Billboard — March 20, 1999

Sites + Sounds: Tom Petty track on MP3
By Brett Atwood
Billboard — March 20, 1999

Tom Petty is the latest major-label artist to pre-release a track directly to the internet via MP3. However, Petty’s label, Warner Bros. Records, removed the track only two days after it was posted on Web site MP3.com.

The single “Free Girl Now” was downloadable in its entirety a full month before its debut on Petty’s new album, “Echo,” due April 13.

“This is about serving the artist and giving consumers what they want,” says MP3.com CEO Robin Richards, who expects consumers to download 500,000 copies of the track for the duration of the promotion. “I can’t think of a more robust manner to bring attention to a new single or album than the viral nature of the Internet. It has great promotional power.”

Permission to offer the track was granted directly by the artist and his management, rather than the label, according to Richards.

A spokesman for Warner Bros. Records declined to comment on the availability of the track. Petty’s manager, John Diaz, did not return a call seeking comment for this sorry.

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