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9/15/2006

SORTA FREE MOCKINGBIRD

Derek Webb is offering his entire year-old record Mockingbird for "free" over at freederekwebb.com. Why sandwich the word free in quotes?

SHE AIN'T BUYING IT
Well, while it's technically free, monetarily speaking, some think it comes at a price - a price they're not willing to pay. Kat over at thesecretlifeofkat.com says she was disappointed that "in order to download the album I have to sign up for his mailing list AND submit FIVE of my friends email addresses."

"What?!" she continued, probably with veins popping from her neck, "I rarely release my own email address and I would never give away the email addresses of FIVE of my friends. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe no one else will care."

[Added 9.19.2006 - Like a journalist, I do not agree with every source I quote on this blog. Sources are not me, but make points I find beneficial, germane, interesting and/or expert on the subject at hand. Their views influence how I think obviously but are not 100% or at all representative of how I think on this or any other issue. I agreed with Kat in part, not in whole, at the time I quoted her: I am hesitant to release my own or my friends' e-mail addresses and wonder if I am the only one.]

WHY DO I CARE?
Well, I care. It's not free. It's not wrong either, but it's not free - not in the mind of some consumers. The cost is high, I admit, in my mind as well. I'm not coughing up my friends' e-mail addresses to Derek Webb, as nice of a guy as I know he is, for anything, no matter how generous the offer. But is this a generational reservation some of us have?

Kat and I are of the same age - immigrants to the digital world. We value e-mail addresses and on-line privacy. She uses a screen name on-line (a wise thing I think) and I would if I could. We're protective, cautious, in this cyberworld we weren't born into. Could this be the reason for our red flags? Could this be why we define "free" differently than Mr.Webb and so many of his fans who've downloaded Mockingbird without reservation?

FREE SELLS
Whether or not Kat and I are willing to trade our friends' addresses for a "free" download or not, it's obvious a lot of folks are. The Tennessean reports that Derek reports a doubling of sales on the road after the "free" download was made available. And he's certainly garnered a little press from the campaign. How much of that is the novelty, the newness of a different approach to music business? How much of that reaction is reaction against the music industry? How much of his support is coming from people who tell me every night that if I really loved Jesus I would give my music away? Who knows? What we do know is, free or not, this promotion of Derek's is working in a big way.

Only time will tell if this kind of "free" will continue to be acceptable to music fans. Regardless of the results, I both have reservations about the new definition of "free" Derek and others have created and have tremendous admiration for his innovative devotion to his fans and the business of making music as an indie. "I'm looking at my career and trying to figure out ways to make it work," Derek says. "I'm trying to embrace the technological tools that are available to me and broaden my mind to every possibility." Aren't we all? We're watching and learning Mr.Webb.

Torn on this one. How about you?

106 Comments:

Blogger supersimbo said...

i downloaded it last night shaun.........mmmm i kinda gave out the emails reluctantly, i am sure that the folks whose adresses i listed will not mind but i did hesitate. The struggle between the "oooh its free" and the "but im giving out personal info" is a tough one.
Its like when someone asks you for another persons cell phone number?? I have said no on so many occasions just cuz i think...........yea ask them yourself!
As far as giving your music away, i had this discussion with a dude who worked with me years ago......he was in the "if you are a christian then you shouldnt charge for it" brigade! I could never get through to him that christians need jobs, they have families to feed etc etc and sure we trust God for provision but should a Christian work for free no matter what his job is...........why restrict it to christians who sell a product?
i dunno man dunno

9/15/2006  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Torn? Not really. If I wanted the songs bad enough I'd give him the email address I never check it's where I send most of my trash mail. But putting 5 other friends email addresses down who probably don't give a crap who Derek Webb is I'd totally decline.

Do I think it's wrong for you simply not "give away" your music? No, it's 10 bucks big deal. You've got bills, a family and pets to feed you need the 10 bucks more than I do. Don't worry about what other people THINK you should do what's right. You're not hogging your skills or talents by not putting out free music. Why should we as fans get a free hand out when you had to pay a price and practically sell your soul to put an album out?

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHAUN GROVES BUY THE 10 DOLLAR ALBUM AND STOP COMPLAINING IT'S CHEAPER THAN WAL-MART!

9/15/2006  
Blogger Cristy said...

I'm not torn at all...I don't have a problem with this. Thanks to our friend Kristen (who got the free download by giving up MY email address), I've been listening to Derek Webb almost non-stop for the last week. It's a great CD! Yes, I did give some of my friends' email addresses out because, like me, they love music and I thought they would do the same so they could download the CD. Did I hesitate? Yes, briefly. I had to think which of my friends would appreciate an email, but that's all. If anyone has a problem with giving out email addresses, you can get free email addresses all day long to use for this purpose...although I'm pretty sure that's not what Derek had in mind. But guess what...I will probably buy Derek's other CD's because I like his music and his message. I may never have heard any of it if not for this promotion. And if Derek is ever near my town, I will buy tickets to his concert and probably take my friends.

Would I do this to get a trial sample of a brandname product or something like that? I never give up my friends' email addresses for that!

I also don't think you should give away your music for free, but if you chose to do that for some kind promotion, I would definitely give up my friends' email addresses.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Sarah said...

I can't do it--and I'm only 18. I've grown up in the digital world. I can't face giving away friend's e-mail addresses, even for "free" music.

Yeah, it's bringing him publicity, but in some ways it feels cheap. No you don't have to pay money, but you have to surrender your friends' information.

Not a cheap trade at all.

9/15/2006  
Anonymous Chris Hubbs said...

I haven't had to face the dilemma because I bought the album right after it came out. Still, I was dismayed to hear that the "free" download came at the cost of friends' email. It seems to me like nothing less than a pyramid marketing scheme, and while no money is involved, we all get enough unsolicited email.

Kudos to Derek for giving some music away, but thumbs-down for the cost.

9/15/2006  
Blogger ks said...

DeGarmo and Key released a record (I forget which one) that came with a free copy that the person who bought it could give away to a friend who didn't know Jesus. I thought that was a really cool idea. It promotes your band without losing all of your revenue, and the best part is, it's evangelistic (and I truly do think that was their biggest motivation).

And, unfortunately, in these days the word "free" never means free with no strings attached. If I saw Derek's ad, I probably wouldn't have believed it anyway. And I'd maybe just call my friends before I give out their address.

9/15/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

Here's what I said on Kat's post about this:
--
"I would tend to agree with [Chaotic] Hammer that “Nothing is Free”. It is only as free as the value which you place on what they ask in exchange. If you happen to know five people, in addition to yourself, that won’t mind getting attached to a e-mail marketing list then it is indeed absolutely free. The cost goes up if you or your friends get more than you bargained for.

I also agree that it is misleading, at the least, to advertise something for free and then attach reqirements at the last minute. And it is shadey to ask you to volunteer others to pay the same price you pay."
--

Many artists have realized over the years that by giving away your music, you can in the end make more. Just look at what Barenaked Ladies is doing with their new album Barenaked Ladies Are Me - they are counting on the give-away making them money. I would not say that it is innovative; rather, I'd call it counter to the music industry norm. I still say its a bold move, but the hook in the end is pretty sharp to me.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Brody Harper said...

I don't understand why there is such a "big surprise" ending to all of this. Derek Webb needs to make money. He needs MORE fans, to go to MORE shows, to buy MORE cd's giving him MORE money. I don't see anything wrong with it. My suggestion would have been to enter info@derekwebb.com five times in the email section if you are that worried about it. Or call up Derek and ask him to clearly define the word free.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

I think it all comes down to expectation.

By posting banners that said "Free album" and writing press releases that stated that an "opportunity" would be given to share the news with friends, the expectation was set that submitting the email addresses would actually be an opportunity as opposed to a requirement and the album would actually be free.

Free - without cost; Not subject to a given condition; unobstructed;

Those expectations were not met when five email addresses (plus my own) were required before the album could be downloaded.

It's not an issue of cost. It is an issue of misrepresentation. He can charge whatever he likes for his work but I don't agree with the misleading advertising of the campaign.

I think that releasing the album was a brilliant move. As far as I can tell, Derek Webb is a great guy.

I'm not trying to be rude or cheap about all this. I just would really like to see Christians use marketing methods that don't need to be excused or argued but that surprise people with their honesty and integrity.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Toby said...

Most people these days have multiple email addresses with at least one for garbage mail. I personally have four that I regularly use and 2 or three others attached to my name. Each has a specific purpose and one, the one attached to blogger is the only one that gets spam because it is the oldest and it is the only one i give out for general use.

