First-ever electronica album released under Creative Commons with collecting society support

The first-ever Creative Commons-licensed electronica album that is backed by a collecting society has just been released. This means that the artist will get paid for radio-play and live performance (which the collecting societies get money for), a major breakthrough since many collecting societies have been hostile to CC, telling members that if they adopt CC licenses, they can kiss their radio-play money goodbye.

Henrik sez, "I am really excited about this release - it's a FABULOUS album (the best CC licensed music I have ever heard) and finally a break for serious musicians trying to make a living off their art - collecting societies still play a large role around here, and no sane musician would pass on their checks."

Today marks the release of Small Arm of Sea, the debut album by female indietronica singer, songwriter and producer Tone (Sofie Nielsen). While the album itself is unique in its style and substance, seamlessly combining abstract electronic composition techniques with a clear pop sensibility, it is equally as intriguing in terms of distribution. Small Arm of Sea is available both in stores (on both combined CD/DVD w/ visuals or vinyl) and online (for free, non-DRM download), with physical copies containing the text “Copy this album for your friends, please!”.

The most interesting aspect of the album’s distribution is that Small Arm of Sea is both CC-licensed (BY-NC-ND) and backed commercially by KODA, Denmark’s music collection society. This means that not only is Small Arm of Sea available for free and open sharing, but also operating within in the traditional Danish commercial structure, in which KODA collects royalties for commercial uses. This is the first album of its kind to be released in such a way, and label Urlyd, who are releasing the album, are understandably ecstatic.

Link (Thanks, Henrik!)


  1. It’s an interesting album… not really my cup of tea with the vocal processing and the choppy effects, but I can appreciate the artistry. There are definitely a couple tracks here I enjoyed (“Wake Me Up” and “Sounds Like a New #3″) and will certainly listen to again. And for me the timing of new, engaging electronica that’s DRM-free is particularly enlightening — I was just struggling this morning with iTunes refusing to let me play some songs on this laptop because I didn’t have an Internet connection to verify the license. And these were tracks that had been FREE from iTunes! So the only music I had on this machine was unavailable. It made me realize, yet again, that DRM is nothing but a hassle that inconveniences everyone and devalues the music it’s supposed to protect. And made me glad I’ve avoided paying money for any DRM’ed music.

  2. This album is not particularly good. The resemblance of her voice to that of Billie Holiday is interesting.

  3. @bcsizemo

    And cars are not a form of transportation (real transportation involves riding an animal).

  4. thank you, Alphager – that there isn’t a torrent or direct-download of the whole album listed on the main site is frustrating and short-sighted.

    and Bcsizemo? if you don’t like electronic music, fine — but there are those of us who do, so please move along.

  5. The “first ever” phrasing is a bit confusing. I think what is meant is “collecting society explicitly supports cc-licensed album for the first time”

    For actually great music that is CC-licensed, check out Jahtari (, a web label that has been releasing albums and singles that are CC licensed for years

    chiptunes reggae forever!

  6. @radioguy, franko:

    You guys need to brush up on your reading comprehension. bcsizemo is saying the term “electronica” is so broad it’s meaningless. Follow the link he posted.

  7. @badc0ffee: i admit not following his link, so you may be right whe you assert that i wasn’t fully understanding his argument. but in my defense, i guessed that the link was blogspam. i just checked out the link provided, and i’m still unclear as to why the site indicated is relevant, so maybe i was right all along?

    i think “electronica” (while admittedly an industry-coined term) is still as valid as, say, “classical”, or “classic rock”. it’s a handy catch-all.

  8. Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music is basically a sampler of hundreds of styles of electronic music. (I think his classifications are crap personally)

    I agree electronica is a useful term. I more or less know what to expect when I click on the link. Tell that to bcsizemo, he’s the one who disagrees.

  9. @BCSizemo

    Do you trust a physicist to tell you — beyond what you think you know — what counts as a particle?

    I am a former music major with six years of intensive music theory training under my belt. I have perfect pitch and have written two symphonies. Let me tell you: electronica is as much a “music form” as anything else. Does it have a rhythm? Check. Melodic potential? Check. Above and beyond necessity, it even follows a standard western scale structure and harmonic breakdown, with standard major/minor, diatonic… why am I arguing about this? I won’t even bother going to your site.

    If I “program” a symphony onto my keyboard and swap out orchestral parts for custom-made voice patches and add a few drum tracks… how is that any different than writing a symphony in note form and then having it rearranged by an arranger?

    I’d like to know where you’re getting this bizarrely technical understanding of the phrase “music form.”

    I will also say that an apple is not a real fruit form. While I’m at it, all squares are round and have nine corners… WTF…

  10. I hate that in order to find electronica at a record store, I have to peruse a section called “dance”.

  11. I assume that bcsizemo is specifically referring to the Ishkur guide’s statement that there is no such thing as “electronica.” But Ishkur goes on to say in the guide that there IS such a thing as “electronic music” and is the same stuff that “electronica” is supposed to represent, so I didn’t understand his point. Unless the term “electronica” is uncool or unhip for those who consider themselves real electronic music afficionados? They seem like synonyms to me.

    In any event, what other sites for good CC-licensed electronica/electronic music would you folks recommend?

  12. Yes, it’s a contradictory statement. More to the point, it’s linkspam. That’s weird. Bcsizemo has a history of posting unexceptionable comments here. I’ve sent him a note asking whether there’s any chance that someone’s gotten hold of his user account.

  13. I was wondering, since I am not very familiar with the whole CC licensing thing, would I be able to use this as soundtrack for a short film since it is a not for profit project? Would I have to contact the artist/label? How does CC-licensed music works?

  14. @ad

    The Creative Commons FAQ is probably what you’re looking for.

    In short, as long as you abide by the terms of the license, asking the artist is unneccesary.

    In this case, the artist has specified a No-Derivatives (ND) license, and I believe that prevents you from using it as soundtrack for a film (which is classified as a derivative work).

  15. Well I’d like to apologize to the faithful readers of BoingBoing. I certainly didn’t mean to start a flame/riot war here.

    As several people were pointing out, it was simply a statement from Ishkur’s guide to electronic music that “electronica” is simply a mass marketed term to make any form of electronic music more pleasing and accepting among the general public. Similar to the something like, rock, which encompasses probably tens (maybe hundreds) of sub-genres each with different qualities. I was in no way trying to imply electronic music isn’t “real” music, far from it. Most of my music collection is some form of electronic music.

    I’m still scratching my head as to why a website is classified as linkspam? It’s not spam, nor am I affiliated with it, and have no personal gain from it. It seemed simplier to give people the address for something I thought might be comically relevant, than to say go to google look for ishkur and his guide to electronic music. For future reference I just won’t post websites…

    I just suppose my taste in humor must vary from that of the majority of BoingBoing readers. I guess anyone that found my comments offensive, or crap can simply ignore my future posts. And as the moderator pointed out:

    Bcsizemo has a history of posting unexceptionable comments here.

    Always feels good to be loved… j/k

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