A Possible Future Without Record Labels

Higher-powered home computers drove the democratization of music production, then the internet allowed individuals to promote themselves. Many at the time wondered if this would be the death of record labels, which previously were the only way for bands to get known.

As it turns out, the labels simply got partially replaced by streaming services and, because of the massive flood of home-produced material that was terrible as well as the social media habit of seizing on darlings of the moment, labels became more important as a way of finding good music.

This has thrown musicians for a loop. What is the point of home producing when you still need a label? Why bother self-promoting when you can only get so far, unless you are struck by the fifteen-minutes-of-fame lighting for writing a trendy or funny song?

Some music fans are working toward a new model: self-publishing with cryptocurrency as a way to trade value, so that when people listen to a podcast or album, they can then kick along micropayments directly to the artists and avoid the entire production apparatus.

I was lucky to speak with Kolomona Myer AKA Sir Libre, founder of Lightning Thrashes podcast, to delve deeper into this new economy and method of promoting music outside of the industry that takes a big cut off the top before it ever gets to musicians.

You wrote a document about how to get paid for podcasting that seems to advocate using Podcasting 2.0-compatible RSS feeds and BitCoin micropayments to fund podcasters. How hard is this for the average user?

It can vary between extremely easy to very complicated. It all depends on what the average user’s goals are and how comfortable they are with technology. There are services that will completely do everything for the user, all they need to do is create an mp3 file.

Right now I like what Boo-Bury is doing. He’s helping musicians get their music online for a small split.

If self sovereignty is a concern then the complexity increases. One could set up their own bitcoin lightning node, manage liquidity, self host their files and distribute them via IPFS. I don’t recommend this as it’s a major pain.

No matter how the podcast gets published all that is needed is an RSS file, an mp3 file, a place to host those files and a lightning wallet capable of receiving keysend payments.

How widely adopted do you think BitCoin is at this point in time?

Without relying on a search engine I will try to answer this question from my perception which is likely inaccurate.

I think that we are still in an early adoption phase regarding bitcoin. I’d guess that less than 1% of the world owns any bitcoin and probably somewhere around 15-20% even know about it.

A lot of the value provided by bitcoin to regular people these days is in the form of remittances. Many migrant workers send money back to their home countries. Before bitcoin, services such as Western Union would take a high percentage of any money sent across borders. Now with the bitcoin lightning network this can be done for a fraction of a penny. Example:

Many in the 2.5 million Salvadoran diaspora send money to friends and family still living in El Salvador. Last year, they collectively transferred nearly $6 billion, or roughly 23% of the country’s gross domestic product, and a chunk of that went to the middlemen facilitating these international transfers.

The hassle around remittances is one chief reason El Salvador President Nayib Bukele cited for declaring bitcoin legal tender. As part of the rollout, the government has launched its own national virtual wallet — called “Chivo,” or Salvadoran slang for “cool” — which offers no-fee transactions and allows for quick cross-border payments.

Mega companies like BlackRock are looking at ways to add bitcoin to their portfolios. When this happens I think that we’ll see a lot more adoption of bitcoin by other companies, which should lead into the adoption of bitcoin by normal people as they use the services provided by those companies.

Would there be collisions with copyright if podcasters were creating radio shows that featured bands that held their own copyrights, or bands whose copyrights were held by labels? Do these bands generally waive copyright for radio broadcast?

The world of music copyrights is a very expensive, ugly and litigious one. I recommend treating traditional copyrighted material as if it were a deadly poison.

From what I understand, in order to play copyrighted music on the radio, a podcast, a video, or other medium the proper license would need to be purchased from companies such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc.

The monies received by these companies are supposed to get funneled down to the copyright holders, which may or may not include the actual artists. It’s an inefficient, convoluted mess of a system that is best avoided.

In 2021, ASCAP collected over US$1.335 billion in revenue, distributed $1.254 billion in royalties to rights-holders. In FY 2022, BMI collected $1.573 billion in revenues and distributed $1.471 billion in royalties. $81 Million from ASCAP, and $102 million from BMI totaling $183 million, was not distributed to those rights holders, and was “eaten up” by the system.