For issues like this, you should have your friend's trash email addies, and they should have yours. The aggreement being that they are available for use with this type of promotion.

That said, I agree with Kat that the perception created is the problem. Free is supposed to mean no strings attached.

Has anyone tried the download without adding addies?

9/15/2006  
Anonymous Stephen said...

FWIW, it obviously has not stopped most people. Over 35,000 have downloaded it so far in just two weeks.

9/15/2006  
Anonymous Curtis Summers said...

stephen said:
FWIW, it obviously has not stopped most people. Over 35,000 have downloaded it so far in just two weeks.

Yep. One of my comments on Kat's blog:

I think there’s a whole generation out there (the MySpace generation) that won’t think twice about something like this. This is a little bit concerning to me.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Mark said...

If anyone signs me up, I'll be furious. I get so much spam on all my e-mail addresses it isn't funny. It's one thing to sign myself up for an artist's newsletter. It is quite another to be signed up for something I may or may not be interested in by someone else.

I get enough spam, junk mail, and unsoliciety phone calls (even though I'm on the do not call list). I don't need anyone else giving out my info.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

Shaun,

I'm disappointed that you would quote Kat on all of this, and further the mistaken impression some people have that you have to "give away" 5 of your friends' email addresses to get Derek's record.

A one-time email gets sent to your friends-- and it comes from your email address. Derek retains your email address, but not those of your friends. It's summarized on the front page, and spelled out in detail on the Privacy Policy page.

If you do a Google BlogSearch (google.com/blogsearch), you'll find that out of around 265 people who have blogged about this, Kat is the only one who really can't accept that Derek (or his "web development team") can be trusted to do as he says.

Please consider posting a correction/clarification. It bums me out to think that more people will misunderstand and be suspicious of Derek because of your post. (Notice Mark's commment above, for example.)

9/15/2006  
Blogger Cristy said...

I take "free" for what it's worth. The saying goes, "There's no such thing as a free lunch", so I've come to expect to do something to get something "free" and not to expect to get something for nothing. I feel that if I expect to get something for nothing, I would be setting myself up for disappointment. I have received many free things in my life, with no strings attached. I just don't expect it.

I haven't gotten any spam or additional emails so far, other than the email I received originally from my friend.

I just didn't see this as a big deal, and really didn't give a thought to NOT downloading the music. I only had to consider which friends would appreciate it as much as I did, because I couldn't bring myself to use "false" emails addresses, even though the thought crossed my mind.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Mark said...

I figured it was a one time e-mail, not signing a friend up on a list. Still, that doesn't change my opinion of it one iota.

Especially since it is required. If it were optional, I'd have no problem with it.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Matthew,
Please understand that I'm in no way saying that Derek has any plans to use the email addresses for any nefarious purposes. I wholly trust that his intent is that the submitted email addresses will be sent an invitation to download the album and nothing more.

My primary concern with the issue is simply that the promotion was misrepresented. It was promoted as free and submitting the email addresses was advertised as being an opportunity but in reality was a requirement.

Whether or not society in general has a tainted view of what free means, I don't think that entitles us as Christians to take advantage of that and attach strings to what we offer.

For those of us who aren't comfortable releasing another person's personal information, the whole promotion hit a very disappointing deadend.

Expectations were set and then not met.

While I may very well be the only blogger out of 265 to have an issue with the way the promotion was handled, I'd say I'm certainly not the only person who was disappointed as is evidenced by a few of the comments on my blog and here as well.

I'm in no way trying to say anything derogatory about Derek. I've, hopefully, stated that point thoroughly. But in light of a number of questionable marketing methods that I've seen used lately by various Christian artists, I think it's important that we have this discussion to figure out ways to promote music without being misleading or manipulative.

I know several people have said that they never expect anything to be free. While that may be true in the world, wouldn't it be wonderful if, when dealing with Christians, we didn't have to put on our pessimistic face in order to prevent disappointment? Wouldn't it be great if our yes was yes, our no was no and our "free" was indeed free?

I know you shared some of your thoughts over on my blog and I really appreciate that. I'd love it if you'd help me understand your concerns about my point of view and where it is that you disagree. I'm quite honestly interested in your viewpoint.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

I just want to clarify that when you submit your five friends' email addresses it is only for a one time email - NOT for a mailing list.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Christopher said...

I gave out more than five of my friends' e-mail addresses because I wanted them to hear the album. I did so, though, after reading the privacy policy:

"We will collect your e-mail address and zip code. We will store and use your e-mail address to send you updates, tour dates, new releases, news on Derek Webb, and merchandise for sale on the derekwebb.com web site. This information will not be shared with, given, rented, or sold to third parties.

"We will not store and keep the e-mail addresses of the people to whom you send the record. Their e-mail addresses will be used only once for the sole purpose of sending a one-time email and then will be deleted from our systems."

I thought that was quite reasonable.

9/15/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are given an album for free, is there any law (moral or otherwise) that prevents you from giving it away to others?

9/15/2006  
Anonymous Stephen said...

In this case, no. Derek said on one of his podcasts that he wants people to make copies. But this is a unique circumstance.

9/15/2006  
Blogger Chaotic Hammer said...

Matthew - I tried your recommended search, and found some interesting things. The very first hit at the top of the list was this link, which labels Free Derek Webb "viral recommendation marketing", and notes that it's not truly free, but costs you your contact information (though the author does conclude that to him, it is "worth the cost") .

I also found this link, which actually I'm quite grateful for (thanks!), because somebody has taken the time to compile an extensive list of free CCM MP3 downloads. However, when displaying the Free Derek Webb offer next to many other "truly free" downloads, they felt the need for this disclaimer on their listing for Free Derek Webb: "...well, it’s not actually free. You have to give him the email addresses of 5 friends who would also want his ‘free’ album. If you have 5 friends who wouldn’t mind this sort of offering, you’re in luck...Don’t spam people to get the album...but if you really do know people who’d like it, this is a good deal."

One guy even lists three e-mail addresses of his own so that you only have to come up with two friends' addresses, because he loves the album and wants to see people download it. (He's a pastor and not doing this for nefarious purposes -- I mention this because Matthew commented on Kat's blog that giving "fake addresses" at Free Derek Webb was "completely unethical", and in a sense, using this guy's addresses would be similar).

The article in the Tennessean that Shaun referenced actually presents it in a different way: "Requirements — The album is available for download at Webb's Web site. A user must enter a valid e-mail address, ZIP code and five e-mail addresses of those who might like the album." At least that's an honest representation right up front, which is really the point here.

I'm sure that in the big picture, an overwhelming majority of the target audience of Free Derek Webb will not even think twice about having 5 e-mails sent to their friends, telling them about the chance to download an entire album. It has certainly created buzz, which in the marketing world, is considered a good thing.

But with all due respect, Matthew, I believe you have completely missed Kat's real concern about this, and frankly disrespected her personally by implying that because it's Kat that Shaun is quoting, the opinion is somehow wrong or less valid. Kat's concern is not one of mistrusting Derek or his team, or thinking something bad will happen because of the 5 e-mail messages sent out to friends. Kat's concern was simply that the marketing before the event did not equal the actual product. That's it, plain and simple -- and she's right. If providing the 5 e-mail addresses had been optional, then the end product would have matched up perfectly with the advertisements that went out before the event. But the advertising and the actual product did not match up. It has that "come listen to a short presentation about the benefits of owning a time-share, and we'll give you a free gift" feeling to it.

I also think you underestimate the number of people who have concerns about these sorts of marketing techiques. We may not be in the majority, but there is certainly a sizeable and informed group of people who feel this way. I think Shaun's original question was whether the dividing line between those who are bothered by this type of marketing and those who are not might be generational -- that perhaps younger people routinely give out e-mail addresses and don't think twice about it, while older people are wary because of a lifetime of being marketed to, and getting pre-approved credit card offers in the mail, and feeling like everything is "just another sales pitch".

I think Derek Webb is smart to give away Mockingbird. Clearly, the trend in the music business is toward free sharing of recorded media, and the public routinely disregards the law and shares MP3s on the internet anyway. So if you can capture some momentum by harnessing the power of sharing music, you can operate under a new business model -- which seems to be the inevitable direction things are headed anyway, like it or not.

