Back in 2004, George Michael announced that he was turning his back on the music industry, vowing that he would never make another album for sale in record shops. Instead, in future he would give his music away for free online. On Christmas Day he gave away a brand new track, but how many people noticed?
George Michael is possibly one of the greatest stars the music business has ever seen, so when he announced in 2004 that he intended to turn his back on the music industry, it came as quite a shock. The 100 million album-selling artist would no longer sell future albums in shops, but instead release his music on the Internet for free. In return he hoped that fans would donate money to charity.
A few weeks ago there were a handful of news articles reporting that George would release a new track in December but there has hardly been a NIN or Radiohead media surge, although maybe that’s understandable since it’s just one track.
However, as promised, on Christmas Day “December Song” quietly appeared on GeorgeMichael.com as a completely free download.
In recent years George Michael has had little problem bursting the capacity of every venue he’s appeared at, with tickets to his last tour changing hands on eBay for $2000+. That said, I think I expected quite a bit more hype to go with this song, but maybe George isn’t that interested in the ‘game’ anymore. Maybe the song hasn’t been well received? I expected to see the song on his Wikipedia page, but as of now there is no mention.
Those wishing to listen at this stage may have a problem. It may exist officially elsewhere, but a day after release and “December Song” has disappeared from Michael’s website. However, fans who haven’t heard the track don’t have to be disappointed. A torrent for the track is alive and kicking on The Pirate Bay, which brings me to the point of this post.
Many file-sharers like to promote a donation model so, if you can afford it, don’t forget George Michael’s message. No threats of being sued, just a simple request that people consider donating a little to charity if they download the track. He lists several charities on his site, including Breast Cancer Campaign, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, but I expect he wouldn’t mind if your chosen charity got the money instead.