Magnatune: an open music experiment

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Information about Magnatune: an open music experiment

Published on July 18, 2007

Author: johnbuckman



2005 presentation at Redhat Conference in New Orleans, explaining how to apply the OSI (open source institute) definition in other media, such as music.

Magnatune: an “open music” experiment

or, an attempt to apply the “Linux Lessons” to the music business.

Define “Open Source” ?

10 part definition from

1. Free Redistribution The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

“Free as in beer” vs “Free as in Freedom”

2. Source Code The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form

MIDI, Scores, Samples & multitracks, all “compile” into a song.

3. Derived Works The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

The Creative Commons “by-nc-sa” license.

The Hairball: multiple sources of similar but incompatible licenses.

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

Multiple licensing: free use vs uses for money.

7. Distribution of License The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Magnatune is... Next-generation record label Combines B2C and B2B B2C: downloads and CDs B2B: music licensing for commercial use

Main Consumer Benefits Selected music Full Preview Fair price High quality product

Selected Music Consistent quality Hard-to-find genres Manageable size

Preview Listen to everything for free Never-ending genre mixes High audio quality MP3 streams

Fair Price Pay what you want 50% for the musician No registration

Quality Product MP3 and CD quality downloads Allows later re-download No DRM

Leveraging consumer anger at the Music Industry Limited musical diversity, poor quality CD prices too high Ripped-off musicians speaking out DRM Symptom: using P2P is acting as a just-cause revolutionary

How music demand is typically created Traditional command- and-control marketing Grass-roots uprising quot;Customers also boughtquot; Try-before-you-buy (Magnatune’s focus)

Try-before-you-buy: the old ways Radio MTV Concerts Mix tapes from friends

Try-before-you-buy: many new ways 30-second snippets (iTunes/Amazon) quot;Conceptquot; compilations (quot;Buddha Barquot;) Recommendation web sites P2P used for previewing Mix CDs from friends Social MP3 sharing DJ culture & raves Internet radio

Music Biz isn't just CDs Most music heard is not at home, but in a business/commercial setting Consumer shopping experience is increasingly staged, with music in a key role Music is branding TV commercials make hits Tie-ins are increasing Music biz becoming like book publishing

Magnatune & Red Hat Compared

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