Case Studies/Yunyu

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JJJ Unearthed, music, business model, CD Baby, Earshot Music, iTunes, usync, MySpace, Facebook,


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Yunyu is a successful unsigned singer/songwriter in Sydney, Australia, who uses Creative Commons licences for promotional purposes.

The ease with which I have allowed podcasters, bloggers and the like to use my music could only have helped me make my living as a musician. — Yunyu


Yunyu is an understated, self-proclaimed member of the emerging (and in many cases emerged) generation of bedroom-based artists who may not, without the Internet, have ever seen the cold light of day. She is a classically-trained musician, though she admits to having been bored by the restrictions of that genre. Yunyu first saw success before ever having played a live gig, via the Triple J Radio 'Unearthed' competition (a new talent competition hosted by Australian national broadcaster, JJJ). Following her being 'unearthed,' Yunyu received radio airplay all over the globe, including some chart domination on Canadian college radio.

Yunyu uses the services of several online businesses to sell and share her music. For both physical and digital distribution, Yunyu's business model utilises a number of different music platforms. She has CDs and mp3s available for purchase from US independent distributor, CD Baby. CDs are also available from the Australian independent store Earshot Music, while paid digital downloads are available from iTunes. Yunyu also offers fans the option of buying CDs directly from her.

As with a number of independent bands, Yunyu uses the services of a company called Usync. The service provides a 'backstage pass' to paying fans, who can then get access to exclusive content in the 'backstage' area of the Usync website. The service essentially brings ticket sales, music sales, news announcements and other components of a music business model into the one location or interface.

Popular online radio station 'Lastfm' also assists in the proliferation of Yunyu's music, together with social networking platforms like MySpace and Facebook.

License Usage

Yunyu uses the Creative Commons NonCommercial-Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 licence for promotional purposes. Two of her songs, A Prayer and Lenore's Song, are available under this licence as streaming music videos. Whilst her site does not include any downloadable tracks, Yunyu specifies on her webpage that, though only two of her songs are actually officially under Creative Commons licences, she is happy for any of her work to be used in certain circumstances without payment but with attribution. She acknowledges social projects and amateur productions as acceptable forms of use, and adds that if someone has paid for a copy of her work, what they then do with the work (including file-sharing using services such as P2P) is up to them.

Though unable to provide any accurate statistics on the effects Creative Commons licensing has had on her success, Yunyu cites the availability of Lenore's Song as having been a big help in increasing her profile. The song is licensed under Creative Commons, as discussed above, and its accompanying music video has seen over 85,000 hits on video-sharing site YouTube. James Milsom from Creative Commons Australia interviewed Yunyu on 20 April 2008, where she stated that

‘The ease with which I have allowed podcasters, bloggers and the like to use my music could only have helped me make my living as a musician.'

Yunyu has been pleased with the benefits of Open Content Licensing generally, saying that, ‘It allows podcasters/ indie movie makers/ poor film students/ poor artists etc. to use and share my music easily and without hassle.' This ease of (re)use has proven extremely beneficial for Yunyu, with her work featuring in six different student films, including productions from as far as Belgium and The Netherlands, in addition to multiple placements in podcasts, such as that of the 'Coolshite Crew' and her lyrics being used to teach English to Japanese people. A fan made video to her song Dance So Slowly is the icing on the cake.


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