Alternatives to Promo CDs?

Even though we genuinely thought nobody cared enough, our last album, Gang of Losers, was leaked. This savagely brutalised our “first week sales” and other chart silliness, archaic statistics still coveted by labels. Circumventing the leak remains a genuine concern, because even the little guy (i.e. us) is vulnerable. Leaks are cold, selfish and heartless acts, which is why I found this article entertaining:

What Will They Think of Next? Record Labels’ Ridiculous Antileak Tech. – from

I mean really, the business of selling physical records is declining…at least as the business as it has been structured in the past. People still want to buy and support music, just not in the way they used to. We’ve just got stuck in the crossfire, the undertow of a changing current.

The Dears’ business ethic? Onward. Forever onward.

5 Replies to “Alternatives to Promo CDs?”

  1. I wouldn’t be quick to jump to the conclusion that leaks cannibalize sales, even first week ones. I can’t speak for everyone, but I had leaks of Gang of Losers, but I also bought the album when it was released (the same thing happened with the Mountain Goats album Get Lonely, leaked and released at the same time – both which I bought the day of release).

    I buy from the iTunes store and eMusic, but if I can’t get it, as is the case with pre-releases, I’ll download it. These days, aside from record label foolishness, I don’t think there is any sensible reason to delay putting something on iTMS , eMusic, amazon online store or other services as soon as it is ready – one can’t stop people copying music, it has been with us for a long time, but not providing music in the format most people want these days just doesn’t make sense… and it is bound to miff people, if it is being distributed to “the privileged” few when Joe’s Blog probably offers better music criticism than anything found in exclaim, eye, now or what have you. The people who care enough to download a leak aren’t usually casual or new listeners, they’re usually the most ardent fans clamoring to get your music. So I’m not sure your description of a leak as a “cruel, heartless act” is apt.

    Finally, ten years ago a CD was the distribution medium, now (and two years ago) it is right there with buying a concert t-shirt; a keepsake and something I don’t want to bother with for most bands. Time to move on(line), I’d say…

    Anyway, great blog, can’t wait to hear the new music and as I said to Murray after a Hamilton show at the Underground a few (five?) years ago, “Thanks for making great music.”


    Christopher Taylor

  2. Quite honestly, I totally agree with Chris on this one.

    If the album does unfortunately leak, I would download it, yet on the very first day of its release, I would be the first in line at my local HMV to buy a real copy. I think true fans of your music will find it very hard to wait, and they will be the ones leaking the album anyways, as they already know who you are and what this upcoming album is about. They love you enough to check torrent sites and blogs every week to see if they can catch a glimpse of your new album. They’ve been waiting for three years now for this, and they want to be the first to hear what you have done and how you have grown. I find out all of the new music I listen to by music blogs and torrents, so don’t put them down please. I first heard of you when I saw your music video for “22: The Death of all the Romance” on the wedge, yet I was more so intrigued as to what the rest of your sound would be like. I first realized your band’s mastery of harmony in simple songs when I downloaded the whole album of “No Cities Left” and after listening to it the whole way through, and letting the album’s story sink in… that one moment, I rushed to the store and bought it immediately. That would have never happened if I didn’t download it first, as there are far too many junk cds floating around stores, and too many deceiving music videos on the wedge/muchmusic. I believe the best way to hear an artist completely is to hear their whole album, and then judge.

    Since then I have bought

    Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique
    No Cities Left
    Protest EP
    Gang of Losers

    and I’m keeping my eyes open for “End of a Hollywood Bedtime story” which I have listened to many times on my computer and which I think is amazing as well.

    I, being an ever growing musician, find that I am always in need of finding entirely new music to fuel my creativity. For example, hearing the way Murray decided to sing the vocals in the verse of “No Return” (off Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique), was something I wouldn’t have predicted, and thus, it gives my ear new ideas when trying to resolve my own progressions. And all of the good music I dig for I only find on blogs which put up whole albums, or torrent sites. And the moment I hear something great, I buy it if I can find it.

    If you ever came to Vancouver, I’d support you for my leaking. I’d buy shirts, any albums I didn’t have, and I’ve definitely shared the music I’ve leaked with friends and now they have ran out and bought your album too. So don’t be deceived by the power of the leak… Look at Radiohead and “Kid A”.

    Personally, I think the RIAA and their shutting down of “O!nk” and some great blogs is absolute rubbish, as if an album does leak, it will always be somewhere. And for a musician like me (most people I know who leak are working musicians, and either don’t have the money to buy every album they find ‘may be good’ and only save their cash for the great ones they’ve heard), all the music I’m looking for is music no one else has heard about (and in a few cases, and band comes around like yours that is special and appeals to mainstream crowds and musicians).

    I am enjoying your blog too. I came across it looking to see if any new songs have been released on the new album. And once again, the day this new album is released, If it is in the stores in Vancouver, I’ll be one of those numbers on your ‘week one’ sales.

    keep making such good music, and know that there will always be a community out there – of little guys like you who are walking the same path – downloading leaks, yet supporting your music the moment it releases.

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