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At Atlantic Records, Digital Sales Surpass CDs

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the trading-analog-dollars-for-digital-pennies dept.

Music 273

The NYTimes reports that Atlantic is the first major label to report getting a majority of its revenue from digital sales, not CDs. Analysts say that Atlantic is out in front — the industry as a whole isn't expected to hit the 50% mark until 2011. By 2013, music industry revenues will be 37% down from their 1999 levels (when Napster arrived on the scene), according to Forrester. "'It's not at all clear that digital economics can make up for the drop in physical,' said John Rose, a former executive at EMI ... Instead, the music industry is now hoping to find growth from a variety of other revenue streams it has not always had access to, like concert ticket sales and merchandise from artist tours. ... In virtually all... corners of the media world, executives are fighting to hold onto as much of their old business as possible while transitioning to digital — a difficult process that NBC Universal's chief executive ... has described as 'trading analog dollars for digital pennies.'"

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Tough shit. (5, Insightful)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895307)

Cry me a farking river! If these industry assholes would have got on the bus in 97, they may have a viable option now.
They're so narrow-minded that they can look through a keyhole with both eyes at the same time.
The industry should have been the first out the gate with mp3's, giving the customers what they wanted and not what the record industry wanted to sell them.
It's almost poetic justice, the record companies have screwed the artists for years and now they seem to be getting their comeuppance.
I care for these assholes about the same that I care for that dinosaur car industry. Change or die!

Re:Tough shit. (4, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895391)

"'It's not at all clear that digital economics can make up for the drop in physical,'

Jeez, you don't have to physically make anything anymore and you don't actually have to ship anything anymore. All you have to do is put up a web site and let people send you money...lots of money.

But you're not sure if this incredible change in your cost-of-goods-sold structure is going to make up for your astonishing incompetence as an marketing executive?

I don't know, guy, maybe you ought to be exploring career opportunities in fast-food-service industry. And let some unemployed electronics tech have a shot at your present so-called job.

I couldn't do any worse than you are.

Re:Tough shit. (4, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895619)

because in the scale of record companies CDs are nearly free anyway. They're paid for as soon as they ship by record stores... then the stores have to worry about stock. The number of releases has cut way more than 37% as they only cater to the very large stores like Walmart and Best Buy... independent record stores that sold new bands went away long before napster came on the scene.

Re:Tough shit. (5, Insightful)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895907)

I think it would help the CD sales if they'd stop shipping CD's that won't play in a computer.

Re:Tough shit. (5, Insightful)

philipgar (595691) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896247)

Your last statement is only partially true. The number of releases record labels make in a year has reduced, and they have started catering more to the very large stores. However, this was the case quite a bit before Napster came onto the scene, and the mp3 revolutionized the music industry. The large stores had started swallowing up the small. It is false to say that the small independent record stores are gone. There are still quite a few of them that flourish. The people who love music and are willing to pay for it often choose to go to the small independent stores, and always will. The store is far more about the personal interaction, and the recommendations that can be made there. What has hurt the small stores the most isn't the Walmart's and Best Buys who have small selections, low prices, and high volume, but the Amazon's of the world who have practically unlimited selection, and the benefits of scale that come with being so large that they can get lower prices. Many music fans have started shopping online for CDs they used to buy at the small independent stores.

The large record companies shot for the gold in the late 90s by focusing on the big hit of the day kind of thing. Under such a market, they create demand for music, and sell CDs (albeit to a limited number of artists). However, when you concentrate on the masses and the hit of the minute, you lose out on loyalty. The loyal fan base that goes to the small independent CD stores didn't want to switch to buying CDs at Walmart, and they didn't care about the flavor of the month. They bought lots of CDs by bands that aren't particularly profitable to the labels (but tended to bring in a steady stream of income). The group that they won over with low prices at Walmart, and mass consumed discs has little loyalty, and why should they. They could care less where they get their music from, and napster is as good a place as any, but the price was right. Besides, who cares if the back street boys didn't make a few extra bucks, the bands they were pirating from had more money than they needed anyhow.

At the same time this happened, many more of the smaller bands that struggled before said screw it to the major labels, and found that if they play to their niche they can end up okay. They'll never strike it big, but they can keep doing what they're doing. It used to be that no established artist would be on an independent label unless they decided to create their own. Today we have many many examples of well known artists with loyal fan bases going onto smaller labels that better support their needs. These places are still going strong, and still will. What the labels are crying foul on is the fact that they can no longer create millions of potential fans who will go out and pay $10-$15 (assuming walmart prices) for the mass produced crap that they're selling. That said, I imagine their revenue stream for the millions of ringtones they sell to people is earning them a nice chunk of money . . . Until people find an easy way to do that themselves that is.

Phil

Re:Tough shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895633)

Goes to show just how much they were over-charging for CDs.

