Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Free Music: Starting a Conversation

Free Derek Webb

Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch? Or in this case, free music. In our world of illegal mp3 downloads, most performing artists are filing lawsuits to ensure payment for their work--they're outraged at the idea of giving it away. But not Derek Webb.

Webb's newest CD, Mockingbird, was released in December of last year. But on September 1, he began a three-month promotion, offering free downloads of the entire CD. To anyone. No strings attached. Not just listen to, but actually download and keep all the songs. Visit, enter your zip code and email addresses of five friends who might like a free CD (don't worry--they promise not to save or distribute these addresses). Then start downloading. Webb encourages you to take the ten bucks you would have spent on a CD and donate to a charity (he lists a few on the download site), but there's really no catch.

Except that there is: The catch is that the music will get inside your head. The lyrics won't allow you to sit back comfortably and enjoy them. They'll challenge you. And that's the whole idea. Webb explains:

my most recent record 'mockingbird' deals with many sensitive issues including poverty, war, and the basic ethics by which we live and deal with others. but i found that music has been an exceptional means by which to get this potentially difficult conversation going. and this is certainly an important moment for dialogue amongst people who disagree about how to best love and take care of people, to get into the nuances of the issues. ...we hope this bold campaign will provide a jumping off point for conversations about all of these issues, and communicate my commitment to playing my part in starting them.
I've had Mockingbird playing in my car for about two weeks straight. It's a great CD. And I figure if someone's going to give me a free CD, the least I can do is think through and talk about his ideas. Head over to the website and download the album, and then stay tuned--I'll be blogging about my current favorite song from the album later today. I hope you'll join the conversation.

No comments: