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The Media

Can Newspapers Save Local Music? 166

impaler writes: "Roblimo has posted a great piece over at NewsForge about how the Washington Post and other newspapers are hosting MP3 download sites for local musicians and how the sites are actually very popular. An interesting read." Just because the "music industry" works a certain way right now doesn't mean that all change is bad; Bruce Springsteen is apparently finding that he doesn't need much beyond a lock and key to keep the Internet hordes from passing around his albums before they're released, and the musicians on the Washington Post site seem to like being there.
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Can Newspapers Save Local Music?

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  • Local music (Score:1, Flamebait)

    Unfortunately, local music is around the same quality as local news--slim to none. All the songs sound the same--mumbled and recorded in a tin can. Which is just as well, since all the lyrics are about how the singer hates him/herself and therefore wears black tshirts all the time.

    I mean, unless you actually live in NY, Chicago, LA, etc do you really read your local newspaper or watch your local news program? If no, why do you expect local music hosted by these entities to be worth a crap?

    • Re:Local music (Score:2, Insightful)

      Actually - I find local music to be CONSIDERABLY BETTER than the crap fed to the nation and the world by New York and L.A. - I'm glad we have some source other than RIAA minions...
    • 1) All musicians started out as local bands.
      2) Just because a musician is popular doesn't mean he/she is good. (ie: britney spears)
      but most importantly,
      3) You need to stop reason to techno.
      • "reason" was supposed to be "listening"

        I guess I should stop erading \.

      • All musicians started out as local bands.

        Which means the ones who are (still) local are the ones who didn't make it, i.e. the process weeded them out.

        Just because a musician is popular doesn't mean he/she is good. (ie: britney spears)

        But the best musicians are more likely to gravitate toward the national level, e.g. the Boston Symphony Orchestra rather than the Springfield USA City Philharmonic.
      • 1) All musicians started out as local bands.

        Not true. Many acts with dubious musical value (NKOTB, Britney Spears, the Strokes, etc) did not go through any period of being local acts before breaking big. Clear Channel and their record companies put them there.
        • A lot of the individual members of the groups did local acts before hand, some of them just got lucky and were spotted on star search, or wound up as mousekateers. These people were performing most of their lives to one degree or another(talent shows, weddings, whatever...) they just got discovered at a young age and put on a pedistool for all to adore.
        • I do believe there's a lot of bands out there that are good, popular, and weren't just put there...
      • I assume that you meant "listen" not reason. You obviously don't reason to techno. Techno does not have many famous people. Many electronic musicians go to great lengths to avoid being famous, despite producing background and soundtracks for all the famous people.

        My best friend is an independant local techno artist. I think his stuff is pretty friggin' good - but maybe that's cause I'm comparing it to the utter crap they play on the radio these days.

        Anyways my point is that techno actually does better then many genres at having local independant acts that don't suck.
    • Re:Local music (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eaeolian ( 560708 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:07PM (#3886793)
      Unfortunately, local music is around the same quality as local news--slim to none.

      I'd disagree with that. There's a lot of high-quality local music in many cities that I've played in. Yes, there's also a good deal of trendy, badly-produced, over image-engineered crap, but that's music in general, isn't it? You have to take the bad with the good. Of course, you also run into the fact that people are used to hearing albums with high-dollar production values, and just can't see through the mediocre production to good songs/music.

      Sadly, as a musician local to the D.C., I have to say that I didn't even know this existed. I now have to hope that the Post's snotty attitude towards forms of music other than Folk and Alterna-Rock doesn't carry over to the page, as there are a lot of local musicians here doing things worth hearing that aren't working in those genres. (Although I admit the Post's music critics have been getting better in this regard lately.)

      • There are several go-go bands [washingtonpost.com] listed at mp3.washingtonpost.com (it's an acquired taste - you really have to be from DC to "get it"). Funny - when I was younger people generally swapped go-go tapes...this pre-dates p2p by at least 10 years.
      • The promise of the Internet for all sorts of businesses was to get rid of the middle man. Clearly, there are few businesses where the middle man is more of a problem than the music industry. It may not be that much longer before relatively well-known artists start distributing their work that way. Then, the record executives will be forced to change or die.
    • Depends on where you live. It might not work in Topeka, but there are plenty of cities where the local music scene offers some quality acts. My last residence was not-that-big Minneapolis, where local music included Prince, Semisonic, the Jayhawks, Soul Asylum (ok, maybe not the most current example there), Paul Westerburg, lots of stuff in genres I'm not that familiar with.

      And yes, I continue to read my local newspaper, because I like to think I care about what's going on around me. Even if the newspaper's not that great, the alternative is ... ignorance.

    • by Dark Nexus ( 172808 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:14PM (#3886840)
      My area is significantly smaller than NY, Chicago, LA, etc.

      But we've got a pretty good local music scene (and pretty good local news, for that matter).

      I bet if you went out and actually listened to some of the local acts, you might find some pretty good shows. I've found that local acts tend to have excellent stage presence.

      Also, the big acts of today were yesterday's local acts, and some from much smaller areas than NY, Chicago, LA, etc. IE: The Tragically Hip, arguably one of the biggest bands to come out of Canada, and quite successful on the world's stage, came out of Kingston, Ontario. I suspect that NY has suburbs bigger than Kingston....

      Sure, there's a lot of junk in a local music scene, but just because of that don't discount all of it. Maybe you're just going to the wrong places to experience it.
      • My area is significantly smaller than NY, Chicago, LA, etc.


        Don't worry kid, that's normal. Not everyone can be in porn.
      • The Tragically Hip, arguably one of the biggest bands to come out of Canada, and quite successful on the world's stage, came out of Kingston, Ontario. I suspect that NY has suburbs bigger than Kingston....

        Hell, as a former Kingston resident, I suspect that NYC has pizzerias bigger than Kingston. Incidentally, Sarah Harmer [sarahharmer.com] is also from Kingston, or at least got started playing there. She's great, I can't believe Nelly Furtado got the Juno instead of her. You'll be hearing more about her in a few years...
    • So what you are saying, is that only signed bands are good, or perhaps only bands that can afford world tours? Sorry, I don't buy that.

