VATMOSS, musicians and politicians

I’ve been wondering how all this will affect the independent music industry. I have an interest here; my 19 year old son and his mates play in an up and coming band and they’re keen to sell online downloads as well as the CDs that are increasingly popular at their gigs.

Talis Kimberley-Fairbourn who you may well have spotted in the Sign Up list and whose website is here is a talented and entertaining musician as I can personally attest. She has been explaining key issues to me, when I asked how important online downloads are in her business.

I would say VERY – Bandcamp is THE place for an independent artist to be able to monetise their recordings, we set the price (‘choose your price’ or set figure) and the availability, it’s been so easy and straightforward, and as a very small fish in that pond, it’s the BEST platform for an indie to keep full control and still be able to share their music the way they want.
Soundcloud doesn’t monetise, CDbaby are great but while it’s good that they arrange sales through itunes, Amazon etc, we’re talking a penny a time, much of the time, for the artist, so the royalties there are just ridiculously small, and the artist can be in or out but has no other control.

At the time of writing, musicians who use Bandcamp are still waiting to hear exactly how that invaluable system will cope with the new VAT regime, just like people selling any number of digital products through any number of other platforms.

One further thing to note, Talis Kimberley-Fairbourn is also the Green Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South Swindon, for the next general election. I mention this in the interests of full disclosure and also, well, it’s interesting. Not because this is in any sense a party political issues.

The more you think about it, the clearer it becomes that this is about as far from a party-special-interest issue as it’s possible to get. The Conservatives support enterprise and initiative. Labour support hard working families. Liberal Democrats are the advocates for local communities and a fairer society. The Green Party want to cut down on travel and transportation costs of people and resources. For the UK’s regional parties, promoting online business is their best way forward to increasing local employment and economic strength.

So far the only party who’ve been trying to score cheap political points have been UKIP, purely seizing on this as ammunition against Europe and showing no real understanding of the issues.

So that’s something to bear in mind, as and when you may be writing letters.

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