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I enjoyed the graphic with .MUSIC on top and for good reason :) All the major brands with a web strategy will launch their own branded TLDs. In regards to generics, I believe most of those will not become mainstream and will be lost in obscurity. Why? Because copycats never prevail in a competitive marketplace i.e. they have no sustainable competitive advantage. Of course there will be others that will try to exploit the new TLD ICANN decision and try to make quick, easy money, putting their credibility and reputations on the line. Unfortunately, in this case there are no shortcuts. Constantine Roussos
Thanks for the article Bruce. Lots of questions that is for sure given the complexity of all the policies that need to be incorporated to ensure that .MUSIC has a safe and responsible launch. Our inbox has gone crazy today given the global press that the ICANN announcement created.
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That fee is just the ICANN fee. Then there is a $25,000 yearly fee. If you include the registry set-up fees, escrow fees, ICANN per domain fees, the cost of marketing, operations, personnel, branding, outreach as well as building the technology to power a TLD, that number is dwarfed. You are precisely correct about cybersquatting a TLD. It will be impossible. Just the mere process of delegation of a new TLD is highly complex and ICANN checks everything, even performs background checks on the executive team. For example, if a company or individual has 3 cybersquatting cases lost in the last 4 years, ICANN takes their money and rejects them. Another rejection includes not meeting the technical requirements of launching a new TLD. Then you also have to have 3 years of registry operations funds in an escrow account for ICANN as security. Like I said, this is a very complicated process. The real issue at hand is the TLDs that have no plan. Many new TLDs will certainly fail. Launching a registry and working with ICANN is not an easy process. Most of the world has not even heard of existing TLDs such as .TRAVEL, .MUSEUM or .AERO. They exist but the usage has been limited. However, cybersquatting is very low on those restricted TLDs since they are not open for the public to register. The more restricted the less cybersquatting and the more secure the extension. Constantine
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Thanks for the message. We are swamped with requests today. Seems the new Top-Level Domain approval is the hottest topic in the media today. The mailing list for the .MUSIC Initiative is at http://music.us In regards to SEO benefits, there will be many. We will be leveraging premium domains like Rock.music and Business.music and Radio.music etc to create a dynamic directory of .MUSIC registrants that will include content if those registrants decide to create it on the network of sites. Think Wikipedia meets LinkedIn meets Myspace but using premium domains. That way, if you register .MUSIC, your domain will be listed and thus found in the search results very fast. Building trusted links and link popularity is very important to Google. Pagerank is highly related to trust and quality content. Hope I answered your question, Constantine
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No you can not yet. There have been some companies in the domaining industry that have begun pre-registrations for .MUSIC or other top-level domains. These are not ICANN-approved or endorsed. The .MUSIC Initiative has no plan for pre-registrations before we announce the .MUSIC Community Member Organizations that will be used to verify that you are a music entity. This is a highly complicated process given that many artists have the same name from different countries. We are working on those policies in order to ensure that the allocation of .MUSIC names are made in a fair, transparent and meaningful way. You can sign up on the http://music.us site if you want to be in the loop with all the latest developments. I agree, it is quite a complicated process. Constantine
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The final cost will be determined by registrars. The way it works is the .MUSIC registry comes up with a wholesale price and then every interested registrar (Godaddy, Network Solutions and 1000 other registrars) can apply to be able to provide .MUSIC to music entities - just as long as they abide to the policies the .MUSIC registry sets forth for registration and usage. Then the registrar (eg Godaddy) can either price it below the wholesale price (they could upsell hosting and make their money there) or sell it higher than the wholesale price (if their only revenue source is the domain name). Prices will vary from registrar to registrar. It all depends on their overall strategy and their business model. Most registrars bread and butter is hosting. This is why they offer free domains if you buy 1 years of hosting or any of their other add ons. The price of .MUSIC from our .MUSIC Initiative will be competitively priced on the wholesale level. Again this is still to be determined but since there is verification it will be a bit higher than the .COM price. The advantage is obvious: you become a member of a verified, trusted community of official music websites. Our goal is to organize .MUSIC in a consistent manner where direct navigation through the browser can be leveraged without the help of Google and ensure that monies flow to legitimate music entities that are verified as opposed to pirates or unlicensed websites. A value-added to the Music Industry. If you think of safe extensions you think of .GOV and .EDU i.e the restricted top-level domains. This is the approach we are taking. Safety, security and resiliency is key in launching a new top-level domain. Constantine Roussos .MUSIC http://music.us
