Kristin Hersh saves the music industry from itself

Congrats to Kristin Hersh, one of my long-time favorite musicians, for pioneering a new independent artist coalition, CASH Music. Who knew that in addition to being an incredibly talented singer and songwriter, she is full of smart things to say on copyright, “read-write” culture, and new business models for musicians.

CASH is an acronym — it stands for the Coalition of Artists & Stake Holders. The name indicates just what we’re all hoping to build here — a coalition through which we blur the line that’s traditionally stood between creators of content and the consumers of that content.

We’re all stake holders here. We all stand to gain from a productive relationship. Maybe it will help to think of this relationship as a conversation. For instance, I start the conversation by writing and recording a song every month, like the one I’m posting here this month, “Slippershell”. You respond by listening & sharing “Slippershell” with others.

Sharing is encouraged, I license my work through Creative Commons. If you’re unfamiliar with Creative Commons, do yourself a favor and check out the licenses I use. They’re in plain English and provide better, more realistic and rational copyright protection.

Go download Kristin’s latest song and consider a donation or subscription to support a new business model for indie musicians!

(via the newly full-time waxy)

DRM disappears, my money quickly follows

I’ve been on a digital music buying spree this week — purchasing and downloading three new albums online. Despite being a voracious consumer of new music, mostly from mp3 blogs that highlight and share new tracks, I have never purchased music from the iTunes store. And I still haven’t — I purchased two albums from Amazon’s mp3 store, and one directly from the band (Radiohead).

What pushed me over the edge? Music files with no restrictions on use: no codes to key in, no limits on how many people I can share it with, or how many computers I can play them from. I have had too many bad experiences trying to play a track in iTunes that a friend gave me, only to find that I need their username and password to play it — even if they are happy to give it to me, it’s an extra step, and it reminds me that by my listening to “their” music I may be restricting them from listening to it on other computers or iPods, or sharing with other friends.

iTunes is on the right track now, offering DRM-free mp3s, but their selection is still fairly low, and I don’t enjoy the process of sifting through a lot of great (but DRM-limited and thus undesirable) music to find the unrestricted mp3s. Amazon offers a much more pleasant user experience — I know what I’m going to get: everything is unrestricted.

I didn’t realize how much of a hindrance DRM and a poor user experience had been for me — the unpleasantness of emailing friends for a password to re-activate the music they shared with you a couple months ago, the heartbreak (ok, annoyance) of finding a great album on iTunes but realizing it’s only available in DRM-protected format and so having to continue the search elsewhere — these factors just added friction to the whole music-buying process. Once those issues were resolved, I was surprised to see how quickly my wallet flew open: $30 on DRM-free digital music in one week; that’s literally more than I’ve spent in the past year.

The bounty:

Trojan Originals


The New Pornographers: Challengers


Radiohead: In Rainbows