Shacker in Portland, Nate, and Free Music

Below are several emails I’ve exchanged in the past month with Nate in Portland.  It’s a pretty cool story; make sure you read Nate’s articles linked at the end!  -howie 

Subject: Re: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Nate”
To: “Mr Furious”
Priority: Normal

Dear all you people at Mr. Furious, I know this the answer is probably a definite “yes”, but I feel I should ask anyway. Is it okay for me to distribute the music you’re releasing on the internet? Or in otherwords, what license are you releasing your music under, traditional copyright, creative commons, public domain, or something else?

See, the reason I ask is that there’s a big difference to me between something being “Free as in beer” (doesn’t cost anything), and something being “Free as in speech”. An example in which this is illustrated: just because the author of a book gives you a free copy of his book, it doesn’t mean you can copy that and give the copies to friends.

Just to clear things up, cause I don’t know, could you clarify what license you’re releasing your music under? If you’ve never thought of that before, I’d suggest a creative commons license which allows for derivatives.If you’ve released the songs under a specific license and I just missed it on your site, could you please tell me what it is? Thanks. I mean, I know you probably don’t give a fuck if I burn a few CDs of your music and give it to my friends, but what I’m talking about here is giving away about 500 CDs of free music at a fair, while making it clear that people are free to copy and redistribute the music on there. If I’m going to include some of Echoes music on there, even if it is free and freely available on the internet, I’d like to know that the band members are okay with the redistribution of their music.



Subject: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Mr Furious”
To: “Nate”
Priority: Normal

Nate; you are a rockstar for checking up on this. And you are absolutely correct that the answer is “YES! Please include whatever you like from MFR for your friends AND your fair.”

It would be rad if you included the URL somewhere too. The Creative Commons lisence is; It’s displayed on the left sidebar of the site – you do have to scroll down a bit to get it though. AND – we’d love to know more about what you’re doing, the event, etc. Perhaps we could blog about it and put up a link – it’s always good to let people know about creative things going on. Even a copy of the disc, if you’re doing artwork and the whole thing – we would probably be introduced to other artists we’d want to be listening to!

Again, thanks for double-checking.
> >> > >> -howie (echoes)


Subject: Re: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Nate”
To: “Mr Furious”
Priority: Normal

Hey, sorry for taking so very, very, very long to respond. I’ve been in bed for the last few weeks with mono. Anyway, here’s what’s what.

Basically, what was supposed to happen was we were going to give away the music at a Freeganism fair near the local college/community radio station. But anyway, it got rained out the day of the fair, sucked, and nobody came. So I just gave them away at high school during lunch, just walked around “hey, you want free music! Here you go, man, take a flyer” . We didn’t get them all given out, even though there are 1400 people at our school, there are only 400-700 people in the halls during lunch, and not everyone wanted the CDs. But the point was, it was a success.

We brought home-written flyers on Creative Commons, free music, and the evils of the “Big Five” record labels. It was pretty cool. We’re trying to get the website to use some of it right now. I think we really got the message across. Along with a lot of free music.

Now, let’s see, what did we put on that baby: I hope you can read this correctly:
1. Josh Petty, A Diagram To The Stars. 2005, Blues, USA
2. Lake Holiday, American Summer (EP). 2003, Light Rock, USA
3. Niconoclaste, Les Stances Sibyllines. 2006, Hip-Hop, France
4. Shacker, Knowing Her Best. 2004, Folk/Acoustic rock, USA
5. Tryad, Public Domain. 2005, Trippy, USA
6. M.A.Z.C.A., First Hour. 2005, Instrumental Rock, Italy
7. Lonah, Pièces. 2005, Europop, France
8. Carlos Saura, Un Viaje a lo Infinito (EP). 2006, Instrumental Rock, Spain
9. Margins of Safety, Gonzo Jazz. 2006, Jazz, Finland
10. SxYnZ, Con la Luz del Sol. 2003, Classic Rock, Spain
11. Lake Holiday, Send Off the Summer (EP). 2002, Light Rock, USA
12. Triole, Triole. 2006, Pop Rock, Argentina
13. Josh Petty, Copy Me! 2004, Blues, USA
14. Various Artists, Canciones Pegajosas. 2006, Varied, Argentina

Along with a few singles from Forgetting Luna, Tiger Heart, and the Tribute to John Peel project (a project that releases compilations of singles by up and coming indie bands, by the bands’ permission, under CDs under a Creative Commons license). We ended up deciding that Shacker worked with the rest of the CD best. We shortened the name cause we didn’t have space on the printouts.

