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Download Only Song to Crack the Top 40 391

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-shook-up dept.
nagora writes "The BBC is reporting that next week's UK music chart may have the first sign of the end of the recording industry as we know it. From this week (7th Jan, 2006), all downloaded music sales are counted in the official UK chart, not just tracks which have had a physical media release. Now, an unsigned band called Koopa is poised to enter the top 40 without any old-world recording, distribution, or production deals. Band member Joe Murphy says "If someone comes along and gives us an offer, we'll talk to them." before continuing on to add the words the recording industry has been having nightmares about since the introduction of the mp3 format: "If we can get enough exposure and get in the top 40 by the end of the week, do we necessarily need a large label? Probably nowadays, no you don't." Is this finally the crack in the dam we've all been waiting for to wash away the entrenched monopolies of 20th century music production? Or just a sell-out waiting to happen?"
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Download Only Song to Crack the Top 40

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:04PM (#17551134) Homepage Journal
    ...keep moving forward by working to repeal laws that instill any form of anti-market monopoly, such as copyright. I promote and produce for a few bands in the Chicago area, and I've worked hard to get them to repudiate monopoly. The bands that do make more money! Why?

    Small bands want their music out their -- the CD sales aren't where the cash cow is. Live venues can be very lucrative for even a small band -- getting 300 people to a show can net you $1 a beer or $2-$4 per head. Also, you can upsell your new fans on items they can't easily copy, such as T-shirts, autographed posters, etc. My brother's band Maps & Atlases [maps-atlases.com] just received a major article in Guitar Player, and they're moving forward with picking up sold-out shows, all without any representation. They do just fine on cover charges, new T-shirts every month or so, and autographed screen-printed show posters. If they can do 50 shows a year (1 a week), there's no reason that each of them can't make a very respectable 5 figures a year, after expenses.

    Sure, CD sales account for some profit, especially on tour, but there is little reason to think that a band needs a label just for radio exposure or MTV. Both are great for the rare groups that can break 50,000 albums a year or sell out to 3000+ crowds -- and the chance of being one of those bands is so rare that it is almost impossible. Even worse, the labels utilize the force of copyright against even the bands that "succeed" by wrapping up all their future income in the form of residuals and management fees.

    If you're a small band that wants to make it big -- tour. If you're a medium-sized band that is starting to form an audience -- get a street team. If you're a large band, make more products for your consumers to buy that isn't easily copied. Sometimes that 5 minutes you spend with a fan is worth a lifetime of them wanting your products, even if they get the easily-copied products for free.

    The best form of marketing is piracy -- if you're part of the 99% of the artists out there who can't get into the big industry because you have no clout or nepotism pull.

    Is it easy either way? NO. Simple laws of supply and demand will show you that most artists won't cut it -- it is very easy to get into the market (financially). The skills can mostly be learned. The production tools are getting cheaper and cheaper. There is a near limitless supply of people who want to get into the market. Surely, few are talented, but the simple fact that there is SO MUCH SUPPLY and so little demand means that most bands will make nothing (or worse, lose a ton of time and money trying). Still, the web will surpass the radio and MTV as the prime networking engine, and I do believe that collaborative filtering engines such a CRITEO [criteo.com] will really take off when more small sites start utilizing them to get their microcosm of users to collaborate on what they like and don't like.

    Sidenote: If any bands are out here that are interested in trying this theory, and have any touring experience beyond a few local shows, hit me up with an e-mail, we have some money to invest in those who repudiate copyright in exchange for the free promotion that torrents and fileshare offers.

    Congrats to KOOPA for proving that you don't need might -- or force -- to be more than a starving artist.
    • by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:13PM (#17551236) Homepage Journal
      The GNU Public License rests solidly on copyright law. Take away copyrights, and anybody can take GPL software and release it as closed source.

      The right answer is to limit copyrights. I think that 30 years from creation, plus another 30 years IF the copyright holder explicitly renews his rights is fair. When the copyright expires, after either 30 or 60 years, it goes directly and permanently into the public domain. The Library of Congress should hold the official registry of copyrighted works in the USA. Corporations should not have terms that exceed or are different from the rights given to individuals.
      • by spoco2 (322835) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:31PM (#17551396)
        In some other discussion here about copyright I said why not have copyright last as long as the artist lives, or 30 years, whichever is longest? (In case the artist dies shortly after creating a work, their family should benefit from profits).

        Why shouldn't an artist continue to reap the rewards of a creation of theirs for the entire lives?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Why shouldn't an artist continue to reap the rewards of a creation of theirs for the entire lives?

