Saturday, September 27, 2008

Review -- "USA Today Article on Magnatune"

For direct link to main article, click entry title.
Other links used:

Everyone knows there are other places one could purchase music on the internet, like Amazon or Yahoo, but in all honesty, the iTunes is omnipotent.
Idealistically, Magnatune is probably the biggest breakthrough in the online music industry since iTunes. Whether it will actually revolutionize how music is obtained* over the internet, we shall have to wait and see.
*because who ever buys songs anymore?**
Magnatune was designed to solve this problem.

A summarized breakdown of Magnatune:
1. Unlike the iTunes store, Magnatune is a record label. Thus, Magnatune only sells songs/albums of the artists who are signed under them.

2. Unlike the iTunes store and their teasing 20 second song clips, Magnatune allows for the consumer to listen to entire songs/albums.
3. Unlike the iTunes store, Magnatune consumers get to decide how much they pay for an album within the range of $5 and $18.
4. Unlike the iTunes store, Magnatune shares the profits from purchases evenly with its musicians. 50/50.
5. Unlike the iTunes store, Magnatune music isn't licensed via copyright, but via Creative Commons.
6. Unlike the iTunes store, Magnatune only sells downloads and does not use DRM (which is why they use Creative Commons..).

CEO John Buckman started the Magnatune record label as a project to orchestrate the relationship between artists and customers a little more.. harmoniously. As I understand it, there is no in-the-dark or fine print in Magnatune; its tagline "We are not evil." is pretty m
uch as subtle as they get about their goal.
Musicians signed under Magnatune have their songs licensed through Creative Commons, freeing both producer and consumer from the swamp that is copyright. As mentioned earlier, Magnatune splits its profit 50/50 with its artists - unheard of in the music industry. Magnatune is the first record label to license their signed artists online. Buyers who want to use a song/album in their non-commercial projects consent to this license by paying a small licensing fee, and the music is immediately downloaded to their PC, in all it's unfettered and CD-quality glory. Before purchasing a song/album, buyers can listen to the entirity of a song in mp3 format, without any DRM strings.
All of these aspects of Magnatune definitely do promote good relations between musicians, record labels, and buyers. The 50/50 profit share brings in relatively hug
e amount of revenue in royalties. Royalties refer to amount of revenue that goes to the artists from the sale of their merchandise. In the world outside of Magnatune, royalties for musicians are an almost negligible percentage compared to how much of the sales profits go to the record label (on average, artists usually make around $0.20 per cd they sell; the rest of the profit goes to the label and other places.. it's pathetic, get it?). Hopefully, if you're a fan of a band and aren't a complete schmuck, you'll do your part in showing appreciation by buying their music in a contract that deals them 50% of the sales.
That Magnatune allows for the buyer to decide how much they want to pay for an album is what the article defined as very eBay-esque: the price of a song or album is correlated directly with the buyer's willingness to pay. This is very different from other online music stores (e.g.: iTunes), as each song has a flat rate of $0.99. It is also in this manner that buyers can support the bands they are fans of, and music is obtained so that it is a win-win situation for both musician and fan. The fact that Magnatune music is licensed using Creative Commons will probably attract many buyers (who have any knowledge about copyright or CC (such as ourselves<3)).

There is a very, very small catch:
Magnatune isn't known for selling mainstream/well-known jams.. in which case I don't know why you would even bother buying mp3s they play nonstop on the radio until your ears start to bleed.

Reading up on Magnatune makes me realize how much nicer the internet is without copyright. Fewer strings, more win-wins, etc. Steve Jobs and the iTunes store are quite the force to be reckoned with, but there is an alternative (and hopefully, more to come)! In any case, buying songs from iTunes is legit, too.
This new knowledge offers a very unique perspective concerning everyone who raves about their favorite artists, only to upload their new albums from LimeWire or Torrent for free:

Haha, I'm just kidding. Kind of.

1 comment:

Catherine Malcolm said...

I think it's only a matter of time before more music providers like this become more main stream. The intentions are good, and so is the outcome. Magnatune provides a great balance between fairness and connecting listeners with their music; they way it should be. The full song preview is an especially nice feature compared to iTunes, if you're going to pay for, it, you have the right to know what your buying.