Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web. just announced that:

As of today, you can play full-length tracks and entire albums for free on the website.

Something we've wanted for years--for people who visit to be able to play any track for free--is now possible. With the support of the folks behind EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner--and the artists they work with--plus thousands of independent artists and labels, we've made the biggest legal collection of music available to play online for free, the way we believe it should be.

That's very cool, but what I'm also very excited about is:
Free full-length tracks are obviously great news for listeners, but also great for artists and labels, who get paid every time someone streams a song. Music on is perpetually monetized. This is good because artists get paid based on how popular a song is with their fans, instead of a fixed amount.

We will be paying artists directly.

We already have licenses with the various royalty collection societies, but now unsigned artists can put their music on and be paid directly for every song played. This helps to level the playing-field--now you can make music, upload it to and earn money for each play. If you make music, you can sign up to participate for free.

This is a great news. Some rights collections agencies have various restrictions such as banning Creative Commons licenses and this should give artists in these regions a new choice for generating revenue on their music.

Good job guys.

Disclosure: I was an investor in before they were acquired by CBS. Now I am a friend and occasionally advise them on their business.



Will listeners in Japan be able to take advantage of this too? Often these sorts of things are off limits to us.

I'm not positive, but it's possible it won't work in Japan...

Actually it does work in Japan, and its great.

I'm afraid though, that as happened to me with Pandora, I'll eventually be getting an email in which I'm informed that, because I live in the archipelago, I'm being bounced.

I'll enjoy it while it lasts!

David : Did you register with Japan as your country and are you definitely on the Japanese version of the site? I still can only listen to 30 second samples and my understanding is that it won't work in Japan, partially because it is owned by a major Japanese company and in Japan the words major and progressive don't usually mix :D