Christopher - I agree, that is perfectly reasonable, especially if you have 5 friends with e-mail addresses who would like to find out about the download that is available. But like Matthew, you're missing the objection that people have to this. I don't think anyone distrusts the fact that those 5 addresses will not ever be stored or used again. If the initial press release had said "you will need to know the e-mail addresses of 5 friends, and we will require those before the download", then that's what we would have been expecting. The initial release (which is still on the website) frames it as (and I quote) "In addition, freederekwebb.com will give you an opportunity to invite your friends to download 'mockingbird' in order to get them in on the conversation as well." If I set up a big church cookout, and have press releases for weeks in advance saying "Free Roast Beef and Chicken", and the press release says "you will have an opportunity to make a donation to our ministry at the door", but when you arrive the day of the cookout, there is a guy guarding the doorway, who says "you must make a donation of at least $5 to our ministry in order to get your Free Meal", then you feel deceived, yes? That's exactly what this is -- that's the objection. Nothing else that I can see (except the sense that Christ-followers should try to be above using such tactics for marketing).

9/15/2006  
Anonymous amy said...

i just put in 5 email addresses that are all mine to begin with, downloaded the music, then burned the music making my own "free cd" and gave it to my friends... they got the music and i kept their trust by not giving out their emails. win, win in my eyes.

9/15/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

I'm not torn in the least. It's absolutely false to say that something is free and then require the email addresses. I don't give a crap that he's not keeping the email addresses. It's false advertising. I won't tiptoe around it by calling it 'misleading' either. It's false. It's legal, it's smart, but it is very badly done. And it is so easily fixed. All he has to do is make the five email addresses optional and the problem is solved. Then it's actually free and void of false advertising.

Then you still run into the ethical problem of giving out friends' emails. I'm 28, and I would never give out friends' emails like that. I'll also echo the sentiment that was surprisingly little-mentioned here: it is completely unethical to give out fake email addresses or other email addresses of your own. That's lying, and if the emails are required to get the download, it's stealing too. (No matter that it's supposed to be 'free.')

As for the generational thing, yeah, there's something to that. And it's our fault and the fault of the parent's of that younger generation. It's not intuitive; you have to be taught about privacy and how to respect it. With as much information as is available online, and how easy it is to obtain that information, no one should do anything that may jeopardize someone's privacy. And giving out someone else's email address can jeopardize that privacy.

Matthew, it's got nothing to do with trusting Derek. It's about false advertising and the unethical behavior that it seems to be inspiring. Kat's done nothing wrong. Quite the contrary, she's got guts and her instincts on this are dead on. Shaun has nothing to correct - Derek does.

9/16/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

I don't have time to respond to everything here. But here are a few things:

1)CH-- You say that Kat's concern is not one of mistrusting Derek or his team, or thinking something bad will happen because of the 5 e-mail messages sent out to friends. But it is. She stated on her blog: "while I’m inclined to trust Derek Webb, I don’t know his web development company, what system they’re using or how long the email addresses are retained while being processed and consequently how secure it is." That may not be her only concern, but acting like I just made that up is a little unnerving. Your example of requiring a donation to get a free meal is faulty-- Derek is not asking for any money. It is not the same.

2) To everyone who is up in arms and calling this unethical-- slow down. "Free" has usually meant "for no money," and this is exactly what is going on. Kat-- you gave a definition of "free" from the dictionary. Here's another one, from dictionary.com: "without cost, payment, or charge." Under this definition, what Derek is doing is FREE. Really! Just because it doesn't fit your personal (not just Kat, but a few others here) definition of "free," doesn't mean it's deceitful or unethical. Here is something that usually calls $10-$18, and he's offering it for no money. This is not deceitful in any way. Just because you (again, not just Kat) formed a pre-conceived notion of what the details would be doesn't mean that, when the reality didn't fit the story you were telling, you have the right to be upset. There is a pronounced sense of entitlement on this thread.

3) After Derek sends out the first email to the downloaders (not your friends, who will NEVER get an email from Derek unless they choose to download as well-- the email to tell them about the site gets sent from YOUR address-- a fact that so many of you refuse to believe for some reason), you are free to unsubscribe if you did not like the music. From what I've read on blogs, Derek has gained a lot of new fans from this giveaway, who will probably be thrilled to get an email telling them about a nearby tour date or his upcoming album. If you download and don't dig the music, then you can just unsubscribe. It's not like your email address has been branded onto Derek's arm.

9/16/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Matthew, I respect you and the Square Pegs and Derek tremendously and I certainly never intended to harm Derek, your friend, in any way. I apologize if what I've written did so. It was accidental.

To be clear: I have not called Derek's promotion of Mockingbird unethical or wrong or stupid or anything else negative. I merely meant to communicate that because of my own paranoia as an old guy in a young guy's cyberspace I'm leery about giving someone my e-mail address, let alone my friends'. I don't think it's wrong to ask for them though.

I did cite Kat, just one of over two hundred bloggers posting about this innovative strategy of Derek's, because, well, she's the only one I'VE read and the only one I know personally and the one whose opinion matters to me because of my respect for her and her brain. Kat, as you may know, has a business going designing musician web sites (my forthcoming one) and writing about music marketing issues particularly those which affect indies. In that sense, she's not only a friend and an indie industry voice but somewhat of an expert on indie music marketing...or quickly becoming one. I think she's brilliant. I don't know that I agree with her, and maybe I should have made that clearer in my original post, that "Free" means requiring nothing. I stated that monetarily speaking, Mockingbird is in fact free. But I cited her as a representative of those who think otherwise.

I ended by saying I'm torn. I mostly like what Derek is doing. If I never heard anything negative about his campaign I'd probably think nothing but good things about what he's doing. The negative reaction to what he's doing by some, and my own old-guy reluctance to give e-mails away on-line to ANYONE in exchange for music, makes me pause. That's all. Pause.

I still say three cheers for Derek (Did I just say three cheers?). I think he's a visionary, an innovator, a tremendous lyricist, and he's also a big boy used to criticism. In fact, I wonder sometimes if his and my personalities don't thrive on it to some degree. All that to say, I don't think my little blog will hurt his business or his feelings. If it does, he has the obligation to talk to me directly about it. I'm easy to reach. And I'll listen and make any changes to my posting I need to to keep the peace. I respect Derek and love his music. No harm intended to either.

If you're cool with giving your e-mail address out in exchange for music, do it. There's no better record to do it for. But obviously not everyone is eager to do the same. And that's cool too.

Truth is there are many SHLOG readers who don't know who Derek is and now they do, didn't know he offered free music in exchange for e-mails and now they do. I gave him exposure. I didn't blow smoke up anyone's butt in the process. I provoked a conversation that made me think about how I should give music away in the future and I hope benefitted all of us in some way. That's positive stuff I hope outweighs any negatives that accidentally arose from all this.

Hope that squares us, Matthew. Thanks for speaking up against the flow.

-Shaun

9/16/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Cliff's Notes Version of Kat's Thoughts:

I was excited about the free release of Mockingbird.

When I went to download it, I found the cost too high.

I was disappointed.


It was never a question of not trusting Derek. The quote you mentioned, although I may have communicated it poorly, was simply intended to say that, no amount of assurance is worth the risk of me releasing another person's personal information.

I'm sure Derek is great. I'm sure his web development company is great.

Frankly, that's partly why I voiced my opinion. I've worked in many different businesses and something I've always appreciated are the clients who are willing to complain. It's never my goal for a client to be disappointed or upset and I would much rather have someone air their opinions than have them walk away with a poor opinion of me or my work.

That's also why I appreciate the fact that you voiced your disagreement with my opinion. That might mean we're on different pages or it might mean that I just communicated poorly. Knowing that you disagree at least offers me to opportunity to clarify things and hopefully, the fact that I shared my opinion will help Derek and other indie's realize that there is a percentage of people who are concerned about privacy and who may have a different definition of free. Maybe that won't change what anyone does, but at least it allows them to make more informed decisions.

I am honestly sorry that I've offended you Matthew. When I write things, I want to make people smile (like my most recent blog entry) or make people think (like the Derek Webb post). I definitely don't want to upset people. That's distracting and detracting from what I want to accomplish as a blogger. So, if you still feel I've misrepresented Derek, drop me a line and I'd be happy to rectify things.

9/16/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

I think the gap that is not getting bridged here is the answering the question "What is cost?" People will answer this in vastly different ways. Some have no quams with the giving of e-mail addresses of friends, so the cost is nil. To others, like myself and, I believe, Kat, an e-mail address is personal information which intrinsically has value. Thus, to give up the e-mails of other people is exchanging something of definate value. This does not meet the definition of free as "without cost, payment, or charge". It does not matter how it is to be used or not used - this is not mine to give, most especially if it is in exchange for my own personal gain. Before I would ever consider giving out such information, I would have to first consult with my friend and ask their permission to use their e-mail in this way, and then with their blessing I would enter the e-mail and get my almost-free music.