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As I mentioned earlier, .MUS is not a better extension than .MUSIC. If you look at Google alone, the long tail of the word "music" is in the billions of search queries every month. From just the SEO perspective, .MUS does not add value and is grounds for ICANN to reject .MUS because it is similar to .MUSeum that already exists, Constantine Roussos
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Excellent point if .MUSIC was an open top-level domain. However, we are launching .MUSIC as a restricted top-level domain with strict enforcement policies to prevent this kind of malicious behavior. Cybersquatting or typosquatting will not be tolerated. In regards to registration, we will require that music entities be verified through .MUSIC accredited Community Member Organizations (CMOs). These could be trade organizations, PROs, Unions, accredited digital aggregators and other reputable organizations with members. Constantine Roussos
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We have built a globally protected marks list that includes all the major bands and artist. If there is any violation of our policies or cybersquatting or typosquatting, the domain will be retrieved. Given that we will be a restricted top-level domain not open like .COM, this will facilitate more trust from fans because they will know that the artist .MUSIC page is official and verified. Constantine Roussos
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It can not be .MUS because it is too confusingly similar with .MUSEUM that already exists. Plus .MUSIC actually means something and it will help SEO as well, Constantine
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Hey Tim, We will not allow the exclusion of legitimate small bands or music bloggers. The policies for small bands and music bloggers will be incorporated. We also have been deveoping policies surrounding .music fan websites as well. We will not being excluding members of the at-large music community and a process will be in place to validate themselves and register a .music domain. The CMOs will be diverse. The .music community will be highly inclusive for music constituents. It is so inclusive for the music community that we are also working towards International Domain Names for .music to facilitate the music community from regions with languages in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi etc. In other words, we will be vying for the internalization of the music space on the Internet. The .music initiative will cater to the needs of a culturally-diverse global music community. Besides English/Latin, .MUSIC will also be translated and launched in 8 other languages, including French (.musique), Germanic (.musik), Hindi, Russian (.музыка), Japanese (音楽), Korean (음악), Arabic and Chinese (.音乐). Check http://music.us/innovation.htm for more info. Our goal is truly innovate the space and keep it exclusive to the music community and not cybersquatters or pirates. We are committed to our original mission of adding value to the music community, bring new innovation, facilitate collaboration as well as make the TLD truly internationalized. Win-win is the objective and unity in vision and execution. For that all constituents will benefit by participating and engage positively for the greater good of the industry. In actuality, the exclusion of members of the music community is exactly what we are striving against. Thank you for allowing me to expand upon your comment. It is a very important issue that you posed and highly critical for making .music a success and a safe launch. Constantine Roussos .music domain initiative http://music.us
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Thanks Kyle for the article about .music and all the concerns that we have in regards to safely and responsibly launching the .music top-level domain extension for the music community. Our policies in regards to .music domains will be focused on outlawing copyright infringement. Our policies will go beyond what ICANN requires and the standard norm for domain name registrations thus far. The .music domain extension will be a community-based initiative with stringent policies in regards to registration rules. Only members of approved .music Community Member Organizations (CMOs) will be able to register a .music address. CMOs will include .music-accredited Trade Organizations, Government Agencies/Export Offices, Music Educational Institutions, Digital Aggregators and Music Communities. It will not be open to the general public like a .COM. We invite these types of organizations to become .music Community Member Organizations, who will serve as gatekeepers to protect .music from malicious conduct. These CMOs will be assigned a validating ID that will be given to their members to use in order to register a .music domain. You can email us at community (at) music.us if you are an organization interested in becoming a .music accredited CMO. We will be at Midem, New Music Seminar, Digital Music Forum East and SXSW as well. Contact us via our website http://music.us/contact.htm if you have questions or interest. Best, Constantine Roussos .music Domain Initiative http://music.us
