As some of you know, when I’m not scribbling I’m the lead hollerer in a rock band called Kasino, although the band’s been in hibernation for more than a year (partly because of back problems that prevented me from lifting a guitar let alone throwing rock shapes, and partly because guitarist David now lives hundreds of miles away). Naturally enough, our hibernation means we now get more downloads than we did when we were busily promoting things.
This month, a bunch of complete strangers voted us Artist Of The Month at The Tartan Podcast, which of course gives us a nice warm glow. After saying various nice things about our music, one listener said:
I can’t believe they’re giving away their whole output for free.
I’ve responded and said that for me, downloads are like radio – albeit radio without any royalty payments. The whole point of making music is for others to hear it, so why not give it away? Sooner or later someone will find a way of making money from it, in the same way that musicians get paid royalties for (some) radio play.
It looks like that someone could well be Playlouder MSP, the new music ISP whose launch has been due Real Soon Now for a couple of years. It seems that the service is finally ready for launch, and for Â£26 per month you’ll get internet access and the ability to share copyrighted music with others. Legally. So far Sony BMG is on board, and the company is confident that it’ll be able to tempt the other big music labels.
I really do think subscription music is an idea whose time has come, because let’s face it, file sharing isn’t going to go away. Playlouder has the right idea, I think, and it’d be nice if Apple were to go down the same road – not necessarily file sharing, but a subscription-based service that not only lets you listen to whatever you want, but download it and play it on your iPod too.