Going Digital on the Cheap

I spend a lot of time reading up on, and blogging about, copyright infringement.  It’s a big issue in digital media and the music industry, and is usually a lot more juicy than reading about ordinary, “law-abiding citizens”.  It kind of reminds me of an episode of The Cosby Show, where Clair Huxtable tells Kenny and Rudy that “law can be exciting without guns,” to which Kenny responds, “I know, but they help.”  But, I digress…

Many upcoming artists who are not backed by social media consultants, business persons or record labels have trouble promoting themselves, recording and editing audio and video, and making themselves profitable on- and off-line.  I empathize with these artists.  I’ve spent a lot of time promoting music and, conversely, writing about underground artists.  And let’s face it, not everyone can be as fortunate as Soulja Boy or Justin Bieber and be discovered by their YouTube videos.

Although luck has a lot to do with success in the music industry, finding the right tools can increase a musician’s chance in creating that video, recording that song, or choosing that cover art that will get them noticed.  The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a social movement geared to giving computer users freedom in operating much-needed, extremely useful software programs.

No, FSF isn’t a new LimeWire or Napster where users illegally download software, but FSF allows users “run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve” software that runs under free operating systems.

The free software ranges from audio waveform manipulation and business development to graphic editors to video manipulation and website authoring, and each program on FSF’s directory carries a GNU license, which allows users to download and use the software for free.

Although FSF will not allow artists to download, say Photoshop or GarageBand, artists can still download a number of useful software programs that will give them a head start to their digital music career or giver their existing public image a more professional polish.

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