Another Indie Label Goes the Totally Free Route


Magic Bullet, the erstwhile Virginia hardcore label and early home to bands like Cave In, Frodus, and Boy Sets Fire, recently announced a partnership with the online music start-up GimmeSound to give a large part of their catalogue away, for free:

    Evolve or die!

Rather than try to fight, sue, or waste incessant time bad-mouthing the music-acquiring habits of people who “illegally” download full albums created by the glut of “hard-working” 20-somethings piling into vans and smoking the reefer in every city, forward-thinking individuals have been spending the last few years acknowledging the behavior and figuring out how to adapt accordingly.

With that said, Magic Bullet Records is proud to announce a partnership with the newly launched, whereby visitors and music fans like yourself will be able to download “official”/”legal” high-quality, virus-free Mp3’s of entire albums spanning the entire Magic Bullet discography at NO COST. As an added incentive, bands/artists will be compensated financially by the advertising revenue generated by the site. Further, is donating 2% of their net revenue to a charitable cause of your choice (selected each time you download).

So in addition to catching up on your To Dream of Autumn, you’ll also be participating in a shaky sounding but intriguing new model for music distribution. GimmeSound basically seem to be looking to become a MySpace type site, where musicians can upload their music while retaining all rights to it, with the crucial caveat that unlike MySpace, some of the overall GimmeSound ad revenue will theoretically make its way back to the artists who attracted users to the site in the first place. GimmeSound’s somewhat confusing explanation:

Here’s how artists get paid (50/50 split):

Every month we take half our net revenue and divide it by the total number of downloads that month. This gives us an amount to pay you for each download of your songs for that month.

For example: let’s say that half our net revenue is $1,000 in a given month, and there were 2,000 songs downloaded during that month. For that month, you would get paid $0.50 for each download of a song that you own the rights to. So, if one of your songs was downloaded 20 times and another of your songs was downloaded 50 times you would get $35.00 (70 downloads total times $0.50 per download). Of course, real numbers will not necessarily be anything like this example.

Every month the amount we pay per download may differ, but every artist gets paid the exact same amount per download. In the example above, every artist got paid $0.50 per download. Let’s say that in the next month, half of our net revenue is $1,500 but the total downloads remained the same (2,000 downloads). For this month, each artist gets paid $0.75 per download.

While we cannot guarantee to pay you an exact amount per download each month. We do guarantee that we will split our net revenue 50/50 with all the artists every month.

Short version: GimmeSound keeps half, and then artists get whatever percentage of the other half of their downloads (i.e., user downloads of their songs) accounted for. Not bad, although who knows how much GimmeSound takes in from advertising in the first place (a superficial glance at the ads would say not much). Magic Bullet’s proprietor Brent Eyestone makes the obvious point about your average band, for whom releasing records is more hobby than career path–the only time record revenue matters to most bands that aren’t famous is when they’re touring and are looking for gas money. So this is a nice bonus, basically–more a token of a appreciation to bands who draw traffic to GimmeSound’s site, rather than an actual, comprehensive distribution/payment model. One wonders what would happen if bigger bands signed up for accounts. If a band like, say, Grizzly Bear could replicate the substantial traffic they see on their MySpace page at GimmeSound, would that be a better option for them? Maura? Little help?

Magic Bullet Records offering much of their catalogue for free download [Punk News]