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Study Suggests Music Industry Embrace Piracy

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the give-the-people-what-they-want dept.

Music 293

unassimilatible writes to tell us that according to the Financial Times, the music industry should embrace illegal file-sharing websites. A recent study of the recent Radiohead album release found that huge numbers of illegal downloads actually helped the band's popularity and, by extension, concert ticket sales. "Radiohead's release of In Rainbows on a pay-what-you-want basis last October generated enormous traffic to the band's own website and intense speculation about how much fans had paid. He urged record companies to study the outcome and accept that file-sharing sites were here to stay. 'It's time to stop swimming against the tide of what people want,' he said." Update 19:46 GMT by SM: Several readers (including the original author) have written in to mention that it isn't stressed enough that this study was engaged by the music industry itself, making the findings that much more interesting. Take that as you will.

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293 comments

What "study"? (5, Insightful)

XorNand (517466) | more than 5 years ago | (#24470893)

Not saying that there might be some merit here, but this was hardly a scientific study. Someone simply looked at the number of downloads of a single album, by a single band and said "downloads == good." Sure, you can make statistics say whatever you want them to say, but this isn't even trying.

Secondly, it's no longer "pirating" if it's condoned by the copyright holder, eh? So, we're now expecting labels to just let everyone freely copy music? The problem here is that labels own the copyright and make their money from album sales. Merchandising and concert revenue, on the other hand, typically go into the bands' pockets. So of course there are bands out there that would love to use albums as a loss leader for their concerts. This kinda screws the labels though since the only reason so many people attend the concerts or buy the t-shirts is due to a heavy promotional investment by the labels.

I can't actually believe that I'm spending a few minutes of my life to defend major record labels, but we do need a bit of intellectual honesty and middle ground in this discussion.

Re:What "study"? (5, Insightful)

I2egulus (1322013) | more than 5 years ago | (#24470999)

Before I start, I agree with parent post. Record labels that invest time in promoting an album have a right to some of the money too, though not nearly as much as they take currently.

The question though, is whether said labels are necessary to the industry anymore. Can a band sustain itself without a record label, while still releasing music in an album format digitally? I'm not one to pretend to be knowledgeable on the issue but I figure I can at least pose the question.

Re:What "study"? (4, Insightful)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471241)

The question though, is whether said labels are necessary to the industry anymore. Can a band sustain itself without a record label, while still releasing music in an album format digitally?

Let me answer your question with another question; Which band? If you're talking about Radiohead, then yes. However, if you're talking about your buddy Joe's local garage band, no. In the end it all comes down to the individual bands ability to market themselves and actually get their music heard.

Re:What "study"? (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471311)

Short answer? Yes. The recording industry as distribution giants are no longer needed. That is not to say that there is no place left for their business, just none left for them to run it the way that they have been. Bands still need help with getting concert venues and promotion. I'll wager that before the large RIAA members figure it out there will be others jumping inline to provide such as is needed by bands who distribute electronically.
The old methods of finding out about new music are slowly failing. Commercial radio is floundering, magazines are not covering all the music available, so the market (roughly speaking) is wide open for competition to large record labels. I listen extensively to Internet radio. I live in a large metropolitan area and there is NOTHING on regular radio that I can suffer through for 6 songs an hour. I say this because if I have gotten to this point, you can bet I'm not alone and as a result the RIAA members are losing out until they start supporting the "New Way" of doing business. It is now completely legitimate and plausible to do without their services IMO.

The real problem for RIAA members is that they don't seem to realize how long ago this boat left the pier while they were partying at the boathouse. Now they have to play catch-up to the likes of iTunes, Napster etc. They have given their business away by being afraid to innovate and change with the times and technology.

Bands mostly sustain themselves on concert generated revenue, not record sales. The smaller the band, the more this is true. The internet sales model is giving some small bands more money than they could have thought possible without a record deal. Direct sales == money. Radiohead, NIN, and others are showing that it's not just a big money pit to throw away your profits in. It DOES work. Some reports say that revenues for a band from CD sales is negligible, so in these terms the Radiohead deal is a big deal. They got all the revenue from music sales. Despite mistakes or blunders, Radiohead and NIN are showing others how to do business in The New Way.

As technology takes it further, the avalanche of music available to users will overwhelm them, and they will look for the New MTV to help them limit their choices and search for the next pop idol. That is where Internet websites will slowly begin taking share from RIAA members. The new nexus of distribution is being the person who knows what is available and can help you find music you like.

So, in both short and long answer... yes!

Re:What "study"? (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471599)

Short answer? Yes. The recording industry as distribution giants are no longer needed. That is not to say that there is no place left for their business, just none left for them to run it the way that they have been. Bands still need help with getting concert venues and promotion.

This is it, exactly.

Distribution has changed, but marketing and promotion needs are still there. While it is possible for an artist to succeed with marketing on their own, no small acts have access to the marketing channels that the big companies have -- and so it is unlikely that an artist can succeed in marketing their own product.

