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March 15, 2008

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TorrentFreak mentions an incredibly relevant speech by Paulo Coelho (author of best-selling The Alchemist).

Coelho understood the potential of getting his books to more people and took the brilliant step of pirating his own books.

It makes perfect sense if you consider that one of the biggest obstacles facing artists of all kinds is actually getting the attention of potential fans. If people never hear your music or read your books then you never have a chance to be noticed or appreciated. You have to reach them first.

Violinist Tasmin Little embraces the idea of giving away music with this three step challenge:

Step 1: Listen to my spoken introduction and download my CD.
Step 2: Take some time to listen and get to know these pieces. Then write to me and tell me what you like (or don’t like) about each piece.
Step 3: Go to a concert, buy a CD or write and tell me what barriers still remain to prevent you from wanting to do either!

The download page is really well-presented and the music is available in lots of different formats. Her introductory PDF explains the principles behind the release and gives a huge amount of background info.

The recordings are excellent. It’s inspiring to see an artist take a leap of faith like this. I’m sure it will lead to more fans who want to attend concerts and either buy her CD or just give something back!

Check out The Naked Violin here.

Music Tax Not The Answer

January 11, 2008

Techcrunch has an interesting post about Trent Reznor’s comment on the idea of a music tax. Reznor was discussing the recent Saul Williams experiment. He produced The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust by Williams and they decided to make the album available for download either for free or for $5. The $5 version was higher quality but only 18.3% of fans were willing to pay.

The CNET interview with Reznor covers how he feels about this, and promises an interview with Saul Williams next week to hear his side of the story, but the mention of a music tax was the focus of the Techcrunch article:

“I think if there was an ISP tax of some sort, we can say to the consumer, “All music is now available and able to be downloaded and put in your car and put in your iPod and put up your a– if you want, and it’s $5 on your cable bill or ISP bill.” [Reznor interview at]

Michael Arrington argues very convincingly this would stifle innovation in the music industry, but that it seems likely that such a tax will be a “last stand” for the music industry as it tries to find a way to survive in the digital age.

Check out the post – and the comments from readers – at Techcrunch.

Season’s Greetings!

December 23, 2007

2008 will see a lot of changes at Karmafan. We’ll have new ways for fans to support the artists they like, and some major updates to the site and widget.

We’re busy working on these…

But all we can offer you for now is our best wishes for the season!

Interesting discussion now online from WIRED magazine. Yorke comments that letting fans choose how much to pay for In Rainbows “released us from something. It wasn’t nihilistic, implying that the music’s not worth anything at all. It was the total opposite. And people took it as it was meant. Maybe that’s just people having a little faith in what we’re doing.”

He also mentions that “we’ve made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever — in terms of anything on the Net.”

Some very good points today from about how artists and fans both benefit from new distribution models:

“The pay-what-you-want model works better for fans and artists alike. Just about the only player it doesn’t work for is record labels. But they’ve been working against the interests of artists and fans for so long now, they can hardly expect any sympathy. Their business model will be supplanted by one that not only cuts out the middle-man but delivers a better and more fairly priced product as well.”