Even though at YIKS it is every day ‘Netlabel day’, somehow somewhere some people had claimed this day as official ‘netlabel day’. What it exactly means is a bit of a mystery, as the noble ones who organize it are not connected to our humble abode, but I presume it’s a day to spread knowledge of the net-label phenomenon.
If you have visited YIKIS before, you might be aware that we love netlabel’s. First of all because of the fact that most of us have good taste but no money, and second of all; it’s a nice stab towards the commercial music world. The crazy thing is with netlabels is that their releases are always seem to be sketched by the establishment as if they are of lesser value, but on the contrary; most free and legal downloadable albums and music might be much better than all these albums brought to you through big major labels and big corporations.
One of the big differences is that netlabel releases tend to be much more personal, and do not contain much censorship. Meaning that they actually can come with a message of importance, where most commercial pushed-releases are more about a twerking ass, or just some over produced fluff that sounds as inspiring as a wet towel. Netlabels lack of offices and physical distribution channels make it easier to be spread online from creator straight to the consumer. With no financial gain in mind, it is clearly an act of love for the music that makes these netlabel and their artist flourish.
Even though big corporations would love to switch down sites that host free released music under the creative commence like big netlabel star archive.org, I feel by just mentioning them in a lawsuit would be like shooting them self in their own commercial foot.
Somehow it is strange that in 2016 there are still so many people totally unaware or obnoxious to the existence of netlabels, which proofs probably that the rulers of society (hello capitalist!) aren’t very enthusiastic about this movement that has been around for years. I guess that’s why ‘Netlabel day’ had come to life, to bring awareness & celebrate the fact that there are actually albums out there donated by musicians for free download! There is no secret behind it, no hidden costs, it’s actual music made by passionate people brought through you by label owners who love their artists and their listeners by making them all available for no money at all!
It’s a great thing really and considering that there is not just one such netlabel but millions & not just one artist/band/project but uncountable ones and even much more albums out there with free legal quality music… It’s quite a surprise why people still download illegally their commercial bunch of stuff, as if you don’t want to (or can’t) pay for good music; there is really no need to do so! There is so much out there, for everyone and every genre you could possible think of! Even noise!
Besides personally I think it’s much better to save your money to invest in physical releases done by DIY labels, in which a lot of love had been going into the packages, artwork, dubbing and creations. I mention this as some netlabels do offer the option to get their releases as a physical product! Or make it so that you could get it from a physical product hidden in some places around the world, or available in a package that you could actually make the downloadable music into a physical product yourself.
The Polish netlabel Weakie Discs for example is a home which offers free downloadable albums, with the option to get limited physical versions of it. Specially for Netlabel day this label has released such albums for extra celebration. Feel free to download, but if you feel like you want something more personal, or simply want to play it in the tape deck at home or in the car; they will gladly offer you a handmade collectible piece!
Another netlabel that does amazing things is MAV. It offers the legendary floppy diskette compilations for download and stimulates the downloader to store the files on their own floppy diskettes at home & perhaps leave them around on random locations for lucky music lovers to find…
oh and there is this:
The latest social experiment of this experimental netlabel is their use of the USB stick build into walls, or stuck onto things with their latest compilation on it. You can download all the music of this project for free from the internet, but it also is available through these sticks that are encouraged to be setup all over the world by other mental music lovers. Sharing and caring and weirding people out!
Vaatican records is a great example of a netlabel that offers all the music for free download with ready to print artwork to create your own physical CD versions of them, if you’d wanted too. There is a lot of love and time that goes into these designs and it would be foolish not to respect and download these albums for years of free entertainment!
Another netlabel that caters that do it yourself at home vibe, is ‘4m@’. It’s a sub-label from the legendary netlabel Proc-Records and offers floppy diskette sized releases for free download, which you then can burn on your own floppy diskettes. (the downloads also come with printable artwork to glue on your diskette! How awesome it is!)
It could also happen that things will be the other way around. There are DIY labels out there who (when sold out or at the same time of the release) also create a free downloadable version. An example is the small one man label Esc.Rec. From the Netherlands who release its handmade ‘adventurous’ releases also with the frequent option to free download & sometimes it is even free download only!
for more free releases by this label check out:
Another example of a DIY record label that also opts to give (when a release is sold out and the artist approves it) its releases away as a netlabel is Diskette Etikette Records. A label also ran by one person (from the UK) that releases floppy diskettes in fancy artworks.And re-releases (if permitted) them on Diskette Etikette Net, the netlabel version of the label:
Because there are so many netlabels out there that are mainly netlabels, it would be a tremendous task to collect them all or even attempt to point them out in a single post. It takes a bit of internet surfing for a music or sound lover to go and find a netlabel that corresponds with a person’s taste. There are many specialized netlabels out there:
compilation of Dogpark artists making music with or for (or inspired by) plant
…. But there are also the netlabels that have a much broader adventurous catalogue to go through. Personally I think those are the best as you simply never know what you would expect when a new release would pop out. Electropop? Metal? IDM? Ambient? Noise? Polka? Folk? Techno? Gospel?
A favorite and hugely popular netlabel of this adventurous kind is Sirona-Records. Run by a passionate music lover and artist Pollux (Arnaud Barbe) and with almost 800 (!!) releases available for free by uncountable bands, artists and projects you will be in for a celebration if you’d like to explore free music!
Sirona-Records is also a bit of a community, featuring interviews with artists, news, and other things! It’s good fun! Check it out over here:
Also a favorite is the earlier mentioned netlabel Proc-Records, which was actually one of the netlabels that inspired Sirona, but also my own personal netlabel journey.
What I love the most of this label is the entire setup; it’s a page with links to the releases in a zip file. It gives me the same excitement as opening a surprise egg; you just don’t know what you will expect but it’s always free and a surprise!
With much more awesomeness then a screenshot of the legendary netlabel Proc-Records, we cant probably find a better ending for this sign of support of Netlabel Day 2016!
Happy hunting and enjoy the free music EVERYWHERE available on the internet!