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international news _ 20th July, 2006

Pick, Choose And Send It To Your Mates

Text by Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)

Independent record labels now face another hurdle in their never ending steeplechase towards turning a meager profit. New in town is a project called BeatPick which touts itself as a “fairplay music label” and is an all in one record label and mp3 store. The reason the service is flying the flag for fairplay is that they offer artists 50% of all earnings generated by their music, whether it be through traditional sales or licensing deals, and also have non-exclusive contracts with the artists meaning they can move onto a more traditional label at any time.

Sounds pretty good from the artist’s point of view but what’s in it for those of us sitting on the other side of the speakers? Firstly, BeatPick allows its users to listen to albums and EPs in full before making their purchase in any one of their 10 genres, which included dance and downtempo. Then, once handing over some of their weekly earnings, exactly 6 euros /4 pounds per album and 3.50 euros/2.50 pounds per EP, users are permitted to send the tracks to four friends for free without fear of the wrath of the RIAA.

BeatPick operates its service under the jurisdiction of Creative Commons which is a nonprofit organization that offers an alternative copyright system to the more traditional rigid copyright utilized by most major labels and artists. The Creative Commons copyright system offers a greater freedom to music listeners and is supported by the Beastie Boys, MATMOS and the Rapture who were all among artists who supplied music for a Creative Commons CD which appeared inside WIRED magazine back in November 2004.

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