The big labels need to retrench and get out of distribution. They could be very, very successful (& profitable) if they realize this. They need to sell off their distribution arms (only the first one or two to do so will realize anywhere close to value, IMO) and do what they are best at, which is controlling what the market "demands".

Re:What "study"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471317)

"Can a band sustain itself without a record label, while still releasing music in an album format digitally?"

As long as the band devote their time to accounting, promotion, dealing with venues, booking tours and hotels, etc then that can work fine.

If the band wish to devote their time to making music, playing music, recording music and writing music etc then it's not practical.

Sure, you can pay someone to do the office work, but that someone had better have a good knowledge of the industry and some good contacts. In fact, the sort of person who works for a record company.....

In many ways it's best to look at labels as specialized accountancy and promotion companies that happen to be useful to bands.

It's all about Control, baby (4, Interesting)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471399)

The music industry (and the movie industry) has a business model where they control the conduit between the "talent" and the "customer." They make their money by controlling that conduit ... we have a number of laws [wikipedia.org] that outline the dirty tricks [wikipedia.org] used by these folks to control the distribution conduit, right up to the control interface on your wallet. The Canadian blank-media tax basically siphons cash out of your wallet regardless of your music/entertainment purchases, and gives the lion's share of the funds to ... wait for it ... the distribution cartels. They have a plan for distributions to artists, but that's after they've taken their cut.

Any proposal that lessens their ability to control the market will be opposed quite vigorously. They already know they're obsolete. What makes you think they're going to give up voluntarily?

Marketing Works (1)

eqreed (1108821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471493)

Throwing money into promotions and advertisements does influence the masses to buy; and money is what counts to business. The question is, how much of sales are based upon marketing?

Marketing leads to popularity. Popularity leads to sales. Sales leads to money. Money leads to power. Power leads to suffering.

Re:What "study"? (1)

I2egulus (1322013) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471555)

Well, can a major band that is well-known already ditch their record label entirely?

If they did so, and released their own albums digitally (or at least eased out the role of the recording studio), prices could probably drop or the artists themselves could make profit rather than the middlemen.

Also, if more money were going to the artists, people might be more inclined toward paying for music they really like (though probably not because piracy is still awesome.)

Perhaps the expertise of a record label is necessary early on in a band's "life", but can bands not break out of a label when it's in their own (and their fans') interests?

Re:What "study"? (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471743)

Well, can a major band that is well-known already ditch their record label entirely?

Depends on their contract and if they're up for renegotiation. If you look close, you'll notice that big-name bands/artists eventually move over to their own label, but utilize the "big names" for physical distribution, et al.

Re:What "study"? (1)

Greenmoon (656273) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471041)

Merchandising and concert revenue, on the other hand, typically go into the bands' pockets.

Is that really true? I don't know much about that industry, but I recall many stories about bands touring for years and coming out broke. I thought the labels also managed and thereby profited from the tours.

It just doesn't seem likely that all the profits from a concert goes entirely into the band's pockets.

Re:What "study"? (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471075)

It depends a lot on the particular contract that band had. Groups that are not wary can get ripped off pretty easily. However, to be very general, live performance monies go to the band, and they get very little from CD sales.

The reason that many of those stories happen is due to the ridiculously archaic and overpriced production and physical distribution system that made(makes) everyone except the band a good deal of cash. Or, at least, it used to. :D

Re:What "study"? (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471163)

Oh, and I should point out that of course the venue is going to benefit from the concert revenue. However, unless specified in the label's contract with the band (which some more recent contracts *do* specify -- the jury is still out and the opinions from just about everyone are mixed on the subject ), the live performance net profits go to "the band" (for whatever value that means in terms of that particular music group).

Re:What "study"? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471349)

If the music industry gets their way and dumps their music-selling model only to wrap their tendrils around live music, then we'll soon be seeing $20 beers(with no drinking allowed in the parking lots for "safety" reasons) and $50 t-shirts on top of the increased ticket prices.

Looks like they'll get their "pay-per-play" wishes granted after all.

Kinda like the Oil -er,- energy industry. They're not gonna let us have alternatave fuels until they're in control.

Re:What "study"? (5, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471079)

It's not even a good example of an album to study. Radiohead had enormous success with it, but they were hugely helped by two things:

1) They were already a very well-established band.
2) They had a huge amount of publicity given to them because the method of distribution was 'revolutionary' (and they got that publicity largely because of 1) above).

Re:What "study"? (4, Funny)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471231)

I definitely agree. It's problematic to try and draw any sort of industry-wide lesson from the experiences of an already enormously popular, wildly successful band like Radiohead. It's like saying U2 benefits from file sharing. Shit, Bono could fart into a harmonica and they'd sell a million copies.

Re:What "study"? (3, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471227)

Who needs labels anymore anyway? If someone is interested enough in truly making music, they should find a way to do it and make money off it.

