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284 comments

This is unheard of, but... (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25132997)

...it's also a sign that the RIAA knows it is outdated and is only grasping at the few straws remaining.

If you're thinking of starting a business venture, there are two words for you: supply and demand.

No amount of laws or regulations can overcome supply and demand in the long run. The RIAA relied on preferential laws and regulations to maintain their control over distribution. Recorded music has a near-infinite supply in terms of distribution online. Hence the price of it should fall to nearly zero (yes, some people who see value in compensating the artist will never believe the price should be zero).

The RIAA is screwed, no matter how you look at it. Most monopolistic corporation unions who rely on legislation and not on supply and demand are just as screwed.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (5, Insightful)

WTF Chuck (1369665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133027)

100% of nothing is nothing. If you are going to charge your distributors more for your "product" than your they will make selling that "product", then you get the full 100% of nothing. On the other hand, if you see that they will walk away and find some other line of work if you insist on the full 100%, then you know it's time to come to somewhat more reasonable prices.

Supply and demand, indeed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133043)

Supply and demand [...] Hence the price of it should fall to nearly zero (yes, some people who see value in compensating the artist will never believe the price should be zero)

There will always be a segment of the population who wants to produce music simply for the fun of it. But they still need to eat.

If there's no income in music, it'll end up strictly a hobby-level endeavor. While a lot of decent stuff can come out of that, wouldn't it be better if the highly-talented musicians could focus more on their art by not having to also have a day job? (Yes I know about the current injustices in the system, but swinging it 100% the other way isn't the answer either.)

Without money in general music, the best musicians will end up producing work for advertisers since that'll be the only source of regular paying employment that uses their talents. Are you sure that's where you want the music industry to be going?

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (4, Insightful)

mcwidget (896077) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133095)

There will always be a segment of the population who wants to produce music simply for the fun of it. But they still need to eat.

More than this; the potential to earn enough cash quickly (and easily?) enough to allow you and your family to live comfortably for the rest of your life is a major driving factor for many of the people in the business today. The less reward there is available, the less motivation. Rightly or wrongly, with less reward you have less talent - or at least, less depth of talent.

Less *depth* of talent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133785)

Yup. And that isn't bad.

There are only so many "really worthwhile" musicians. But the lure of the Big Paycheck ensures that a lot of crap is there.

All Saints, for example.

Sound good on CD.

Heard them once on ToTP once live. ONLY ONE of them could sing.

But that didn't matter to their label, they LOOKED good. Musical talent was a far lower priority.

So less talent pushing for stardom is better.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (0, Redundant)

Undead NDR (1252916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134025)

with less reward you have less talent

Bingo! Listen to music produced today and compare it to what was around up to 15 years ago. The quality has sunk. No talented recording artist or engineer likes to work for a pittance.

Want free music? Settle for the amateurs.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133173)

The world could do with vastly less musicians who are in it for the money.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (5, Insightful)

akirapill (1137883) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133233)

It's an expensive habit, most of us are just trying to break even.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133295)

Maybe without the RIAA around there could be some legitimate structuring of the music industry. As a programmer, if I had to find all my own clients I'd probably barely get by too.. although there are plenty of one-man bands in this field who get along just fine, it's not for everyone.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (5, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133659)

It's an expensive habit,...

Yeah, I think that statement should be in the running for some sort of award for "Most massive understatement in a /. post".

most of us are just trying to break even.

Anything that's music-related...instruments, amps, etc...is extremely pricey. A decent brand-name USA-made professional-quality electric guitar will set you back $2,000-$3,000, and the same with an amp (thinking of an example of a new Gibson Les Paul and a 50 watt Marshall half-stack). That's the best part of $10,000 for just *ONE* guitar players' personal rig in an average good-quality bar/club cover band!!

That's not counting effects pedals and/or rackmount effects/processors, cabling, strings, picks, stands, microphones ($100-$150 each), PA gear, and the maintenance costs of keeping all the equipment (which can be quirky) and the instruments in shape. Heck, just a new set of tubes for a guitar amp can easily run $200-$300! That's just for starters. Then there's transportation and storage costs for all the equipment, and personal transportation and lodging plus food costs, and even laundry for those on the road, on top of that for all the band members.

Most average bar/club bands don't come anywhere near to paying even ongoing expenses, never mind also recovering their investment in the equipment and instruments when you factor in all the costs. Most bars only pay a band $350-$500, many even less. Many times a band will get stiffed altogether by shady bar owners. These guys do what they do because they love playing and entertaining. Please keep this in mind the next time you go to a bar or club and see a tip jar at the edge of the stage.

Cheers!

Strat

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (5, Insightful)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133897)

The thing is, hobbies are expensive. The fact that you have an opportunity to make some money on it is just an extra bonus. Think the guy who is into sailing moans about the $10-$200K he has in gear, and how "the man" (e.g. the Coast Guard) makes all these laws conspiring against him earning some income off his investment? Or how about the airplane pilot, with $200,000 sunk into his private plane that cannot take private passengers for hire?

What makes musicians so special and whiney? It is a hobby, albeit an expensive one, that if you are really really good at, you can get paid to do. Same with pilots. Same with boat captains. No one owes anyone an income from their hobby.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133923)

You are giving figures on a completely different aspect of the business.

