In an effort to hustle up ticket sales in a down economy, the band No Doubt is offering an unheard-of incentive to concertgoers who attend their show: Fans who purchase a full-priced ticket ($42.50) will receive a digital download of their entire catalog--for free.
"Since the band is heading back to the road, we wanted to find a cool way to get people listening to our music and stoke them with a great deal at the same time," guitarist Tom Dumont said in a statement. "With this download it’s easy for fans to get psyched up to hear our music live once again and that rocks."
But will it pay off for Gwen Stefani and co.? So far, signs point to "yes."
In summer 2007, Prince gave away three million copies of his latest disc, "Planet Earth," in a U.K. newspaper. Soon after, 15 of his 21 shows at London's O2 Arena sold out within an hour. (Take that, Hannah Montana!) And last year, Bon Jovi fans who wanted presale concert tickets had to spend an extra $9.99 on the band’s upcoming album. The bundle helped "Lost Highway" crown the Billboard 200 with opening-week sales of 291,000 copies, Bon Jovi’s biggest-ever one-week total. (See more innovative rockers here.)
It's a sign of just how much the music business has changed when a band of No Doubt's caliber is using traditional album sales as a loss leader. Music fans are spending much less on music than they were during No Doubt's mid-90s heydey, despite the growing popularity of iTunes. Yet boffo tours remain highly lucrative: Last year, Bon Jovi sold $210.6 million worth of concert tickets; Bruce Springsteen nagged $204.5 million. If No Doubt can pull similar numbers, it's a worthwhile trade.
Either way, when the reunion tour kicks off May 2 (dates here), I'm betting venues -- and iPods -- will be filled to capacity.