This idea was pointed out to me yesterday, and now I can't stop thinking about it:

The music industry makes more money on existing music than on new music.

Marketing budgets go to get Country Roads featured in six films in one summer season, rather than to promote new artists.

Modern copyright law means that these companies can keep exploiting this backlog at the expense of new music for 100 years, but it's worse than that.


The DMCA ensures that places where youth culture happens (twitch, tiktok, youtube, etc) are mostly filled with open licensed music.

You could get away with listening to a new CD while you played PS1 games with your friends in 1999.

Or you could skip the CD, and just listen to Dead Kennedys or whoever on the soundtrack to Tony Hawk.

Now, streams (that is to say, kids playing games together and watching other kids play games) get shut down for copyrighted music (sometimes even in soundtracks)

Open licenses are good! The fact that this is the only kind of music that is safe for places where youth culture happens is less good.

There are implications here.

One is that any musician who wants to be successful with today's youth should seriously consider explicitly open licenses (CC-BY, CC-BY-SA) and should market on this. Use our music in streams, play it on your videos, etc.

Another implication of all of this is that fewer artists than ever are going to "make it" in the traditional sense, so we have to figure out what to do about that.

This is the culmination of a decades long trend. Labels peaked in the 70s, the ability to "make it" as an artist peaked in the 70s.

It's easier than ever to make professional quality recordings in a bedroom (even for someone with basically no talent or skill like me!) but there's no money to be made.

(this is a gross oversimplification. I know dozens of people who make their living as musicians, it's just that none of them are ever going to get Rich as musicians.)


This goes back to the same conversation I'm always having: We must liberate the media.

Our culture, our stories and songs and myths and legends, can't belong to corporations.

The music industry has committed itself to this death spiral. Slowly starving itself in the name of increased value for shareholders, until such a time as modern culture has left the aging industry behind.

They will lose, in the long term.

We can expedite that loss, the DMCA can be our weapon.

Overly aggressive copyright enforcement + a dead or dying Radio industry + ever dwindling funds spent on New Music from the legacy industry leaves us in an interesting position:

1) Music made by the DIY Media Movement has higher potential for broad exposure than music made in the hopes of breaking in to the legacy industry.

2) Every open content track that is played is revenue removed from the pockets of aging media companies (without piracy!) and it directly serves to decrease the cultural impact and long term value of the music they do control

3) We help us. When I buy a track from a DIY/open licensed artist directly, they profit from it directly. There is no record label or streaming service rent seeking and eating the bulk of that revenue.

This is, in all likelihood, more profitable for the performers than a modern Record Deal could be.

With some organization, some cross promotion, and a little mutual aid, the modern Open music movement could not only sustain the livelihood of some artists, but also make a real dent in the legacy industry.



popping in to link to the creative commons' list of CC-license-using net labels:

one of whom, Records on Ribs, maintains a GPL-licensed wordpress plugin for setting up a CC-license-using net label of one's own:


We have @funkwhale as a helpful tool on the #fediverse already, and it can be further honed for the cause you so well outlined above..

@humanetech I run a funkwhale instance, and I've made a fair amount of use of it myself,, but I can't figure out how it would play in to a larger strategy.


Ah, I don't know enough about #Funkwhale to tell, but it seems to go in the proper direction at least. As for #fediverse based on #ActivityPub there should certainly be good options.

But it'd need interested devs and possibly / preferably? an existing project to bootstrap from.

Here's the full watchlist I co-maintain:

@ajroach42 @humanetech

It can be quite simple.
When you upload to Funkwhale, you set a license string.

I remember seeing people setting it to a URL of their licensing terms hosted somewhere.

So, you listen for free (this is how funkwhale works), but if you want to use it in a work, then additinal strings might attach and/or you might have to contact the author and pay.

@ajroach42 @humanetech
For your plan of killing audio brands, #Funkwhale's federation can provide ad-free potentially unlimited capacity audio hosting with federated search, so you can have comparable technical powers to the current giants. This is similar to #Peertube plans to overgrow Youtube.

+ potentially deeper integration with broader #fediverse for easy promotion and fanbase cultivation.
+ API for clients

What it critically lacks now though is search ergonomics, competitive elements and creators

@ajroach42 @humanetech
I have no first-hand experience with those, but the list is here.

API used is not unique to Funkwhale, so clients are not funkwhale-specific too.

Good thing subsonic API page underwent a redesign - when i saw it a few years back (wanted to make a CLI client) it looked almost closed and non-informative.

Yet, one would probably want to also provide more federated-streaming-specific API in the future.

I would love to see a project for #decentralized #search of the #Fediverse, but with the ability of individual users and instances to customize both which content of theirs got indexed and the ranking criteria of the search results.

Doing this in the same unique subcommunity way the Fediverse handles moderation rules, we could create something globally useful while still resisting becoming a monoculture.

The start of a #Fedisearch #Google alternative?

@ajroach42 @humanetech

@ajroach42 This is part of the reason I started Open Metalcast. And part of the reason I may return to it someday.

@ajroach42 this is agood thread. i have so many things to say I'm overwhelmed. So just couple of thoughts:

things won't improve under capitalism. we need socialism. not joking. system has to change globally. why? because musicians don't want to be rich. fame is publishers' bait. society of spectacle is damaging. creators really need audience, food on table and paid bills. this is only possible under a system that heavily regulates how profit is made and what happens with it.

@ajroach42 of course we can also have a discussion that is critical of current players in the current system:

as long as copyright law is the way it is, there will be power in hands of the likes of Michael Jackson Inc (they own 99%) of Beatles' catalogue

CC is just a short term bandage. it sustains status quo.

twitch = Amazon. nothing good can come of it. and YouTube aka Google is screwing creators/workers/users/audience for a decade already.

