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MP3 is awful as an audio file format and incredible as a means to 
encourage (although a
miserable term under any circumstances, for the purposes of this 
discussion, let's call
them/us) consumers to reassess their relationship with the supposed  of 
production -- without MP3, all prior talk concerning "the Internet=the end 
of the music
industry" was talk and talk alone. No encryption will ever be "secure" and 
SDMI will be
the 8-track tape of the aughties, the concerns which gave rise to this 
reflecting the "home taping" non-scandals of the 70's and 80's. CD will 
give way to DVD
will give way to 128-bit resolution of digital waveform emulation will 
give way to
1024-bit resolution of digital waveform emulation will give way to 
"dithering" to smooth out the bumps along the roughly sinusoid path. These 
phenomena will
change, once more, what our relationship to sound and its recorded 
manifestation(s) are
all about, with all the implications of such a change, not the least of 
which among these
a changed sense of what constitutes the "authentic"; in less than a 
generation, younger
instrumentalists who have never heard of (for example) 45s will prefer 
their online
recorded work to live performance because it "sounds better," more "real".

Or not. There is, of course, the matter of sustenance...

The Internet has so much more potential as a progressively enhanced 
infrastructure and node of continuous, hyper-relational engagement than a 
sorta cool
information transfer protocol that simply surrenders to market forces that 
want to make
it nothing less than a mall that arrives in your rumpus room via HTTP and 
a bonaroo,
branded return-on-investment (Andre LaFosse's revelation of Industry plans 
for "sponsored
streams" is as horrifying as it is predictable). However, debating the
philosophico-practical merits of various "solutions" to (presumably) 
independent online
music distribution seems to ignore the fact that there _are_ many 
solutions to having
one's music heard in the early years of the Online Age and each solution 
can address
different concentrations of need -- to say nothing of "want" -- for the 
in question.

So, since this all went off-topic from Anthony Mullen's initial inquiry, 
here's wee
Jimmy's reply, mindful of the foregoing prolegomenon:

> Guys,
> Looking for advice on hosting downloads and managing sales of the
> independant label I'm in.
> The script is :
> - we are a label comprising of three artists
> - we don't want our own website clogged up with a sales pitch, money
> transaction, download hassle
> - we would like to sell physical CDs AND we would also like to make 
> song downloads available
> - we don't want to pay for the hosting service (other than a %age of the
> music cost)

Let's hit "pause" for a moment...you "don't want our own website clogged 
up with a sales
pitch, money
transaction, download hassle" while you would "like to make charged song 
available". This is a contradiction which may not be able to be 
synthesized into a
solution, unless, of course, you want to run with an "Industry leader"...

> MP3.com seems to offer this - are there any hidden catches with us being 
> label?

No catches and no money, either. With hosting services running at $19.95 a 
month, with
MP3 and SSL capabilities, why not get both the big download and the cash 
money by doing
both -- i.e., post tracks to MP3.com and sell CDs from your site, 
diachronically-like? If
you don't want the "hassle," by all means give up running an independent 
label, which is
nothing but hassle, plus the occasional sale.

> Also - who else hosts music for free (or a moderate cost if need be) ?

How about...you?

And, what is wee Jimmy's on-line "solution"? Patience...

   ~      > --- James Keepnews --- <  "Don't quote anybody, Sir!"
 (.-.)    > -- Multimedia Yahoo -- <
    \                 *                           -- Krishnamurti
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