The other day I came across some Tunnel Motor songs in my iTunes that I’ve had floating around for a few years now. I liked the songs “Revenge” and “Cresson” quite a bit when I first got them, but filed the band away in the back of my head as something I would pay attention to the next time they released something. Well, it’s been a while now, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and find out what‘s going on with this band.
It turns out that the band runs its own label, 80H Records, and distributes all their music for free online. Yeah, you read me right. Tunnel Motor has an album, a really good one, called With Fins, that you can download right now….for free. It reminds me of the raw roots rock of a band like Lucero mixed with the lo-fi pop-rock of prime Guided By Voices.
Tunnel Motor guitarist Andy Hooker recently emailed me to shed some light on this interesting marketing strategy. “I wanted to make everything free so that more people would give it a listen. I think it can be difficult to convince someone to spend money on a band they have never really heard before. Once someone has established a fan base it's a little easier to get people to buy an album.”
I originally started the label as a way to put our music and friends' music out. I thought people would be more likely to listen to a band or artist if there was another band/artist they already enjoyed on the same label. It's been something of a networking thing... hoping that if you put a few bands together people will notice one and explore the others.
Right now, as far as I know, everyone on the label has a day job. I have no income from the band or the label. One benefit is that there is no pressure to make something that is a "product" and has to actually sell. Also, a lot of us record at home so we don't have thatexpense of the recording studio. I've paid to have a few things mastered here and there and we have done some recording in a real studio but for the most part we just do it all ourselves.”
Download With Fins right now by clicking here.
Tunnel Motor will be playing live in Brooklyn on March 24 @ Rocky's
351 Kent Ave