Thursday, February 16, 2012

Digital Music Greatest Hits

Ok, so I've accepted this whole new music industry that incorporates online media. I stand completely behind sharing music online because I think it puts the control more in the artists' hands. Some people download music for free or listen to it on pandora,, youtube, whatever. I think this is fine if you give some support to the band and the industry in general. One way of giving to the band is to go see them live. This is the avenue by which I've chosen to give most of my support to bands. I love live music and I think digital media has helped to make live music more enjoyable and profitable.

I listen to Phish quite a bit and I think they have a great model. You buy a ticket to the show, have a great time, and then you get a free download of the show from phish live. This gives you a soundboard professional quality recording of the show you actually saw (and maybe don't remember for various reasons). Phish allows their phans to then take these recordings and trade with other phans in accordance with their policies. This I think helps build and sustain a pretty nice community of hippies.

Another way digital music has made live performances better is that it lets the band and users decide what songs are hits and worth listening to. I started thinking about this the other day when I started looking at some of the acts that I haven't heard that I will see at the hangout festival this summer. Instead of going to their website or trying to listen to them on the radio I went to youtube. There I found a wealth of music with comments and reviews from everyday listeners like myself. I think this allows people to decide what songs are the best and give a great snapshot of an artist.

This is where the greatest hits idea comes from. Phish does not really have "greatest hits" albums, but everyone knows the best jams. Because I can get live shows from bands I have never heard of before I can get a sense of how the concert will be and what songs a band loves to play. I love the fact that I can look through setlists and decide what songs will likely be played and listen to them. If I like it than I'll try out some more of their music, if I don't like it so much than at least I gave it a try and I know that I actually listened to what the artist wants to say about themselves instead of what some industry exec whats me to think about the band.

Please do not interpret my post to be authorizing or endorsing 'pirating' or any other illegal activity. I just think a new music industry is emerging and I'm excited to see where it heads. For me, I'm gonna try and give bands the benefit of the doubt. When I listen to a new band I've never heard I'm gonna listen to the songs that the band wants people to hear and what other listeners think are their best songs. In this respect, a new 'greatest hits' designation takes form shaped by the band and user input. That excites me.

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