Yay, Weird Al! Everyone's favourite parody artist has taken to "happily crediting the internet for his latest album hitting the top ten on the Billboard charts (his first ever top ten hit)".
He says that having his song on YouTube, having a profile on MySpace and everyone downloading his songs (including his song about downloading songs called "Don't Download This Song") helped him get the attention needed to zoom up the charts. Yet, the RIAA will continue to insist that such things are still "stealing" and are destroying the industry.
For all the whining from record labels about how unauthorized downloads and songs on YouTube are somehow "stealing" from them (even though it isn't), it's nice to see an artist who's spent three decades in the business recognizes the promotional value of such content.
The Techdirt article I adapted for this post (thanks, guys) spurned a flurry of comments from sensible people and small-time bands alike, generally amounting to your typical debate about the merits of a more modern distribution medium.
Have you noticed how all mainstream radio is playing mostly music from 10 years ago or older? Only a few new songs here and there – mostly from bands that have been around at least 5 years or more? There are thousands of great bands out there that never get a chance to develop into hit makers because they have no label with money behind them to produce their sound into something better that will break them into the spotlight. No to mention the money it takes to get them onto the radio, or in magazines, to fund a street team, to shoot videos, etc. It all takes money.
Er, no? Arctic Monkeys.. came up from nothing just a year or two ago. Great music, now very very well-known. The Kooks, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand… Lily Allen?! You have been brought up on the myth that you need a record label to save you. You don't. You can think more long term and go the free promotional route: then people will be interested in you and actually invest in your material. TRUST that you're good enough to make that work. And if you have any doubt that you are, then you're probably not and should find a new job.