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Indie Artists Support Peer To Peer 308

dpilgrim writes "Alex Veiga at the Associated Press has a good story on indie artists voicing support for file sharing networks. While not a new topic on Slashdot, it's great to see musicians speaking out about the value of p2p as an alternative channel for reaching audiences. Choice quote from Veiga's article, on what it's like to pass muster before a mainstream media company: "For Sananda Maitreya... online music distribution gives him the freedom he says he lacked when he was signed with a major label in the 1980s under his former name, Terence Trent D'Arby. Back then, Maitreya recalled, committees had to sign off on any music released. 'The Beatles could not have faced that criteria and come up with anything other than the most mediocre, conservative music,' said Maitreya.""
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Indie Artists Support Peer To Peer

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  • by ( 782137 ) <> on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:28PM (#12048249) Homepage Journal
    If you look back, even major label artists get helped by P2P. Case in point: Radiohead. Their 2000 album Kid A wasn't promoted in any way, however a copy was leaked onto Napster before it was released. Millions downloaded it, and sales went right through the roof. The same thing happened a few years later with Hail To The Thief, which sold more copies than the previous two combined.

    I personally own about $500/250GBP worth of music CDs, none of which I would have bought without P2P being there. It does help the record industry make money.
    • by ( 782137 ) <> on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:31PM (#12048285) Homepage Journal
      btw, there's a RealAudio clip of band member Colin Greenwood defending P2P right here [].
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Quite frankly, P2P availability and CD copy-protections are a disaster for the media companies.

      I will never buy a copy-protected CD especially if I can get the CD on P2P. However, if the CD is unprotected I will buy it.

    • Ditto. Said it a millon times before, but the only artists hurt by P2P downloads are the ones with the hot-must-have-single-of-the-week. Why would you shell $X for a CD when you can get the new Britney Spears song off the net and delete it when you grow tired of it?

      I bougth 12 CDs so far this year. 10 of them i listened first as P2P/BT downloads, and it's music i wouldn't have given a chance otherwise.
      • It's not the P2P users fault. The industry executives are lazily marketing the same people over and over. Most artists in the mainstream are qualified to make a few good tracks, not 3 albums in 3 years.

        I used to buy from iTunes, and I am a Rhapsody user now. The best albums, I can find 5 good songs out of maybe 20 tracks. Amazingly none of these great albums were really mainstream. If it wasn't for these services, I wouldn't even know they exist.

        You can't possibly tell me 50cent is the best hiphop ar
    • by cliffy2000 ( 185461 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:33PM (#12048306) Journal
      I seem to recall that Radiohead released Pablo Honey (with the huge single "Creep"), The Bends (with the huge single "High and Dry") and OK Computer, one of the most successful albums of all time PRIOR to Kid A being released.
      But that's not what made that (IMHO, disappointing) album sell, it was the P2P leak. Correlation != causation, foo'.
      • by ( 782137 ) <> on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:40PM (#12048373) Homepage Journal
        (I actually bought Pablo Honey and it's the worst album I've ever heard in the entirety of my lifetime, my love of Radiohead notwithstanding, but anyway...)

        The point is that the band did NO advertising for the album besides it being leaked on P2P. There were no singles, no music videos, no posters, no TV ads, nothing besides maybe a few displays in record stores. Precisely dick.

        I also point you to this quote from Wikipedia:

        The record industry assumed the album was now doomed to failure since fans already had the music for free. Instead the opposite happened and the band, which had never hit the US top 20 before, captured the number one spot in Kid A's debut week. With the record's absence of radio airplay, big time marketing, and any other factor that may have explained this stunning success, [a journalist] declared this was proof of the promotional powers of file trading and of word-of-mouth generated by the Net.

        There you have it.
        • With the record's absence of radio airplay, big time marketing, and any other factor that may have explained this stunning success

          How about the fact that it's just really good, original music?
        • I remember liking "Lurgee" and "Ripcord" from that album. OTOH, you had attrocities like "Anyone can play guitar" aswell.

          Radiohead got much better with "The bends" and "OK computer"... after all, it seemed to me that they just wanted to prove they could do any other style of music they wanted. They succeded - now get back to the old stuff, please? :)
          • Why should they do more old stuff? You already have those albums.
            • Because, honestly, they aren't very good at it. I don't mind bands trying new things - hell, i love the STP, and they made a point of changing the style of the band with every album.

              But Radiohead... it just feels overdone to me. Of their post-computer albums, the only one i (marginally) liked was "Hail to the thief" - they just tried too hard on the others to sound "different" and "artistic". Too self indulgent.

