The Dirt Drifters believe so strongly in the music on their debut album, This Is My Blood, that they are literally giving it away. During their “Give Blood” promotion, every fan attending one of their concerts receives not one but TWO complimentary copies of the CD: one to keep, one to pass along to a friend. They’ll keep going until they’ve given away 30,000 CDs.
It’s a surprisingly grassroots fan-building strategy for an act signed to a major label like Warner Bros. Nashville. After all, it wasn’t but a few years ago that Sony was devising elaborate copy-protection schemes (rootkits and all) to prevent honestly-purchased from being shared beyond its intended listener. Or, in many cases, from being heard by its rightful owner: the copy-protected CDs would crash some computers and refuse to play in some CD players.
So, for Warner to be giving away tens of thousands of CDs, in this era of extreme cost-cutting and attention to the bottom line, says a lot about their faith in the band’s music. Which, as it happens, is actually a pretty excellent assimilation of Haggard and Springsteen influences, all presented with outlaw swagger and radio-friendly polish. If people hear this stuff, they’ll probably like it. The label is betting on that hunch.
(It bears pointing out that the “Give Blood” strategy would be untenable for most young indie touring acts, who rely more heavily on merchandise sales to keep the whole enterprise afloat. But you do see many independent artists and labels giving away free song downloads, which have less overhead.)
Check out the video below and weigh in with your thoughts on giving away music as a promotional strategy. Have you discovered any favorite acts, been inspired to attend any concerts, or made any purchases based on free song downloads or CD giveaways?
One lucky commenter will win a copy of This Is My Blood for his or her own collection.
For more on The Dirt Drifters, visit their website.