It isn't like labels are really promoting anything worthwhile anyway. They're more like a marketing machine. Miley Cyrus or Cute Cookie Cutter Female Singer #324,234,465 hardly qualify as "artists".

What's needed is iTunes that let's anyone on and you screw all to the record companies by finding a way to record your music w/o them. Home recording is hella cheap compared to a couple decades ago and there are ways of gettin' real studio time. Until you're good enough to warrant it though, flip burgers and pinch pennies. No different than any college kid eating a case of ramen a week.

Re:What "study"? (1)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471541)

Sure, you can make statistics say whatever you want them to say

forfty percent of all people know _that_...

The implication is that labels are now useless. (2, Insightful)

Chiasmus_ (171285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471589)

The problem here is that labels own the copyright and make their money from album sales. Merchandising and concert revenue, on the other hand, typically go into the bands' pockets. So of course there are bands out there that would love to use albums as a loss leader for their concerts.

Okay, but I think the most important implication of this post is that perhaps there is absolutely no need for there to be record labels anymore.

Recording studios aren't even a hundredth as expensive as they used to be. Many bands - Radiohead included - have their own.

So if enough people are inclined to listen to music without having it on plastic disks in physical stores - why bother with the labels at all?

Sure, a band needs to be promoted, but the logical solution is for them to hire a PR guy - not for their PR guy to hire them.

Your sig is on topic! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471607)

"This Machine Kills Fascists" was inscribed on Woody Guthrie's guitar.

So, we're now expecting labels to just let everyone freely copy music? The problem here is that labels own the copyright and make their money from album sales

It works for the indies. Note that Radiohead sold a lot of records. The industry should (if they weren't so dishonest and afraid of their competetion) embrace P2P and tout the CD's sueriority to lossily compressed files, and add "value added" value to the records like concert tickets, posters, etc.

Instead they'd rather sue their best customers - there have been studies going back to the outlaw Napster that show that ardent P2P users buy more CDs than anyone.

It's good to have wants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24470903)

People want *everything* for free. If you could get anything/everything you wanted without having to pay for it, wouldn't you?

Re:It's good to have wants... (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24470939)

Now, how do we get them concert tickets for free?

Re:It's good to have wants... (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471205)

TicketMaster hacks.

I mean, they're bound to be vulnerable to one of the umpteen bazillion flaws found within almost any complex computer system.

Not that I encourage such a behavior, but hey, we ARE talking about augmenting (or at least mimicking) an already illegal activity.

But way back to the topic; I'm not a big music fan, oh I listen to music on occasion and certainly have preferences, including favorites, but I'm no fanboy. I know the name Radiohead, and from the way I've heard them described, there's a good chance I'd like them. I've heard Metallica before (and had quite a few fanboy friends), and they're okay (I like their old stuff, nice sound). Both of these companies have had their name tossed around the internet for related but entirely different things. Since it's quite rare that I buy music, when I DO get the urge for some new aural feast, one of those bands is going on my 'check this out' list, the other has already been stricken from any chance of me buying music.

Seems like there might be some money to be made or lost in this newfangled 'Downloading Music' thing.

Now, I know what you're saying... "But neomunk, why should we give two shits about what you're saying if it's so very rare for you to buy music?" My answer is that I'm a good case to use when pointing out what kind of PR the band (label, genre, whatever) is getting outside of the industry's spin machine. I surf the web, I read the headlines, and I am influenced... just like that.

Yep, I'm sure of it now, there is definitely some money to be made with this 'Download Music' thing.

Re:It's good to have wants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471223)

Tranquilizer, Grapple, and a Bush.

Steal the first two to avoid indirect cost.

Re:It's good to have wants... (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471421)

how do we get them concert tickets for free?

Generally, you just have to be caller number 7 and answer some stupid question.

Re:It's good to have wants... (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471645)

Caller number 7?

Is this some sort of reference to an ancient form of entertainment?
(I think it might be called, "radio.")

Re:It's good to have wants... (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471179)

People want *everything* for free.

      Not really. It's barely worth my time trying to dig up enough iron, aluminum and other metals, as well as finding the oil and manufacturing the plastics, in order to build my own automobile. I would spend my lifetime doing this, and would nowhere near approach the quality of car available on the market today. I have other things to do.

      However the perceived cost of a "song" - especially in the information age where anything digital can be copied an amazing number of times for virtually no cost - is very close to zero. Therefore that's exactly what I am willing to pay for it. Sure, the band had to spend a few weeks writing the thing, and a lifetime learning to play their instruments properly - that's why they get to charge willing customers for concert performances. Just like I get to charge my patients for the skills I have honed over the decades. However I don't become an overnight multi-millionaire just because I made a successful diagnosis with a single patient. It takes work, you know? The "entertainment" industry is long overdue for a "correction".

Re:It's good to have wants... (2, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471649)

You get to charge a lot of money for your skills not because they took so long to develop, but because the years of development means that your skills are rare.