In fact, one possible reason why the bars pay the bands so little is because they have to pay the collections societies so much.

So, one of two things should result from this:

1. The band is doing cover tunes and so don't "deserve" the money, they need to pay the people who wrote the music who do deserve it.

2. The band is doing their own music and will get paid once by the bar owner and a second time by the collection society.

Now, somehow, I think it might not all work out this way and be cool but whose "fault" is that exactly?

all the best,

drew
---
http://zotz.kompoz.com/ [kompoz.com]
Check out "She Took Me Nowhere"

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133977)

So let me get this right. You are willing to sign away the very thing that will support your hobby for life+70 (and beyond if the RIAA has their way) for the instant gratification of a few $$$ up front? Doesn't sound very wise to me Mr. Wizard. And what happens 3-5 years down the road when your amp blows up or your guitar breaks? I guess with your reasoning it is little wonder the cycle continues.

Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133991)

1- habit
2- expenses
3- trying to break even
4- Goverment help
5- ???
6- profits!!!

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133309)

Surely you mean fewer musicians.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133863)

So, every time you release a song, buy a lottery ticket for the song? You may hit it big even if the song flops.

all the best,

drew
http://zotz.kompoz.com/ [kompoz.com]
Check out She Took Me Nowhere

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25134083)

Thanks for posting the link to kompoz. That sounds like a great way to make music. I'm going to check it out as soon as I'm home.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133179)

Everything you say is true. The problem is that there is no evidence whatsoever that the RIAA contributes anything toward the ability of musicians to make a living off their music. Given the numerous horror stories about just how much industry parasites suck out of the music buyer's dollar on its journey from the buyer's wallet to the musician's bank account, it's quite reasonable to believe that it is more difficult to make a living as a professional musician with the RIAA around than it would be in the absence of such an organization.

This supports P2P Radio! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133485)

Since that has a revenue of zero.

Thanks RIAA, we knew you had a heart in there somewhere. ;-)

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (3, Interesting)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133535)

The problem is that there is no evidence whatsoever that the RIAA contributes anything toward the ability of musicians to make a living off their music.

Actually, that doesn't matter. If the RIAA is not doing anything good, then they will fail. They will get no artists, and no customers. They will fail and it will be no skin off your nose. There's no need for intervention on behalf of the artists, and those who enjoy some of the RIAA's music, as we can and will decide what we want for ourselves.

Given the numerous horror stories about just how much industry parasites suck out of the music buyer's dollar on its journey from the buyer's wallet to the musician's bank account, it's quite reasonable to believe that it is more difficult to make a living as a professional musician with the RIAA around than it would be in the absence of such an organization.

I really don't think so. How could it possibly be easier for artists without the choice of being with a big label? I simply don't see the logic there, unless you assume that artists can't make decisions for themselves.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (-1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133601)

If the RIAA is not doing anything good, then they will fail.

did nazis fail ? it took a world war to make them fail.

no. there are also concepts named repression and control in life. organizations like riaa rely on them. they do not aim to succeed in anything. they just want to repress you and make you do what they want.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133631)

Before you are inevitably modded up, I just want to point out that we were discussing whether the RIAA is actually helping artists. Whether they should be destroyed for their behaviour is a different matter. One for the courts.

they do not aim to succeed in anything. they just want to repress you and make you do what they want.

No, they want to suck your blood! That makes about as much sense!

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134075)

How could it possibly be easier for artists without the choice of being with a big label?

Maybe the main effect of big labels is that they centralise spending. The vast majority of bands are unheard of and being in the band is more than likely costing them money. This is a known fact. But it's also a fact there's a relatively small number of bands that have become very very wealthy. Many of these are the "flavour of the day" pushed by the big labels, because big labels have a strong marketing reach -- they can even go so far as to pay popular radio stations to play their artists' songs, giving them exposure they wouldn't otherwise have.

So big labels can be beneficial to the artists they choose to really promote. But from a business point of view, it's more efficient (and therefore profitable) to sell 10 million copies of one album than 1 million copies of 10 albums, or 10,000 copies of a thousand albums. Therefore there's a natural tendency for them to actively promote as few albums as they can.

If there were no big labels, then you might have more specialised market segments. The big chunk of the money-for-music pie that goes to superstar artists on major labels would be divided amongst a lot more different bands. This redistribution of income from the top might be enough to raise the median income amongst artists... which would probably qualify as "being easier for [the majority of] artists".

Just thinking aloud here so there may be flaws in my reasoning and/or it may not apply in real life.

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (3, Interesting)

scalarscience (961494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134223)

Actually, that doesn't matter. If the RIAA is not doing anything good, then they will fail. They will get no artists, and no customers. They will fail and it will be no skin off your nose. There's no need for intervention on behalf of the artists, and those who enjoy some of the RIAA's music, as we can and will decide what we want for ourselves.

You underestimate lawyers & politicians. The RIAA has been around for a lot longer than the history of net radio, and has their finger in suppressing competing business models since at least the era of the phonograph (see: RIAA preamp and how they colluded with certain label owners to control the recording & record pressing industries).