All of this stuff is available on the internet for download – most of it from – a site that hosts creative commons music for LEGAL P2P SHARING via bittorrent and edonkey. And you can get it in the lossy format of your choice: 192k MP3, 200K OGG, or 300K OGG. A lot of this stuff you can also find on under their ‘netlabels’ audio section – but you probably already knew that. Oh yeah, and anything else?

Umm… oh yeah – CD art – because we didn’t have any fancy labels, and we were short of budget (500 CD-Rs aren’t cheap… :/) we just got some CD sharpies, went outside on a clear day, and marked every CD up with the same insignia – in our case an eighth note with a circle around it – occasionally also writing on kooky little messages like (“100% free music”, “Take me, I’m yours” and “You can’t get more free than this”)

Sorry for writing so late, and thanks for the response you gave, my little conspiracy to get tons of Portland listening to free music worked anyway,
> > Nate


Subject: Re: Re: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Mr Furious”
To: “Nate”
Priority: Normal

Nate – no worries, we’re just stoked that you’re sharing Mr. Furious music. I’m going to check out some of the stuff from your comp. when I get a chance.

Is it cool if I post our email conversation as a blog entry? I want people to know what you’ve done, and maybe get inspired.

We love your conspiracy.
-howie, MFR


Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Nate”
To: “Mr Furious”
Priority: Normal

Haha, yah, that’d be awesome! Thanks! This is exactly the kind of indie project where a ton of people could spread all their favorite music easily to everyone else, while spreading netlabel and free music popularity.

Also, as a bonus for coolness, I’ve included in this e-mail two attachments. One, an infogram about what Creative Commons is, why it’s great, how it equates to great free music. I handed this out with the CDs I gave out. I’ve just called it Print-out Propaganda: Legal AND Free. People can give this away with the CDs they give out if they want. It’ll certainly help convince any nearby authorities that they’re not committing in “illegal piracy”.

I was going to originally submit a modified version of that article attached to to so they could have an “About” page. I probably will still do this. But I haven’t found the time to modify it for such a purpose, so until then, I think the infogram about Creative Commons and free music will be of more use in the hands of the people who are really into this stuff and are actually going to use it.

Of course, just so I can submit the Article to and if they do post it, perhaps get credit, my one condition in releasing these articles is that I just want there to be no confusion as to who wrote this article – me. (It took me a long time to write it ^_^) My name is in the articles already, and I’ve released them under a CC attribution license (see below) so you pretty much don’t have to worry about it. But that was just my only trifle which held me back from publishing this stuff before.

The second attachment on this e-mail is a paper which has some hints on giving away free CDs and some questions one might encounter while handing the CDs out (ex. “how do I know there’s not a virus on this?”), and some easy answers to them, along with some basic good practice when it comes to giving out CDs (ex. bring a friend to help);  A Short Guide To Giving Away CDs With Free Music.

I’m releasing both of these documents under a *Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. *

Anyway, trust me, read the Creative Commons propaganda article, it’s interesting, and holds a lot of valuable information about the nature Creative Commons (for the newb, you probably already know most of this stuff), and some dirt on the big record labels. I’m glad to help out, and I hope these documents make the spread of free music easier, cooler, and more fun! Use and spread these documents, and enjoy please! And copy these e-mail conversations and the idea all you want, and encourage others to do. We’re all fighting for the same thing here – a great free music scene! Man, only through the internet could a freedom-fighting, anti-corporate, yet completely fun scheme like this succeed. Thanks for the communiques, and for the limited internet exposure. It’s definitely enough for me. :D