Counting Crows Launch Live Download Site: 10,000 Free Downloads

August 2nd, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Live Counting Crows

Today the Counting Crows launched a new fan website where live recordings of every future performance will be available for download. The first 10,000 users to register will receive a free download of the Charlotte, NC 7/28/2008 show. The site is operated by Nugs, a turn key music distribution service founded by former CTO of CinemaNow Brad Serling. Nugs operates download services for bands such as Dave Matthews, Metallica, Phish, and the Grateful Dead. Finding alternative sources of revenue is currently a key priority for the music industry and live download sites should continue to grow in popularity. The new site is straight forward and easy to navigate. The concerts come divided up into seperate files for each song. A pop up Java download applet offers a very fast and efficient means of retrieving the songs which are available for two days after purchase. Purchase formats include MP3 $10, FLAC $13, CD $21, CD+MP3 $26. The free Charlotte show was available in MP3 format only. There is no DRM on the downloads, but I was disappointed in the 128kbs bitrate. The only way that pay services can compete with free illegal downloads is buy offering simple to use, high quality products, at competitive prices. The Counting Crows win points for offering their fans a simple and easy way of obtaining DRM free live performances. However, the MP3 quality can be improved and $10 dollars is still too much for a product that requires little upfront expenses and hardly any incremental distribution costs.

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