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The Indie Band Survival Guide

Cameron Parkins, August 7th, 2008

The Indie Band Survival Guide, originally released as a CC-licensed PDF, has gone professional with a recent pressing in physical form. Written by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan (otherwise known as Chicago-based band Beatnik Turtle), the book explores the ability for indie bands to be successful on their own, without the help of a major recording deal, in the current music industry.

The book and ideas therein are wrapped in a variety of CC layers. Chertkow and Feehan, both in the original PDF and in the book, recommend using CC licences as a means for musicians to spread their works far and wide, referencing the oft-cited Tim O’Reilly quote, “Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.” To Chertkow and Feehan, CC licensing music makes sense as a promotional tool, increasing the ability for an artist to gain exposure and fans.

Recommendation aside, The Indie Band Survival Guide garnered popularity and traction through the initial decision to license the text under a CC BY-NC-SA license. Through this exposure, Chertkow and Feehan were able to hookup with St. Martin’s Press and work out a publishing deal, eventually producing a major rewrite that includes a variety of information not available online. Although the book itself is not CC-licensed (it is often hard for first time authors to leverage such agreements from their publishing companies) the PDF remains free and available online and isn’t lacking in information, coming in at over 50,000 words.

Check out the PDF and if you are a DIY musician, seriously consider picking up the print version – beyond its endorsement of CC it is full of useful knowledge on the intricacies of the music industry.

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