"Free Music”, Mp3’s, P2P, Kazaa, DIY, the Music Industry, Pornography etc.

This is my small music manifesto.

Like all truly necessary, beautiful, good and creative things in life, I believe music should be, and can be free or cheap.

Imagine if all the bands you ever liked put up all their music on their web sites….
You could then download it at your convenience. All they would expect in return is that at some time in the semi near future you would transfer a very reasonable sum of money to their personal account. Maybe 1 to 4 Euros for an entire full-length album would be reasonable.

What I suggest would mean among many things that there would be no more trips to some music store and, no more paying ridiculous sums of money to a whole chain of middle men.

As most of you may know, at present when you buy a CD you pay money to the manufacturer, the record company, the wholesaler, the distributors, the record store, and finally a meager percentage to the artists. In the current situation the artists very often get a lot less per record sold then the 1 to 4 Euros I propose!!

Another benefit of sharing music in the manner I describe is that nobody would have to worry anymore about money hungry artists (you stink Metallica) or the music biz taking file sharing software producers (Napster, Kazaa) or file sharing individuals to court. File's could be shared freely but everyone would know that they not only downloaded the music, but also had to assume a certain responsibility.

In my hypothetical but very possible situation EVERYONE could win. Except the established music industry of course. But fuck them anyway. I believe about 90% of the established music companies to be evil, greedy and amoral institutions. They having been involved in ripping of both artists and music fans since their inception. The sooner they are run into the ground, the better of we all are.

You as a fan, would definitely benefit, since you would pay a very low price for the music of your choice but you would have the knowledge your money was well spent. Your conscience alone would dictate when and how much you actually paid. As an example let us say you download some music and quickly realize you don't like it after all. Not a problem. Delete. No cure, no pay. Nobody gets hurt. You are a financially well-off person and think 4 Euros is a pittance for this amazing but little known music? Pay some more and give support to this artist!

The artists would definitely benefit since they would probably get a lot more money by trusting in their true and hopefully ethical fans rather than waiting for some faceless greedy company to throw them a bone. I believe that if people truly love a band and have some money to spend a large percentage would do the right thing and contribute a few Euros for an entire record. Even if only quarter of the people send some money most bands would still be better of than relying on royalties.

At present people have already been copying and sharing music for decades. A slightly enterprising person in the west could and can probably get all the music he ever wants by copying it and never spend a cent. Even so quite a lot of people still choose to buy records. This is sometimes for esthetic reasons but very often it is also because they want to connect with, and support the band in question.

The main difference between the status quo and my proposed situation is also the main problem: at present fans don't have any way to contribute money directly to their favorite bands.

Yes, i’d like to see more (professional) bands not only encouraging peer-to-peer file sharing but even actively participating in it.

As of this writing I know only two bands that I like that do the latter to a large degree:

Conflict                 http://www.conflict.org.uk
ChumbaWamba http://www.chumbawamba.tv/

On their web sites (ChumbaWamba is actually large and very professional looking) you can download a lot of songs for free. No hassle, no memberships, no log ins, no nags, nothing. Brilliant!

I for one don't care particularly about packaging, record sleeves, graphics etc., most of them get old pretty quick. Lyrics –if they are meaningful- i do like to read. But basically it is “all about the music” for me. If I have the music and the recording is good quality this makes me very happy indeed. It is all I need. Especially since I know there are hundreds of web sites –many of them made by fans- that offer artwork, lyrics, and pictures of pretty much all my favorite bands.

However if you do value the aforementioned things (packaging etc.) it needs not be a problem. Bands could very easily include good quality and ready made CD sleeves and booklets on their sites which you could simply download and print at home. Of they could have professionally printed glossy paper booklets and inlays available by mail-order.

Perhaps if a band were to came along that felt like I do they could include the following text on their web page:

"This is the MP3 section of our home page. It contains everything we have ever recorded. And you can download it –in near CD quality- right now. :-)

What! Why?

You may wonder, why would anyone give away their music, this music that I really like? How are they going to make a living and be able to put out more music if they don't make any money?!

Well the answers are fairly simple:

We don't really give it away, we do fully expect people who really like the music to send us a little money to support what we are doing. The prices we suggest are:

Our bank account number is: XXXXXXXXXX

Thank you for your support!"

Most of what I have suggested here is far from new or revolutionary. The ideas and practices I state are very akin to the concepts of Public Domain, Freeware, Open Source Software,  Shareware, Careware and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) punk culture and ethic. Of course almost everything I wrote could also apply to almost any other content or format. Whether it is feature movies or Pornography, i firmly believe it should be and can be cheap or free.

Bands out there send me your bank account number and i will list it on my site. If I (and possibly others too) have some of your music I will send you a little money. You have my word!!

If you or your web site supports the ideas I have stated here you could include a link and or a (self-made) banner with the following text:

FUCK the Music Industry!
Support the Artists/Fans!!
www.rhizomes.nl, -> Articles

Possibly i will make and put up a ready made banner in the future.