Moby wants to turn piracy into profits

By | Entertainment
Musical equality: To encourage creativity, Moby has put out his raw music files online for others to remix. Pic credit: credit@indiewire.com creative commons

Singer, songwriter, musician, DJ and a photographer, Richard Melville Hall, is a man of many talents. Popularly known by his stage name Moby, he has given us super hits like Porcelain and We Are All Made Of Stars and many more.

A five-time Grammy Awards nominee, Moby enjoys over 2 million followers on Facebook and over 1 million on Twitter. He aims to promote unity and equality, and is do so by sharing his music with as many people as he can by giving away his tracks to fans, and the raw files to fellow musicians – for free.

In this day and age when almost everything is available on demand, it is a fact that for most musicians it is tough to make a living based solely on album sales and streaming revenues. In fact, the major amount of money that these artists make comes through touring and merchandise. Yet Moby, who has been making electro and techno music since the 80s, has a slightly different approach towards making and distributing music.

As someone who has been an advocate of creative musical distribution for years, Moby has been leading the movement of eliminating the traditional CD purchase model. He is giving his tracks away to fans for free on BitTorrent, a service well known for piracy. His logic is that piracy shows that there are admirers of your work.

While this model of giving music and media out for free has existed for quite a few years now, there are very few musicians like Moby who take this model seriously, and promote it as a revolution. In fact, Moby has gone a step farther. He recently distributed the raw song file of his newest single, “Almost Home,” through an innovative platform called Blend.io, which will allow other musicians to remix Moby’s songs. “The digital present we live in, it is difficult to control things, difficult to lock them down. The best way to make a living as musician, I find, is to set this stuff free and let the love come back to you,” Moby was quoted as saying in The Verge.

For the uninitiated, Blend.io is a platform made by a community of musicians sharing and blending each other’s work. Here you can publish your own works, check its progress as well as get feedback from the community. You can gain exposure and reputation for your production skills and get involved by pulling others’ projects and adding to or remixing them. So, basically at Blend.io, anyone can download the song, as a music file to listen to and also as raw source code in formats that work with professional music software programs like Ableton Live, ProTools and GarageBand. “If someone took my files and made a version of the song that was more popular than mine, that would be awesome,” Moby told The Verge.

Last year too, Moby released a BitTorrent package containing songs, videos, and stems from his album Innocents. It was available for free download as long as users provided an email. And voila, it worked. Moby hit 8.9 million downloads, officially making him the most downloaded artist of 2013, much ahead of singers like Rihanna, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake. The trick here was the freemium model: give something away in order to collect customer data and up-sell the rest. So once the users gave their email address, it was used to link them to iTunes, where they could buy the rest of the album.

With zero insecurities whatsoever, Moby is making a genuine effort to bring together talent from all across and work towards creative process and collective work. So all to all the budding musicians and music technicians, you have Moby‘s permission. Show your talent to the world and make him proud.

What do you think of creative commons as a medium to promote talent?

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