Independent Music

Independent music, including unsigned musicians, musicians with independent labels, and those independent labels.

Organizations: Canadian Independent Recording Artists' Association (CIRAA), Canada music commons, Musical Artists' Global Independence Collaborative - MAGIC, Canadian Independent Record Production Association (Note: CIRPA does not appear very modern in their thinking)

Drop DRM to reduce customer complaints and increase sales

An article on ARS Technica reports that Deutsche Telekom's Musicload service claims that 75% of customer support calls end up being due to problems with DRM.

They also say that

Championing the "Comeback of MP3," Musicload said that artists choosing to drop DRM saw a 40 percent increase in sales since December, and that more artists and labels are showing interest.

Making sense out of the music industry and a recent Copyright Board decision.

Reading the comments in reply to Michael Geist's BLOG article indicating that the Copyright Board has made a decision on music download royalties indicates common confusion over copyright and royalty issues with the larger music industry. While I Am Not A Lawyer (IANAL), I have spent many hours talking about this with musicians. It is yet another example where "clarification and simplification" is needed not only of the Copyright act, but also of a legacy arrangement between industries.

Canadian Music Week Begins Wednesday!

An article by Adam Gonshor in andPOP describes what sounds like an awsome event (March 7-10, 2007 in Toronto). Not only will you see great musicians, but you might even see some fireworks at an event that includes Nettwerk head Terry McBride and many CMCC musicians as well as Graham Henderson representing the foreign major label interests. The two sides of the music industry: those that want to monetize new media and non-commercial filesharing, as well as protect IT property rights, and those special interest extremists who want to outlaw the personal ownership and control of technology and sue music fans.

Charlie Angus at the University of Ottawa

I was privileged to be invited by the University of Ottawa Technology Law program to the most recent Torys Speaker Series talk by Member of Parliament Charlie Angus. Mr. Angus is an independent musician and the Heritage critic for the NDP.

As anticipated, the talk was inspiring, and I only managed to write a few things down for notes. I noticed that a recording was made by the TechLaw folks, and this might be added to one of their Audio Blogs in the future.

Steve Jobs' iTunes dance

Canadian Science Fiction author and online rights activist Cory Doctorow has weighed in on the debate launched by Steve Jobs "Thoughts on Music" essay witb an article in Salon magazine.

Now the Apple CEO says he would gladly sell songs without digital restrictions, if the record companies let him. That's hardly a brave defiance, and besides, I don't believe him.

Music execs criticise DRM systems

A BBC News article includes:

Almost two-thirds of music industry executives think removing digital locks from downloadable music would make more people buy the tracks, finds a survey.

The Jupiter Research study looked at attitudes to Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems in Europe music firms.

I suspect that if the same survey was done in Canada that similar results would be found, possibly with more from the Canadian music industry being opposed to harm to their industry caused by DRM.

MR's Response To Steve Jobs' Call For MP3

Michael Robertson, the person behind the original, has posted his thoughts on Steve Jobs open letter.

Mr. Roberson has called for:

1) Start selling some content in MP3 format in the iTunes store.
2) Publish the database format for iPods so other music software can be used.
3) Open the doors for iTunes software to work seamlessly with other stores.
4) Make iTunes software for Linux

All great suggestions.

Apple's Steve Jobs Calls for DRM-free Music

In a rare and revealing open letter posted to Apple's website, co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs outlines the rise of iTunes and the bargains Apple had to make along the way, and he imagines the a future that could be DRM-free if the major lables would let it be so. In the piece, called Thoughts on Music, he states "Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. [...] This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.

The music industry shindig

A Financial Times article by Emiko Terazono (in Cannes) includes:

There has been some interesting news, with the indies announcing a deal via Merlin, their new licensing agency, a deal to sell music on MySpace. The files are unprotected, which flies in the face of what some of the large record labels are demanding from social networking sites like MySpace and YouTube. With Merlin represening about 30 per cent of the world’s music, the indies are now a “virtual fifth major”, according to Martin

Indie music labels create Merlin to conjure licensing deals

A Reuters article includes:

The world's independent music sector, which has produced such artists as the Arctic Monkeys, has grouped together to launch an agency to secure licensing deals with emerging media such as MySpace and YouTube.
The independent record label sector makes up for 30 percent of the music sold worldwide, with the rest from the four majors--Vivendi's Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI Group and Warner Music.

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