Harvey Danger is a music band based in the USA (in Seattle I believe) and they are making their latest album available for free download from their website . A recent post on Slashdot prompted me to take a look at this unusual although not unique initiative.
Their music is really very enjoyable and I find it great that they chose to distribute their creation in a daring and bold manner. They offer their music and leave it to the consumer to decide whether and how much they want to pay them for having the opportunity to listen to and to distribute freely and without limitations Harvey Danger's latest work. In essence they trust you and me to be fair to them. This is so excellent! These guys deserve as much support as they can get.
Did you know that when you and I buy a book or a music album for 15 € the artist actually gets only 10%-15% of that amount. 1.5€ to 2€ on total turnover of 15€... Where does the rest of the money go? Intermediaries: producers, managers, record company, lawyers, distributors... all of whom have not created anything, but occupy a key role in the chain going from the creator to the end consumer. The percentage can get slighlty bigger and the terms of business a bit better for known artists, but still isn't this a rip-off?
Harvey Danger is actually doing what may be the biggest nightmare of the music industry: they use the Internet to go direct and give power to the consumer. No recording companies, no DRM software, no expensive (and mostly useless) copy control mechanisms, no lawyers, no useless intermediaries... Just a direct deal between the creators and the users.
Here is a copy of their press release where they explain why they are doing this: Download HD_LBL_relase.pdf
Now let me tell you another little thing coming from the IT business: a product / software /service works better when the creators are in direct contact with the users even if there is a need for good (excellent) analysts and project managers to make the whole thing flow. Direct business, no useless intermediaries, maximum clarity, transparent pricing, decent commercial proposals, fair deals... That's what an open world is about.
An open world is a matter of quality of life for all of us and for your kids; whether this seems a bit far fetched or not, I don't care and I won't make this article longer by going into the rationale of my assertion. Just go download this excellent piece of musical creation and give Harvey Danger your direct support. In good Euros please.