          Because it runs counter to the whole purpose of copyright. If creators can milk their creations for their whole lives, then they lose incentive to make new material. If the work they do in a month* only pays the bills for ten years*, then after those ten years* are up, they have to get back to work if they want to eat, thus creating new material, thus achieving copyright's goals.

          If a farmer could grow

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Merusdraconis (730732)
            So would it be true to say that the purpose of copyright is to mimic depreciation in real-world goods? Seeing as ideas don't age (the wheel is still just as good an idea now as it was when it was invented), forcing the value curve so that an idea is worth more when it is new, but less when it's old, makes it a lot more profitable to produce ideas.
            • by RedWizzard (192002) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:57AM (#17552634)

              So would it be true to say that the purpose of copyright is to mimic depreciation in real-world goods?
              No. The purpose of copyright is to provide the greatest benefit to the comunity by providing an incentive to create in the form of an artificial monopoly for a limited duration.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Blue Stone (582566)

                So would it be true to say that the purpose of copyright is to mimic depreciation in real-world goods?

                No. The purpose of copyright is to provide the greatest benefit to the comunity by providing an incentive to create in the form of an artificial monopoly for a limited duration.

                I don't think that's the full picture though. The purpose of copyright was originally to give a monopoly to a person for a work in exchange for money paid to the king. The US constitution modified this and tried to give it more noble intentions, as you mention.

                What we're finding out now, is that, at least in the eyes of the state, like a salmon returning to it's birthplace, copyright is returning to its original purpose and it's all about money and monopoly control.

                What I'm still undecided about is wheth

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tepples (727027)

              So would it be true to say that the purpose of copyright is to mimic depreciation in real-world goods?

              The stated purpose of copyright under US constitutional law is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". Providing a government-granted monopoly that depreciates in a manner mimicking that of physical goods is a means to promoting the Progress, not an end. And since 1978, the depreciation curve is set so long that it creates a perverse incentive.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by chimpo13 (471212)
            Art can't be created as easily as potatoes are grown (IANAPF - I Am Not A Potato Farmer). I like the idea of life or 30 years.

            The songs you sing when you're 20 are goofy when you're 30. Imagine being the Ramones and singing "Now I wanna sniff some glue" when you're in your 50s.

        • by Rycross (836649) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @12:03AM (#17551730)
          Artists don't have a natural right to control how their work is used after they distribute it. Copyright is a contract between creators and society, where we give them a short term monopoly on distributor to encourage them to contribute to the public domain. Setting copyright lengths to life defeats the purpose.

          Honestly, I'd say 5 to 10 years is more than fair. If you haven't made money off of your stuff by then, then you're not likely to.

          Point being that copyright is supposed to benefit us by benefiting them.
          • by spoco2 (322835) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:18AM (#17552342)
            I guess I still just don't get how someone else can make profit from something that I created just because X years have gone by. If the thing I created 10 years ago is no longer making money because no-one wants to buy it, then that'll make me create something else. But if I've created something that is desirable to people for decades after I first made it, and there continues to be people who want to buy it... why shouldn't I be making money from it, rather than someone else?

            The whole 'It will make you do more work' point seems a little off to me... A creative person will create based on the desire to create more so than to make money... those who do it purely to make more money probably aren't really making worthwhile contributions anyway.

            I dunno... I suppose my measure for it being a good argument is that I can agree with the reason and convince someone else... and I just can't see the point of it being forced into the public domain while the original creator could still be making a living from it. Being able to extend indefinitely past the creator's death is a load of bull, and does nothing to benefit the creators of the works... but during their life? Hmmm... not an easy sell to me.
            • by Kris_J (10111) * on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:33AM (#17552450) Journal
              But if I've created something that is desirable to people for decades after I first made it, and there continues to be people who want to buy it... why shouldn't I be making money from it, rather than someone else?
              Because you live in a society that makes it possible for you to create that thing. As in incentive to make society better, you're given a monopoly over said thing for a brief period. Then the thing should be made available to everyone in society so new, better things can be built without having to start from scratch. To argue for infinte copyrights is to argue that you should be able to use stuff that came before you, but no one after you should have the same opportunity.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by spoco2 (322835)

                Then the thing should be made available to everyone in society so new, better things can be built without having to start from scratch.

                This makes sense from a mechanical, product, 'make things work' standpoint... but it doesn't really hold, for me, for works of art. So, by having short copyright I can take Harry Potter, chop it up a bit, put a couple of different names in it and make a new book out of it? How does that work?

                To argue for infinite copyrights is to argue that you should be able to use stuff that came before you, but no one after you should have the same opportunity.