If anything they're MORE successful these days. Between the constant erosion of fair use (the MPAA has a hand in this too), the extension of copyright limits (with the MPAA again), the debtor's prison approach to instilling fear in their audience and their magical ability to be nominated as sole arbiter of all internet radio related profits I think they're quite capable of inserting themselves into the music business regardless of whether that is seen as 'doing anything good'.
And if you're curious how it could be easier in the "choice of being with a big label" then you're obviously not familiar with who has been behind the majority of the big labels for much of the music industry. The lawyers aren't the only side of the coercion and profiteering in the music industry...

Re:Supply and demand, indeed (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134331)

> How could it possibly be easier for artists without the choice of being with a
> big label? I simply don't see the logic there, unless you assume that artists
> can't make decisions for themselves.

You are assuming that there is no competition between the big labels and independent artists. This is obviously untrue, assuming a limited market for music. In fact, the big labels, in order to maintain their business model, have a virtual monopoly on getting radio play for their artists. If this were not true, it would be easier for indies to get played on the radio, and they would have a greater chance at reaching broader audiences, making more sales, and being "the next hot act".

Re:This is unheard of, but... (4, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133049)

Very true.

The future will be "Songs are our promotion, and concerts are where the real money's at."

For about $5,000 you can buy a complete set of recording equipment - the necessary laptop, software, mics, etc. to go with your instruments. If you want to do it on the cheap, well... that's why recording studios exist. How often do you hear about recording studios going bankrupt and having an unsuccessful business model? They don't.

The RIAA is the middleman that can be cut out far too easily. All they have going for them is their marketing power, and as they lose money that will be waning as well. Artists will form coalitions, collaborations, etc. and pool their resources to get the word out - like a record label, but less concerned with selling plastic discs and more concerned about advertising.

Either the RIAA is going to reinvent itself into a successful business or it's going to collapse under its own weight. Either way, it will be interesting and the artists will survive.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (4, Insightful)

akirapill (1137883) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133217)

For about $5,000 you can buy a complete set of recording equipment - the necessary laptop, software, mics, etc. to go with your instruments. If you want to do it on the cheap, well... that's why recording studios exist. How often do you hear about recording studios going bankrupt and having an unsuccessful business model? They don't.

While you are correct in saying that the huge drop in price and increase in quality of recording equipment has made it easier for artists to publish their music independently, the same fact is actually driving professional recording studios out of business. Engineers are making a fraction of the money they made 15 years ago now that every middle schooler knows how to use Garage Band, and small studios are increasingly losing out from competition at home if they're not backed by a label. Whether or not this is a good thing is debatable because on the one hand it removes obstacles from musicians and further minimizes the impact of the recording industry on music, but it hurts the art of recording when its harder for professionals to make a living.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (3, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133257)

True, but most studios include engineering as part of the recording (or don't charge much extra). An experienced professional can make your music sound better than some Garage Band newbie.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (5, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133505)

Or compress it to sound louder...

Re:This is unheard of, but... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133575)

And experienced professionals can make it sound like raging crap as well. Listen to most of the stuff out there now. They compress it hard so most of the dynamic range is not there, plus they EQ it for some pimply faced 16 year olds cheap car stereo and speakers propped in the back window.

It's very hard to find a RIAA disc that was mastered by a pro that did it right instead of their cookie cutter nastyness they have been creating lately.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133741)

Be fair. They aren't doing that by their own choice. Industry professionals do what they are asked to do, not what they think is best.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (4, Informative)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133765)

The compression is done first on the master and then finally even further at the radio station.

So yeah it's not entirely incorrect to say that engineers are to blame, after all the mastering engineer is called such for a reason. BUT a general rule of good practice is that the mastering engineer not be involved in any of the recording, mixing or production process at all until the final master. The reason behind this is that it's considered to be a very good idea to have a completely fresh set of ears on the mastering. When you listen to an album over and over and over again your ears start putting on all kinds of filters and your objectivity goes down the toilet. It's one of the many reasons that mastering engineers (as a specialty) exist.

But yeah, of course professionals can do a bad job. I'm not disagreeing with your post. Just trying to point out that compression is almost never performed before mastering (which has nothing to do with recording or mixing). The only exception being on a track-by-track basis where compression is deemed required to achieve a particular effect on a particular instrument. Only the mastering compresses the entire recording. Then radio stations compress it even further for playback.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134401)

The compression is done first on the master and then finally even further at the radio station.

While this is true, it is only relevant if you still listen to music on the radio.

That said, the point where I finally said enough is enough was a few years ago when I purchased a copy of OK Go's album, Oh No! The dynamic gating they used was masterful, but the compression level was pure, unadulterated torture. I actually had to run it through a 1:2 expander to make it listenable, and found that 1:3 worked better. It is still distorted from the process, but at least it doesn't make my teeth clench now.

I can only imagine how wretched it must sound on the radio.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133957)

"They compress it hard so most of the dynamic range is not there, plus they EQ it for some pimply faced 16 year olds cheap car stereo and speakers propped in the back window."

And why have they missed this business model?

Sell multiple versions mixed the same but mastered differently? Let people chose the one they prefer or buy them all.

And hey, you can have multiple mixes each with multiple masters like the above as well. Imagine!

all the best,

drew
--
http://zotz.kompoz.com/ [kompoz.com]
try "She Took Me Nowhere"

Re:This is unheard of, but... (2, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133995)

It's very hard to find a RIAA disc that was mastered by a pro that did it right instead of their cookie cutter nastyness they have been creating lately.

