Project Move, Monopoli, Megababe, Kobayashi, Spiral Beach, Jo Mango and OCTOBER GUARD as part of the NXNE Indie Music Market at Yonge-Dundas Square, Saturday (June 10), noon-8 pm. Free. www.nxne.com. Rating: NNNNN
One of the most commonly voiced arguments against downloading is the threat of financial losses on the part of artists whose songs are being devoured by fans through fee-free channels like Soulseek and Limewire instead of pay-as-you-go portals like iTunes, online boutiques or at good old-fashioned real-world record stores.
Of course, the looming spectre of reduced CD sales is way scarier for major labels, which rely on physical product to profit off their artists, and not as daunting for your average DIY indie band trying to sell a handful of discs at their shows.
While some (hi, Metallica!) might believe the solution is staunching the peer-to-peer flow, a much more ingenious way of addressing downloading fears may be to look for alternate sources of income.
That's particularly true in the case of rising bands without a label deal whose promo budget consists of whatever they're not using to pay rent that month.
Granted, the rise of sites like Myspace has made it easier for indie artists to get their names -- and songs -- to a vast audience without the need for radio hookups. So a band from, say, Cornwall, might already have built-in fan bases from St. John, NB, to Mission, BC, before ever attempting a cross-Canada tour, but they're still stuck when it comes to actually raising cash to travel the country.
One answer? Band merch. Even if kids can click-and-save your entire discography for free, there's still a subconscious pull toward manifesting your love of an artist through concrete artifacts -- we're talking anything from 1-inch pins to silkscreened shoulder bags.
Beyond that, when it comes to hardcore fandom, many music geeks still have a penchant for the aura that comes with holding a full-on album, with liner notes and cover art, even if they've already downloaded the music. However, if you're a start-up band with a makeshift website, chances are your first priority isn't gonna be setting up an online store.
That's where initiatives like this weekend's inaugural NXNE Indie Music Market are looking better and better. In addition to showcasing a solid roster of eight indie acts who'll give free performances throughout the day, the market's hosting over 90 different artists from Angels, Saints and Heroes to Zero Tolerance , all of whom will be shilling CDs and merch in Yonge-Dundas Square .