youtube and open music collaboration

01/22/07 at 10:31 am | Posted in Music, Tech | Leave a comment

Got this from Mike Abundo’s blog, and I can’t be more thrilled about this development.

As Mike stated in his post Open Music Collaboration on YouTube, seems musicians are harnessing the power of YouTube to make beautiful music together.

I’m not talking about a bunch of music artists getting together in the same room and doing a video of their performance. This is about one YouTube user, who’s a guitarist, posting a video of her song. Then another musician whom she doesn’t even know adds his drum track to the song, then another adds his bass performance. Awesome! See Mike’s post for the video clips.

I hope we’ll see more of this kind of grassroots collaboration. People who know me are aware of the public stand I’ve made against piracy over two years ago when I quit cold turkey. Yet while I remain firmly convinced we shouldn’t buy pirated discs of any form, the stupidity of digital rights management and the greed of recording companies is simply appalling.

How stupid is it when, even if I paid for an original music CD with hardearned money, I’m not supposed to be able to rip those tunes and transfer them to an MP3 player? No, if the music companies have their way, we’re supposed to pay another fee to download the digital equivalents of these songs, which, by the way, also have limitations on, say, how many machines you can play them on or number of CDs on which you can burn them. WTF?!! I’m already willing to pay for the original, which is a lot more expensive, but how many times can the recording companies expect to screw us over?

In fact, this will be one of the heated debates over at the MIDEM global music fair now ongoing in Cannes.

Here’s an excerpt from that wire report:

“You can’t ask people to pay (for music) when they’ve been getting it for free,” celebrated French economist, author and former adviser to president Francois Mitterand, Jacques Attali, told a packed MidemNet conference here Saturday.

Attali’s view is shared by most of the technology companies that are taking the music world fast forward into the digital age.

But the beleaguered major record labels, reeling from plummeting CD sales and piracy, take the opposite stance — at least for the moment.

News announced here Saturday that the independent record labels around the world have agreed to work together and pool access to their huge music catalogues will put further pressure on the big recording companies.

Hell, let all the musicians in the Philippines unite and pour their efforts into their own indie labels. They’re the ones with talent (well, at least some of them are, since others with no talent have flourished because of marketing), and they should have the power to decide how to distribute their content and what to charge for it.

The stupidity of DRM is something I’ve already railed against, including in my CNET Asia blog post “Do you want more frickin’ pirates?” I think it just goes to show how shortsighted, clueless or just plain greedy (or more likely all three) music companies and to a certain extent even movie companies (though props to them for being quicker in embracing digital distribution) are. They are alienating even the people who are willing to pay for original goods. The sad thing is that these companies are making a ton of money as middlemen — wouldn’t it be great if we could pay each artist directly? After all, wasn’t the removal of the middleman one of the promises of the Internet?

The music companies and other middlemen should tremble even more once bandwidth becomes ubiquitous. With high-speed connections, everything can be streamed, and we won’t even need to download the content. And if technology allows everything to be freely available, what happens to your old payment schemes?

Maybe it’s time for music companies and their ilk to look beyond business models based on the physical transfer of goods, and finally become part of the digital world.

The rest of us are living here already.

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