              Of course, this is just my opinion. Hold your flames.
        • Wikipedia is not exactly the most reliable of sources. The simple fact is that OK Computer was one of the best reviewed albums of all-time. The hype for Kid A was through the roof in music mags because it was their first album in 3 years. They also appeared on Saturday Night Live. I have no idea how you think they did no publicity.
        • Come on now...once a band acquires a decent size fanbase, there are going to be a lot of people buying the album regardless of advertising.

          Not to mention they already have a bunch of $$$, so they can look hip by saying P2P is ok and still add the new wing onto the mansion.

          Let's see a band start from *nothing* and release the first album on P2P and make money.

          Also, quoting Wikipedia on P2P is like quoting Slashdot on DRM...
        • You're post deserves to be modded +5. Of course, that should be +5 funny rather than +5 informative.

          Everyone and his brother raved about Radiohead's two albums prior to Kid A, The Bends and OK Computer respectively. And not only did they receive critical rave reviews, the music-buying public loved them too.

          For example, Q Magazine's readers' poll of the top 100 albums of all time had both prominently in the top dozen or so, with OK Computer at number 1 in that chart. Of course, such a chart is pretty skewe
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I personally own about 47GB worth of music in MP3 format. I will never buy the album now. I got more music then I know what to do with before napster closed the virousa hole.

      Would I have bought the CD's otherwise. Yes, a lot of them. No to some of them.

      I am sure that the most downloaded artists need all the help they can get. I mean without p2p I woudl have never heard of Eminem or Britney Spears.

      At least recogonize that in some cases p2p is detrimental to artists and I will have a fuck of a lot more res
    • It does help the record industry make money.
      Agreed, it does. It also helps independent artists make money without the major labels, which is why the majors hate it.

      If we're lucky, P2P and internet radio will make the major labels completely irrevelent. There's lots of great independent music out there.
    • I personally own about $500/250GBP worth of music CDs, none of which I would have bought without P2P being there. It does help the record industry make money.

      It helped the record industry make money from you, and many others that do the same as you, but honest people such as yourself are in short supply. That's the problem. If everyone used P2P just to get free samples with the intention of going out and buying the full product later, the record industry would have no reason for being upset.

    • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <> on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:41PM (#12048382)
      Record companies know that p2p helps their sales, but it messes up their CONTROL OF THE DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL. Why would we need sony music at ALL if bands can sell their albums directly to you?

      Also it takes the control of popular culture out of their hands. I recently downloaded an album from a cool south american folk/electronica band. Is that *EVER* going to be on MTV, VH1 or Clear Channel? I think Not

      • The paranoia here is unbelievable.

        It messes up their control of the distribution channel of THEIR titles. No one else's.

        The record companies could give a shit less about each other. They're concerned with their own copyrighted works, and how their copyright is being violated.

        And hey, bands can sell directly to you now but they're still signing on with Sony, et. al. so I think we've got a way to go before they're truly irrelevant. But once that day comes there'll be nothing they can do.

        Until then, don't
      • Music Costs (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Why would we need sony music at ALL if bands can sell their albums directly to you?

        Who's going to front the money to produce your music? Who's going to pay for the studio time? Not everyone has a DAW [] in their house, let alone the acoustical environment necessary for quality production.

        I am a huge proponent of leveling the media playing field with appropriate use [] of P2P technologies, business models like Magnatune [] and tools such as the Creative Commons Licensing []. Still, recording ain't cheap [].

        • Re:Music Costs (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @05:01PM (#12049140) Journal
          It is quite a bit cheaper to produce your own music now than it used to be:

          $500 - 1.4 GHZ P4 computer w/24bit soundcard - parts built by myself - I was able to find some good deals - for example I spent $10 for the case.
          $75 - 24bit compatible multitrack recording software (N-Track)
          $99 - good quality condenser mic
          $79 - good quality cardoid mic
          $25 - two mic stands
          $30 - enough DIN cable to choke a horse (for connecting the mics to the mixing board)
          $50 - decent 6 channel mixing board
          $30 - misc other gear (RCA cables etc...)
          $60 - BOSE computer speakers (excellent sound quality and onboard amp and 2 inputs - for mixing down your stereo master).
          $948 - Total (not including instruments - I assume if you are a musician you already have your instrument).

          So, for about a grand you can have your own home recording studio that can produce as good sound quality as any professional studio out there. Of course, you have to spend the time to learn how to properly record sound - but there are books out there you can buy that take you through it in detail - from how to properly set up an acoustic environment to microphone placement to setting recording levels and how parametric equalization works etc...