Musicians, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. The world is full of skilled musicians. It's even full of skilled musicians who can put on a good show, though stagecraft is rarer than people think.

The real skill on that side is in getting people to all want one particular song. The record companies used to be pretty good at that, through a combination of skilled production, skilled marketing, and collusion with radio stations. Nobody listens to the radio any more, and skilled production comes free with an iMac.

Marketing is still a wide-open field. Maybe somebody will figure it out.

Shortchanging the future (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471651)

However the perceived cost of a "song" - especially in the information age where anything digital can be copied an amazing number of times for virtually no cost - is very close to zero. Therefore that's exactly what I am willing to pay for it. Sure, the band had to spend a few weeks writing the thing, and a lifetime learning to play their instruments properly - that's why they get to charge willing customers for concert performances.

Problem: ticket sales only work for bands with existing fans. CD sales work for bands who impress whoever happens to see them. How can a band become popular enough for the former if they can't even pay for their gas with the latter?

I think reasonable fans will realize that bands need money to buy equipment, drive to concerts, and make recordings. If you want to hear more music, you need to find a way to support it financially.

Furthermore, your argument of "if it's free to copy, it should be free to get" is absolutely destructive to the movie industry. Did you like "Iron Man?" How about "The Dark Knight?" How would movie studios pay for those multi-million-dollar productions if theaters were allowed to just download the movie from The Pirate Bay?

I don't think creative people have an inherent right to earn money from their work. But I do think that fans should realize that their money is what enables the creation of new music and movies. If you don't pay for your copy, the next original may not get made.

Re:It's good to have wants... (1)

Standard User 79 (1209050) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471653)

That you spend time downloading songs for your pleasure shows that they have much more value than you want to pay for it. So yes, you want to enjoy the creative works of others for free.

Re:It's good to have wants... (1)

Chiasmus_ (171285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471765)

That you spend time downloading songs for your pleasure shows that they have much more value than you want to pay for it.

That doesn't follow at all. That he spends time downloading the song shows that the songs have enough value to be worth downloading.

Which isn't much.

Re:It's good to have wants... (3, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471381)

People want *everything* for free.

I don't want everything for free. In fact I have very little pirated content in my music collection - there is some, but it's gotta be less than 10%, maybe less than 5%.

Much of my music collection was bought years ago, before downloading MP3 was even an option. These days, I only really "follow" a handful of mainstream artists and buy CDs when new ones are released. I do this only grudgingly, especially in those cases where the artist releases under a RIAA label. My preference is to buy indie music, preferably at a gig where the artist is playing and I can literally hand cash to them and tell them how much I enjoyed the show.

In general, my response to the RIAAs tactics - even though I'm not a "downloader" - has been to shun them and the bands they work with.

This isn't news anyway... (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24470911)

... though it might be good if they are constantly reminded that they are hurting themselves by going against consumers rather than with them.

Re:This isn't news anyway... (1)

OneShirtChris (1154341) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471001)

Exactly. It's the industry's responsibility to determine when a business model is no longer working and adapt to the world around them. It's so hard to put a value on art anyways.

Re:This isn't news anyway... CBP??? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471491)

If this becomes reality, will it relieve the Customs & Border Protection/Patrol of something to ransack hard disks for? (Someone/some report somewhere alluded to the possibility that the movie/music industries wanted or arranged for the various G8/other nations' customs inspectors look for pirated music and intellectual property.)

Next up: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24470937)

Study suggests cops embrace crime.

Re:Next up: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471209)

They already have!

Confusing summary? (1)

ThisIsAnonymous (1146121) | more than 5 years ago | (#24470941)

So the summary says:

A recent study of the recent Radiohead album release found that huge numbers of illegal downloads actually helped the band's popularity and, by extension, concert ticket sales.

But the quote says:

Radiohead's release of In Rainbows on a pay-what-you-want basis last October generated enormous traffic to the band's own website and intense speculation about how much fans had paid.

So was the pay-what-you-want part illegal? Is there a law that requires you to charge for music? Damn...

Don't blame me (3, Informative)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471101)

My submission was completely rewritten by the admin.

So was the pay-what-you-want part illegal? Is there a law that requires you to charge for music? Damn..

I think the point is that Radiohead wanted you to register with a credit card and get it from their site. I might be remembering incorrectly, but I think they wanted a minimum of 1 cent.

Regardless, just because a copyright holder doesn't charge money doesn't mean they cannot control other aspects of a work's use and distribution. Or have you not heard of a "GPL?"

Re:Don't blame me (1)

loafula (1080631) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471305)

So Sir! I typed a big round 0 in the name-your-own-price box, and that is what I paid. I didn't even need to give a credit card- just my email address!

Re:Don't blame me (1)

ag3ntugly (636404) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471499)

if you gave em your email address, you paid through the nose!

think of the time you'll waste on the spam your going to get now, and as we all know time = money.

"Industry"? (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#24470953)

The "Industry"? Surely not. Maybe the musicians and the artists themselves, yes, but certainly not the "Industry", which thives on artificial rarity...