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Great discussion about URLs and music on the Internet. The URL will become the universal music format but not in this manner. I disagree that it will be a music shortener because it is not memorable. The future will be a memorable URL under the top-level domain name .music as opposed to .com or other TLDs. If you want more info on the future of music links go to Music.us We have been building the technology for a few years now. We expect it to be launched in 2012. I think the key is URLs that make sense and can be directly navigated to. Traditional shortened URLs are not the future because they can not be remembered. Constantine Roussos Music Top-Level Domain Initiative
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Artist should be held accountable as well. Look at the war surrounding the performance royalty to be paid out to performing artists for terrestrial radio. Many big-name artists do NOT take a more vocal stance because of their selfish self-interests. This is hypocrisy at its finest. Many artists are scared to take the position of going against terrestrial radio because they will take a hit if their songs are taken off the air. They are in it for themselves, not the music industry as a whole. This is the problem we are facing. We collectively as an industry have done a terrible job at finding sustainable ways to adapt to the change that digital brought about. There are so many opportunities but the problem is we are divided based on self-interests or just fear. Constantine Roussos .MUSIC http://music.us
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Hey John, you are right on the money. Companies screwing artists include: 1) Google/Youtube 2) Terrestrial Radio / NAB 3) Apple 4) Limewire/PirateBay The sad thing is, we do not seem to get it. Apple and Google really get it. Look at their stock prices. Piggybacking music is a crucial component of success for them. The most searched terms on the Internet are music related: music, lyrics & videos. Google knows this. So we will get Google Music. Problem with the music industry is that most do not really get it. We are fighting each other while others reap the benefits. Apple and Google are probably the two most innovative companies. Their positioning is translating into billions of dollars. Google Music & Apple iTunes will not save the music industry. Loss leading is not the way of the future: Google: It is not about the music, it is about the ads. Apple: It is not about the music, it is about the hardware Companies have pulled the rug underneath the music industry and the sad thing is, many have not received the memo about this. And yes, this trend will continue until we develop a sound strategy to increase our value proposition and diversify revenue streams. Licensing for example is a key issue. If you make it hard for people to license, they will not. Territorial licenses are to blame. Clearing is to blame. We are to blame. You make it difficult and inconvenient to be paid then you will NOT be paid, even if someone wants to pay you. Constantine Roussos .MUSIC http://music.us
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I find it interesting that every post that includes the word "RIAA" always has a theme of bashing the trade organization without any merit. Understanding the customer hierarchy ladder will illustrate my point that surrounds the underlying issue we are facing in the music industry. In every business there are primary customers and secondary customers. Understanding who your primary customer is without a doubt integral to success. Take McDonald's for example. In the 80's and 90's McDonald's considered its primary customer being real estate developers and franchise owners NOT the people who ate at the restaurants. The results: declining sales. McDonald's new mantra became: "The new boss is the consumer." Success followed. They figured out who the real customer was and created value for them, resulting to financial success. Most music start-ups fail because not only do they not understand their customer, they just do not know who their customer really is or identifying the appropriate customer hierarchy ladder. The RIAA's primary customers are record labels. However, the record label's primary customer is the consumer who buys their product (the artist's music). However, the music brand is created by the artist, which enhances the value of the product and the financial return to the label. RIAA -> Label -> Artist -> Consumer -> Hardcore Fans The stronger the brand (artist), the higher the sales (artist & label). It is important to realize that the RIAA is a trade organization representing the major labels, not the artists. It is the major labels that in turn represent and pay the artists. The success of the major labels depends on the success of the artists. The value chain is interrelated and the success or failure of one affects the whole chain. Smart artists with the major labels have competent managers, attorneys and accountants who can keep the labels in check for payments. Just like every business, it is always harder to collect if you are owed money. This is not strictly a music industry phenomenon. I really do believe that many of us are missing the boat in regards to the function of trade organizations and their role. Look at the MusicFirst Coalition. The RIAA is also