          Recording ain't cheap for those who can't or don't know how to do it themselves. Those who can do. They are doing it today and going indie, or even posting their tunes for free if they are not interested in the business side of music. has a good selection - and there are other sites as well that allow users to post their MP3 recordings for download and/or streaming.

          With the sorry state of pop music today, more and more people are finding a viable alternative online via free downloads and sales of independently produced music. With the closure of traditional outlets for advertising certain genres (Rolling Stone is reporting that Clear Channel is closing down a large number of Rock stations in favor of urban/hip hop formats - at the same time as we are seeing a renewal in interest in Rock! Where will Rock artists go to get exposure? I think it will be the web - and in a big way due to the lack of air-time in the traditional form).

          Anyway, I believe the traditional big record labels are going to be around in the future, but they are not going to be as 'big' as they once were - and quality music that is not spoon-fed vanilla pop will be more and more a web phenomenon.

          • Re:Music Costs (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MP3Chuck ( 652277 )
            No offense, but I kind doubt you've done much DIY recording or you'd not have posted this. I'm doing DIY recordings right now with my band... That setup is nice for someone recording at home with a synthesizer or a guitar, maybe two ... but get into a band setting and that setup is useless.

            First off, a 1.4GHz P4 is useless if you want to mix a whole band in realtime. Hell, if you want to mix more than a handfull of tracks in realtime. It's what we've got. Playing back all the tracks is no problem, but p
    • I personally own about $500/250GBP worth of music CDs, none of which I would have bought without P2P being there. It does help the record industry make money.

      Please. Do you really think the majority of people who have 250GB worth of MP3s are doing it to go out and buy the CD afterwards? Have you been to a college campus lately or talked to other young people with high-speed connections?

      It's admirable that you use P2P in that way, but don't pretend your personal experience suddenly signifies that P2P pi

      • I have such a lot of music already that I rarely find anything new of interest. But practically everything I bought in the last year was from a defunct San Francisco label named "City of Tribes." Beyond that it was a pair of Bill Laswell CDs, one by Lydia Lunch, and the latest Kraftwerk. Most of that stuff I had to purchase without ever hearing a single note beforehand - I just had to trust in the type of music I was buying. The Kraftwerk I downloaded first - and after I found I liked it, I bought it. I wa
      • by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @04:07PM (#12048632) Homepage Journal
        I personally own about $500/250GBP worth of music CDs, none of which I would have bought without P2P being there. It does help the record industry make money.

        Please. Do you really think the majority of people who have 250GB worth of MP3s are doing it to go out and buy the CD afterwards?

        There's a difference:

        250GBP []

        250GB []

        $500/250GBP = about 40 CD's; a reasonably sized collection.

        250GB = about 62,500 songs. Wow.
    • $500 is fewer than 50 music CDs. You're just a blip on the radar. If you want to use anecdotes, I know people who have thousands of CDs, most purchased before P2P became popular. What does that mean?
  • Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Havenwar ( 867124 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:28PM (#12048254)
    Now if only someone ever listened to what the artists said...

    Or to indie artists in general.
    • The problem is that the music companies are generally seen by the populous as representing the artists and trying to nurture the artists/protect them from evil. Thus it becomes very easy for the record companies to put out its own selfish views and call them helpful to the artist, rather than actually listen to what the artist says. I linked to a RealAudio interview between a musician and a record company boss further up this thread, listen to it and you'll see what I mean.
      • This is sadly true...

        Of course, media spins on the RIAA cases + the broad success of iTunes (which doesn't need RIAA) will start to turn RIAA from the protector to the oppressor.

        We /.'ers know RIAA is 'ebil', but we need to let the populace know. Media is a powerful tool, and we need to get this kinda stuff posted to more major news sites (nbc, cnn, etc)

        Only then will the masses become enlightened.
    • Following your logic, have P2P copyright infringers asked permission from every single artist from whom they copy music?

      Or do you really mean, "If only we all listened to the indie artists without contracts who are giving permission for P2P distribution because they need the publicity...and ignored the rest."

      Why do people think they're entitled to anything that can be pirated? It's like people argue from a position of inherent "right" to pirate music. Can I pirate Doom 3 just because I can? If John Car
    • Re:Great... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by msporny ( 653636 ) *
      Now if only someone ever listened to what the artists said...

      Or to indie artists in general.

