Friday, November 16, 2007

RCRD LBL Solves the Free Music Riddle (this is the wave of the future!!)

RCRD LBL Solves the Free Music Riddle

Rcrdlbl RCRD LBL, the online record label founded by Peter Rojas (Gizmodo and Engadget ) and Josh Deutsch (Downtown Records) launched today, as predicted, and the site is so popular that it loaded a bit slowly at certain points today -- a testament to its popularity, since Rojas has run popular websites before.

The site is formatted like a music blog and offers free MP3 downloads with a description of the bands and songs from its own artists, plus selections from its partner labels (Warp, Modular, Dim Mak, Downtown, Kompakt, Ghostly, Dirtybird, Drowned in Sound, Seen, and Turntable Lab).

Their music is available for free in a DRM-free, 192 Kbps MP3 format.  There's no audio ad embedded in the files, but it takes a couple of clicks to get to the download pages -- understandably, since these are ad-supported songs.  Song pages allow you to stream or download the MP3.

One of the smartest aspects of the site is its approach to social networks.  Widgets for playlists, photos, tour dates, and fans (the site has a social networking aspect too, in that you can create a profile and become a fan of a band) can be embedded on other sites .  Some of them contain an ad for one of the label's sponsors -- currently Puma, Nikon, and Virgin Air.

From what I've seen so far, RCRD LBL looks like a great answer to a question that has stumped traditional players in the music industry: how can you make money distributing music when people can get it for free?

RCRD LBL's answer is to give it to them for free.  How they make money from that is their business.

As for the label's artists, they're paid a flat advance for each single they distribute exclusively through RCRD LBL.  The advances currently range from $500 to $5,000, depending on how established they are.

Here's an example of the radio player widget:

We're going to try to catch up with Rojas later for a Q-and-A, so if you have any questions for him, leave them in the comments section.

In the meantime, check out the artists that signed before launch:

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