The world of online music seems to be in a constant state of revolution. A new organization, MUDDA, aims to take advantage of this revolution to shift the power of the music industry to artists, so that musicians can receive fair payments and take advantage of the opportunities that the Internet makes possible.
MUDDA, the Magnificent Union of Digitally Downloading Artists, is trying to revolutionize the music industry. Unlike other organizations, though, MUDDA is backed by Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno. Eno and Gabriel are industry veterans that bring a unique combination of experience and vision to MUDDA.
According to Gabriel, the Internet has created a unique opportunity for musicians. “We are now witnessing the most fundamental transformation of the selling of music since records were first invented. The economic restraints of the traditional business model have for all these years dictated what music can be made and when and how it can be sold. If artists are willing to act together, there are extraordinary opportunities both creatively and commercially.”
Gabriel argues it’s time to transform the industry using the tools of the Internet. “We are determined that we should try and take advantage of this situation and help transform the music business in such a way that artists are on level terms with record companies, receive fair payments and have new opportunities to be their own retailer when they choose.”
The MUDDA site has published a manifesto that states the aims and goals of the organization:
THE MUDDA MANIFESTO
WHY? – Transform creativity.
- No constraint, editing or external control over what is released.
- No time limit on the length of music.
- No more waiting for an album cycle.
- Be creative with what you sell and how much you sell it for. For example, release several stages of the process, sell a process, the evolution of a song and not just a single ‘piece of product’.
WHY? – Full, fair and fast payment.
- By allowing artists to become their own retailer they can be at the top of the food chain, not their traditional place at the bottom.
- The official artist Web site is a great place from which to see your catalogue, so why not allow fans to buy downloads from this site.
- Sales can be monitored instantly.
- Artists’ share of retail can be accounted for monthly.
- Where artist can license directly (on any project where there is no record company) artist can get the full dealer price as well as a percentage of retail.
WHY? – Reasons to be cheerful.
- We can put music back in the hands of musicians.
- Artists can take some ownership and creative control of the output and delivery as well as the content.
- Artists can negotiate from a position of strength.
- With enough artists acting together it’s not too late to transform the music business to be one of partnership – not just contract and servitude.
- With good filtering and easy access, we can use the technology to compete with free.
It’s too early to tell how MUDDA plans to act upon it’s manifesto, but knowing the track records of Eno and Gabriel, the organization is certain to be worth watching.