Moby's next collaborator is ... you, possibly. Photo courtesy Moby.

Moby’s next collaborator is … you, possibly. Photo courtesy Moby.

What do you do when you’ve been one of the biggest impacts on electronic music, outlasting a succession of trends and fads, remaining one of the best-known names in sound? I mean, you can’t just start giving things away, right?

Actually, if you’re Moby, that’s exactly what you do. He wants you to collaborate with him – and he’s made it really easy (even if you want to get something out of the result).

It’s safe to say Moby is different from many of his peers. At the young age of 48, Moby has managed to be a presence in multiple epochs of electronic music, and now is headlining tiny venues as well as big ones, collaborating with Record Store Day – and NASA, quick to distance himself from one-time label EMI as he goes on the attack against the RIAA. And now, he’s releasing stems on BitTorrent. Explaining the decision to Mashable, he said he’s happy to have you profit off his stems and donate to charity or take your friends to dinner. (Actually, put that way, I suddenly feel much happier about my Bandcamp revenues. Who wants some pho to celebrate the Humane Society?)

And he’s embracing chaos:

When people try to control content in the digital world, there’s something about that that seems kind of depressing to me. The most interesting results happen when there is no control. I love the democratic anarchy of the online world.

He goes further, saying (with respect, in fairness) when Thom Yorke complains about Spotify, “You’re just like an old guy yelling at fast trains.”

You Can Remix Moby’s New Album Thanks to BitTorrent [Mashable]

Of course, you want that anarchy to be creative, not technical. So, while the BitTorrent decision is cool, we’re pleased to get the scoop from Moby and NYC-based collaborative startup blend.io that the stems will come to that platform, too. With blend.io, you get additional collaborative tools that make it easy to track changes, see how others are collaborating, and smoothly integrate work on stems and revisions. The whole system works via file management tool Dropbox (nice enough, given their free account will accommodate a decent-sized audio project), and it even works directly with Ableton Live and Pro Tools.

Moby's project files, as seen on blend.io. This isn't just stems: you get the whole projects, and easy access to extensive options for collaboration and revision tracking, so you can actually get some work done. Images courtesy blend.io.

Moby’s project files, as seen on blend.io. This isn’t just stems: you get the whole projects, and easy access to extensive options for collaboration and revision tracking, so you can actually get some work done. Images courtesy blend.io.

This stuff matters. It’s one thing to talk about online collaboration and sharing and remixing. Too often, though, the experience is musician-unfriendly. Technically, it’s too much of a pain, and artistically, you’re often limited by fine print attached to remix contests. This project is different on both levels. It makes things easier and less restricted both in the tech and your freedom to do what you want with the remix.

We have an exclusive VIP invite code for CDM readers to get started, free:

http://blend.io/vip/createDigitalMusic

I spoke with blend.io founder Alex Kolundzija via email from New York.

CDM: So, Moby has already gotten some attention by sharing stems on BitTorrent – which was very cool, certainly. Is anything special about it being on blend.io?

Alex: On Blend producers and musicians can quickly get the complete project files (not just stems) for the songs, and the community – including Moby – can see who is involved, preview the published remixes, and even be able to Pull those to evolve them further.

Are there licensing terms associated with the Blend.io project?

All projects on Blend are currently published with the Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons license. We love to hear music created in the open space, but will add support for private collaborations very soon.

Could this be a template for other artists doing their own release in this fashion, running their own remix projects?

Absolutely. There has been a lot of interest from other artists, labels and also music production schools. We see Blend as a great platform for music collaboration as well as for improving one’s production skills. Discovery of new music and artists is also an important part of the big picture.

Not everyone is as famous as Moby, of course. So will these tools work for people who just want to create remixes with a handful of friends or collaborators?

Yes. We’ve already seen awesome collaborations from artists who’ve never met in person. Support for private projects will allow existing collaborators to leverage Blend for making cross-geo collaboration happen in a much more elegant and smooth way, with secure cloud backups.

Thanks, Alex.

I’m especially excited about the private projects, going forward. I actually tried to do a remix collaboration with artists I enjoyed using SoundCloud, and much as I enjoy SoundCloud for sharing, it was a nightmare. Even just having the file management and revisions here, plus Dropbox integration, is huge. (Ironically, Dropbox was the only way we got that project finished.) Private projects would be even bigger – not because you’re necessarily trying to keep things secret, but you do want the ability to work without immediately having an audience – and it’s essential to doing a release. We’ll keep tabs on that.

