This week I interviewed Jason Sigal, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, a brand new initiative developed by the acclaimed independent freeform New York-based FM and streaming radio station WFMU. Launched last month, the Free Music Archive is a curated archive of high quality legal audio downloads. The FMA pairs WFMU’s longstanding reputation and expertise with a model inspired by Creative Commons and the open source software movement, and presents a useful solution to copyright and regulation quandaries now facing the distribution of music online. - Ceci Moss
What conversations inspired the Free Music Archive?
The idea came from our Station Manager Ken Freedman and Assistant Station Manager Liz Berg, so you'd need to talk to them personally about the run up to the project. But this is the basic idea:
Radio is not enough. WFMU is at the forefront of using new technology to fulfill our mission, but outdated copyright law and the looming possibility of unfairly high royalties make it difficult to provide audio on-demand, to podcast, to archive, even to stream online. A lot of webcasters closed down as a result, because they would be paying more to webcast than to broadcast over FM/AM or what we would call 'terrestrial' radio. We want to support the artists we play. But SoundExchange (the performing rights organization who claims to collect royalties on behalf of all the world's recordings, not just those registered with the RIAA) has a gargantuan list of Unpaid Artists that they can't seem to track down. Glancing through it now...Kraftwerk's on here, the Afghan Whigs, X-Ray Spex, Ted Nugent...SoundExchange has a very difficult task at hand, and it's a valiant one, but if they can't find these artists, they're NEVER gonna be able to ...