Castle Crashers, an action/RPG video game, was released a few weeks ago on the XBox Live Arcade service and has been receiving rave reviews for its gameplay, graphics, and sound design. Of note to the CC-community is that the soundtrack has been released online for free under a CC BY-NC-SA license, meaning that fans of the game can now freely enjoy the excellent soundtrack outside of their consoles.2 Comments »
Exciting news from Indaba Music – alternative rock band Third Eye Blind have teamed up with the former Featured Commoner to offer fans of the band, and Indaba members, increased interaction with the band’s music and writing process. 3EB will posting unfinished song stems to the community site, allowing members to take the stems, reuse/remix them, and post them as CC BY-NC-ND licensed reworkings (somewhat similar to our Copyright Criminals contest).
To be clear the 3EB tracks are not CC-licensed, but CC licenses will allow Indaba members the ability to spread their creations in a non-commercial setting and experiment with 3EB’s material before it is released. Similarly, 3EB gains a means to collaborate with their fans in a way that is unique and more personal. The best material resulting from this collaboration will go on a companion album to be released alongside the band’s album sometime next year. From Indaba:
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Here’s the deal. As 3EB finishes laying down tracks, the band will post unmixed instrument stems for you to tweak, shape, and edit through a series of contests. They want to hear your vision for their songs. The first track, “Non-Dairy Creamer,” is already available for you to work on!
Through a regular blog that chronicles their experience of creating an album, access to the unmixed stems and the dialogue among Indaba members, you’ll have the chance to watch the group develop their artistic concept.
LA-based multi-instrumentalist and former Featured Commoner Monk Turner released his latest album, Love Story, a little under a week ago for free download on archive.org. The album is released under a CC BY-NC-ND license, making it his fifth album released in this vein, his second this year, and twentieth overall. From Monk Turner:
I wasn’t planning on making another concept album after I recorded my first one. But, somehow 20 albums later here we are. Being that this was going to be the 20th, I wanted to do something special and go beyond making just another album. About three years ago, a friend suggested I write an album of romantic love songs instead of the usual love dilemmas I tend to write about. While this idea excited me, I wanted a 3rd dimension and I thought this would be a great opportunity to take the idea of ‘concept art’ to the next level by including conceptual visual art. After a long search I found Junji Lee as a visual artist who suggested the love songs follow the Buddhist path to enlightenment or 10 Bulls. In typical fashion, the whole album was written in just under 2 weeks and demos were sent out for critique.
A lot’s changed since I started putting music on the Internet way back in 2001. Artist-endorsed free downloads were shocking. Flexible pricing was still an untested novelty. It was rare to find source files from artists and sharing music wasn’t encouraged by new artists.
Recently I was asked if I’d do anything different this time around […] and I honestly couldn’t imagine why I’d do things different. The only reason I, a dude who made an album by himself in a country basement, has had any sort of success is because people took it upon themselves to share my music with their friends. They remixed it, they used it in their videos, they played it on their podcasts, they included it in software and games and it took on a life of its own.
To coincide with the album release, ccMixter got Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan, authors of the “Indie Band Survival Guide” to conduct an interview with Brad Sucks. Brad is one of the most sampled artists over at ccMixter and the interview sheds much more light on his music in particular and opinions on the music industry as a whole.Comments Off
General Fuzz, an artist who creates self-described “lush melodic instrumental electronica”, released his new album, Soulful Filling, at the beginning of this month, bringing his number of CC BY-NC-SA licensed albums to an amazing 5.
All the tracks, along with General Fuzz’s other music, are free to download at his website. What really sets Soulful Filling apart though, outside of its musical merit, is that General Fuzz has gone to the trouble of crafting a “multitrack flash mp3 player” that allows you to listen to a song’s individual audio stems either on their own or as a user-defined composite.Comments Off
Creative Commons and the makers of the independent film currently in production RIP: A Remixer’s Manifesto a co-production between Montreal-based production house Eye Steel Film and the National Film Board of Canada are making a Call for Soundtracks. The film itself is released under a CC license and has been produced collaboratively through hundreds of submissions and remixes at Open Source Cinema.
A mashup in its own right, RIP tackles the issue of Fair Use ─ broadly defined as the limited use of copyrighted material without requiring the permission of the rights holders ─ on its own uncertain ground. Pulling footage from a range of sources, filmmaker Brett Gaylor looks at cultural appropriation throughout history, from Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones to the king of the remix, Walt Disney. With legal advice from Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig, Brett negotiates the tricky world of fair-use filmmaking.
Now the producers and CC are using ccMixter to host a Call for Soundtracks hoping to finish the music soundtrack for the film using remixes made from CC Attribution licensed source material. Instructions and details can be found at ccMixter.Comments Off
Creative Commons is a site that helps copyright holders decide which rights they want to share — for instance making songs free for personal use and distribution, but not for sampling or commercial use. The five-year-old organization said it had licensed about 1 million songs, and lists them at creativecommons.org/legalmusicforvideos. One user of Creative Commons, the eclectic radio station WFMU-FM, posts legal in-studio performances at freemusicarchive.org.
