Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno unveil ‘MUDDA’ digital manifesto

Posted 27 January 2004 01:59 CET by Crabbyappleton

This was bound to happen sooner or later. Consumers are migrating away from the venerable CD form, to the new handheld and digital age. Some are predicting a future where we don't own the music it is just "there". So, are the labels and recording companies needed, are they becoming a useless bureaucracy? Rock veterans Peter Gabriel co-founder of OD2, or On Demand Distribution and Brian Eno who is with SSEYO, a company that provides interactive software for music and audio are in Cannes, France, launching a new musicians' alliance. A kind of muscians union for downloaded materials that would allow artists sell their music online instead of only through record labels. They say they are not cutting the labels out, they are just going to empower the musicians to produce on their own, if they so choose, via the Internet.  With the Internet transforming how people buy and listen to songs, they feel now is the time to act. If the musicians hesitate, they could find new rules written leaving them powerless. Gabriel and Eno handed out a slim red manifesto at a huge dealmaking music conference known as Midem, that speaks to the issue before them. They call the plan the "Magnificent Union of Digitally Downloading Artists" - or MUDDA. "Unless artists quickly grasp the possibilities that are available to them, then the rules will get written, and they'll get written without much input from artists," said Eno, who has a long history of experimenting with technology. By removing record labels from the equation, artists can set their own prices and set their own agendas, said the two independent musicians, who hope to launch the online alliance within a month. Their pamphlet lists ideas for artists to explore once they're freed from the confines of the CD format. One might decide to release a minute of music every day for a month. Another could post several recorded variations of the same song and ask fans what they like best. Gabriel, who has his own label, Real World Records, said he isn't trying to shut down the record companies - he just wants to give artists more options. "There are some artists who already tried to do everything on their own," he said, adding that those musicians often found out they didn't like marketing or accounting. "We believe there will be all sorts of models for this." A representative with the venture said other musicians had expressed interest in participating in the alliance, but did not provide names. One problem facing such a movement is the fact that signed artists would be in violation of their contracts. On the other hand, Gabriel makes a point. He says that labels are stuck in album mode. In order to get published you need to fill an album. He says he is incredibly slow at creating and is excited about the concept of writing a song and publishing it online. We all have complained that the CDs are often mostly fill, this would be nice for the artist, no longer tethered to the album format could produce on their own schedule. It would seem to relieve a lot of pressure on creative thought. We want ala cart downloads, so why not let the artist put up singles? Source: MyWay

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