Re:Tough shit. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895701)

I love how they claim that they'll make their money from concert tickets, which is where the artist makes the majority and not the label.

Whoops!

Re:Tough shit. (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895857)

You just got to figure that "New Artist" contracts are going to own not just the record sales, but also concert revenue and t-shirt and other merchandise from a band. Labels are going to be looking for "a more equitable distribution of all music related revenue streams" or however they are going to phrase it.

Re:Tough shit. (1)

jeeva123 (1402593) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895831)

HI.......... Now a days there is a growth in the musical industry.Most them concentrating on digital economics.Thanks to share this information. lara Your Social Bookmarking [widecircles.com]

Re:Tough shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25896205)

Erm, isn't this 'offtopic'? Had nothing to do with OP's comment at all. Hell, it quoted the article and not the comment.

Re:Tough shit. (2, Interesting)

deep_creek (1001191) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895431)

"The industry should have been the first out the gate with mp3's, giving the customers what they wanted and not what the record industry wanted to sell them."

What the industry should have done in the first place is provide music customers actually wanted to buy. I have continued to buy CDs over the years, just not RIAA crap. (How many CD's did you buy in the late 90's that was complete crap besides the one song they played on the radio 3-times an hour?)

I buy non-DRM independent label stuff from the "local" artist scene around the U.S. and World. I can listen to their stuff live or on the net, heck sometimes even download the entire album... If it is good, I'll buy the actual CD quality hardcopy. Or at least support them by grabbing a t-shirt or other item off their site, etc...

How long before the RIAA want's a piece of the bailout too? (had to stick that in there. )

Re:Tough shit. (5, Insightful)

penginkun (585807) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895539)

How many CD's did you buy in the late 90's that was complete crap besides the one song they played on the radio 3-times an hour?

So there were NO good acts or albums from the late 90s? Seriously? None?

I'm SO sick of this argument. The late 90s were a bonanza of awesome music. If you were wasting your time with top 40 pap that's your problem, and not really the fault of the record companies. The same is true today: there is an unending stream of incredible music being released by talented musicians and if you can't find it you've got nobody to blame but the person you see in the mirror every morning.

Re:Tough shit. (3, Funny)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895769)

. . . and if you can't find it you've got nobody to blame but the person you see in the mirror every morning.

The wife?

Re:Tough shit. (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895791)

. . . and if you can't find it you've got nobody to blame but the person you see in the mirror every morning.

The wife?

Er, she's behind me. Or next to me.

Fuck.

Re:Tough shit. (1)

deep_creek (1001191) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895787)

I think you missed my point. There were excellent groups throughout the 90's. There are excellent groups today and there will be tomorrow.

I'm directly talking about the RIAA group of crap. The stuff you immediately hear when you turn on your radio** going to/coming from work, etc... You hear one good song and an hour later you have heard the same song at least four times. I remember a time (not all that long ago) when the stuff you heard on the radio was just a teaser to the really good stuff on an album/CD. It made you want to give the CD a try and when you heard the CD, you definitely wanted to go to the concert. The reverse is true at present... you hear a song on the radio, and it is basically the only song on the album/CD and the rest is complete crap/filler.

One hears a song 3-4 times an hour on the radio for a couple days and having been burned many times before actually buying the CD, opt out completely from the cycle... A) you aviod buying the CD and move on, B) you pirate a copy on the outside chance some of it may be good, C)you listen to other samples (at your favorite online music store)and just buy the songs that sound like they might be worth it. From the article, most folks seem to at least be taking option C, keeping the RIAA afloat for now. I choose D) checking out the local and internet scene for new, independent music... supporting them (the actual artist) where I can, etc...

radio side note: my 1-hour daily commute is entertained by CD music mostly and some talk radio. I do have a radio playing in the lab at work (hence my comments on hearing the same songs 4-times an hour)

Re:Tough shit. (1, Troll)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896041)

So there were NO good acts or albums from the late 90s? Seriously? None?

Nope. Nothing at all. Complete wasteland.

Re:Tough shit. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896291)

True.

and not really the fault of the record companies.

Ah, but who do you think maintains that top 40 list? Who chooses the artists who will end up there -- and grooms them to be exactly the kind of crap they think will sell?

You're right -- there's a lot of talent out there. So why doesn't the industry better support and promote the good stuff? Why do they, instead, shovel crap?

Same thing happens with TV -- there's almost always something good on, somewhere. Something like, say, Firefly. Except they never seem to realize what they have, and so we end up with more Desperate Housewives.

Oblig XKCD (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896427)

In 1990 the music industry became a giant garbage recycling industry.

http://www.xkcd.com/339/ [xkcd.com] .

Nothing original has been done since.

Re:Tough shit. (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896473)

if you can't find it you've got nobody to blame but the person you see in the mirror every morning.

