In conjunction with a special Lollapalooza after-show in August, the famed L.A. rock group Jane’s Addiction decided to celebrate by offering a limited number of free downloads of their most recent album, The Great Escape Artist. The group decided to partner with Dobel Tequila in a branded direct-to-fan distribution initiative where fans can download the album via Dobel’s website. Tequila and Jane’s Addiction? What could possibly go wrong?
In order to get the free digital version of The Great Escape Artist, which is advertised to be available for “fans everywhere,” those downloading must confirm that they are over 21 years of age. In doing so, the band just blocked off an entire generation of people from accessing the content – a complication that comes along with partnerning with an alcoholic beverage company.
The band’s decision to release their album for free through a Tequila company effectively alienates a group of younger fans perhaps looking to discover the iconic band for the first time. Moreover, these music fans are the people most likely to embrace digital distribution methods, having been born in the digital era.
However, some may argue that the decision to partner with Dobel Tequila does in fact speak of an understanding of the band's fan base; that many may be of a slightly older demographic anyway, having embraced the group during their rise and prominence in the early 90s and again in the early 2000s. While potential fans under 21 can still purchase the album through conventional means, they’ll be more tempted to just download it illegally now that they know they could’ve gotten it for free had they been born after July 12th, 1991.
Either way, breaking down the barriers of access is one of the most important things a band can do in getting people to consume their content. While Jane’s Addiction may not be experiencing a monetary a loss by giving away their album for free in a brand partnership, they could be missing out on a new wave of younger fans- fans that can carry on the band’s legacy to their friends, and into the next several decades.