A View from Thomas Pimental

Eat a Big Mac, Get Free Music

In the era of Atkins and calorie counting, can free digital music downloads lure the American public back to the fast-food dark side? Following Pepsi, Heineken, and others, McDonald’s becomes the latest company to jump on the free music band…

  • June 4, 2004

In the era of Atkins and calorie counting, can free digital music downloads lure the American public back to the fast-food dark side? Following Pepsi, Heineken, and others, McDonald’s becomes the latest company to jump on the free music band wagon. Starting June 8, anyone who buys a Big Mac Extra Value Meal will get not only a greasilicious serving of McFood, but also an access code enabling them to download one free song from the Sony Connect music service. The promotion will last 6-10 weeks.

While good news for music fans (at least, music fans who can stomach McDonalds food), this is a dicey strategy for the music business. If recording companies continue to give away songs, the perceived value (already as low as 80 cents per download) could drop significantly. Giving away for free what the music industry fought so hard to monetize seems counterproductive.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.