      Just exactly what kind of local music are you basing this on, sure, here in Pittsburgh, we have our fair share of shitty local bands(I really really hate the Clarks), but we also have a whole mess of great local bands.

      I've also found that big name bands come around to do a show and the whole thing normally comes off as over rehearsed and without feeling. It's like they have a script that says everything that they have to do, even when between songs. Local bands will joke with the crowd, come off the stage and sing on the dance floor/pit. And when the concert's over, they are at the bar drinking and talking to poeple.

  • how about .. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jest3r ( 458429 )
    mp3.slashdot.org ...
    • more to the point would be a nice napster-like service run on sealand... my wife hates morpheus/kazaa/grokster/bearshare/etc. with napster, i was approved to purchase cd-burners, faster computers, wireless internet, DSL... now with napster gone, so has the "computer purchasing department" funding...
  • Missing the Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1stflight ( 48795 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:02PM (#3886750)
    You've clearly missed the point, all bands start out as local bands, only blind dumb luck gets them to stardom, ..that or they're created. Otherwise do you think Backstreet Boys, NKOTB or N'Sync would've ever seen the light of day? No. This gives musicians everywhere an avenue to be heard on the cheap, by everyone, what more publicity could one ask for? It's a great idea and I'm thrilled to see it in action.
    • Backstreet Boys and N'Sync are extreme examples of the dumb luck phenomenon, because producers found them, threw out a lot of their work, handed them music to sing and sent them on their way to stardom. I think a reference to a particular South Park episode is in order here, where the boys were randomly picked by a producer and became famous overnight.

      Audiogalaxy was still the best place to find unknown acts, but of course the record labels killed a good thing. I rather them shut down the P2P networks than audiogalaxy. It seems the newspapers are picking up slack from AG's demise, but they won't be able to be as complete or as nationwide. I don't particularly care if a band is local or not, just if they're good! Unfortunately being a good songwriter is one-in-a-million sort of thing.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Backstreet Boys and N'Sync were both put together by very rich people who wanted to get richer. They did not start as a "local band". They try to project the image that they've been singing together since they were kids but it's a lie. They were auditioned and carefully chosen to be boy-band powerhouses.
      • While some of them did go to High School together they were certainly "created" by thier manager and thier rich parents. I happend to go to the patocular HS the BSB's came from (shudder) they used to sing Barber Shop in the commons.
    • only blind dumb luck gets them to stardom, ..that or they're created.

      So you're telling me bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, got big out of pure luck, no talent involved?

      Ok, maybe you mean currently: what about Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Dream Theater, Radiohead.

      Not all bands get big because of pure luck. The bands who do won't be remembered in five years (ie: NKOTB (for those you didn't realize it New Kids...)

      Regarding everything else you siad, agree completely, this has got to be one of the greatest ideas. It'd even be helpful if they'd list local shows of all kinds of different types of music. In my hometown, I used to go see the local bands, and had made many friends through the shows, but since I've moved, I don't know what's around here, or where the shows are .... A newspaper doing something like this is actually very good not only for the musicians, but also for the people living there, as it makes a much more satisfied culture.
      • You mention bands that are... let's see THIRTY YEARS OLD! Quite different situation then!

        Then you mention bands that between them have probably sold less than the prior mentioned dogsh*t bands. Can you say niche?

      • got big out of pure luck, no talent involved

        I think the original poster assumed some talent and popular appeal was a prerequisite.

        Yes, it takes talent AND pure dumb luck to make it big in the recording industry. Err, well, an attractive female lead vocalist doesn't hurt your chances any either.

        There have been too many cases of talented bands that don't make it big time, who never get a chance to be heard by anyone other than their local rabid fans.

        I think sites like this are an excellent way for popular preference in music to be expressed and for talented but lesser-known bands to get the exposure they deserve.

        It's the Right Answer to the question "I wonder who gets to pick the songs I have to hear on the radio?"

  • by elbarsal ( 232181 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:04PM (#3886767)
    Before we get into the whole morass of issues about file sharing and fair use, we have to consider this - newspapers promoting local artists with MP3 dowloads is absolutely brilliant.

    Think about it - nearly every major market has at least one "free" newspaper, and most markets do have some smaller newspaper, not owned by conglomerates (like Canwest/Global here in Canada) that could put forth, gasp, an original viewpoint, a cutting edge playlist, and even just good recommendations for new music, unlike any radio station (college stations excepted) or any major venue.

    Now, will we have to worry about ClearChannel buying up North American newspapers if this catches on?

    ed

    • by scott1853 ( 194884 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:23PM (#3886893)
      I wish the nearby alternative rock ClearChannel owned station would play some of the local artists that they keep advertising for, and holding events at their concerts. All I've heard for 3 years is "XXXXXXXXX at the Penny Arcade" or "xxxxxxxx at the Water St. Music Hall". Never have I actually heard any of the music unless it was a cover band, in which case they just played one of the cover songs over the ad.
      • Actually, they just had a "Battle of the Bands" style competition at Tremors where the winner was supposed to get a song in regular rotation...I can't say as I've caught it, but I've heard some random stuff in ads. Of course one song in rotation is hardly a big representation of the local music scene...there are actually quite a few good bands that deserve as much if not more airtime than alot of the tripe that ClearChannel stations play...it's a shame they can't get their stuff on. Newspaper site downloads will never reach even 1/8th the number of people a song on the radio will.
      • I lived in Rochester from 1992-96, and one of the only stations I ever listened to was 90.5, WBER [monroe.edu]

        Granted, I've never listened to a lot of radio in general... I always thought a lot of it was crap even before ClearChannel began borging every station in sight. But WBER is an entirely independent station and as such plays a very eclectic mix of music, including local bands. --At least, that's how it was 6 years ago. I haven't listened in a while.
        • I think that's the station he was refering to.

          I haven't lived in Rochester in for over 2 years, but WBER playlist seemed not all that different from the commercial "alt-rock" station in town. It did announce concerts, but never played any of that music except during an indie rock showcase specialty hour.

