If “Free is the future of business“, then the folks at Backstage have created an interesting marketing tool for all the Radiohead wanna-bes out there. They offer musicians a platform for sharing free music and gathering a database of interested listeners. For the rest of us, it means a few free tracks in exchange for our e-mail address and for recommending the page to a friend. You fill out a quick form, and the downloads are yours.
At first I was irked by the requirement to give a friend’s e-mail address in the form. But then I realized that’s the hook their model is hanging on. You probably have a friend who likes the same music as you, and since you’re recommending a freebie, and Backstage promises not to spam them, they’ll probably forgive you for sharing their address… Probably. There’s a bit of a leap of faith in that assumption. I think this requirement to share a friend’s address will affect their uptake on the offer somewhat but it also makes viral marketing more effective than it would be otherwise. So the net effect is probably a positive one for them.
What do you think?