Underworld Gives Away Free CDs to Fans at Denver Concert

We don’t hear many stories about prominent artists going the extra mile for fans – particularly if it means a hit to their wallet. But Underworld is currently doing so by giving away a copy of its just-released CD, Oblivion With Bells, to each ticket buyer who attended a troubled September 11 performance in the Denver area

Underworld, an electronic-music duo consisting of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, was originally scheduled to perform alongside Paul Oakenfold at Red Rocks, whoce capacity is in the 9,000-person range. Ticket sales weren’t up to snuff, however, so the venue was changed to the Fillmore Auditorum, which accomodates just south of 4,000. In most instances, such switches aren’t a big deal. But according to Scott Kanov of Live Nation, who corresponds via e-mail, “This was a special case, as we had quite a few fans traveling from out of state and, in some cases, overseas.

“On a personal level,” Kanov continues, “the president of the Denver office [Perry Lavoisne] and myself are hugely passionate fans of the band and wanted to make sure their experience in Denver was all positive.” The notion of the CD handout surfaced in this context, and Kanov notes that “the band embraced the idea – and the reaction from the fans when Karl announced the giveaway onstage was phenomenal.”

Making this concept a reality was a challenge, since the discs weren’t available at the time of the concert. Questions immediately cropped up, which Underworld has attempted to answer on this portion of its MySpace page. The key section reads:

- Those who paid by credit card, we have your address. CDs will be sent to the same address your tickets were sent to.

- Those of you who paid by cash or purchased at the venue, you were asked for your address at the show in Denver.

- CDs will be shipped the week commencing Monday October 15th

Kanov concedes that “this has been a fairly complicated project for us, as we’re not really in the CD distribution business.” Nevertheless, he goes on, “it is gratifying to know that we were able to turn what could have been a big disappointment for Underworld and their fans into something we hope will leave everyone feeling good about the show.”

It certainly should – especially if it starts a trend of performers doing more than might seem necessary to make sure their supporters aren’t shortchanged. – Michael Roberts

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