Revolutionary music service a moral cheapskate’s dream

Guvera. Quite possibly the best service on the internet.

There’s a nice view up here, from the moral high ground.

As I watch over my fellow music devotees scavenging about in the wastelands of online piracy, I am busy dusting off my harp and appreciating music at its finest.

That’s right; I’m not like the others. My music collection isn’t dirty like theirs.

I buy my music. Legally.

My reasons for abiding by the law are hardly complex; I am opposed to stealing and believe that people deserve to be paid for their labour. As a former muso myself – who spent about a year spruiking a mediocre EP – I have a vague idea of what it must be like for real musicians.

During one of my sales pitches, a friend told me they weren’t going to buy my record because they’d already burnt a copy from a friend. On one level, I was pleased; the fact that she desired to listen to my tunes was music to my ears. On another level, I was gobsmacked; I couldn’t understand how a personal friend could be so brutally tight-fisted.

Don't let me tell you why to use it. Let them.

I see the music industry as a cruel game of natural selection. The most uniquely talented bands don’t necessarily survive; rather, it’s the crafty ones – who can penetrate the charts and conceive the most identical twin music babies – that survive through to the next generation.

As such it is up to the music shopper to intervene. It is their responsibility to reward the most gifted artists before they go extinct.

In saying all that, I can’t help but feel my place aboard this high horse is a tad unjustified.

The last time I bought a full-priced record was 86 months ago, back in March 2005. Regrettably, it was a copy of NOFX’s greatest hits compilation. And it probably doesn’t even count, because I bought it with a Sanity voucher.

Since then I’ve added 323 physical CDs to my anthology. They’ve come from a range of sources, namely op-shops, garage sales, pawn shops and the occasional magazine giveaways.

For all the money I have invested in this collection, little of that has gone to the artists.

Correction; none of that goes to the artists.

The fact that my money often goes to charities somewhat re-affirms my morality. Yet I can’t help but wonder whether this I-pay-for-what-I-get attitude mirrors the BitTorrent junkie, who claims that because he pays his internet bills his music is legal.

For a cheapskate with a moral conscience, like yours truly, the missing piece of the puzzle would be some kind of service, which both offers the customer a cheap price and rewards the artist for their effort. That would be perfect. If only…

I’d hate to sound like a press release, but such a service does exist. It’s called Guvera.

When Guvera first kicked off back in 2010, it created a bit of buzz in the music indsutry. As the name suggests, it promised to offer music fans a revolution in the way they purchased content. Its business plan was ambitious, but simple all the same. Fans clicked on advertisements, advertisers paid for music, and fans got to keep the music.

When I first heard about the service I presumed it was a scam. However, 32 free albums later I’m convinced that it is the best internet service in the world. You might think such a superlative is unnecessary. But that’s because you haven’t used it.

Like other internet music website, Guvera is a pay-per-download system; every song costs the user a certain amount of credits. The catch is that these credits are absolutely free. They are paid for by various businesses, which draw benefits from free advertising.

For the user this could be perceived as an inconvenience; one has to sacrifice as much wall space on Facebook as they want free music. However, over the last two years I’ve both increased my Facebook friend tally and bolstered my mp3 library. If the ads I’m posting are annoying anybody they certainly haven’t made it known.

Guvera’s positives far outweigh its negatives. So far this year the service has granted me 15 free albums; that’s almost one per week.

Given my track record of purchasing music at discount prices, let’s presume each of those CDs would have cost me $5 (in reality they would each be in excess of $20). The amount I have thus saved this year is the equivalent to a concert ticket, a flight to Sydney, or a few very nice dinners. Given that we’ve still got another eight months left in the year, I could well be upgrading that flight to Singapore.

The music Guvera has bought me isn’t too shabby, either. Among this year’s mix have been Radiohead, Kanye West, Nirvana, Bluejuice, 360, Bloc Party and Angus & Julia Stone. In years gone by I’ve also picked up half of Weezer’s discography, a bit of Powderfinger, some Gotye and even The Mars Volta.

Pretty easy-to-use interface.

In other words, Guvera is just like any other music store. Sure, it doesn’t have everything; it’s probably not the place to find that obscure 70s funk record. But of the three or four songs on your wish list at the moment, Guvera’s probably got two.

As one might imagine the commercial support for Guvera has wavered throughout its relatively short lifespan. In its early days, the website was able to offer listeners roughly one album a month. That month soon became two months, and that two soon became five.

One constant throughout this period, however, was the provision of another valuable service: free streaming. That alone makes the website a worthwhile companion to all music lovers. It also means there’s no risk in trying out a new band before permanently embracing them.

Today it appears that the days of infrequent downloads are over. The website is booming with partners, with brands as diverse as the Australian Institute of Eye Surgery and Discovery Holiday Tours on board (but don’t worry; they’re also sponsored by some mainstream brands like TAC, Monster Energy and the Big Day Out). Furthermore, Guvera gift cards are now distributed at rock festivals and Bushells highway stops alike.

Long story short, the brand is taking off and it’s time you jumped on the bandwagon. After all, you’re already 32 albums late.

Guvera’s Facebook page offers three downloads once a week. Like the page, click on the “My Soundtrack” tab and agree to advertise Guvera on your timeline. If you are opposed to the idea of giving free publicity to a corporation – particularly one that ostensibly has communist links – think of Guvera as an amiable philanthropist.

Note: I am not affiliated with Guvera in any way. I am nothing more than a passionate – and thrifty – music lover, giving my endorsement to a quality service.

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