                I never said infinite copyright... I said copyright for the life of the creator... I still don't see a problem with that. There's an awful lot of stuff created by people long dead that you could go ape with in the pub

                • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:57AM (#17552632)
                  And when that creator is a corporation and immortal?

                  In any case 28 years from first commercial publication (otherwise the life of the creator) is plenty.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Sique (173459)

                  This makes sense from a mechanical, product, 'make things work' standpoint... but it doesn't really hold, for me, for works of art. So, by having short copyright I can take Harry Potter, chop it up a bit, put a couple of different names in it and make a new book out of it? How does that work?

                  Because you are feed with cultural artefacts from your very first day on earth. Your mother singing lullabies to you, your grandma reading fairy tales to you, your friends telling you stories what happened or what they would like to happen.

                  Most of that stuff is in the public domain. And it is the very foundation you can build your Work of Art on. Work of Arts don't drop out of nothing, they are based on a huge cultural fundament you mostly got for free, because the society around you is nurturing you with

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Kris_J (10111) *
                  So, by having short copyright I can take Harry Potter, chop it up a bit, put a couple of different names in it and make a new book out of it? How does that work?
                  See Fanfic [wikipedia.org]. (Actually, that page is a pretty good discussion of the stuff we're talking about now.)
            • by arose (644256)
              I guess I still just don't get how someone else can make profit from something that I created just because X years have gone by.
              But you don't seem to have trouble gasping why you should be able to control what two third parties do just because something you made the first copy of less then X years ago is somehow involved.
            • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @03:31AM (#17553262) Homepage
              I guess I still just don't get how someone else can make profit from something that I created just because X years have gone by.

              Your problem is that you are looking at it backwards.

              The real question is, why should everyone in the world give a creator a monopoly over his work, merely because he created it? The natural state of a work is the public domain, where everyone can enjoy it. And the natural state of man is to have freedom of speech, which copyright is an infringement on.

              The answer is that if people think that giving a creator a monopoly will help the people more than it harms them, then it is in their own best interest to grant it.

              Think about a municipal cable tv company. They get a monopoly from the municipality to operate cable tv services for a period of time. No one thinks that they should just get one -- it's because the municipality is exploiting the tv company, getting them to install and maintain expensive infrastructure that they have to have in order to supply (and charge for) cable tv. Once the monopoly runs out, the municipality gets the infrastructure and can open it to competition (which is ideal, free markets, and all) or put it on the block for another time-limited monopoly, if it's worthwhile to do so. This is the deal, and both sides know it, and both find it to their advantage, so it works.

              In copyright, the public wants works to be created and published and in the public domain. Giving up a little of the latter temporarily results in a lot more of the former, so it is worth it to the public -- so long as it's limited in time and scope. The author wants as much of a monopoly as he can get, so he'll be happy with anything, but will also push for more, even when it's against the public interest, since it is in his interest to do so. This is where the false idea of 'I should get it forever merely because I created it' comes from. It's never actually been like that, you know.

              But during their life? Hmmm... not an easy sell to me.

              They should get the absolute minimum copyright that would still have caused them to create and publish the work. That's what the public wants from them. Giving them more is wasteful. It's like the city paying a billion dollars to have a contractor build a parking lot when a ten thousand dollars would've sufficed. Admittedly it is impossible to read the minds of authors, so we can't go case-by-case, but it's still possible to set things up so that it's better than a wasteful one-size-fits-all kind of thing.
          • by dangitman (862676)

            Honestly, I'd say 5 to 10 years is more than fair. If you haven't made money off of your stuff by then, then you're not likely to.

            Except that history proves otherwise. If anything, it points to the opposite. This idea has the problem of penalizing people who are innovative and ahead of their time. Many of the greatest works of art are not understood or accepted by society for many years after their creation, and often not until the artist's death. On the flip-side, it rewards people who make superficial, faddish junk that is soon forgotten.

            • by Eskarel (565631)
              And what good does a copyright do to a dead man anyway? Not sure whether I believe that the offspring of a man who created something ought to be rich just because one of their parents was very clever. Being related to someone who did something, doesn't really provide any value to society, and while it's all well and good for folks to take care of their children, kids don't have any sort of fundamental right to control things they didn't produce.
      • by awol (98751) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:36PM (#17551454) Journal
        Correct GPL is based on copyright. But you are only half right about the "taking open code and closing it". It is true that under a non copyright regime (which I support) such taking and closing is possible. But even where there is no copyright there is the _fact_ of authorship. That is the closing can only legally be done with the correct attribution ie, "derived from project X" or based on code from "Jo Public". Take away those attributions and the closing author is committing fraud, claiming something that is their work independent of the true author. This damages the reputation (or rather fails to enhance it adequately) of the original source of the code. Which is a very simple wrong. And easy to fix. Much good flows on from this situation.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheoMurpse (729043)

          But even where there is no copyright there is the _fact_ of authorship. That is the closing can only legally be done with the correct attribution ie, "derived from project X" or based on code from "Jo Public". Take away those attributions and the closing author is committing fraud, claiming something that is their work independent of the true author.