          Damn I miss the Bug Jar.
    • In that vein, you need to make sure that you provide some way to get support to the musician. I'm all for downloading music, but I would like to think that I will be able to get more from an artist I like in the future.

      So... I think intelligence needs to be done in what is linked as well. A quick idea would be to have a section of "what you could hear in town this week." A section where one can see all of the bands which will be playing live that week and give them a try.

      Then, you could have categorical pages, of course, but you need to find some way of encouraging support. Note, I don't think it should be required, but incentive should be given to provide easy support to the artists.

      Interestingly enough, I think the venues could do well to get together and provide sites of this nature. Perhaps allow them to download clips of shows played in a venue. Perhaps to show what the lighting and overall look of a place are. This could encourage more attendees which could help to bring more revenues.
    • nearly every major market has at least one "free" newspaper, and most markets do have some smaller newspaper, not owned by conglomerates

      Ok, be very very careful about this statement. Most "free press" newspapers are owned by conglomerates: Village Voice Media Inc. (which owns the Village Voice, LA Weekly, Seattle Weekly, Cleveland Free Times, Nashville Scene, and OC Weekly) or New Times Media Inc [newtimes.com] to name a few.

      Actually here is a list of Alterno-conglomerates [aan.org] and don't be surprised if your fave local paper is in there.

      For the last few years "local alternative" papers have been eaten up by these conglomerates (and have minority members like Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Weiss, Peck, & Greer.)

      Of course these papers deny or eschew their corporate ownership with their witty commentary and flippy attitude. But in the end it is still corporate homongenization.

      Sidebar: Maybe I'm a little pissed about this since my favorite local paper [freetimes.com] has just gone down the crapper the last few months due to an "editorial change". What has this meant? 1) New oh-so-cool-but-not-self-conscious-like format redesign 2) removal of any enjoyable entertainment content 3) features that are just bastardizations of two year old stories (the IBM-Nazi Germany connection), poorly written/argued (the current one on Maven/Queen Bee girl socialization behavior that starts out on the topic, switches to a completely different topic to prove its point against the former) or insulting (like how the WNBA should support its lesbian fan base more 'cause "we all know female atheletes are dykes"... good job at reinforcing 19th century stereotypes Cleveland Free Times!). Oh and then they whine and mince at the local big paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Um, hello? What, were you fired from there or something? Didn't return your calls? Anyway: tell someone who gives a damn and don't waste ink on it!)

      Summary: Just because it is Propaganda you like doesn't mean it ain't Propaganda. So read a lot of different stuff and make your own choice.
  • I don't see.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by iONiUM ( 530420 )
    and the musicians on the Washington Post site seem to like being there.

    How could they not like this? It's pretty much free advertising... and being on this site means less chance of being passed around P2P..
  • Check out Sleeman (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kris Warkentin ( 15136 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:10PM (#3886809) Homepage
    Sleeman [sleeman.com] beer is doing an ad series based on the fact that their bottles don't have labels. They have hosted a bunch of bands which aren't signed to labels on their website and are using them in commercials.
    • Sleeman kicks much ass, both as a range of excellent beers and as a good-natured company. Much more so than Molson or Labatt, who will practically sponsor the entire city of Montreal just to brainwash the masses.
  • Venues help, too (Score:5, Informative)

    by Washizu ( 220337 ) <bengarvey.comcast@net> on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:10PM (#3886810) Homepage
    In Philadelphia, venues like the Grape Street Pub [grapestreetpub.com] do much more than promote their own shows. They are trying to build a thriving original music scene in philly, especially with the compilations [mp3s.com] they sell and put out on the web.

    Local music magazines are also much better at promoting local musicians to the people who will actually come out to see them. Origivation [origivation.com] is a good example for Philadelphia.

    Ben Garvey
    Acoustic Rock : http://www.bengarvey.com [bengarvey.com]
    • Mildly OT:

      There was a great series (well, mini-series - two albums) put out from "The Bottom Line" in Greenwich Village called "In Their Own Words - A Bunch of Songwriters Sittin' Around Singin'." It was a wonderful collection and it worked like this: the first half of every album was songwriters and one of the songs they'd written (not necessarily the one you'd think) with a short conversation about where the song came from or the status of the industry. The second half of the album was the artists singin' songs they didn't write, stuff they were inspired by and their reasons for their choice. You'd get the oddest combinations: Jill Sobule singing "I Will Survive" for instance. The artists themselves bounce from village institutions (lucinda Williams, Jimmy Webb, Pete Seeger) to then-pop staples (Jill Sobule, Gordon Gano), to legends (Barrett Strong - the guy who actually wrote "I Heard it Through the Grapevine).

      Pick 'em up. they're tough to find in stores (prolly out of print) but can be ordered. If you're out of luck email me and we'll see what we can do. :)

      Triv
  • You can make money? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by prof187 ( 235849 )
    "You mean," I ask, "you guys sell CDs through your Web site, and play concerts, and don't have a major record contract, and you manage to make a living as full-time musicians?"

    "Yes, we're making a living, Cliff says. "We're all full-time musicians."


    What's this? You can share your music AND make money. And I thought the RIAA was telling the truth. But really, I think that song-sharing is a great idea. A lot of times, I'll download the music just to see if I'd like to buy the CD; and more often then not, I do. Also, I think that it makes the artists look very favorable when they actually let you download their music, so you are more apt to want to support them over a group who tries to destroy and user with a ripped, illegal version of their song.
    • Could it be that local bands can afford to share a few songs since it is very unlikely that many people have ripped their entire CD. This being the case, the listener must buy the CD to hear any more songs.
      • "Could it be that local bands can afford to share a few songs since it is very unlikely that many people have ripped their entire CD."

        I'll go one step further than that. I suspect that most local bands are so starved for exposure, that they'd be willing to sell their CDs at (distribution) cost, if they were guaranteed a large enough audience. P2P sharing is essentially doing just that.

        Of course at some point, the opportunity cost of giving away all their work will exceed the benefit. Unfortunately, P2P sharing doesn't give them the option to cut back on what gets shared.

