Guest Blogger: Jacob Olson

jacob-olson-headshotJacob Olson is a production assistant for Next New Networks.  Over the last three years, he has downloaded 2,000+ free and legal mp3s from the world wide web.  His mother is very proud.


So I have a little bit of a strange hobby…

I think it comes from my desire to abide by the law.  I am firm believer that stealing in any form is wrong, especially when the stealing is from artists and bands who are struggling to get along anyway. 

I think it also comes from my enthusiasm about the future of technology.  It is a little embarrassing actually.  I get really, really, excited when talking about what is to come.  The death of traditional television, the rise of niche markets, an increasingly personal connection between the creators of media and the people they create for, the decreasing importance of music labels and large media companies; all inspire me to bursts of energy and excitement usually reserved for championship sports.

It definitely comes from the family history of penny pinching.  My dad has a really good job, but supporting nine kids while living in Long Island, New York, is a little tricky.  I remember years and years of oatmeal for breakfast, powdered milk, PB&J sandwiches because sandwich meat was too expensive, ten year-old hand me downs, and never being able to get whatever was the latest fad, be it pogs, yo-yos, or Tamagotchis.  I internalized this pecuniary prudishness maybe a bit too much; my staple food freshman year of college was refried bean sandwiches, which are about as bad as they sound.

My hobby also comes from the romanticism associated with struggling, up and coming bands.  Driven by a passion for their music they are taking a risk that many of us dream of, but dare not take.  Whether from insanity, love of a dream, or pure hopefulness, they are making a jump, and I feel the need to support them by getting their message out.

I download free and legal music.

Mostly the music comes from the band’s own website, but there are a few good collections of free and legal music online.  Barsuk Records has an amazing collection; CNet constantly surprises me with the bands they have, like Death Cab for Cutie, Whitest Boy Alive, Paul McCartney & Youth (aka The Fireman); and the Insound website is just great.

The most difficult part is searching through tons of music that is okay, or not so good, or downright worthless, to find the gems that you really want to listen to, that really touch your heart.  Hence,  The kindly person who runs the site, but never identifies himself, posts three new songs every week, along with a short positive review.  Every week, three good songs, completely free, completely guilt-free, and very satisfying.  I have spent many enjoyable hours searching fingertips, and am really grateful for the music I found there.

My name is Jacob Olson.  I download free and legal music.  So sue me.