To give credit where it is due, I've read a number of times over the years that the pro engineers don't have a choice. They do know how to do it right, but the people who write the paychecks - RIAA MBAs - are telling them to do the over-compression on purpose. They can do it, and get paid or they can not do it, get fired, and the next guy will do it anyway.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (4, Informative)

Technician (215283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133345)

For about $5,000 you can buy a complete set of recording equipment - the necessary laptop, software, mics, etc. to go with your instruments. If you want to do it on the cheap, well... that's why recording studios exist.

5 Grand isn't needed. Using a laptop, free software (Ubuntu Studio) an inexpensive interface, small mixer, & mics can be done for about half that. It works fine for the band I record. Many small bands already have most of the supplies already such as a laptop, mixer and microphones. If these already exist, then free software and an under $300 interface will work nicely.

Cheap is the under $30 Berhinger which does CD or DAT sample rates and bits. In Linux Ubuntu Studio it it truly plug an play as a USB input/output device. Open Audacity and select the USB audio for the source and hit record.
http://www.zzounds.com/item--BEHUCA202 [zzounds.com]

Don't record off a Sound Blaster compatible card except for maybe webcasts and other lower quality work. The hardware has a fixed bitrate, regardless of what you set in software.

The next step up in hardware will give you 96K 24 bit recordings.

Many studios are finding competion from the inexpensive gear that just works.

My setup excluding the already purchased computer cost under $500 for the mixer, a couple mics, and the interface. I have the ability to record 4 tracks at once and and layer over 30 tracks for post processing and adding wet tracks.

A typical session is recording the 4 drun tracks to a click track which are then played back while recording the back-up vocals, bass, keyboard and lead guitar. These are synced (remove latency) and then the lead vocal is recorded while the prior 8 tracks are played back. This is followed with adding wet tracks with EQ, effects, delay, reverb, etc. prior to the final mixdown for the CD.
Under $200 4 channel interface able to do 96K 24 bit recording is here;
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&m=Y&IC=PRI1394&A=RetrieveSku&Q= [bhphotovideo.com]

For a little more money, recording 8 tracks at once is the studio standard for PC based recording studios, but mics, mixer, and interface will run over $500 for that set-up.
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Echo-AudioFire8-8-Channel-FireWire-Audio-Interface?sku=247003 [musiciansfriend.com]

The cost of the set-up is less than a typical studio session. This recording in your own studio is common now that the high cost has been eliminated.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133599)

Well, I was factoring in stuff like buying a laptop from scratch. And then there's price. Low quality mics often result in low quality sound. A good set of drum mics with stands alone are going to run you, cheapest, $300.

There's ways you can cut corners, I'm sure, but $5,000 was a rough estimate anyways. d:

Re:This is unheard of, but... (4, Interesting)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133351)

For about $5,000 you can buy a complete set of recording equipment - the necessary laptop, software, mics, etc. to go with your instruments.

I believe that Steve Albini [wikipedia.org] may disagree with you.

If you don't know who he is, this essay [globaldarkness.com] is extremely interesting.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133941)

Steve Albini's essay talks about how a record label will rip you off, which is only supported further by the fact that you can get all the equipment you need for $5000. I don't see how this conflicts with his essay in any way -- except to point out how ridiculous the fees are that a label will charge an artist for "recording time and materials".

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134199)

Your'e right. The essay was provided as an interesting read and not necessarily as a backup for my assumption.

If you look deeper into the musician and the engineer however, you'll learn a few things that tell you why Mr. Albini would disagree.

For example, he is one of the few recording engineers that still uses analog tape and works strictly analog. He argues that there's nothing he ever wanted to do, that he couldn't perform with analog gear and he very much prefers the results.

If you record at his studio [electrical.com] you can bring in a laptop with Powertools and hook it up. He however does not provide it or any other software based digital equipment. At least it's what he claims in interviews

When you look at his carreer and his credentials I think you must agree that he's not just some whackohead who' s stuck with old tech since he's too lazy or stupid to learn something new. Analog seems to be very much a concious decision in his case.

My point is that while you certainly can set up a basic digital recording and production facility for 5000$ you sure as hell can't do that if you work and engineer like Mr. Albini. Sound seems to be of paramount importance to engineers like him and in order to get as close as possible to the bands and his vision you need far more money then 5000 bucks.

There still are a lot of old school engineers that loath how digital technology is abused in music recording and production. See also loudness wars [wikipedia.org] for some interesting insight.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133401)

The future will be "Songs are our promotion, and concerts are where the real money's at."
.

That's fine if you are Gordon Lightfoot and still have the stamina and the talent to fill the 3000+ seat Shea's Buffalo at age 69.

Maybe not so fine if your burn out from the rigors of a full concert tour at a much younger age.

--- or you know that you are never in your professional career going to see a booking at a first, second or even third tier concert venue.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133665)

Then perhaps it's time to get a real job, and not carry on doing something you suck at.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133759)

That's fine if you are Gordon Lightfoot and still have the stamina and the talent to fill the 3000+ seat Shea's Buffalo at age 69.

A tile setter won't have the stamina at age 69 either. That trade is deservedly considered to be 'back breaking'. Do the users of bathrooms he tiled in his prime pay him a royalty?

Maybe not so fine if your burn out from the rigors of a full concert tour at a much younger age.

