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Web 1.5 and the Free Music Archive
Thursday, 30 October 2008

Hey, I had a good chat yesterday with Ken Freedman, the station manager at WFMU in New Jersey and now the director (minister?) of the Free Music Archive (www.freemusicarchive.org). We have some kindred ideas about the web 2.0 lovefest, especially the value of the media sharing involved. Movements such as "Creative Commons" have freed up some media elements for public use, but the requirement that the music have a single author means a ton of free laptop-digital-music-produced-on-my-little-midi-app-in-my-basement type music.

His project, the Free Music Archive, takes advantage of the fact that many college and public radio stations are curating great music and some even have ownership of master copies of live performances at the stations. Through a "Web 1.5" approach, Ken plans to put up a ton of free music that has actually been curated by the radio community, featuring live performances by compelling bands. Songs can be reused for free in non-profit/educational works or in commercial works with the owner's permission. The project is due to launch December 15th.

In Untravel's own work with place-based storytelling, such an approach of getting great images, sounds, and stories from particular places through communities that are close to those places and have ownership over the content is very compelling. Especially if that content can be reused in others' not-for-profit pieces. Some communities that come to mind: tour guides, journalists, and filmmakers. We'll see how we can start baking that into our platform development.

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