In podcast, The Kiruba Show

Podcast Interview with John Buckman, CEO of Magnatune

Ask any musician and he’ll tell you about the unfair treatment and high-handedness of big record labels. They always call the shots and take most of the revenues. John Buckman saw an opportunity here. He created an artist-friendly label called Magnatune that not only shares profits equally with musicians but also allows them to retain the rights to their work. His company’s tagline closely resembles Googles’ “We are not eveil”.

Artists are encouraged to post their music online at Magnatune. Listeners are free to download and listen to the music. They also have an option to pay and they can pay any amount of their choice. Surprisingly, quite a few listeners voluntarily pay money.

It reminds me of the ‘Annalakshmi Restaurant’ in Chennai. Once a year, on their founder’s day, they have this special scheme. It’s ‘Eat what you wan, Pay as you like’. Surprisingly, their collections that day is above their normal collection. John has applied a similar principle to his music business where the emphasis is on trust.

John says that Indian music forms the second largest category. He encourages many Indian independent musicians to use his platform to reach to a wider audience.

John Buckman is a serial entrepreneur, a musician, a marketeer and an open media evengelist. John sits on the board of Creative Commons and it’s no wonder that he has successfully used the open source principles to establish a unique kind of business model for the music industry.

Prior to founding Magnatune, Buckman founded Lyris Technologies in 1994. Lyris sells software for email newsletters and spam prevention. The company was generating $12 million in annual revenues when Buckman sold it in 2005.