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BLOG: Open source rap music?

Tom Jackson • Apr 17, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I listen to all kinds of music, but rap is not my main genre. Yet recently as I drive around, I have been listening to rap albums from artists such as King Pheenix.

That's because of my fascination with Scrub Club Records, which describes itself as "the world's first open source record label."

The open source movement is best known for software such as Linux and the Firefox Web browser. The software is free and anyone is allowed to distribute or modify the software. I use Linux on my personal laptop, which means I never have to spend even a moment worrying about computer viruses.

Scrub Club Records makes all of its music available as a free download for individual users. Vocals and instrumentals are available as separate downloads for users who want to mess with the music and make it their own. The label apparently specializes in "nerdcore," rap music aimed at nerdy people.

Scrub Club seeks donations from listeners and I assume the performers also get money from gigs.

I'm still not quite clear on the business model but hope to find out more when I attend Penguicon, a combined open source culture and science fiction convention scheduled April 27-29 in Dearborn, Mich. Scrub Club and some of its artists will be attending the convention, which will include programs on "Open Source Baking" and "Nerdy Knitting, Unraveled."

The name Penguicon includes "con" (for convention, usually included in the name of a science fiction convention), the word "Penguin" (the animal that is the symbol for Linux) and gui (for "Graphical User Interface," which allows ordinary users to do things on computers.)

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