Update: I now have a country music blog here 4000 Miles to Nashville where this article has been repotsed and future Ashton Lane album review will appear – go read
A few days ago I was followed on Twitter by @ashtonlane, whose bio reads: If you like LADY ANTEBELLUM, THE CIVIL WARS AND THE BAND PERRY you may enjoy our 7 FREE SONGS!!!: CLICK HERE! ashtonlaneinnercircle.com/7freesongst. Now in spite of the excessive use of capitals I did read it, and I do like Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry, and even The Civil Wars to a lesser extent. So it was only natural for me to click the link on the promise of 7 free songs – who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?
Once on the website I was met with a video of the band, two guys and a girl, thanking me for clicking through and welcoming me. Now at this point the video stopped playing thanks to a less than reliable connection at work, but I was intrigued enough to fill in my name and email address on the accompanying form, after all, they were giving me free songs. The lure of free music must have been pretty strong as this part of the website does look a little too much like those websites offering free trials for all manner of irrelevant products and services we’ve grown used to enduring on the world wide web.
Once I’d gained access to the next stage I was greeted with another video, this time telling me a bit more about the band, who by this point I know are Scottish. Also on the same page as the second video and as part of the video was an offer for me to buy their latest album, 2 EPs, 2 videos, be added to their VIP list and more extras I don’t even remember. Now this whole bundle of Ashton Lane bounty was being sold at the bargain price of $7. I say bargain because the price is stated as $25, but if I act right then and buy, I’d get it for just $7. What you have to understand is there is also a message telling me that I can only accept this offer at this point, and if I decline and continue to get my 7 free originally promised songs, then I won’t be able to get this package at $7 again.
Before I go any further there’s one thing you have to understand about me; I don’t download music. I have to own the CD or in some cases, and where available, the vinyl copy of albums I like. I’ve not joined the digital revolution for music yet, though I do of course rip all my CDs to put on my iPod, but you know what I mean. Consider that as I tell you that I didn’t download my 7 free songs, but instead paid $7 to get the aforementioned digital bundle of Ashton Lane music. The reasons for that are as follows:
- Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry are among my favourite modern country bands, so any comparison to them gets my attention
- I like the way the videos were very informal and humble, and they felt very personal and honest. I felt Ashton Lane were talking to me, not just anyone who stumbled upon their website
- $7 is £4.34 for us Brits, and that’s a ridiculously low price for all that was on offer
- The samplers that I eventually played after reading all the sales notes were very good
- In spite of me working in marketing, I’m a sucker for a well marketed product, especially one that appeals to me many levels already
I did it, I paid for and subsequently downloaded my very first digital album: Magic in the Air by Ashton Lane. It’s worth noting that at this point I’d forgotten all about the 7 free songs and it hasn’t crossed my mind until I started writing this article. The album itself is really good, no, I’ll go further than that and say it’s brilliant. The album is very well produced containing songs that are well written, catchy melodies and lead vocals by Esther that you’d expect to hear from a native of Nashville, not Scotland. I’ve listened to it twice in the last few days and look forward to really taking it in with more listens over the coming weeks. They are bang on with likening themselves to Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry and are not just name dropping them for the sake of getting’s people’s attention, which did work in my case.
My $7 payment gives me access into the inner sanctum of the Ashton Lane website, but that’s something I’m yet to explore. Since I paid I’ve had a few more emails with links to more songs that are mine to download for free, so it could turn out to be the best $7 I’ve ever spent. From following me on Twitter based on my country music tweets and who I follow, to their very well presented message, and finishing with a superb album; Ashton Lane are to be commended both for their music and their marketing guile. It’s a different world in the music business these days and Ashton Lane are an example of how to do it right. I urge any fan of country music and music in general to check them out now, you won’t be disappointed.