Piracy or distribution: Moving toward an answer

Not so long ago a reader of this blog asked about my feelings on file sharing after a post on Canadian singer/songwriter Brad Turcotte who offers his music free of charge for file sharing, mashups and remixes.

I never really felt like I gave her a satisfactory answer, perhaps because my thoughrs continue to evolve on the subject and I hate to sound too old guard in a world that is rapidly changing in terms of practical realities.

So let me take another stab at the subject from a slightly different point of view that has less to do with the morality of the file sharer and more to do with the reaction of the content creator to these changes.

Obviously as a creator of content who has little more than original ideas to share or with which to make a living for my family both in my full-time job and part-time on the web, I’ve got some issues with theft of intellectual property.

But just as obviously, as a creator of material outside the mainstream and without the backing of major media funding I know the difficulties connected with getting music (or anything else for that matter) to those who will most appreciate it.

If we all had chains of big corporate radio and TV broadcasters lined up to push our product with airplay and distribution systems capable of putting our release in every giant retail chain and small mom and pop in the nation and around the world, life would be easy, right?

But we don’t. So, what’s the alternative?

One, it seems to me, is to turn to the very trend that has been so reviled by the mainstream record industry percisely because they have all these other means already at their disposal and, I suspect, because it invites unwanted competition from anyone with access to an Intenernet connection and the ability to upload or download music.

Specifically again we’re talking about file sharing here.

But how to use the power of file sharing, perhaps the least expensive and most efficient method of distribution ever conceived not only for music but for anything that can be saved in a digital format and then retrieved, in a way that benefits the originator of that content.

One method, I believe, can be used to benefit both file sharers and the originators of content in a way that a few years ago would have seemed impossible.

The means is through what I believe will be a growing trend in download file sales popularized by sites like the now defunct Weed and today being carried on in a much more developed manner by sites like Musicane.

Musicane lets you upload and sell files by the download but also lets listeners hear your music files first, decide whether or not they like them and even sell them for commission at other sites.   

More to the point, such services in the future could allow file sharers to download files with the payment for the download being the artist’s royalty and then resell hard copy discs online or physically distribute them in storesd creating a whole new grassroots distribution network.

I plan to test the idea with a new release by my alterego Big Daddy Blue in the coming months. Watch fot it coming to a downloadable file sharing website soon.  


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Hessinger Media is live!

Just posted the first entry at the new Hessinger Media Blog which will chronicle the launch of the new network.

Though n10ah will continue to be part of the larger network, questions about our overall setup can better be answered by reading regular entries there and making your suggestions for content and other features.

Please confine comments to suggestions about the new network and what features you believe should be offered.  Think of it as a continuation of the conversation in the previous post.

Posts here, however sporadic as I’m trying to get things up and running, will continue to be mostly about independent music.

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I could use your help

Help me give feedback on this blogSorry about the long hiatus. Burning the candle at both ends again between my day job (though I’m off this week) and a second gig editing this business blog over at the Creative Weblogging network which is slowly becoming an increasing focus of resources.

However, in view of a good natured warning from reader wookin’ pa nub, I’m going to slip another post in here in hopes of generating some feedback.

As I’ve hinted in the past, I’m currently working on the possibility of incorporating this website into a larger project which I’m hoping will provide not only additional content on a variety of subjects but also in the future perhaps free blogging service for others with a passion to communicate something on the Worldwide Web.

I’m thinking the first step in this process will be a network of some kind including this blog and a growing family of others to appeal to a variety of readers.

I’ve already gotten some useful feedback from visitors here at n10ah about some other blog subjects that might have an audience and, although I can’t guarantee we will use all the ideas, I’d love to hear more.

What subjects do you think might be interesting to read about as part of a new blog network and what kinds of features do you think should be included in a free service offering high end blogging to readers? Include your suggestions below or e-mail me here with your ideas. Thanks.

Photo Credit: ©Nicolas Raymond, Morguefile

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Canadian singer/songwriter shares music

Brad Sucks Ottawa independent music

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The success of Ottawa-based singer/songwriter Brad Turcotte is probably the best argument against the paranoia over file sharing displayed by large record labels in recent years.  On his website,

Turcott explains:

In 2001, I started using the Internet (blogs, MP3s, P2P) to spread my music and not worrying so much about copyright violation.

He adds that he:


…figured that spreading my music should be the number one goal and so far it’s worked out pretty well.

Despite giving my music away for free online, my songs have been licensed for television, played on commercial and campus radio, and I made enough money from licensing and sales to do a real pressing of my first CD.

Check out a couple of Brad’s songs or download the whole album here free, and for more on Brad and his one man band (he writes, records and performs everything himself) read this entry from Wikipedia.org.

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The living room sessions

guitar living room music session independent

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Until recently, the best place to hear live original music might have been at a local open mic at a café or other commercial venue.


But musicians at such events still had no easy way of sharing their music with a larger audience.


With the advent of mp3 files and now YouTube all that may soon change and a social change to match the new technological possibilities seems in order.


Imagine, for example, the emergence of living room sessions with original music beamed right out of people’s homes via audio or video onto the Net.


Imagine hosting an open mic party at your house instead of a Super Bowl Party packed with friends and invited musicians.


Podcasters could even be invited to capture the event live and disseminate it to the Web, so there’d be no reason to even worry about providing your own gear. Just the space.


Sites like MeetUp.com could even be used to gather the right mix of folks and musicians though, of course, great care would need to be exercised to overcome the inherent danger of such an endeavor.


Those interested, for example, might gather first in a public place to check everyone out and make sure there are no causes for concern.


For those who think this sounds strange remember that early blues singers and hip hop DJ’s played rent and house parties before larger venues were ever open to them.


And for a better understanding of how the underground club scene in New York City got started out of a guy’s oversized apartment read about David Mancuso and The Loft here and in “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jocky” by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.


If you decide to host a living room open mic, we’d like to know about it.


Drop me an e-mail and some audio or video files if available so I can share them with the network. N10ah will also be working toward having some of its own similar sessions in the future.


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The Peopleized interview

Halil Peopleized Shawn Hessinger interview

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A few months ago, I was interviewed by a guy named Halil from Stuttgart, Germany whose new site Peopleized offers members the opportunity to create conversations with friends, associates or perfect strangers.


The result will give regular readers of this blog a little behind the scenes info on me and some of my other projects in case you’re interested though it is more about the BootStrapMe.com blog.


You can join and do your own interviews on-line. I’m hoping to use the site myself to do some musician interviews in the near future. Enjoy.

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Vote for your favs

vote independent music contest

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After another depressing election season (May here in PA), it’s nice to find something that’s really worth supporting with all your heart and soul.


No, I’m not talking about do-nothing political candidates. I’m talking about great independent music!


SongFight! offers a weekly roster of artists performing songs written around a common theme or phrase selected by the site’s creators. Visitors do the rest via the voting section.


Here are some examples of recent entries and a sample of a recent ballot.


At least there may finally be some democracy in the music world even if there isn’t much anywhere else.


Make your voice heard!


Photo credit: Dawn M. Turner, Morguefile

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