        • You obviously don't know squat about local bands. Promo cd's aren't sold, they' GIVEN away. That's why we hate the blank cd tax because it artificially inflates our costs quite a lot (sometimes as much as 60% of the cost of media is pure tax - fuck them all).

          The general idea is that for a hundred dollars' worth of blanks, you can get a few hundred people listening to your music, telling their friends, driving around in fucking honda civics with their 8000-watt noisebox playing your tune... if you've got good music and you can get it out there, it will become its own advertising up to a certain extent, which will be much more effective than buying airplay at your local CKFU.
      • That doesn't explain the Emenem thing. His CD was distributed widely on the Internet before it was released, yet it's still the biggist hit of the year.

        It turns out that people like to buy the music they enjoy. It's nice to have a real physical CD, complete with a printed liner. It plays to the same basic human instinct that makes us buy hardcover copies of our favourite books, or DVDs of our favourite movies.

        • Instinct ? The only monkeys I see buying Eminem records are the same monkeys who go to school and wear pants below their ass. It's not instinct that drives us to buy, it's materialism. Something goes horribly wrong during our upbringing and we're trained to believe that owning things will make us feel good. Blame it on TV! Frankly, I don't feel today's artists are worth the 15-20$ for the disc. I do however believe in paying that kind of money for SACD / DVD-Audio if they ever get around to releasing it, but paying through the nose for what amounts to little more than aural junk food just doesn't make much sense to me.
          • So don't pay for the 'aural junk food'. Are you saying there's no CD you'd pay 15-20$ for? None at all?

            You might be the exception, but most of us do pay good money for music we like. I'll pay money for a Sting CD, despite the fact that I can borrow it from a friend and rip it. In fact, I'll buy the legit CD even after I already have a ripped version. I like to have my Sting collection, just like I like to have my Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy boxed set and my map of Thailand on the wall.

            Most people build up collections of 'stuff' that have meaning to them. I wouldn't call it materialism so much as sentimentality.

    • by Erasmus Darwin ( 183180 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @02:38PM (#3887362)
      "What's this? You can share your music AND make money. And I thought the RIAA was telling the truth."

      Way to quote it out of context. The text you're quoting is with respect to sharing 3 songs on the Washington Post site. 3 songs that were chosen by the copyright holder (presumably the band, given that they're unsigned). Not their entire album. Not whatever 3 songs a random P2P user chooses.

      Guess what? This is the exact same thing that RIAA acts do, too. Take, for example, Linkin Park. They're big right now, they're signed with Warner Bros. Records, they're on the radio a lot, they're showing up on MTV. You don't get much more RIAA than that.

      Yet on mp3.com, they've got their own page [mp3s.com] with FOUR songs available for anyone to download. That's a whole song more than the band interviewed by Roblimo. But still, it comes back to the fact that it's 4 songs that the copyright holder chose to release. It's only the songs they pick, and it's certainly not the entire CD.

      Arguing that giving away a few songs from a CD validates unrestricted P2P filesharing is like arguing that a free demo of the first few levels of a game validates piracy. It's up to the copyright holder to decide how much freebie/give-away advertising to use to promote the product before it starts to cut into sales.

      • The point is that filesharing isn't evil, as the RIAA seems to try to make it sound. An another point, imagine you had two pieces of software, one shareware, and one freeware. Now, the shareware version does nothing but constantly bug you with messages telling you to register and give them money, but the freeware version does exactly shareware version does, but doesn't bug you with "register me" messages. Which would you rather give money to?
        • "The point is that filesharing isn't evil, as the RIAA seems to try to make it sound."

          You've lost me. The RIAA has primarily villified P2P filesharing services, which tend to use the horde effect to make it difficult to identify and stop individual copyright violators. The example this point uses is just a website serving up files in compliance with the copyright holder's licensing demands (specifically, "You can stream these 3 files from your website."). I don't see how that changes the filesharing issue at all. "Which would you rather give money to?"

          Funny you should mention freeware versus nagware. I don't have the details handy, but I seem to recall a study mentioned on Slashdot about how the more obnoxious a shareware program was, the higher the registration rate.

  • In the UK, one sunday paper (Sunday Times?) recently gave away an Oasis CD with every purchase. Half the songs were playable on a CD player, and half were PC-playable four times, before they expired. Imagine if CD giveaways were integrated with MP3.com-like portals.

    This would be a great way to promote new music, since CDs are cheap to manufacture and small enough to package with a newspaper. It would be great to see the newspaper websites host local artists' music, and then their distribute songs.

    One of the arguments in favour of Free(dom) music is that artists can promote themselves with free distribution, then earn their feed by doing live gigs. Newspapers are an excellent mechanism for alerting people to upcoming events. They could play an integral part in reinventing the music industry by promoting small artists and helping them sell tickets.

    No reason why these things couldn't be done with free software either.

  • by El_Smack ( 267329 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:11PM (#3886822)

    Newspapers are struggling to keep readers and stay relevant. I see this as a Good Thing. It provides a good service and it's a way to get more eyeballs on their ads, without resorting to charging for internet content, registrations, etc.

  • by snoozerdss ( 303165 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:14PM (#3886837) Homepage
    Being in an indie band for the past 4 years (www.snoozerland.com) I can say that napster and other file sharing programs have helped our record sales alot. Not that we are selling millions of records but napster helped boost our sales outside Canada. (Actually untill napster we weren't selling any records outside Canada!). It also brings people into the clubs in the cities you've never been to before when you tour.
    Thanks to file sharing we're hitting the states for the first time in September when our new cd is released and we also will have two songs on an upcomming movie sountrack.
    What record companies have forgotten is that word of mouth is a very powerful thing
    • What record companies have forgotten is that word of mouth is a very powerful thing

      They havn't forgotten, they just know that their canned distribution model is a lot more powerful (at least for profits).

      You are exactly what they are afraid of. I don't know if your music is any good or not, but some guy who just came from the ivy league and sits in a chair behind an executive desk at a record company hasn't given you his seal of approval, and therefore a record company can't plug you into a formula (x dollers for promtion, x dollers for a video = y dollers in profits regardless of the bands talent).

