.

    I'm sure we'll all be watching closely.

  3. They are certainly not the first ones to give away free content to fans, but they are along the right track I think.

    They also had a listening party the other evening via the web which I was able to listen to live, so Facebook isn't the only way they are making their music accessible.

  4. Anonymous5:38 pm

    As I understand it, the embedded files will have links to the iTunes stores, so you can purchase them there.

    It is nice to see artists play around with distribution methods.


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