I want free music, but I’m happy to pay for it.. let me explain.
Someone recommended GoodBooks to me – I went to try and LISTEN to the track, The Illness, just to see if it was any good. A reasonable task, you’d surely agree?
I should say, I don’t have Flash Player. That makes this task so much harder.
MySpace? Nope. Flash required.
GoodBooks website? Nope. Flash required (for the player thing)
YouTube? Flash required here too, but because it’s a video, and the way that YouTube works, I am able to work out where the video file is on their servers, and download it manually.
Okay, so I’ve got the video. I can now extract the audio part of the YouTube video, and I’ve got a fairly low-quality MP3 file, that I can do anything I like with, really..
Now, based on this, I bought the record, instead of the CD. Records are way cooler, and even though I don’t have a record player, except at the club where I occasionally DJ, I’ve done my part for the band. Of course, I would have happily just-downloaded-it-from-eMusic, but it’s not there.
Why is this so difficult? I’d happily pay a few quid each month for a band I really liked where I could download all their releases, as high quality MP3 files, plus high quality copies of album artwork, but also, remixes (and let people upload their own!), separate tracks for the various tracks, so I could make my own remixes without them sounding like crap. I’d also like these remixes and samples to be licensed in a way that actually encourages people to make their own remixes.
I’d leave eMusic for such a service. I have my fill of Joanna Newsom and obscure punk-rock bands for a while. Their downloads don’t even roll over, which is just stupid.
Specifically, please should have the freedom to distribute their remixes, even commercially, but under a few conditions. First condition is that they must identify the original creators, and secondly, their remix must be available under the same conditions.
The commercial usage clause is likely to be the more difficult one, but it creates a revenue stream for the band themselves, and the record company. Because everyone would have the freedom to put out their own CDs of these remixes, it is fair to assume that an ‘official’ band release of remixes, perhaps even on CD/DVD combo that gives all the source material on the DVD-ROM, would sell extremely well, compared to, some dude selling his own CD via CD Baby or eBay, etc.
The solution to music piracy (yarr!) is not Digital Restrictions Management, the solution is value. If I download your latest single as a shitty MP3 from some P2P network, what do you really care? If I would have never bought it in the first place, then you’ve got exposure for nothing, and maybe I’ll buy the next release. With the system I propose, it is very unlikely that your casual pirate (yarr!) would be able to download all that stuff from a P2P network, let alone be bothered downloading it. Record labels should make reasonable quality downloads of the title track of a single, and a bunch of tracks from each album (at least) available as just MP3 files from their website. No Flash, just a link to an MP3. Here’s a little secret that most people seem to have forgotten.
A search engine can’t read Flash. If you offer up a straight link to an MP3, they will index that. Someone searching for your single gets a chance to listen before they buy the CD or join the club I propose.
Take the club to the next level. Charge me a fiver a month, and for that, I’ll get a signed copy of every GoodBooks release, the week they’re released. That’ll count towards your chart position, and you’re getting the records cheap enough, since you’re making them, and not having to pay HMV.. the rest of the 60 quid a year goes towards the cost of the service and profit.
What do you think?