Indie911 puts music documentary online

Documentary “Before the Music Dies” will become the first feature to be distributed by Indie911 online via the Hoooka, its new application that allows anyone to sell digital content on their own Web site.

Under the pact with distributor B-Side Entertainment, Indie911 keeps 20% of revenue while individuals who sell the pic via Hoooka on their own sites take 10%, with the rest going to B-Side.

“Before,” a music-biz doc directed by Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen, has previously been available only at special theatrical screenings and as a DVD sold online.

Since it launched last month, Hoooka has been used primarily to sell music. But Indie911 hopes the deal for “Before the Music Dies” will be the first of many with indie filmmakers to distribute their pics online.

“We’ve been focused on creating tools to help independent artists reach people and we think we’ve developed a tool that increases that value proposition,” said Indie911 topper Justin Goldberg.

In a rare move for a commercial film, pic will be sold without DRM, which will allow buyers to make unlimited copies and burn them to DVD.

Any digital download store that sells Hollywood content has to use DRM to address major studios’ concerns about piracy. As a result, the vast majority of commercial content available for download comes with copying restrictions and, due to the technical limitations of DRM, can’t currently be burned to DVD.

“DRM is most onerous for the consumers who actually download content legally, and those are the people we are asking to become involved in the process and help spread the word,” said B-Side CEO Chris Hyams.

A hi-res download of “Before the Music Dies” suitable to watch on a PC or DVD will cost $9.99 when it goes on sale Friday. A lower-quality version for portable devices will cost $3.99.

Indie911 and B-Side plan to use a variety of Web marketing tools to make people aware of the pic’s availability and encourage them to sell it via Hoooka on their own MySpace page, blog or Web site.

Deal is exclusive for now, though B-Side is planning to start selling the film directly from its own Web site later this year.

Hoooka got big publicity last month after MySpace banned porn star Tila Tequila from using it to sell music on her page. However, News Corp.-owned Netco has allowed other users to install Hoooka widgets on their profiles.

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