Digital Audio Insider -- the economics of music and other digital content

  digital audio insider


Digital Audio Insider is David Harrell's blog about the economics of music and other digital content. I write from the perspective of a musican who has self-released four albums with the indie rock band the Layaways.

My personal website has links to my LinkedIn and Google+ pages and you can send e-mail to david [at] thelayaways [dot] com.

If you enjoy this site, please consider downloading a Layaways track or album from iTunes, Amazon MP3, Bandcamp, or eMusic. CDs are available from CD Baby and Amazon.


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January 25, 2008

Friday Odds and Ends
by David Harrell
Jeremy from the Fingertips music site has a good commentary on the Radiohead's "pay what you want" download experiment and the album's subsequent #1 chart appearance. My favorite part is this analysis of the supposed freeloaders:
First, it's important to realize that not everyone who downloaded it for free did so from the same place and for the same reason. Free downloaders can be divided into three distinct groups: 1) people who never would otherwise have bought this Radiohead album; 2) people who might have bought it but now won't because they got the electronic version for free; and 3) people who downloaded the album online for free because they were still planning to buy the physical CD upon its release.
When asked by the Onion's AV Club about the future of the music industry, Ice Cube isn't overly optimistic:
I'm not sure if music got a future. We have all these electronic ways to download and steal music and get music, but there's no money in makin' music. That money's startin' to dry up. So what's gonna happen in 20 years, 25 years, when the new artists of the day are all "There ain't no money in music, so I'ma go use my creative talents to do something else"? World never hears of great talent, because it's all dried up. Now what are you gonna put on your iPod? Now what are you gonna download, when there's nobody making music?
Finally, Paul Simon wrote a lot of songs. But Art Garfunkel READ a lot of books. And he's sharing the full list of them here.


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January 11, 2008

Friday Fun: 1958 Music Technology
by David Harrell
An explanation of how stereo records work and a new four-track tape cartridge from RCA:


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January 07, 2008

Now Available at
by David Harrell banner

Our two CD Baby distributed albums are now available as mp3 downloads at Full albums are $8.99, individual songs are 99 cents.

My personal preference would've been a lower price, say $7.99 or less for albums and 89 cents for single songs. I'm assuming that a blanket rate was applied to all of the releases coming from CD Baby, but I was able to find a few CD Baby artists selling for lower prices in the mp3 store. Though I have no way of knowing if CD Baby delivered those releases to Amazon -- they could be there via a different digital distributor.


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January 04, 2008

Friday Odds and Ends
by David Harrell
With three of the four majors now embracing DRM-free downloads, eMusic subscribers wonder if 2008 is the year that major label content makes it to the subscription service.

My guess is no, but I can't think of any business reason why the majors shouldn't consider adding some of their older "Long Tail" material to the eMusic catalog.

And, via the Long Tail blog: Author Charles Sheehan-Miles is giving away the PDF version of his latest book. While he's talking about authors, his explanation seems to apply equally to musicians:
Here's why: the biggest challenge most authors face isn't online piracy. It's not people out there diabolically copying their works and distributing them for free. In fact most authors (including yours truly) suffer from a different problem entirely -- no one has ever heard of them. After all, literally hundreds of thousands of new titles come out every year, and only a few hundred writers in the entire United States (if that many) actually live off their books full time. So, by giving away the book, I hope more people actually read it.

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January 02, 2008

In Rainbows, Now at
by David Harrell
If you paid more than $7.99 for the 160k version of Radiohead's "In Rainbows," you might be a bit miffed: is now selling it for that price, your choice of 256k mp3 files or compact disc. No bonus tracks for either option, ditto for the $9.99 iTunes version.

Interestingly, you can buy individual tracks from the album from both Amazon and iTunes, something that Radiohead previously resisted. (All the songs on the EMI albums are "album only" at Amazon.)

While I thought it might show up there, there's no sign of the album over at eMusic...

related: Final Thoughts on Radiohead, Pre-Ordering Radiohead, Economists, Radiohead, and Bob Mould, Radiohead Says 160k Is Good Enough


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Best eMusic Customer Review, Ever
by David Harrell
For a live Night Ranger EP:
Why are you looking for this on Emusic?

Don't you still have this crap on cassette?

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    Out Now -- "Maybe Next Year" -- The New Holiday Album:

    <a href="">Joy To The World by The Layaways</a>

    "This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption." -- Hyperbolium

    "Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today." -- Bag of Songs

    O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    Away In A Manger - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Bandcamp. Listen to free streams at

    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

    "...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop

    "Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening." -- 3hive

    "...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." -- RCRD LBL

    Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
    January - free mp3
    Keep It To Yourself - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or CD Baby, stream it at or Napster.

    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="">Silence by The Layaways</a>

    "The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start." -- Lost Music

    "Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie." -- WRUV Radio

    Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    The Long Night - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    album cover art from More Than Happy

    "These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close -- and pray that they are still with you when you wake up." -- The Big Takeover

    Let Me In - free mp3
    Ocean Blue - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website