The Music Business Attempts to Do It the Internet Way

It wasn't too long ago that rock band Pearl Jam set their lawyers after the dozens of independent websites pre-releasing pirated versions of the band's album Yield, hoping to curtail its availability on the Internet. How times change. On June 4, any consumer with access to the Internet and a RealNetworks G2 player will have the opportunity to visit the world's "ultimate listening posts" when the Red Hot Chili Peppers' new album, Californication, and Def Leppard's Euphoria, will be available in their entireties for streaming on the Web---four days prior to their official June 8 release.

This promotion marks the first time that artists of this stature are making complete albums legally available for preview prior to the commercial release date. The only catch is that, unlike the Pearl Jam bootleg downloads, which were MP3 files that could be captured on the client computer and stored, these releases are "streaming only" files.

A statement from the bands says that "In recent years the traditional avenues of exposure (radio and video) have become constricted in their ability to afford the consumer an opportunity to hear an artist's complete new repertoire prior to the album actually being in stores. These ultimate listening posts afford the consumer the chance to make an educated decision about the purchase of an album based on hearing the record in its entirety."

Red Hot Chili Peppers fans can access all 15 tracks of Californication through the band's website. Three tracks per day will be offered for streaming, beginning June 4 and continuing for 10 days, allowing for two complete cycles of the album. Def Leppard's Euphoria will be available at www.defleppard.com.

Rolling Stone magazine and Tunes.com have created an online platform on which undiscovered artists can get their music heard---the new "Download This" music service on the magazine's website. In what Rolling Stone describes as an Internet first, the magazine's editors will listen to uploaded music from unsigned artists and bands and select the best, to be featured in a front-page feature called "RollingStone.com Picks."

"The Internet is revolutionizing music, giving artists new ways to be heard," said Jann S. Wenner, publisher and founder of Rolling Stone. "We've been reviewing new music for over 30 years and are uniquely qualified to help music fans find the diamonds in the MP3 rough."

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