I like Derek's music and I have no problems with what he is doing, with the exception of the use of that one word "free". I believe that he is making a great step in connecting with his fans and introducing himself to new people - something a indie artist must be very good at. He could have easily only offered one or two songs off the album, or none at all, for free download and still made people happy, but he chose to offer it in its whole. I only take issue with the use of the label "free" to describe something that, in the end, demands the exchange of something of value to me. Obviously, not all agree and to them it is free indeed; but, more consideration should have been given in the promotion. I wish Derek the best of luck on this endeavor and his future music. I'll keep listening.

9/16/2006  
Blogger Matt said...

"Before I would ever consider giving out such information, I would have to first consult with my friend and ask their permission to use their e-mail in this way, and then with their blessing I would enter the e-mail and get my almost-free music."

What is not being understood here? Your friends are getting the email from you and you alone. Derek doesn't have their address. Have you ever first consulted with your friends before sending them an email from your own address? Do you call them up and ask if you can write them? "Can I send you an email with a link to a free record that I think you'll like?" Seriously, this is all a bit over the top.

The only "cost" is your own email address which is going to a newsletter list to inform you of tour spots and promotions for an artist you are supposedly a fan of or at least interested in, and one to which you can immediately unsubscribe from! There is no hidden agenda, no black helicopters, and certainly no ethical debate. C'mon guys, direct this energy elsewhere.

9/16/2006  
Anonymous cindy marella said...

i say, use fake emails. thats the way to do it. i dont have 5 friends to think of. i dont even think i put 5 friends IN! i think i put like 3 and i still got it.

9/16/2006  
Anonymous Jeffrey J. Stables said...

Wow, this sure has generated a big discussion! I wasn't expecting this when I read the original post. Anyway, my $0.02...

I like Derek Webb. When I got his MySpace message that said he was opening FreeDerekWebb.com, I was excited and posted about it almost immediately. From the beginning, I knew that this was an opportunity to "invite your friends to download 'mockingbird' in order to get them in on the conversation as well," as Derek said quite clearly on his website. Consequently, I was not surprised or put off when I had to invite some friends before I could download. It's only fair—it's the point of the project, anyway.

I didn't "give away" any emails. Those emails were sent from my address to my friends, not being used by DerekWebb.com at all.

The way I see it, I had already invited my friends through my blog post. I had already invited them by talking to them about the countdown to free Mockingbird. So, it was no different to send them a reminder email that morning. In fact, I would have done so myself if FreeDerekWebb.com hadn't made it easy for me!

I put most of my address book in using the "Bulk Import" feature. I appreciated the easy way to invite people. No worries.

Also, even if I didn't like having to invite >4 people before downloading, I could hardly live with myself after lying about email addresses or fabricating them in order to download the CD. Any circumvention of that protocol is unethical deception and lying.

If you do have a problem with it, you can always ask a friend who didn't to burn it for you, or buy the CD outright.

9/16/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

Matt, there is no misunderstanding. We all understand everything about this deal perfectly well. Jeffrey, we get it. The emails come from us. No one captures any email but the one who downloads the music. We get it. But the original point is still the one on which to focus: it is false advertising to say that something is free and then require something in exchange. It doesn't matter how insignificant it is. It doesn't matter that some people feel uncomfortable while others see no issue. It says free and then requires something. That's wrong.

And be straight: the email does not come from you. It says that it comes from you. But you are not sending that email. Derek's server is. And that's part of the problem.

This whole thing is not straight. It's legal. It's clever. It's a great way to spread the word. It's obviously very successful. But it is false advertising. It is not made clear that you must invite your friends in order to get the music. It is not free. And that is a problem.

Would you all feel the same way, that it is really "nothing" and "no big deal" if we were required to put in five phone numbers instead? What if those caller IDs would all show that the call was coming from you? Still the same thing? Of course not. So we're talking about degrees of invasion there. Some people feel that an email address is to be a guarded piece of information. That's me. I don't care if I think those friends would like Derek's music. Asking someone to give up email addresses, no matter how they are to be used or not used is also a problem.

And I'm with you, Jeffrey, 100% that not following the instructions by any kind of circumvention is lying and I would add stealing. Completely separate from whether or not the album is free, failing to enter 5 unique addresses for other people in order to download the album is unethical and wrong.

What I think Kat's point was in this and in other previous conversations is that Christians shouldn't be caught up in deceptive marketing. Regardless whether or not that's what she was saying, it's where I'm going. Like I said, it would be so incredibly easy to correct this problem for Derek and completely avoid all of this. All he had to do was let you know that you had to give five addresses in order to get the download in all the advertising, or else he could have made the emails optional. That's it and there's no ethical dilemma. I'm all for artists thinking outside the box and finding new ways to interact with fans and grow their audience and such. I would just hope that Christian artists would aim a notch above 'standard practices.'

9/17/2006  
Anonymous Curtis Summers said...

Stirring the pot a bit more:

derek webb viral marketing out of my comfort zone: a technical look

9/17/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even as a non-english speaking blog-reader I sense a shocking undertone out of some of the posts here: arrogance, jealousy, envy. Why else whould someone look for and comment on (in his personal opinion) negative aspects in a marketing attempt of a fellow musician and so try to harm Derek Webb's reputation? (and at the same time yell: Look at me, I'm not like this, I'm much better!)? Why not have everybody have their own think whether they understand the rules and want to download, SHARE, and DISCUSS "Mockingbird" this way?? Well, the damage is done despite Shaun's explanation above! That's really sad and unfair. - I just want to mention this: Not long ago I got via personal snail mail - without ever having asked for, or even subscribed for - press infos from the promoters of one of Shaun Groves' concerts this fall. And when I asked for infos about another artist, his agency sent me an e-mail ad for Shaun Groves.

9/17/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So...

For kicks and giggles, I just provided 5 fake e-mail addresses (such as aewrljaewrlkajwre@adslkjaflkjwae.com). It let me download the album right away.

I don't consider this unethical; I already own the real deal.

Now, the question is: is it unethical for someone who doesn't yet own the album to do this?

(I'm leaving this anonymous because I don't want to be known as the person who "let the cat out of the bag")

9/17/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

The real question here is...

WWJD?

(Which originally meant: Which Wurlitzer Jams Deliciously?)

9/17/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

Anonymous #1: Where are you coming from on this one? Arrogance? Jealousy? No one, on either side of this debate, has self-promoted in the least. I'm commenting on the negative aspects of this marketing campaign because I think it is a disservice to the way Christians should market their music. I haven't said a single bad word about Derek. Like I keep saying, this is a problem that is easily fixed. I'm hoping that we would see that it needs to be fixed, and in the future Christian musicians would be able to do better. And it seems to me that everyone else who dislikes Derek's approach in this is saying basically that same thing. Nobody is claiming superiority. This is a great and valuable discussion!

Anonymous #2: Yes, what you did is completely unethical. It's lying and stealing. Those two sins aren't exactly in any grey area. I don't care if you already have it. You didn't follow the rules. There's no 'cat' to be let out, we've already been discussing how what you did is awful. Congratulations.

9/17/2006  
Anonymous Jeffrey J. Stables said...

But is it really bait-and-switch or false advertising just because "Free Derek Webb" is all that fits succinctly on a banner GIF? As I said before, we all knew all along that Free Derek Webb meant "invite your friends to download 'mockingbird' in order to get them in on the conversation as well," as Derek said quite clearly on his website, from the beginning. That just doesn't work on a web banner as well as "Free Derek Webb." I don't think it's false advertising.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Jeffrey J. Stables said...

I agree with The Cachinator. "Kicks and giggles" Anonymous, your actions were immoral. I'm sorry that this particular deception rewarded you with kicks and with giggles, in addition to ill-gotten songs. I don't see how you can justify the 5 lies you told Derek to download his music.

This goes back to the early days of Napster—do you really think it's ethical to download pirated music from someone else, just because you already own another (legal) copy? (Practically, why the heck did you download it if you already had it and could rip it onto your computer at a higher audio quality?)

Lying to get Derek's music is wrong whether you already own his music or not. I think this is sufficiently articulated on this thread that it can be considered a tangent, so we can get back to discussing the validity of the advertising of "Free Derek Webb."

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Jeff Pardo said...

Hey Shaun,

Wow.

:)

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Curtis Summers said...

Jeffrey J. Stables wrote:
"invite your friends to download 'mockingbird' in order to get them in on the conversation as well,"

Jeffrey, you glossed over the important distinction some of us are trying to make by leaving out the rest of the sentence:

"In addition, freederekwebb.com will give you an opportunity to invite your friends..."

"opportunity" implies choice. There was no choice.

9/18/2006  
Blogger Mark said...