a member of the Coalition and they are fighting for the right for performers to be paid a royalty for terrestrial radio broadcasts. Why hasn't anyone bashed the RIAA or MusicFirst for attempting to take NAB headfirst for the benefit of artist performers being paid? This means that the RIAA does care about artist's getting paid right? If the labels get paid, the artist's get paid. If the labels do not get any money, nothing funnels to the artists. I think most of us in the music industry are very quick to point fingers and find a scapegoat for some the industry's failures. In the end, it is all about product, branding, convenience and creating a better value proposition for fans and figuring out how to get paid more effectively. Getting paid money that is owed (Accounts Receivable)is an administrative issue. The artist and their team, just like any business, are responsible for figuring out the best way to get paid the money they are owed. If you attach a middle-man or a partner to your product (label), then it is your responsibility to get paid. Look at SoundExchange. They have millions of dollars of unclaimed money. The real question is whether the artists want to get paid or if it is too much of a hassle for them to try to get paid. We are all responsible for how we conduct business and get paid. Artists are not an exception to the rule. This is why having the best possible team representing the artist is key. Constantine Roussos .MUSIC http://www.music.us
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Anonymous = Anonymous Cowards The tactics employed by this organization are unacceptable. Limewire was certainly guilty. End of story. Anonymous cheap shots and hacking tactics should not be tolerated. Why an earth would they target RIAA executive family members? How is Mitch's wife to blame? No one in their right mind would ever support this kind of behavior. Constantine .music
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Start-ups will fail if their value proposition is not: a) sustainable / profitable b) competitively superior / differentiated c) flexible / adaptable with environment d) current / trend-friendly e) hard to imitate / barrier to entry How many music companies possess these traits? Not many. Constantine Roussos .MUSIC http://music.us
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I have no sympathy for pirates and hackers. Internet security as well as the protection of works are certainly not to be take lightly. "Their own academic development would not have been possible, had they not been able to pirate books, because they simply can’t afford them." Does this mean that if you can not afford something you are entitled to steal it in the name of education and academic development? This is akin to saying you will break into Guitar Center, steal a guitar and then claim that playing guitar has enhanced your personal and academic growth as a valid excuse for stealing. The RIAA has every right to protect their members and do what is in the best interest of their constituents. If not for the RIAA, who would be lobbying for music copyright protection? While some of the strategies have been ineffective, their role is critical. If you let the pirates and hackers loose, then forget about Internet Security, secure websites and monetizing digital. It is bad enough as it is. The notion that people should not pay for music if it is on a major label is a stab in the back for the new or up-and-coming artists that are signed to those labels. On one hand, people want to give the money to the artist but on the other hand they give them nothing because they are signed to a major. Then the artist is dropped because of low returns. The irony is sad and so is the double standard. These hackers or may I say "Anonymous Cowards" need to be shut down. Nothing worse than hackers and their phishing scams that is for sure. Constantine Roussos .music http://music.us
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I believe someone has to stand for the protection of copyright and intellectual capital for writers. While some musicians do not mind giving their music for free, others do have an issue with not being compensated for their craft. You can not blame those who choose not to give their work for free. That said, the RIAA is certainly one of the few organizations that need to keep their stronghold on piracy. There needs to be pressure exerted against piracy and if the RIAA does not do it, who will? I firmly believe that they are certainly doing their job in the area of exerting pressure against piracy. However, one area of concern are companies that have piggybacked on the music industry. Companies such as Google, Apple and the ISPs. They are stretching technological innovation but unfortunately, since they are publicly traded companies, it is all about the bottom line and shareholder wealth. Apple's bread and butter is hardware. Google's is search. The ISPs is charging for faster speeds. Can some agreement be made? The unfortunate answer is that the bargaining power has shifted to these companies. Steve Jobs for example is quite cunning and has made Apple into a powerhouse. How can Apple control operating systems, music devices, phone devices, computers as well as manage content through iTunes? Talk about controlling distribution and hardware. It is Apple's world. Changing cultures on file-sharing will be tough for the RIAA. iTunes only sells to 23 countries. What about the other countries, where piracy is more prevalent because they do not have legal alternatives? I think there is a lot of work to do to turn to tide in a positive direction. For example, in Germany, YouTube is still not paying songwriters. Again, it is Google with the bargaining power. As long as technology companies enjoy the bargaining power, piracy will still roam strong. In regards to ISPs, how would you divide the monies? Music, movies, TV, software, games, ebooks and so forth. Measurement and tracking is the easy part. The hard part is figuring out how to distribute any "entertainment tax" from ISPs. The RIAA in my opinion would love the 3-strike rule. Easier said than done though. Let us hope for the better. Constantine Roussos .music http://music.us
