Jesus Motherfucking Christ. So a few minutes ago, I realized that Marilyn Manson has released his new single “for free” on the internet. I hear that sort of thing is all the rage these days.
Well, in this case, Marilyn Manson has a major record label working for him to make sure everything is nice and fucked up. Let me sort through the dozen or so pop up windows to retrace my steps.
I started at UMG’s Tumblr. Why, I don’t know. That’s the source whose advertisment got the reminder to me first I guess. That site linked me here, to another UMG page, basically identical to the Tumblr page. It even had an identical download link. I thought for a second that maybe the system was broken, and almost went to a torrent site for a quicker transaction. But I pressed on. The second download link took me to Marilyn Manson’s official site. After an unnecessary Flash intro, I noticed a barely visible link to the track, above the logo. I clicked it. That took me to a page that asked me for my email address. I filled that in.
Nothing in my inbox. At this point I fire up a search engine, knowing damn well there’s a dozen sites out there with a torrent or download link one or two clicks away. And just when I was about to visit one, the email appeared. OK, UMG. That was a close one, but I’m still with you.
The email had a link. I clicked it. It took me to a page, that asked me not only for my email address again, but also for my name, my zip code, my gender, the download code, and the permission to send me spam.
I filled it out. This “activated” my download. There was a tiny text link to click, and then finally, my MP3 was incoming.
Seven clicks. Two email address. Name. Gender. Zip code. Download code. A trip to the inbox that may come with a waiting period. All for an MP3. Granted it’s all easier than getting in the car and driving down to Tower Records, but then again this isn’t 1992. We consumers have come to expect an entirely new level of immediacy to our satisfaction.
Illegal distribution isn’t rampant just because it’s cheaper. It occurs because, for consumers, major label distribution is more than a pain in the wallet, it’s a pain in the fucking dick, too. There’s so much talk about how the major labels can’t compete with the illegal “market” where everything is free, but that’s only a small part of the picture.
The only reason I didn’t just get this absolutely “free” track from an “illegal” torrent site is because it could be considered a violation of my bail and land me in federal prison. But for everyone else, it remains a convenience game. iTunes is more expensive than Amazon and Rhapsody, but it’s more popular because it’s a better experience.
Trent Reznor got it right. It was like two quick clicks to get The Slip. As easy as buying from iTunes. If Reznor asks for $2 the next time he does it, I’ll throw in, knowing from experience the service will be swift and effective. Maybe he should start a label.
Oh by the way, the new Manson track is just okay.