Kamizdat is a Slovene free-form boutique netlabel for Creative Commons music by local artists exploring a wide range of genres often packaged in locally-made and unique hand-numbered limited editions.
Releasing local music is a way of documenting artists’ unique particularities, complex sonic backgrounds, histories, and paths of formation. More honest and adventurous, the better. The project is identified as ‘free-form’ to foreground an effort to not be stifled by genre conventions and instead provide a non-reactionary platform for all kinds of unusual, adventurous, outsider, and daring excursions in music-making.
Genius is overrated because “Everything is a Remix”, as we continue to stand on the shoulders of giants. “I am what I am because of who we all are.” (English translation of the Zulu word “Ubuntu”). Kamizdat releases all music using CC licenses that permit free distribution under certain conditions: “Some Rights Reserved”. We believe that the system can be transformed into one that is non-exploitative, collaborative, inclusive, and fair. Contemporary copyright and intellectual property laws and the notion of the so-called “piracy” are in the interests of big publishers who put profit first and artists second. The latter want their work to be shared widely, but they at the same time also want to be able to put food on their table.
Limited physical editions
While the main purpose of a netlabel is to publish and distribute (possibly free) online content, the tactility of physical music media and their packaging cannot be overrated, especially when done in a careful and artistic way. In parallel to free cost-less accessibility of digital music, some mesmerised listeners might want to engage with a physical object that—ideally—reflects the artists’ and the label’s ideas through design and packaging. Hand-made, hand-numbered, manually duplicated, and in small runs, these limited editions are trying to amplify the physical aspect of music in a world of mass production, planned obsolescence, and intangible data flows.
Our way of thinking and doing things is inspired by intersectional feminism and gender & sexual minorities’ rights. Releases and concerts feature womxn creators as often as possible. We are strong proponents of zero-tolerance of harmful or prejudicial behaviour related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, regional discrimination, political or religious affiliation.
Fair trade music
The current state of music market feels as harmful to artists as can be. Despite the fact that the digital “revolution” has lessened the grip of the gatekeepers, the market is oversaturated with digital distributors and aggregators on the one hand and few close-to-monopolist digital stores or streamers on the other. Artists have to fight with the algorithms of data-sucking surveillance capitalism. For consumers it is convenient to pay a tenner per month for access to everything, including mindless mood playlists. Profits go to the big corps without any transparency, while artists have no access to data about who is actually listening and enjoying their work or how to get in touch with their audiences. Presently we can identify one of the few fair trade music platforms that work hard for the artists: Bandcamp.
Free/Libre Open Source Software
Despite the fact that many artists on the label don’t necessarily use FLOSS software for their audio work, in-house production at our organisation is done on Linux and with other free software programs, including audio production and video editing. FLOSS benefits are personal control, customizability and freedom, privacy and security, low/no costs, quality, collaboration, and efficiency. Software is now the world’s basic infrastructure and it must not be closed and proprietary.
Art = infrastructure
The arts are a public good—and not a mere consumer product—because everyone benefits from the arts, not just those who choose to attend. A thriving creative sector creates a positive ripple effect throughout a community. We all benefit when neighbourhoods are more livable, when kids do better in school, when the economy is more productive, and when diverse populations come together—all of which results from inclusive access to arts activities and experiences. This project runs on support from different sources, but we mostly seek public funding. Private funds, market competition, and sales income cannot support our mission of consistently documenting unique and often commercially unprofitable art creativity.