I was just listening to the Eavesdrop Radio podcast from two of my favorite djs, Junior and Lil Dave and it occurred to me that for as long as I’ve loved and respected their work, I have yet to actually pay money for a release on Junior’s label Recordbreakin.Â That’s horrifying…great friend I am!
But then it occurred to me that it would actually be easier for me to just pay Junior a chunk of money every year or month and have him send me download codes for whatever they’ve released in some time interval.Â Think of it like a CSA for music.
In a CSA, or community supported agriculture, you “subscribe” to a farm.Â You sign up and pay a lump sum to a farm in the winter which entitles you to a share of veggies every week through the growing season.Â It ensures that the farmer has enough cash on hand to operate, and the customer doesn’t have to choose what to buy.
What about a subscription to a music label?Â I would totally pay a certain amount per year for the Recordbreakin’ catalog or a portion of it.Â CSAs have half- and full-size shares.Â A label could offer subscriptions that entitle a customer to every release, every other, every fifth, etc, or entitle the customer to a certain number of releases per year or month.Â I can think of several labels and artists that I would be very happy to support this way.
Has anyone done this?
One thought on “I Want a CSA for music.”
Interesting post. Speaking as someone who not only plays music, but has been involved in the music industry for well over a decade, here are some thoughts:
The CSA model is just a new name for an old practice: the record and singles club. These are still fairly popular with indies. (I belong to the Matador & HoZac clubs.)
Attending shows helps a lot. Support venues and promoters who work hard to treat artists well. Those places deserve to flourish.
Forgo a drink or two from the bar and consider buying LPs/t-shirt/etc at the merch table instead (as artists don’t typically profit from bar sales). In most cases, artists retain 100% of the profit made from their merch at shows. This also puts cash in the pockets of bands who have to spend significant amounts of money to tour. (Gas is not cheap! Especially for a van!)
Support independent and college radio, the lone place where unique programming still exists and where artists can earn decent royalties from airplay.
It goes without saying that people should be buying records when possible. Streaming services still have a long way when it comes to paying royalties; supporting a band by buying digital or physical copies is still crucial. It helps to be informed about how much musicians make from digital outlets.
I recommend checking out the Future of Music Coalition’s amazing research about where musician’s revenue comes from. (I hope they continue with this study!)