Sunday, October 12, 2008

The ideal music store

Following on from my presentation on the impact of institutional factors on the production and reception of political music I have been thinking about what attributes would make the ideal online music store. Here is the list I have come up with so far:

  • Complete catalogue available in all jurisdictions
  • Open access for all musicians/copyright holders to upload tracks
  • Run on as a non profit or cooperative business structure ensuring artists are paid equally
  • No use of digital rights management technology
  • Comprehensive search parameters which include artist name, song title, genre and themes
  • Offered both as a subscription service and on a per download basis
  • Ability to download both individual tracks and albums
  • A minimum of 30 second sample streams but preferably at least one free full track stream
  • Integrated with other services including Wikipedia, YouTube, discussion forums, and lyrics
  • Ability to access, download and print album art and liner notes for each track

No music service at present offers all of this – eMusic comes the closest but does not have a complete catalogue, I have been prevented from downloading tracks because of my geographical location, there is (for now?) limited integration of outside sources and there is no option to download album art or liner notes. Nonetheless it is the best music service I have experienced so far.

The use of file sharing technology and a collective licesning regime would help to achieve many of these goals and would be a starting point on which to add additional features. This would ensure the opennes of communication and maximise the opportunities for the production and reception of all music including the political.

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