well, apparently the internet is a huge threat to music. no it isn't, really, when managed properly.
of course, if you are Sony and you block the promo material of your bands being seen by anyone outside of one or two countries on the internet you are doomed to feed the pirates, but some bands take advantage of the technology to reach out to their fans.
a few years ago Metallica, oddly one of the first to be quite vocal about the threat of "free" music across the net, set up the excellent Live Metallica site. on it fans can buy excellent recordings of all their gigs for, i think US$10.00 each, and then are free to do "whatever the hell they like" with the downloaded file. a testament to the give and take of this is that few, if any, of the gigs have appeared on the darker areas of the net. as a plus, if you buy one gig from them you have access to a massive range of not-perfect but still better than bootleg quality recordings of other gigs.
what surprised me the most about this move from Metallica was that other bands did not follow them in doing this. until now. and my, what a big act has decided this is a very, very good idea!
no less than The Rolling Stones have launched a site called The Stones Archive, on which they are going to make a number of rare, unreleased studio and live recordings available for a nominal fee.
the first 'release' on this site is an interesting one, to the extent that it appears to be "testing the water". it's a gig from their European tour of 1973; one that thanks to an FM radio broadcast has been widely available as a bootleg more or less ever since then.
whereas a lot of people will have the bootlegged version of it (i think i might even have it stuck away somewhere), the prospect of getting the full gig, as recorded on the legendary Rolling Stones Mobile Studio decks, for a fee of all of US$7.00 (yes, seven dollars), makes this pretty much a "must buy" for even the most casual of Stones fan. i shall certainly be purchasing it as soon as i have a little bit more funds to my name!
something of a word of warning, mind - for some reason this recording (and presumably others) will be available to buy only to those of us outside of the USA. a bit of a refreshing change i suppose as usually things like this, thanks to iTunes and similar, get made "USA and England only". in regards of that, refer to my comments about idiotic decisions feeding the pirates.
with a bit of luck, other bands and artists shall eventually follow this course. the fans want the material, and the majority of fans certainly have no problem whatsoever paying for it. if the money goes directly to the band or artist who made it, well then so much the better. i would imagine that Pink Floyd won't do this as they are happy just re-releasing the same things again and again in stores for profit, but it's weird that internet and fan friendly artists, in particular David Bowie, haven't already set something like this up.
anyway, go and check out the Stones site from the links given above - even if you don't buy the gig there are some amazing pictures and articles there.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!