Like Downloading Gurbani MP3 Files?

Well…I was just looking at the webstats for my blog and seeing all the bandwidth used from people downloading MP3 files during the past week or so. I didn’t think it would be that much, but then I saw it… about 23 GB of data transferred! That’s a lot for this short period of time. I guess people are downloading away…which is great.

In the past I wanted to offer downloads of MP3 files on SikhNet, however it wouldn’t be feasible doing so for free without significant support from the Sangat. SikhNet gets significant traffic for the Gurbani Archive Section and as a result uses over 1.5 terabytes of data transfer every month, which = big hosting costs for the bandwidth.

We are currently working on a new service to support one of our projects, of Archiving old Gurbani Kirtan from audio reels and cassettes. It takes quite a bit of time to process a single tape (digitize, clean up audio, backup original to DVD, catalog info, identify shabad names, split into individual files for each shabad, convert to internet formats like MP3, upload to servers, add to database, etc). In order to support this project we have to get community funding to hire someone to do this work and actually make progress.

Basically we will be offering an itunes/SikhTunes like service where people can become a “Gurbani Club Member”, add money to their account, and pay something like 40 cents per MP3 Gurbani track. HOLD Up a sec… all those people thinking “How can you charge for Gurbani?“. Keep in mind that this is necessary to support the project and pay for the costs involved with doing it. If we just put up loads of Gurbani MP3 on SikhNet we would end up with HUGE costs for the bandwidth usage and wouldn’t get the needed support to sustain the archive project.

If you are like me and many others, you collect as many MP3 files as you can get. The membership fees would eliminate wasteful downloading, and people would be more selective of Gurbani that they really like. And of course this would enable us to continue to archive Gurbani and make it available to everyone.

I am curious to know what you all think about this idea. If you listen to Gurbani MP3 files, would you pay for a Gurbani Club Membership to download kirtan and support this project and SikhNet? Hopefully there is enough interest to support the service. Of course there is always the potential of someone just giving a grant/large donation to cover the costs and make the files freely available. It is one thing if you are an individual doing this small scale on smaller website, but when you do this on a much larger scale and have the number of people that visit SikhNet, it changes all the dynamics.