Houston Calling

The time is now!

January 27th, 2004 · No Comments

I found this article online from the Associated Press, 1.27.04:

CANNES, France — Rock veterans Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno are launching a provocative musicians’ alliance that would cut against the industry grain by letting artists sell their music online instead of only through record labels.

With the Internet transforming how people buy and listen to songs, musicians need to act now to claim digital music’s future, Gabriel and Eno argued Monday as they handed out a slim red manifesto at a huge dealmaking music conference known as Midem.

They call the plan the “Magnificent Union of Digitally Downloading Artists” — or MUDDA, which has a less lofty ring to it.

“Unless artists quickly grasp the possibilities that are available to them, then the rules will get written, and they’ll get written without much input from artists,” Eno said.

By removing record labels from the equation, artists can set their own prices and own agendas, said the two musicians, who hope to launch the online alliance within a month.

Their pamphlet lists ideas for artists to explore once they’re freed from the confines of the CD format. One might decide to release a minute of music every day for a month. Another could post several recorded variations of the same song and ask fans what they like best.

Gabriel, who has his own label, Real World Records, said he isn’t trying to shut down the record companies — he just wants to give artists more options.

“There are some artists who already tried to do everything on their own,” he said, adding that those musicians often found out they didn’t like marketing or accounting. “We believe there will be all sorts of models for this.”

One band that has found its niche online is Phish, which sells downloads of its concerts at www.livephish.com.

The band’s relationship with its fans is often compared to that of the Grateful Dead, and the site is another chance for close contact. But it also generates plenty of money: over $2.25 million in sales since 2002.

The success of legitimate download sites such as Apple’s Internet music store, iTunes, is driving the movement. (end of article)

I hope this pans out for all involved and that more musicians heed the call and begin to distribute their music on their own terms. Pearl Jam’s been doing it a bit and I recently read that Dave Matthews is selling concerts online (along with other live staples Phish and The Dead, as mentioned in the article).

One of my favorites, The Alarm’s Mike Peters, has been selling his music via his website for years now. Glad to see the rest of the world is finally coming around.

I am very interested to see how this plays out.

Now Playing in my iPOD: R.E.M. — Fables of the Reconstruction

Tags: Music