Tom DeLonge (of blink-182) is “redefining the music business.” His other band, Angels & Airwaves is set to release their third studio album, entitled “Love,” as a free digital download on (fittingly) February 14. So how are they going to make any money? The plan is to partner with corporations (Live Nation, Fuel TV, and Hurley in addition to others) that will feature a link to download the album and send e-mail blasts to their customers. These measures will reach approximately 55 million people, 20 million of which DeLonge hopes will download the album. The idea is that fans who downloaded the album will go the band’s website and buy merchandise or sign up for a membership (at $6.95 per month) that gives them access to advance tickets and exclusive content. DeLonge says that “if only 5 percent of that 20 million came back and interacted with the Modlife platform that powers our website, the revenue would far exceed anything we’d make from a major label.”
I read an op-ed in Alternative Press a couple years ago that said that the future would see musicians using corporations to reach more people and offer music for free. I think this plan, while it’s not going to entirely redefine the music business, is a step in that direction.
It would change how a band is marketed because they would have to partner with corporations that fit their image and are able to reach their target audience. For this to work, since the music is given away for free, the focus would be turned to compelling fans to buy their merchandise and subscribe to their website.
Angels & Airwaves’ last album, “I-Empire,” sold 268,000 copies in the U.S. so the question is whether there are 20 million people who would download the album even if it’s free and then whether 1 million people would buy memberships to the website or merchandise. I’m sure that Angels & Airwaves got a boost in their fan base because of the blink-182 reunion tour, but I really don’t know if there are 1 million people willing to spend money on them.