A2F2A.com: Artists and Fans Try to Solve Record Industry Disconnect

By Richard Menta 10/27/09

Don’t make any mistake" says P2Pnet.net editor and longtime MP3 Newswire contributer Jon Newton. "Music lovers want to pay for the music they love". With those words Newton and UK artist Billy Bragg launched a new site dubbed Artist 2 Fan 2 Artist (A2F2A.com) to bring together fans and performers in an ongoing dialogue where the objective is to find solutions that will fairly monetize music in the digital age. Fair, of course, for artists and fans, many who feel that they are severely shortchanged by those very expensive middlemen we know as the record conglomerates.

Bragg and Newton's method to achieve this goal is through vibrant and constructive debate, conversations that both men hope will reveal pragmatic business models that connect artist and fan directly. The results do not have to cut out the big hungry labels completely, label execs are strongly encouraged to participate, but both men are clearly fed up with present industry practices. In fact, they both expect this site to generate considerable friction. In these post-Radiohead In Rainbows times, with industry revenues plummeting, the labels certainly don't want to see the creation of any more models that - if they were to gain traction - would marginalize them.

Richard Menta

“If you do decide to post here, be prepared for a hostile reaction,” says Bragg on the A2F2A.com website. “There are those both within the industry and within the p2p community who do not want this dialogue to produce positive results that will make their entrenched positions indefensible.” Bragg also suggests that users do no post under their own name, but to select "a pseudonym that allows you to be frank without fear of being attacked professionally, neither by p2p users nor by your labels".

The site's mission statement is as follows:

Artists need to be paid, and fans want to pay them.

Our goals at a2f2a are:

* Help each community better understand the other;

* Help find a practical and workable system which offers artists fair remuneration in exchange for access to material by fans; and

* Help set the agenda for discussions about the role P2P can play within the emergent digital record industry.

Together, we can do it – artist to fan to artist.

Billy Bragg, artist | Jon Newton, fan

a2f2a.com has started debate threads under several categories so far that address the issues of recasting copyright law, file sharing, and payment ideas. There is also a thread for those to post and comment on related news stories. According to Jon user participation has already come in "harder and faster" than anticipated, leading him to ask for volunteers to help with with site administration needs.

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