Clone of DJ Cary in The Attic
At this web site of San Francisco nightlife, an "Event: Cary @ The Attic" is described as: "Amnesia hosts a night of varied beats, as DJ Cary takes the helm this Wednesday. If hip-hop, reggae, funk and salsa is your grooves of choice, then you'll fit right in for this midweek styler. DJ Cary is skilled in the ways of downtempo, and her label, Magnatune, has been known to put out a mix or two of the variety. Come out and check her out. Its intimate, its groovy and its free. (AC)"
The only problem is that DJ Cary, who is has several albums at Magnatune specializing in downtempo compilations, has no idea what these people are talking about, as she's certainly not DJing at this club.
So... we're trying to figure out if this club is just playing DJ Cary's Magnatune compilation CDs, or if there's someone standing behind a turntable claiming to be playing live music when they're actually playing Magnatune music. All very odd...
The "live music bar" which is hosting the event is named "The Attic". There's no web site that I can find for it.
An interesting mystery...
Our first paycheck from the other music services, courtesy of CDBABY
I received our first paycheck today from CDBABY, who supplies our music to iTunes, MSN music and other stores.
The good news, is that at $992.02, it's actually worth depositing, and amounts to something. The bad news is that no single artist made over $100, this for about 3 months worth of digital sales (sept-oct-nov). I'm not too surprised, given how large a catalog is on iTunes, and most artists are happy to see an extra $50 in sales, for not having to do anything. This is a *lot* better than the less-than-one-dollar check I receive from musicnow (67 cents, last month), which *isn't* worth depositing. With sales like that, is it any wonder Music Now just sold to AOL?
Some of the better sellers are obviously because of keyword matches, such as the Brook Street Band's "Handel Oxford Water Music" and DA CAMERA: A Celtic Celebration while others like EHREN STARKS: The Depths of a Year and HEAVY MELLOW: Acoustic Abstracts must be found by some other means. I was happy to see a few artists who don't sell too well on Magnatune nonetheless do decently on iTunes, such as JAMIE JANOVER, MICHAEL MASLEY and KITKA. I think that shows that iTunes has a different musical audience than what Magnatune draws.
Interestingly, there are virtually no Magnatune rock artists selling decently on iTunes -- the only appearance in my sales records is BURNSHEE THORNSIDE, and what they do is pretty special.
So, the verdict is that iTunes will be a nice supplemental revenue, but for now at least, won't make a major impact. And... what iTunes apparently rewards is our more esoteric catalog.
CDBABY's accounting system tells me the total amount they've paid per album since the 1st day we signed up with them, not how each payment to us was broken up by artist album. That's not perfect for my accounting, as I was planning on reporting these other-services-payments to my artists as music-license-sales (ie, we license the music to iTunes) but instead it'll need to show up as a single line-item in musician's reports (other digital music services: $xxx.xx) that increases over time. It's a little funky to have a line-item in your royalties that grows over time, but as long as the numbers are honest, I hope that'll be ok for musicians.
And of course, CDBABY's timing couldn't be better, with them sending me my first paycheck a week before I'm about to pay my musician's royalties.
However, iTunes isn't selling any Magnatune artists who don't have cover art in our system. That's about half our artists, which is my bad (though they don't tell you this, the albums just mysteriously don't make their way onto the site), but Joel has spent the past 60 days scanning these all in (so they'll also be on www.magnatune.com, which is real good) and we'll shortly re-upload those albums to iTunes so that they sell those too.
iPods filled mostly with Ripped music
A research press release by ICM/Napster finds that:
1) UK owners of MP3 players only fill them to 58% capacity.
2) 16% of UK adults own such a device and 60% of those bought their players in the last year.
3) 66% of music on players is ripped from CDs, 10% is copied from friends and 17% is downloaded legally while 6% is downloaded illegally.
4) The benefits of devices are listed by consumers as follows: convenience (43%), portability (42%) and ease of use (18%)
What's most interesting to me is #3, showing that CD purchases are being used as the main source of mp3-player music. My guess is that as long as DRM and low quality, and the if-you-lose-your-download-that's-too-bad policy of online stores continue, CDs will continue being the preferred way of getting music for your iPod.
