After more than 15 years on Epitaph, punk troupe Pennywise has left the label for different, digital pastures. The veteran foursome has inked with MySpace Records for its as-yet-untitled ninth full-length effort, and teamed with the social networking site to offer the album to fans for free.
A high-quality audio version of the album will be made available for free digitally March 25, sans digital rights management, to MySpace users who befriend mobile distributor Textango through the popular Web site. It not only marks the first time the label has married one of its acts to an ad-supported distribution model, but the first time MySpace as a platform has collaborated with a mobile distributor on a music promotion.
“This happens in a time when the record industry has such a black eye,” MySpace VP of marketing Josh Brooks said. “It’s a nice opportunity and a way to get your music out there.”
The free download will be obtainable for two weeks after its release, with full artwork. Physical copies of the record will also be made available the same day to traditional retail outlets online and in stores via MySpace Records.
Pennywise lead vocalist Jim Lindberg said, “We can also potentially expose our music and message to people around the world who may have never had the opportunity to hear it because they either couldn’t afford to buy a CD or they didn’t have access to music outlets or good distribution.”
The collaboration among artist, label, mobile distributor and social network can be a step toward each reaching new audiences in the future. Textango CEO Shawn Dornan is hopeful that the band’s loyal fan base might help expose the company to new adopters, including other new acts.
Los Angeles-based Textango delivers music to users’ mobile phones, purchased via text, with the order invoiced directly on the customer’s phone bill. “The overarching spirit is it’s breaking new barriers, doing new models and going against the status quo, which are all things we stand for,” Dornan said.