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September 23, 2005


Nathan Jones

How big does it need to be? A book or a booklet?

A book gives more depth for people already interested in the "music industry is evil" theme. A booklet could be more widely distributed, both in print and online. PDF download featured on Magnatune, Weedshare and CDBABY, and possibly other music businesses interested in joining a united front.

About the title, I think there should be a subtitle. In reality, you don't just want to overthrow the music business in the sense of destroying it: you want to overthrow the dominant players and replace them with better business models.

This is not quite right, but to give you the jist:

How to Overthrow the Music Industry
- and make music thrive...

Cameron Reilly

totally, John, go for it! I think the world needs such a book.

Paul Morriss

I had the same idea that it needs a subtitle too. My ideas are:
without killing music
but treat musicians fairly
or (too long really)
making sure that musicians can still earn money


Please answer me this question: I'm familiar with ethical sites and trackers, but what is an ethical P2P network? As far as I know most P2P network technology can be abused by bad people in the same way that VCR's could be abused to steal movies.

(Most P2P sites I participate in share only unavailable/non-copyright music -- you wouldn't believe the discussions on sampling music from 78 rpm records/wax cylinders, but the P2P protocols we use could be abused by people stealing the latest Hollywood movie...)

The book sounds like a good idea, John. As you say, you don't want to destroy/overthrow; you want to force a (bleh jargon) paradigm shift.

Chris Feran

One thing that must be kept in mind are the inherent power of the record labels. Between the RIAA and their alliance with Clearchannel, Infinity, and Viacom, musicians are not aware of what ground exactly they have left to promote their music. With turnouts at venues being as weak as they are in some areas, such as my former city, Cleveland, artists are no longer sure how they can make a living from their music without labels.

As an independent artist it is my goal to demonstrate to the world that (a) the internet is a feasible tool for artists to publicise themselves, and (b) it is possible to live without being signed to a major label. When I receive my Bachelor's of Philosophy my major will have been on "Using Music to Influence Society."

Quality inherently possesses stronger force connotations than quantity, but the music industry, with its monopoly of Billboards, lawyers, radio stations, and indeed semiotic representation, has no need for quality--that's where Magnatune and independent artists step in.

It's outrageous that artists are only getting 7-8 points per album, and it's outrageous that the internet and peer-to-peer networks have been black listed as "illegal". With power to define following money, the record labels have had the luxury of defining and regulating the legality of acquiring music.

This 'paradigm' which has been semioticallly constructed is not easy to overthrow as its weight is largely cultural, and not individual. Sociologically, however, if the myths of power can be overcome and cognitive dissonance eschewed for sake of, yes, a paradigm shift, inevitably the labels will crumble as the paradigm under which they exist would no longer possess validity.

If the book could be written convincingly, without coming off sounding like a tool for self-publicity, its gravity could sway a number of artists and labels into "modernization"-- that is, with a greater focus to the artists. At its worst, the tool could simply be a propaganda tool of Magnatune.com and an effort to create publicity for what the major labels might refer to as a "post-mortem medium of product distribution."

This said, I would encourage you to write it.

Peter Bowman

If you are interested in alternative thinking about the music biz, check out this daily podcast. The attempt is to educate and that seems to be the best way to help stop the madness in the music business.

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