      We listen to indie artists: Bitmunk []

      Especially indie artists that want to spread their stuff via P2P under their terms (artists get to set prices, distribution formats, countries, descriptions, and licenses). We even have Creative Commons licensing options that the artists may use.

      I just want to make this clear - I'm not astro-turfing - I'm the CEO of Digital Bazaar, the company that created the Bitmunk P2P m

  • by Mrs. Grundy ( 680212 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:29PM (#12048268) Homepage
    The media distribution companies, whether music labels, movie producers, or stock photography corps, all understand that when communication becomes much easier among individuals their business model suffers. The only service they really offer is making media easy to find and get. The internet has done that for everyone now, and frankly, I'm surprised it is taking this long for individual artists to get on board. One of the problems that still is being worked out is open, well supported formats for sharing information. Look what RSS did for blogging and what it is doing to traditional journalism. Imagine what similar formats and application to support them can do for other individual producers of content.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      incorrect. the labels hype things and market them.

      that is their function (a pretty crappy one in my opinion)

      they are a hype machine
    • Exactly. The P2P piracy "crisis" has never really been about intellectual property rights, or compensation for the artists, it's really about preventing the artists from finding easy and reliable ways to get directly to their listeners. In short, it is about control, but not control of the music, control of the artists themselves. Some artists did get it early, some got a snow job from their labels and bought it.
    • iTunes (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bonch ( 38532 )
      Yes, and now that we have legal music services like iTunes and Napster, what's the point of P2P piracy again?

      Even indie artists like those mentioned in the article could easily offer their music for free on iTunes. In fact, iTunes offers free downloads weekly, which is the same "free advertising" Slashdotters love to reference in these discussions.

      At .99 a song, how can anyone justify P2P piracy anymore? If nine bucks for an entire album is still too much, then clearly your incentive for piracy is not a
      • Hmmm... with cheap paperbacks at $1.50, how can anyone justify libraries?

        The fact that a small minority of available songs are for sale in a proprietary, sonically-abridged, crippled format does not remove the need for people to share music. What if it's not on iTunes? What if it's not in a format I enjoy or can use on my listening device? What if I already purchased it in another format?

        In a perfect world, the fact that people want to share a particular piece of information would be justification en
      • At .99 a song, how can anyone justify P2P piracy anymore? If nine bucks for an entire album is still too much, then clearly your incentive for piracy is not a "communications movement" to "empower the individual," but is basic human nature--wanting something for free so you don't have to pay for it.

        You and your trolling... .99 *is* too much for a song and $9.99 *is* too much for an album when there is no physical medium and you have DRM which locks you to listening to that song on a handful of devices at
      • Re:iTunes (Score:3, Interesting)

        Sorry to be so harsh. I guess I just tired of the whole "we're so noble" act. Just admit what's going on. We're pirating music so we don't have to pay people for it.

        The harshness comes from your attempt to narrow the scope of the argument. Expand your mind and imagine people downloading music to try it out ... and eventually they buy the CD for the security of ownership.

        I can't defend the guys with massive MP3 collections. But I don't have to. I'm not on the defensive here -- YOU are, given your
      • Re:iTunes (Score:3, Interesting)

        by killjoe ( 766577 )
        Maybe unconciously we are striking back at people who have been ripping us off for years.

        There has to be a reason why nobody feels bad about pirating music. If I took a coat from a homeless man I'd feel guilty, if I kicked a dog on the street it'd feel guilty. The other day I downloaded a song I didn't feel guilty.

        I can't really tell you why I don't feel guilty, I just don't. Maybe because I only wanted to hear the song right then and there and haven't listened to it since, maybe becuase they play it on t
  • The Beatles (Score:5, Funny)

    by daniil ( 775990 ) * <> on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:29PM (#12048269) Journal
    The Beatles have ripped off every single band after them. That's about as Conservative as anyone can get.
  • by demonic-halo ( 652519 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:30PM (#12048276)
    How else would a staring artist afford music?


  • essentials (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:31PM (#12048282)
    Artists need money. Fortunately, audiences have money!

