Rations, Free Music Archive, and Creative Commons 10 July 2013
Here's a bit about Free Music Archive:
The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads. The Free Music Archive is directed by WFMU, the most renowned freeform radio station in America. Radio has always offered the public free access to new music. The Free Music Archive is a continuation of that purpose, designed for the age of the internet.
We were really psyched back in May of 2012 when we noticed the site was featuring our "How Much Land Does A Man Need?" EP as a free download. Since we had licensed the work as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, Free Music Archive was able to make it available. Somewhere out on the interwebs (probably bandcamp) the ccCommunity curator came across our stuff and did us the favor of re-posting it on Free Music Archive. That album currently has over 1,200 streams and 2,300 downloads from the site.
Our experience using the Creative Commons license and seeing our stuff on Free Music Archive inspired a couple of things for our new record. First, we went with a bit more open Creative Commons license. This time we used the Attribution-ShareAlike. The difference being that this licence did not restrict any adapted works to non-commercial use. This licence carries with it the "Approved for Free Cultural Works" stamp by freedomdefined.org.
Here's a bit about freedomdefined.org's definition of Free Cultural Works:
This document defines "Free Cultural Works" as works or expressions which can be freely studied, applied, copied and/or modified, by anyone, for any purpose. It also describes certain permissible restrictions that respect or protect these essential freedoms. The definition distinguishes between free works, and free licenses which can be used to legally protect the status of a free work. The definition itself is not a license; it is a tool to determine whether a work or license should be considered "free."
Secondly, we figured we'd include download cards with the physical record that pointed people toward our page on Free Music Archive. There was no sense going to the trouble of download codes if it was available for free online anyway! We used extra space on the sheets we used to print our covers and provided the link and info on the license. We were able to print 3 to sheet, so we wound up with around 3,300 cards - 1,100 to include with the record and an extra 2,200 for giving away.
In the 7 days since posting "Martyrs and Prisoners" it's received over 3,100 streams and 4,300 downloads. We thought that was pretty cool!
As a band, we're very grateful for all the work communities of people around the world have put into making things like Creative Commons and Free Music Archive a reality. Licensing and distributing our music online using these tools was a great way to extend some of the ideas of collaboration and decentralization that were a big part of other parts of the release.