Douwe Osinga's Blog: They probably are Giants

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Finally a band that gets it. And one of my favorites on top of that. They Might Be Giants  opened a shop on their site where you can buy their albums as 256Kbit MP3s. No stupid DRM, no restrictions, great sound quality and for a good price, 10 dollars for an album. And of course the best thing is, you buy directly from the source, the guys who actually make the great music.

Ah, but what about file sharing? Well, as John & John put it:

 Greeting from us - They Might Be Giants. The MP3s being sold here were created by John Linnell and John Flansburgh and the musicians we work with. We sincerely hope you buy and enjoy them. There are many complicated and interesting issues revolving around file-sharing, but we have a simple request: please do not trade them with your friends or post them on-line as this service is how we are making a living

And that is how it is of course, your fans are your, uh, fans, you might as well trust them. The musicians make music, customers give them money and all is well. Digital Rights Management is just another word for screwing your best customers: you want to fight piracy, but you end up making it harder for the people that are willing to pay for music to enjoy the stuff they bought. I want to be able to play music on my laptop in MP3 format. I'll buy a CD if that's what it takes (it helps that they're cheaper in the US), but not if I can't rip to to my hard disk.

Hopefully, They Might Be Giants makes a killing with this and other bands start to realize that cutting out the middle man and delivering to your customers what they want instead of fighting proxy wars with file sharers is ultimately just sound business. Prices for music should then drop to maybe 25cts a song and file sharing will just become irrelevant, why steal if you can affort to buy something of guaranteed quality?