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Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Digital Music Revolution: Free music, richer artistes?

First off, I am not in any way involved in the music industry nor have I ever had any experience in it. Neither am I well-versed with music genres and am most likely to confuse hard rock with heavy metal. I'm just an armchair internet junkie who loves over-analyzing anecdotal information.

So in my last post, I blogged about Nine Inch Nails releasing their new album "The Slip" for free on the internet. What I glossed over due to lack of blogging time was that they made the downloads available in multiple formats including FLAC (CD quality) and High-Definition Wave files (super-high quality that only trained audiophiles can tell the difference of). It seems the digital music revolution might have just taken another step.

The point is this: for the first time, a top band has made available for free an entire album in a non-crippled way. Nope, it isn't just "high-quality" MP3 files you can download. It isn't just hte first nine tracks of a 36 track album. You aren't welcomed by a splash screen that tells you to pay as much as you want so you COULD get it for free, but you'd be kind of a jerk to. This is different. It's just "take our whole album, as high quality as you'd like, oh and take the PDF'ed album sleeve too" free.

If the old idea was to get the audience to download a (kinda) crappy MP3 album, fall in love with the song, then scoot out to get it in glorious CD format; the new idea is about just giving away music and hoping "we'll make money through shows, endorsements and support from the fans."

And it's not an unfounded idea. Enough coverage in the media has clearly demonstrated the fact that musicians make the bulk of their money from live appearances (concerts or otherwise).

So I'll posit this argument. My analysis is that the internet is now allowing artistes a freer hand in experimenting. Eyeris had a good point when he commented in my last post:

Giving it away for free just means that the band won't have to worry about irate fans banging their door down after paying RM40 for a completely crap album. haha.
Exactly what I meant about artists not having to worry about the "quality" of their songs anymore. Granted, that's a crude way to put it because artistes DO care and the DO have a reputation to uphold. What I meant was them no longer having to cater to the tastes of the masses simply because the digital medium allows them to cost-effectively put out much more material than before. All those tracks that used to end up on the cutting room floor can now end up in full collections online, given away for free!

What this then translates to (hopefully) a wider-fanbase that's sampled their music and bigger crowds when they go on tour. Could they then trade their amplified popularity for sponsorship or endorsement deals? Possibly. Will this make more of the better artistes richer? Hopefully.

1 comment:

jiaminchow said...

Don't know about necessarily choosing to download lock, stock and barrel. There's a reason why certain experiments end up on the cutting floor, to accommodate our staccato attention span. It's a nice option but strictly only for bands I'm mad about enough to plough through their D sides. Like Nine Inch Nails, hehehe.