    Artists don't need middlemen taking their money and screwing with their work. Fortunately, these days audiences don't need them either!
    • Re:essentials (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:33PM (#12048305)
      I'm still waiting for you to get to the part where P2P solves the problem of artists needing money.
      • He's sure to advocate concert venues, merchandising (t-shirts, etc.), and purchasing of legitimately offered media. He could go on to mention the undeniable substance of having an officially-made CD with liner notes, cover art, and so on, or the possibility of releasing low quality or sample tracks over P2P and advocating the purchase of higher quality (maybe even lossless) media through official channels. He'd then go on to say that when artists recognize the needs of the fans and fans know that the artist
        • Oh! To add to my last sentence there. Andrew Bird [] is the artist on whose CDs I've seen that copyright notice. Thus I feel able to spread around some of his music to friends. One such friend, who enjoys the music, lives near a concert venue at which Bird recently performed for two nights. I told the friend about the upcoming performance one or two weeks before the cancert date. Friend went to the (I assume fairly small) concert venue for tickets to find out that both nights had sold out. I know that does not
      • Maybe I'm a little cynical, but if the indie artists really wanted people to share files, they would make them public domain or GPL(or GFDL or whatever it's called) or something. That would not only increase the distribution, it would be good PR, and it would lend legitimacy to online file sharing.

        However, I get the idea that many of them only want to use file sharing when it suits them, and enforce the copyright later when it suits them. When people want to start buying CDs they will want a piece of the a
  • by Golgafrinchan ( 777313 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:32PM (#12048291)
    'The Beatles could not have faced that criteria and come up with anything other than the most mediocre, conservative music,' said Maitreya.

    I'm not sure that the Beatles are a good example here. By the time they started doing really revolutionary stuff on Revolver, they'd already had 10 #1 singles. I'd suspect that any artist who reached that point would have a lot more freedom in what they did.

    • by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:50PM (#12048483)
      Good point. The early Beatles were all about being managed. They started in Germany with the leathers, and came back and Brian put them in suits and made them mod.

      They were as managed and as packaged as anything that comes from American or World Idol. The difference, of course, between them and Kelly Clarkson, is that they were brilliant musicians and songwriters.
    • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:55PM (#12048528)
      The Beatles were steered by some sort of management comittee. Remember "Michelle"? The year it was released was 14 years after the year the name "Michelle" became the most popular name to give baby girls in Britain. Looking at the other Beatles albums, the pattern emerges. On the early albums, there is almost always a song using the most popular 14 or 15 year old girl's names in Britain, while on the latter ones, (basically after the Ed Sullivan appearance), there are songs using both these and the most popular US adolescent girl's names as well.

      Anna, Julia, Lucy, Rita, Martha, Maggy (Mae), Penny, Pam, Honey, Sadie...

      Beyond this, there's the required love song on every album, the required 3:22 long song for optimal AM play, and so on. Looking at when songs were actually recorded in studio, John and Paul uusually had to wait to record their favorites until someone in management was satisfied they had the required songs in the can.

    • Why be so nice about it. That guy is a complete asshat for trying to dis the Beatles in order to increase his own celebrity stock. What a zero.

      The Beatles were on the cutting edge of popular music, even at the very beginning. As soon as they found Ringo, and would stay late after shows and play Blues records and listen to Fats Domino and later, Bob Dylan they were right on the edge. Remember, where they come from, no one was playing the stuff they were listening to. They chomped bennies all night and dra
  • Good idea, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rm999 ( 775449 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:32PM (#12048299)
    Peer to peer has a lot of potential, but up to now it has largely been disorganized. There is no easy way to go through a list of all the music, and no way to know which of the 1% of the songs are legitimate.

    This means that the chance someone will download some indie music off kazaa is close to 0. There needs to be a way for artists to advertise their own, legal music on these networks. There are already websites that allow this, like http://www.garageband.coc. I think free download websites like this are a much better way for indie artists to spread their name.

  • by robyannetta ( 820243 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:33PM (#12048308) Homepage
    To be honest, I don't use p2p utilities for any reason. However, I would love to distribute my films via p2p, but am afraid The Man (TM) will attempt to come down on me for distributing films over p2p. I don't have the kind of cash needed to defend myself against the faceless monsters behind the MPAA.

    Its these threats that's keeping indies like me down.

    • Are you paranoid or just a dumbass? On what grounds would The Man squash the distribution of YOUR film (as in YOU own the copyright)?
      • You're right... It's MY films.

        I'm afraid of the automated emails that get sent out saying that it found me distributing movies via a p2p app.

        I can barely afford making the movies, let along defending myself (successfully) in court.

        THAT's what's keeping me down.

