In a post titled Old EMI Email Shows They Knew That Giving Away Songs For Free Leads To More Sales Mike Masnick focuses on an email between EMI employees from 2009:
We are being told that historically the track which is offered for free like this is usually still the top selling track in digital retail.
The label has given us a further explanation of why they pursue this strategy. One promotional MP3 per album is the best way they can virally promote the albumwhich will increase sales and thus revenue on the compositional side as well as the master recording side. This promotional technique has proven to be so effective, that virtually every free track they have issued from an album has maintained itself as the top selling track from the album. It also enables them to offer something from the album to the myriad of sites, blogs, podcasts out there that would be tempted to give away unauthorized materials, perhaps the entire album, if they do not have the option to feature a track that they offer to them. This control mechanism is vital to their methods of slowing piracy of albums.
And yet the liars at the RIAA continue to insist that free music has no promotional value. Why are these incompetents still employed, and why on earth do our politicians show such deference? (I know, the politicians are bought and paid for by the lobbyists.)