I was going to update the Current Listening section below, but I realized that much of the new music I’ve been listening to lately has come from Magnatune, and I’d like to give them a plug. Magnatune is an online, “non-evil” record label which publishes “open source” music. Their business model is that artists provide albums and songs in a variety of formats and quality levels, and you can listen for free in streaming mode. Downloading requires payment, but here’s the difference: you decide how much to pay.

Yup. Magnatune allows you to decide how much to pay for an album, on a scale between $5.00 and $18, via Paypal. This lets the artist and Magnatune get feedback on how much customers really think the music is worth, and allows customers to feel control over the value they’re receiving. The CEO of Magnatune reports that the average sale price is above the recommended $8.00. The label splits the profits equitably with the artists, so they get a large cut of an $8.00 sale.

It’s a cool model, and seems to be working at the moment. Support them if you agree. I’m personally enjoying Human Response and Indigneus under electronica, and some of the classical is excellent as well. Can’t vouch for other genres, but check ’em out if it’s your thing.


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  1. Let me echo this call for support. Magnatune is far and away the coolest thing I’ve seen since the onset of Napster and file-sharing, and it’s cool precisely because it allows you to hear, to learn, and (also!!!) asign value to something. It’s a beautiful project.