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The coming of the information age changes the world of music. The dual emergence of networks and the rise of digital technologies means two things. First of all, distribution of music has changed fundamentally. The medium of choice has become immaterial and there is no obvious reason to buy music on physical media. Secondly, production and distribution of music has become much cheaper because of 'prosumer' hardware and infrastructure. Anyone with a computer and some additional hardware can create music that is instantly ready for distribution. As a result of the changed mode of distribution and the increasing possibilities of self-produced music, it has become increasingly easy to cater the needs of niches without much concern about the mass market. This results in the emergence of many niche-markets, each with its own small group of producers and consumers of niche music. Betontoon is happy to provide momentum to the niches by releasing music that would never survive in a mass-market dominated world.

Betontoon music has two important features. Betontoon is really interested in music that challenges the listener. We are convinced that it is creativity that makes good music, rather than large production budgets or expensive studios. The nature of today’s production and distribution modes allows experimenting with sound in many ways. The ‘music that challenges’ could be anything, as long as it asks questions rather than providing clear-cut answers. We think of music as a research process and Betontoon is a sonic laboratory that provides room for musical change. If sound is space, we want to bring together the architects of sound and let them explore and shape new spaces. For Betontoon, the research process of sound is as important as the final production. Betontoon is research. We investigate the urban every day for a living and we need the means of Betontoon to complement our research. We are therefore extremely interested in the works of musicians who share our passion in investigating the urban through sound. We are also a little biased towards musicians who can deliver a little more than just music, such as essays.

Betontoon does not publish music for the masses. That means that there is an opportunity for musicians that make special music but may never be able to attract a large audience. Betontoon thinks that such musicians deserve attention and sound distribution and promotion. Given the nature of music business, Betontoon provides opportunities for musicians on a not-for-profit basis. This means that we fund the physical production of your CD and the subsequent promotion. CD’s will be sold at the production costs, which allows attractive retail prices that compete with the seemingly free distribution mode of MP3’s. Conversely, we expect the musician to invest in the recording of the music. By sharing the burden we are able to spread the unknown pearls in the world of music through the information age. Betontoon releases music using the modular Creative Commons license (some rights reserved). We determine the exact conditions per release together with the artist.

Luuk van de Ven -