          I do not believe that the right of attribution is a natural right because (as made obvious by so many anonymous creations) many people give away their right of

      • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @12:09AM (#17551776) Journal
        Take away copyrights, and anybody can take GPL software and release it as closed source.

        Oh come on. Without copyright there IS no closed source. There would be no law to keep me from using it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Oh come on. Without copyright there IS no closed source. There would be no law to keep me from using it.
          So explain to me how you fix a bug in a derived version that you only have a binary for? The main point of the GPL is not just to ensure freedom to redistribute, but to ensure other freedoms like the ability to improve the program, or to study how the program works.
      • by OECD (639690)
        The right answer is to limit copyrights. I think that 30 years from creation, plus another 30 years IF the copyright holder explicitly renews his rights is fair.

        I'm just about there with you. Personally, I think that given the acceleration of technology, storage times, etc. Two generations (i.e., 40 years) should be the maximum. I'd like to see the initial period being opt-in (rather than the current opt-out.) Ideally, I'd like to see the initial period lasting fourteen years (crap, if it worked in the 170

      • by Rix (54095)
        Take away copyrights, and any employee can leak your source, and there's nothing you can do about it.
      • by nathanh (1214)
        The GNU Public License rests solidly on copyright law. Take away copyrights, and anybody can take GPL software and release it as closed source.

        Take away copyright and there wouldn't be any need for the GPL because we could copy software freely.

      • Take away copyrights, and anybody can take GPL software and release it as closed source.

        Take away copyrights, and anybody can take proprietary software and crack the shit out of it, ending up with a heavily commented disassembly that others can build on as if it were source.

      • I think that 30 years from creation, plus another 30 years IF the copyright holder explicitly renews his rights is fair.

        Copyright is supposed to be merely an agreement between society and the artist to grant a monopoly over a creative work for a set period of time. The consideration in return is that society will receive into the public domain for completely Free (libre) use, in order to improve society through artistic enjoyment. This is not up for debate.

        Thus, the only logical and fair way (unlike how the

    • by Orange Crush (934731) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:53PM (#17551618)

      Art's expensive. Paint, canvas, pianos, harpsicords, guitars, theatres, lights, studios, tour buses, dancers in cages, and hand-sorted m&ms all cost money.

      Gone are the days when it took hundreds of thousands of dollars--if not millions--to publish a book, release an album or make a film. F*ck the "artists" who don't like the way the world is changing. I'd much rather toss a 20 to a brilliant performer on open mic night than a shrink-wrapped CD any day.

    • by edwardpickman (965122) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:56PM (#17551648)
      Hate to burst your bubble but bar bands don't make money as a rule. I have a lot of friends that do it and what little they make comes from CD and tshirt sales and it ain't much. Generally doesn't pay expenses. Back in the day some groups used to make money at it. I used to know one of the Flying Burrito Brothers, they were a hot bar band in the 70s. They stopped playing in the 80s because there just wasn't any money in it. Too many garage bands willing to play for free to get exposure. The problem is exposure for what? If everyone wants free downloads and small venues don't pay then it's no longer a profession.
      • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @12:37AM (#17551988) Homepage Journal
        That's completely false. I've produced 3 bands in 2006 (basically, fronted them the money for marketing, promotion and equipment) that have done fairly well doing relatively small-club tours. Many of them saw significant profits from selling their $3 t-shirts for $15, their $0.50 posters (signed) for $10, and other dookie. Art isn't necessarily a profit center -- getting a job and meeting regular needs is.

        A musician can get a job making music for industrial purposes (movies, TV shows, even local productions such as local TV commercials, etc). A musician can get a job teaching others how to play music. A musician can get a job working on soundtracks for video games or other goods. That's where the consistent money is. Otherwise, it is risk/reward: you're out there competing against thousands or tens of thousands of bands, the risk is huge for a very slim chance of a huge reward. Why is this? Because the content is controlled by copyright -- any one band invests 200 hours total in making an album. 1000 bands do this. 1 band succeeds and never has to work again. 999 bands fail and continue to try. Why is the first band any better than the others? Usually because they're colluding with the distribution monopolies (designed this way by the FCC, mind you) who control copyright.

