The Smashing Pumpkins will embrace the freemium business model favored by many tech startups to release their new album. Recording for the new 44 song album began last week with lead singer Bill Corgan announcing that starting around Halloween each song would be given away free. There will be no strings attached. “Free will mean free, which means you won’t have to sign up for anything, give an email address, or jump through a hoop.” said Corgan.
The model is instructive.
No sign ups? No e-mail exchange? That’s taking it to a new extreme. That’s really putting the onus on the music itself and pretty much assumes that “if they like it, they’ll come back – at some point” — and offload some dollars.
And the whole idea of releasing the epic album (44 songs? Did I read that right?) in 4-song sets underscores the shift from “product” to “process.” That, ultimately, appears to be the way the audience is engaged now – throughout the creative process, not just at the point when the product is delivered.
Engaging the audience in the process. Very “Music 3.0.”