Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A note on filesharing

When people (almost always record label people) start to ask those questions about stopping or controlling filesharing, I always reply by asking them the following question:

“Does the name King Canute mean anything to you”?

Facetious I know, but I find it hard to resist. The fact is that on this issue people are asking entirely the wrong questions, questions which are framed by their knowledge and experiences of how things have been done to date, not how things are now.

A chap called Ian Rogers from a company called Topspin says it best: “The physics of media have changed”. We therefore need to think in a different way.

Here is an idea. I am not suggesting that this is the best way, or the only way to look at filesharing, but for what it is worth, this is how I view it.

People are going to visit filesharing sites and download music for free. No point wasting any more brain space worrying about that, but if you knew who those people were and were in a position to talk to them (with their permission), would that not be a powerful thing? Could you maybe encourage them to come to your shows, buy your t shirts, read your blogs, subscribe to your fan club..? I would argue yes you can.

If you could find a way to extract the email addresses of some, or even most of the people who download your tracks, you would be taking a huge step towards building a community of people who appreciate your art, and guess what? You can.

Music glue (http://www.musicglue.com/) provide a free service where you upload your music in whatever resolution you like (the higher the better) and they then distribute it to all of the main filesharing sites instantaneously. The really clever bit is that when someone goes to download the track they receive a text, audio or video message saying for example say “Hey, we know you are downloading this track from XXX site. That’s totally cool, but if you are interested in the band give us your email address and we’ll keep you up to date” or whatever.

This way you are able to harness the data traffic and build yourselves a fanbase.

As I say, just an idea.

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