The tools are already really nice. Here’s a look at the visual feedback you get in your feed, so you can track collaborations: (click for larger version)

blend-feed-2

If you remix Moby’s work – or put up your own projects for collaboration – we’d love to hear the results. And we’d love to hear your impressions of the service, what works and doesn’t.

http://blend.io/vip/createDigitalMusic

Then, find Moby here:

http://blend.io/moby

  • James Phillips

    Wikipedia has Mody as age 48, born in 1965!

  • mercury

    Moby isn’t 65, holy crap, born in 1965

  • Ricardo Matias

    He goes further, saying (with respect, in fairness) when Thom Yorke complains about Spotify, “You’re just like an old guy yelling at fast trains.” – This sentence just ruined his point. Comparing an ethical stance with being afraid of progress, isn’t the best example to prove his point.

    • mercury

      Maybe he is on to something here because as technology progresses we will have a situation one day where everyone is a creator and that will automatically dilute the dollar price per piece of art. I think we are seeing that already. It is true that Spotify and all of these other streaming systems keep most of the revenue, but it is not the case that they are making a ridiculous margin after paying expenses. Thom Yorke can scream all he wants (and I love Radiohead and most of what he has done) but the cat is out of the bag… musical artists in the long run are no longer going to make millions and even the best of them will struggle to survive UNLESS they are making the vast majority of revenue in live events (and you can already predict what will happen to those in 20 yrs)….

    • Ricardo Matias

      Before going on about what this path is leading music as an art form, let me just say that Spotify’s CEO has already earnt 190 million pounds. For a company with a ridiculous margin, he is milking it very well. Well, lots of people say this, that the survival has to be through live events. I think that stealing intellectual property is a valid form of theft, as someone stealing a car. And the same way there is a high motivation for people not to go around stealing cars, there should be the same for this. These streaming services appear as a cheap alternative for the consumer to clean their consciousness. I stop here, this is already going off-topic. Nevertheless I hope the game changes, or we’ll be swimming in mediocre music (if we aren’t yet).

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Well, what we have here exists entirely outside of the Spotify model – which is worth noting.

    • mercury

      i actually agree with u on a lot of these points…although i think we r already at that last point in terms of the mainstream. thankfully, there is more music out now than before so if u r able to dig, there is some amazing stuff out there. as far as the CEO is concerned, that doesn’t bother me much, we r in a massive financial bubble in silicon valley, there are a lot of overvalued startups. he did not “earnt 190 million pounds”, his net worth is that because his shares are worth alot. they have a 2% margin currently, and i wouldn’t be surprised if the company is dead in less than 10 yrs

    • Ricardo Matias

      “Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek has earned £190 million in just six years from a music service some predict is poised to overtake Apple’s iTunes” ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2135424/Spotify-music-guru-earns-190MILLION-age-29–company-just-years-old.html#ixzz2lMDxUSvd ).

      I agree that as there’s more “mediocre music” coming out, it’s also easier to find great things than it was back when the distribution chain was different.

    • mercury

      Out of curiosity, where do you search now…that would be a great create digital music post actually, a compendium of excellent blogs and sites to listen to good music.

      Btw I don’t dispute that quote but dailymail doesn’t understand the difference between net worth and income, although ultimately I get your point, his net worth is probably more than all new bands combined in the last 3 yrs…that’s not an ideal situation!

    • foljs

      “”"Maybe he is on to something here because as technology progresses we will have a situation one day where everyone is a creator and that will automatically dilute the dollar price per piece of art”"”

      One day? It’s already happened.

      And the worst is not the dillution of the dollar price per piece of art, but the dillution of interest and perceived value per piece of art.

      And it’s not even about the quality of the material. I’ll take a 7/10 album that shapes and interests a huge community of listeners (and as such, acts as a cultural artifact) to 10,000 10/10 albums that only few people are interest in each, so they become isolated autistic offerings…

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Right, but if you read what he says, Moby makes an ethical argument, too. So what I get from that – and it seems a fair point – is that Yorke’s argument is about a business model changing and really not about ethics. Anyway, I mostly appreciated his candor; this wasn’t to be an argument about Spotify.

      The point is, Moby is at least doing more than talking – he’s taking his own music on the line and trying something out. And I appreciate that Thom Yorke and Radiohead have done that, as well. Actually acting to me is far more valuable than yelling at anyone (ethically, or at trains).

    • Ricardo Matias

      Well, even so, there’s not one without the other in my opinion. And I do agree with him in the chaos passage, but this raises the question, at what price ?

      Nevertheless, he is participating in a good initiative.

