The Internet as an Alternative Medium of Distribution

Music
Text
Images
Videos and Animations
The Value of Linking

Now that the Internet is becoming more and more common and more and more integral for life, artists should consider that instead or as well as publishing their artworks via traditional means, they should publish them online. First of all, it makes one have much better chances of people noticing his creations, rather than the very slim chances of having his song, book, or video distributed by traditional distributors.

It is also often a way to eventually get published like that, after being noticed by such distributors. Let’s inspect the various venues for each content type.

Music

There are several venues for having freely re-distributable Music on the Internet:

  1. GarageBand.com is an online community for artists which have made some tracks available online. GarageBand allows one to download the music for free, rate it, review it, and link to it from other places on the Internet.

    From experience, I can say that a lot of the music that is available there is very good.

  2. ccMixter is a Creative Commons sponsored community for sampling, mixing and sharing music under licences that allow that.

  3. MagnaTune is a records’ label which publishes artists whose music is licensed under freely-redistributable licences.

  4. One can distribute music using web sites and BitTorrent torrents.

Text

Most of the Web is text, and publishing text works that you wrote is possible in several ways:

  1. Wikis such as the Wikipedia and friends.

  2. One can set up a web site for his textual works, or have the PDFs downloadable via BitTorrent.

  3. Weblogs and blog comments are an increasingly popular way of publishing content online. Many blog services such as LiveJournal, or Blogger will publish your blogs free of charge, as will many community web sites.

  4. Several writing or artist communities like MySpace and Writing.com accept submissions to publicise one’s artwork.

Images

Images are de-facto freely distributable, and to a slightly lesser extent modifiable. Trying to protect the gratis use of your copyrighted photograph or image is becoming more and more futile.

There are several images’ search engines online, and there’s also photos sharing communities such as Flickr.

Videos and Animations

One can distribute videos and animations in the following means:

  1. Animations using the proprietary (but de-facto standard) Flash technology, or using the open SVG (“Scalable Vector Graphics”) technology

  2. Web sites and torrents can be used to distribute videos.

  3. Video sharing sites such as Google Video, and YouTube.

The Value of Linking

By having a legitimate link to a piece of content one can immediately enjoy and experience it. For example I can say: “Jenna Drey’s single ‘That’s What They All Say’ is very nice, follow the link to download it.”, or “Austin Acton’s ‘Two Point Six’ is lame but still cool.”, or “Pearl Jam made their new single ‘Life Wasted’ freely distributable. Here’s the torrent.”. Etc. (These are all legitimate downloads).

This is much better availability and accessibility than having to go to the store and buy it, or even buy it from an online store. And it an excellent publicity.

For more information consult Paul Graham’s essays “Web 2.0” and “What Business can Learn from Open Source”.