Archive for October, 2009

Radiohead and the New Model of Music Distribution

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 27, 2009 by lindahurd

Radiohead is the face of the evolving business model of the record industry. As most people know, their last record, In Rainbows, was first released as a digital download in 2007. The kicker is that fans could pay whatever price they saw fit.

By releasing their own album and bypassing their former record label, Radiohead made a bold statement. Bands are now realizing that the business model that record labels use is antiquated. Up until recently, if you wanted to release a record, you had to get signed to a record label. Now with resources such as MySpace, bands can more easily get their music heard.

Following this trend of bypassing the record label bureaucracy, In 2008, Trent Reznor released his album “Ghosts I-IV” on the Nine Inch Nails website. It was available as a free download and offered a $300 Ultra-Deluxe limited edition package. Two weeks later, Nine Inch Nails released “The Slip” as a free download on their website.

The big record labels have tried to combat piracy and protect copyrights through a myriad of lawsuits, but haven’t gotten very far. It’s time for a change in the business model. Artists are beginning to bypass the record labels, which is only contributing to the demise of the record label.

However, in June, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth criticized Radiohead for their supposed “marketing ploy” in releasing In Rainbows. Gordon said:

“It seemed really community-oriented, but it wasn’t catered towards their musician brothers and sisters, who don’t sell as many records as them. It makes everyone else look bad for not offering their music for whatever.”

In my opinion, Radiohead is embracing the changing model of music distribution. Other bands can follow their lead by releasing their albums online, even if they aren’t offered for free. By releasing their album straight to the consumer, Radiohead has created a very user-centered method of distribution. People want easy access to music, and Radiohead has given them just that.



Google Audio to Launch This Week

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 26, 2009 by lindahurd

Google recently announced that it is going to launch Google Audio this week. What does this mean for iTunes? If it’s a download service, Google Audio will be competing directly with iTunes. iTunes holds an obvious a monopoly over music downloads: Ask anyone who downloads music (legally) where they get their music and they will likely say “iTunes”.

Like all Apple products, iTunes is very easy to use and incorporates a user-centered design. Of course, this has contributed to the iTunes’ success. Google is also known for its simple, user-friendly products. Maybe Google Audio will give Apple iTunes some competition. I’m interested to see if this service will offer music streaming or music downloads. If I had to guess, I would say streaming, because this would compete with iTunes more indirectly.

Artificial Music Machine

Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2009 by lindahurd

Artificial Music Machine is an independent record label in Austin, TX.  According to their Myspace page, “artificial music machine showcases innovation across varying genres of music, at the boundary between the electronic and the organic, between the artificial and the human.”  Innovative might be an understatement. How do people differentiate from one record label to the next?  It seems like there are an endless amount of indie labels out there.  The popularity of electronic, innovative music is growing.  More and more people are broadening their definition of what music is.  I used to define music very narrowly: instruments and/or singing.  However, it’s much more than that, and new ways of creating music are emerging all the time.

One band from Artificial Music Machine that really caught my eye is Furby Youth Choir.  “Choir is a small army of modified Furbys which together produce a surreal and stochastic cacophony of tones, buzzes, squeals, and glitched-out demented laughter.”  You have to see it to believe it.  Maybe it isn’t the most melodious thing you’ve ever heard, but it is definitely creative and interesting.  I love seeing people create music through unexpected mediums.  Go to 6:11 to see Furby Youth Choir perform.

Refurbished from John Moore on Vimeo.

More and more music fans are craving “weird” music.  By weird I mean unconventional and creative; something they’ve never seen before.  Artificial Music Machine is just one label that is feeding off this evolving trend.  Although it is still underground, and might remain underground, it seems to have a solid and growing fan base.