It looks like iTunes is possibly going (completely) DRM-free? Great news for music lovers but whether or not it actually materialises is another thing. There are plenty of alternatives in the marketplace for DRM-free music downloads but according to this BBC article, it looks like Apple (who already sell DRM-free tracks from the EMI label) are about to sign off on a deal with the rest of the big four including Sony, Warner and Universal which would see all DRM copyright restrictions lifted from the iTunes store.
Cheers to Will Knott for the nudge on this one but it looks like BandCamp.mu has gotten underway and could provide a nice outlet for bands looking to distribute music online and further enhance their fan base.
On the front of things from watching the screencast (above) it all seems pretty straightforward – add you profile, add your tracks, add some cover art and away you go. Grant API access to your PayPal account and you can start selling tracks direct from Bandcamp on a very Radiohead-esque “name your price” basis.
I’ve signed up to give the service a try and see what it does for my own music (something I keep meaning to publish online and get away from the older demos clouding the MySpace) and those of other bands we have involved with KilkennyMusic.com.
In their own words about what they do…
We’re not yet another site wanting to host your tracks alongside the trailer for High School Musical 4: I’m Pregnant. Instead, we power a site that’s truly yours, and hang out in the background handling all the technical issues you dread (and several you’ve probably never even considered). We keep your music streaming and downloading quickly and reliably, whether it’s 3am on a Sunday, or the hour your new record drops and Pitchfork gives it a scathingly positive review. We make your tracks available in every format under the sun, so the audiophilic nerderati can have their FLAC and eat mp3 v2. We adorn your songs with all the right metadata, so they sail into iTunes with artwork, album, band and track names intact. We mutter the various incantations necessary to keep your site top-ranked in Google, so when your fans search for your hits, they find your music long before they find bonkersforlyrics.com or iMyFace. We give your fans easy ways to share your music with their friends, and we give you gorgeous tools that reveal exactly how your music is spreading, so you can fan the fire.
The signup process (for me) has been delayed as I don’t have AIFF or WAV dumps of the music. Unlike MySpace, Bebo, NumberOneMusic etc where MP3s are the in thing, Bandcamp looks for the highest quality (loss-less) audio file you’ve got available and they’ll take care of the conversions to a variety of MP3 formats (192k and above), FLAC etc. The user or fan of your music can then decided how high a quality track they want to take, what format they want it delivered in and how much they’re willing to pay for it.
The stats behind Bandcamp let you see where the visitors are coming from, who’s linking to and using your music online, what are your most popular tracks, how have they been played (complete, partial, skipped), everything you’ve wanted to know about who’s been listening to your tunes.
Once I sort out a WAV dump of some of the session files I have gathering dust here I’ll give it a full run through, but for now, it looks rather promising indeed.
If you’ve never heard of the Playlist Mix Podcast (possible if you’re a new reader!), it is a weekly podcast I release running 30 minutes or less and featuring six independent or podsafe acts from around the world.
I gather music from the Podsafe Music Network, Garageband, CD submissions from acts I work with in Ireland and through KilkennyMusic.com and ultimately, email submissions from listeners and bands alike. The mix is rather eclectic. My own listening habits are by no means genre specific. If you had stopped me in traffic this morning you’d catch me with some downtempo jazz on; into the office and I’m in rock mode; out and about and I’m fuelled by indie or reggae tunes.
To that extent, each week’s mix is often a reflection of what I’ve been listening to as well as a means to showcase new tracks and artists arriving in my inbox. I’m not much of a fan of day-time radio so when I’m on the road I like to have a short mix of tunes with me – a 30-minute weekly dose of the Playlist Mix tends to do the trick for me 🙂