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Monday, February 01, 2010


A New Model For Music: Billie Ray Martin

Via EQ, I came across this fascinating quote from dance diva Billie Ray Martin, who is releasing her latest, "The Crackdown," for free via official, legal download on torrent sites:
"Torrent sites are no longer the enemy. All music has basically become free. If a label holds on to their file for dear life, the minute they release it, it will be out there free. It’s a fact and you can’t get away from it. So there’s no point in fighting it. Distributing your music more or less for free might be a bit of a hard-to-grasp concept—it certainly is for me still—but the way it works now is simply that the money is no longer in sales, but in live gigs and licensing. So MP3s are merely there to create interest now. So they’re given out for free really. In a couple of years, all music will be free. Don’t ask me if I am pleased, I’d rather have the $100,000 advances that I used to get from record companies. On the other hand, this process is more democratic. Kids download the files if they like them, you’ve just reached your audience."
At the risk of parroting EQ's post, I'm ecstatic to hear an artist discuss music this way. Just the idea of being open about the torrent system, and someone taking steps to holistically co-opt it into the business model of pop music, is a huge step forward. I was so happy, in fact, that I bought Billie's most recent record as thanks. (That wasn't wholly altruistic; I own all of her others, and her first record, 1996's Deadline For My Memories, is one of my favorites of all time.) I realize there are kinks to be worked out, and artists need to be compensated. But technology is not the enemy, and neither are those kids who are (enthusiastically) downloading your product. There's gold there, it just needs to be mined.

Here's the video for "The Crackdown" (thanks again, Raj!) and, just for fun, a rare performance of an old song that I've always felt was Billie's great undiscovered track, "Hands Up To Amen." Thanks Billie, for your vision!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hands Up to Amen! I love that song! Thanks for sharing. By the way you might be interested with Zedrooms. This global forum will surely help you with your music videos and other interests. Good luck on all your endeavors.

2/1/10, 6:21 AM  

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