Wednesday, 3 July 2013

If music be the food of love, then let it be free...

I'm not a big facebooker, generally I'm lucky if I login once a fortnight. Yesterday I logged in to find a message from a South Korean TV news channel, News Y, who were going to be in Luxembourg doing a piece on Jamendo and were inviting me to take part. I'd missed it by almost a week, they'd been and gone. I was gutted.

Could it have been my big break? Could I have been to the eastern world what Psy had become to the west? Maybe not but I was thinking about the things I'd achieved with my music - podcasts, radio shows, featured on a compilation CD box set, promotional DVD, movie trailer on a DVD, online videoes... The one thing that's so far eluded me is having me or my music on TV, this would have been the cherry on the cake. Oh well, que sera sera.

I then got to thinking about how these achievements had  become possible and it's really all been from giving my music away and primarily through Jamendo.

As a musician what I want is for people to hear my music and hopefully enjoy it, if I make any money while I'm at it then that's a bonus but it's by no means the raison d'etre. When I hear about artists suing fans for downloading their music, I'm in disbelief, are you really punishing people for liking your music?! (Metallica, don't you have enough money yet?).

You can't stop progress, you need to adapt or go the way of the dinosaur. People are going to download music for free, why pay for it if you don't have to? With that in mind, you may as well give your music away for free willingly and appear generous instead of appearing mean and people still not paying for your music.

If Metallica et al want someone to blame then maybe they need to look closer to home. When the CD was introduced in the 80's, production costs were slashed to a fraction of what they were with vinyl but was the saving passed on to the consumer? No, instead they put the price up. The movie industry has found ways of adapting and giving people a reason to pay for the product, we had HD/Bluray, then 3D and next we'll have 4k super HD.

What has the music industry given us? The same CD format since 1982 (Which has a smaller sonic range than analogue vinyl so in that respect was in fact a step back from what went before). They could have replaced the CD with Bluray and given us albums with HD sound, made it feel like Frank Sinatra was in the room with us, instead they decided to continue to churn out the same tired old format from the last millennium. A vain attempt to fart against the thunder of illegal downloading.

I first published my music on Jamendo about five years ago, before they introduced Jamendo Pro. Since then I've been approached by a music library who found me on Jamendo and I've made a bit of cash through them over the past years licensing out my music for commercial uses. In addition to that, since the introduction of Jamendo Pro, I've also made a little bit of money there (although perhaps more importantly Jamendo Pro gets my music played in public spots right across Europe and the US). It might not be enough to buy an island in the sun but the two revenue streams combined have been enough to feed my habit for whatever music equipment I've bought over the past few years.
A film company who were making a promotional DVD for Luxembourg University also found me on Jamendo, they used my music and invited me along to the premier, with free bubbly and even a red carpet!

I may have missed my chance at TV stardom this time but if I've learned one thing giving my music away on Jamendo, it's that more opportunities will present themselves and with well over 150,000 listens clocked up, Jamendo are making sure people hear my music and for me, that's what's really important.