November 27, 2005 | By Fred von Lohmann

Jane Siberry Opens a Window On a Better Download World

At a time when the music industry appears intent on pitting itself against digital music fans, at least one artist is staking out the opposite end of the spectrum.

Jane Siberry is a Canadian singer-songwriter, probably best known for the song "Calling All Angels," which featured kd lang and appeared on soundtracks for Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World and, later, Pay It Forward. She's enjoyed considerable success in both Canada and the US, has more than 10 albums to her name since 1981, and is often compared to Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell.

Her new download store, recently unveiled at her site, is a model of what the music downloading world could be. All of her songs are available as plain MP3s, which means they will play on your iPod and are not loaded with DRM restrictions (much less evil rootkits).

And you pay whatever you like for them. Yes, you set whatever price you like. Options include:

  • free ("gift from Jane");
  • a standard price (CAN$0.99);
  • self-determined price - pay now; or
  • self-determined price - pay later (to facilitate try-before-you-buy).

When you purchase the song, moreover, you can select up to 5 people to whom you can email a link to the song.

I just saw her perform in concert here in SF, and she summed it up this way: "I want to treat people the way I'd like to be treated. I don't like being treated like a child, so I won't be doing that to other people."

This is so blindingly, obviously right on so many levels, it demonstrates how far the "authorized music services" like iTunes Music Store and eMusic have yet to come.

If you're interested, let me suggest a sampler of Jane's music -- thanks to her download store, you can try them all for free:

Calling All Angels (w/ kd lang) (from When I Was a Boy)
All the Candles in the World (from When I Was a Boy)
Hockey (from Bound by the Beauty)
Everything Reminds Me of My Dog (from Bound by the Beauty)
Angel Voyeur (from Teenager)
The Walking (and Constantly) (from The Walking)
The White Tent the Raft (from The Walking)
See the Child (from Maria)
Mimi On the Beach (from No Borders Here)

Or, if you'd rather just download an entire album, I'd recommend When I Was a Boy.


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