A musician speaks out to defend Oink

Seen the reports of a major file-sharing site getting busted? You should also read this post from a musician and it seems a former Oink member, DJ/ Rupture:

About a week after I shipped out orders of the first live CD-r Andy Moor & I did, it appeared on Oink. Someone who had purchased it directly from me turned around and posted it online, for free. I wasn’t mad, I was just more stunned by the reach… and usefulness of the site.

I don’t doubt that Oink breached copyright laws. However it appears that the powers that be have been misleading the public in some respects. It particularly irks the Oink community that the site was widely described as “extremely lucrative” – in the BBC story this is part of a remark made by “A Cleveland Police spokesman” – when in fact it was an enthusiast affair.

DJ/ Rupture comments on the new economics of the music business:

My library metaphor for Oink makes more sense than economic analogies: for digital music & data, there’s lots of demand but no scarcity at all, which either requires that we rebuild an economic model not based on supply & demand, or start embracing commons analogies. I like living from my music but I also like libraries, the ideas behind libraries…

Personally I have long believed that only an all-you-can-eat subscription or license makes sense for legal music downloads and sharing, if indeed people will pay at all. The success of iTunes seemed to disprove that, but debate has reopened, following the opening of Amazon’s DRM-free music store, and Radiohead’s whatever-you-want-to-pay experiment. I appreciate that neither of these alternatives is an all-you-can-eat subscription, but the possibilities seem wide open again, and I still think that is where we will end up – something close to the library concept described above.