Free Derek Webb – How free is FREE?

derekwebb.gifDerek Webb's free CD is available!  And it is free.  Yet, I've been trained to think, nothing in life is free.  So what's the catch?  Derek Webb writes:

as an artist (and often an agitator), this is something i am keenly aware of. my most recent record 'mockingbird' deals with many sensitive issues including poverty, war, and the basic ethics by which we live and deal with others. but i found that music has been an exceptional means by which to get this potentially difficult conversation going. and this is certainly an important moment for dialogue amongst people who disagree about how to best love and take care of people, to get into the nuances of the issues.

one of the things that excites me most about the future of our business is how easy it is becoming to deliver music to people who want to hear it….so this is why, on september 1st, we're launching, a place where anyone can go online and not just hear but actually download, keep, and share 'mockingbird' completely for free. In addition, will give you an opportunity to invite your friends to download 'mockingbird' in order to get them in on the conversation as well.

we hope this bold campaign will provide a jumping off point for conversations about all of these issues, and communicate my commitment to playing my part in starting them. so please help us spread the word: on september 1st, 'mockingbird' will be set free! (Free Derek Webb site)

So what is the cost of free? 

First, Derek Webb gets to engage a larger audience to promote his 'agenda'.  Thankfully, I believe and support the conversation Derek Webb is trying to promote.  His use of free music is a valuable tool in the communication with (persuasion of) others as it relates to faith, God and "many sensitive issues including poverty, war, and the basic ethics by which we live and deal with others." Derek music does a great job speaking into this conversation.

Secondly, Derek Webb now has a lot of email addresses:

We will collect your e-mail address and zip code. We will store and use your e-mail address to send you updates, tour dates, new releases, news on Derek Webb, and merchandise for sale on the web site. This information will not be shared with, given, rented, or sold to third parties.  

noise-trade.gifOf course this is not new, we are all accustomed to handing out our email address in order to get something online.

Third, FreeDerekWebb is powered by NoiseTrade.  NoiseTrade provides free music and viral recommendation marketing.  This is a great idea to help artists capture interest in a world where survival requires a fan base.  (Yet, would this work with a lesser artist not of Derek Webb's status?  There already is a abundance of 'free' offerings for independent artists.  That remains to be seen.  Can Derek send an email to you to try you to migrate to other independent artists he recommends?  That waits to be seen.

CONCLUSION:  Free Derek Webb costs you your contact information. But after listening to the album, it is well worth the cost

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  • email delivery

    September 5, 2006, 1:33 am

    This is somewhat confusing 🙂
    What is the cost of free? I thought its free? You can’t call it free if it does cost something 🙂

  • Anthony John

    September 22, 2006, 10:31 am

    There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle over this one, and for good reason. Some people think that “free” means “no strings attached” and some people think that “free” means “no monetary cost involved”.

    They’re both right.

    Let me say clearly that I’m a huge Caedmon’s Call fan and I love Derek’s solo stuff as well. I’ve received a lot of traffic lately because I linked to Derek’s site, and as a result have read some of what’s been written online. In my opinion, this situation wasn’t handled very well.

    First, Derek himself draws a parallel to Keith Green’s giveaways. This is problematic in that Keith really did say “take it” and asked for a donation from those so inclined. Isaac Air Freight (a comedy group) did the same, as did a few others. This isn’t what Derek did, which is why the parallel isn’t a good one. Derek is asking for an opportunity put his name and music in front of your friends. That’s not at all the same, and many find the distinction a lot like deceit.

    Second, “free” no longer means “free” when it comes to the internet. Every time we read about identity theft we’re reminded that our personal information is a valuable commodity. Asking for the personal information of 5 friends APPEARS to be asking for trouble. In this case, Derek isn’t using that information for anything more than saying “come get your free album by giving me 5 more people’s info”. The problem is, in my opinion, the fact that NoiseTrade didn’t make the situation abundantly clear up front.

    Christians like Derek and you and me should also be concerned about public perception. While Derek’s motivation is (in his own words) “survival”, that’s not why Keith Green did it…another reason that the parallel is unfortunate. Green gave away music because his message was more important to him than his wallet. Derek’s giving away music so that he can make enough money to keep spreading his music. I see nothing wrong with either approach…only with suggesting that they’re the same thing.

    What would I do differently? I’m not sure, as I’m not Derek’s accountant. Here’s one idea: I’d suggest that signing up for his free album should give you access to a private web page. You could email the link and password to 5 friends, and the web page would only allow 6 total downloads. That’s not very complicated from a web development point of view, and would clear up the frustration over being asked to give away others’ personal information.

    What do you think?