There's something else being left out. I heard "Free Derek Webb" talked about all over the place. I agree it makes a better headline. But, since I'm not a fan, I didn't read any of the stuff about it. That's right, I let the headline set my expectations.

The headline was misleading. And if others like me didn't read the fine print, even the vaguely worded "you will have the opportunity to invite your friend" was useless because it never got seen.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly would you call paying ZERO $ for music. FREE seems appropriate to me. I think there are many people on here making way too big of an issue out of this. I can see your point... but use some common sense.

9/18/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I'll call that free. To me that's pretty plain too. But, man, the objectors obviously had different expectations of that word. To be clear, I don't think it's unfree to ask for e-mail addresses. I'm just too cautious and old to want to give them. But, yea, I'm with you anon. It's free. It's just uncomfortable for me. So I don't have to download the CD if that's the case.

I get where Kat and cach and others are coming from too though. I see how the wording of the offer is a bit misleading. And yea, once I get to step two, if I decide not to give my friends' e-mail addresses to Derek and company, well, Derek already has my e-mail address from Step 1 and I get nothing in exchange...except probably mail from Derek in the future. In the sense that I have to render Derek a service, regardless of how harmless and easy that service may be, it's not free. By the other side's definition.

Still torn. I'm glad I posted about this, despite the comment spiraling into an argument of sorts, because it's made me think: It really doesn't matter how I, the artist/marketer perceive my tactics (my myspace bot for example), if my customer/fan/friends perceive them as questionable I'm hurt to a degree. So I must be more careful, not to be right - because I think Derek and I are careful to be right - but careful that we're doing is perceived as such by those who matter to us.

Thanks for teaching me that lesson, all.

Shaun

9/18/2006  
Blogger Brody Harper said...

you're welcome.

9/18/2006  
Blogger Zach said...

As I said on the webboard Shaun, thanks for coming over to help clear things up. Youve still got fans over there, things just tend to get a little ornery at times. I have no idea if i spelled ornery right. Youre welcome anytime.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Zach said...

"To be clear, I don't think it's unfree to ask for e-mail addresses. I'm just too cautious and old to want to give them. But, yea, I'm with you anon. It's free. It's just uncomfortable for me. So I don't have to download the CD if that's the case."

Shaun this all seems a bit over-cautious talk for you. If it weren't Derek Webb that we were talking about here, head of the Square Peg Alliance, and it were say... M. Bolton or Kenny G, would you be so diplomatic? Does anyone really believe the the definition of free is limited to dollars and cents???? Hasn't anyone hear ever seen the Godfather???

How can someone honestly say that they don't believe that what the Webb camp were asking for did not at least LEAD them to more money and then turn around and boast about all the new fans and tripled CD sales.

But that isn't event the point... It is the big fat White elephant that everyone seems to be hopping around, over and by.

We were told it would be a certain way, and it wasn't. "Given an opportunity...", ibid. The emails were required. Period. End of story. Give a little ground for crying out loud.

Yes a bigger deal has been made of it than it should. Why? Because people at least on the defending side of the fence can't even admit that there was the slightest bit wrong with the way it was presented. OR that they even might do it differently next time. It is as if they are defending the very scripture itself. Its like "derepologetics."

"I am disspointed in you Shaun..."

It was if you quoted the Satanic Verses or was caught smoking behind the bridge something.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Rev. C. S. Roberts said...

Shaun,
I own all your albums (even White Flag) and have seen you in concert. I admire your work and enjoy your blog.

Yet (and you knew this was coming) I have a problem with your statement at the webboard as well as your thoughts about Derek, his music, and his free giveaway of Mockingbird.
You say that you won't give him e-mail addresses? Why? The purpose is to tell them about Derek's free giveaway of Mockingbird. Don't you want them to have teh free music that is great and powerful? I want others to know. I bought five copies of the CD before I found out about the free giveaway so I could give them away myself. Now, I have told everyone I know to tell that they can get Mockingbird for free and that they too should tell others (which they can by putting in five e-mail addys). I am still confused as to why you wouldn't do this.

Second, you have taken shots at Derek in the past. In another blog post you said his music didn't appeal enough to a wider audience. You said his music should appeal more to 30 year old women. You said it wasn't fit for Christian radio. On these points you are correct. yet you said all of this in a critical way. I am glad that Derek has the balls to make "Christian" music that smacks the regular pious Christian music in the face. No his music isn't fluffy crap that appeals to middle-aged, suburban Christians (men or women) and they may never hear his music because they are too busy listening to songs about themselves instead of Jesus and His Truth. Yet, what he is doing is more important. And I find your criticism offensive.

I can only say that you should be glad that my wife enjoys your music because I for one have no plans of supporting you in the future.
-- Chris

9/19/2006  
Blogger Matt said...

^ Roberts, what on earth are you talking about? I for one think those against the Mockingbird campaign, "doth protest too much," and I think some of the comments posted by people here are out of line at times. But Roberts, "I find your comment offensive." It's unfounded, over the top, and you've completely missed the point. I'm on Webb's side on this as well, but your statement is ridiculous.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Chaotic Hammer said...

Ouch. Low blow, Chris?

In the interest of full disclosure, I encourage everyone to read the previous thread on Shlog which Chris is referring to, where the discussion about Derek Webb's demographic target and market impact came up. I don't see any harsh words from Shaun there at all, he's clearly "thinking out loud" as he often does, and asking questions about ways that he can impact an audience, by using Derek as an example. Ironically, it was Shaun being accused of "being a liberal" that sparked the discussion on that thread. The full context of the discussion, from beginning to end, is critical, Chris. Please read it carefully.

As should be the case when we read the Bible, I think that context is everything here, in this entire discussion. Clearly the context of this discussion about Free Derek Webb has been removed from the realm Shaun intended, which was one of friendly and fruitful discussion, and has now become an all-out discord and accusation fest.

I feel strongly that it is time to end the spirit of strife, and return to a spirit of unity here. That's not to whitewash over that there are divergent viewpoints here on this issue, but it is to say that like so many other matters in Christian living, we have to agree to disagree and move on.

There are people who are uncomfortable with the way the marketing on Free Derek Webb was handled. They have stated their case, and need to move on. There are those who have come to Derek's defense, and clearly don't understand the objection. They have stated their case, and need to move on.

When the tone has moved from one of civil discussion to one of accusation, it has ceased to be fruitful. I guarantee you (because he said so) that Derek Webb wanted to spark discussion and debate by releasing Mockingbird, but not this discussion. Have you ever watched a family argue? That's what is happening here. We're all on the same side, and I bet that every single person who has made any comment on this thread could gather together in person, in the same room, and break bread, and pray, and laugh and cry together, and be about the business of the Kingdom. And that's how it should be. It's time for grace and healing.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I deleted my last comment (which preceded) Chaotic Hammers only to fix a run on sentence. Here it is with that sentence fixed. No other changes...

"you have taken shots at Derek in the past. In another blog post you said his music didn't appeal enough to a wider audience. You said his music should appeal more to 30 year old women. You said it wasn't fit for Christian radio. On these points you are correct. yet you said all of this in a critical way."

The statements you are referring to actually occurred in the comments of a blog post, which I can't even find to quote here. He was not the subject of the post or of the comments. He came up as an example of what was being discussed, and it was not a negative example in the least. But as I said I can't even find the thing so that we can discuss it civilly. If you can, please do so. I'll gladly go through it with you.

That said, I don't like being misquoted. It would make me angrier if I believed you did it intentionally. I don't think that's the case. But it's happened now twice on Derek's board. And now in my own backyard. ; ) That's a bit different. I've worked hard to have some degree of credibility with folks here and your comments now undermine that, even if unintentionally. And I believe it is unintentional. So as un-defensively as I can, I'd like to defend myself kindly.

Words have very specific meanings and tones implied with them. I choose them carefully - well, most of the time. Because of that I know I am confident I've never said any of the following:

1.Derek's music doesn't "appeal enough to a wider audience"
I have said, in the comments of the post in question, that Derek's music does not appeal to the CCM Adult Contemporary female 40ish audience that makes up the majority of CCM music buyers. Again, he was a fleeting case study, a brief example, and not at all the focus of the topic. And he was treated with respect and the sort of kindness I'd want him to speak about me with in the process. I also said I liked that about Derek - his narrower appeal. This is a measurable fact, btw, seeing as how his label, in the Tennessean article published recently, said as much - stating that Derek has sold 20K units. That's not widespread appeal. And that's not bad either. In fact, I think Derek would agree with me that he's not popular with the majority/average AC CCM music buyer and radio listener. It's a fact. It's a fact we discussed kindly in the comments of one post long ago. And a dang good fact to be proud of. He has a unique audience, not the majority. THAT is what I've said. And that is far different than your misrepresentation of my words.