      I wish you luck on your tour, and am very excited to see a band make it because of the Internet.
    • by Antipop ( 180137 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:44PM (#3887011) Homepage
      Yeah exactly. I've been into indie music ever since I was a little kid. To hear non-mainstream bands in the pre-Napster era we would all trade our CDs back and forth to see who we liked and who we'd keep a look out for on tour schedules. There's so many underground bands it's impossible to keep up with what's crap and what deserves the money to go see when they come through town.

      Now with MP3s it's so much easier. If I see a band I haven't heard of that's playing in my town I can grab an MP3 and decide if they're worth driving downtown and paying a couple of bucks to see. I can't count the number of CDs and other merch I've bought and shows I've been to that I wouldn't have otherwise because I heard a few MP3s.

      The real reason the RIAA should hate MP3s is because of people like me and my friends. MP3s allow us to find out about and support non-RIAA bands that we never would have heard of otherwise.
    • Another great thing about local bands is that you can get close to them without paying Ticketmaster a chunk of money, and without buying months in advance. Local bands are often grateful if you bring a camera and take their picture, and often don't mind you recording the show. Jim Infantino of Boston band Jim's Big Ego (http://bigego.com [bigego.com]) told me directly a few years ago, "Please Napster our stuff!" Jim is a Slashdot reader, an opponent of webcasting fees, and turns out new MP3s every month.

      Another great thing is that when you go to a show, you'll be exposed to 2-3 other bands. Many of them are awful... But one in 20 is really good, and you'll end up hooked on their music, too.

      Got to love live local music.

      Tom in Boston
      http://bostonrock.home.attbi.com [attbi.com]
    • Here's the deal:

      I've never heard of snoozerland (until now). I've never heard any of their songs. How am I supposed to find snoozerland on a file sharing network when I don't even know it exists? WHY would I search for snoozerland if I don't know it exists? WHY would I search for snoozerland besides something with more name recognition?

      Filesharing doesn't help get the word out about your band. It only helps get the music out to those who already have the word and care about hearing your music.

      For instance, you say: "(Actually untill napster we weren't selling any records outside Canada!)". As I stated above, how could napster help you sell records outside of Canada when no one outside of Canada knew about your existance?

      Wouldn't 'net radio or sites like MP3.com be more influential for fledgling bands when a filesharing system?

      (I'm not trying to poop on your parade here. Just presenting a line of thought. It's cool that you are now experiencing greater success because of MP3s and the 'net, I'm just saying that I'm not sure how important a factor filesharing was to the bands success due to the natue of filesharing systems.)
      • In the days of Napster, I used to search for songs/groups I knew I liked, but hadn't heard in a while (or sometimes even, stuff I really liked and already had), and then download the share listing from a couple prolific hosts that had them. I rightly figured that if someone had 2 complete albumns up for download from 2 different bands I liked, maybe I'd dig some of the other stuff that person was sharing. I found out about a couple good groups like this.

        These days of course, I can't really do that anymore, and it's the one killer feature of Napster that I really miss a lot. I once again have to rely on music reviews on other web-sites, word of mouth, and Amazon recommendations to point me at some new acts which I may or may not like.

        An Amazon-like recommendation system from a file-share network (users with music selections like yours also have this stuff that you don't) would kick a lot of ass. Good music would pretty much promote itself with such a system. Unfortunately, this only seems to be possible using centralized database servers, which would constitute a single point of legal attack against such a network. But hey, we can dream right?
      • if you were a napster fiend like myself..you would already know this answer. Many a time when I was bored and had nothing to download, i would look at what files people were other than the music i just downloaded from there..judging by the fact they already had one song i liked, i could guess that they may have more! Dont underestimate it either, Most music fans were downloading in just that fashion.
      • I'm sure they've looked into it - if their sales went up when filesharing became popular, then that's probably the cause. Remember that word of mouth is very important - people not only are IM'ing all over the world, they are doing voice chat - in my experience, if someone is playing a song over their connection and I like it, I ask what it is. Or they might just talk about what music they like listening to in a chatroom for want of any more stimulating conversation. But the bottom line is that more people are exposed to the work, and so more people buy it.

        The problem with the record companies is that they don't say "Look, our sales have gone up 300%", they say "Our sales have only gone up 300% but 500% more people are listening to the music" - they see the people who are not paying as a problem rather than acknowledging the extra exposure's benefit.

        If they implemented DRM then sales would go up slightly (you could download songs rather than just albums, it would be east to do so) band 100% of listeners would pay for it (ok, maybe not 100%), but if they don't, they may make more money but quite possibly only a minority of people will pay for it.

        Who knows though - maybe if, in the future, everyone has CD-RW, cable internet, and their HiFi is served from their HDD, filesharing could actually be a real threat.

      • Well I can only guess I suppose but here's my take on it. With napster you could Chat with other users etc.... (maybe other file sharing programs, I'm not sure it's been a while lol) I'm assuming people who liked us from the areas we are known in chatted about us in the rooms etc... giving out the url and song names. Doing generic file searches might have helped too since some of our songs have long titles. The internet is really where we pic up alot of feedback, contacts and new "fans" (although I'm not sure using the word fan at our level is proper ;). We've got mailing lists, chat rooms and message boards (well the site is down untill the new cd is released). Also at shows we have a sign up paper at the merch booth so people can join our mailing / emailing lists. The internet has really helped us. As I'm sure it has many other bands.
      • because one of your friends tells you "hey, I think you'd like snoozerland"

        or you hear one of their songs on college radio

        before Audiogalaxy (which was better than Napster for indie music) shut down, I almost only downloaded music that I'd only been told "I think you should check them out"

        Now I would never pay $18 for a CD just because I hear one song on the radio, or a friend thinks I might like them. But I'll sure as hell download some MP3s.

        Everyone talks about buying CDs because of MP3 downloads. I don't know about anyone else, but I can look through my CDs and out of the over 150 CDs I purchased last year, over 100 were directly because of MP3 download, and the rest were because people made me mix-tapes etc.

