Former CANDLEBOX Singer Sponsored By YOO-HOO Chocolate Drink

Jon Healey of the Los Angeles Times reports that former CANDLEBOX singer Kevin Martin is giving a whole new meaning to the notion of rock star beverage dependency. Martin has a different band these days and a new partner to support his musical ventures: Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Drink.

Yoo-Hoo's maker, Cadbury Schweppes' Snapple Beverage Group, is sponsoring a five-song release by KEVIN MARTIN AND THE HIWATTS. That financial backing lets the band give songs away online through file-sharing networks and other piracy hotbeds.

By doing that, the band hopes to generate interest for its concert tours, where it makes the bulk of its money. The group can also expect to be rewarded by Yoo-Hoo if the company's drink sales climb.

What Martin and the band don't do is try to make their fortune the old-fashioned way, by selling a lot of CDs.

"It's the beginning of something that could totally change the music business," said Mitchell Reichgut of Jun Group Inc., which is distributing the free songs. "We're giving away the music. Please, take it! And the more people that take it, the better it is for the artist, the better it is for Yoo-Hoo. And the more Yoo-Hoo benefits, the more KEVIN AND THE HIWATTS will be rewarded."

The partnership allows them to build up their fan base without having to rely on expensive promotions or cater to the narrow tastes of corporate-radio playlists. Instead, file-sharing networks and the Internet serve as their radio station.

The band and Snapple Beverage Group refused to discuss financial specifics of their deal, but Martin's partner and band member Colin Duchin said, "Collectively, everyone is sharing in the expenses." The bottom line for Martin and his mates is that the support helps them be full-time musicians.

"It's about not having to have a day job, and making enough money to be able to go on the road and play music for the people," Martin said. "A day job would be really, really strange." Read more.

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