Music fans once turned to radio DJs to expose them to new music. But as
music grows on the net, listeners are relying on friends and strangers
to feed them — often in creative combinations.

Forget the album and corporate radio. Fan-built playlists and mixes are taking over the way people get their music.

Read the whole story at Wired.

"Before, say, ’94 or ’95,
before the Internet came around, there seemed to be a sharper divide
between those who create and those who consume: It seemed like you were
supposed to be either one or the other. I love to see this kind
of American rebellion, fueled by extreme hate for the record label, not
just from the fans but from the people like Prince, Ani DiFranco, Aimee
Mann, that have loudly said how they hate their label and they’re never
going to work for a label again. I have the feeling that a new
generation of musicians will grow up not having to be converted to that
way of thinking.

Like right now, I meet lots of 30-something
musicians, who maybe spent their teens and 20s wanting to be a rock
star, and now are kind of starting to think, “Well, maybe I can make a
good living just putting out my music directly and doing it on my own.”
But they kind of had to fall over to that way of thinking. What I think
will be really interesting is, imagine being a 13-year-old musician
right now, growing up surrounded by this mentality of “Fuck the label,
the label sucks, indie is cool, go direct, never sign over your rights
to somebody else”! Imagine growing up in that mentality, and what
that’s going to look like in 10 years!"

Read the LA Weekly interview here.

As TVT’s chief executive officer, Steve Gottlieb, puts it: "Manufactured pop culture is disintegrating before your eyes as the Net takes hold," and the nimbler, less risk-averse indies are best positioned to take advantage of the digital transformation. While the majors look at P2P file sharing, podcasting and other forms of digital distribution and see thieves, pirates and the willful disregard of copyright, the indies increasingly see a chance to connect directly with their customers – and an opportunity to steal a march on the Big Four. As Gottlieb points out, independent artists now account for 30% of internet radio play, and labels such as Artemis Records (Steve Earle, the Pretenders) have been distributing files over P2P networks for over a year. Add the fact that podcasters, at the wheel of the fastest-growing media phenomenon around, almost universally avoid major label music due to potential licensing infractions and it starts to look like there’s a digital train leaving the station – and the majors aren’t on it.

Read more in Digital Music News

Independent labels use networks as a way to reach consumers, not necessarily make money.

"…To many independent labels, the main goal is simply to introduce music fans around the globe to little-known artists who have no chance of being played on commercial radio stations. The payoff they hope for in the long term is greater CD sales; any downloads they sell on the networks are icing on the cake.

"It is small, but everything starts small," Chief Executive Daniel Glass of Artemis Records said of his company’s revenue from Kazaa and other popular file-sharing networks. "To not be part of it is insane."

Read the whole article from the LA Times here

New York – WFUV Presents – If the new world of mp3 blogs, mash-ups, downloads and ringtones boggles your mind, tune in to Let’s Get Digital as host Jen Guerra takes a musical look at all things online.  The New Yorker Pop Music Critic Sasha Frere-Jones, Founder Derek Sivers, Berklee College of Music Vice President David Kusek, Creative Commons Executive Director Glenn Otis Brown, Analyst Phil Leigh and others join Guerra for an hour-long program examining how the race to get online affects not only musicians, but music fans and the music business in general. 

Let’s Get Digital can be heard on WFUV (90.7 FM) and streaming online.

"Like modern  plumbing, the music industry could operate almost as a  utility—with copyright holders able to meter usage down to  how many people listened to particular songs at particular  times. In such a world, the industry could live off of micropayments flowing seamlessly back to the owners of  content rather than rely solely on the disjointed and  inefficient distribution of CDs to retailers. Artists, meanwhile, would have unprecedented access to new listeners  as their songs spread virally into vast musical networks  that fans can access literally anywhere. As the most  accessible artists find their audiences, those artists would  enjoy increased concert attendance, new forms of merchandise  and countless other opportunities to connect with fans like  never before."

Read part one of the two part interview

Part two is here

How will fans purchase music in the future? Will people keep buying tracks for their personal libraries on iTunes or will the subscription model proposed by Napster, Real and others be the ultimate channel of consumption? Should music become a utility? How should the rest of us best position ourselves for the continuing rapid evolution of the distribution models of content?  These are the questions we address in this edition of IRIS Research.


People should pay for their music the way they pay for gas or electricity.
Forbes Article 2005

More people are consuming music today than ever before, yet very few of them are paying for it. The music recording industry blames file sharing for a downturn in CD sales and, with the publishing companies, has tried its best to litigate this behavior out of existence, rather than try to monetize the conduct of music fans. These efforts are fingers in a dike that is about to burst. Digital media are interactive, and people want music that they can burn to CDs, share and use as they wish. The music industry should instead look at turning this consumer phenomenon into a steady stream of cash–lots of it.