2.Derek's music "should appeal more to 30 year old women".
I know I didn't say this because I've never thought it. I DON'T think Derek, or anyone else for that matter, should change their musical trajectory to appeal to women who are 30. Some people naturally make music those folks enjoy and benefit from but I don't think, and never have thought, that someone, especially Derek, with a different audience, enjoying and benefiting from their music, should change and go after another audience - especially an audience (30-40 year old women) that is so overly serviced at the moment by AC CCM music's majority. Again, this is a lie you've told that needs to be cleared up lest anyone truly believe I've been critical of Derek. I respect him and love his music and I do so, in part, because I'm not a 30ish female who listens to AC CCM music.

3. Derek's music "wasn't fit for Christian radio".
Again, I've never said that. What I said was that Derek's music wasn't being played by AC CCM radio. Is it "fit" for it? As in good enough? Absolutely. It's better, when measured by my tastes - but who measures that way? ; ) But it's not being played unfortunately. So, "fit" as in meeting the wants of radio program directors at AC CCM stations right now? No, it's not. This time, you didn't tell a lie so much as you used a word with a negative meaning, a word I never used to describe Derek's music.

You're a reverend, according to your screen name. I have no reason to think you're not a great one too. Now imagine you preach a sermon about divorce. It's in the bible. God says he hates it. You preach that because you're a good reverend. Your not mean about it. You just tell the truth as you see it. Then the hate mail comes in. Some folks think you shouldn't ever talk about divorce because it will make divorced people feel bad. Others think it's taboo because now divorced people won't want any part of your church or your God. Still others, a very small minority, go around telling people you said stuff you never said like "The rev said God hates divorced people." How would that feel to you? Better, is that right?

Now talking about a marketing device isn't talking about divorce. And I never said God hated this marketing plan of Derek's. In fact I said I liked it AND had reservations about it. And I blamed my reservations on my being a little too old to fully trust the internet. (Geez, I just bought something on-line for the first time six months ago. Fear? Absolutely.) But the analogy is somewhat helpful in that when you preach you are giving a mixture of facts and opinions and run the risk always of having someone vilify you in your church, dishonor you in a sense, misrepresent you by saying you said and believed things in fact you just don't. I didn't do that to Derek and I'd like you to be more careful about doing that to me. Treat me the way you want folks in your church to treat you when they disagree with you. And you wouldn't want them quoting you incorrectly. That's just dangerous.

Honestly, I do enough damage to myself without you helping me out. If you're not sure what the truth is - what I've actually said - then don't quote me until you do. Find the quotes you're referring to and I'll gladly admit guilt where appropriate and apologize promptly. As it is, we disagree about what I've said about Derek in the past. I've said this on his site, in the media, and here: I love Derek, respect Derek, and own his music. I wish that were clearer. And that is bound to be at least partly my fault. I should be more careful and communicate more clearly.

Looking forward to discussing those quotes with you soon.

-Shaun
shaunfanmail@bellsouth.net

PS. A word to my supporters/family/friends/fans/readers. Please, if anyone ever says anything remotely negative about me or anything I do, think or say, be careful how you respond. Your response, to some people, in a way, represents me. There are some, not the rev today, who have been truly hateful toward me in their defense of Derek (calling me names on his board and in e-mail) and that behavior does not accurately represent the artist they love so much or his God. I think we'd all, me included, benefit from a little more kindness and empathy and perhaps a little time to cool down and regain perspective too. This is a post about marketing and ethics and free and innovation - not the deity of Jesus. It was never as big a deal to me as it has become in the comments and elsewhere. It was a thought to ponder on a slow blog day. The molehill is officially a mountain. Let's regain our composure and resume talking only if we can do so peacefully and maturely...and accurately. Thanks.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thank you CH. Appreciate that. Again, I've learned a lot. Thanks to all side for that. I'm still not on one side. But I have much more to ponder than before.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

CH, someone had a problem with wording there. I deleted their protest comment and now ask you to clarify what you meant by "understand."

CH, do you mean some Derek supporters don't "agree" with the objection, which is different than don't "understand" the objection? You may have meant "agree" but just for peace sake I'm being very careful trying not to let this thing devolve into a fight again. Would you agree that this is what you meant and that you meant no attack on one side of this debate?

9/19/2006  
Blogger Chaotic Hammer said...

Shaun - Yes, that's exactly what I meant -- "agree". It took me several times of re-reading the word "understand" in my context to see how it could be misunderstood or taken a different way, but now I get it. :-)

I like your word "agree" better, to make it more clear. I didn't mean that they were having trouble "comprehending" what the objection was, but simply that they didn't agree with it.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

I love ethics. I especially love the study of Christian Ethics. It is a fascinating subject. I think in America, there are two types of Christian ethics. Those that are represented by the Gospel, mostly found in that Love passage in Corinthians and encompassed fully and completely in the sometimes confounding words and actions of Jesus. Then there are those "Christian Ethics" that are found in the everyday market place that find their roots in these places but seek to find function in a system that encourages self-promotion and personal gain. Now that second one sounded bad. I don't think it is sometimes. It is not bad for me to go make a living to feed me and my family. It is just weird when you get into those 'grey' areas. Should there even BE 'grey' areas to a Christian? Well that’s why they are called grey, because we don't know because the Gospels and the Bible isn’t clear.

We were asked to play for a conference at Yale on "Ethics in the Market Place” It was hosted by some of the biggest financial gurus in current Business world. All of those incredible men there were plagued by some of the questions that we are discussing here. Where do you draw the line? What does "free" mean? Is "free" to a Christian business man different than normal accepted definition of "free" in terms of money. It was one interesting subject among several others. I personally think it is pretty darn healthy for Christians to discuss some of these issues. If we can examine ourselves in a spirit of kindness then we can avoid the worst possible witness - hypocrisy.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Well said, Seth.

Now, I've taken the lilberty - because it's my blog and my post that startd all this - to go outside the blog to the biggest expert I know for wisdom. I e-mailed Seth Godin today - author, speaker, definitely an expert on marketing, business and the consumer mind.

I pointed him to Derek's own description of the giveaway on his site, to freederekwebb.com, to this blog and to the Tennessean article about the campaign's success. I've asked him to weigh in on several specific questions. We'll see if he does. This is very much the kind of thing he blogs about daily. Who knows, maybe Derek will get a mention on Seth's hugely popular blog and get even more business and support thrown his way. We can hope.

Shaun

9/19/2006  
Blogger Brody Harper said...

Has anyone mentioned (or noticed) that Derek's website (derekwebb.com) you are only aloud to visit portions of the site, (the message board not included) without "signing in"? Derek's site is one of the few artist sites that i have seen that happen. Why do i need to give my email address if i want to read Dereks journal? Just curious if this has been going on longer than the Mockingbird thing?

PS. I love Derek Webb, I love Shaun Groves... i could care less about this discussion, and think everyone needs to relax about it. Those that are relaxed.... good job.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

I have a few final comments on this post.

-Seth Godin?! That's so cool.

-At 58 comments and counting, all I can say is that I'm stinking glad I am revamping your site, Shaun. RSS comment feeds are on the way.

-For what it's worth, I just bought Mockingbird via iTunes and I love what I've heard so far.

Derek's great. Shaun's great. Heck....I'm great. ;-)

Let's be constructive instead of destructive. Here are a couple options:
1. If you're comfortable with it, go download Derek's album.
2. If not, go buy it.
3. While you're at it buy Shaun's as well and let's support indie artists who are sharing and speaking things that need to be heard.

9/19/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cachinnator & Jeff Stables, this is Kicks & Giggles anonymous. About your comments...

I don't believe I deceived Derek. In fact, I deleted the file I downloaded from freederekwebb.com. My conscience is clear.

I was curious: would it work? It did. I see no problem with "testing the water" when I already have the CD sitting 10 feet away from me. The only real issue that could be considered in this scenario is the loss of bandwidth. But bandwidth can be wasted in a variety of ways.

Do I believe it would be unethical to download the album by providing fake e-mails if I intended to keep the music and hadn't previously purchased the CD? Sure.

However, the site says it's free...and nowhere does it say that participation is required, although the way the website is set up suggests so.

9/19/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

It never ceases to amaze me how some people just cannot let a topic die. The last word must be theirs no matter what that word may be. I think all sides of the issue have been discussed enough and it's time to move on. There. My last word.

