Counting Crows Gives Tunes Away For Free Via BitTorrent

Posted May 14

Anyone who grew up in the ’90s must be experiencing deja vu all over again these days — what with the resurgence of Fiona Apple and Ben Folds Five, as the well as the impending release of Alanis Morissette’s new album. Suddenly we’ve all got a serious urge to dig out our old JNCOs and kick on some Candies. Despite this nouveau wave of ’90s love — obviously — a lot has changed over the years, perhaps most starkly exemplified with the release of Counting Crows’ new album, which was celebrated Monday with a partnership with peer-to-peer service BitTorrent.

In support of their new album, Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation), the band is offering up four tracks, linear notes and album artwork to fans via BitTorrent. Tracks include “Untitled (Love Song)”, “Like Teenage Gravity”, “Hospital”, and “Meet on the Ledge.” Fans can also purchase the rest of the disc via the site.

Up until a few years ago, Counting Crows were on Geffens Records, but recently they left the label in order to be a truly independent band — for the first time in 18 years. The move, according to lead singer Adam Durtiz, allowed the band to do a lot of things that they had dreamed of doing for years — namely, give music away for free.

“We thought of a lot of this stuff in the early ’90s — we weren’t allowed to use any of it,” Duritz told the O Music Blog with regard to the band’s foray into BitTorrent. “Me and a couple of the guys in the band started AOL message boards for Counting Crows in ’95 or ’96 and we started writing on them. I remember being very excited about the possibility of being able to get things directly to people with the Internet. The fact that you could communicate and there were a million ways to use it. And then we were greeted with a big hand that said, ‘No, you can’t really do that.’ I think there are lots of ways to use the Internet if you’re allowed to use it.”

Of the opinion that the radio is a passe way to distribute music, Durtiz says, “Everyone has an iPod in their pocket, so if you can give them something that they can take and put on their iPod and then make their own choice whether to listen to it or not — that’s the best possible scenario, anyway.”

Granted, Counting Crows are not your average indie band — they have a huge fanbase (700,000+ fans on Facebook) and established career — so their music will likely get more traction on BitTorrent than the random reggae musicians next door. (Also, knock radio all you like, it’s still the king when it comes to music discovery.) Therefore, any possible luck they may have on BitTorrent is not a given for everyone.

Still, BitTorrent has 150 million users and — despite being a rather contested service — doesn’t limit the shine it throws on bands to acts like Counting Crows. The service launched its Artists Spotlight Program two years ago, an initiative that allows artists to apply to be highlighted on the site — and in front of BitTorrent’s 150 million users.

Image courtesy of Facebook, Counting Crows