You have to feel sorry for the music industry. No sooner have they begun to back down over DRM, then the new bandwagon arrives - industry-free music. It didn't start with Radiohead, but that certainly pulled the issue to the foreground. Anyone who has watched Thom and the boys jamming on Radiohead.tv (now on YouTube), with no slick lighting, no studio director, no make-up - basically no executives - can't help but feel a tingle of excitement.
"The idea of relying on listeners, treating music as a
cooperative, is humbling, yet interesting to me. This is a bit of a
manifesto, I'm sorry, and now I'll shut up, but I wonder if we might be
able to do this together."
Kristen HershCoalition for Artists and Stake Holders (CASH) have just launched CashMusic, a site for music lovers to download and pay musicians for the work they like. Musician Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses, 50FOOTWAVE) is behindthe service which seems to still be in a pre-beta, but looks very promising from it's minimalist, subtle interface. As well as letting you name your price, and download DRM-free tracks, artists on the network can share the source files for their songs freely under a creative commons license so that other artists can remix their work.
To anyone who's ever swum through the trench of shit of rying to get a record deal, this is very promising. As a Nirvana producer in one of the links on the front of the site illustrates, conventional music business economics is rarely any good for bands:
The Balance Sheet: This is how much each player got paid at the end of the game on sales of $3m
|Record company:||$ 710,000|
|Previous label:||$ 50,000|
|Band member net income each:||$ 4,031.25|