Maybe they'll need to find new jobs when they age? Its how the rest of society copes with the fact that they can't do the jobs they did when they were younger.

--- or you know that you are never in your professional career going to see a booking at a first, second or even third tier concert venue.

And?

Most models passing through expensive modelling schools never even earn enough at modelling jobs to pay back what it cost to go through 'school' and keep their portfolio maintained. The VAST majority never do better than a department store catalog job. And as they age and become less marketable... long before that, in most cases, they find another job.

So most musicians won't be successful enough to live off concert revenue, so what? They can get jobs like everyone else, and can join the ranks of: most poets, most authors, most fencers, most basketball players, most playwrights, most actors, most open source contributors...

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

Undead NDR (1252916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133845)

How often do you hear about recording studios going bankrupt and having an unsuccessful business model? They don't.

This sentence alone clearly shows you know absolutely nothing about what's been going on in the music business during the last decade. Please shut up. You don't want to get me started.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134005)

The future will be "Songs are our promotion, and concerts are where the real money's at."

I'd like to point to that this is also the past. I recently read an interview given by three famous French singers (Brassens, Brel and Ferrer) in 1969. They explained that they never planned on becoming rich with their songs. They saw the appearance of discs and disc sales that made them a huge revenue but they felt like it was cheating. They thought that the normal way for a singer to earn money was through representations.

Of course the world changes. I am not sure that the future of artists is in songs or concerts. I think that a system of "bounty for more songs" will begin to appear. A bit like "do you like this work ? support it by sending money and we are likely to make more!"

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134045)

Artists will form coalitions, collaborations, etc. and pool their resources to get the word out - like a record label, but less concerned with selling plastic discs and more concerned about advertising.

And hire lawyers, and publicists, and ad agencies...etc, etc. Eventually, these non-musicians will branch out and go look for new 'talent' to bring into the fold.
Hey look! We just reinvented the RIAA.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25134167)

Very true.

The future will be "Songs are our promotion, and concerts are where the real money's at."

For about $5,000 you can buy a complete set of recording equipment - the necessary laptop, software, mics, etc. to go with your instruments. If you want to do it on the cheap, well... that's why recording studios exist. How often do you hear about recording studios going bankrupt and having an unsuccessful business model? They don't.

The RIAA is the middleman that can be cut out far too easily. All they have going for them is their marketing power, and as they lose money that will be waning as well. Artists will form coalitions, collaborations, etc. and pool their resources to get the word out - like a record label, but less concerned with selling plastic discs and more concerned about advertising.

Either the RIAA is going to reinvent itself into a successful business or it's going to collapse under its own weight. Either way, it will be interesting and the artists will survive.

$5000 bucks won't get you even close to buying the gear you need to record a proper studio album. Just one high quality microphone would eat up $5000.

and $5000 will get you a recording at a small independent studio...maybe...

Do yourself a favour and make comments when you actually know something about what you're saying.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133109)

The RIAA is screwed, no matter how you look at it.

As long as they can buy laws, copyright regulations, and even international treaties, they're doing just fine. Sooner or later, their influence will probably wane, but don't hold your breath waiting. They've got a lot of life left in them, sad to say.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133887)

You're not asking the right questions, so you don't understand the motives. How do you control what people hear and still allow them all to speak? You monopolize the megaphone, then you put the people who are saying what you want heard in front of it.

The economic "competition" was always a sham, it supported the illusion that time in front of the megaphone was based on merit, to more effectively sell the messages. Taxation without representation will still work though.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (2, Interesting)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133475)

No amount of laws or regulations can overcome supply and demand in the long run. The RIAA relied on preferential laws and regulations to maintain their control over distribution. Recorded music has a near-infinite supply in terms of distribution online. Hence the price of it should fall to nearly zero

I'm not so sure. I think it's a matter of the law. We have several laws, most of which are observed and obeyed that go against raw supply and demand. The most basic of which is stealing. By the same logic, we couldn't expect people to pay for a plasma TV when they can steal a perfectly good one for a lot less, but thanks to certain property laws, their enforcement, and the fact that their existence has penetrated into our collective morality, people generally go for the more expensive option.

There are real and very good reasons why we don't let ourselves be ruled by supply and demand, many of which apply here. The difference here is that copyright law is the new kid on the block hasn't had the time nor the education to penetrate public morality.

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133729)

Theft includes 'intent to permanently deprive'. Therefore it's not a good analogy for copyright infringement. I agree there's a moral case that asserts artists deserve to get paid for their work. But I don't see how the RIAA fits in there. In a world where distribution is converging at 'nearly free'... well, there's not really much reason for the middle man any more, is there?

Re:This is unheard of, but... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133835)

Theft includes 'intent to permanently deprive'. Therefore it's not a good analogy for copyright infringement.

Well, it's not like most infringers plan to reimburse the artists they infringe. And no, buying services that have their own price don't count.

Anyway, for the record, theft wasn't an analogy for copyright infringement. I had a sinking feeling that combining the two terms in the same paragraph would produce this response.

10.5% of the yearly revenue? (4, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133033)

What about the radios that don't make any profit?

I am specifically thinking of SOMA FM [somafm.com] and WCPE [theclassicalstation.org] . I know that WCPE is a non-profit, for instance, and they are two of the best radios I know.

Are these exempted or not? Does anyone know?

