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More confirmation: The future of marketing is in word of mouth

This month, the song Crazy by Gnarls Barkley made musical history as it climbed to number one in the UK charts before a single hard copy of the album was released. Who needs CDs? Crazy hit the top based purely on downloads. They lit the fire by setting up a Myspace page which streamed the entire album, then supplemented that with the official Gnarles Barkley website. After that, they let the buzz take care of the rest and made history. I’m reminded of last month, when 37signals released their book Getting Real available only as a PDF download for $19. There is no printed version. Within one day of release they had sold over 1,750 copies, which translates to over $33,000 in sales. With almost no advertising (they promoted it on their blog) and no publishing company to grab their chunk, the profitability of this kind of delivery is undeniable. Plus, you just can’t buy the kind of promotional momentum delivered by a group of pumped up fans. No matter what industry you’re in. As for Gnarls Barkley, I’ve been listening to the album on constant repeat ever since I got my copy. I’ve also become part of the marketing plan myself, as I’ve demanded all of my friends check it out or I’ll never speak to them again.

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