The music sharing site Oink was roasted last week
As the music industry continues its ongoing identity crisis, many bands are striking out on their own to find new ways to reach fans and still make a living at it. While online music sharing sites like Oink are besieged, musicians are breaking free of the old models.
At the forefront is Radiohead, who made waves with their online-only, pay what you like distribution of their latest album, In Rainbows . Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about the next step to bring the album to the masses. Since their previous album, Hail to the Thief, fulfilled their final obligation to their former major label EMI, the band has been label-less and thus able to release In Rainbows on their own terms. However, according to the New York Times, Radiohead is rumored to turn to independent labels to further market the album. XL Recordings in England, which released Thom Yorke’s solo album The Eraser last year, seems to be a front-runner for European distribution, and there’s strong speculation that the Dave Matthews-owned ATO Records will take on US distribution.
On his blog, bassist Dave Allen announced not only that Gang of Four will get to work on a new album, slated for a 2008 release, but also that the band, which is currently without a label (and apparently intends to stay that way), will seek alternative means to distribute the album that do not include the CD format. Check in with Gang of Four’s progress on Pamelmoose as they explore the Brave New World that Radiohead has led us to.
Meanwhile, the war against illegal music sharing is still being waged. Last week, the creator of Oink, a popular torrent sharing site, was arrested by British and Dutch police. Alan Ellis, who started the relatively exclusive site (access was granted through invitation only) that many turned to for the earliest quality leaks of new and forthcoming albums, now claims, according to the Telegraph, that Oink is no more complicit than other search engines like Google that also allow users to locate illegal uploads. “If this goes to court,” the 24-year old proclaims, “it is going to set a huge precedent. It will change the internet as we know it.”
Whether or not Oink’s litigation will revolutionize the music industry (unlikely) or its demise will help save declining CD sales (also unlikely), musicians will continue to earn a significant amount of any income they make through touring. In effort to fill their coffers, many of your favorite artists are on tour this fall, including The Decemberists, who just kicked off The Long and Short of It tour, which includes two stops in most cities, the first night focusing on the band’s more epic numbers and the second on the shorter pop tunes. While The Decemberists’ scheduling allows fans to choose what type of set they’d enjoy more, this brilliant strategy seems more apt to bring the same fans to both shows, thus doubling both the fans’ pleasure and the band’s ticket sales (though tickets purchased for both shows together are discounted). Find the lineup and more over at Pitchfork.