Continuing my quarterly habit of rounding up some of the more informative and thought-provoking content in the new music literature…
First off, Cory Doctorow shares his views in The real cost of free, a fantastic opinion piece summarizing many of my own views about copyright, piracy, free content, and creativity. Required reading.
The Musicians Guide To Fan-Funding is an introductory guide to another hot topic in the new music press. We also have an example of this in action within the psytrance scene: Younger Brother is fan-funding their next album. Bluetech and KiloWatts are also seeking to fund their Invisible Allies project in the same way.
Music Think Tank is a great source of news and views. Here are a few of the articles I liked most over the last few months: The Artist 2.0 Manifesto, For Musicians: 10 Tips For Turning Your Fanbase Into A Tribe, Finding 5,000 Fans Under Your Nose: A Case for Facebook Ads, and 20 Alternative Ways To Create A Sustainable Career In Music.
Bandcamp is a great DIY music distribution platform that, until recently, was free for artists to use. Now that they have announced their long-awaited business model, Bandcamp is imposing restrictions on free downloads–a topic explored by Jason Sigal in the excellent article Who Pays For Free? Bandcamp Imposes a Business Model and David Nemeth in Bandcamp Is Dead. After the initial ambiguity surrounding the status of free downloads was cleared up in Free Downloads & Power-Ups, the situation looks like this: Bandcamp will offer new users 200 free downloads, recharged monthly. If you want more you will have to pay. Put this in perspective: any release I post here on Ektoplazm is downloaded 200 times in the first 8 to 12 hours and I don’t charge a dime. Maybe I need a business model!
Musicians want to make money, do they? Here are some tips in the ever-popular list format: 45 Ways to Earn a Living in Music Beyond Selling MP3s and Merch Table Essentials: 15 Ways For Musicians To Increase Sales, Fans and Efficiency.
Still into the idea of selling recorded music for some reason? 4 Reasons Why Fans Are File-Sharing Your Music (That You Can Change…) lists off a few things you can do to motivate listeners to spend money instead of downloading from illicit sources. I think it’s a bit of a fool’s errand. First of all, most people already have set patterns of music consumption. This would have been useful five or ten years ago–now it’s an uphill battle that the industry seems unwilling to fight as aggressively as it needs to. The situation is particularly awful in the EDM underground: most psytrance labels make it extremely difficult to hear/like/buy their music online.
Supply & Demand Killed the Music Industry by blocSonic founder Mike Gregoire argues that the democratization of the means of distribution (and the tools of production) is responsible for the collapse of the major label industry–not file-sharing. Can’t argue with that!
Social Media from Musicians’ Perspectives contains a few interesting tidbits exploring the interactive aspect of Music 2.0 dogma. Does this sound about right? I’m never certain.
Interested in the origins of psytrance culture? Check out Unveiling the Secret – The Roots of Trance, a great expose of trance parties in Goa in the late 1980s. A bunch of photos from those days were also found recently–see if you can find Goa Gil and Chicago in there somewhere.