        If you're a tiny band and I bootleg your music, you have NO chance of suing me and winning -- I probably have more money than you, if I was a pirate. Copyright only helps the distribution cartels -- and cartels are generally formed by government force.
        • by spoco2 (322835)
          [quote]Otherwise, it is risk/reward: you're out there competing against thousands or tens of thousands of bands, the risk is huge for a very slim chance of a huge reward. Why is this? Because the content is controlled by copyright -- any one band invests 200 hours total in making an album. 1000 bands do this. 1 band succeeds and never has to work again. 999 bands fail and continue to try. Why is the first band any better than the others? Usually because they're colluding with the distribution monopolies (de
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dada21 (163177) *
            Copyright -- like any law that automatically creates monopoly forces "legally" -- eventually ends up with cartels in some manner. When you have laws that create a non-market-driven force, you can expect someone to try to take advantage of the laws to harm competition.

            The end result of copyright tends to be monopolization in the distribution portion, especially in music and video. This artificially-created cartelization leads to control of many other distribution markets -- radio, TV, concert venues (Chica
            • by spoco2 (322835)
              All well and good for creative acts that can perform their works live. But what about some forms of music which can't readily be played live, yet are no less legitimate?

              And what about
              * Books
              * Painting/Drawing etc.
              * Photography
              * Sculpture

              ?

              How can they keep 'performing' their works live? Why should anyone be able to make copies of their works and profit from them?

              I don't get it at all.

              Am I just being dense?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by dada21 (163177) *
                I'm a writer. I write so that people hire me for my knowledge that I don't write about -- I keep something aside. I also wrote newsletters for years that were subscription only (but I let people freely copy them). When I charged $20 a year, people copied them a lot -- and I got new subscribers. When I increased the cost, they didn't share so much. I made good income for a long time with that. Even with copyright, people MOSTLY believe in compensating someone for work if they get a benefit from it. Ev
      • by mdwstmusik (853733) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @12:47AM (#17552088) Homepage

        bar bands don't make money as a rule.

        True, as a rule, but not because there isn't a market capable of supporting bar bands. Most bar bands don't make money for the same reason most new business fail, poor management. I've been playing in bar bands for 25 years, 10 of those years playing bars provided my sole income. I only backed off due to a temporary medical problem. A bar musician can make $50,000+ per. year if they treat it like a 'REAL' job. They can't forget the business in "music BUSINESS." Be flexible, find your target market(s), play to those markets, keep your expenses to a minimum, and work at it 40+ hours per. week. Those are the kinds of things that one does when they run any kind of business.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Overzeetop (214511)
        This is going to sound harsh, so I'm going to preface it by saying I'm not trying to be mean or spiteful.

        Not everyone is a great musician, and being able to make a living by being a musician and playing just the stuff you like is not a God-given right. I have a sister who wanted to get into the entertainment biz. She tried for several years to get into it, and had some minor success, but she just couldn't make a living at it. OF course, now she's a loose ends. She's over 30 and has never had an 8-5 job - sh
    • by snero3 (610114)

      congrats, you the first logical and sane person I have heard comment on this for a long time.

    • by GrahamCox (741991)
      Congrats to KOOPA for proving that you don't need might -- or force -- to be more than a starving artist.

      Amen! Indeed, all you need to be is GOOD. It might take a while, and a lot of hard work, but if you're good, you'll gain the fanbase, and eventually make it. What the music industry have done over the last goodness-knows-how-many years is to subvert that process by taking mediocre talent and marketing the hell out of it. In the end, nobody (expect them) wins. They know this, and they are running sc
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcdick1 (254644)
      This has always been my position when it came to the music industry. Musicians need to stop seeing the CD as the end product, and instead sell their MUSIC. I sit in a cubicle 40 hours a week, as my choice of career, and make a decent middle-class living. If someone chooses to be a musician, he or she should be rehearsing every day, get the band tight as a drum, and play MUSIC for people. Sell themselves, not CDs. And they will also be able to make that decent middle-class living.

      Thank you for helping m
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dada21 (163177) *
        Bingo.

        Imagine if a CAD operator decided they should get paid for 70 years whenever someone copies a drawing they worked on. Not realistic, but isn't it art? How is drafting a building plan different from painting a face? Imagine if a plumber charged you per flush for 70 years after fixing your toilet? Doubtful that it would work. But many artists think their labor has value in the long term, even though they shouldn't in a free market perspective.

        I make more money every year because the value I give to
    • by dangitman (862676)

      getting 300 people to a show can net you $1 a beer or $2-$4 per head. Also, you can upsell your new fans on items they can't easily copy, such as T-shirts, autographed posters, etc.

