Magnatune is a new record label with a simple catchphrase: “We are not evil.”
Here’s why the label was founded; essentially, it’s an attempt to create a sane, good record label for the New Musical World. Half of all music revenue goes to the artist. You can buy and download the music directly off the site (in MP3, OGG, WAV, FLAC, or MP3-VBR), and you choose how much you want to pay for each album ($5 minimum; $8 recommended).
(One nice freebie with this system is that it solves a problem seen on sites like CD Baby — physical inventory and CDs that go out of print. With Magnatune, artists and distributors don’t need to keep physical product, and there’s no need to “retire” an album because it’s not getting enough sales.)
I find it interesting that the tide of public opinion has turned so completely against the maisntream recording industry that the main record labels are literally considered evil. I recognize that that term’s at least slightly ironic, but still. Wow. The record labels are mishandling things that badly.
They are. Really. The first thing I do with new CDs is to rip them to MP3s. My music collection is now digital; the CDs are just backups. And yet the recording industry seems to be fighting tooth and nail to minimize the use of digital music files.
It’s too late. I don’t know if Magnatunes will live long enough or sell enough music to prove that there’s a new solution, but I hope it does. There has to be some solution.