        • by Ayaress ( 662020 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:55PM (#12048530) Journal
          Well, if you name your films after major ones, then, maybe. It'd be like the makers of Xfile getting in trouble because the automailer identified it as X-Files episodes. If you have unique titles, though, that won't happen. Those bots that search for people sharing movies search by title, not just if it's a movie or not. The MPAA may have more power than it should, but it doesn't have enough power to stop you from distributing something that's not owned by somebody they represent. Even a commercial movie not produced by an MPAA member company, the MPAA can't do anything about. The only risk to you distributing your own files via ptp is that a major lawsuit will take down the service you're distributing through, but in that case you could safely move to another service.
    • by sahonen ( 680948 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:37PM (#12048351) Homepage Journal
      You have absolutely nothing to worry about. You own the copyright on your own film, and therefore have the exclusive right to say how it may be distributed. The MPAA has zero right to tell you how you may distribute your own film.
    • by Hallow ( 2706 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @04:04PM (#12048610) Homepage
      Well, it really depends. You might have the copyright on your movie, but have you carefully checked all your audio to make sure you're not using anything copyrighted, or can even hear anything copyrighted? Made sure any buildings or artwork that appear aren't copyrighted? Better not have used a coke can or a t-shirt with a cool design - all those are probably copyrighted. Got releases from every identifiable person in your flick?

      This has even made me a little scared when it comes to just sharing family home movies online! You can get sued for just about anything these days.
  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <spam&pbp,net> on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:33PM (#12048310)
    That quote was seen on another article talking about the Grokster case. I read it the other day.

    There are a few label artists that have filed amicus briefs with the court as well, the rock band Heart being one of them. They've been using p2p (the "weed" application) to distribute new material. Heart may not have any chart topping hits right now, but they've been around since the 1970's and have been a consistant solid touring act. Howard Leese (guitarist) still owns the "Bad Animals" recording studio up in Seattle.

    Another 70's artist, Janis Ian, has also thrown her support behind p2p. After seeing older tracks winding up on p2p networks, they noticed that her older albums had in increase in sales.

    p2p is great for indie artists, true, but it's also nice to see some longtime "major label" artists throwing their names behind it as well.
  • by soupdevil ( 587476 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:36PM (#12048338)
    Yeah, that sounds just about like Terence Trent D'Arby.
    I would agree that P2P helps the little artists. What is not as well known is that the label execs (many of whom I know and work with) rely on P2P statistics to decide which records to promote and which songs to shoot videos for.
    A certain young artist from Sony just shot a $150,000 video, which will hit mtv2/vh1 next week. The original budget for the video was about $20,000, but after the song took off on the networks, the label delayed the album launch and put more money into the video.
    • What is not as well known is that the label execs (many of whom I know and work with) rely on P2P statistics to decide which records to promote and which songs to shoot videos for.

      Indeed. This topic has been covered on slashdot [] before, too! One such company who provides these statistics is BigChampagne [].

    • The best part is the record label actually doesn't pay for that video. In the end, they are like a bank taking a risk on an artist. If the artist doesn't make any money for them, then the artist gets nothing and the label takes a loss. On the other hand, if the artist makes money, they only make it after their label debt is repaid, generally in full and sometimes with interest.

      In short, the artist you just mentioned is going to have to make back 150,000 instead of 20,000 before they start to make money,
  • by caryw ( 131578 ) <carywiedemann&gmail,com> on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:36PM (#12048339) Homepage
    For an Indie artist P2P is essential for helping to distribute their art to the public. They usually do not have the means to host a web server for themselves for listeners to download MP3's. Several websites exist for independent artists to share their music such as SoundClick [] and (the late) [] which is nice when a potential fan already knows the artists' name and music. However in order to get introduced to the indie artist a listener must find his music somewhere. These days it definitely won't be on the radio or MTV, so that only leaves word of mouth or a BitTorrent amongst illegal ones on a P2P website somewhere. Speaking about Indie artists, check out DZK [], a talented artist I never would have found if not for P2P.
    - Cary
    Anyone from Fairfax County [] or Northern Virginia []?
  • The Beatles could not have faced that criteria and come up with anything other than the most mediocre, conservative music,' said Maitreya.

    Yes, the problem is that the current economic-political structure doesn't want anything but 'mediocre, conservative music.' So, insightful independent artists such as Maitreya will continue to be ignored while the power elite continue to go after p2p.
    • Yes, the problem is that the current economic-political structure doesn't want anything but 'mediocre, conservative music.'

      Funny, I just thought today's mainstream artists were lazy. And record labels are afraid to take chances on riskier artists, because they're afraid of piracy eating into their return investment.

      Every generation thinks the youth's new music is "mediocre, conservative music." A lot of people don't realize how much they sound like old fogies complaining about their grandkids' music.