      Are they musicians or merchandise vendors? Personally, I feel that music should be about the music. Not selling merchandise crap or alcohol. Gimmicks, fashion, and selling addictive substances are the exact opposite way that musicians should be going. For all of copyright's problems, at least it helps artists sell their actual art. Why should the alcohol companies, venues and textile companies (probably using child labor) get all the profits, while you disallow the ownership of the most direct product of

      • by dada21 (163177) *
        If you're looking to earn a living from something, you're a profiteer -- regardless of what you think you are. If you are a "for the love of it" artist, don't complain if someone copies it for millions of others -- your art is getting out there.

        That being said, I did a market analysis about 10 years ago on the club scene in Chicago. I was a co-owner of a nightclub for 2 years. Most people went to nightclubs for a COMBINATION of alcohol, socializing and music. About 2% of the people I surveyed only chose
      • And the vote for music, with much of the slashdot crowd, appears to be... "I'll just download it for FREE!".

        Personaly, I do buy music. From Amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and um, maybe, "other sites", all paid for. No "free downloads" for me. Sometimes friends "give" digital music to me... in which case, *I* didn't copy it. (What do you call music you didn't violate the copyright to obtain, but didn't exactly pay for either? Accessory to some tort?)

        Anyhow, the point is, that I have spent plenty of money on liv

  • MAFIAA (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:06PM (#17551160) Homepage
    If we can get enough exposure and get in the top 40 by the end of the week, do we necessarily need a large label? Probably nowadays, no you don't.

    I'm sure some burly men in suits from the RIAA would have something to say about that. You wouldn't want anyone to get hurt, would you?
  • The answer (Score:5, Funny)

    by PurifyYourMind (776223) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:06PM (#17551162) Homepage
    Is this finally the crack in the dam we've all been waiting for to wash away the entrenched monopolies of 20th century music production? Or just a sell-out waiting to happen?

    Yes.
  • by Kris_J (10111) * on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:07PM (#17551180) Journal
    Unfortunately, now that they've gotten this extra publicity due to not being part of a big label, the results are largely meaningless. Much as I'd like to say that this signals the end of the big labels, this almost proves that you do still need them for the halo of hype that surrounds the industry. When a song or album is hugely successful for no reason other than the quality of music, then we will finally have moved on from the artificial reality created by the big music labels.
  • by gearmonger (672422) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:09PM (#17551194)
    I had no idea the Brits were so forward-thinking in this area.

    Of course, the RIAA would never agree to legitimizing downloads like that...at least not until several more management changes happen and they get someone in their leadership who's actually owned an iPod.

  • by PurifyYourMind (776223) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:09PM (#17551196) Homepage
    ...making artists *believe* that they (the record labels) are the only way to make it big. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.
  • by Shippy (123643) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:10PM (#17551204)
    The header should be 'Download-Only Song to Crack the Top 40'. When I first read it, I thought it was a request to download the only song ever to get into the Top 40. Which doesn't make sense for several reasons. :)
  • I told them this. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SickLittleMonkey (135315) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:14PM (#17551252)
    Well, at least I told a young BMW-driving yuppie from a major label. It was back in the mid 90's. "Adapt or die" I said. "Hah! You don't know what you're talking about," he repied. "We filter out all the crap music you don't want to hear!"

    Yeah, right. I now repeat: Adapt or Die!

    SLM
  • by BeneathTheVeil (305107) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:21PM (#17551300) Homepage Journal
    poop.

    Having sampled some of the music, I must applaud them on truth in advertising.
  • Here the song (Score:5, Informative)

    by sirnuke (866453) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:23PM (#17551318) Homepage
    The song is Blag, Steal, and Borrow and they have a Video [youtube.com], if you wish to hear the song.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SpooForBrains (771537)
      God, what utter SHITE!
    • This is it? More power to them for accomplishing this, but they don't really *sound* like they're not on a major label... I was hoping a milestone like this would be led achieved by a band with a sound that felt new. Then again, maybe that's the point.
  • by Diluted (178517) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:32PM (#17551406) Homepage
    Probably slim, considering the lyrics of the music being anti-sellout...

    Unless they're REALLY hypocritical, which is always possible I suppose.
  • Already a sell out? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:34PM (#17551432)
    I'm suspicious, this seems like it could be a manufactured media phenomenon. Their song includes lyrics about getting into the charts. Their logo is a parody of the UK's age-rating logo. Their site is really slick, it's all a bit too knowing for their "underground" image.

    Their whois points to a local web design/media branding firm, maybe they just laid it on a bit thick. From their myspace:

    "Listen to KOOPA and you realise that this is not that watered- down, manufactured sound designed to impress your younger brother, little sister and please your parents."

    Hint: it's not cool to say you're cool.