Re:"Industry"? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471417)

The "Industry"? Surely not. Maybe the musicians and the artists themselves, yes, but certainly not the "Industry", which thives on artificial rarity.

Was that typo "thrives" or "thieves"? It works either way.

Re:"Industry"? (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471437)

> ... which thives on artificial rarity...

Please clarify: Did you mean "thrives" or "thieves."
It's not entirely clear to me which you meant.

Link Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24470959)

Link Please.

Re:Link Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471323)

Link Please.

to the study...

Why would I want to give away my product when... (1)

topham (32406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24470973)

Why would I want to give away my product when...I make money from what is otherwise given away; but do not make money from what is gained?
Record companies don't make money from the concert sales. They make money from the sale of CDs.
This comes back to the same ignorant licensing argument on Slashdot between GPL, BSD, and non-opersource licenses.

God forbid people make money to live on.

Re:Why would I want to give away my product when.. (2, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471031)

The article is making the (increasingly realistic) argument, albeit in a round-about fashion, that the recording industry needs to adapt or die. They've got just about zero chance of regaining the revenue streams they had pre-napster, and so its time to think outside the box. Not a newsflash by any stretch of the imagination.

It's a choice between figuring out how to continue to make money (redesigning your business model) or making none (continually declining revenues for major labels until they can't afford to pay anyone in any case).

Re:Why would I want to give away my product when.. (3, Insightful)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471093)

Y'know though, the labels and record companies are really just middlemen and the artists make their money from concert tours and very little from actual CD sales.

So why are we paying for the middleman?

Re:Why would I want to give away my product when.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471155)

I"m not, viva bittorrent

Re:Why would I want to give away my product when.. (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471319)

Especially when it is so easy and cheap to produce and distribute one's own 'CD' these days. The artists don't need the labels, and should sell CDs at cost (say, $5?), or give them away as promotional material while making their money performing. That's how all the local bands I go to see do it.

Middlemen? Yes and no. (3, Insightful)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471375)

As an idealistic independent musician, I dream of staying indie, making free music for the fans and having the fans support me out of the goodness of their hearts. And maybe it can happen.

On the other hand, I just recorded an album (not released yet), and I value the producer/engineer's work tremendously. I would also be ecstatic to have someone take over many of my business/marketing tasks for me. It would be worth it to me to pay those people - not 90% of my income, but definitely some.

Assuming fans will continue to be willing to support the music they love, I can see the industry moving from "labels employ artists" to "artists employ a business staff." Those people would cease to be middlemen, but they wouldn't cease to be needed.

Re:Middlemen? Yes and no. (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471477)

This hasn't really worked too well in the book publishing world. You can write a book and employ a staff, but no mainstream bookstores are going to touch something self-published. Amazon will take it, but it's hardly going to sell unless it's got promotion, which is prohibitively expensive. At least in Europe state arts subsidies support the creation of music even when artists may not have funding themselves in spite of their best effort. I wonder what model will ultimately prevail in the US.

Re:Middlemen? Yes and no. (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471669)

Yeah, the main problem isn't with using a producer (a good producer can be the difference between an assy sounding album and a brilliant sounding one), but rather that the "top" producers are just ridiculously expensive. Same with some of the management.

In order to be a supergroup, though, there has to be a huge infrastructure supporting you. That's pretty much where the major labels come in. What I think will eventually pan out is that there will be many more "everyday" musicians pulling in decent income (assuming venue owners/bars ever get their head out of their ass with regards to live music vs. DJs/techno nights), and then HUUUGEEE bands that are supported by corporations that get revenue from giant tours featuring elaborate stage shows, etc, instead of record sales (which will be, undoubtedly, massively corrupt).

Re:Why would I want to give away my product when.. (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471393)

Because the middleman offers promotion. Signal-to-noise ratio is very high on open fora.

Re:Why would I want to give away my product when.. (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471627)

The record companies first market the band, give them money to make their CD with top producers and expensive studios and pay for the music videos. Also, in many cases, payola to have their singles on the radio and articles on magazines.

This is nationwide stuff and no band do it by themselves.

Ticket sales come after being famous and everyone knowing who they are. Most people cannot name a few good local bands whereas they can name Radiohead, Weezer etc.

Re:Why would I want to give away my product when.. (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471495)

Because no artist or publisher ever starved from having his works pirated, but many have starved because of obscurity.

If I don't hear your record I'm not very damned likely to buy it, now am I? But if Joe says "hey that new band Grosweil* really ROCKS", well, I'm not very likely to go out and buy it either.

But I might be likely to download it and give it a listen, and well, if it does indeed rock I'll be buying the CD.

*AFAIK there is no such band

RIAA should learn... (4, Interesting)

mseidl (828824) | more than 5 years ago | (#24470981)

Not very many people know this, but the RIAA almost went bankrupt in the 30s with Radio, because they didn't have any licensing fees or "royalties" associated with it. And people stopped buying records because they could listen to it on the radio.