  • by riptide_dot ( 759229 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:37PM (#12048346)
    This from the perspective of an "indie" musician:

    P2P distribution + web advertising = no more requirement for RIAA to promote and sell your album for you.

    ProTools = no more requirement for RIAA to supply you with a "professional" recording studio

    ProTools + P2P distribution + web advertising = no more RIAA requirement PERIOD.
    • P2P distribution + web advertising = no more requirement for RIAA to promote and sell your album for you.

      P2P distribution + web advertising = no more incentive to sell anything

      You know, the Beatles stopped touring in their careers so they could put out a lot of classic albums. In that mindset, they wouldn't have been able to make a living recording that music.

      Besides, you don't need P2P piracy for distributing free music. iTunes offers free downloads all the time. Encouraging the use of networks tha

      • And hell, a decent multitrack Pro Tools setup will run several thousands of dollars. I mean, nice acoustics don't matter for electronics but stuff still has to be properly mastered, especially for vinyl.
      • You know, the Beatles stopped touring in their careers so they could put out a lot of classic albums. In that mindset, they wouldn't have been able to make a living recording that music.

        That assumes that they didn't have any money at that point in their careers. At that point in their careers, they could live of the gobs of money they had already made. They could also sell an album just because they were the Beatles (people would buy them based on the fact that they knew it was good just because the Bea
  • by Glowing Fish ( 155236 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:38PM (#12048355) Homepage
    Do Indie Rockers really support P2P? Or are they just saying they do, because its five years old now, and its retro-ironic to pretend you like it?
  • P2P works well for some artists and entertainment consumers. They are both making a free and voluntary choice. Likewise, some artists choose to release their work for pay and with restrictive DRM. Some consumers voluntarily choose to consume entertainment within those constraints.

    Nobody, in either scenario, is compelled by force to do anything they do not wish to do. We already live in a perfect world with regards to P2P and DRM.
  • Whatever... (Score:4, Informative)

    by AsnFkr ( 545033 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:54PM (#12048525) Homepage Journal
    While not opposed to P2P, indie musicians have the chance to put themselves out there without relying on virus/spyware/legally-scarry loaded p2p systems. You can get webhosting CHA_CHA_CHEAP (500 gigs transfer for $50 a month ain't hard to find..and 500 gigs is a SHITTON of mp3's) to distribute your songs on a website. The hot part is you have the chance to actually track how many hits you get and control what songs are available, not to mention create more traffic for your site giving you the chance to promote tours/shows/t-shirt sales all in the same swing. In fact, in a shameless plug....I'm *IN* a underground band that records and puts out our albums all DIY with full album distribution on our website.

    This is our new album []
    And this is our "main" website. []

    In fact, within a couple of weeks we will have a music video on the site as well, with not only the ability to stream the video but actually download it in high quality to your hard drive. I don't get bands that don't offer these types of features. It's insane!
  • I wonder if Terence Trent D'Arby's hit "Sign Your Name []" was influenced by him having to sign contracts for everything he did with music back then?

    (and here's some guitar tab [] that I did if you want to try playing this fun song :-) )
  • I think that would be more interesting to know.
  • "guitar groups are on the way out." - Mike Smith, Decca exec, rejecting the Beatles 1/1/62 audition
  • I would like to now why the profit in the music business is so focused on the record sales. What about concerts? Videos? Interviews? Advertising? Soundtracks? It would be nice to have a break-down of the percentages of the profits with the traditional model and with the new model (where p2p comes into play).
  • Don't be surprised (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gmknobl ( 669948 )
    If the government tries to outlaw this technology OR try some method of controling it directly. It's an anarchist technology and the type of thing over-controlling fascist governments hate. I don't think it will ever be fully controlled but it may be forced underground. Anyone else think the world is getting to be too much like "The Matrix"?
  • Here, posted in full (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nate nice ( 672391 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @04:18PM (#12048720) Journal
    the problem with music
    by steve albini
    excerpted from Baffler No. 5

    Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end, holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed.

    Nobody can see what's printed on the contract. It's too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody's eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there's only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says, "Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim it again, please. Backstroke."

    And he does, of course.

    I. A&R Scouts

    Every major label involved in the hunt for new bands now has on staff a high-profile point man, an "A&R" rep who can present a comfortable face to any prospective band. The initials stand for "Artist and Repertoire," because historically, the A&R staff would select artists to record music that they had also selected, out of an available pool of each. This is still the case, though not openly.

