File-Sharers Face ’3 Thanks’ for Excessive Downloading

The term '3 strikes' is well known in file-sharing circles - infringe on copyrights and face Internet disconnection. But every coin has two sides, day can eclipse night and evil can be countered by good. Free music service Jamendo continues the theme by shunning '3 Strikes' and embracing '3 Thanks' for downloaders.

jamendoProposals for disconnecting people from the Internet are a hot-topic at the moment but they are surrounded with such negativity that just writing about them can prove depressing. But thankfully not all music suppliers want to be associated with such misery.

Luxembourg-based music platform and community Jamendo has well over half a million members, more than 100,000 album reviews and in excess of 17,000 albums on offer – all of them free to download. Jamendo lets artists keep 50% of the revenue generated and almost 100% of the donations received by the site go to the artists too.

In order to make a statement amidst escalating discussion on ’3 Strikes’ regimes, Jamendo has launched a scheme of its own. Called ’3 Thanks’, Jamendo has turned the music industry’s strategy on its head. From now on, Jamendo will send a ‘thank you’ email to anyone who downloads any of the tracks (currently around 200,000) from the site, while encouraging them to share with their friends.

Jamendo’s ’2nd Strike’ will be signaled by the most active downloaders receiving not a warning letter, but a ‘thank you’ note bundled with an “accomplice kit” containing stickers and other goodies.

In complete contrast to the plans of IFPI (which plans to disconnect people on their ’3rd Strike’), Jamendo will seek out their most active supporters who are able to convince a bar, restaurant, shop or hotel to sign up to the PRO service, and actually pay their ISP bill for the month.

TorrentFreak caught up with Jamendo creator Sylvain Zimmer who told us that he is delighted to be able to launch this initiative worldwide. Clearly Jamendo feel there are better methods of doing business than lobbying for punitive measures against consumers. But what should be done instead?

“We strongly think that the music economy is all about the relation between the artist and its fans : punishing them won’t do any good,” Sylvain told TorrentFreak.

“On Jamendo we try to make that relationship stronger, and we have seen over the years that it creates much more value, even for the artist though great feedback, donations, a large community/fanbase, loyalty and viral marketing. Our job is to make the artists understand that, and we have 10,000 of them on the platform now that do,” Sylvain added.

Sylvain told us that punishing downloaders will only alienate artists from their fanbase and make them less popular. “Maybe we have to help amplify that backslash, and make it the accepted standard to put your music online for free and monetize other revenue streams, such as concerts, music licensing, Jamendo PRO etc.”

Visitors to torrent sites will be aware that Jamendo artist torrents are appearing there more and more. We asked Sylvain if this is helping Jamendo to grow.

“Yes we have partnerships with Mininova, isoHunt and Vuze among others, and yes they did help us grow a bit,” he said. “I think what’s also important is the service for the artists, it is one of our advantages compared to competitors. We offer the artists that upload on Jamendo a very large reach, mainly via these partners.”

As torrent sites struggle to be accepted as a legitimate platform for media distribution, Sylvain feels that a relationship with Jamendo can be a reciprocal one.

“Through our partnerships, we also help them prove that their torrent websites can be used for legal content, so it’s win-win for everyone,” Sylvain told us.

All downloads on Jamendo are completely free for everyone, but users are encouraged to support any of the bands if they like what they hear. The Pro package on the other hand is interesting for owners of bars, restaurant and other public spaces. They avoid paying the traditional royalties and the money goes directly to the artists.

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