White Market turns 8! – From free music to the open web

22 March 2016

Somehow I nearly let this slip, but White Market just turned 8 years old on March 10th.

The whole thing started in 2008, when I was part of Rádio Zero‘s family. After a full year of discovering the wonderful world of underground Portuguese music, I felt comfortable (and adventurous) enough to start a full one-hour weekly show about netaudio called Programa Marca Branca.

It was a great time to get into the wonders of  Creative Commons licenced music. Even though services like Soundcloud or Bandcamp were not a thing (well, they were both in their earliest stages, far from the success and the user experience of nowadays), it was a glorious age for free music on the web. Free Music Archive was also sort of distant reality, but Jamendo was already available and it was fairly popular in this circle. However, the coolest thing for me was Phlow Magazine and its Netlabel Index – now converted into an archive of Netlabel history, so make sure you check it out. I used to spend hours and hours scavenging through GB of music and dodgy descriptions. Website embedded players were also rare, so in most cases it was all about download first to listen later.

Netlabels were the thing, and they were a phenomenon I instantly fell in love with. Mostly were simply driven by and ethos of community, and this was not limiting in any way. While setting up a website was becoming simpler, it was still far from the seamless experience of nowadays. In other words, unless you had some tech skills, odds were you were banging your head against a wall trying to make things work. But some people did have those skills and were incredibly passionate about sharing great pieces of music, and labels started flourishing all across the globe. Some of them, like Enough Records or bump foot, are still in operation.

Much has changed since then, and that means White Market has also changed accordingly. During these last eight years, the internet has become a much more interesting place, and yet it is seems to be trapped in a paradoxical reality. While accessibility to content has improved significantly thanks to high-speed connections and portable devices, the threat to an open and free web seems to be more evident than ever. Around the world, there are reports of outdated copyright legislations, censorship on various levels, data security breaches, privacy violations and the list goes on and on.

As times change, so will White Market. We will still showcase great free music on the podcast and on our collection on Free Music Archive, but we will go further than that. We will be featuring more content, playing a role in advocacy for a freer and safer web. Following what we started last summer with our stream of interviews, we will keep highlighting the work of people who fight for our (digital) freedom, of people who support and promote an ethos of open culture. We will also provide more informative content that you can share and reuse.

White Market’s content is currently licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial licence, which means you can freely share and adapt it so long as you give the appropriate credit and you’re not using it with commercial purposes. However, we will soon start releasing extra resources with less strict permissions, so you can share and reuse it more easily.

.: Photo by -Curly- :. CC BY-NC