Margot Kaminski, January 17th, 2007
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.