Need music? Want it on your terms, to be able to mash it up, post it, and still stay legal? God luck with that. Remember, it was not until recently where you could not legally put your music on multiple sources that YOU owned. A fun thing called DRM, or digital rights management. The thought of doing what you want with that music was unheard of…
Magnatune, however, seeks to distribute music opposite to the traditional record labels. They began with a simple philosophy, let the musicians control their music. I know, crazy, liberal ideas, right?
So, what is Magnatune, and why should you care? Well, what it is not is a music free for all. Many contend that if a source of music or media runs contrary to traditional methods, the quality would be much less than the ‘real’ distributors. Not so in Magnatune’s case. Of all the submissions, they only accept about 3% of the content (http://www.magnatune.com/info/whynotevil). Their music contains no DRM, but then many do not these days, although a few years ago, this was very important. For the artists–they receive 50% of all the sales their music makes. This seems like a no-brainer as well, but reports show artists for the traditional labels bring home 20-30% of the sales, and little to no royalties for later usage. Gotta pay those lawyers, I guess. Another thing I like is that they offer the music in many formates. When you go to Wal*Mart, iTunes, or even Amazon, you can usually only find music in the proprietary format mp3. Yes, mp3 format is proprietary. Not even really good quality either. Magnatune provides music in .mp3s, but then also .ogg (I LOVE oggs!), WAV, FLAC, and more. What choice! Lots of other good things to, including a true use-as-you-will monthly subscription.
So how does this effect/involve schools? Well, in so many ways. Do your students podcast? If they try to put a Jay-Z or Beatles song in their podcast, they violate Copyright. With music from Magnatune, podcasters can post any of the music. Then what about music for a tv news program, a multimedia presentation, or even when you want to take a project to present at a conference? Can you use traditional music? Yes, *IF* you ok it through the label or through a licensing site such as ASCAP. Oh, and most definitely pay a large licensing fee. Magnatune? Just abide by the very generous Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/legalcode) and you are ready to rock and roll.
THIS is what we need to show students. Creative Commons music. Creative Commons movies. CC photos. Let the students build their own understanding based on mixing and mashing existing content. Let them build their own content. Look at Bloom’s Taxonomy and see create near the top, the highest level thinking is what we need to prepare students to do.