In yet another example of how the Web is transforming the music industry
(and how you better get the hell on the bandwagon), Offspring has announced that
it's newest release will be available for free downloading a full month before
it's November commercial release. They are the first major band to do so. In addition, they plan to reward one lucky downloader with a million bucks. The album, Conspiracy of One,will not
be given directly to Napster (although it will inevitably turn up there), but will be
available "legally" on the band's website, www.offspring.com. "We are trying to launch our album with promotions that are fan supportive rather than fan
exploitative," Offspring singer Dexter Holland stated in a press release.
The band's label, Columbia, is not commenting yet on the situation, but they're in a bit of a bind.
Columbia is a part of Sony, one of the record
companies suing Napster. That lawsuit is set to go to trial Oct. 2, and one
Internet analyst said that if the label tries to squash the Offspring's efforts, it
could make a significant difference in the way Sony presents its case in the
courtroom and to the public.
"It will make it very hard for Sony to continue to claim that they're
representing the rights of artists, which has always been their claim," said Eric
Schierer of Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.
Offspring's announcement comes right on the heels of the Smashing Pumpkin's releasing (what they're calling) their final
album entirely over the internet.