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (5, Informative)

fyoder (857358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133059)

What about the radios that don't make any profit?

Revenue is what they bring in total. Profit is what's left after expenses. In other words, they want 10.5% off the top, regardless. And the RIAA doesn't have a history of sympathy for the argument "But I wasn't making any money off of the music I was sharing," so while it would be nice if they'd give non-profits a break, it would be out of character.

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (1)

dw604 (900995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133125)

What's 10.5% of $0? It seems pretty easy to comply to me. ;)

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133341)

Running a website like SOMA FM costs a lot of money. Just think of the bandwidth these guys must have. Doesn't come free!

To break even, they have to get money from somewhere. Ads? Gifts? Donations? Subscription service? Doesn't matter.

In the end, you have a side that says: we made $x, and we spent $y, and this pretty much evens out so there's no profit. (A not-for-profit institution can make profit, btw.)
The RIAA are now saying: in the above calculation, you have to add 10.5% of $x to $y.

It's an easy kill for the RIAA, because even when the radio stations operate at a loss, it's not feasible for them to have no income at all because they'd go bankrupt soon. This RIAA tax just makes it harder to operate a business. How's that for economic growth!

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (5, Insightful)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133281)

I had to do a double take when I read 10.5% of yearly revenue. 10.5% of profits sounds excessive, but 10.5% off the top is outrageous.

Amateur (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134103)

To lazy to google it, but there have been several breakdowns of the costs a label charges to the artist to account for the difference between the price of a CD and the amount the artist gets paid.

Basically 10.5% of the sale price is just penauts. I am willing to bet quite a few RIAA execs choked on that before they could finally sign the agreement.

In other industries, it would be a lot. In music, it is childsplay.

Non-profit != no profit (2, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133297)

"Non-profit organisation" does not mean the organisation makes no profit. It means the organisation puts the money back into itself rather than paying out dividends etc. It doesn't mean they operate at a loss and require constant donations to remain functional.

Some "non-profits" have even been run with the purpose of making its directors etc richer (eg they just jack up their salaries).

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (1)

SimonGhent (57578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133539)

What about the radios that don't make any profit?

Revenue is what they bring in total.

This is indeed a happy day. Not only a truly interesting story in the "Dark Flow" thread, but this reply.

I read the summary and though "well, that sounds fair, 10.5% isn't a *huge* amount and it leaves the not-for-profits alone".

Without this reply pointing out that this will be 10.5% of what even a non-for-profit has to bring in to cover the costs the injustice in this is hidden.

The parent is the sort of post made for "insightful" mods.

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (5, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133081)

Strangely, being a "non-profit" does not mean you are not allowed to, or even that you typically dont, make a profit. Being a non-profit simply means that the stated goal of the organization is something other than profits, and so the directors of the organization do not have to justify their decisions in terms of how much profit it makes for the organization. There's also different accounting regulations, like publicly declaring the assets and expenditures, etc.. and in exchange they get a tax break.

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133265)

A lot of those credit consolidation companies ("Too much debt? Can't make payments?") are non-profit; they love to mention that in their ads to give the impression that they're legit and not scumsuckers who provide little service for lots of money.

Also, it was becoming common to start up a co-op bank/credit union - a "not-for-profit" institute (not quite the same as "non-profit") - and benefit from that status until the company grew a lot and the execs would fight to change it into a regular banking corporation. Basically, they managed to legally corrupt the intentions of the law (and many of their members) in multiple ways and use it to maximize profit.

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (4, Informative)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133711)

Actually, being "non-profit" means that there is no profit in the business to be paid out to investors, directors, or employees. All "profit" is recycled back into the company. The directors can profit by increasing their salary when business is steadily doing better. Running a successful non-profit can be quite lucrative, but not nearly so much as running a successful for-profit.

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133461)

I hate to sound like a supporter. But lets face it... It just adds to the cost of operation. This will happen to any NFP Organization. Oh Gas prices go up. They need to buy a car. Their equipment is out of date. Bandwidth costs increase, Then need to hire employees... NFP Organizations still need money. They still have expense and if you want to use their music you have to pay the fee. Its legally their music they should have some control. Just saying you are NFP doesn't really mean that much. A 1 man operation you just handle the books keep yourself as a paid employee all the companies profits go to you, not the organization. Then you just donate money back to the company when you need it.

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133503)

What about the radios that don't make any profit?

Non-profits still need protection. In case anything might happen to their radio station, or loved ones.

That's a nice online station you've got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it.

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133569)

My cousin Vinny Corleone only charges 10% for protection. And here is the RIAA charging more for protection and they get away with it.

Re:10.5% of the yearly revenue? (1)

Atnevon (829277) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134009)

While the replies are correct here, there's something *major* that's been overlooked in the article they linked. The DiMA agreement actually makes a *huge* breakthrough for non-interactive streams and *excludes them* from having to pay license fees for the recordings. This allows stations that broadcast without interaction directly (ie - a shoutcast style station) to operate exactly like AM/FM stations and only pay royalties to the songwriters and not the the RIAA (Soundexchange). It's *great* news that I had trouble believing, but I went to the source: http://www.digmedia.org/content/release.cfm?id=7243&content=pr [digmedia.org]

Remember to pay the tithe you teabaggers (4, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133037)

Perhaps if there were some mention of what broadcast radio stations were paying for their tithe or per-song charges we could make a reasonable comparison. Somehow I doubt that all-talk/mostly-talk broadcast stations are paying 10% of revenues in tribute.