The RIAA should embrace technology. Because that is where the world is headed. Any idiot can see this. So instead of fighting, go with the flow, because you cannot change people. No matter how much you sue, how much fucking money you waste trying to convince people they are stealing if they think of the song in their head.

I hereby kick the RIAA in the nuts.

Re:RIAA should learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471105)

And no matter how low you price your product nothing beats "free". Why is this such a hard concept around here? The RIAA doesn't make money from touring bands, they make it from pre-recorded music sales. So if the recordings are offered for free than the labels will lose and that means the RIAA will lose.

Re:RIAA should learn... (1)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471617)

Cheap, convenient, quality can beat free. That's why iTunes is thriving- it's cheaper than CD's, it's very convenient and high quality (searches, reviews, and guaranteed high-quality downloads all in one place, immediate downloads).Yeah, yeah, say what you will about the remaining DRM'd tracks. It's balancing the mix that's hard, not the basic formula itself. The RIAA just can't deal with the fact that the new tech is squeezing their enormous profit margins. I say deal with it or good riddance, that's free trade.

Re:RIAA should learn... (5, Informative)

gone6713 (807581) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471243)

I doubt that the RIAA almost went bankrupt in the 30's, considering it was formed in 1952.

Re:RIAA should learn... (1)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471459)

This is blatantly untrue. First off, the RIAA was formed in 1952, making it difficult for them to go bankrupt in the 1930's. Record labels did have a fear that radio would destroy their sales for many years, which is why radio stations had to pay royalties since the medium's inception.

Re:RIAA should learn... (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471759)

They feared that radio would kill them (like the movie industry feared VCRs would kill them) but it was untrue; radio ushered in a new age for the record labels, with record profits.

In the US radio never paid royalties to labels (they did pay the songwriters) and in fact "payola", its illegal polar opposite, hapopened - labels paid radio to play their tunes.

What would Microsoft do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24470991)

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish !!

Missing point: Tix sales != Industry profit (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471011)

As numerous others have pointed out in past threads, concert ticket sales benefit the concert promoters and (to a lesser extent) the bands, but really don't do much to bolster RIAA-member company profits, which are much more closely tied to labeled CD and MP3 sales -- precisely what illegal downloads are purported to compete with.

Conclusion -- Save your time, no need to bother with such nitwittage "analysis".

Cheers,

Re:Missing point: Tix sales != Industry profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471201)

Then the music cartels need to start selling tickets themselves, and take on ticketmaster.

It'll never fly! (1)

HoppyChris (1310725) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471037)

Giving it all away sort of destroys the profitability of deceased artists and those that don't want to tour. Who's going to listen to something from a pink newspaper anyway?

labels want to sell albums, not concert tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471043)

A recent study of the recent Radiohead album release found that huge numbers of illegal downloads actually helped the band's popularity and, by extension, concert ticket sales.

Concerts aren't normally a big revenue source for the labels anyhow. That's one reason bands tour: because they make more money that way. The labels are all about album sales.

That would make a lot more sense (1)

PunditGuy (1073446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471045)

... if what Radiohead did had involved a file sharing site. In exchange for my $10, I got an http link directly to a ZIP file. Unless the UK user experience was vastly different, I call shenanigans on the story summary. Yes, the actual album was still torrented despite the fact that it was available, legally, for free. But what exactly would a record company learn from that besides that high buzz = more interest in illegal downloads?

One Problem (for Music Companies) (1)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471049)

The supposed "benefits" are for increased concert ticket sales. I have to presume that there are spill-over effects for merchandise like t-shirts and posters. Historically, this revenue has gone to the BAND - not the music companies. As I understand it, the music companies have typically kept revenues from album sales as their primary compensation. An argument can be made then that piracy is bad for music companies whose business model is based on the ability to sell recordings and control distribution of recordings while piracy benefits bands whose business model is based primarily on live performance.

RIAA hates tickets to performances! (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471107)

Why? Because most of the performance proceedings indeed go to the band. Some (large) bands are quoted saying that they make living only on concerts since their multi-milion-platinum-albums are bringing in nothing after record labels cut.

Re:RIAA hates tickets to performances! (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471247)

I know the knee-jerk reaction thing is a bit heavy around here but to proclaim that the RIAA hates concert sales because artists make money from them is a bit far fetched.

And as for bands who pump out multi-platinum albums who don't make a dime? I'd really like to see the books in that case. If it's true than there is so swamp land I want to offer these people. If you really have a serious fan base and you're not smart enough to go in and say "I sell records, I want a cut or you won't get any more recordings out of me" than you deserve whatever you get.

Do you honestly think that established artists who pre-sell in the hundreds of thousands of albums don't have negotiating power? Please. Now, there are cases where bands foot their own production costs and the band loses because they went over budget but even that is a rarity and somewhat of an unlikeliness today given the great reduction in costs as far as recording and mixing.