@ajroach42 so what is there that can be done?

I agree with going selfhosted, but also communal artist-owned projects (peertube, funkwhale and masto instances are this). floss. grow the federated and decentralised services. support and donate to those projects+artists

on the other hand - discussion and talks about IP, copyright, licences, needs and desires, community projects, raising awareness, being loud about copyright reform, even overthrow of the capitalist system, globally.



boycott Spotify! + those other profit-sucking industry bullies and their helpers.

yes, use Bandcamp,

avoid blockchain/crypto currencies, NFTs,

PayPal and Stripe have no real decentralised alternatives yet.

use your own website and email list.

use services that give you control without conditions, who really play fair if they are not decentralised/federated.

seek cooperatives. worker-owned endeavours.

use peer production licence which is anti-capitalist.

@luka @ajroach42 I think the decentralised thing is tricky. I find it a lot harder to discover artists on decentralised platforms. The last 4 artists I bought music from I discovered on YouTube. Not saying we shouldn't do it, but I don't think we've cracked it yet. How do you balance decentralisation and discoverability ? How do you make things discoverable without creating an imbalance towards people who spend more on promotion ?

@loveisanalogue @ajroach42 I think the term 'discoverability' and a seeming property of music as 'discoverable' is really worth to deconstruct. what does it mean and how is it tied into some kind of quantization of art. i think there's no 'discoverability' without quantitative assessment of the discipline and that leads directly to commodification which I think is damaging to art in a huge way.

@loveisanalogue @ajroach42 In parallel I think 'discoverability' is something that was (probably) invented by marketing department of some online store like iTunes (worth researching).

But to answer the question at hand: an eager listener can discover new music as this was always done: via (human) curators, 'digital' word of mouth, journal(ist)s, blogs, etc.

The unbiased helpfulness of an algorithm is a myth.

Fair trade music scene invests in human curation.

@luka @loveisanalogue agreed. I've written about the problems of "content discovery" in the past, but the gist is we must re-democratize the concept.

@ajroach42 Related perspective ... I now buy much of the music I buy on bandcamp/etc. or directly from artists. That doesn't mean it's necessarily an open content license, BUT I sure appreciate it when it is.

I'm not going to not buy the next Mighty Mighty Bosstones album, but I'm unlikely to FIND the next Mighty Mighty Bosstones in the mainstream media release system. Why? It's just harder. I have to buy a streaming service and "wait for it to come around on the radio".


@ajroach42 ... and almost everything they play is poppish, and I'm not poppish. So I wait a long time, disappointed in what I hear, to find something that gets me excited.

Or else I go to Bandcamp and I hit up the reviews of artists I really appreciate, or the social media feed of the artist themself who says "I"m really grooving to [...]" and in twenty seconds I'm listening to something new AND I LIKE IT.

I don't think we ever "win" this way, because Spotify is Really Easy, but ...


@ajroach42 I agree with that, but the trouble is, even on Bandcamp there's only a tiny fraction CC or otherwise free
And they don't do a lot to surface that.

A lot of bands are hanging around looking for a record deal, because they still think it'll pay out, despite "Courtney Love Does the Math"
proving it didn't, even 20 years ago.

@mdhughes Yeah... It's not great, but it's better than streaming.

@ajroach42 the only thing that would need to be careful - a lot of companies exploit FLOSS - obvs CC-NC can help, but...

The last thing we want is Disney pillaging the Creative Commons, for profit.

@ketmorco I'm not a fan of NC because it's confusing and poorly defined.

CC-SA has been my go top to avoid corporate exploitation.

@ketmorco And, frankly, Disney has never given a damn about the law except when they can exploit someone through it.

@ajroach42 the thing is I know of a couple indie musicians who explicitly tried to give permission for open use, but people still got content claimed because being added to Spotify and being added to the lawsuit machine are the same single upload

@neko I'm not sure which of the several points I could draw from this you are trying to make.

Could you be more explicit?

@ajroach42 it's incredibly hard to be both open as well as easily accessible to your fans

@neko I don't think I agree with this statement, and I don't think easy accessibility is enough of a justification for subjecting oneself to the exploitation that spotify represents. I'd argue that the better option is to opt out.

But I imagine what's happening here is that the musicians that you know are uploading their music through distrokid or another third party.

That third party is submitting copyright strikes on their behalf.

This is something you can disable on any reputable platform.

@neko The argument that we shouldn't fight the machine because the machine makes it too hard doesn't sit right with me.

@ajroach42 When I was little, we had stories about knights and princesses and thieves and dragons and wizards and witches and whatnot. It makes me feel uttlerly depressed seeing the younger generation growing up with brand names attached to all those stories.

@ajroach42 the extra L in the above post stands for "we all Lose"

@Hyolobrika Legacy media companies are using the DMCA to over aggressively enforce their copyright digitally.

This makes people angry and scared.

We can leverage the fact that they are alienating fans, and provide those fans a viable alternative.

Use the existing copyright enforcement as a recruiting tool.

So much of my modern music discovery came from the kids doing streams, creating vids with music etc. I've never used Spotify. I've always had music recs from people.


"Our culture, our stories and songs and myths and legends, can't belong to corporations."

That's a great way of phrasing it. Especially as I have never thought like that before. Plus, it might help with the possible digital dark age we're going through where a ridiculous amount of our culture, media and history will be lost for future generations.

@ajroach42 I agree. If we didn't love (insert some random property Disney now owns, let's say star wars) it would not be of any value. It is that it lives in our lives makes it valuable. The fact that we can't legal own any part even though we give it value (see the various legal law suits again fan fiction /films) is a sign copyright law has pitched too far the wrong way.

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