Sticky Songs

fernandoFernando Casale, an Argentine journalist and Editor-in-Chief of USERS, has done music lovers a great favor by putting together a free collection of Creative Commons-licensed songs by independent musicians from the Buenos Aires rock scene. “Sticky Songs” (as in songs that get stuck in your head) is a compilation of ten songs from ten different bands that is meant to promote the independent music scene of the capitol city. I asked Casale what inspired the album and why he chose to use all Create Commons-licensed tracks.

Well, the Creative Commons concept hooked me from its very beginning because it comprises two of my main interests: free culture and technology. I'm the editor-in-chief of a computer related magazine called USERS that has a small sister called GNU/Linux USERS, so I've been writing for years about the free software and open source movements and paying a lot of attention to the evolution of peer to peer software and net-based models of music distribution. So when the Creative Commons idea came up, it was like a match made in heaven for me.

canciones pegajosasCasale certainly is interested in music. Especially in his native port city of Buenos Aires. For the past seven months he's been the brains behind Zona Indie, a Spanish-language blog which highlights local, independent groups. There is also an English-language sister site that tends to cover indie bands from across Latin America. He says he started the blogs “as a way to escape from the seriousness of my daytime job. It's also like an excuse to listen to new music, go out more and enjoy Buenos Aires's alternative nightlife options.”

From time to time I blog about bands that publish their work under CC licenses, so when these licenses were adapted to my country's legislation, I thought it would be a great idea to present a net album with songs from some of the bands that I listen to and blogged about during 2005.

Three of the songs on the compilation are licensed in such a way that they allow for derivative works to be made. But Casale said that getting the groups to adopt Creative Commons licenses wasn't an arduous task at all.

It wasn't that hard because most of the bands already had some (or all) of their music posted on the net, so I just had to arrange small meeting with each of them and tell them what this Creative Commons thing was all about. The main argument was that it was better to have some sort of license when publishing your music on the Internet rather than to just publish the MP3 by themselves, because in that way it wasn't clear for the fans what they could or couldn't do with the tracks. With a CC license that's very clear and you even have a legal text that backs you up in case someone breaks the rules. I think it worked out because some of the bands are publishing all their music under CC, not just the track included in “Canciones Pegajosas”. I hope more independent artists in Latin America will follow their example.

The album leads with a sweeping, melodic track by Hacia Dos Veranos, which has indeed been stuck in my head for the past couple of weeks. The band maintains an English-language version of their blog to keep in touch with fans from non-Spanish-speaking countries. Links to the websites of all the other bands – and downloads of their songs in various formats – can be found on the Canciones Pegajosas page.

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