    On they other hand they supposedly come from my home town (Colchester, UK), and are gigging here tomorrow. Might as well check them out for real...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by datafr0g (831498) *
      You make some good points. While they may not be signed up to a label, they may as well be signed from a promotion and marketing perspective.... and unfortunately that's where most of the bullshit lies in the recording industry these days. It all looks a little too slick to be "real".

      Perhaps I'm just being too cynical but the only difference I can see between these guys and a signed equivalent is that they don't have anyone distributing shiny dics for them. The marketing crap is all there 100%.
  • by Xaroth (67516) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:41PM (#17551512) Homepage
    Download Only Song to Crack the Top 40

    It can't be the only song to crack the top 40 - there had to have been 39 others there already! And besides, you didn't give a link to the song, so how can I download it?

    Er, no wait. That's not right at all. I'll tell you what - I'll just grab a spare hyphen from my giant bag of them here, and you're free to use it wherever you like in the headline that makes it mean what you intended.
  • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot AT ideasmatter DOT org> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:43PM (#17551528) Journal

    Clearly, this is not a good millenium to be a business whose profit model consists of controlling access to information channels.

    First they came for the travel agents, but I did not speak up because I am not a travel agent.
    Then they came for the stockbrokers, but I did not speak up because I am not a stockbroker.
    Then they came for the newspapers, but I did not speak up because I am not a newspaperman.
    Then they came for the record labels, and there was great rejoicing.

  • by NoseBag (243097) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:44PM (#17551538)
    "If we can get enough exposure and get in the top 40 by the end of the week, do we necessarily need a large label?"

    No - if you've got $25-$50K laying around to get a few thousand cd's printed, and have a marketing team ready to burn shoe-leather talking the stores into putting the cd's on their shelves, and a management & accounting firm to press the retailers for your receipts.

    Or - hire some grunts to run a print-on-demand setup, and a flunky to run a website and take orders paid by paypal while you cut tracks for a 2nd cd.
    • by Satertek (708058)
      "No - if you've got $25-$50K laying around to get a few thousand cd's printed" Or spend $20 for a domain name, some web hosting and a PayPal account.
    • by Svartalf (2997)
      I think you'll find the second one plus download sales to be enough. The first one's playing by their rules, a game you will NOT win out on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:54PM (#17551628)
    I keep reading these articles and it always seems to come down between greedy, callous, paranoid record labels on one side, and greedy, sanctimonious, flippant music fans on the other side, with the bands in the middle trying to figure out how they can be rich and famous and retire at age 26. It's all self-serving bullshit on all sides.

    There is no music industry unless someone, somewhere pays for the music, and there better be a fair number of someones to make the money worthwhile, at least for the winners of the game. You can and will get inspired amateurs willing to work for nothing, or for gig money, but you won't get the explosion of creativity that comes from lots of talented people working their butts off for years trying to reach stardom.
  • by lewp (95638) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @12:01AM (#17551696) Journal
    If I buy this CD with my USA credit card and my USA address, will it count towards the total tally?

    If it'll help get them in the top 40 without major label backing, I've got two bucks (or whatever 77 pence is in dollars nowadays), but I don't really like the song very much :P.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by happy*nix (587057)
      I hope so.

      I'm not a big music fan, but the song was lively and enjoyable. The song was avialable in DRM-free mp3 (alas no ogg) so I bought it. It is undoubtedly worth ~$1 to speed along the distruction of the existing media cartels.

      Some of Koopa's other song samples didn't fit with my tastes, so thy might be a one hit wonder for me. That's ok so long as that homerun hit breaks the RIAA's windshield parked in the back lot. ;-)
  • by greenguy (162630) <estebandido.gmail@com> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @12:01AM (#17551698) Homepage Journal
    a download would be the only song to crack the Top 40.
  • Had to be done (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NewsWatcher (450241) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @12:03AM (#17551728)
    I read recently that in the UK some artists who cater mainly for older clientelle were making it into the charts. The reason being that their aged fans did not know how to download their songs. Other more web-savvy younger users were downloading so many songs from their favourite artists that they no longer needed to by their albums, so the artists who were actually popular just didn't make the charts anymore.

    This move to include download sales is not just a natural progression to indicate popularity of artists, but a commercial necessity for the music companies. How can they promote a platinum-selling artist who has only really sold a handful of albums?

    Of course, if they really want to gauge the popularity of artists, they could also start to look at how many people are searching for their music at BitTorrent sites or on Limewire. Eventually this will also have to go into the mix if they want an accurate gauge of what people want to listen to.

  • Generally, I can see a few roads this can walk down.

