Australian blogger Andrew McMillen recently hosted a panel on the digital music industry in Perth, on which sat Simon Wheeler – director of digital at Beggar’s Group, an amalgamation of some big indie labels here in the UK [they’re on the same road as my old primary school 🙂 ]. Mr. Wheeler has some pretty progressive and pragmatic attitudes to online promotion, and some forward thinking methods that it might be useful for artists to replicate in their own spheres.

“…we know that fans are passionate about an artist, and they’re very excited about a new album. So to be able to give them something to satiate that demand somewhat has been quite effective. There’s also the purpose of giving people a piece of music to ‘try before they buy’, if you like. We get a lot of love and a lot of coverage in the blog world, because I think our artists are very suited to that world.

We don’t give music blogs free reign, because you’d find that each blog would post a different track from the album, and so ten minutes after you’d publicised the album, people could just go and download the whole album (laughs).

So by making available one chosen, one focus track from a new album – much as you take a track to radio – there’s kind of an unwritten dialogue between us and the bloggers. We don’t tell them to post it, we don’t say they can’t post it; if people post the whole album, we’ll definitely say they can’t do that, and we’ll get it taken down. But they understand that if we post an mp3 to one of our label sites or blogs, then they won’t get any grief from us at all [if they repost it to their blog].

This really helps focus the campaign around a lead track, much as you do when taking a track to radio. There’s no new science here; this is just what the record industry has been doing for decades. We’re just applying that to the digital age.”

Making a few tracks available for streaming or download online is a great hook for pulling people into an album or gig ticket purchase – that’s one of the major reasons myspace was such a success, bands need to connect with fans these days. Blink 182’s Tom Delonge is of the same opinion: [via Hypebot, via Techdirt, via The Guitar Center]