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2010 on What Is The RIAA Hoping To Change? at hypebot
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I disagree with the whole notion of the corporation. Facebook, Twitter and every other venture-funded company is all about the bottom line. We are talking Venture Capital here. Myspace, Facebook and Twitter are all different kind of networks. We use them in entirely different ways. Twitter followers for .MUSIC has a better ROI. The "like" feature is not as effective as a follower. The Myspace "friend" is quite different since we are looking at a Myspace dropoff in regards to interaction. Facebook uses ads as well and so does Twitter with their sponsored Tweets. Not sure what you are expecting from these companies. Their goal is to monetize (eventually for some). If you have a problem with them, get your own music website and build something better. Let your music talk. I think Myspace has done a pretty good job for musicians over the last 7 years. Question is how if they will become relevant again. Only with innovation. The ads are just what keeps them alive so you can not blame them for that. This has nothing to do whether you are a corporation or a small business owner. You need to pay the bills and earn a profit. Constantine Roussos .music http://music.us
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2010 on Why MySpace Hates Musicians at hypebot
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I would like to ask musicians this question: "How do you expect to make money on the web if you are not willing to invest in premium services to increase the chances of getting paid, and save money on your time management?" On the other side of the spectrum is the consumer. They want free music. So the greatest majority of musicians want free services and most of the consumers want to get free music. This is why anyone selling content is having problems. I suggest more music companies start offering better premium services and charge for it. The musicians who think free is better than services that can save them time and make them money can use average free services. The artists that are all about "free" really do not understand the value of their time and services that can increase their sales and decrease time spent on online endeavors. Even a small percentage increase of sales using premium services can offset the price you pay per month. If services can help you sell more, then by doing the math it is obvious there is value there. Operating a business for free is worst idea known to man unless you want to get eyeballs and sell to a 3rd party. Running a business on the idea of making money through an exit strategy is disastrous. My recommendation: Build better tools, offer better services, help musicians make money easier, faster and more conveniently. Offer tools that surpass the free counterparts. Then charge them for that value. If the artists think it is worth it they will pay for it. All they need to know is that the "payback" of the premium fee surpasses the "payback" of the premium every month. I think it would be an opportunity to weed out the "chaos" and the sucky bands who do not have the confidence in themselves to invest something for them to go to the next level. Your time is valuable. More time = more time to write better songs and less time spent performing online work. By the way, Reverbnation is not free. If you are a serious musician with an email list, there is a premium monthly fee of $9.95 for up to 1000 people. $2.95/month to increase your "per song" size from 8MB to 25MB. Also their sitebuilder is $17.95 per month. They have a business model for their serious musicians. Bandcamp is making a great move. If you want companies like these to be innovating in order to help musicians, then it is naive to expect that venture capital or investor dollar should be enough. The sense of entitlement of some musicians is quite amazing, especially for small fees. The value proposition has to be great. If it is worth paying for it, then pay for it. If not, then give that company feedback how they can improve their services so that you would be willing to pay. Constantine Roussos .music http://music.us
