Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tools of the Trade

I love music.

Ever since I bought my first CD, the first thing I did with a new album was listen to it from start to finish. I would hit “play” on my handheld CD player, close my eyes, and drift with the music.

Oh, have times changed.

Now that I download my music online, an album is lucky if I listen to half of it before I skip to a different song. My music library is so massive that I've become very picky when it comes to my music selection. Yet, sometimes I feel like I need something new to listen to, despite the neglect of so many albums’ “non-singles.”

And so I get more music.

The last album I downloaded was Carnal Carnival by Here Come the Mummies. The best part of this funkalicious album is that I didn't pay for it, and I don't even feel a little guilty.

How could I do such a terrible thing to one of my favorite bands and still consider myself a fan?

Yes, I admit that I downloaded the Mummies album for free. However, I failed to mention one tiny little detail...

It was legal.

For a limited time, the Mummies offered their Carnal Carnival album as a free download on a website called Noisetrade. Not only did I get to download the Mummies' album, I discovered a new website that flaunted the words “Thousands of albums. Completely free. Completely Legal.” at the very top of their page.

Before I knew it, I had downloaded albums from a few bands that I had never heard of before. The only thing delaying me from expanding my music library was my desire to listen to my new tunes.

Now this was a cool website, but I had to ask, “Why?”

The RIAA suggests that music piracy hurts all of those who work in producing music. Why would artists willingly allow consumers to download their music for free?

Perhaps it's because they don't make much money off albums in the first place. In fact, artists make the majority of their money from merchandising and concerts. An artist's albums are essentially a way of marketing themselves for their real money makers.

With today's tight economy, what's a better way to promote your music than to offer it for free?

While I love finding and downloading new music, I'm mostly excited about the implications Noisetrade's business model poses on the record industry. With the rising number of lawsuits regarding piracy, it's apparent that something needs to change.

Noisetrade has the tools to lay down a foundation for a shift toward this change.