Musicians, weed and free music have gone legit.
Weed Media Activator is a free Windows application that lets you download and listen to music, and even get paid. The software lets you use “Weed” files on your computer. The files can be played three times for free, so you can decide if you like them. After that, you have the option to pay to unlock the song. Once unlocked, the song can be burned to CD or transferred to a portable music device.
Weed is a product of Shared Media Licensing, Inc. (SML). What’s wild about SML’s approach is that if you buy a song, you can share the file with anybody you like. If they like the file and buy it, you get a cut. And if the person who gets the song off of you sells it, you get a cut of that, too. Instead of treating file sharers like crooks, SML is treating them like multi-level marketers.
It makes sense, in a way. Active file sharers are footing the bill for distributing music. This approach certainly costs less than it would for SML to get massive internet bandwidth, and it should scale better, too.
Sign up and you get a free $5.00 credit. This lets you try out as many songs as you like, and then open some up without it costing you anything.
If you end up sharing songs, you’ll get a cut anytime somebody buys one. 20% of the sale gets credited to you. The original artist always gets half of the sale.
Because file sharers get a cut when somebody buys a song, users are discouraged from ripping the files into alternative formats. Share the file in Weed format, and you get a cut each time it sells. Rip to MP3 and distribute it, and you get nothing.
SML President John Beezer says that “Weed puts more control in the hands of artists and fans. If you discover a band you’re passionate about, you can buy their songs and send them to your friends. The artist gets paid, you get paid, and the people who got the music to you get paid. Everyone’s happy.”
Prices for songs are set by individual artists, but are comparable to other offerings. Weed files, though, can be downloaded and previewed in their entirety, at full file sizes, before you pay a cent.
To try out Weed files, you need to use the Weed Media Activator. This is available at the Weedshare site, and at the sites of companies using the Weed system. Unfortunately, the software is built around Windows Media Format and is currently only available for PC’s.
Weedshare provides a guide to sites providing files in the Weed format. If you want to distribute music using Weed, check out the instructions on how to “weedify” a file.