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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38 Comments »

  1. Tom Servo said

    Whoa! I’ve been trying to post for three days now…and nothing happens when I hit the submit button!

    Anyway, first post baby!!!

    As for the topic, I think many groups don’t have a big problem with file sharing for exactly the reasons listed above. Most of these guys have revenues from other sources like concerts and if downloading the music gets you motivated to see the band perform, well who can argue with that?

  2. Helen of Troy said

    This seems like a good place to have this conversation since it seems like some of the posters around here openly brag about stealing copyrighted materials off the internet and turn around and sell them!

    These artists work hard for what they do, they don’t deserve to have their hard work given away to lazy people who are too cheap to pay what others have provided.

    What do you think Shawn? Would you allow your Big Daddy Blue music to be given away?

  3. Baba Gooey said

    Pul-lease Helen! Everyone knows that the real money any band ever makes is from touring. That’s why these guys are always on the road. Do yuo know how fast an album can get made? In months! If the real money was in that, they would bang out an album every few weeks! Instead, they come out with an album, shoot to get ONE hit that sticks in people’s heads, then tour like crazy so people can hear that song live. Look at Bobby McFarrin!!!!!! You think that guy gives a cat’s ass that I stuck his name on a “party compilation #78” disc and sold it on Ebay last week when he’s pulling down $250,000 to have his song overtop a bank commercial?!?

  4. Hessinger said

    I think this is a very interesting discussion and gets into some very difficult issues about how the mainstream music industry makes its money and the question on intelectual property rights. The problem for unknown artists is that if they use the tool of the Internet to promote the availability of their album, they still have the problem of having no way to turn on a large audience to their music without giving at least some of it away. Mainstream record labels don’t always have these problems because of established distribution and promotion lines and knowing exactly how to get their records played by huge record chains. Starting out, an artist has none of that benefit or experience. Not to mention the money to really “push” a record. The alternative is to sign with a big label (if they’ll have you) so that they can do all that for you. But in return you sign away a tremendous amount of what you could otherwise realize on your work and maybe part of the rights too. When big record companies talk about the money they’ve lost from file sharing. It’s all theoretical, like me talking about how much money I lose by not charging each of you $1 per post to read this website. It prtesumes that people would pay for a product id they could not get it free which anyone can tell you is a bad business assumption to make. Instead, some artists like Brad have said, ‘Hey, what would happen if we just focused on getting our music out there, asked folks to pay us whatever they think it’s worth and see what happens.’ As a musician who has recorded in the past and even listed my stuff in catalogs, I can tell you it’s might hard to get people to buy a copy of your record when no one has heard even one of your songs. I think I’d rather depend on the goodwill and support of repeat satisfied customers and fans who want to buy the record. Afterall, remember in the 80’s when everyone said no one was going to buy records anymore because it was too easy to record them off the radio?

  5. It's a boy said

    Wait! It costs $1 to post on this site? How do they keep track of that?

  6. Hessinger said

    No, we don’t charge you to look at this site. I was giving an example. I was saying that record companies complaining that they are loosing money everytime someone shares a music file is like me complaining about how much money I would have made if each reader had to pay $1 to read one of these posts. It’s a ridiculous argument because I would have to assume people reading this blog would still do so if it cost $1 a post to view it. The same holds true for record companies. They are assuming everyone who listens to a shared file would necessarily go out and buy a copy of the record if the file was not available for free.

  7. It's a boy said

    Oh ok… but wait, I’m confused. Are you assuming that people should pay $1 to view this site? Forgive me if I’m not getting this.

  8. Hessinger said

    No, I’m saying that almost no one thinks you should pay for information on the Internet anymore. So in the first place, if I charged for this site:
    1. I would be going against how the Internet basically works
    2. I would eliminate the best tool I have to get readers interested in the product, simply inviting them in to have a look around for free
    It’s similar with music or anything else that can be traded via a digital file–photos, art, film.
    How do you get people to pay for something that can easily be traded free over the Net, and how do you popularize something over the Net without giving it away when the easiest way to spread the word about your work is simply to share it with others.
    To echo some thoughts raised by both Tom Servo and Baba Gooey above, I think it’s better to try to earn something for your effort in some way other than trying to force everyone to pay for your work, by monetizing your website, for example, or selling auxiliary merchandise like T-shirts or maybe CD’s with additional tracks not available on-line or by promoting concerts and other events.
    There are also in between solutions like the site Musicane which collects money for each download of your song and sends a share to you. More on new options like these later.

