Monday, August 15, 2005

Such Great Heights 

Reuters has an interesting interview with Sub Pop Records co-founder Jonathan Poneman, where he's refreshingly honest about what fans downloading music means to him, and his label:
Q: Without a tour or a big radio hit, the Postal Service became your second-best-selling act. Would that have happened without the Web?

A: I don't think they could have had the success they had without the Internet, without a doubt. We're approaching 9 million downloads on (Postal Service single) "Such Great Heights." Those are freebies, but we've also done a huge amount of paid downloads on that. Tony Kiewel, who's the Postal Service's A&R guy here, always points out that we're still selling "Such Great Heights" even though it's been available for free on our site for two years. It's our greatest freebie and probably our greatest-selling (online) song.

Q: When you see a stat like 9 million free downloads of "Such Great Heights," is there a part of you that says, "Why haven't we sold 2 million albums?"

A: No. My first goal is to promote my artists. The artists are doing well, and I'm doing well. The idea that we should be making more is obscene. The fact that I can make a living being around these artists I admire so much and whose music I live for is a gift.

Sales measure the success, and the artists, of course, want to sell a lot of records. But from my standpoint, success is measured in how many people know about the music. So if every bit of music that's out there is not paid for, it's not the end of the world.

Amen. I know making money is a MAJOR factor for the artists making the music, but as a fan, I would think the artists would love the fact that fans from around the world can share the music, and introduce others to a band/song that they like. Yes, that may be naive, but whatever.


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