    • http://melodiefabriek.com/ Marco Raaphorst

      yes, Moby is doing something. I understand Yorke but I don’t get it why he doesn’t do anything (come on you old punk!). He has the money and power to create a better Spotify, decentralised, good for every artist, but he doesn’t do it.

    • foljs

      “”"He has the money and power to create a better Spotify, decentralised, good for every artist, but he doesn’t do it.”"”

      He should also have the interest to do so. Why go in a totally unrelated field than the one he’s interested to working in (which is to sing and compose stuff)?

    • http://melodiefabriek.com/ Marco Raaphorst
    • BirdsUseStars

      Spotify is awesome in every way except they don’t pay the artists.

  • Annoying Guy

    Is Moby still relevant? Might as well blog about Dave Grohl or something while you’re at it.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Actually, I think that’s not an easy question to answer.

      One good measure would be not how many people read this story, but how many people actually try to remix the music – and whether the musical result is interesting. That would say something about how relevant his language is on a pretty deeply personal level, because they have to not only listen, but respond.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      …and you thought you were just being annoying. ;)

  • SomeDude

    “He goes further, saying (with respect, in fairness) when Thom Yorke complains about Spotify, “You’re just like an old guy yelling at fast trains.”etc..

    Mmm.. Right. Thank your Highness for your generosity to us peasants, but it’s easy thing to say when you’re already a multi-millionaire, sitting on so much ca$h you could live in complete luxury in your 10 million$ NY flat ( or your 6 million$ Hollyweird villa) for the rest of your life even if you’re not making a single additional dime. Oh, it’s so chic…Carry on dude, trying to look cool. You’re not.

    God , I fucking hate demagogy…

    ( and Kudos to Thom Yorke for (indirectly) standing up to the little guys who can’t afford Moby’s Oh-Im-so-freaking-rich-I-don’t-care-anymore hypocrisy )
    PS : just to be clear, nothing wrong with giving your work for free if that’s YOUR voluntary decision.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Actually, it’s also fairly easy to say when you’re *not* a musician the size of Moby or Yorke, because you probably aren’t making anything off record sales. So … I’m not sure I can easily write off either argument, sorry. He’s not imposing it on anyone; he’s just saying what he feels.

    • SomeDude

      Well, in a way, he IS imposing it on everyone. When you are a musician ( or else) the size of Moby, you should be a little bit more responsible about what you’re saying, because it will have 1000 times more impact than JoeBlow’s opinion ( who’s opinion won’t be heard or re-transmitted by the media anyway).

      He DID deride anyone (or at least a well known figure like T.Yorke) not following his millionaire “generous” path, and his argument WILL be used by many to put pressure on smaller artists and confuse people even more.

      More than once I’ve been told “But..but..but..Prince gave his album free with a copy of the Mirror, and still made a fortune, why can’t you guys just do the same ??” It’s really hard to explain to people that you can only do that because you’re Prince ,you’re a celebrity and you’re freaking rich (thanks to his evil record company) ! It’s a bit like if Apple gives Mavericks for free ( because it’s worth peanuts for them financially ) and starts deriding other developpers for not giving their software for free too.

      Meanwhile, His Royal Mobyness will certainly not spit on his royalties from his Top 10 hits made with the “evil” complicity of his record company, you can bet he will keep ca$hing in for years and years while moralizing us peasants.. In the words of Marie-Antoinette “Let them eat cake !”

      Look, I know that as the editor of CDM, you probably have to keep some kind of a neutral position , but hey, I’m just a JoeBlow saying what he feels ;-)

  • SleepyHead

    damned are those who do and damned are those who do not. there are points to both sides but the real point is, technology has forever changed the music industry. you either embrace it and be part of the change or go away! stop the whining either way and just DANCE! {:-o

  • http://melodiefabriek.com/ Marco Raaphorst

    Still don’t get it why Moby uses All Rights Reserved on all his Flickr photos. Would be better to change that to Creative Commons for remixing and reuse.

  • mobyblows

    moby is a has been.

  • Rock Soul

    Let’s ignore the Moby story here,
    Am I the only one really psyched about this platform of collaberation? This could be big. Has anyone tried it out yet?

  • Giorgio Martini

    poor moby.. he looks so sad :(

  • Vincent RECIPON

    Hi, I’ve taken some times to open those Ableton and Pro Tools projects to know what’s inside. I share my information on this post : http://vincent.recipon.fr/audio/moby-ouvre-les-sources-de-son-album-innocents?lang=en
    I hope it can help.
    Best regards.