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This Is Happening: Download This Song

Written by Anthony Hess on January 30, 2012

Hold onto your hats kids, there is a new record label entering the market and they are giving their music away for free. That’s right, you’ll be able to download songs without having nightmares about the ghost of SOPA coming to take millions of dollars from you in return for those thousands of songs.

DigSin is launching a new business model which was announced yesterday at the Midem music conference at Cannes.  Upon accepting the fact that downloading songs is more or less inevitable, Jay Frank has taken one from Mark Zuckerberg and is giving away his product absolutely free. How is he going to make his money? Web advertising.

His basic philosophy is, if people are going to download songs, we might as well have a little bit of control over it. They can get it directly from the source and in exchange, he will be able to chart popular songs and artists as well as sell advertising space that won’t be enough to make him billions, but will hopefully keep the company afloat until an artist explodes onto the mainstream. If/when that happens, other opportunities will provide them with a chance to really cash in on a great song. Further revenue will be generated from the songs still being available on iTunes and Spotify.

Right now, the brand new label currently has only three artists on its roster but I’m wildly curious to see how this will pan out in the future because it sure is a forward way of thinking.

On the other hand, how many artists will actually sign to him? I don’t know. How much does the artist stand to make from this model? I don’t know. It seems like if an artist wanted to give their song away for free, they could do it themselves and reap the benefits of subsequent touring, merchandise and any actual music sales without having to provide the rights of their new single to a label (see The Jezabels).

I admire the fact that Jay Frank is pushing the envelope and trying to work with the changing shape of the music industry but I feel there are still a few holes in this business venture but I do sincerely hope that I am wrong.  I guess only time will tell.

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