Groove Armada Introduce New Online Music Sharing Initiative

Groove Armada Introduce New Online Music Sharing Initiative
In a twisted bit of online marketing, one-time electronica stars Groove Armada are trying their hand at a new music-sharing initiative. Dubbed pass-along-paid-for (PAP4), or Bacardi B-Live Share, the new system has been adopted for the release of the duo's new EP and, in a nutshell, involves fans engaging in an online sharing system, whereby the more fans share the EP's tracks, the more of them they will get for free.

"Sharing music has always gone on. It's giving music away that's the problem," the band's Andy Cato said in an online statement. "We wanted to come up with a 21st century version of what we used to do with cassette tapes. When you give music away for free it's disposable. When you share it, it's done with love."

The way Groove Armada's new system works is fans first register on the B-Live website, which is run by the band's corporate sponsor Bacardi. They are then given the EP's first track for free but to gain access to the second track the downloader needs to send a unique link of the first one to 20 of their friends. Once that initial track is shared between fans 200 times and eventually 2,000 times, the original sharer gets the EP's third and fourth tracks.

At a glance, the system has some obvious pros and cons. For the positive, Groove Armada are providing DRM-free music, have left the sinking ships that are major labels for corporate sponsorshi, and the widgets and Facebook apps supplied make sharing easy. On the downside, you are restricted access to content until you have invited/spammed X number of friends, you must open up your private address book to Bacardi and the system is further entrenching a single-track culture. On top of all this, if that first free track doesn't make it to 2,000 people, you're left with only a partial EP.

But, hey, perhaps it's good that Groove Armada are at least trying something different.

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