Record labels have to keep experimenting on new ways to market their products. Case in point: Capitol/EMI says it is partnering with newspaper publisher Gannett (NYSE: GCI) to offer free streams of the forthcoming Brian Wilson (ex-Beach Boys) album before it goes on sale. Starting Friday, That Lucky Old Sun will be available on 50 different Gannett newspaper and TV websites, including flagship USAToday.com. The streaming audio player will allow users to jump back and forth between songs and will direct users to Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) to either purchase the CD or the digital album. Update: A spokesperson for Gannett tells us that the company will be compensated based on the number of albums it sells through this promotion. There will also be ads running, like there would be with any content.
Of course, as the release notes, putting out a free promotional stream of an album isn’t novel. This type of relationship, however, is unusual. The musician Prince teamed up with the DailyMail in the UK to promote one of his albums, though they literally gave away the CD with the paper. USAToday has also streamed music before, such as these tracks from Coldplay.
Whatever challenges face Gannett’s digital operations, its sites still have a lot of reach. It’s a logical channel for EMI to promote an artist that resonates with the Gannett’s likely demos (the newspaper set). Then again, fans familiar with the comfortable melodies of The Beach Boys, may need some prodding to digest Wilson’s latest fare, which he describes as an: “interwoven series of