  9. Baba Gooey said

    That’s true… when I think about it, I probably spend 10 dollars to one between music memorabila and the music itself. I’ll buy an album for $10 and spend $100+ for t-shirts, posters, etc.

    Hey, speaking of which, did you ever dabble in that S-Hess when you were selling tapes and records? I’d buy a Big Daddy Blue T-shirt!

  10. Hessinger said

    Ha! Ha! No, I didn’t, but I’ve thought about it. I’ve got some ideas for this website if I can reorganize the rest of my life a bit better so we’ll have to see how things go.

  11. Baba Gooey said

    Organize away, S-Hess. I don’t know if figuring out why we can’t post sometimes. I tried all weekend, but it wouldn’t let me messages get saved.

  12. Hessinger said

    Think there may be an issue with the bandwidth. It may be something that can only be corrected by switching servers. Which would mean switching URLs. But I think it’s something that has really hurt the traffic and I’m fretting over it. There’s a limited amount of options at the moment until I figure something out.

  13. Tom Servo said

    Geez whiz, these down times are killing this site!! I’ve been trying to post for days!

    Anyway, back to music sharing: I’m opposed to it myself, but I’m not one of these morons that will go post on some board about the moral dangers of it. That being said, I think the real danger that resulted from sites like Napster and Livewire is the expectation of free things in generation X,Y, and Z. If you listen to some people talk they think they’re entitled to steal music, movies, and games just because they’re poor college students who can’t afford anything! If you carry that thinking to it’s logical end, I guess you can go steal a car or anything else you want–provided you can afford it!

    I’m not saying anyone here is like that, but I’ve been to enough other boards to know they are alot of people who think that way!

  14. test=results=negative said

    Hey Tom! If you were able to post I’m gonna assume I can too now!

    I know the kind of people you’re talking about! It’s one thing to pirate something, but yeah some people carry it too far. And it gets into everything, not just the digital music and movies. Yesterday I went to see the Mets and the Yanks and for every $25 cap you find inside the stadium you can find three vendors outside selling the fake knock off for $7! Of course you want to support your team, but c’mon they could make the prices of the legit stuff a little more competitive!

    And it’s even worse with these music companies! I remember buying my first CD player in the mid-80s and CDs were still new and they retailed for nearly the same price they do today. So really, who’sbeing taken advantage of here?

  15. Hessinger said

    Tom,
    I wasn’t suggesting above that it’s O.K. to steal music though I realize my response to Helen’s question was a bit on the vague side. Rather, I’m suggesting that from the musician’s and entrepreneur’s point of view there may be benefits to giving a certain amount of things away in the hopes of generating interest in your product. I hate to reduce it to this, but do you know how sometimes when you go in to the supermarket they will have a tray out with free samples of a new product they are trying to sell? Well, that’s what I mean. We little guys do not have the option of getting major airplay by stations in all 50 states and around the world, so if we put up a website, show the cover of our album and refuse to give anything away for fear of file sharing, I’m not sure how fans can be expected to be “turned on” to new music. I think this is why many artists are looking for alternatives to the current revenue model of making money just from record sales.This doesn’t mean it’s O.K. to steal, just that small independent artists might want to start looking at file sharing as an opportunity for viral marketing rather than a threat.

  16. Tom Servo said

    Hey S-Hess, I agree with you–I don’t approve of stealing music either, but the genie is really out the bottle on this one. I do think ITunes has the right approach, but even there the music companies aren’t all willing to play ball–there are still plenty of songs you can’t find there.

    What you’re refering to is what in marketing we call the Gillette model: you give away the razor to sell the blades. Everytime the company creates some new model of razor they flood the market with coupons and samples to get it into as many consumer’s hands as possible. Then when you go to buy the razors you get hit with forty dollar blades, but by then you’re hooked!

    Its the same thing you mention to showcase new music, give something away and charge for the return business. It could work, but the website site side seems larger than most bands/performers may be able to afford. You’d need to set up a site that allows downloads for a fee, which means Paypal or Visa. Maybe instead of individual artists investing in this, people could bring their music to n10ah and use that to access new listeners.