The article mentions some other free music alternatives (such as promos on iTunes and Amazon MP3) and although it doesn’t exactly nail what we do – we haven’t licensed any songs ourselves, that is all thanks to YOU in the CC community – it is great to be featured regardless.1 Comment »
I’m happy to announce that dublab and Creative Commons have launched Into Infinity, a CC-licensed art and music project themed around the infinite possibilities of creative reuse. The online exhibition is available now; physical installations are being planned for Winter 2008 and throughout 2009.
Earlier this year, we distributed 12″ circular canvases to a collection of visual artists. We also commissioned an array of musicians to create eight-second audio loops. We went through all of the submissions and posted the best online, including pieces by world-renowned graffiti artist Kofie, 2008 Whitney Biennial alumni Lucky Dragons, Anticon collective member Odd Nosdam, and electronic musicians Flying Lotus and Dntel (AKA Jimmy Tamborello of The Postal Service).
Each time you refresh the site’s exhibition page, you’ll get a new art and loop combination. All of the images and sounds are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license and (as you may have guessed) we strongly endorse the sharing and remixing of this project. You can download the pieces individually via the links on the exhibition page; you can also download the entire project (including the site’s source code) all at once via the downloads page.
Stay tuned for updates, because we’re talking to new artists and musicians all the time and we’ll be adding new pieces to the exhibition regularly. Soon, we’ll also issue a formal call for remixes of Into Infinity’s works, many of which we’ll include in future versions of the show.
You can read a bit more about the project in the press release we issued earlier today.Comments Off
Lluís Gendrau is the publisher of the Enderrock Group, a company that specializes in Catalan music and publishes three popular music magazines: Enderrock (pop and rock), Folc (traditional music) and Jaç (jazz). Enderrock – in collaboration with the government of Catalonia – recently included two CDs full of CC-licensed music, Música Lliure and Música Lliure II, free within the page of its magazines. The songs on the Música Lliure discs are available for free download at culturalliure.cat.
Creative Commons spoke with Gendrau about this exciting project and his experience in using CC licensing.
Creative Commons: What inspired Enderrock to release the Música Lliure CDs under Creative Commons licences?
Lluís Gendrau: In Catalonia, there have been musicians working informally with methods similar to Creative Commons for a long time. Groups like Pomada, for example, that do folk fusion with electronic music, freely broadcast their work independently of the SGAE (the Spanish society for the management of authors’ rights), but without making use of licences of any kind. Something has been cooking for some time. On coming into contact with Creative Commons Catalonia, and on learning of the experience of Wired magazine, we brought a handful of artists together who would opt for this model of license, with no aim other than to publicize a different way of distributing music.
CC: How did the government of Catalonia become involved with this project?
LG: The project grew out of a commission from the Catalan government. Catalonia has had an unheard-of experience in the last three years, where the government has used free software and Creative Commons licensing in some of its official programs. Unfortunately, the political situation has changed now and it will probably be difficult for an experience like this to be repeated.
LG: We gave the musicians total freedom to choose what kind of licence they wanted to make use of, and the immense majority opted for a licence that permitted the remixing and sampling of their work – especially those artists starting off from electronic or improvised bases.
CC: How did you convince the musicians to be part of this project?
LG: Some of the musicians were already publishing their music independently of the traditional system of authors’ rights management. Some of the musicians weren’t, but were artists that we believed would be ready to participate in an experience like this. We started off with a hundred or so groups, ranging from new groups to established ones, and in the end, we worked with around thirty groups covering all styles, from hip-hop to punk, electronic to folk – even jazz and improvised music.
CC: Had any of the songs been released before by other labels? Will any of them be released on the musicians’ future CDs?
LG: The majority of songs were previously unpublished, and that has been one of the attractions of the record. A lot of them were made specially to be included in the two Música Lliure records, others were works that for one reason or another had been left in the drawer. Some had been published by alternative record labels or published by the artists themselves.
CC: When you were planning the project, what reactions to the idea of using CC licensing did you encounter from the artists, their labels, and their managers?
LG: Obviously, in some cases we met with greater willingness than in others. In the case of the independent record labels like Propaganda pel Fet! or BankRobber, there was total willingness, because they already had a philosophy and way of working that was along these lines. The same occurred with artists who self-publish. But there was also receptiveness on the part of the managers and concert halls.
CC: What were their reactions after you released the CD?
LG: Reactions have been very wide-ranging and the Spanish media has given the project ample coverage. There is still a lack of public debate over the new forms of authors’ rights management, but we’re happy that the appearance of this CD has provoked reactions on all sides, from those most staunchly in favor of copyleft to the SGAE itself.
