creative commons music

With the music industry in disarray in the face of illegal downloads, musicians are finding their own ways to distribute their work. We all know about Radiohead giving their album away free, but what’s more exciting to me is growth of the Creative Commons licence. This goes one step further, and not only makes the music available free, but does away with copyright too.  That means you can use it in your own projects, remix it, and legally soundtrack your videos or podcasts with it. It’s a generous new approach to music, and something I’ve found very useful.

I mention it today because I’ve just stumbled across Nine Inch Nails’ 36-track instrumental album Ghosts I-IV, which they’re giving away under CC license. Moby has done something similar, with 76 tracks available on his mobygratis site, a mixture of unreleased tunes, b-sides, and album tracks from 18 and Hotel.

Other sites of note include Freesound for sound effects, Opsound for ambient music, and Kunstderfuge for Creative Commons classical music.

Michael’s music

Michael WilliamsMy brother’s been writing songs, and they’re available for listening on, and buying too if you’re so inclined. I’m obviously biased, but I think they’re good – laid back beats, piano and lots of harmonies.

I’m also biased because I wrote a few songs myself a few years ago and never did much with them, and Michael’s taken a couple of pages out of my notebooks and turned them into proper songs with tunes and choruses and everything. But you’ll have to guess which bits are mine.

My favourite is ‘happy side‘. Taken a listen…

Live Earth

Tim and I went to the Wembley gig yesterday, Caz got some free tickets, so we got to enjoy the corporate hospitality of Stony yogurt, whoever they may be. Whatever my reservations about the idea as a whole, they definitely put on a good show. Special mention to Foo Fighters, who I’ve always wanted to see, and Black Eyed Peas, who wrote a song specially and were rather good.

Best act: Foo Fighters, who know what to do with a stadium.

Worst act: Spinal Tap, replaying the dancing dwarf scene from the film and thus being essentially a tribute band to themselves.

Least succesful attempt to engage with the issues: ‘Let’s save the polar bears, let’s save our children’s children… let’s a least have a go, you know?’ The guy from Kasabian.

Least appropriate song: ‘Que sera sera’, sung by David Gray and Damien Rice and summing up the exact opposite to the attitude needed.

Defining song: Madonna’s theme song, which had a choir of about 30 children singing ‘you must first love yourself, then you can love someone else, if you can change someone else, then you have saved someone else, but you must first love yourself… etc’ Yes, a song about loving yourself sums up the whole thing quite nicely really.

Fopp is closed

Alas! One of my favourite shops closed today. I went past it on the bus and noticed it was shut, and sure enough, Fopp has gone into administration. I thought it was a little suspect when they stopped taking credit cards a couple of days ago, but then they did sell everything so cheap, no wonder they couldn’t keep up. I regularly used to go into Virgin, listen to an album on their listening posts and then buy it for half the price round the corner. And they had books as well. Good thing I raided their bargain basement on wednesday.

Anyway, Fopp was the UK’s largest independent music supplier, which is a bad sign for music shops everywhere. And no, Amazon and itunes are not music shops.