Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Commons Licenced CD Number One Seller on Amazon

This throws a spanner in the works of so many arguments against P2P technology and Creative Commons licenses:

NIN Best Selling MP3 AlbumNIN’s Creative Commons licensed Ghosts I-IV has been making lots of headlines these days.

First, there’s the critical acclaim and two Grammy nominations, which testify to the work’s strength as a musical piece. But what has got us really excited is how well the album has done with music fans. Aside from generating over $1.6 million in revenue for NIN in its first week, and hitting #1 on Billboard’s Electronic charts, Last.fm has the album ranked as the 4th-most-listened to album of the year, with over 5,222,525 scrobbles.

Even more exciting, however, is that Ghosts I-IV is ranked the best selling MP3 album of 2008 on Amazon’s MP3 store.

Take a moment and think about that.

NIN fans could have gone to any file sharing network to download the entire CC-BY-NC-SA album legally. Many did, and thousands will continue to do so. So why would fans bother buying files that were identical to the ones on the file sharing networks? One explanation is the convenience and ease of use of NIN and Amazon’s MP3 stores. But another is that fans understood that purchasing MP3s would directly support the music and career of a musician they liked.

The next time someone tries to convince you that releasing music under CC will cannibalize digital sales, remember that Ghosts I-IV broke that rule, and point them here.

Creatice Commons Weblog

Those music artists that do use digital peer to peer networks to distribute their material can make money it seems. Radio Head, Einstürzende Neubauten and now NIN seem to be doing well out of it. It may be different for software producers and film makers, but I am not sure. I attended a workshop recently where several computer game designers and software manufacturers spoke most bitterly about Peer to Peer file sharing. I actually felt for them, seeing it from their side I can understand that new technologies are placing pressure on how their products are marketed and distributed. However, speaking to a software manufacturer during the workshop he said he was currently implementing a new distribution system over the internet, with upgrades and community services being a central part of it. I got the feeling the difficulties of the digital market place are more a product (excuse the weak pun) of resistance to innovation than the dark side of the technology or the people who use it.
Interesting times we live in.

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