Beginning at the end of 2021, beyond some music approved by artists who I am friends with, everything I am playing on the live stream and during the show is what I call “libre music”. Mostly, that means it is licensed as Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. This was originally motivated by my wanting to make the show acceptable to play on other streams, but then I figured out there’s a cultural reason to support this kind of music and to try to help build more of a community around it.
Playing My Part
What I advocate for is a culture where the best information and ideas can go viral, which in turn makes society better for everyone. So my idea behind advocating for “libre music” is just to add music to that list. To elaborate, the internet and social media allow for an extremely flat communication platform. This makes it very easy for anyone to make their work accessible to everyone and for us to decide what to recommend to others. Collectively, it allows for much more of a democracy of attention. There are still lots of issues slowing this process down or making it less ideal than it could be, but working on that together forms the basis of a movement.
With the music industry, the legal norm of maximizing legal ownership over audio is a major impediment. It limits fans’ ability to share the music they love with others. While artists usually want to get paid for their work, they almost always care more about it reaching an audience that appreciates it. We all want the love of the music to decide who gets paid and what gets popular, not middlemen in service of other interests. In general, creating and distributing music with less legal restrictions now makes this all more likely.
Beyond supporting artists, we need to build communities around “libre music” that help elevate the best work. It already has that independent spirit that allows people to feel more connected to the artist, but we need to diversify the genres that embrace it. And then help the general public understand why this evolution is important. We’re only stuck with a norm that doesn’t serve our interests because the industry grew up without the internet, and letting labels and outside financial interests squeeze artists and fans often seemed like the only way to solve a lot of other problems. But it doesn’t need to be like that anymore.
Much more about the Free Music Movement.
Finding the Music
Jamendo: good but check the licensing details.
Bandcamp (with Creative Commons tag): good but check the licensing details.
Soundcloud (with Creative Commons tag): good but check the licensing details.
Musopen: This is a non-profit which tries to give access to public domain music in an easy-to-get form.
Open Music Archive: A collection of recordings whose copyright has lapsed.