Re:Remember to pay the tithe you teabaggers (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133385)

Perhaps if there were some mention of what broadcast radio stations were paying for their tithe or per-song charges we could make a reasonable comparison.

Unfortunately, it's impossible to count, with the same exquisite precision as IP broadcasting, how many people are listening to a terrestrial broadcast. Copyright holders decided that, since this metric exists for IP radio, it's the perfect platform for maximum monetary rape.

Yay Pandora! (1, Interesting)

jgerry (14280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133039)

Let's all hope this keeps Pandora on the air.

Re:Yay Pandora! (2, Insightful)

pacificleo (850029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133113)

and open it for streaming to countries out side of US

Re:Yay Pandora! (1)

loki1978 (532644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133201)

I so hope so

Re:Yay Pandora! (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133519)

Last.fm [last.fm] is very good.

Re:Yay Pandora! (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133823)

I initially read this as "Pantera".

Turn their own tactics on to them... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133099)

We've all heard about RIAA tricks to scam the artists out of their fair share. Like taking a percentage of revenues for 'breakage' based on the rates of vinyl records breaking in shipping even though CDs are much more sturdy and MP3 downloads are impervious.

So I suggest the radio stations change their business models to run revenue-free. Like becoming an ancilliary service that does not generate revenue under normal conditions - like you can pay a fee so outrageous for the radio service that no one in their right mind will pay it, or you can get it 'free' as part of membership (paid or advertising-supported, or some other scheme) with some other web-site or service provider. Let the free-radio and the revenue-generating service be subsidiaries of the same parent company and you are all set.

Of course I am writing this without actually reading the details of the contracts - those MAFIAA lawyers are really good at putting together contracts that fuck the other guy in novel and unexpected ways, so anybody trying to fuck them back needs to pay real close attention to the details.

About time (5, Interesting)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133111)

Profit motive is a fascinating thing. It's not in the RIAA's best interest for web radio stations to go offline, because they generate no money from web radio that way. Whatever they charge is going to be the highest possible without alienating their customer base, which is the web broadcasters. It took them long enough to finally admit that their pricing was extraordinary to say the least.

I do find it fascinating that the major labels, via "Independent promotors" actually pay radio stations to broadcast specific songs, whereas they do no such thing for web radio services. I would think that something like the web radio in iTunes would be a perfect target for this.

Re:About time (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133399)

without alienating their customer base

Not trying to be off topic, but haven't they done this already?

That's not to say that alienating their customer base will mean lost sales though. Another market I can think of with a hugely alienated customer base--oil--is still raking in fine profits due to the fact that said alienation hasn't destroyed customer demand.

10.5% of yearly revenue... (5, Funny)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133123)

Is that their monthly fee?

I'm not sure I understand... (4, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133229)

I read TFA and something is seeming strange to me.

You pay 10.5% of all revenue to the MAFIAA. Does that mean that they're waiving the current royalties? Or is this tax in addition to the old royalty rate?

If this is all they pay does that mean I can:

* Stream RIAA music all I want if I don't make any money?
* Broadcast it DRM free?
* Get from the RIAA their music to play?

Clearly I'm missing something big somewhere, 'cause there's no way the RIAA would allow that chain of events.

Re:I'm not sure I understand... (4, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133375)

Taking the definition of "revenue" then you'd only be able to do that if you didn't bring in any money at all, not if you don't make money (profit). Even then I suspect they might have other ways around it (like not selling the music to you in the first place and then enforcing copyright/DMCA legislation on the CDs that you probably got the music from).

It'd be great if some rich person did put their money towards a station that brought in zero money (including no ad revenue) though!

Re:I'm not sure I understand... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133627)

I wonder what the cost of a single slot in a Shoutcast server is.

Let's say a single Shoutcast slot ends up costing $1 a month, or $12 a year. A 100 slot Shoutcast server would cost $1200 a year. If that was their revenue, the RIAA would be making $126. That's not really a whole lot.

The way bandwidth and disk space is going, it's gonna be cheaper and cheaper to run Internet radio.

P2P generates no profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133807)

No revenue, in fact. So it's a net loss (the £30 pcm fee for internet access).

10.5% of nil is nil.

So why sue for $220,000 for 24 songs because of a loss of $0?

Only for on-demand services (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133239)

Sorry for posting as AC but I just would like to point out that this agreement is only for On-Demand services and not pre-programmed web radio services (which most web radio stations are).

So for most stations this does not change anything and the insane royalty rates that threatens the whole web radio industry is still very much in place.

Re:Only for on-demand services (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133425)

Sorry for posting as AC but I just would like to point out that this agreement is only for On-Demand services and not pre-programmed web radio services (which most web radio stations are).

So for most stations this does not change anything and the insane royalty rates that threatens the whole web radio industry is still very much in place.

Good point, and great catch. As usual, the /. summary is vague and misleading.

Mods, please bump this up, kthnx.

Cheers!

Strat

Re:Only for on-demand services (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133619)

Yup, I was quite surprised by this story since the Ars headline yesterday was something along the lines of 'no new agreement for internet radio' when it showed up in my RSS feed. Apparently the submitter and the 'editor' didn't RTFA.

