Hello Listener…Pseudo-criminal

Published by • February 20th, 2008 RSS News Feed

So begins the read-me of an album downloaded via p2p networks. Wait! Put the gun down; the words aren’t accusing, if potentially accurate. CEO Benn Jordan of Alphabasic Records expresses his feelings on the music industry on this unlikely podium. Apparently frustrated with all the pitfalls of typical distrunbution methods, the experimental rocker under his bandname The Flashbulb has released the latest album, Soundtrack to a Vacant Life, into the wilds of the p2p world before the official release. He continues;

“If you can read this, then you’ve more than likely downloaded this album from a peer to peer network or torrent. You probably expect the rest of this message to tell you that you’re hurting musicians and breaking just about every copyright law in the book. Well, it won’t tell you that.”

Lecture averted, he fills the rest of this document sharing an artist’s frustration with current music distribution methods. Jordan stresses donating as a means of supporting the music rather than paying retail outlets who he claims can take up to 8x more from record sales than the actual artist. Also warning against trying to support them via ITunes, he informs that none of their material sold via this method has showed any profit to the actual artist and they are currently in a legal battle with the digital music distributing Goliath.

Instead Jordan stresses purchasing directly from the label Alphabasic.com where “the artists usually receive over 90% of the actual money coming from your wallet”. Not only will the money be going to the party it should, their library contains a collection of lossless, DRM-free downloads. You can even donate directly to the band where 100% of your contribution will go to the band.

And though Jordan states he isn’t certain that the donation method is the right plan for the long term, I’m glad to see the waters being tested. My guess is that the failing of this method will be that while you might initially have groups of people who pay $1 for the album and groups who might pay $20 or something equally overboard to make the band think they are cool, eventually you’ll probably be left with the first group. I eagerly await the results and will keep an eye on Jordan’s blog for continuing information.

The industry certainly needs shaking up a bit, and I can’t imagine a better way to stick bees in the bonnets of the big wigs than artists willingly going to p2p networking. Perhaps inspired by Radiohead’s recently donation distribution method, I have to admire the risk taken by Jordan and I hope to see more of such moxy in the future.

While I may have

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once been a hard sale on digital distribution, mourning the idea of losing that physical object with its album art and new CD smell, I find myself less and less reaching for a CD and all the more often reaching for my Ipod or firing up Winamp. In fact, the only time I’ve handled music on disk in the last year or so was to burn a mixed CD for a friend or two. My only concern with digital-only music is the cold terror that awakens me at night and makes me clutch my chest in fear; a hard drive crash. Which is why I have about 5 backups of my music collection, as I imagine do many music lovers who keep their collection stored digitally. I don’t know how many backup their music to a hard drive in another state, but I feel confident that I am not alone in my paranoia.

You may see the entire read-me on the label’s site: http://www.alphabasic.com/Please_read.html

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is just a graphic designer thrust into the IT world and winging it as he goes along.
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