Despite the influx of paid music stores in the past few years, most artists are still not receiving substantial online revenues. In 2003, digital services accounted for 1% of a $12 billion music industry in the US, according to figures from Jupiter Research. Although 2004 has been an incredible growth year on the digital end, most artists view the space as a revenue enhancer over more traditional income sources like CD sales and concert ticket receipts.
Against that backdrop, more artists are willing to experiment with alternative distribution methods. A new model that has gained attention recently is Shared Media Licensing`s Weed technology, which recently scored a success with classic rock duo Heart. The Weed system allows users to sample a track three times prior to purchase, and encourages listeners to pass songs around by sharing a percentage of the final purchase. The system uses Microsoft DRM technology.
For Heart, the experiment had interesting results, with total sales from Weed topping revenues from iTunes. Now, Sananda Maitreya, the artist formerly known as Terence Trent D`Arby, is taking the same route to distribute his latest release.