Canadian chanteuse Jane Siberry has created an online music store that's a model of how artists can capitalize on the goodwill of their fans to line their pocketbooks and disseminate their music. Her store sells non-DRMed MP3s and encourages fans to spread the word.
EFF's Fred von Lohmann has a sterling review of Siberry's store:
Her new download store, recently unveiled at her site, is a model of what the music downloading world could be. All of her songs are available as plain MP3s, which means they will play on your iPod and are not loaded with DRM restrictions (much less evil rootkits).
And you pay whatever you like for them. Yes, you set whatever price you like. Options include:
* free ("gift from Jane");
* a standard price (CAN$0.99);
* self-determined price – pay now; or
* self-determined price – pay later (to facilitate try-before-you-buy).
When you purchase the song, moreover, you can select up to 5 people to whom you can email a link to the song.
I just saw her perform in concert here in SF, and she summed it up this way: "I want to treat people the way I'd like to be treated. I don't like being treated like a child, so I won't be doing that to other people."
Siberry doesn't have rights in all jurisdictions — in some parts of the world, she can't sell this stuff. But rather than tying your location to your credit-card billing address (I live in London, am presently in Uganda, pay taxes in Canada and have several cards billed in San Francisco), Jane lets her fans simply state where they reside. This is really stupendous — the gold standard for a digital artist's business.
Update: Pete sez, "Kudos to Jane for following the lead of former [Canadian 90s indie greats] The Inbreds drummer Dave Ullrich and his zunior.com label, which has been doing a booming business for several years now. In addition to providing plain-Jane (pun intended) mp3s they allow you to download a full sized CD ISO file for your burning pleasure. Beat that! Plus if someone wants a CD, they can pay a bit extra to cover shipping, and get both."