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FUZIGISH (article first published : 2001-02-18)

A South African ska and punk band claims to be the first in the country -- if not the African continent -- to actively base its promotional and marketing drive on Napster.

Napster is a controversial peer-to-peer (P2P) technology that makes music freely available in the form of MP3s, the digital format that compresses huge audio files into small, high-fidelity applications that can be played on any PC. Despite moves that will see it becoming a subscription-based service supported by major music labels, most international record companies - as well as the acts in their stables - currently tend to see the Napster technology as aiding piracy. But local group Fuzigish (pronounced “fuzzy gish”) is outspoken in its support of Napster as a marketing and promotional tool for smaller bands.

This is because, as Fuzigish frontman Jay Bones says, traditional record companies tend to ignore bands like his in favour of those that are more commercial and "rake in the money". "Traditional record companies do not see it worth their while to market small groups and focus only on more lucrative acts," he points out. "For many small groups working with independent labels, the Napster approach to marketing ourselves is the most relevant."

His own music record company, Croakroom, fully supports his group’s online endeavours. "Croakroom sees it as a chance of getting our music out and into the market," Bones explains. "They are a small indie label and the main concern is good music - and the creation of South African ska and punk scene - as opposed to how much money they can make. "Most musicians’ revenues come from shows and merchandising, including t-shirts and so on. "At the end of the day, record companies may lose from Napster – but artists win in my opinion, especially in South Africa where ‘rock’ based music is considered to risky by large record companies and too expensive to produce for the small local audience."

Contact Fuzigish on 082-378-0307 or at www.fuzigish.co.za or fuzigish@angelfire.com or and Croakroom at www.croakroom.com or andrew@croakroom.com




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