  17. Hessinger said

    Well, that is one aspect I’ve had in mind. Actually there are already a couple of sites and services out there that do various aspects of this already, but nothing that really connects or unites them. On another subject, and I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I’m trying to determine the nature of the problems visitors have been having with the site. Have you had difficulty just posting comments or even accessing the site at all? I’m trying to determine whether this might be essentially a bandwidth issue or something else entirely having to do with the hosting. The problem began after a significant rise in visitors to the site. That number has now decreased significantly and I’m wondering if this could be due to a problem with the bandwidth leading to disinterest on the part of visitors who have just given up on the site. Or is it simply that you haven’t been able, for whatever reason, to post comments, which might be a different issue entirely? If anybody could give me feedback on this it would be greatly appreciated.

  18. Emma Peel said

    My problem is whenever I hit submit comment, it seems to load, the page resets and my comments don’t show up. The site is usually up, but the comments and posting are impossible.

  19. my left nut said

    I’ve noticed that comments I make sometimes show up and later they disappear. I’ve tossed this up to S-Hess editing me, but sometimes I’m not so sure. I mean, I’ve seen some pretty inflamatory things here and they’re still here. I think it’s maybe it’s the site that’s the problem now.

  20. Hessinger said

    I’m thinking the same Left Nut because with the exception of two posts that somehow got caught in the “wait for approval” section and then got bulked, I really haven’t edited anyone. Thanks for the feedback. I’ve got to look into this further on my end.

  21. Helen of Troy said

    I’m having a similar problem, but it’s still a bit different than what the others have posted. I can usually access the pages, but when I hit “submit comment” the screen goes to “page cannot be displayed”. I notice this seems to happen mostly on the weekends as well, during the week it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    As for the number of missing posters, let’s not forget June is already half through, kids are out of school, and many people take vacations this time of year. I’m sure we’ll see some of the regulars return in the weeks ahead.

  22. Baba Gooey said

    Chalk me up to another one with site problems. Yeah, when I try to post, it juist resets the whole page and my comments disappear. I had a great two-page response, hit “submit comment” and the site screwed me! I don’t know if it’s a regional thing or not, but I’m hoping it gets fixed soon. Does Noah have an IT guy that can work on the downed server?

  23. Hessinger said

    The problem, folks, is that, as I said before, and as other visitors have observed, this site is one of several experimental efforts in a couple of different fields that I am trying to string together into something better, and I hope a little more reliable. Also hopefully, the problems will lessen when that happens. It make for a pretty bumpy ride in the meantime, however, and I apologize for that and in advance for what I’m sure will be more bumps down the road. Another problem, quite frankly, is the small amount of time I’ve had to devote to all these projects, but I urge everybody to keep visiting because I’m hoping soon I’ll have more to say about what’s in the works.

  24. my left nut said

    Cool. I’ll stick around to see what great things are coming!

  25. my left nut said

    Cool. I’ll stick around to see what great things are coming!

  26. Helen of Troy said

    I’ll be here as well, it great to know bigger and better things are going to happening here!

  27. Hessinger said

    Thanks Left Nut, Helen. Great to hear the support. I know things have been quiet here but will try to make a post or two in the next day or so. Am currently trying to get some megaposting done for http://www.Bootstrapme.com which has become kind of a major sideline to my day job and I have a daunting June 30 deadline to meet. Will be back soon.

  28. Tom Servo said

    That’s cool, when you post again, we’ll still be here.

    Actually, I don’t think we’ve exhusted the topic of music sharing/copying. I’m sure more people will post here now that the site seems to be working again.

  29. Actually Tom, that’s probably true. I’m glad the comment section is working again. A future post may deal with this issue too in a little greater depth.

  30. Tom Servo said

    Wow, where is everybody? It’s like a graveyard around here! Is the posting down again?

  31. wookin' pa nub said

    I think most of us are still here, we’re just waiting for S-Hess to post a new thread so we can have something to talk about!

    C’mon S!! Get on it! Don’t make me start insulting you again!!

  32. Helen of Troy said

    Hey, I’m still here too! I agree with the previous poster thought, we need a new topic!

  33. Cranky Kong said

    Hey you kids, stop all that talking up there! Some of us are trying to sleep around here!

    *snore*

  34. […] 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 […]

  35. Aristides said

    Sorry 😦

  36. Kimon said

    Cool…

  37. Theodore said

    Cool.

  38. Dionysios said

    Interesting…

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