The Techdirt blog was brought to our attention this week by one of our subscribers. The debate over there and elsewhere regarding the state of the economy and how it is affecting the journalism and music industries is hot and contentious.

Freebies all over the place — torrenting, private FTP libraries, etc — and the absence of retail are the big issues most people are referencing as the problem with our industry. And many are talking of subscription-based models as a potential solution — even something like Radiohead’s last foray into pay-what-you-want.

But those unestablished artists that can’t afford the freebie culture — i ask, how many people 15 – 22 have ever stepped foot in a record store excluding digital stores? — but have been forced into it, are waiting on a change.

Scott from NY had some great thoughts, including a reference to part of Greenleaf’s model:

My second argument surveys the state of the world: while there are lots of ‘unsigned’ bands giving away their music on Facebook and the like, the decision they’re making is a temporary one, (they hope).

They need attention more than anything else, at this point. Importantly though, that need can change over time.

Established artists lead the way: the great jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas has his own label. He allows you to ‘subscribe’ to his work. He sells merch and promotes concerts. But other than samples, he does not give away his music.

Neither do the folks over at ArtistShare, who do sell the experience of vicariously participating in various music projects but who, again, give very little away.

To my knowledge, both are successful, and it seems to me they’ve identified the real scarcity behind the infinite goods – there’s only so much Dave Douglas, or David Byrne & Brian Eno or Maria Schneider to go around.