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    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2008
    It's a topic near and dear to me. As an editor for Punknews, I constantly am crawling through news concerning independent labels and different business models.

    Now I know we're all talking about Radiohead's initial release of In Rainbows. Let's forget that one for now, because after their sliding scale, the band released the album in physical format through Dave Matthew's label. Let's focus on some other examples.

    Many indie labels are fully embracing the vinyl/digital download combo. But why just vinyl? Not everyone has a record player. Enter Of Montreal and Polyvinyl Records. As reported first by Paste Magazine, the band released their album as a digital download paired with physical items, like a t-shirt, Chinese lantern, tote bag, etc.

    Interesting, no?

    Here's a thought I was thinking about. Advertising supported music downloads. In order to combat leaks and stupidly ancient far away release dates. More on that on my website. You download the album for free, you get a thirty second radio commercial about a car or Coke or whatever the first time you fire the album up, and then it's gone.

    Thoughts? Would you support that business model, or do you have anything else to suggest?
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2008
    All sounds a bit Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

    Seriously though, if it enables the people making the music to get paid fairly for what they do then I don't see a problem with it. Plenty of other services make money through advertising, in some cases (certain websites for example) you can pay not to see the adverts, so perhaps there could be a free version with adverts and a paid-for version without. It's like you say in that article, nobody bats an eyelid about adverts at the cinema, or in a newspaper, or in all sorts of other places, but I can see people getting very righteous about it when it comes to music (perhaps in a reactionary kind of way).

    Illegal downloading is never going to go away now that the Pandora's box has been opened, so it would probably be beneficial if there were a way such as that where people getting it for free wouldn't affect the profits, or at least not too badly. People have said since Napster came about that it's all very well saying that artist's should be happy that people are hearing their work, but your landlord isn't going to care about how many people have downloaded your album. Well, this would be a model that would sort of change that, in the same sense that, for example, newspaper circulation or readership increases their profitability when it comes to advertising space.
  1.  (3624.3)
    Sigue Sigue Sputnik turned out to be way ahead of their time.
  2.  (3624.4)
    Bomb the Music Industry! seem to do pretty well releasing all their albums for free online on QuoteUnquote records and then later having Asian Man put out the vinyl. Of course it helps that Jeff Rosenstock built up a fan base in Arrogant Sons of Bitches first. And that Bomb the Music Industry! are bloody brilliant.

    Also as it's a 'musical collective' it allows him to do really cool things to get fans involved like letting people play instruments on a song when he's on tour if they learn the song and bring their instruments to the show.
  3.  (3624.5)
    • CommentAuthorWilf
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2008
    Marillion are trying giving their album away as a free download, but with a popup requesting an email address when played - the plan is that they can then target people with emails for concerts, merch etc. and hopefully make some money back that way.
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2008
    @mybrainhurts - I wouldn't put Bomb the Music Industry! in the category of alternative business model because ultimately they're relying on the vinyl albums for revenue outside of touring and and merchandise. Also, they're not making a living with what they're doing, which is fine for them.

    If you're going to play ska music, you've got two things: a built in fanbase, and a limited broad appeal. You either like ska, or you don't.

    Defiance, Ohio does the same thing (and has been doing it longer with more albums) and they don't make any money off what they do. I know, because I work with a lot of members of the band.

    Alternative distribution methods (like BTMI! and Defiance, Ohio) are definitely interesting, but don't allow compensation for the musician as a full time job. Plus, for both these bands, they have a sick sense of pride about giving their music away on the Internet, because it adds to their street cred or whatever. It's like praising a masochist for putting on his own nipple clamps every morning.

    @Reynolds - Magnatune sounds interesting.