    These guys are universally young [about the same age as the bands being wooed], and nowadays they always have some obvious underground rock credibility flag they can wave. Lyle Preslar, former guitarist for Minor Threat, is one of them. Terry Tolkin, former NY independent booking agent and assistant manager at Touch and Go is one of them. Al Smith, former soundman at CBGB is one of them. Mike Gitter, former editor of XXX fanzine and contributor to Rip, Kerrang and other lowbrow rags is one of them. Many of the annoying turds who used to staff college radio stations are in their ranks as well.

    There are several reasons A&R scouts are always young. The explanation usually copped-to is that the scout will be "hip" to the current musical "scene." A more important reason is that the bands will intuitively trust someone they think is a peer, and who speaks fondly of the same formative rock and roll experiences.

    The A&R person is the first person to make contact with the band, and as such is the first person to promise them the moon. Who better to promise them the moon than an idealistic young turk who expects to be calling the shots in a few years, and who has had no previous experience with a big record company. Hell, he's as naive as the band he's duping. When he tells them no one will interfere in their creative process, he probably even believes it.

    When he sits down with the band for the first time, over a plate of angel hair pasta, he can tell them with all sincerity that when they sign with company X, they're really signing with him and he's on their side. Remember that great, gig I saw you at in '85? Didn't we have a blast.

    By now all rock bands are wise enough to be suspicious of music industry scum. There is a pervasive caricature in popular culture of a portly, middle aged ex-hipster talking a mile-a-minute, using outdated jargon and calling everybody "baby." After meeting "their" A&R guy, the band will say to themselves and everyone else, "He's not like a record company guy at all! He's like one of us." And they will be right. That's one of the reasons he was hired.

    These A&R guys are not allowed to write contracts. What they do is present the band with a letter of intent, or "deal memo," which loosely states some terms, and affirms that the band will sign with the label once a contract has been agreed on.
  • Jeffy Tweety of Wilco (mentioned in TFA), a popular indie band, is a staunch advocate of P2P music distribution and making music possible via the internet. When their label Reprise rejected thier album "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel", they purchased their master copies and streamed it online for free [].

    In other news, Jeff Tweedy and Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig will discuss their opinions regarding file sharing, free culture, and the arts. Lessig wrote the 2004 book Free Culture: How Big Media Uses
  • by garagekubrick ( 121058 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @04:30PM (#12048831) Homepage
    I directed a video [] recently for a band called The Decemberists [] who aren't on a major label. They have, however, drummed up a lot of mainstream press notice and attention and good sales for a true indie label band. Once the video was done, however, I got my obligatory MTV2 airings at weird times of the night. So how were we going to share it? There'd be a cruddy low res version which is barely what the band could afford to host. So we distributed via bittorrent directly. We literally gave their fans as high quality file as we could. In one week using only bittorrent and not including the low res Quicktime, we've had over 5000 downloads. This is in the same week that Universal Music Group (one of the titans) has declared that music videos will no longer be streamed for free. Wired ran an article with all the details here: Wired article on how to get around MTV [] And now? The band is at number 7 on the iTunes music store and 19 at amazon. That is with the marketing budget of a small indepdendent label. Rewards come to those artists who embrace and understand how to use this tech. BTW i kept trying to submit this story but to no avail.
  • by tdhillman ( 839276 ) * on Friday March 25, 2005 @05:47PM (#12049617)
    I've spoken about distaste for pirating here in the past, but as the manager of an indie rock band, I'll also swear by P2P as a promotion mechanism.

    Small bands make virtually nothing from club appearances. The money, at least at the beginning, is in merchandise- t-shirts, stickers, and CDs.

    Every last one of them provides free downloads on sites such as Pure Volume [] or on My Space [] They still realize CD sales at performances and via web purchase as they chase the holy grail- the record contract.

    File trading has, does, and will still work as part of a comprehensive business model. The Grateful Dead certainly did rather well considering that nearly everything they ever did can be downloaded from []

    P2P becomes dicey when a group's success is predicated on album sales, and not performance money. I don't think a lot of Steely Dan albums would have ever surfaced if P2P was a dominant medium in their period.

    Most importantly though, it is still a decision that the artists must make- do they want to sacrifice the financial protection offered by copyright law or open the doors in hopes of atracting an audience. In the first, they've got a business entity whose hands are in the pot- in the latter, they are self-promoting and hoping to realize the success that brings.

    If you want to see an example of how indie bands at their best work, check out Monty's Fan Club [] and see what a small band from Rhode Island can do with P2P and a willingness to get the music out there.

    In the meantime, I'm going downstairs to get my kids to turn the damn guitars down.

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