Beth

9/19/2006  
Blogger Brody Harper said...

but.... but... but... wait... oh, nevermind

9/19/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

What is that song I hear . . is it . . . why yes, it is . . . it's Styx
"Don't let it end this wayyyyyyyyy"

Or, let it end. Brody, I've been relaxed for a while. Not at all amazed at how long this has gone on. My opinion has not changed; but I hope your okay with that. Let's agree to disagree. For those still wearing a scowl - hugs, kisses, let's move on. It's been an interesting conversation.

9/19/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Word.

9/20/2006  
Anonymous Jeffrey J. Stables said...

Word up.

And I win. I'm right.

*maniacal laughter ensues*

9/20/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're kidding me, right? You actually are talking about a fellow artist b/c he is allowing people to download his album FOR NO CHARGE if they tell 5 other people. By the way, the site explicitly states that they don't keep any of your friends info, and you get to write the message. Not to mention the fact YOU DON'T HAVE TO DOWNLOAD IT. You can just buy it. No need feeling 'torn' about it at all. Maybe you realize it's a pretty neat way to publicize the album. Maybe you really have reservations about it. Ok. so don't do it. All the real ethical dilemmas that are facing the Church today, and this is the issue you want to focus on? This non-issue? Really? It seems divisive and petty. I don't get it. It just goes to show you can't make everybody happy all the time.

9/20/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

There's that last word again!

Beth

9/20/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

Shaun, did you ever hear from Seth? I'm curious to hear what he had to say.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Haven't heard from him but I've been having e-mail problems (kicking back mail sent to me) this week so, who knows? Maybe he wrote and gave up when it kicked back.

-Shaun

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Cach, Seth does write often about word choices and how they create perceptions and expectations (tell a story) and writes passionately about "promises" (expectations) and even defines success this week on his blog as keeping them. I wondered this morning then if his answer to this marketing ethics argument of ours would include some fo the following...

1.Words mean different things to different people and that A.to those who defined "opportunity" as "not required" the download process could seem like a promise unkept. B. But to those who didn't define "opportunity" in this way the promise was kept and they walked away tickled about getting great free music and inviting their friends to do the same.

2. Then there's the "free" with it's various definitions. Buy one get one free is free with a requirement upfront. The stuff I put on my curb with a "free" sign attached is free in the sense that I ask for nothing in exchange and don't even want to know who takes it. Those defining "free" one way were thrilled with the download process and those who defined it another were thrilled but reluctant or not thrilled and both were the obvious minority - holding to a definition not held by the majority anymore (or maybe ever?).

3. I think Seth might, based on other stuff I've read by him, urge marketers in the music biz considering this kind of promotion to word things more carefully as not to accidentally create expectations they don't mean to set in the first place, to be sure the only promises being made are the promises they can keep. That, I think Seth might say, is success.

But we don't know. These are just my guesses based on having read all his books now and his blog daily. I'm a bit of a fanboy I admit. His writing is so simple and "why didn't I think of that" that it would have been great to have his input.

Any other Seth fans have a guess on what he might contribute to this conversation? Just curious.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

One more on Seth. He wrotes ages ago about a "free" ebook he was offering for "Free" download on his blog.

"Knock Knock is now available for you to read for free. It's a short take on how to use the new online marketing tools to make any website work more effectively.

...Here's the file. It's sort of large, so if you want to post it on your own site, or email it to your friends, please go right ahead. I'll post a list of other sites that are hosting it as soon as you send me the URL where you've posted. The only rules are no changes, no commerce."

No strings BUT a REQUEST to pass it on virally and an incentive (to bloggers anyway) for doing so (Seth offers to post your URL on-line as a place to download his ebook, which could give you traffic). Wonder if this is a solution to this current dilemma (mmong the few) and how effective this would be compared to requiring a pass along (requiring email addresses of friends). Probably not as effective but the direction I'm leaning for my own future "Free" music distribution anyway.

Shaun

9/21/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

I'm a bit of a Seth fan as well and in addition to what you've said, I also wonder if Seth would say something along the lines of - know your audience. Don't get too bent out of shape about definitions - just try to be sure that you have the same definition as your target audience.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

And you know, you and I probably aren't Derek's target. So isn't it OK then that we didn't define things as he and his fans did - if, in fact, as I believe, Derek wasn't intentionally trying to pull a fast one?

Shaun

9/21/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

True.

I do have to wonder if this promotion would have been even more effective if the definition had not been a bit on the narrow side of reaching his entire potential audience. I'd imagine that we're on the fringe of his target, perhaps older in age but identifying a bit more with the twenty somethings than the thirtysomethings.

I completely agree that Derek was NOT trying to pull a fast one. I just wonder if perhaps a slightly broader definition would have garnered a broader audience.

So as not to criticize without offering my own ideas, perhaps the album download could have had no requirements, but then there could have been a video, an extra mp3, a digital booklet or some other bonus for those who invited their friends.

We should start a pool on how many comments this post will ultimately attract. My original post only got 20 comments. Clearly you're more popular. I think it's the hair. It's ok. I'm secure.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Or maybe I should have just left that comment at:

True.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

The hair's coming off soon, so let's hope not.

Great idea I think - for me - to give somethinng away for friends' e-mail addresses. Honestly, I'D still be reluctant to give them, even for a cool prize, but I'm paranoid. We've established that. For the young set comfortable with such things though, what a great idea.

You know, I want to give my music away majorly. unfortunately, right now, I don't own it. On the live disc I'll own the recordings but not the songs themselves - so again I won't be able to give it away. But the disc after that, if there is one, I'd like to give for free from the beginning.

Don't have the economics worked out, but I do think it's the way to go, and adding a DVD or some other goody for spreading it seems only fair to the folks doing the work for me. A label gets a cut; why not the fan?

(82 is my guess and I could post a link to it over at cmcentral and get there by lunch. But should I? Hmmm...)

9/21/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

Okay, let's play connect the dots to form a possible picture:

1) Give away an extra "goodie" for sharing Shaun with friends

2) The hair is coming off soon

Hmmmmm . . . I see possibilities.

(I'll say 91)

9/21/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Cach - I'm pregnant. I did not need that bit of information.

Shaun - I just replied to your email and I copied to your gmail account.

I don't know the ins and outs of the music business, but it sure seems crazy that you don't own your own songs.

Just a question here, but does their need to be another "album?" You're the second artist I've talked to (okay, typed to) this week who has mentioned uncertainty about future "albums". Of course I'm sure a full album is probably preferable, but is it possible, pratical or at all beneficial to release a song as it's written?

(146)

9/21/2006  
Blogger Cristy said...

Hilarious cach!

Shaun, just out of curiousity, why is the hair coming off? Before or after the live recording?

I think giving away goodies for sharing you with friends is a great idea. (uh...you can keep the hair, though.)

9/21/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Shaun,

Just because Mary got her hair cut this week (very short for the first time) doesn't mean to have to follow suit. Unless of course it's to please your wife, then by all means, get it cut buster! Mary saved her trimmings for Brian (she's always liked him better you know :) ) out of pity. What are you planning to do with your shorn locks?

(123)

Beth

9/21/2006  
Blogger Cristy said...

When I cut 13 inches off my hair two years ago, I gave it to Locks of Love. (locksoflove.org)

(106)

9/21/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

cach,
You said the same thing when I talked about what to do with left-over hair a few weeks ago. Does hair without a body disturb you that much, yet you happily post this! (WARNING: Kat - do not look at cach's post, unless you want to induce morning sickness)

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Good idea, but mine's not quite that long. I have no idea how much I'm getting cut off. A trim next week and something radical after the recording.

About songs...
I own most of my publishing but not all. I have a better deal than most with a great publisher/friend.

Why an album...
Ok, I'm scared to bring this up while the idea is still forming because it may never materialize, but I was wondering about writing a mass. A mass is a box to write in. I write well in boxes, with some structure or theme or map to follow. Weird. A mass is basically a series of movements (songs) all having to be about certain themes. In the Catholic church the movements have to have specific lyrics as well but I won't abide by those rules...just the themes. Just a thought.

Now, the mass would make sense as single songs sure, but all together pretty stinking cool...to a nerd like me anyway.

Another idea I've had is to write an album that's a story. Every song would have a video and be released one at a time. The story would unfold over time. Also, cool as individual songs but even better as a collection.

Ideally I'd like to create something that makes sense in pieces but is better as a whole. A little inside metaphor I think. (Again, geek, I know.)

Cach, sorry about your vurp. Kat, sorry about Cach.

Beth, lots of ladies evidentally prefer bald guys. Whatever. ;)

9/21/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Not geeky Shaun.

One of my favorite albums is by Cindy Morgan and it's called The Loving Kind. It's basically the story of Easter told through a series of songs.