Mod Parent Up (5, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133661)

He's spot-on [pcmag.com] . This agreement only covers services such as Imeem, Last.fm, and Napster, which are based on streaming individual songs. It does not cover services such as Pandora, AOL Radio, or Digitally Imported, which stream pre-programed/tailored stations like a meatspace radio station does. Those guys are still fighting to avoid having to pay the massive $0.0019/user/song that the Copyright Royalty Board passed down last year. Generally when people are talking about internet radio they are talking about these services, so internet radio is not saved.

Re:Only for on-demand services (4, Interesting)

Atnevon (829277) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133811)

I read about this yesterday on Betanews actually and headed to the source (DiMA to take a closer look). There's actually *even better* news in the agreement for non-interactive services: "Outside the scope of the draft regulations, the parties confirmed that non-interactive, audio-only streaming services do not require reproduction or distribution licenses from copyright owners." Hard to believe, I know, but take a look: http://www.digmedia.org/content/release.cfm?id=7243&content=pr [digmedia.org]

lol! netradio (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133305)

Netradio is ok, personally i prefer to use an AM/FM Stereo Receiver for music. (PC plugged in to the aux in)
http://imagebin.org/27185 [imagebin.org]

What the RIAA is doing amounts to extortion, the sooner the MPAA/RIAA dies and the copywrite gets reigned in to sane levels the better this will all be...

As a musician, I'm not a fan (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133383)

TFA is vague but it sounds like there's no meaningful way for an artist to have these fees waived and, to top it off, those non-member artists aren't going to get any money from it anyway. Sounds like a great way to prop up the 'ole cartel.

More money than GOD?! (2, Funny)

agnosticanarch (105861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133447)

10.5%?!? But GOD only gets 10%?!? The RIAA out-tithed the Holy Tither!

Isn't this also called... (2, Funny)

Xanlexian (122112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133467)

... a "vig"?

Pay your vig, you get protection. Don't pay your vig, we break your kneecaps and destroy your place of business.

RIAA or MAFIA? (5, Insightful)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133593)

Seriously. RIAA is acting like a mafia. Asking for a flat cut as protection money. Civilized extortion.

Ahhh...how biblical (4, Funny)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133629)

It's the RIAATithe©.

It's called a shake down (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#25133697)

RIAA: So's like youse punk wit yer fancy fuckin' internet is like hornin' in on our little operation, ya see? And we don't like that kind of fuckin' bullshit, because dis wuz our game, since like forevah, you got dat, fucker? And since we got all da money, and youse punks ain't nuttin' but a bunch a snotty surfer upstart assholes, and since we got da guvmint on our payroll they like supply all the guns and muscle we need to keep our little operation goin', so's youse stupid little fuckin punks are gonna PAY US DA FUCKIN MONEY - YA GOT THAT MOTHERFUCKER? Cuz if you DON'T get wit da program, we're gonna have some of our boys come in and bust your little gig up! And KICK YER FUCKIN ASS. And take you away at gun point, and kidnap you fer years and stick you wit Bubba da Butt Bandit - but it'll be by way of da guvmint, so's like it'll be called "arrest" and "imprisonment" when actually, it's just us, SHAKIN YOUR WORTHLESS ASS DOWN!

So's like we're good businessmen types - we ain't like typical thugs - ya know - we ain't no fuckin Tony Soprano - we can set this up all business like. So's whats you gotta do is dis: give us 10% of what you make right off da top. No shit motherfucker. 10%. Right now. Don't like it? Prepare to get FUCKED, cuz we WILL FUCK YOU UP. Ya got dat, fucker?

Good - so we expect our checks to come rollin' in at the top of the month. Got that? If yer late, or stop payin', yer fucked, and we WILL come after ya, you stupid little fuck. GOT THAT? Good. Now run along and make us some money, fucker."

RS

Win? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133717)

This is much better than the last deal, but I can't help but wonder if the RIAA slipped something behind our backs.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25133745)

Wow, had no idea they paid so little. Now only have to pay 10.5% of revenue, making money from other peoples IP never seemed so tempting.

Negative comments on the RIAA don't work (3, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134241)

Really if you want to stop the RIAA you need to start posting hate on the companies that support it. Once you start to hurt their brands and people stop buying their products because of the negative press, and the RIAA will cease to exist. Everyone hates the RIAA, but no one hates those who fund it yet. So hate on these companies.

SONY
WARNER
EMI
UNIVERSAL ...

10.5% (1)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134363)

but one has to wonder how much of that 10.5% will line their pockets and not the artists they are suppose to be paying instead.

I figure it will go something like this.

9.0% - executives cut for thinking of the brilliant idea
1.0% - towards lawyer fee for fighting the pirates, arrgh!
0.45% - Marketing for bands that suck
0.05% - divided up in unequal proportions based on popularity and industry mandated play times for certain artists

it's still blackmail: pay us to market our songs (2, Insightful)

jsepeta (412566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25134409)

radio, internet or old-school, should be free to play whatever it wants whenever. we the consumers have the ability to switch the station or turn it off. music providers (musicians, composers, and labels) make money off the successful marketing of their works. so why should they be paid by radio stations to market their work? where the hell would the labels be if radio only played the works of Indie artist who said to Hell with the old way of running radio (kickbacks, pay for play, etc)

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