Downhill Battle

Quarterly Report, First Quarter 2004

Covering the period January 1-March 31, 2004

Project Reports

Postal Department
    -Rolled out two popular t-shirt designs, a new sticker design, and a bumpersticker. [LINK]
    -Hundreds of t-shirts, bumperstickers sold to activists around the world.
    -Shirts are both "Made in the USA" and cheap. No compromises, low markup.
    -Outsourced Postal Department duties to Fujichia Records. [LINK]

Tune Recycler
    -Launched to put musician-friendly twist on iTunes/Pepsi Super Bowl promo. [LINK]
    -Collected thousands of bottlecap codes that may otherwise have been wasted by being used to purchse music from labels that give artists exploitative contracts.
    -Codes will be redeemed for music from unsigned musicians and independent record labels.

Grey Tuesday Protest
    -Organized a historic online protest for copyright reform. [LINK]
    -Hundreds of sites participated by making the Grey Album available for 24 hours on February 24, 2004.
    -A coalition of over 170 sites received and subsequently defied a direct legal threat from EMI records, to take a stand for musicians' freedom to create.
    -Protesters distributed over 100,000 copies of the Grey Album, making it the number one album in the country that day.

Banned Music
    -Launched BannedMusic, a virtual record label for music the major labels' copyright regime tries to suppress. built on the success of Grey Tuesday, and was a collaborative effort between Downhill Battle and other members of the Grey Tuesday coalition, including Splinter Products.
    -Developed a self-installing Bittorrent client which combines both decentralization and ease of use. [LINK]
    -Development on the client is continuing, to further reduce bandwidth costs to the hosting site.
    -Whenever the major labels try to suppress a piece of sample-based music, we'll make it more available than ever.

Radio PSAs
    -Wrote and recorded public service announcements for college and noncommercial radio. [LINK]
    -Announced PSAs in two-part Downhill Battle interview in CMJ.

College Outreach Campaign
    -Began college outreach campaign, with new member Rebecca Laurie heading up effort. [LINK]

In-Store Labeling Project
    -Another 10,000 CD labels sent to activists in US, Canada, and around the world. [LINK]
    -By buying in volume we were able to reduce the price.
    -Contacted by middle-manager at BMG who had to call several Best Buys accross a certain region because one had got hit so hard with stickers.

Interview Series
    -Conducted interviews with prominent independent musicians and label-owners in a variety of genres.
    -Covered topics such as payola, major label contracts, filesharing, and the freedom to sample.
    -Brought in two writers, Matt Bernstein and Griff Sorcinelli, to take over the interview series.

    -Added news feeds from RIAA Watch and P2Pnet to front page.

    -Added section for non-English language materials
    -We've received several contributions so far, and more are on the way.

    -Created the Sandbox, an area for posting banners and other designs submitted by volunteers.

Press Coverage

    -Press coverage skyrocketed in Q1 2004, largely due to the success of Grey Tuesday.
    -Holmes, Nicholas, and Rebecca appeared on MTV News.
    -Other TV appearances on COMCAST CN8 (opposite a representative from the RIAA), and Envoye Speciale, a French 60 Minutes. [LINK]
    -Radio appearances on BBC2, NPR, and syndicated talk programs.
    -Print coverage in the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Guardian (UK), the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, The Christian Science Monitor, Wired Magazine, and many, many other newspapers, free weeklies, and music magazines.

Outreach, and team involvement

    -Created Get Involved page to manage database of volunteers sorted by skill.
    -Over 1,000 volunteers recruited, including over 300 college students and over 400 musicians.
    -Assembled nationwide network of volunteers to table/flyer concerts which will go into action this Spring.     -Secured one paid intern (thanks to a university grant) for summer 2004.
    -Currently evaluating multiple internship applications.


-Downhill Battle did not meet its quarterly objective of eliminating all five major record labels. This goal has been rescheduled for completion in Q2 2004.

-Downhill Battle still has no money.