First of all, Norgies rule, and yes I am biased being 75% Norwegian. This would be a brilliant marketing move for any one of the U.S. commercial music download companies, but you know, “free” can never be monetized, can it?
- If you are a fan of Norwegian music, or just interested in sampling what the country has to offer, now there is a perfect chance to catch up. For all of this week music rights groups TONO and FONO will be allowing free downloads at Phonofile, as well as staging free concerts across the country.
The reason for the generosity is that TONO – Norway’s Performing Rights Society – is celebrating their 75th anniversary. By guarding the rights of Norwegian composers, lyricists, artists and publishers, the organization has charged a lot of money over the years and now they plan to give some back.
“Free download of music is in many ways an experiment,” said TONO’s managing director Cato Stroem. “We want to be a bit generous but also want to draw attention to legal forms of Internet music distribution. Today the illegal services are often better known,” Stroem said.
Phonofile manages the Norwegian music download service and the company now has between 48,000-49,000 files available. They expect to have about 98 percent of this material on offer for free download during the anniversary week.
Knut Boehn of Phonofile called the celebrations “an exciting stunt” and said the company hoped to recoup their losses from the exposure. Both TONO and FONO – The Association of Norwegian Record Companies – are convinced the sale of music by download has a bright future. [Aftenposten]
And how did it go? You can probably guess:
- On Monday Norwegian music rights agencies TONO and FONO announced that their collection of music files would be available for free download all week. Music fans reacted enthusiastically and peak traffic of over 85,000 downloads in two hours brought the service to its knees, and by 4 pm Monday the server was out of action.
“It just took off. Even though we did in fact use a lot of time to prepare for traffic, we got more than we bargained for. Front page coverage from Aftenposten, VG and Dagbladet had a tremendous effect. In the end our server couldn’t handle it,” said Erik Brattaas of Phonofile, the (ordinarily) commercial download service.
The company was working feverishly on Tuesday to improve net capacity. A total of between 48,000 to 49,000 are available for free download all week, though they are in a protected format that only allows them to be played on a computer.
Nevertheless, the gesture represents a considerable loss of potential income for the groups, but their main aim is to promote legal music downloading – and Norwegian music.