Just some more outloud thinking. No need to respond:

If you went with the story idea, I think releasing them individually would really create a lot of viral marketing since they'd all be related and each song would build on the story. The initial promotion could be focused on blogs and more "fan" focused efforts and then when the last song is released the collection could also be released as an album and marketing efforts could be focused on more mainstream media. By that time, there's already a grassroots interest in the album and a buzz about the final release.

I do hope one or both of these album ideas sees the light of day.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Cristy said...

Didn't R. Kelly do that recently? (Told a story through a series of songs.) I'm not a fan of his, but I have teenagers and I vaguely remember hearing talk about listening the next night to hear the rest of the story on one of their radio stations...

9/21/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

I'm fully in favor of the Missa Shlog. In fact, I think the idea is brilliant. One suggestion: why not try to incorporate some of the liturgical lyrics? That'd be sweet! Who else rocks in Latin? I'd love it, but then, I fear I share the geek gene.

Kat, I love that Cindy Morgan album. In fact, I've been working on a staged Easter story using it. And if you liked my previous comment, I've got a post here that uses no less than 9 euphemisms for throwing up. Sorry.

And Euph, yes, it's true I have a bigger problem with disembodied hair than with buttcracks.

9/21/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

Talk about a thread taking an unexpected turn...

And Cristy, I'm not quite willing to consider "Trapped in the Closet" a Mass... or music for that matter...

Call me a snob.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Cristy said...

Cach, I didn't even know what the story was, and I've never heard the songs, so I don't know if I'd consider it music either. I doubt it, though. I just remembered the contination idea from what they said on the radio. Trapped in the Closet sounds pretty scary to me! I'm a 37-year-old soccer mom...so guess what kind of music I listen to.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Cristy said...

oops, should have said 'continuation'

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Some kind soul e-mailed me a little validation. I'm not alone in my reservations about entering five friends' addresses apparently. And check out how these people are getting five addresses to enter. Shady.

And I quote...

"Arg. No one told me about the five friends thing- so I couldn't do it. I don't know five people who wouldn't cuss me out for giving their info. away. I have a couple of different e-mail addresses, but that won't put me up to five. Arg!"

Then...

"How many more you need? one of my addy's is in my profile if ya wanna use it."

And...

"yeah, i didn't know about that either, luckily i was able to come up with five though. (i can give you some of mine too if you need...i have at least two i know). pretty good stuff i must say (never heard his music before today)"

So it's not just the Shaun Groves camp - you know, the people who live to see the careers of all other artists torn assunder by the beasts of paranoia - who were surprised by the five e-mails thing. This is coming from another site and from way before I blogged it or Kat ever blogged it. We didn't create this line of thinking after all.

Phew, I'm not crazy after all. Good to know.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

HOLY SMOLLY. I have been WORKING ON A MASS!!! geeze. Incorporating Latin and the whole shabang. It is half the next album as a matter of fact. Oh well.

Look forward to hearing it when you finish.

I think some old rocker beat us to it back in the 80's though. And of course there is all of those old famous dead guys Mozart, Beethoven, Kenny G.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Seth, music geek to music geek, what's your favorite mass? Mine is Palestrina's Pope Marcellus (sp?) mass, the one he wrote to prove to the Pope polyphony should be allowed in the church. Rebel. Of course naming the thing after the Pope was a brilliant suck up move on his part and so he got his way. I remember hearing it my freshman year at Baylor and crying - not full on, but tearing up - just a little - in one eye I think - and I had allergies at the time so that might have been it... I'd never heard a piece of music that made me cry before.

Anyway, shoot me a copy of your mass sometime. Love to hear it.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

The Palestrina is a friggin Beauty. The whole Pope-suck-up thing was pretty smooth. For me, I would have to say it is a toss up between Mozart's C minor Mass and Bach's B minor Mass. The Mozart was left unfinished and the Bach is HUGE. Both fire my tear-ducts up as well.

I will for sure shoot it your way.

Maybe I'll name mine after Phil.

Fellow Nerd- over and out.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

Weren't you at Baylor when Adler was there? I heard he could be pretty... nice.

9/21/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

I also love the Palestrina. I'm a fan of Mozart's Coronation Mass in C Major and a Glen McClure's Caribbean Mass. Check out that last one. It's wicked different and excellent.

I would love to hear the Masses out of both of you. The Rock Mass? Frickin' greatness. That's bold.

9/21/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

FYI, "Phil" Seth speaks of is my father-in-law, a pastor and Seth's "boss."

Carry on.

9/22/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

x-boss but still our pastor. (sniff, sniff) I have to say, I am going to miss the pranks. He did give me a pretty stinkin' cool vintage leather trench-coat and a uber-nice office chair before we hit the road.

Cach, I have heard about the Caribbean Mass. I heard there is a extra movement about doobies. Sorry, bad joke.

I'll check it out.

9/22/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

It's not so much a 'movement' as a meandering to the fridge for a snack.

9/22/2006  
Anonymous euphrony said...

I just wanted to be Comment #100. Nothing else to say, really.

9/22/2006  
Anonymous keith said...

I almost teared up a little when I heard the intro riff in Switchfoot's "Stars."

9/22/2006  
Blogger ikon said...

wow. i walk away for a few days and this turns into a music geek message board. isn't there some anonymous person out there that can get angry about something and bring this cooment thread back to where it once was?

just for the record - my favorite mass is Journey's 'Faithfully' -- isn't that a mass? maybe not. oh, well.

Seth - I find it interesting that Phil gave you that coat when I asked specifically to have it put in the will for me. That sucks. Just know when he dies - i am coming after it.

Brian

9/22/2006  
Anonymous MusicMan said...

Shaun:

It's great to see you so involved with your fans...and I count myself among them. In fact, I decided to listen to all 38 of your songs while reading. =)

Let me say clearly that I'm a huge Caedmon's Call fan and I love Derek's solo stuff as well. I've received a lot of traffic lately because I linked to Derek's site, and as a result have read some of what's been written online. In my opinion, this situation wasn't handled very well.

First, Derek himself draws a parallel to Keith Green's giveaways. This is problematic in that Keith really did say "take it" and asked for a donation from those so inclined. Isaac Air Freight (a comedy group) did the same, as did a few others. This isn't what Derek did, which is why the parallel isn't a good one. Derek is asking for an opportunity put his name and music in front of your friends. That's not at all the same, and many find the distinction a lot like deceit.

Second, "free" no longer means "free" when it comes to the internet. Every time we read about identity theft we're reminded that our personal information is a valuable commodity. Asking for the personal information of 5 friends APPEARS to be asking for trouble. In this case, Derek isn't using that information for anything more than saying "come get your free album by giving me 5 more people's info". The problem is, in my opinion, the fact that NoiseTrade didn't make the situation abundantly clear up front.

Christians like Derek and you and me should also be concerned about public perception. While Derek's motivation is (in his own words) "survival", that's not why Keith Green did it...another reason that the parallel is unfortunate. Green gave away music because his message was more important to him than his wallet. Derek's giving away music so that he can make enough money to keep spreading his music. I see nothing wrong with either approach...only with suggesting that they're the same thing.

What would I do differently? I'm not sure, as I'm not Derek's accountant. Here's one idea: I'd suggest that signing up for his free album should give you access to a private web page. You could email the link and password to 5 friends, and the web page would only allow 6 total downloads. That's not very complicated from a web development point of view, and would clear up the frustration over being asked to give away others' personal information.

What do you think?

9/22/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

Bring it baby.

I'll probably be too fat for it by then.

9/22/2006  
Blogger priest oduma said...

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2/14/2015  
Blogger priest oduma said...


i want to use this medium to say a big thank you to Dr ODUMA who brought back my ex lover within 48hour after i have been scammed in several occasions. this great Doctor make me to believe that i will smile back again i thought he was scolding me and something in me said give me a chance to prove him self before you give up because in a place were there are 20 bad people there must be a good one inside. then i gave him the chance suddenly, within the next 48 hours my ex lover whom has left me for 3months and never even text or call me just call me that day telling me she was sorry for what he did and that i should please find a place in my hart to forgive her and let her come back home.in fact i don't even know how to thank this great Dr ODUMA for his wonderful spell all i want to be doing now is just to stay at the internet sharing the good news and publishing him email to the world. i believe that there are so many people out there having a relationship problem or another and some finding it hard to believe in spell casters anymore, i want you to know that Dr ODUMA of odumaspelltemple0@gmail.com is real and know doubt about his spell. so contact him today to help you at odumaspelltemple0@gmail.com or call him +4447035969024 thanks for paying attention to my posting.


2/14/2015  

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