21 December 02004

A virtuous circle of free and paid-for material

A couple of months ago I wrote about how I was enjoying Ashley Kahn's book A Love Supreme: the Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album. Since then I've heard two sets of radio documentaries on A Love Supreme — one 30-minute BBC Radio 4 feature by Jez Nelson, and a four-programme series by Courtney Pine on BBC Radio 2 — both featuring extensive contributions from Kahn, and relying on his narrative.

This looks like a fairly close synergy between two paid-for items — Kahn's book and the recently issued deluxe two-CD reissue of Coltrane's album — and the free-to-air broadcast medium. Everybody stands to win from this, and because the copyright owners have realised this, they've co-operated to make good, cost-effective radio and promote sales of back-catalogue recordings and a relatively new book.

If the existing documentaries in the BBC archive were available under a Creative Commons licence, this kind of thing could happen more regularly without depending on the concerted efforts of publishers and record labels — though the labels would still stand to benefit from sales of their back-catalogue, as envisaged in the long tail hypothesis about niche markets.

One further helpful step will be for the BBC to make its artist profiles more dynamic so that, for example, the John Coltrane profile includes links and excerpts from current BBC programmes about him. At the time of writing it only includes links to other BBC 'static' Coltrane-related content, and appears ignorant of the dynamic broadcast features.

In the meantime you can hear the third programme in Courtney Pine's series here from tonight, and the final programme from next Tuesday, for a week.

Posted by David Jennings in section(s) Curatorial, Music and Multimedia, Radio on 21 December 02004 | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?