II netlabel interview

II netlabel

Interview with founders of Pause netlabel:

E: I see Pause as a band / demoscene group or whatever you’d like to call it, as much as I see it as a label. I’m not sure about other labels, but we’re just a small group of musicians/friends who decided to create one collective outlet for our creativity. I guess there’s no point in pinpointing exactly what it is. … The idea was that we’d get more exposure if we made one website instead of as individuals.

What strikes me is how fluid the idea of a label is. Is it a scene, like the Elephant 6 collective of bands? Is it a band? Is it a zine?

To pick a nit, these guys only host music as “albums” in zip format, as collections of files, and never host individual MP3s. You can’t sample easily and you can’t stream without rehosting. You have to download 40-50 MB, then unpack the file, then point your player at the directory before you can hear even the first note. They have an embedded Flash player, but then there’s nothing to click through to. It’s a non starter for most potential listeners, who would be limited enough without this problem.

In the time it took me to write this, I didn’t hear a sound until I was almost completely done. I did find some cool stuff that I’d like to recommend, but I can’t make a usable link without spending time digging up the structure of their web site.

If the packaging was more sophisticated, how much bigger would the audience be? Or: *when* the packaging develops into something great, as I think it probably will, how will it affect the listenership?

One last thing that I notice is how cool a bunch of dudes these people feel like. I love the esthetic, the art, and people. You’d have a good time checking this out at a bar or gallery. You wouldn’t even think in those terms for a classic record label like EMI or Warner.

6 thoughts on “II netlabel interview

  1. I think ease of listening and downloading increases the listenership. I also think it’s cool when a “label” can mean all sorts of different things.

  2. How do you label “label”? The big labels are going to break because they want to be bank, distribution, production, satan etc, to their artists, and starbucks and wal-mart are running their own distribution networks. It’s definitely cool when a “label” associates itself with a scene. I really think that the idea of an online distribution “label” will really come of age when a track online comes to mean the transmission envelope, including virtual liner notes, fancy css and semantic namespace – proper packaging, instead of DRM.

  3. A lot of netlabels seem to really shine when it comes to the packaging. Even Pause’s focus on community identity is a way of packaging.

    Maybe the “label” word is standing in the way.

  4. A number of people have expressed interest in having access to individual songs but we want people to experience the albums as units as much as possible, because most of our artists have that intention. Plus we’re trying to save bandwidth :-D

    Also the streaming player does have a click-through to get each release (the little button on the right of the first song), but this probably isn’t as clear as it could be.

    Anyhow, thanks for the mention / feedback!

  5. Thanks for stopping in, Rich.

    Musicians like album listeners more than singles listeners, but they like singles listeners more than no listeners. Whatever you’re achieving by making listening harder (and reducing listenership) is probably not a good tradeoff.

    what’s the bandwidth bill? A couple hundred a month? Why not host on scene.org and/or archive.org?

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