Skip to content

Severed Fifth


Severed Fifth is a new project from Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon in which he plans to document the process of becoming a musician in the ‘new music economy’, something he hopes to accomplish largely through using CC licensing. Two goals of the project, from Severed Fifth:

One. Severed Fifth is the name of my new musical project. For the last four months I have been writing a full solo metal album, which is nearly complete in the writing stages. In addition to writing the album, I will record and mix it in my studio, while also performing all of the instruments and vocals on the album. I will then release all of the final pieces from this new album online at under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license. This will allow anyone to download, listen to, share and re-mix the songs freely, with the only condition that suitable attribution and credit is placed.

Two. To test the new economy of the recording industry, I will be starting an extensive campaign to see just how far I can take this new album while ensuring my project is fair to my listeners, and that the music is free. I will be exploring different approaches to promoting it in different mediums, and to different demographics, different methods of fund-raising to support other elements such as CDs, DVDs, tours etc, trying to build a strong community of regular listeners as well as free-culture fans around the project and more. Throughout this entire process I will be reporting, writing and speaking about the things I learn, which can be read at Even if this project nets so measurable success, one of my core aims is to be able to answer some of the questions that bands and artists in coming years will consider when evaluating how they approach their own musical ambitions. Importantly, this project is not designed to be primarily of interest to free culture fans – if it were, the results and expectations would be inaccurate; Severed Fifth is targeting real music fans, people who have probably never heard of free culture, and to really see if the economy works in a realistic setting.

You can hear or read the whole announcement at the Severed Fifth website as well as read a great write-up of the project at Ars Technica. In lieu of our recentlly launched Global Case Studies Project, in-depth documentation of how CC licences work for a relatively unknown artist will be illuminating to say the least. We can’t wait to see how things progress for Bacon and Severed Fifth!

Posted 27 June 2008