Jyoti on downloading and the majors…

more great stuff from Jyoti Mishra on downloading. If the BPI starts getting trigger-happy with legal action against people for downloading music, we could end up in a v. bad place.

What they don’t seem to get at all is that more people will pay for music by artists they feel some connection with. Faceless corporate no-marks who happen to make nice music don’t engender any fan loyalty, so people will happily download their stuff. Why not, they’re rich enough already goes the argument. Whereas a band like Nizlopi allow free access to their video of The JCB Song for months, and instead of people just downloading it and then ignoring the record, they get a number one record out of it, totally outside of the music industry machine. It was a glorious success, not to mention a fabulous song, and shows what happens if enough effort is made to connect with an audience, to give them something of value.

The same thing has happened with a host of indie bands that launched this year- Jyoti talks about them with far more insight than I have, cos everything I’ve heard by the Arctic Monkeys sounds like shite, so I’ve not really taken much notice of them musically, but the story is one that fills me with hope, and the quotes I’ve heard from their fans suggest that they engender fierce loyalty.

And there are corporate rock monoliths that still do it. Iron Maiden, Queen and a few others have fans that will buy multiple copies of every single, on as many formats get released, even after they are well out of fashion. Marillion managed to raise the cost of making an album from their fan-base in advanced sales, for a record that wasn’t even written. Loyalty, trust, value. If people feel positively disposed towards an act, they are happy to part with cash. And those who never part with cash for music are going to get hold of it anyway – if you cripple software copying of music, people will just write software that records the audio – it means the copying will be slightly slower, but it’ll still happen, and the file-sharers will have the added buzz of getting one over on the wankers who want to fill their computers with spy-ware to stop them copying CDs to their iPods.

Meanwhile the indies keep providing MP3s, writing blogs to stay in touch with their audience, answering emails, playing gigs and selling merch, and it’s rolling along quite nicely thanks. Balls to the Sony share-holders.

SoundtrackMichael Manring, ‘Soliloquy’ (Michael has spent 20 years on various record labels, putting out great music. This time he makes the album of his life, puts it out himself, and is no doubt doing better from it than any previous album. It’s better packaged than any of his other albums, it’s beautifully recorded and is almost without doubt the most complete musical statement I’ve ever heard from a solo bass guitarist.)

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