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Free McFly CD in Mail on Sunday shows media powershift

Today’s Mail on Sunday in the UK has McFly’s new CD, Radio:Active, as a free insert. Free CDs and DVDs are like confetti in the weekend press these days; but this one is distinctive in that it is new material and comes from a band not yet in the twilight of its career – insofar as these things can be predicted.

The band has its own label, called Super Records, which gives them the freedom for this kind of experiment.

Not so long ago, the CD was itself the upsell – music companies would give away other stuff in order to promote the CD. Now that’s changed; free exchange of digital music has undermined the value of CDs, and McFly has figured out that promoting the band is more important.

But what is the new upsell? Performances, tat, ringtones, digital audio and video downloads. Trouble is, it’s not going to sum to as much as CD sales did in the old days.

Oh well, there’s always the deluxe CD and DVD package, with four extra tracks and a booklet, coming in September. Perhaps not so much has changed after all (except it has).

And the music? Lightweight pop, compressed to hell. No complaints about the lightweight pop; but the sound quality is much worse than on the first and second CDs, Room on the Third Floor and Wonderland.

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