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I really believe that value and willingness to pay are greatly connected. If a band is not willing to invest 2 Starbucks coffees a month in their band then there is an inherent problem. My question to the bands is how much 1 hour of their time is worth every month. I know as a musician too that my time is valuable and probably worth more than $10 an hour. However the band chooses to go free but spend more time and effort for the same job because of the psychological "feel-good" factor of getting a free deal. Problem is we are wired to try to get the best deal possible and free always seems to be the best deal. But is free truly the best? There is certainly a cost associated to free: your time and better services that can earn you more money. What is better making more money or having a better percentage of earnings? 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Your time is valuable right? The investments per month are pretty much negligible for bands in my opinion eg $10 fee per month. And please do not tell me a band of 5 people will starve if they lose $2 each a month :) I think Ian Rogers understood the concept of helping the artists that truly have their stuff together and reject the ones who do not. He simply is great at saying no. I think more artist websites that believe add value should say no and not cling on to the concept of free. If you think your site delivers great value then price that value so that the artists pays what they think it is worth. We are taking the same approach with .MUSIC. You will have to obviously pay for your domain name. It is not free because there is a cost attached to it. So what is better: anothercompany.com/yourname (FREE) or yourname.com ? Would you like to co-brand yourself with another company or just brand yourself? FREE vs Premium. You pick and choose what represents you. The most successful bands will always choose the best product that would maximize their profits and minimize their time. I am not referring to profit percentage but profits in total. 50% of $10,000 is better than 100% of $2000. Psychologically the 100% split sounds better. But it is not. If people think that Bandcamp is not worth more than free then they should not pay. If they believe that they are getting value and the site is worth something perhaps they should speak to Bandcamp and explain what is preventing them from paying and why they believe they should pay nothing to Bandcamp for the service they are getting and is helping them. This will be useful information for Bandcamp and other companies to receive as well. Let us start talking about how to create additional value so artists would be willing to pay as opposed to be stuck in the whole "free" concept. Constantine Roussos .music http://music.us
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I really believe that value and willingness to pay are greatly connected. If a band is not willing to invest 2 Starbucks coffees a month in their band then there is an inherent problem. It is probably a lack of confidence in themselves and their music. My question to the bands is how much 1 hour of their time is worth every month. I know as a musician too that my time is valuable and probably worth more than $10 an hour. However the band chooses to go free but waste 5 times the time to accomplish something they could have with the premium service and make more money as a result. Free is inherently problematic because we are wired to get the best deal. Free though rarely is the best deal. Your time is valuable right? The investments per month are pretty much negligible for bands in my opinion eg $10 fee per month. And please do not tell me a band of 5 people will starve if they lose $2 each a month :) I think Ian Rogers understood the concept of helping the artists that truly have their stuff together and reject the ones who do not. He simply is great at saying no. I think more artist websites that believe add value should say no and not cling on to the concept of free. If you think your site delivers great value then price that value so that the artists pays what they think it is worth. We are taking the same approach with .MUSIC. You will have to obviously pay for your domain name. It is not free because there is a cost attached to it. So what is better: anothercompany.com/yourname (FREE) or yourname.com ? Would you like to co-brand yourself with another company or just brand yourself? FREE vs Premium. You pick and choose what represents you. The best bands will always choose the best product that would maximize their profits and minimize their time. I am not referring to profit percentage but profits in total. 50% of $10,000 is better than 100% of $2000. Psychologically the 100% split sounds better. But it is not. If people think that Bandcamp is not worth more than free then they should not pay. If they believe that they are getting value and the site is worth something perhaps they should speak to Bandcamp and explain what is preventing them from paying and why they believe they should pay nothing to Bandcamp for the service they are getting and is helping them. This will be useful information for Bandcamp and other companies to receive as well. Let us start talking about how to create additional value so artists would be willing to pay as opposed to be stuck in the whole "free" concept. Constantine Roussos .music http://music.us
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Hey everyone. My name is Constantine Roussos and I am the founder of .music domain name extension. This will be the exclusive domain name for the music industry. e.g yourname.music For more info on it you can check out MusicThinkTank article at: http://www.musicthinktank.com/mtt-open/why-the-music-industry-needs-a-music-official-website-domain.html Please feel free to comment and ask any questions. The official website is: http://music.us Thanks! Constantine Roussos .MUSIC http://music.us
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