Posted by: admin on February 25, 2009 @ 10:55 am
Filed under: Music Business News

The Techdirt blog was brought to our attention this week by one of our subscribers. The debate over there and elsewhere regarding the state of the economy and how it is affecting the journalism and music industries is hot and contentious.

Freebies all over the place — torrenting, private FTP libraries, etc — and the absence of retail are the big issues most people are referencing as the problem with our industry. And many are talking of subscription-based models as a potential solution — even something like Radiohead’s last foray into pay-what-you-want.

But those unestablished artists that can’t afford the freebie culture — i ask, how many people 15 – 22 have ever stepped foot in a record store excluding digital stores? — but have been forced into it, are waiting on a change.

Scott from NY had some great thoughts, including a reference to part of Greenleaf’s model:

My second argument surveys the state of the world: while there are lots of ‘unsigned’ bands giving away their music on Facebook and the like, the decision they’re making is a temporary one, (they hope).

They need attention more than anything else, at this point. Importantly though, that need can change over time.

Established artists lead the way: the great jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas has his own label. He allows you to ‘subscribe’ to his work. He sells merch and promotes concerts. But other than samples, he does not give away his music.

Neither do the folks over at ArtistShare, who do sell the experience of vicariously participating in various music projects but who, again, give very little away.

To my knowledge, both are successful, and it seems to me they’ve identified the real scarcity behind the infinite goods – there’s only so much Dave Douglas, or David Byrne & Brian Eno or Maria Schneider to go around.


  1. Hi Jim!

    Are you guys following

    Comment by Ethan Bauley — February 25, 2009 @ 11:33 am

  2. First I’ve seen of it.

    In RE: John Freese, it seems a lot of people are doing this tiered selling strategy. Give the collectors what they want, and give the average consumer what they want too. Good plan me thinks.

    Comment by Jim — February 25, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  3. IMO Ian Rogers is by far the smartest guy working in digital/software/music…ya’ll should link up with him…email me if you want, I might be able to help. Topspin is also a project of Peter Gotcher, the guy that that founded Digidesign/Pro Tools.

    Comment by Ethan Bauley — February 25, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  4. Been reading up on Topspin. Seems to be a great set of workers over there. Impressive.

    Thanks for passing the info along, Ethan.

    Comment by Jim — February 25, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

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