The USS Quad Damage

The furniture of music

Wait, I meant future! Why would I say furniture?

In Rainbows by Radiohead, and now the new NiN album are both going to be sans record label, and available for “whatever you want to pay” on the internet. This means it’s now possible for me to get decent music on the intarwebs and pay what I want for it ($5 if I like the album, $1 if it’s OK, nothing if it’s shit). There are a couple of issues here, though:

  1. There’s no centralised way for me to show that I’ve paid for, or downloaded the music. In case I want to download it again somewhere else, or show them that I’m actually playing it. I basically want some sort of audioscrobbler++ interface into the websites that I’m plugging into. I don’t mind the fact that both NiN will have a different place to download this music, but they’ll have no consistency between them. What they need is some sort of musical exchangey protocol which they can talk.
  2. There may be no way to get the music before I pay for it. I may (for example) have to download the music for nothing, then listen to it for a bit, then be forced to download it again for the aforementioned $5. Different bands may have a different way to sell you the music (some might demand streaming, some might give you one format or another, some might try and add some features like video and images, who knows). It’d be nice if there was some software to manage that
  3. I may download an album without paying for it, and I might forget to pay for it. My current workflow is to download / borrow / copy a friend’s album and listen to it, and if I like it, buy it when I go to JB, but really I’d want something similar to a 30 day trial (except maybe more like 30 listens) -- “hey, you're listening to this album a fair bit, you want to buy it?” Maybe I’d even auto-set it to spend $500 a year on whatever I listen to most (maybe more or less if I don’t listen to much music, or listen to a lot).

Point is, there’s actually a need for some software here. It’s not the record industry, but it’s the internet music industry. I also have some questions:

  • Is the amount I’m paying here too cheap? I don’t think so. I’m a bit TA but not that much. The problem with music is that it doesn’t change, and while I wouldn’t call it disposable, you certainly need a lot of it. I would “envision” giving about $500 to the “music industry” (i.e. artists, here, not the record industry) a year, but I’d want about 100 hours of music for it (this isn’t that much, if you think about it).
  • Are the goals unrealistic or dodgy or even against the very idea of getting music on the internet?
  • Would it be possible for someone to offer this kind of service to an artist without charging them money?