        The bottom line is, if you don't like the crap that Clearchannel/MTV/RIAA shoves down our throats, then illegal sharing is just about the only way to hear about new music.
  • Newspapers usually cover news in a local area, so I can understand why "local bands" are an interest. I just wonder how well it will catch on. Businesses don't usually do something that isn't in the interest of profit. With the songs being put up for free, it will only work if they use the popularity of the music downloads to attract more advertisers (who like to see higher circulation).

    Or they will require a log-in with a valid email address amd give you all the spam you can eat.

  • Wow! This is great news! Think of the vast sea of unknown music as Open Source, and the tiny-by-comparison but hugely more hyped body of popular music as Closed Source. There are many parallels.
    Wider exposure for local musicians is the kind of the thing the Internet was supposed to be all about. And it's a necessary step toward eradicating the music industry.
    • "And it's a necessary step toward eradicating the music industry."

      Just like open-source software has so successfully eliminated the closed-source software industry?

      You may (ideally) reform the music industry to the point where it's no longer locking artists into unfair contracts, but eradicating it? As much as we may wish otherwise, there'll always be a job for people who invest money in the creation of something. There'll always be a job for people who promote a finished product.

      They only thing that might potentially eradicate the music industry would be a general repeal of copyright laws. And while that may sound good, there's quite a bunch of nifty intellectual property that only exists because it was commercially viable to recoup the investment under copyright law.

  • Every city has a paper, every city has local bands. It's a great match. And when the RIAA sues ostensibly for , the paper already has lawyers who have defended the first amendment before.
  • Can Newspapers Save Local Music?

    A better question should be can local music save newspapers. When I used to buy a paper, I typically did so to look for something in particular; classfied ads, movie listings, the latest electronic store ads, even the comics. Occasionally if I had a few hours to kill, I'd actualy read the news.

    But the net has given all of those things to me for free, and a heck of a lot faster. So newspapers have to find new ways to bring in revenue. I don't (and currently won't) pay for a local newspaper online, but I would if it were to provide new avenues of information like local band MP3s. This is such a great and fantastic idea.

    If my local newspaper were to still provide the news and information I want online and add mp3s from local bands (and who knows what else), I'd have no reservations about plunking down $15 a month for it.

    • Ah...but can you use the Internet while sitting on the toilet?

      Of course, you can, but you need a wireless connection, mobile hardware, batteries...and you're doing it in a rather disgusting environment, around water. Do you really want your laptop/palm/subnotebook around that? And if a fly comes buzzing by or the dog climbs on your sofa...I assure you, a newspaper works a LOT better. ;)

      Returning to the "newspaper in the bathroom" scenario, in my office we have a lot of people who kindly leave the Sports section, the comics, or other bits of their newspaper in the bathroom stalls. So when the next gentleman comes in, he too can entertain himself on the crapper. All for $0.75....which is a price that beats any Internet connection's, let alone that of the hardware that you need for it. Plus, it's a great way of "file-sharing" without some corporation's lawyers prosecuting you for violating the DMCA.

      Sure, I can read more news on the Internet, and quicker, at my desk...but there are some situations in which it's really handy to have a good old-fashioned newspaper around.

  • It is my opinion that the real long-term effect of digital music will be to wipe out the music industry which has existed for the last 100 years and bring local bands to the forefront. This will be a Good Thing(tm), as it will effectively end the reign of manufactured music.

    I see the emphesis being placed back on local bands, which will then be scouted by professionals from a bastardized version of the recording industry and put on tours designed to make money rather than sell albums. MTV and commercial stations will have to go back to (gasp) making their money off ad sales like everyone else.

    This won't be anywhere near as lucritive as the current music monopoly, but that's life.

  • Counter-spin (Score:3, Informative)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:30PM (#3886933) Journal
    Bruce Springsteen is apparently finding that he doesn't need much beyond a lock and key to keep the Internet hordes from passing around his albums before they're released...

    Some pretty heavy spin Timothy is applying to that story. It reads more like -- In order to avoid having his new album widely available through file sharing services, as recently happened to Eminem, distribution of Bruce Springsteen's new album is being tightly restricted. As a result, few reviewers or radio stations have heard it.

    Of course, Springsteen can get away with that. (Or is he completely washed up now, anyway? I lost interest in him 15 years ago.) For less prominent artists, handcuffing their publicity efforts is a major issue.

    Not that I'm losing sleep over this either way, but the Slashdot writeup is a 180 distortion of the NYT article.

    • Can anyone actually name one song besides "Born in the USA"

      I use this same kind of "security" to keep people from stealing my car... I drive a piece of crap and no one wants it anyway.
      • Dancing in the Dark, Glory Days, Born to Run, Hungry Heart, Secret Garden.

        These are the ones just from the top of my head that come on the radio quite frequently. Just because you're a 15 year old suburbanite idiot who thinks Eminem and maybe the fronting, lying, frauding Marilyn Manson are gods doesn't mean everyone else is too.
        • Because I don't like Bruce Schmuckstien... I must like Marilyn Manson and M&M? There's some logic for ya.

          If I don't like one no-talent mumbling butt-munch, I must like 2 other no talents...

          Here's a thought for ya: Perhaps I can try to find music that isn't based on how many people I can annoy and freak out. Then, maybe we could listen to an artist with talent for something other than shock value.

          Nah... then there would be no way for teenagers to piss off their parents.
    • Obviously, I haven't heard the latest album, but it sounds like you lost interest shortly after getting married, dumping E-Street band, and generally turning into a wimp. I am in sincere hopes that this marks a return to the Boss' 'Glory Days'.

      I don't mind the new stuff, but 'Born to Run' is one of the most kick ass rock songs...

  • by Old time hacker ( 302793 ) on Monday July 15, 2002 @01:33PM (#3886948)
    If you read the downloading agreement then you will see that they (Washington Post Legal [washingtonpost.com] / boston.com legal [boston.com]) do not really permit you to do with the music what you might like to do.

    For example, you are not allowed to distribute the music over a LAN. This means that I could not use my Rio Receiver to play the music over my hifi system. You are also not allowed to use the music to construct any kind of database. This probably rules out most fancy players that create nice indexes of your music. It may rule out all hardware based players as they will create a (small) database of the music stored internally to the player. It certainly rules out using JReceiver [sourceforge.net] as my music server.

