Although I had made a fairly accurate guess as to the purpose of the project (once Jono had alluded to it on his blog and Lugradio) I’m pleased to be able to report that I am still excited by the announcement. Jono’s intended goals are much grander than I had originally expected, and from the initial release it looks like he has a good plan to realise those goals.
At the moment the project seems to be in a stage of gathering interest and laying groundwork but I believe the eventual aim of the project is to enable relatively unknown artists to make musical releases in a similar way to that which has gained NIN and Radiohead a lot of press and, more importantly, fans and sales.
That way being a bypassing of the traditional record labels and releasing content under permissive licenses with a wider range of distribution and purchasing options.
I have briefly mentioned before my interest in this new paradigm for release and distribution of music, it ticks all the right boxes as both a music and freedom enthusiast and any effort to enable this for more artists is one that I will have great interest in.
The distribution model as promoted by Severed Fifth and already utilised by Jonathan Coulton and Trent Reznor is to release the music under a free to share license (typically on of the Creative Commons licenses) which permits the licensee to share the music with very few restrictions.
Physical and digital versions of the media can be purchased as required yet sharing of the music, even via methods scorned by the traditional music industry, is not only allowed – but actively encouraged by the artists/distributors.
What makes Severed Fifth interesting as compared to similar previous efforts by individual acts is that Severed Fifth is a project to enable other bands to more easily embrace this distribution model, giving Severed Fifth the image of being a new age record label. Artists which have been successful with this distribution model so far seem to, in my experience, have either a significant bank roll or sufficient technical knowledge to implement the model on a budget.
Roger and I where discussing what we thought of the potential for Severed Fifth before Jono announced it yesterday and we came to the conclusion that, while significantly less famous than Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, Jono has a level of ‘celebrity’ (or at least a widely syndicated voice) which gives him an edge in setting up a community such as this.
Jono is in a unique position to leverage his community management abilities and popularity through other efforts to bring more people and skills to Severed Fifth which I hope will make the project more successful for a broader range of artists.
This project is exciting for musicians, music fans and freedom lovers. I wish Severed Fifth the best of luck and sincerely hope it succeeds! At the very least I’ll get some more free metal music from Jono. 🙂