Not according to Financial Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471117)

/. submitters need to read the articles a tad more carefully. The Financial Times did not express an opinion one way or the other was to whether the music industry should embrace illegal file-sharing websites. From the article (*emphasis* added):

The music industry should embrace illegal file-sharing websites, *according to a study* of Radiohead's last album release that found huge numbers of people downloaded it illegally even though the band allowed fans to pay little or nothing for it...The *study by the MCPS-PRS Alliance*, which represents music rights holders, and Big Champagne, an online media measurement company, found that legal downloads of In Rainbows were far exceeded by illegal torrent downloads of the album.

This is an interesting news item in its own right. Ascribing positions haphazardly to organizations is not necessary.

Mod Parent Informative (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471537)

As other posts have mentioned, the RIAA members control distribution to broadcast media and sales channels. As such, their last interest is concert sales.

Then again... (1)

cushdan (949520) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471125)

Then again...the ridiculous amount of publicity RadioHead received probably didn't hurt either.

Re:Then again... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471637)

Then again... being a world wide recognized brand like RadioHead probably didn't hurt either.

'Sailor Bob and the Jim-Bo Band' might have a harder time generating revenue and ticket sales based on a sales campaign similar to Radio Head's.

-Rick

PS: The use of the word "Brand" was on purpose. All other typo's, spelling, and grammatical errors are accidental.

Sorry. trickle down economics don't really work. (5, Interesting)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471127)

Is it a coincidence thatI just released an album I made in 2005 a few weeks ago, for free? [trotch.com].

There's a fine line between being a huge band like Radiohead who receive tons of press in the mainstream media, and a person you never heard of doing weird music you probably don't want piled up in the closet money down the toilet.

The music industry is changing that I can agree with. It's very difficult to make money doing music without a live show.

For electronic music hobbyists like myself, a live show is kind of stupid. When I DJ my own tracks it's not a live performance, it's a cheap excuse for showing up and playing music I made on the computer on a computer. I got so fed up with it that the last show I played was a projection of myself DJ'ing, projected onto myself standing there, drinking.

If open source programmers had to tour to make money, programming live on stage while people danced around cheering, it would collapse. Being an electronic musician, in a lot of cases, is just that. It's programming music in a sequencer with the intention to release as a file. The whole touring live show is superfluous and exhausting, and it's not related to the process of music composition.

I'm not against how the industry is changing, but Radiohead as the benchmark for the future? No, I don't think so.

Re:Sorry. trickle down economics don't really work (1)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471339)

programming live on stage while people danced around cheering

If only!

Get off my lawn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471771)

programming live on stage while people danced around cheering

If only!

The kids these days and their newfangled cohm-pew-tahrs...

This situation could be improved (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471517)

I may be unusual, but I often pay or offer to pay money to amateur musicians (like yourself?) that create music that I like. I suspect that there are a lot of other people that would do this if the transaction could be streamlined. This would require several things:

  • Some way for me to efficiently find music that I like.
  • Some way for me to estimate reasonable compensation for that music. (Reasonable compensation for Madonna would be $0.01, for example, because she has millions of fans and she doesn't need any more money.)
  • Some way for me to easily offer payment for music, knowing that a fair proportion would always go to the artist. (Something like PayPal, but without the evil.)

If someone can crack this nut, a lot of money would flow to non-mainstream music, without need for live concerts, etc.

Re:Sorry. trickle down economics don't really work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471531)

lol l2play an instrument then

in other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471153)

'It's time to stop swimming against the tide of what people want,' he said

In other news, an in-depth study reveals that most Americans would prefer to get paid while sitting at home playing Wii. The business model of requiring people to come to a common location and perform seemingly arbitrary tasks while wearing less-than-comfortable clothing is completely outdated. "It's time to stop swimming against the tide of what people want," he said. "Money wants to be free!"

While I'm sure the business model used by the music industry could use some adjustments and updating, I detest weak argumentation that argues one or two points and then jumps to a conclusion. It's like saying: "1) this shape has three sides 2) one angle measures 60' THEREFORE this is an equilateral triangle." Well, you *might* be right, and if nothing else you're probably headed in the right direction, but your reasoning is not nearly as conclusive as you seem to think. Where did we lose our ability to argue reasonably and logically?

captcha: prospers

Why the RIAA refuses to embrace piracy (5, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471245)

It helps their artists (and them as well), but it also helps artists who are not uinder contract with its members.

The RIAA has radio and empty-v to advertise its wares, as well as internet radio and P2P. Their competetion (the independants) only has internet radio and P2P. Killing internet radio and P2P is a blow against the indies, and since the RIAA has radio and empty-v, they can do without the internet. Their competetion can't.

What they are doing is blatantly illegal, but the government is their pawn. We, the People, are defenseless.

Reading all these posts, I have to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471251)

you're all a bunch of clueless idiots.

