Phish cracks the online music code

Phish has the right idea for online music downloads.

  1. Concerts available within 48 hours of their performance. Plus a continuously expanding archive of earlier recordings.
  2. Reasonably-priced MP3 (~$10) and high-quality SHN (~$13) files. Price varies by length of show.
  3. Clear, easy ordering system and reliable downloads. Reports are upwards of 145K/sec on cable modems. Compare this to the usual Internet music download: I spent two weeks grabbing bits and pieces of a 1GB Other Ones concert from Furthernet. is a great distributed service network, but it’s not a paid service, so users will never have the incentive to try to make the service more reliable than it already is.
  4. No artificial platform restrictions, i.e. Mac OS and Mac OS X work fine, as does Linux, or whatever.
  5. As they say in the FAQ, “shackle-free unencrypted files”. Combined with a sensible concert taping policy you have the formula for financial success. Connect with the fans directly and use the recording company contract for distribution, not promotion.

If only the Grateful Dead would take this approach. Yes, I’d still buy the Dick’s Picks CD releases, but I want much more availability, like shows I’ve seen that are unlikely to make it to mainstream distribution. They should have started this years ago. And, while I’m carping about the Dead, time for a new website design guys!