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Will ‘Free Love’ Shape Music's Future?

MUSIC'S FUTURE (Hypebot) – Consumer expectations of "free" in exchange for their increasingly divided attention are beginning to shape many music marketing campaigns.

EMI's successful launch of Coldplay with a free track and free concerts is a recent example. Wired's Chris Anderson has also been writing about the rising power of free for more than a year and his forthcoming book may bring the concept into the mainstream.

But a new brief from
focuses a particularly sharp lense on the reasons behind as well as the potential power of "free" dubbing it "FREE LOVE".

  • FREE LOVE: the ongoing rise of free, valuable stuff that's available to consumers online and offline. From AirAsia tickets to Wikipedia, and from diapers to music.
  • FREE LOVE thrives on an all-out war for consumers' ever-scarcer attention and the resulting new business models and marketing techniques, but also benefits from…

    …the ever-decreasing costs of producing physical goods, the post-scarcity dynamics of the online world (and the related avalanche of free content created by attention-hungry members of GENERATION C), the many C2C marketplaces enabling consumers to swap instead of spend, and an emerging recycling culture.

  • Expect FREE LOVE to become an integral if not essential part of doing business.

    What is fueling FREE LOVE? According to the brief:

  • An all-out war for consumers attention (make that saturated consumers), including various handout and sampling techniques.
  • The online world, with its amazing capacity to create, copy and distribute anything that's digital, with costs that are close to zero, forcing producers to come up with new business models/services, which are often purely ad-driven.
  • The ever-decreasing cost of physical production makes it easier to offer more (nearly) free goods in the offline world too. In fact, many goods have actually become insanely cheap. Just one example: the price of televisions has fallen, on average, by 9 percent each year since 1998, according to U.S. Dept. of Labor data.