Gilles Peterson has a new service/ gadgety/ thing...he's running a monthly album club where he picks his top 4 albums of the month and once you've subscribed you get a channel list and can listen to the albums in their entirety. Click HERE to subscribe. It's not ground breaking or world changing, BUT I was pretty chuffed to be listening to the new Jamie Lidell album this morning on his recommendation without the dirty download feeling...There are loads of services online for listening to stuff which I'm sure we all use but I particularly like things like recommendations and playlists otherwise it can be a bit of an ocean - where to start if you don't have all the time in the world? I was a big fan of Pandora until it closed down for UK users (it was an internet radio service where you could create your own playlist with a huge range to choose from).
Here's the thing. So many of my friends are artists - 5 years ago music was a tangible career choice. Even if you didn't make it huge but did ok you could survive as an artist. What we have now is - make it big or do it as a hobby (apart from the very business savvy). I download - but I don't download the little independent artists who're trying to make it, I buy their music and support and I encourage others to do the same. Most of these artists aren't in a position to book themselves on the never ending tours it would take for them to survive just through music and we all try and get guestlist for shows so at what point do we pay for the pleasure these artists provide? Do we never stop to consider that even if we don't have the money to buy all the music we would like to we can still just listen to it for free - and maybe buy it when we do have the cash? Just because something is easy to steal and everyone's doing it doesn't mean it's ok. For every action there is a reaction and people will not continue to put all their time heart and soul in to something with such little incentive forever.
Some people would argue that by putting up albums for download they are promoting people's music...is that really necessary? Put up the whole album to listen to - put up your favourite track for download, but don't make it as easy as blinking to download an entire album or you take away the vague possibility someone might just buy it. The fact that everyone else is doing it or you can get it from Solar Seek etc doesn't make it ok, particularly if you specialize in the music you love. If you're a really talented promoter or taste-maker like Gilles Peterson people will pay attention regardless - his new service is adding value by singling out albums above others and promoting them, making people more likely to buy them just to have in their collections. Last year Radiohead and Saul Williams banked on their fans' integrity - they let people pay what they felt the album was worth, and people paid. If you put up someone's album for free you are essentially saying that either you don't care about that artist and their hard work, (and)/ or that you don't believe that anyone would pay anything for it anyway - and that it is essentially worthless in monetary terms. If you're a fan, really think about it before just hitting download, adding 2 songs to a playlist and forgetting about it.
If you really love music then you'll be happy to pay for it.