Walter Dawkins of Journal News reports that METALLICA's Metallicavault.com web site, which contains hours of downloadable live recordings, demos and B-sides for free, has been a great success. "The response has been really positive," says Edward Bender, director of multimedia at Speakeasy, the company that developed the web site. "Our latest numbers are around 110,000 registered users and around a million downloads." Other record labels have taken notice and contacted Bender to work with their artists as well.
But the multimillion-dollar question is whether this web site will be able to curb the illegal downloads that are so frustrating to record label executives.
"For those people who are intense fans, it could make a difference," says Phil Leigh, a digital-media analyst at Raymond James & Associates. "For those people who consider METALLICA just to be another band that they kind of like, no, it wouldn't make that much difference."
Still, the response to the web site suggests that for serious fans of the band, the extras are things they can't live without. In fact, some users have been so excited about the site that they are uploading some of their own personal concert recordings to share with fans.
And at a time when digital downloading seems to be pitting artists and labels against fans, this might become an increasingly popular method to keep the industry healthy and give fans something extra. Read more.