Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from David Kushner

Musicians Take Charge

There’s nothing like a good manifesto. Earlier this week at the Midem music conference in Cannes, France, avante-rock pioneers Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel unveiled what they call the Magnificent Union of Digitally Downloading Artists. The purpose is to encourage–and…

  • January 29, 2004

There’s nothing like a good manifesto. Earlier this week at the Midem music conference in Cannes, France, avante-rock pioneers Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel unveiled what they call the Magnificent Union of Digitally Downloading Artists. The purpose is to encourage–and empower–artists to exploit do-it-yourself digital distribution, labels be damned. To help the cause, Gabriel’s organization, OD2: On Demand Distribution, announced a new digital music platform called the SonicSelector, which artists can use to sell their music online. By harnessing the power of the Internet, Gabriel and Eno suggest, artists can reach their fans in entirely new ways–uploading, say, a new song as soon as it’s completed, instead of having to wait to put it out on a full-length CD.

More power to them. The Grateful Dead was the first band to see the benefit of thinking outside the corporate distribution box. By allowing fans to record their shows, for example, the Dead vested their audience and, ultimately, became one of the highest-grossing acts in history. Spin-offs of this Grateful economy are now in practice by a family of artists, primarily classic rock and jam bands, including Dave Matthews, Phish, Pearl Jam, the Who, Wilco, Prince, Ween, and David Bowie. They’re doing everything from selling instant live CDs of their shows to distributing their own free MP3s over the Net. It’s good for the artists. It’s good for the fans. And, contrary to the recording industry’s mantra, it’s good for business too.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.