    The first, and obvious one, is that some label approaches them, dumps out a sack of greenbacks and they grab it. Who wouldn't? It's one of those win-win situations. The bands makes good money, the studios do too (and they keep the business free from the stain of non-labeled success), sure, the customer loses in that deal, but then, who cares 'bout him?

    The less obvious, more the 'deamer' version, is that the label approaches them and receives the finger. Th
  • I know this is a difficult concept to get your head around, but there are some people that do not download music. There are some people that do not have access to the Internet for entertainment.

    The question for this band is "Can you live without these people?" If the answer is yes, then they are headed in the right direction.

    So far, the answer has been a resounding "No way".
  • If it got to the top 40, if I was them, I would totally make a recording company meet to talk over dinner at a fancy restaurant and pretend to be interested then say I'll be right back then get up and moon them and run out on the bill. I think their popularity would drop simply by selling out so they're right, they don't need some big, greedy, money whores breathing down their necks telling them what to do and where to go and all that BS.
  • by BCW2 (168187)
    This has been tried a few times before but this time by a band with a good enough song to make it. I hope they don't sell out and that they make the top 10. That would cause major heart problems throughout the RIAA. More power to this band and I hope they make it.
  • "Is this finally the crack in the dam we've all been waiting for to wash away the entrenched monopolies of 20th century music production? Or just a sell-out waiting to happen?" No pressure.
  • by Timbotronic (717458) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:30AM (#17552430)
    Not yet. I think the Slashdot crowd massively underestimates the impact that experienced producers and recording techs have on music quality and popularity (not that the 2 always go together). Then of course there's good management and yes, marketing.

    Of course there will be times when a band/artist gets enough right to make the charts (or even just a decent living) independently. However, there's an obvious problem with this idea that bands should just record their own music, put it out there and then allow market forces to pick the best stuff.

    What if they can't afford a decent studio, or don't have the discipline to do enough takes until the sound is right, or the drummer sucks? Good production has turned a lot of bad music into good. An artist can be incredibly gifted musically but that doesn't mean they know the best way to record their music, or the point where a guitar solo stretches from cool to self indulgent wankery.

    I think the tide will turn, but it needs to involve more people than just the artists themselves. I think we'll need to see a bunch of small to medium level labels dedicated to talent scouting, production, recording tech, management and marketing before the biggies start to get squeezed.
  • by tjr (908724) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:47AM (#17552566) Homepage
    There can be real value in big labels. What if, say, the Beatles had tried to make it without a label. Would they be able to succeed today? Maybe. But part of what made them so great was the contributions made by folks like their producer George Martin and the various sound engineers they worked with. They added real tangible value to the music, especially as the Beatles started wanting more complex arrangements. They might not have ever come together if not for the recording label that employed Martin and the engineers. On the other hand, today we have so much great music technology that it's much easier to make a whole wonderful recording without leaving your bedroom. But you still have to know how to use that technology. Some bands do. Some do not. For those that do not, the labels may still offer some benefits. That said, some of the labels also seem to offer other things that aren't necessarily beneficial to the artists...
  • Wow, so an independent artist hit the UK Top 40. Good for them. Ever heard of the Grateful Dead? How about Phish? Both sold out huge venues across the nation (and world) without the help of any major label for a combined 30+ years before the internet even showed up for the vast majority of America, let alone the mp3 format and broadband and online music distribution.

    And now? With the .mp3 format and the internet and the whole "information age," what big independent act is around to follow in those fo

  • Now, an unsigned band called Koopa is poised to enter the top 40 without any old-world recording, distribution, or production deals.

    Doesn't this infringe on marks owned by Nintendo [wikipedia.org] and Chamillionaire [wikipedia.org]?

  • A week late (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duds (100634) * <[dudley] [at] [enterspace.org]> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @05:17AM (#17553808) Homepage Journal
    The rules started last week.

    Several singles whose CDs are not on sale anymore cracked the top 75 including "Mad World" from Donny Darko, a former number 1 which is now used in the Gears of War ad which at #58 made its first chart appearence for 3 years.
  • Not ALL downloads (Score:5, Informative)

    by grahamm (8844) <gmurray@webwayone.co.uk> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @05:25AM (#17553858) Homepage
    Despite what the story says, it is NOT all downloads which count. If you look at the chart rules (http://www.theofficialcharts.com/docs/NEW_Single_ Chart_Rules_2007.pdf [theofficialcharts.com], there are very stringent conditions on a downloaded track being counted for the chart. Amongst these are the minimum dealer price of £0.40 per track. This will immediately preclude any tracks released under Creative Commons etc. It also only seems to apply to track downloaded from 'official' online retailers.

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