The podcasting 2.0 specification attempts to solve this problem by the disintermediation of these agencies and allowing the listener to give real value directly to the artists. The artists in turn can have that value automatically split between themselves and whomever they choose; a guitar tech, sound engineer, groupie, etc.

Notice I did not use the word bitcoin at all. The podcasting 2.0 spec is agnostic to the payment medium. It could just as well be any appropriate cryptocurrency or payment layer.

When an artist publishes a value enabled RSS feed it is reasonable to assume that they are granting a license allowing anyone to play their music in a manner that allows value to flow back to them.

Have you created any metal shows in this area? What has the response been?

I released episode one of Lightning Thrashes Sept 9th, 2023. As of this writing there are four episodes.

The response has been generally positive considering I’ve only marketed my show on podcastindex, facebook and Nostr.

According to conshax.app The show has received a total of 705 donations totaling 114,750 satoshis (Approx: $31, BTC Price $27,212)

Which is not a lot of money but considering that under 100 people have listened to the show and 15 to 20 of them donate regularly I see it as heading in a positive direction.

Lightning Thrashes stats can be viewed here. Adam Curry’s Boostagram Ball stats for comparison.

How did you get involved in “libre” (free, open, and able to be used for profit, as far as I can tell) software and music?

Basically not having any money to buy software. Ever since my first computer, an Atari 130XE back in the 80s I used to have to type source code from magazines like Byte and Compute.

I went through a phase of software pirating back in the 90s and early 2000s. Eventually Open Source software became good enough for actual use. I pretty much gave up on Windows about 5 years ago and haven’t looked back since.

Is podcasting necessarily live, or can people do canned shows?

Both canned and live shows are possible. While there are some podcasters like Adam Curry (No Agenda Show, Boostagram Ball) and Leo Laport (TWiT) that broadcast their podcasts live, most podcasters do canned shows.

Lately there has been a growing trend of podcasters doing live podcasts thanks to the podcasting 2.0 liveItem tag and modern podcast apps which support it newpodcastapps.com

Lightning Thrashes is a canned show mainly because I do not have a stable internet connection where I live.

How do you think the widespread adoption of this format would change the band-label-fan relationship triangle?

I believe that labels, record companies, A&R reps, etc. are a dying breed. They will be replaced like so many other antiquated businesses. They may never go away completely but they will become less and less relevant as time passes.

You can still buy a wagon wheel, but there aren’t as many wagon wheel manufacturers as there once was.

The ability for fans to directly monetize their favorite artists and for the artists to directly support their infrastructure is revolutionary and has the potential to change the entire music industry.

The model can also be applied to any business. Imagine paying for a hamburger and instantaneously every person that had a hand in making that burger gets a portion of the money, not from the restaurant owner but from the customer directly. In this scenario there is no employer, save the customer. It’s hard to fully wrap my head around the implications of this but I feel that it’s profound.

Do you create any music of your own?

I’ve been playing guitar and piano since I was a teenager but never seriously. Maybe one day I’ll record something.

How can people tune in to your programs?

Right now the easiest way to get the full value for value experience of a show like Lightning Thrashes is for the listener to get a modern podcast app like Fountain which is both a podcast app and a bitcoin wallet.

Buy a small amount of bitcoin from within Fountain and search for Lightning Thrashes or use this link.

The beauty of podcasting is that it’s decentralized and there is more than one way to consume.

Tags: , , , , ,

38 thoughts on “A Possible Future Without Record Labels”

  1. Year of Linux on the Desktop says:

    This will be great for the 5% of the population who are paying attention. Everyone else doesnt care about privacy, security, and efficiency. They just want porn and office 365 with the fancy icons. And if the 5% were smarter they would run BSD.

    1. JavaScript Developer says:

      The mob wants bread and circuses. The nerds want gadgets to play with. The rest of us just want Windows 7 back.

      1. Windows 11 makes Windows 10 look better but I think it peaked with Win2K.

  2. The Tinge of Ruminant Digestion says:

    The thing about music is, people love it for its quality not its copyright status. Just like most free software sucks eggs, most libre music is prett lukewarm like the “love” of Christians. Most of us need a solution that puts music not copyright status, whether yay, nay, or gay.

