Do you, like me, own some Cds (possibly some EMI or Universal title from 4 or 5 years ago), with that crazy DRM lock, that you just can’t copy the music from the CD to your selected portable media player (Ipod/PSP/FlashMP3 Player), without having to resort to some unlocker software to hack it. Sometimes that’s so annoying that I’d rather find some hacked copy online, I just download it for free, just because it’s less of a hassle. Thankfully they stopped doing that.
After only a few days after Coldplay have made their new album available through Myspace, and after Radiohead had a successful run also by making their music available for free, it seems that some still don’t understand how the web is changing how business will work from now to the future.
I’m fazed after this news that was waiting for me in my feed reader from Marshable, about how Metallica still represent so much of a completely different standpoint compared to the examples above. I’m neither big follower of the bands mentioned above, but it does take all this discussion into very current context.
It does make me thing about how iTunes as a music retailer changed the market the last few years. Before the advent of the digital world and broadband internet, where all you got was what the recording companies delivered to your closest Wal Mart or Tower Records, most of the times you had to buy an entire album, because you really liked a song from a certain artist. Nowadays, either through legal or illegal resources, you can get only what you want, and download only the song that you want to include in your already gigarmous playlist.
Some complain, that this has avoided people to knowing some great songs. Green Day’s previous studio album, “American Idiot” (great album, if you enjoy their music), had all that thing about featuring a opera-ish type of storytelling, that doesn’t exist if you only listen to a few songs. Hey, even if you own the whole album, just hit the random play button, and the storytelling flow is broken all the same.
Allowing people to sample the music for free, seems like the ideal solution to allow people more access to colder songs from an album. If you’re musician, and still reluctant to provide whole songs as samples, just remember that 30-seconds, hardly ever give a good idea about what a song is about. Despite the fact that you might lose some people as they sample through the collection before the 20-second mark, people who might actually invest some bucks on the music will need more. Unlike American Idol 90-second butcher of songs, bordering on annoying, it seems like a minimum experience required for enjoyment of a song. I’ve found myself several times loving the colder songs, more than the single hits that are used to promote the album.
Yesterday, I went to a panel discussion about Creative Commons and Brazilian Authorship Laws (the complete panel will be available for viewing at IPTV-USP sometime around June 12th, if you can understand Portuguese, I recommend you to watch it). The panel discussed mostly about licencing and laws, but did get some time to introduce some issues that I’m mostly following through international bloggers and podcasters, such is the issue involving monetizing the content. Prof. Ronaldo Lemos, the leader of the Creative Commons project in Brazil, did present some quite interesting statistics about media content market, especially with local Brazilian data that I was not quite aware of before, including the behavior from Brazilian Mainstream Recording Industry. As musical as Brazilian culture is, musicians properly signed in the major labels, represent about only 1/4 of their artists line-ups, which was even more reduced in the last 3 or 4 years. It’s completely different scenario that we see websites such as Trama Virtual, that distributes music for over 10.000 independent artists in the country. It’s quite interesting for me how the Brazilian mainstream Recording Industry for local musicians seems to be shrinking faster and faster, compared to Taiwanese’s. It’s a market that’s selling less and less records, just like the rest of the world, but it amazes me the number of new Taiwanese artist that get signed every year, and their music doesn’t even have to be good.
Definitely something to be thought about.