Dowloading works … just ask Gnarles Barkley

Legal downloading of songs from services like Apple’s iTunes, the rethought Napster and offers from the various music industry players are quickly becoming the standard by which the latest music is being distributed.

To many music listeners, and artists, providing a MP3 version of a single or album for legal download is not a trend but a fact of doing business in the modern market place. This is being further supported by a recent success of the band Gnarls Barkley, who’s recent single Crazy is now the #1 song in the UK. Not only are they sitting atop the charts at #1 but they did this amazing feat though downloads only. The CD will not hit shelves till later this week.

This song is a history maker for one very important reason, legal downloading works! The RIAA would like everyone to believe that their slumping sales figures – which have been openly debated – are a result of Peer 2 Peer file trading, and illegal downloading. But this one song has produced such a success in such a short period of time that it almost silences the record industry’s argument. It is even more astonishing when you consider that the recent change in the way the charts are calculated. They allow downloadable versions to be considered when the song becomes available within a week in a physical format.

I applaud the achievement of Gnarls Barkley and hope the industry takes note of this success. MP3 is the new standard in which music consumers are demanding their music, now if we can only get the industry to provide this content without unreasonable technology restrictions.

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4 Comments on Dowloading works … just ask Gnarles Barkley

  1. > legal downloading works!

    First, define ‘works’.

    From the RIAA perspective, ‘works’ entails that the artist’s product sell enough to maximize thier profit down the line. The CD is going to be released in HMV via major label distribution.

    From the artist’s PoV, ‘works’ means that the artist receives more widespread recognition of his product than that of traditional methods of distribution.

    Looking at…‘s resume, and you see, not an industry up and comer breaking through, but an established hiphop insider who’s already benefitting from traditional industry distribution channels.

    Translation: Yawn. Dollars to donuts the HMV sales will be just fine. The media blitz for "Gnarles Barkley" is already underway, thus the download frenzy as people get the latest thing The Labels(tm) want you to buy.

    Check out the radio playlists (eg…) Know how they get on there? It’s not because people are calling in for unreleased material. The label sends a promo material CD and gets it played. It’s a reversal of cause and effect. Now that’s it on the charts, next week, all the youth with spare time, questionable musical taste, and money to burn will get out there and buy it, ’cause its "a hit". Online downloading just serves to increase the feeding frenzy.

    Call me when the next Moxy Fruvous or BNL demo hits downloads and makes #1 via the legal download services. That’ll be _real_ news, IMHO. In the meantime, the local college station is probably one’s best bet for something that’s not prepackaged variations of this decade’s musical theme.

    The problem with music downloading isn’t piracy, or the cost of CDs, its the fact that music today has become factory created. We’re seeing it in the monocultural development of commercial music into HipHop, Teen Pop, and Young Country, as everything else becomes "virtually unsellable", through fewer and fewer labels.

  2. Excellent points! That provides a far more extensive explanation than I intended. My aim was to address the RIAA’s layman argument that downloadable content is not in demand and thus does not work… I.E. one person will download it and share it for free to everyone else – which has been a staple of their debate against online content distribution for some time.

    The full debate of the issues addressing the music (and movie) industry has been the subject graduate study papers and not typically the content of blogs.

  3. That’s because I am amazingly smart, incredibly witty, of heroic courage, and mysteriously attractive to women. I raise the discourse to stratospheric levels!

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