Thursday, January 06, 2005

Weed - The Future of Music Distribution - and Enough Free Music to Make Your Head Spin

This isn't a recommendation for just a single site with free music. This is a recommendation to enter the world of Weed - and get connected with many free sites with tons of free music on what will soon be the largest music network on the planet.

I have seen the future - and it is Weed.

A Renaissance of the music industry is occurring, changing how music is distributed, whose music is distributed, and who benefits from the sale of a song. A Renaissance that has the potential of making every piece of music free while still making money for the artists AND making money for the fans who promote the music. It takes away the inequality of the labels reaping the financial benefits of artistic works, and puts the power back into the hands of the bands and the fans. It promotes listening to new music. It promotes sharing music. And it is spreading like ... a Weed.

Weed is a new company with a simple product, a technology to legally distribute music online, with the simple philosophy that "sharing is good." It's a fairly simple idea. Songs are "Weedified" which means digital rights management is applied to the song which allows someone to listen to the song for free three times, then on the fourth listen, a window opens asking the listener to purchase the song using a PayPal account. If that person buys the song - and turns on other people to the song, the seller, or sharer, of the song now gets 20% of the sale, the original sharer gets 15%, the band (or rightsholder) gets 50% of the sale, and 15% goes to Weed for admin costs. Now the person who bought the song can share it - and if someone buys it, the new sharer gets 20% of the sale, the previous sharer gets 10%, the original sharer gets 5%, the band still gets their 50% - keeping everything nice and legal. Weed makes full use of the new economic reality that there is minimal cost to distributing digital media and sharing is good.

Weed's Cool Thing #1 - You can check out tons of music for free. Weed truly allows a celestial jukebox where you can listen to any of the songs for free. The network of Weed music sites is growing like crazy including every genre imaginable. It's not just one site like or, it's hundreds of sites - and each site has someone who has actually listened to the music and can recommend what's good.

Weed's Cool Thing #2 - Everyone makes money. Not only does Weed pay the musician 10 times what they get from iTunes, but the person re-distributing the song is also paid. Theoretically, you could get your music for free - and actually make money from your music collection! Because Weed uses PayPal, the seller and the band have immediate access to the money earned, and can see who is buying the music.

Weed's Cool Thing #3 - Getting songs Weedified is very simple task and can happen within a few days. You don't even really need a website to distribute the Weedified songs - you can email them, put them up on peer-to-peer networks, add them to CDs or promotional DVDs.

Weed's Cool Thing #4 - There is no reason for someone to hack a Weed file and do something illegal because the incentive is there to keep it as is: (1) the person distributing wants to earn money (2) to earn money the person's name has to be attached to the file. (Besides the monetary reasons not to hack a Weed file, the Weedified files have been found to be extremely secure.)

Weed's Cool Thing #5 - Weed isn't just a site - it's a community of music fans, musicians, bands, and promoters. There are hundreds of sites popping up of people distributing music on Weed files. From college students posting Weed files of their favorite local bands, to larger sites that are part of the Weed network promoting multiple bands.

Weed's Cool Thing #6 - You'll find the longest, widest tail of music on the Weed network. Wired magazine recently had an article about how the low cost of digital distribution has meant more access to more obscure music (a longer tail of music.) Because Weed finally offers musicians a way to easily protect and distribute their music, and allows people to check out new music for free, Weed not only makes the tail longer - it turns it into the longest, widest beaver tail of music ever.

Weed's Cool Thing #7 - Weed solves the problem of peer-to-peer, illegal file sharing. Most people I know who distribute music illegally, do it because (1) they want to be considered part of the music industry (2) they want bragging rights of distributing X number of songs (3) they feel the labels have ripped them off long enough charging insanely high prices for music and keeping the majority of the profits while the artists are left with the scraps. Weed solves all of these problems. Fans of a band can now buy the songs and re-distribute as much as they want. (Digital music gives you an infinite warehouse.)

Weed's Cool Thing #8 - Weed doesn't kill labels. Labels just need to realize that times have changed. Labels should see this as an opportunity to watch a band plant it's roots, grow and spread their name. Weed can also give rise to more independant labels by offering low cost, massive distribution.

Weed's Cool Thing #9 - Bands should see Weed files as an opportunity to earn additional revenue and keep the cost of music down by getting product endorsements (i.e. Fender guitars, Virgin phones, House of Blues...) and incorporating it in the artwork that appears when playing a song. This "ad" will then be further distributed everytime the Weed file is shared.

Weed's Not So Cool Thing - OK, there is one downside. Weed files are in wma format and have to be played using the Windows Media Player or any compatible player. So what does this mean? Well, actually not much. WMA files can be played on almost every "MP3" player including Creatives, iRivers, Rios, and Souls to name a few. (MP3 player is just a bad term and should be replaced with portable media device. And Apple should be ashamed for limiting the iPod.)

Do yourself a huge favor and check it out now while Weed will actually PAY YOU to check it out. Setup an account and Weed will put $5.00 in your account to buy any of the Weed songs on any of the sites. And guess what? You can send the Weed songs to anyone you want - they can listen for free - and if they buy the song - you're paid, the artist is paid...

Weed - sharing is good.

UPDATE: Want to "Weedify" your songs and start spreading your music? Contact me at seestone @ (sorry for the spacing - I don't want the spiders catching my email.)