    I understand that they want to restrict the use that people make of the band's music, but it does seem a little over restrictive.

  • Guess I'll have to stick to clips from here [hatchmusic.com].
  • If you read the linked article about pre-release copies getting spread on the internet, it talks about Eminems (sp?) album being available a month ahead of time. Even though it was highly traded online...guess what? When it was released in the stores hundreds of thousands (OK a couple hundred thousand) people still decided to buy it in the dirst couple of months. So how many record sales were lost do to the "pirates" VS. The pre-release mp3's actually helping sales by letting people know what they were buying? Imagine if the record industry were the car sales industry saying "you can't test drive a car before purchase". Sure some customers may decline to buy the car based on having test drove it....But if it is a good car -- the test drives may actually increase sales of said automobiles. I think the RIAA is just scared of how many of the "crappy albums" will not get sold if people actually have a chance to here them before purchase. Or how important is it if people are trading MP3's from a back catlog album that has already sold 14 million copies. There were many cassettes from the 70's-80's that never were made into CD's in the states that were pressed to CD in Japan. Now I have purchased the cassette and LP -- they have made there money from me -- if they knock down my door for downloading the mp3's made from the Japanese CD's...am I allowed to throw the tapes and LP's in there faces and say, "if you would release your back catalogs on CD in the states -- I would be the first in line..."
    • It's even worse than your analogy. Not only are you prohibited from test driving your music before buying, you can't even get the tiniest hint of what it really sounds like. What if you went to a car dealer, and you couldn't even see a single car? Because they were all in car-sized plastic jewel cases, and until you forked out your $20,000-plus, you could only read the liner notes and look at the car company's promotional pictures?

      That's how it would be if RIAA ran the car industry, and it's a darn good thing that they don't - not just for the customers but for the car makers. Think of all the impulse buys they would lose if potential customers couldn't walk through the lot, seeing, touching, smelling the new car smell . . . . Now, it's true that car dealers have problems with theft off the lot, and they'd have less theft if they kept the cars locked away from potential buyers. But such measures would cut heavily into their sales, so they don't dream of trying it. In most business sectors, the sellers of quality merchandise understand intuitively that knowledge of the product sells the product. Contrast this to the shady used car dealer trying to pass off lemons as good cars -- that's the guy who won't even let you kick the tires, much less test drive.

      The counterintuitive, myopic policies of RIAA and its marketing-machine clients stem from their shady used-car dealer psychology. The RIAA machine clearly recognizes that quality music will sell itself to informed listeners. Music that sells itself doesn't need an RIAA machine, so RIAA necessarily becomes the enemy of both quality music and informed listeners, to preserve its own existence. That, in and of itself, explains why the trash the big labels put out keeps getting inexorably worse. If sites like the Washington Post succeed in convincing a critical mass of musicians that they are better off without the RIAA machine, no Fritz Hollings, Bono amendment, or anything else can save this dinosaur industry that exists solely to hard-sell crappy music to malleable children and teens. To speed this day along, I will be making a point of visiting the site, listening to the downloads, and purchasing CDs of bands that I like.

      • It's even worse than your analogy. Not only are you prohibited from test driving your music before buying, you can't even get the tiniest hint of what it really sounds like. What if you went to a car dealer, and you couldn't even see a single car? Because they were all in car-sized plastic jewel cases, and until you forked out your $20,000-plus, you could only read the liner notes and look at the car company's promotional pictures?
        Actually, Barnes and Noble (at least the one in Little Rock, Arkansas of all places) now has a setup in their music section where every single CD in the store can be taken to any one of a dozen listening stations and every single track can be listened to for free, for as long as you want. Just walk up, scan the barcode, and up pops the CD info and track listing on an LCD screen. Select what you like and there you go. Thanks to that feature I've purchased three albums (all by Kodo, an excellent Japanese taiko drumming ensemble) that I otherwise would've been wary of purchasing (since they get, in my area, no radio play except a story on NPR that featured a little of their music). So, there's a legitimate answer to one of the big 'excuses' for P2P (that there's no legal way to sample music). CD quality, instant access to a large and varied collection of music. Hard to get much better than that, except for having to go to the store. But is that so bad? After all, that gives you the ability to buy the CD right then and there...or would you rather just keep the mp3s after you find something you like and forget about buying the album? ;)
        • Sounds like Barnes and Noble has a very cool setup, analogous to what the Washington Post is doing. I was not aware of it, though, because I shop for books, music, and pretty much everything else online. So from my perspective, and from the perspective of the growing number of customers who shop online, this is like saying "OK, you can look at the car before you buy it, but only if you go to a car lot in Boise, Idaho. Where you shop, you have to take your car sight unseen."

          Moreover, the point was not to make an "excuse" for P2P, but to point out how, unlike other industries, the RIAA machine's continued existence depends on keeping the consumer uninformed. Barnes and Noble has clearly decided, like most rational retailers, that they will sell more CDs by informing the consumer. However, RIAA does not necessarily see a cent of that - I will bet my left buttock that the "Kodo" taiko drum group you discovered through Barnes and Noble's open marketing was not put out by any of the studios in RIAA's cartel. So Barnes and Noble, in effect, is putting another nail in the RIAA machine's coffin.

          Does anyone know whether RIAA has taken a stand against Barnes and Noble's marketing practices, threatened any kind of legal action, or demanded royalties for songs that customers listen to in the store? Given their stance on webcasting, it seems unlikely that they would let this pass.

  • Here is a good example: The Synthesis [synthesis.net]
  • I read this story and was wondering, does anyone know a good PHP solution for hosting musician content? I'm looking for something that can allow musicians to upload their music, and automagically add their upload to the
    library.

    Either that or something custom written. We could probably afford $200 bucks to anyone that could write such an app as well as some free adspace in the print rag. Any takers just reply to

    toqer @ pacbell dot net

    Thanks!

