20 November 2019

FMA Update

Things are looking up for the Free Music Archive. In September, the FMA was purchased by Netherlands company Tribe of Noise, a privately owned business that handles music licensing for musicians and media producers. ToN are big supporters of the Creative Commons and seem to be a cool group.

The code of the original site was complicated, making it difficult for the last owners to do much with it, but drop ads on it and lock everyone out of the community. While the community is still not in play, Tribe of Noise has been undertaking the daunting task for the last two months of creating static HTML pages for all the recordings.

FMA was supplied with music by unpaid artists, built and maintained by predominantly volunteers. It is tricky to reconcile a formerly non-profit project with a for-profit company, but it costs a lot of money to host all that music. The original FMA paid Amazon to host the mp3s. That service alone cost $80,000 a year per 2016 fund drive information.

It is unclear what will eventually happen to the recordings holding stricter licenses (CC No Derivatives, FMA Limited License, etc.), but most of the music that was available when WFMU sold the FMA is now available again for free to the public. That is all thanks to the hard work of Tribe of Noise.

To keep up with their efforts to incorporate the FMA into ToN, you can follow the new FMA on Twitter and the development timeline at the bottom of the FMA official site.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes and getting back to work on what was a great project.

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