Rock Band Offspring Spurns Sony, Releases Album Online

Offspring, a multiplatinum rock band, has plans to tangle with the recording industry — an industry already embroiled in a pending lawsuit with MP3 swapping service Napster — by posting a forthcoming album on the Internet more than a month before it hits the stores. The band, believing that downloadable songs bolster sales, not hinder them, hopes that the free Internet-accessible album will hike up sales of the CD.

Sony, the band's record label, has contested the give away saying that it is a violation of their contract. Offspring's endeavor, however, a genuine refusal to kowtow to Sony and the recording industry's demands, calls into question how the recording industry can maintain that free file-swapping services such as Napster kill profits when one of the top rock 'n' roll bands is using the software to promote its new album.

“The reality is that this album is going to end up on the Internet whether we want it to or not,” said Offspring singer Dexter Holland. “So we thought, 'Why don't we just do it ourselves?' We're not afraid of the Internet. We think it's a very cool way to reach our fans.”

The band's first single “Original Prankster,” will be available for download Sept. 22 at and other online sites, including Napster. The band intends to post the entire album by late October, almost a month before the CD goes on sale in stores.

Included with the downloadable album is a contest that will offer fans a chance to win $1 million simply by downloading the first single and registering their e-mail address with the band. The winner will be announced on MTV Nov. 14, the same day the album hits stores. In addition, to those who actually go out and buy the disc, the band intends to e-mail an additional unreleased track once a month through spring 2001 and give away a bunch of original online animations. CD buyers will also have access to other perks, such as the right to buy prime seats in advance to upcoming Offspring concerts.

“It's our way of saying, 'Hey, we know you could've just gotten it for free and we think it's great that you went out and bought it,'” said Holland.

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