Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fighting the Battle for Free?

I've noticed a trend lately, most likely prompted when Radiohead released their album In Rainbows for whatever the listener could pay, of bands releasing music for free. Trent Reznor did the same thing, putting a spotlight on the "free culture" of illegal downloading. More recently the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures released their newest single "Mind Eraser, No Chaser" for free on iTunes. Just yesterday, one of my favorite bands, Hanson, said on Twitter that all their followers would receive a new song for download sometime today. This comes after they gave out a card at every stop on their recent tour that had songs from every band that came with them, including Sherwood, Steel Train and Hello Goodbye. One of the biggest bands in modern rock, Coldplay, released LeftRightLeftRight, a live album from their latest tour for free on their website as well.
Also happening more frequently, bands are using their Myspaces and sites to stream their newest albums before they are released to the general public. This might just be asking for the albums to be ripped off, but in an ideal world it does have all the benefits of pre-release temptation without the cost of just giving the album away. I have to question which battle is being fought by releasing music exclusively to Wal-Mart though, as bands like The Eagles, AC/DC and singer Miley Cyrus have done.
Is this the wave of the future to combat illegal downloads? Are the mainstream bands just catching up to indie artists that have been rewarding fans this way for years? Does this mean artists no longer have faith in the music industry's selling tactics (especially since record sales continue to plunge as they have been for a while) and are just bent on getting their music out any way they can? If you have any thoughts, feel free to start the debate!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Alternatives to Piracy. But Are They Worth It?

A new article at Giga Om analyzes the state of digital music and the outlets that are available. It makes the claim that because of the increase of streaming music sites, ownership of music might not be as important. I don't think that's true, I enjoy having my music in the palm of my hand even when the Internet is down. But this article does give a good rundown of the services out, including the ones without an Apple emblem.
I've checked out the new iTunes LP (this is a good explanation of it) format that he talks about. It's a pretty cool idea and a step forward (or would that be back?) to giving the art back to the artists, but it's still not having the records in hand so that's up to the individual consumer. The format is DRM-free, so that's appropriate for this blog. In the digital age, one of the things I have missed most is the liner notes and album art that used to be part and parcel to the music. The little tiny "selected artwork" window just isn't doing it for me.
Now all we have to do is remind MTV what the acronym stands for and we might be able to get our music back on track!

Friday, July 31, 2009

College Student Ordered to Pay $675,000 for Illegal Downloading

In only the second music downloading case against an individual to go to trial, NPR News reports that a Boston University grad student will pay a hefty fine for 30 songs, though he downloaded and shared "hundreds" by artists like Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, and others.
The student's lawyer plans to appeal, claiming he was not allowed to argue the case for fair use.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In An Employer's Market

This is a little off-topic, but as my job search continues, I found a few interesting people in my same predicament with my recent dive into the Twittersphere. I also found a great website where there are aspiring music writers and journalists like me that gather to talk about their struggles and give advice. Career Realism is a great place to look at the constantly changing state of the job market, the media, and all the rest of the worries that all of us have nowadays. It's something I peruse when I'm not looking for stories about record labels and music licensing rights!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reported Talks Between Apple and Major Labels

Rolling Stone is reporting that major labels and Apple could be collaborating in hopes to boost album sales on iTunes. There are also good related article links on that page to catch you up on the music sales battle for Apple and the major labels.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Labels Losing Steam to the New Dogs in Town?

Are we starting to gain momentum again on the issue of monopolizing online music?
According to a report by the New York Times, major labels are going to be in a fight (as if they weren't already) for their financial lives as Polyphonic, a new endeavor by Radiohead's manager, Brian Message, seeks to invest in the bands and their music, not their potential for hitmaking.
There's a great paragraph about the rise in Internet promotion and distribution of music, and guiding bands toward the now-legit Napster to increase a band's online presence.
Sounds like they may be onto something. Anyone have ideas on this? Anyone a "purist" like me who would be sad to see the cd go?

Warner Music, YouTube Still At Standstill Over Licensing Fees

After disappointing ad revenue from the use of YouTube, Warner Music has been trying to strike a deal with the video website. Apparently, things are harder to compromise than they thought.

Source: Rolling

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ITunes Raises, Lowers Prices, Releases 'Anticopying Measures'

An article in the New York Times explains the companies plans to raise the prices of more popular songs and lower the prices of less popular songs. They also said some songs will not have Digital Rights Management, which creates a lock on songs so they can not be shared illegally (so they say).
I'm not sure if this is good or bad. I don't think it's fair to have some people pay more (and some artists receive more) because they are more popular, especially if this is because they have better advertising and a more ferocious label. Either way, it's progress in a long battle Apple has been fighting against raising its prices.