— SndChaser (@SndChaser) April 15, 2013
Or, you may have seen the re-tweet from Netlabelwatch (sometimes delayed a bit from my original tweet):
— Netlabelwatch (@Netlabelwatch) April 15, 2013
I talked about turntable.fm a bit on the Music Manumit podcast recently. I didn’t get too in depth regarding this topic, however there is a lot to say. A couple of comments came up in response to my tweets that highlight a couple of the topics. First, here’s a comment I made to Small Colin:
And this is very very true. Honestly, I think the Creative Commons community does try to promote itself as much as possible, however I am interested in finding more and different opportunities. Playing music on turntable.fm is one of those places where there is an opportunity to expose people to the commons, and try to get people to think about what they are listening to, what they are supporting, and the alternatives.
Now, I don’t go in there and evangelize for Creative Commons, well, at least not much. (I only point out that the music I play isn’t part of the normal library that is available, and frequently link release pages if someone shows interest in something I’m playing.) I don’t think the evangelical approach would work well in this environment.
However, DJing on turntable.fm allows me to expose hundreds of people to Creative Commons music that otherwise wouldn’t be familiar with it at all. And, since all tracks can be shared amongst the participants of turntable.fm it is fun to see tracks that I’ve introduced show up on other people’s playlists. Sometimes it’s happened that the track “exchanged hands” a few times. And that’s even more exciting to me, because it means there is a level of social interaction around the music, and Creative Commons releases are becoming part of that social fabric.
— Marc Hollenbach (@Amsterdammack) April 15, 2013
Which is (unfortunately) true. While I am in turntable.fm, and tweeting every time I play a Creative Commons artist, not everyone has access to the site. 🙁 Alas, there is only one place to lay the blame for this (as well as a couple of other things I’ll write about in another article): the recording industry.
In order for turntable.fm to have a wide appeal to music lovers the site has a large library of music available for everyone to play. (Unfortunately, this library does not include most Creative Commons releases, so I manually upload and add most of the music I play to the site.) Of course, to get this library, turntable.fm had to sign an agreement that stipulates a number of things about how the library is used. And one of the stipulations appears to be that the library is only made available in the U.S.
As Marc suggested, he could probably get around this by using a proxy server. I won’t comment on that. 🙂 But, it seems to me that it is quite silly and ridiculous that the record companies have seen fit to throttle turntable.fm with this agreement. Wouldn’t it be better for them (both turntable.fm and the recording industry) if more of their music was played by more people throughout the world, instead of just being available in one market? I think it would. And I think most rational (especially business oriented) people would. But, once again, that is another illogical side of the music industry.
There is an alternative: Plug.dj. They don’t have a contract with the major record labels. Instead, they allow you to search YouTube and SoundCloud for tracks. While this does get around the region restrictions, it means that anything you want to play has to be on one of those sites. (And last I looked SoundCloud was somewhat restrictive in terms of the amount of space that was available.) Maybe someday they’ll start adding other sources like the Internet Archive, Jamendo and Sonic Squirrel. If they do this, I’d move over there in a heartbeat since I’d be able to
So, for now at least, I keep going into turntable.fm, uploading Creative Commons releases, and doing my best to expand the audience for the really fine artists that I’ve been listening to. But, that’s not all I want to do. I’m still keeping my eyes and ears open, looking for more opportunities to promote Creative Commons artists, aside from promoting my reviews and playing tracks on turntable.fm. Please if you can think of any other possibilities please use my comment form and let me know! All (reasonable) suggestions will be considered.
And, I am sure there are some people that don’t understand what turntable.fm or plug.dj are about. I will write about them in another article to explain what they are, how they work, etc. Really, I would like to have more people join me on these sites helping to promote Creative Commons music. Above all else, it’s a lot of fun!