Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tubular sells: Mail defends giveaway

Mike Oldfield's continuing complaints that EMI allowed the Mail On Sunday to give away the whole of Tubular Bells for free have brought about a wounded response from the paper. They've taken a two page ad in Music Week to defend their actions, even claiming that giving away the album boosted sales:

In response, the MoS has this week taken out a double-page advert in Music Week defending the move, arguing that covermounting helps promote music and claiming that sales of Tubular Bells rose by 30 per cent following the giveaway.

MoS managing director Stephen Miron said: “The whole argument is that we are devaluing music, but we are creating a stimulus.”

Miron confirmed that the MoS was keen to continue covermounting entire albums, where possible. “I don’t think we are the enemy in this,” he said.

“I think people would like us to be the enemy. The issues that come about are from retailers putting pressure on the record companies not to do these things. In reality, the music companies would – given a free way – do much more of this.”

Lots for EMI to use to defend itself there, then - although, of course, it might choose not to. Because if it agrees that giving away an entire album for free boosts sales of that very album, never mind other works by the artist, then it can hardly continue to deny that filesharing can stimulate legitimate sales, can it?

And if the Mail On Sunday is telling the truth when it suggests that record companies would continue covermounts if allowed, why is this form of giving music away not educating people to get used to not paying for music, a common complaint about filesharing and online services raised by the labels?


Anonymous said...

Here's a question: Does the giveaway count as sales? Surely Oldfield's looking for that little bump that'll life his sales total above Kenny G's Breathless and give him the title of best selling mediocre generic tra... oh no sorry I mean Best selling instrumental album. That Mail on Sunday BNP circulation is surely high enough for such a boost.

James said...

I'm confused... Sales of the *actual* album went up? Does this mean people were given a free copy with the Mail on Sunday, then, er... Went out and paid money for the exact same album?

I've never understood Mail readers, but this reaches whole new levels of bafflement.

Anonymous said...

It's more likely that the Mail giveaway "raised the profile" of the album, resulting in increased sales to people who wouldn't so much as wipe their backsides with that paper.

We aren't talking huge increases in sales, anyway - it works out at something like 40 extra copies per day in the week after the newspaper came out.

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