Why music and creativity are worth sharing.
Sharing ideas, and music or creative content, isn’t complicated. And you can cover off your copyright. There are advantages for your academic career, as well as the pleasure of knowing that there is a wide audience enjoying your output.
Open Access week starts on October 24, and the Library will be promoting aspects of why Open Access matters. The theme this year is “Open, In action”
The following interview with Dr Guy Morrow explores his views of Open Access and music.
Guy’s work at Macquarie University is focused on creativity: understanding how artists are managed, both in terms of direct artist management and also through cultural policies. Of course, artist entrepreneurship has a clear connection to policies on sharing, and how this model works with income generation.
What does the future hold for Open Access and music?
I’m interested in the emergence of ‘plural sectors’ in both large and small music markets where both open access and copyright co-exist and interrelate. I don’t think the future will involve a zero sum game between open access music and copyrighted music that is for sale. For example, creative commons licensing is designed to sit alongside the all rights reserved default setting of copyright. The creative commons movement isn’t focused on replacing the copyright industries entirely, it is just enabling creators themselves to decide how their work(s) can, and can’t be, used. It is designed to facilitate the rise of ‘amateur’ culture (and as Lawrence Lessig would say, not ‘amateurish’ culture, just culture destined for ‘use value’ in a society, rather than ‘exchange value’ in a market).
‘Gift economies’ involve musicians giving music away for free under creative commons licenses and therefore a plural sector is emerging that features both ‘salable’ copyrighted music, and music that is ‘gifted’ to the creative commons.
Of particular interest to me is the emergence of new music ‘ecologies’ in which traditional boundaries of formerly distinct sectors are blurred. I’m interested in examining whether music creators operating within these emergent music ecologies are adept at resolving the apparent incompatibility between trading music as a commodity, and ‘gifting’ music to the creative commons and audiences, and whether the size of the music economy affects these ecologies. I ultimately want to question whether a mixed model of commodification and gifting is central to the commercial decision making of music creators who use contemporary digital media.
Do you think people in the music industry understand creative commons licenses? Will applications like Soundcloud and Audionautix make it easier for artists to get their music heard, while protecting their copyright?
I think that the decision to post copyrighted music, or to license music posted to these services via creative commons licenses is relative to the amount of economic, social, and cultural capital invested into the music concerned, as well as the creator’s motivations. For example, personally I compose and record music everyday using GarageBand on my iPhone 6 and I always post my compositions (and arrangements of others’ compositions), that I may have spent only half an hour recording, under non-commercial, attribution, share-alike creative commons licenses.
Soundcloud for me is simply an archive for my ideas and I use it to improve my musicianship through practice and through using these lo-fi recordings to trigger my memory of complex compositions and arrangements (and simply because it is a lot of fun to do). The decision to choose a creative commons license is an easy decision for me to make because my investment in creating the music is small. However, I also work as a management consultant for other artists who spend thousands of dollars, and if a major record label and major song publishing company is involved, tens of thousands of dollars producing recorded music. Past clients of mine such as the band Boy & Bear are in a very different position with regard to the decision making that goes into how their intellectual property is used. What I like about the creative commons movement is the flexibility it gives creators; prior to their musical career taking off a musician may post music under a creative commons license to garner interest, a process that may have to stop after they sign to a record label (but that may start again if they are dropped by said record label J ).
Read more from Guy in this extended interview:
Have you shared any of your creative output or used a creative commons licence? Let us know.