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Music, Bowman's Garden, and Meyer on CSS

May 27, 2003

A great independent music store that pays the artists directly, Douglas Bowman’s submission to the css Zen Garden and his design notes, and a reaction to Eric Meyer’s musings about the future.

So one of the unexpected benefits of launching the Zen Garden was that some people were so happy to see proofs–of–concept that, yes, CSS can do that, that I got a few freebies out of the deal. Nick Bradbury sent me a copy of TopStyle, which I am really digging for creating new style sheets, and a guy named Derek Sivers who owns his own music distribution company sent me a couple of great CDs.

Indulge me, if you will, because Derek’s store, CD Baby, is a really REALLY good idea and I think everyone who can should support it. I would be saying this with or without the tunes (my going price for being bought off is far higher than two CDs these days. I’d need at least 4.)

I’m one of these oddball anti–copyright geeks who thinks Eldred should have won, and supports just about anything that damages the RIAA these days thanks to their recent tactics. Charging ‘tax’ on blank media? Selling willfully damaged CDs that won’t play on computer CD drives? Suing 4 college students for $98 billion? If you are at all like me on this count, allow me to open up the window and let some fresh air into the room.

Derek’s business model cuts out all the overhead the music industry makes you pay for, and sends a far larger cut of the final sale price directly to the artist. You are paying only the artist and the distributor, not the executives in the middle, or the promotional campaigns of acts you don’t even like. In fact, Derek even keeps track of how much has gone to the artists. How cool is that?

The caveat is that most of these artists are people you’ve never heard of. There are sample clips from all the CDs, so you can preview before you buy, however, and if you’re tired of the plastic Britneys and Creeds that the recording industry keeps forcing on us, this is arguably a point in CD Baby’s favour.

We’ll now return to regularly scheduled publishing. §

I haven’t attempted this ‘more than one thought per post’ idea before, so I’ve just thrown a <hr> in there for the time being. A perma–link to each thought is a problem I’ll have to face at some point.

At any rate, Douglas has written a great piece on some of the challenges he faced putting together his submission for the Zen Garden, with promise of a follow–up shortly. If you’re thinking of submitting something, do yourself a favour and check out his conclusions. §

Eric, Eric, Eric… You’re still, in everyone’s mind, THE master, and the guy we’ll all turn to when we need the latest and greatest. CSS–3 is around the corner, and I’m anxiously awaiting your first couple of tutorials on it in the next few years. I’m looking at YOU to teach me this stuff, man! §

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