I've found at Magnatune that the majority of people who buy a CD also take us up on our offer to "download the music now while you wait for your CD"
Weedshare & Magnatune announce distribution partnership
Below is a press release announcing a partnership between Weedshare and Magnatune. I tried to hit the DRM issue head-on in the release, as that's likely the most contentious issue with our existing Magnatune fans.
Bottom line: this is an alternative way for people to buy Magnatune music, in a scheme where they can themselves make money by sharing their bought files with other people, in what is typically referred to as an "affiliate network." We absolutely will continue to sell DRM-free music through the magnatune web site, but for those who wish to make money by sharing their files, that option is now there.
The Limewire aspect of this arrangement is not so well explained in the release. Limewire runs a site called MagnetMix which promotes music that is p2p legal. They plan to relaunch the site with another name, and promote much more heavily inside Limewire. Presumably because of the Grokster legal decision they're looking to move into non-infringing uses more aggressively, which is good news for music companies like Magnatune. I've avoided putting files onto P2P because it's hard to get people with non-nagging music on their hard drive to convert into buying the music, but the combination of weedshare + limewire appeals to me and may work (business wise)
Weedshare, Magnatune, LimeWire in Distribution Partnership Seattle, London, New York; December 12, 2005—Three pioneers in the on-line distribution of music files have joined forces. Magnatune (www.magnatune.com), a London-based online record label, Seattle's Shared Media Licensing, Inc. (www.weedshare.com), and New York-based peer-to-peer innovator Lime Wire LLC (www.limewire.com) will cooperate in distributing and promoting Magnatune's 200 artists via SML's unique Weedshare file sharing service.
Under the agreement, Magnatune's entire catalog of more than 400 albums will be converted into Weed files that can be freely downloaded and legally shared with others through any means, including peer-to-peer ("P2P") networks. File sharers can play the songs 3 times for free, and after buying the tracks, automatically earn commissions when they share them with others.
Magnatune music will be offered through the Weedshare and Magnatune web sites, as well as through LimeWire's upcoming LimeClick.com site. LimeClick is designed to provide a "launchpad" for populating the Gnutella P2P network with legal content, which can then be searched for and retrieved with LimeWire's software.
Says Magnatune CEO John Buckman: "This agreement enables our company to move into three distinct new areas. Firstly, we can now work with peer-to-peer companies, as well as fans of that technology, to enable much wider distribution, exposure and experimentation with our music catalog. Secondly, this enables an affiliate network, where every buyer of a Weedshare-enabled Magnatune song is effectively a reseller, enjoying a profit every time the files they share are themselves purchased. For example, podcasters can now sell the songs they are playing on their shows, and thus build a business model for their continued existence. Finally, this allows single songs to be purchased, where currently only albums may be bought."
Buckman says he had long been intrigued by Weedshare's business model, and was won over when he met Weed co-founder Steve Turnidge at a Future of Music Conference in Washington, DC. The two shared excitement in finding new business models for music. Both companies aim to promote diversity in music, lowering the costs of distribution and sales, so that musicians can focus on their art.
Magnatune's basic philosophy is strongly anti-DRM (copy protection). Indeed, the Magnatune home page states "no copy protection (DRM) ever." Weedshare does use DRM to enable the additional features it brings to the media file. Why the seeming change in policy? "I still believe that once you buy the music, you should own it and there shouldn't be any technological restrictions on the use of that file," says Buckman. "However, in order to enable Weedshare's 'make-money-when-you-share' business model, some sort of tracking and control must be added to the file." This is in line with the recent recommendation of analysts at Gartner Research that "the industry would be better served by efforts to develop solutions that use DRM as an accounting/tracking tool, rather than as a lock."
In an industry first, Magnatune will be making its catalog available in "lossless" format to balance the competing interests of user rights vs. security. This enables buyers to burn purchased Weed files to audio CD with absolutely no loss of quality. This perfect-quality CD has no DRM and can be ripped to MP3 or any other desired format with no second-generation quality loss (unlike all other existing music/DRM offerings).
