Something Phishy This Way Comes

from the a-music-download-system-that-works? dept

Jimmy Gutterman thinks that Phish may have discovered a way to make downloadable music that works. They’re offering fans, for $15, the ability to log into their website and download CD-quality tracks of their live performances (soon after the actual performances occur), and even include CD label artwork that the fans can use to burn their own CDs. They even have a link to let people buy blank CDs, labels, and cases from their site if they need them. I agree that this is a sensible plan for a band that has a huge (and obsessive) following, but I’m not sure it’s as big a deal for smaller bands. It lacks the most important thing about downloadable/shareable music: the fact that fans can help promote the bands to their friends by letting them listen to the music. However, for larger, well known bands, perhaps it does make sense. Smaller bands, who tend to make whatever little money they make from touring, anyway, can still offer free downloads/music sharing to promote themselves until they’re large enough to offer similar “fan club” type services.

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Comments on “Something Phishy This Way Comes”

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dkan24 says:

No Subject Given

I have said for a while that Phish is going to lead music on the internet in the right direction. This is the first breakthrough that has come from that. The shows are offered the day after in 2 formats. The premium version is shn which is a lossless compression format. The downloads average 270 kb/sec which is very good.

We will see Phish start offering live webcasts in the coming years as well. We can only imagine live, high-definition, surround sound at some point.

Mike is right however. Not every band can do this. An obscure band would have no chance of attracting fans just by offering up live shows for download. This is where file-sharing can succeed. If I notice that my buddy has lots of Phish and this other band, then I will be inclined to download that band to try them out based on my buddy’s tastes.

An obscure band can build a fan base by offering free downloads. This is essentially what Phish did, substituting in free downloads, for free tape trading.

Any band that is starting out is foolish to make people pay for their music. I will never buy something I have not heard yet. And radio does not offer me enough choice or the rights choice to hear new bands. Only free file-sharing can accomplish this. It amazes me every time I see some unknown band cry that people are ripping them off. I have been to many concerts based on what I have downloaded for free and liked. At one show, the lead singer actually asked (hopefully joking) “who hear downloaded my music?” He then said “you owe me 50 cents”. My only thought was “I just paid $25 for a ticket. I would have never done that if I didn’t download your music for free”.

Sticky1ca says:

Re: No Subject Given

Very nicely said. dkan24 First your image of HD surround sound is something im truly looking forward to. From a technical point, it gives the musicians a wider field to play on, atleast for recording purposes. I read Mickey Hart was in the studio re-working anthem of the sun and American beauty into 5.1 surround sound. And I think Phish would just be the perfect band to pull this off. Also what better an audience to bring live web cam viewing than Phish Phans.

tina says:

Re: well said dkan24!

Well said! dan made some really good points about trading and music in general. I, myself, would be considered a newbie by most standards. Though I have only been to two Phish shows, I have through my new loving and heady husband, inherited about 800 hours of The Dead and about 300 or 400 of Phish and 100 of Dylan, Marley, etc. From my first taste, which happened to be “Meatstick” (w/japanese lyrics), I was completely hooked. Not only am I doing my own spinning and trading on the lot, but my 11 year old loves Phish and my 14 year old is going to her first Phish show in April (see you in Vegas ckickadees!).
My buddy downloaded the Gorge at George, Washington june 12 and 13th 2003 and it happens to be the jewel of his collection; easily haveing the best sound quality of all. This was such a monumental show (my husbands 10th and 11th; john and I’s first). To be able to have that show is heaven and it definetly wasnt circulating among the tapers I knew (I was afraid that the copies that did make it around would be terrible. the wind was wild and our other gorge shows tapes had sound quality that left something to be desired).

Its the jewels that youve been waiting for that make the downloads what they are.
They’ll never take over taping completely (I hope)…besides…theres a lot of magic to be had. Spread it. Whether its over the computer or on a beat up old stereo; the “Band of the Century” or someone in their garage waiting for their big break. Share the wealth, share the magic, and the world will come back to you.


Anonymous Coward says:

go to the site

“The price of each show is based on format and length.”

The article gave me the impression that for $15 you get unlimited downloads– which I would do. But I’m not going to spend slighlty less than what the CDs would cost in a store to do all their burning, printing, and assembly work.

But the article is right in that “the band members are clearly savvy businessmen”.

I am a cheapskate, so until they drop the CD quality price to $5-7 per show, or a $15-25 annual unlimited download (limited to one download per show though to conserve bandwidth), I’m not going to do it.

dkan24 says:

Re: go to the site

Actually, the price is $12 for the shows. The NYE show was $15 b/c it was extra long.

My feeling is that the price will decrease after the tour is over. New releases will be $12-15. Older archived shows will be $5-7.

Phish knows their fans better than any band. They know how much free stuff is out there. They are also doing nothing to restrict the free stuff, actually still encouraging taping.

But this is premium, wav quality, soundboard recordings that are available the day after the show! I am seeing them in Las Vegas next month. I assure you, I will buy that show the next day!

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