Reciprocal to Power Black Crowes Web Promotion

V2 Records aims to promote the new release of The Black Crowes online by giving away live music — and protecting it using technology from digital rights management firm Reciprocal.

To promote “Lions,” which is due in U.S. stores on May 8, V2 is making live Black Crowes performances available for listening online — but only if fans have the “Lions” CD in their computer’s CD-ROM drive when they access the tracks. The label will post one new live track each week.

Additionally, the effort will allow fans to create their own live Black Crowes CDs if they’ve purchased “Lions.” Consumers who register their CD purchase at the site will receive digital permits allowing repeat listens and downloads. When they register, fans also get the right to burn one full concert to a CD.

New York-based Reciprocal will provide the technology behind the effort, by securely packaging and distributing music streams based on Microsoft’s Windows Media digital rights management platform. Terms were not disclosed of the work.

For V2 Records, the promotion is a way to provide an additional service to fans of the band while promoting sales, said label president Richard Sanders.

“The partnership between Reciprocal and The Black Crowes on the upcoming promotion in support of their new CD “Lions” will redefine the meaning of ‘added value,'” Sanders said. “In a time of consumer backlash when fans are questioning the value of music, the Crowes are offering their fans the ultimate musical experience. The opportunity to have access to a library of live recordings is unprecedented and only enhances the Crowes reputation.”

Meanwhile, while digital rights management platforms like Reciprocal’s are generally thought of as a way to limit the use of copyrighted digital works to a purchaser, Reciprocal’s agreement with V2 Records also attests to DRM’s usefulness in online marketing. Since digital music is duplicated and traded so easily, label promoters can use digital rights management providers’ tools to control the spread of their music clips online — for instance, by making clips expire after a certain amount of time.

“Reciprocal is thrilled to be working with V2 and The Black Crowes and to play such a significant role in this highly anticipated album launch,” said Larry Miller, president of Reciprocal’s Entertainment unit. “This promotion is a wonderful example of companies actually ‘doing’ secure digital music distribution, as opposed to simply ‘talking’ about it. We are confident that our industry-leading services will go a long way toward making secure streaming and digital distribution an enjoyable, simple and valuable experience for our customers and in turn, consumers.”

The effort is the latest by Reciprocal in the area. Earlier this year, the firm provided secure streams from Jennifer’s Lopez’ new album “J.Lo” in an online “listening party,” before the CD came out in stores. It’s also done similar work for Run-DMC, De La Soul and Pearl Jam.

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