  • It would have been nice to note that the song internet porn that Roblimo mentioned was by a group called Da Vinci's Notebook [davincisnotebook.com], a really cool male "a cappella" quartet out of Virginia/Washington DC. (Not truly a cappella, as they occasionally use insturments.) Very cool, and I was lucky enough to be told by a bunch of my music pals [fruhead.com] that they were a kickass group and that I needed to see them in concert.
  • You are stealing money from the music industry!!!

    Sincerely yours
    Hillary Rosen
  • I recently added a new feature to my site which I call the Microbrowser [turnstyle.com]. It's designed to help promote Andromeda user sites. I'm itching to find more bands to add as I'd love to help direct more ears toward independent music.

    If you're in a band (or have friends that are) and use Andromeda to stream MP3s (PHP or ASP) and would like a steady flow of traffic, please let me know. -Scott

  • this is very encouraging news, considering that for the past two months I've been working on a site dedicated to the local music scene in my area. (Columbia, MO)

    Basically I'm creating the most extensive site regarding music in the area - (not a challenge, unfortunatly)

    The heart of the site is the local album and show reviews which can be submitted by registered members. I am trying to create a sense of community, because, quite frankly, our scene sucks. (especially for being a major university town)
  • A slashcode site w/ 24 hours a day nonstop local bands of all types

    http://www.real-local.com [real-local.com]

    No mp3's though...

  • How is it that you think when a band gets uploaded to a site like the ones mentioned that it cuts down on the chances of being passed around on a p2p network? And also, how is this automatically a bad thing?
    My band uploaded our mp3s to mp3.com a while back, and let me tell you we were all ecstatic the day we found out we were being passed around (in small doses) on kazaa.
    The best reason to do something (like making music or art) is because you love to do it. Not because you are a greedy bastard only in it for the money.
    I mean, the money is nice too but that's what day jobs are for. I dont plan to quit mine.
  • It will be nice to have a counter example to the arguement that distributing commercial music on the internet boosts sales. no matter the result, it will be nice to compare his cd sales to those of artists who aren't so tight on their work.

    Springsteens secrecy over his album will give a nice statistical counter example to those whos albums are freely available on file sharing networks...

    come to think of it he has gotten less and less popular.. but that can be attributed to alot of factors, not necessarily just that he's so tight on his music.

    i hope we get to see the raw sales statistics. it would be a shame if they are not available to contrast them in an analytical paper or something.
  • They mention how 'successful' springsteen has been because of his tactics, but in reality, he is catering to a whole different audience and has been for a while. People in the generation that primarily listen to springsteen are not the ones using p2p networks.

    Even if he did send out a ton of pre-release albums, you can bet there wouldn't be that many passing around on p2p networks like there would be if a new Limp Bizkit album was out.

    Saying that tactic is an effective anti-piracy strategy would be like saying the new Charlie Pride encoded CD they just released was effective because you don't see it on the p2p networks either.

    By that logic, I could say a computer monitor will keep tigers away as a natural repellant, I mean has anyone ever been attacked by a tiger while reading something on your screen?

    The fallacy in the logic of this article is astounding, especially since it came from the NYT.

    -S


    • I mean has anyone ever been attacked by a tiger while reading something on your screen?

      Nope. The tiger is for defending yourself against people attacking you with fresh fruit.

      Sorry, it's been that sort of day.

      -r
  • as amatter of fact, i'm building a webcast station for local artists. I about about 20-30 local bands in my area that are interested and more are signing on. I'm keeping the URL private (/. effect and all), but i encourage everyone to do what they can to support local music. If you care to join me, click on my site above, then you can contact me from there.
  • I'm a DC metro resident, and this is the first time I've heard of this. This is a great idea in theory, but the audience for this already has its ways of finding the local bands.

    I'm not going to drop URLs here just because I'm not out to /. every website in the DC music scene.

    If you're interested in the local scene, just check out the listings in the free "alt" paper. That will get you names of a few venues and bands. Go there for a night and see if you like the place . Find its website and periodically check its show schedule. From they, try to find the sites of the bands that play there. The chances are good the band has a few mp3s available to DL. If you like them, go see them. Talk to people there, get recommendations for other bands to catch. And check out the merch table.

    One of the best venue in DC is Fort Reno. Its a free outdoor concert series. Its purpose is to showcase local punk/indie/whatever bands.

    Oh. I noticed Barcelona has a few mp3s on the Post. They would definitely appeal to the slashdot audience. "Shell Account" is a good song. :)
  • The technology has mostly fallen into place. The cost of recording and editing music has come down to something a souped up home computer can do. The cost of distribution has come down, too, in the form of a website. I think it is now possible for an independent artist to sell you a song for $1.

    The missing piece now is promotion - how could the audience learn about a musician they would like, without spending an insane number of hours sampling music? The most direct solution would be the "if you liked this, you might also like this other thing" recommendations you'd see at video stores or Amazon, but it should also be possible to develop software to analyze submissions from artists, and play them over niche Internet radio channels with little or no (expensive) human intervention.

    The middleman has reasons to be afraid.

  • File sharing doesn't hurt musicians or performers or music lovers. File sharing only hurts the record companies. Why? it's a new form of distribution, one that they can't control. For decades, the record companies had a lock on two things: Promotion and distribution. Control these and you control it all. Now that the radio stations have taken promotion back, the record companies are screaming to Congress for redress. File sharing threatens to take a big bite into their distribution model, so back to Congress they go for redress again. The big lie here is the mantra thay say over and over and over: "We're doing this for the artists". BULLSHIT! They're doing it almost 100% for THEMSELVES! The average artist makes practically nothing from their records. There is ample evidence to this fact. The artists make most of their money in performing and merchandising. The sad (and scary) thing is that the most ignorant, clueless ones out there seem to be Congress and the courts...because they seem to simply take the RIAA and MPAA's statements completely at face value.
  • The article points out that Springsteen listeners also aren't all that likely to be spending time ripping mp3's and sharing files.
    I think there's some merit to the point of keeping CDs secure. Obviously the Boss can pull it off. But, let's face it, how many 'Springsteen' searches are going over Gnutella?

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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