CC: How was the CD featured at the Catalan Internet Festival?
LG: The CD was presented three times in concert form, in which groups like Conxita, Pirat’s Sound Sistema, Plouen Catximbes, Roig, LaMundial.net and Guillamino performed. All their songs may be heard on musicalliure.cat.
CC: Would you say the CD was a success?
LG: We believe we have opened an interesting door. The independent labels have started new relationships with artists and producers, debates have been organized at festivals, and the people in charge of public radio – and private programmers also – are studying the possibility of creating a channel specializing in free music.Comments Off
Photo © Greg Gorman / Santa Fe
Ottmar Liebert composes, performs and records music in a Nouveau Flamenco style, which mixes elements of flamenco with jazz, bossa nova, and other genres. Seven of his albums have gone platinum and two other albums gold; he has also been nominated for a Grammy.
At Ottmar’s and the Lunanerga site you can both buy CDs and merchandise and, via the Listening Lounge, enjoy music licensed under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus license. The Listening Lounge offers tracks as well as loops and parts. Musicians Jon Gagan, t-one, Canton and Steve Stephen also offer their music via the Listening Lounge.
Creative Commons (“CC”): When did you start recording and performing music? How did you first hear about Creative Commons?
Ottmar Liebert (“OL”): I have been playing guitar since I was eleven years old. I arrived in the USA in May of 1979 and starting out as a dishwasher. I have also worked as a bank teller and a bike messenger. I played in a rockband in Boston for several years. In 1986 I moved to Santa Fe and started playing classical guitar in restaurants. I took Flamenco lessons and recorded “Nouveau Flamenco” in 1989. That album was released in 1990 by Higher Octave Music and sold over 2 million copies. After recording three albums for Higher Octave I signed with Epic Records and stayed with them from 1991 through 2001. I first discovered Creative Commons a couple of years ago by following a link to Professor Lessig’s site.
CC: What attracted you to the idea of Creative Commons?
OL: When I was a teenager, copyright lasted 50 years; now it lasts for much longer. In a time where the wheel turns much faster, we should not extend copyrights. Nowadays corporations are allowed to copyright ideas, mere notions of technology that doesn’t even exist yet. Why would anybody want to invent something that some corporation has already claimed in theory. We are building fences around land we haven’t even approached yet….
I feel that artists create not only in order to experience the process of creation itself, but also for the ripples. I find that the act of creating is like throwing a pebble into a still lake to watch the ripples. Being able to share my work via a CC license enables me to experience more ripples. Sometimes the ripples can inspire more work in me.
CC: Why did you choose the Sampling Plus license for your music?
OL: Musicians sample one another one way or another. Whether actual samples are used or a cool sound, riff or feel is actually re-created. Might as well officially allow it and even encourage it (see also my answer to the last questions and the concept of ripples)
I am genuinely interested in hearing what other musicians might do with some of my work. In the past I have commissioned people to remix some of my work—this is going a step further.
As a musician I want to take part in the larger cultural landscape, want to see my ideas noted, accepted, reflected, used or otherwise messed with. I want to be swimming in the river of culture, to partake of that larger experience. The Sampling Plus license lets other people know that I am open to that engagement, that exchange.
I read a book by the Japanese Zen Master Uchiyama called “Opening the Hand of Thought.” Using a Sampling Plus license does that for me.
CC: At the Listening Lounge, you offer loops and parts of your tracks, in addition to the completed track. What was the reasoning behind this?
OL: I am not just allowing people to sample the music, I am enabling them to do it by offering isolated tracks. More ripples. And it is theoretically potential business because I can sell the same piece of music as a stereo mix as well as in the form of isolated tracks.
CC: What has been the reaction of fans and visitors to the Listening Lounge?
OL: I feel that introducing people to the Listening Lounge and downloading in general is a process that will take some time. That process is partly one of education. For example, fans have expressed that they prefer to buy the “original” rather than a download and I have to explain that CDs are not original at all. They are no less copies than a download would be. In fact downloading is much more direct than buying a CD in a store.
I think some fans are realizing the advantages of the Listening Lounge. I started a new download-only album of solo-guitar improvisations called “Tears in the Rain.” The pieces are uploaded as they are recorded, rather than waiting for a complete album or manufacturing a CD. A PDF for the album is also available for download with drawings and some writing. At first fans asked for a complete CD release, but soon they discovered how exciting it is to hear music as it is created, since I usually upload the “Tears in the Rain” pieces within a few hours of creating them.
One interesting reaction came from Mark Hamilton’s blog “Notes from a Teacher” who says of the Listening Lounge:
“This really is an amazing site, and obviously the product of someone who has thought long and hard about distributing music in a way that gives fans a range of choices and an enjoyable experience. In short, it treats those who visit as music lovers, not consumers.”