Music as product – where do we go from here?

I’m not sure whether music can be called as product. But what I do know is that I’m a consumer of music, and as a consumer I like to have some degree of choice over where I obtain music, what I pay for it (if anything), and what I can do with it once I own it.

The main models of obtaining music are:

1/ Going to a record shop and buying CDs or vinyl. I do this one very rarely, largely because it is usually the most expensive.

2/ Buying the same records or CDs online (usually from Amazon). This was my main method of buying music until I ran out of space to store it.

3/ Paying a set amount of money per album or per song to download DRM protected files (usually from iTunes in my case). It’s convenient, usually cheaper than buying a CD, but there are issues regarding what can and can’t be done with the music afterwards. I’ve bought a fair bit this way, but will probably not buy much more as my Mac (the only computer I use iTunes on) nears the end of it’s life.

4/ As 3, but without the DRM. I’m currently trying out emusic.com as an alternative to iTunes, and they certainly have enough music I want to make my 2 week trial worthwhile and possibly to consider a subscription. The only downside is that you pay £10.99 a month whether you download songs or not. I don’t ever see myself not downloading music, but you never know.

5/ As 3, but without the DRM or the cost. This covers sites like Jamendo, and artists who release on a “pay what you like” model. I’m a big fan of this, but not everyone I like does it, and I need more than this sometimes (although did download only free music for 2 months earlier this year and did not die or explode).

6/ Peer-to-peer sharing of music files (or copying music for friends). It’s a valid option, but not something I do a great deal of in general or would like to condone too much.

I’ve done all of these in the past, and I think a happy medium is probably the way forward. As is getting a very large hard drive to store music on before I actually run out of space. 160gb sounded like a lot 3 years ago, but if I continue to acquire digital music at the rate I am then I’ll run out of space in months rather than years.

Severed Fifth – Denied by Reign

Severed Fifth is the musical alter-ego of Jono Bacon (a name that might be familiar to many Linux users). The album is available from here (various formats), and while it is proper metal, it is also oddly melodic in places. I think if I’d not weaned myself back on to this sort of music with the new Metallica album then I’d hate this. As it is, I think I actually quite like it and would recommend it to anyone who likes their metal fast and loud.

Microblogging as a promotional tool

I’ve been thinking recently about how we (and by we I mean anyone involved in any activity they wish to promote) can get information to the largest number of appropriate people, with the least amount of effort. This interests me because I’m involved in a fair few activities which would benefit from further participation, which will only happen if people know they exist. Software projects need developers and testers, LARP games need players and musicians need people to listen to their music, or at least to know they exist.

My current area of interest is looking at the interoperability of various social networking and microblogging sites, with a view to making the right information available to the right people instantly. Twitter and Facebook are both very good at this in different ways, but there is also a lot of scope to integrate microblogging within a more traditional blogging environment such as Livejournal or WordPress, which can also reach people who might not normally ever consider signing up to Twitter.

I think having a good web presence is so important, and so vital in recruiting and retaining other like minded individuals. And now we have the tools at our disposal we should be using them, right?