Giving away music to make money: Independent musicians on the Internet


  • Michael Pfahl



No one has felt the impact of music on the Internet more than the independent musician. The recording industry has dominated the production and distribution of music for many years. The big six recording labels are making a push to incorporate the Internet into their distribution process. Standing in their way is the issue of security. It seems that music files on the Internet, no matter how secure they may seem, are susceptible to tampering. This will force a shift in distribution away from selling music on the Internet in compact disc or MP3 file form and towards artists creating communities of shared interest that provide music to their audiences for free. New revenue sources will be created using streaming audio and video technology in a pay-per-view format, among others. This will drive the demand to see an artist in concert and increase the revenue that is generated from live performances. This paper will address the current state of the industry and the battle between the Internet world and record companies. Next, various plans will be discussed that create and distribute music on the Internet. Finally, I propose a comprehensive strategic plan for successful Internet commerce by independent artists that will be based on artists giving away all of their music for free via the Internet.




How to Cite

Pfahl, M. (2001). Giving away music to make money: Independent musicians on the Internet. First Monday, 6(8).