As always, Magnatune will split all the money it receives 50/50 with its artists.
Weed's Chief Evangelist, Steve Turnidge, remarked "Weed is based on an ideal that if you treat everybody fairly, you can be successful while helping great music get heard. Magnatune shares that ideal and we're delighted to be working with them."
As part of the agreement, a different Magnatune artist will be featured weekly on the Weedshare home page (www.weedshare.com/).
Founded in 2003, Magnatune (www.magnatune.com) is an independent, online record label that hand selects its own artists, sells its catalog of music through online downloads and print-on-demand CDs and licenses music for commercial and non-commercial use. Based on the principle that "we are not evil," the company offers fair-trade music to consumers by equally splitting all revenue from the sale of albums with artists and allowing artists to retain full rights to their music. All music can be previewed free of charge with a "try before you buy" philosophy. Customers can also choose how much they want to pay for the music with pricing ranging from $5-18 for a downloadable album or print-on-demand CD.
About Shared Media Licensing, Inc.
SML debuted its Weedshare service in 2003 and has thousands of artists and record labels distributing music in its unique Weed file format. The company was a finalist in the World Technology Network's 2004 Entertainment Award competition.
Lime Wire LLC is the maker of the peer-to-peer file sharing program LimeWire, downloaded over 50 million times since the company's inception in 2000. LimeClick (formerly MagnetMix) was launched in 2002, and showcases the web's best independent digital content.
President, Shared Media Licensing, Inc.
Lime Wire LLC
Asteria interview at Mouvement Nouveau
My favorite quote from the interview:
The kind of music Asteria plays is very far from the common notion of classical music, however, and includes many modern elements: choruses, repeated sections, actual sung lyrics, and tonalities that share an idiom with certain contemporary pop forms (dark wave, goth, ambient, new age, etc). I think we have more of a chance to continue to inspire the current and next generations than a Mozart quartet, which is ironic considering that our music is much older.
Mouvement Nouveau is a fabulous music site focussed on classical and experimental music. I love the fact that the name of the site is French, they write in English, and are themselves German. Welcome to the 21st century global Internet music village! They've previously done an interview with Magnatune artist DAC Crowell. Their interviews are among the most informed and intelligent ones I've seen on our music.
Asteria also have a number of acapella tracks available for remixing on CC Mixter.
trimmed back on the number of discussion groups
I've trimmed back all the discussion groups, so that there's just
this one. Having separate genre discussions (classical/metal/world)
just wasn't working as there wasn't enough discussion traffic on them
to keep 'em going.
So now, at the "forums" page
Anything you want to talk about as long as it's about us.
Our delicious propaganda broadcasts.
Note that I did *not* combine the memberships, as I don't think
people who joined the genre discussions only would be pleased to see
themselves moved to a busier list.
Lisa D / CC Mixter CD up
The winners of the CC Mixter / Lisa D contest are now up as our first remix contest winners CD, at:
the CD is called "Mixter One"
I'm following up with a bunch of the remixers to try to get full albums from some of them, as some of them are amazingly talented.
The CC Mixter page about it is:
Human beings now once again on Magnatune
All the "you just heard" speaking at Magnatune has been replaced with a human being. Gone is the computer "text to speech" program I was using. The result is much more pleasing and intelligible.
I also lowered the voice volume down by 40%, so it's a bit softer than the music. This means that you can comfortable once again listen to magnatune music all day and not feel interrupted or "jarred" by the intrusive computer voice.
I was listening to the magnatune classical station yesterday while reading, and didn't really notice the voice, which was the effect I was trying to achieve.
The voice of Magnatune, by the way, is Shannon Coulter, who just started working with me this week on Magnatune. Shannon has done some voice work for radio in the past, which is why she sounds so good!
This voice now announces "that was track number #, from the album XX by artist name, from magnatune.com". You'll find that on the radio stations, m3u playlists and soon, on the podcasts I'm putting together. I wanted to wait on the podcast launch until I had banished the computer voice.
Hopefully... others feel similarly positive about the new voice!