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Lift-Off for Innovative New Online Music Store

Downloading music from the internet is fast becoming one of the world's biggest growth industries. A student is now trying to tap into the market by setting up a website for independent musicians to sell their songs on an international stage.

Hawksbillmusic.com, the creation of Joseph Lavington, an 18-year-old student from England, is open to all independent musicians - local, national and international. Internet surfers are able to download and listen to songs up to three times for no charge. If they like the track, they have to buy it to hear it again and the artist receives half of every sale.

Joseph, from the city of Bath, England, said, "There has been a lot of talk of musicians being ripped off by downloads. So many albums and songs have been leaked on to the web and downloaded by fans. The musician's rights are ignored, and he or she loses a lot of money. It discourages record labels from investing in new talent."

Several high-profile bands have taken file-sharing networks to court and won, and now record labels are suing downloaders themselves. But Joseph said: "The artists get a fair deal with Hawksbill Music, and much more cash than other similar services".
Each song will cost between 50p and 2, and once a purchase has been made, the buyer will be free to transfer it to CD or portable player. Users who have purchased a track are encouraged to share it with others, and will earn a small cut of any sales that result from this.

A wide range of artists, of differing genres, have already signed up including Reed Rothchild, a Los Angeles ambient-electronic composer, and Tetrix, a highly experimental Canadian four-piece. Joseph said, "I am confident Hawksbill will be a success, as a whole new avenue in the music world has been opened."

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