Archive:2007 Workshops/Free Music and Remix Culture

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Schedule: Discussion 1 | Discussion 2 | Infinite Smallness | Lunch National FC discussion | Discussion 3 | Chapter & project reports
Workshop Session 1: Open Access | Free Software | Free Music & Remix Culture | Free Video & Open Media
Workshop Session 2: Digital Disobedience | Communication and Collaboration | A Vision for | Models for Creators
2007 workshop reports +/-

Leaders: Jace Clayton and Antenna Alliance

Free Culture Music Is of Lacking Quality

  • But Free Culture is an great opportunity to release work.
  • A number of bands are interested in Antenna Alliance to release work

The Agenda of This Working Group

  • How can Free Culture be brought to these existing music communities?
  • To artists that are already producing great music.
  • A Question: How Does Antenna Alliance distribute their music to Radio Stations?
    • Probably discs for now
    • We're obviously going to be offering music for download on our website.
    • So far, if Artists give AA CDs, they distribute them and help, but they haven't formally set up anything in general.
    • We ask the musicians, what do you want on the one sheet that accompanies the CD?
      • A pink sticker?
      • This means that it is free, that you won't have to pay license work for.
      • Does the license cover webcasting royalties?
        • Yes, it does
        • But it is separate, and not covered by Creative Commons license.
  • But how do we make the case for Free Culture? And make it clear and understandable?
  • Q: Though it is good that bands such as [redacted] are on board, it is hard for a lot of people to build off of "rock" songs. It's too processed. So does AA have any plans to involve hip-hop? Boston has a great scene, even if it's not totally marketable.
  • A: Rock and noise music -- we're trying to get the source tracks. The drum track, etc. So we get two versions. One "the source", similar to the FSF's definition of source. This is the best.
    • When we initially looked at local hip-hop: the problem is a lot of the beats that they're using are borrowed and no one really knows how to progress with respect to royalties.
    • Suggestion: Find sampleable records. Source material that works.
    • AA: It is really a question of man power. There are only a few people who show up to AA meetings, but we just don't quite have the man power right now. There are so few people working for us.
    • So we have to improve CC music as a recording collective.
    • But the curatorial model is something important to point out.
    • We think one of the big failures of ccMixter is lack of curation.
    • AA will hopefully provide some kind of curatorial role.


Are you making multi-track recordings?

AA makes two types of recordings.

  • Live recordings: on-air, touring bands, etc
  • Multi-track projects

Artists cool with it?

  • Only difficulty is withh legal framework for multitrack

Problems with signed groups?

  • (rock/pop?) Bands on indie labels tend to have permissive contracts
  • AA has had deals fail because of this contract question
  • Bands contact AA and usually know their own situation, so if they can't participate, they probably won't make that call.

Which projects exist?

  • Blanks multitracks (pre-date AA)

Are all projects multitrack? Issues with multi

  • (from Northeastern studio engineer)
    • haven't done many complex multitrack sessions. case-by-case and that case hasn't arisen.
    • worth the time or effort? especially if artist wouldn´t otherwise record in multitrack
  • (from photography standpoint)
    • is it worth my time to provide RAW files for EVERY photo i share?
    • finding a happy medium.
    • should filmmakers provide 100 hours of uncut footage?
  • AA prioritizes artists more willing to provide free bits get priority

Do we value final product or remix-ability?

  • Final product because ultimately seeking airplay on college radio

  • connecting to amazon unbox
  • offering huge range of licensing

Filmmakers expectations / limitations

  • sharing useful documentary footage
  • replicable to music community?
    • (AA) maybe not because there isn't an easy analogy to music creation/ production

Fear of not being able to cash-in on a big break

  • "big break" mythology refuted by the success of dangermouse following grey album
  • growing up in permission/control society creates a fear
  • people enjoy free culture values (remix, hypertext) even if they don't identify it
  • (dj rupture) lack of trust in other communities
    • exploitation internal (JA, trinidad) and external
    • rampant, damaging bootlegging
    • danger mouse analogy can not be broadly applied
  • artist working with WFMU okay with liberal release but want control over the final mixdown

Entering new communities

  • JA artists make money mostly by selling all rights in dubplate situations and generally getting paid fairly little

Xu going to JA this summer to work with Students Expressing Truth

  • Education for inmates
    • Computer skills
    • Recording studio
    • LPFM

Building on mp3-sharing

  • Adding social, financial component to this exchange
  • Connecting djs, producers, listeners, fans
  • Remaining conscious of the culture and context of music
    • mp3 / wav is but a small piece

Downloading as common cultural practice

  • Grey Tuesday adds a social component
    • downhill battle creates a portal, touchstone
    • made it more attractive for artists
  • Can AntAll perform this role today?

Ant All trying to get non-profit status

  • Easier to accept donations
  • Establish studio

How do I make my 3000$ back?

  • Release your work under CC license
  • Press CDs and sell them at your show
  • Leverage AA exposure
  • (dj/r) Tee shirts, merch sale
  • (dj/r) hybrid techniques
    • free in one place
    • for sale in others
  • silkscreen posters
  • things that people would like to take home with them
  • music videos

Pre-pay model

  • fans contribute $ toward a future recording project
  • existing example
  • examples from DVD/video world
    • do the same values apply to music? limited future?
  • prince gives CD away with every concert ticket

What is Soot records?

  • artists working between electronic beat production, africa/ north africa traditional folk musics
  • interested in CC licenses BUT...
    • scale is so small that giving away music on the internet doesn't seem to affect sales
  • values
    • grassroots collabo
    • remix culture (12"s with acapella, instrumental versions)

Anxiety with releasing source material

  • some musicians don't want to have their music mixed with just ANYTHING (think: mickey mouse / porn fear)
    • there haven't been many (any?) examples of negative consequences from releasing the source material
  • performance anxiety
    • don't like your vocal performance dry and out of instrumental context
  • remix anxiety
    • many remixes are really bad..
    • artists often very personally invested in their recordings

Antenna Alliance State

  1. Jamaica Project
  2. Partnership with 10 radio stations
  3. Boston noise compilation
    • nine tracks cut to vinyl
    • cc by sa
  4. Curating music collection for OLPC
    • Tam tam