Never Will (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471327)

While one could contend that "music industry", in this case, means "musicians", the traditional use of the phrase is in reference to the big labels behind the musicians. And they will never embrace piracy even if it does mean their artists become more popular and sell out stadiums on a regular basis - labels make little from concerts. There's a reason why many bands tour constantly - that's their major cash cow. Now, for _musicians_, piracy is a good thing - if people are listening to your music, they are more likely to be a fan of your work and thus you call sell more of your t-shirts, stickers, concert tickets, etc., etc., etc. But, labels - "the music industry" - will never go for that. Because their business model is out-dated and they have failed to evolve for the new technological age. But that's their problem...

Flaw in this logic-by extension, concert tix sales (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471359)

"and, by extension, concert ticket sales" - The artist makes the bulk of the concert ticket sales, the record makes the the bulk of the album sales. There is no business interest for the recording interest to increase concert ticket sales.

Correct theory.... (1)

ArIck (203) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471367)

While the reasons given for supporting piracy such as better concert ticket sales are true and Radiohead did benefit from that pay-what-you-want system, the Record Industry do not benefit from such a system and thus woul try their best to stop p2p and illegal sharing.

The only way P2P could succeed, with artists getting their fair share through tours and sponsorship is if the Music Industry was bypassed.

Makes perfect sense (2, Insightful)

toriver (11308) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471401)

The industry needs to realize that a person not buying their products is not their customer, whether it is a subsistence farmer on the African countryside or a frequent visitor to the Piratebay and that ilk. So they need to start focusing on the real customers to actually make money.

The difference is that the visitor to Piratebay is MORE likely to actually turn into a customer. So why chase him away through litigation? The fantasy that they are losing money (i.e. has money taken away) is a fallacy, there is just potential income that is less than if they had bought the album. So you want them to do just that.

Turning into a fricking monster is not the solution.

They don't care about concert ticket sales (1)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471413)

They make money selling items and merchandising the music.

Ticket sales and items sold at concerts benefit the artists directly as they are putting the most effort into it. And they can be big money losers for the label if albums don't sell and they band is pulling charge backs to cover tour expenses.

The artists, not the industry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471545)

It isn't the record labels that need to embrace filesharing, it is the artists. A large record contract just isn't that necessary anymore.

Most of the bands I enjoy are on the big labels. Heavy metal, mostly European stuff. Bands that have deep contracts, yet you've probably never seen advertisements for (at least in the US), and have never seen radio airtime here. Yet their CDs cost me the same price as the current "hot sensation" that is advertised everywhere, always on the radio/tv, and has 3 racks at the store dedicated to it. I'd bet their label takes the same proportion of the cut too; they have to make a killing from the little bands that sell well without a drop of advertisement put in.

The internet (think Youtube, MySpace, Facebook, etc) makes advertising your band trivial. MP3-quality sound doesn't require hours of studio rental or a producer's time (hell, my little garage band has no desire to 'strike it big' but our meager gear already records a decent sound after vbr encoding). Digital distribution means no competition for shelf space, and services like CDBaby enable you to print up physical media if you desire. I'll admit I don't know the first thing about booking a concert tour, but you sure as hell don't need a draconian contract for it.

Piracy works because you get your music from a centralized source for a cheap price. Enable a way to legally do the same and make your customers-turned-criminals back into customers again.

Yet another misleading summary (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471561)

Yet another highly misleading summary.

"found that huge numbers of illegal downloads actually helped the band's popularity and, by extension, concert ticket sales."

Not quite. What the study said was that, regardless of the fact that Radiohead allowed legal downloads for "little or nothing", they got far more illegal downloads than legal ones. Not one word about "concert ticket sales".

It's not at all clear to me that the fact that illegal downloads exceed legal ones even when legal ones cost little or nothing is an example of good news. There's some widespread assumption in the /. community that getting lots of "popularity" from downloads somehow is just as good as getting money, and bands should figure out some way to get money other than selling music anyway, maybe somehow trading in on that "popularity". But it's not at all clear to me that a future in which all that a musician gets from music is popularity, and no money, is a desirable one.

Huh? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24471623)

What percentage of concert ticket sales does the record company get? It's obvious that musicians should embrace file-sharing, but the people fighting against it are (for the most part) record companies, not musicians. For a record company, alternative distribution channels really do threaten their control of the industry. And to some of these dinosaurs, control is more important than economic realities...

'It's time to stop swimming against the tide of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24471769)

what people want.."

    And what do they want, they want FREE

Must really suck to be an emerging artist these days, your basically a whore in an industry filled with lawyers and trust fund babies with more money than talent or knowledge who wake up one day and decide to get into the biz after failing out of Event Planning in College. In reality most bands dont make a dime, the lawyers do and the remaining revenue is then spread amongst the shill organizations for various "services".

Then you have the fans who think they are entitled to your property for free

      I like the idea of the record company monopoly falling but sincerely doubt FREE is anything near worthy to replace it with.

Prepare for musics dark ages

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