    1. Maestro Muzak says:

      Idk, most of the music from the last ~25 years makes royalty free jingle-jangles sound like some higher form of art.

      1. There are a couple handfuls of good and enduring bands since 1994.

  3. Voice of Eternity says:

    If we implemented a eugenic culling program, none of this would be an issue. Record labels are staffed by untermenschen and most music is drivel for untermenschen. Remove untermenschen, problem solved even if you need a mass grave for seven and a half billion retards.

  4. Mr. Underhill says:

    There is no life… in the void. Only death is real.

    1. That Dirty Guy in the Hood says:

      You little shit

      1. Mr. Underhill says:

        A wizard should know better.

    2. Orc Lives Matter says:

      The age of men is over. The time of the orc is here.

  5. Dysgenics are awesome says:

    Is this site with the comment section only trolls, sockpuppets and bots, or are there actual opinions here?

    Not that it matters anyway… because only ass is real…

    1. Episcopalian Negro says:

      Somewhere deep in the farthest reaches of space is an object so vast that humanity does not yet have measurement for it. Made entirely from congealed semen, this cosmic behemoth contains only one occupant, a space suited individual typing on his phone into a website far away. Finally he realizes that the hall of mirrors is an infinite wilderness of mirrors, and to search for the gay is to become the big ghey, at which point only Jesus can save him (and Jesus has other things to worry about). Perhaps there is also a nebula of gas-from-ass somewhere out there to sexually excite our astronaut, but most likely, he simply exists in a perfect state of confusion in a perfect present tense.

    2. Speed metal is better than death metal says:

      The only real opinions here are mine. Everyone else is soyboys.

      1. ChatGPT Jared Taylor says:

        DMU has finally given up and hired Indian H-1B tech support to troll its own message board.

      2. Soy was what good bourgeois NPCs ate in the last century. Now they have moved on to bugs, and we call them “bug chasers.”

        1. Simbaaah says:

          “Slimy, yet satisfying.”

          1. Look for a new round of Washington Post and New York Times recipes. In the meantime, okra is slimy yet satisfying, and may be the wonder food that the proles need since they are not gonna be able to afford beef under the Leftist NWO economy.

            1. IPAholics Anonymous says:

              Beer gives you a fat gut and slimy, wet farts anyway.

              1. You make it sound so appealing. Maybe I can make a beer with peanut butter, black beans, and bacon fat in it for extra flatovelocity.

                1. Beerpolice says:

                  I just noticed I substituted “beef” with “beer”. Guess I have a problem. Carry on then, citizen.

                  1. Wait I want to go drinking with this guy.

              2. Also, in my experience, anything that breaks down into sugars in the gut produces voluminous flatulence.

                1. The wetness is blown out by the additional power, and the slime is E. Coli cultures living on the soft Petri dish of your anus.

      3. shut down or shut up says:

        now that you’ve used the word soyboys to describe a group of people with whom you have a kinship and have yet never known personally I think you’re kind of lame

    3. Pustule Slurper says:

      Was it ever different? It’s like irc for malcontents, reprobates, and dissidents.

    4. There are actual opinions but we hide them behind layers of trolling, sockpuppetry, and zombie shitpoasting in order to keep XOG from figuring out our trip.

      1. Voices from the Schizorealm says:

        Could have turned it into a whole griftracket, like some have.

        1. Around here, we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.

          1. Just another sodomy reference says:

            You mean bent over with knickers around our ankles.

            1. There will always be sodomy.

              1. Hipstard says:

                Sodomy has become too mainstream, man!

                1. It’s not real hipster sex unless quinoa is involved.

  6. Cynical says:


    Another Demoncy single, this one from the full-length coming on Dark Descent (rather than the EP on Hell’s Headbangers the previous single was from).

    1. Mucho Maas says:

      I feel like Demoncy has gone to the Netflix model here. It sounds like Demoncy, yes, but there is not much more that one could say about it.

  7. No Dawn for Men says:

    When your society dies, the music dies, and little mouse-men fight over pennies extracted from the hollow tin substitute.

    1. tehchno says:

      sadboi gang

Comments are closed.

Classic reviews: