Free Music

This is a post full of smugness and ‘I told you so…’ sentiments! For at least five years I have been arguing that the days of the corporate record company are numbered. The internet is here, and music is simply too easy to share. Some argue that this is theft, and they are right – but it’s besides the point. Some also believe the RIAA is a force to be reckoned with, and will point to the successful prosecution this week in the US courts of someone for sharing music online. Big deal – after all these years, after Napster has been and gone (kind of), Kazaa forced to go legit, they have finally successfully prosecuted one person. But the RIAA and music corpos aren’t fighting to save music. Or even to save musicians from being robbed. They are fighting, solely, for their own existence. Sadly for them, their necessity is long gone, and their existence is far from secure.

Quite a while ago George Michael decided he had made enough cash, and pledged to put his future music on his web site for free. And recently Radiohead decided on a novel way to charge for their new album – they’re going to let their fans decide to pay whatever they like, from £0 to £100. They can do this because….they have no contract with a label.

Now Jamiroquai and Oasis have decided to follow suit. They have no contract to a label either. Does this mean they’ll stop earning? Of course not! Plenty of fans will pay something for the download. Plus they are putting up boxsets and artwork for sale and will no doubt tour. They will rake in the cash as usual. It’s just that they’ll get to keep it all.

Musicians don’t need to be discovered anymore. The internet is such a fantastic way to put yourself out there, and with so many new social sites springing up, and charts now working on downloads more than on offline sales, talent will make it’s way to the top. That’s an important word – talent. Not corporate designed trashy boy bands forced down consumers throats. Actual, real talent. Goodbye to all those plastic bands. The ones who do make it will earn more than enough to live on. Music is safe, and in my opinion, it’s safer in the hands of the web enabled consumer than it is in the offices of Sony, EMI et al.

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