Looking at the world of media: from music to RIA.

What I learned at the CC Salon

April 20th, 2006 Posted in Distribution

The other week I spoke at the Creative Commons Salon to talk about Fake Science, Podcasting and music. I was the first speaker and after me was Bob Ostertag and Lucas Gonze (founder of Webjay). One of the main themes that the other speakers presented was the concept of free music and getting away from paying for recorded material.

When they were speaking I agreed with most of what they had to say, such as how large labels use artists, almost all artists do not make money from their albums, the typical “the system is broken” statements. I disagreed with how they felt we should throw this all out, not charge for music, give their recorded content away and focus on making money from touring.

I agree the system needs to be changed, but to say that artists are getting screwed on recorded music so we should just give it away isn’t necessary the right response to this issue. I feel this works for some artists, free music is good, but if an artist wishes to spend time in a studio using specialized equipment to get the sound they are looking for then they should have the ability to look for compensation.

Where I feel the change is needed is in how we compensate the artist. Yes, the current model in the record industry is fucked. Artists are getting screwed and used by major labels. This is an industry were we run at a 98% failure rate and the majors feel this is acceptable. What I believe is that we need to look into the old belief of becoming a patron to these artists.

The people that truly love the music, the people that want to see more of the music made are willing to contribute to producing more. For this to happen, the patrons need to know their money is going to the artist. At the moment, the old system does not do this but this is what we are trying so hard to do with Fake Science. Create a place that allows fans to purchase music knowing that most of the money is going to the people that made it.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if my message was really portrayed correctly when I spoke. Being the first presenter, I went more with the typical rundown and to be frank, I am used to being the black sheep, bring-the-system-down kind of presenter. But by the time the night was over I felt that I was the corporate shill trying to sell out. This definitely opened my eyes and it helped me build a firmer stance on what we are trying to achieve at FS.

Note: I posted this at the FS forums and already Christopher has given some great input.

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