Istvanski and I have been having an ongoing discussion concerning the revoultionary changes sweeping the music industry as it comes to terms with the shockwaves generated by the rise of the digital download. We both agree that the potential of those tricky little streams of binary code seriously undermine the power wielded by the mainstream music industry and that this is, by and large, a pretty good thing. But as someone who has been working on a project that I hope to make marketable very soon (if for no other reason than that people are more likely to take my laughable conceits seriously if they can buy them rather than click a button that will allow the songs to fester in the freebie downloads folder of their i-Tunes music library until the day when this now cutting edge technology itself becomes obsolete), I had a few reservations.
Anyroad, I recently had a few emails on the subject from Croydon's finest and I'm hoping he won't mind me making public this section of the correspondence, as I can't preface the link at the bottom of it any better myself:
Remember a short while ago when you remarked that you weren't sure whether to charge for your songs or give 'em away?
Well, I'm not saying I've got the answer, but I came across this piece of writing by Tony James (yep, him from Gen X). James, as you may know, has recently been working with Mick Jones (formerly of a band whose name began with a 'B'...) and they've been making their songs available to download for free - just like thousands of other bands, as it happens.
Anyhoo, it was this bit of written word that I found somewhat inspiring to a point, and I thought you might find it interesting to read if you haven't already. Here's the link.
Do read the link. As Istster says, it is quite inspiring even if one retains a healthy degree of cynicism as to the angle two old troopers like Mick 'n' Tone have on it all. Anyway, in true New Labour stylee, I've decided on a typically British fudge. I've just put up on Myspace some compressed and almost final mixes that are probably quite close to what the finished things will sound like. These can be downloaded free and I hope they give you all a lot of pleasure. I'll put four more up in a couple of weeks and then the final four tracks a couple of weeks after that and then you'll be able to own the whole thing for nixes.
Two small points. Firstly, anyone who does it this way will miss out on the fantastic artwork that my really good friend has kindly donated to the cause. I'd also just ask one thing of you. For me, the most important change that the new technolgy and decentralised consumption of music have brought about is in breaking down the barriers between performers and artists. I see the whole thing as being exactly like doing a gig in a small club, only instead of the band being up on stage and the audience dutifully sat at their feet awaiting pearls of pop wisdom like grateful supplicants, we're all milling around, bantering, discussing, interacting - that to me is the really subversive thing about the new music environment we find ourselves in. Whether that can last, who knows? All I'd say is that any comments or suggestions - negative or otherwise - are welcomed in that spirit. So, please, don't just sit there and consume - we've had 50-odd years of that. Get involved and embrace and enjoy this remarkable transformative thing while you can.
L.U.V. on y'all,
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