But that guy is mean to me :(

Re:Tough shit. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896135)

What the record industry should have done is not spend the half century raping consumers (and for a fair chunk of that time artists as well). Vinyl, tape and CDs were massively overpriced for years, and only a fraction of that money ever made it to the artists. Some of the contracts were next door to usurious.

There comeuppance has been on the way for a while, but the real irony is it's they who have done this to themselves. Instead of adapting to the new market conditions, they have instead basically turned a large chunk of potential customers into criminals, used the courts and legislatures as tools in a completely vain attempt to hold back the tide.

Now they want to get in on the tour and merchandising revenues, historically the one place where an artist could be guaranteed a far better return than they were getting from royalties. Let's see how loyal Metallica is to their record company when the execs come down to the studio to say "We want a cut on those tour booklets and t-shirts you're selling, and say, what about the money you just got from that concert, we want some of that too!"

I'm going to enjoy watching these guys eat each other up.

Re:Tough shit. (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895533)

I care for these assholes about the same that I care for that dinosaur car industry. Change or die!

The car and the music industry aren't the only ones hurting. Most of us have been impacted in some significant way. A lot of other people are hurting too and it's impossible to know exactly how much the music industry is hurting because of an economic downturn.

Maybe it's time that the music industry got off their collective high horse and learned a thing or two about the economy. The car industry too. If the government bails out the music industry I'll be pissed.

New ways to rip off artists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895677)

Instead, the music industry is now hoping to find growth from a variety of other revenue streams it has not always had access to, like concert ticket sales and merchandise from artist tours.

"Since we can't make as much money ripping off artists selling music, let's take money from artists when they go on tour and sell stuff."

CDs are digital! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895345)

Ummm... how are we thinking that CDs aren't digital?

Re:CDs are digital! (0)

denormaleyes (36953) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896231)

The information on CDs may be digitally encoded, but the packaging (plastic disc, you know the "CD") is a physical thing. When you sell bits via a web site, there is clearly NOTHING physically significant that you are purchasing.

If the significance of the distinction isn't clear, consider that the text of books is every bit as digital as CDs. They might not be base-2 digits, but they are digits in some base none-the-less.

Waah (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895361)

Waah, my business model is still outdated, Waah.

Poor f'ing babies.

What? Are you guys serious? (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895369)

Instead, the music industry is now hoping to find growth from a variety of other revenue streams it has not always had access to...

How about just releasing everything world-wide, at the same time, instead of a handful of countries, or different dates for only a selected few countries? I don't care about your contracts and agreements, you're the ones who did that in the first place. It's your mess, clean it up. Your market is the whole planet, take advantage of this "new" fact.

And that goes not only for music but for movies and TV shows too.

Re:What? Are you guys serious? (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895383)

Not to mention video games, I mean seriously, there is a bit of a delay expected in translating from Japanese to English but from American English to British English? And most have to wait months for the game to come to Europe or vice versa.

Re:What? Are you guys serious? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25896413)

I mod you overrated every time I see one of your posts when I have mod points, strictly because of your signature that presumes to tell me how I must spend them. A shame, too, since you often raise good points that I agree with.

Re:What? Are you guys serious? (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895555)

"How about just releasing everything world-wide, at the same time, instead of a handful of countries, or different dates for only a selected few countries?"

Oh you mean, releasing the content, in a manner which matches up with the way data can be moved today, and the way people expect to be able to consume it: in realtime

Re:What? Are you guys serious? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895719)

Thank you! As an avid music/movie/video game purchaser for several decades who's lived in several countries, I never, ever understood this. Like walking into Virgin on Oxford Street looking to buy the Dune soundtrack.

"It's only available on import."

What the fuck does that mean?

"25% more than a regular CD"

Oooo-kay...guess I'm the only Dune fan in all of London, eh?

Re:What? Are you guys serious? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895997)

Yeah I agree its probably the biggest cause of piracy outside of the US - there just isnt any way to get it legally.

Over here in Australia its starting to get a bit better.
For popular shows its gone from lagging by several months to lagging a week behind.
My mind boggles at why they dont just skip the whole week thing and do it on the same day.

Re:What? Are you guys serious? (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896453)

Noticed that in Aus myself.

Pity they cant manage to show episodes in order though.

True in the DJ world, too. (4, Interesting)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895377)

I haven't seen a single new piece of vinyl (or CD, for that matter) listed on dancerecords.com since July.

This happened very suddenly, and it's a bit startling for those of us who have invested in actual vinyl turntables...

Re:True in the DJ world, too. (5, Funny)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895551)

you think that's bad? just try getting ahold of blank punchcards sometime!

Re:True in the DJ world, too. (4, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895735)

That's what I love about Slashdot. It always ends up with somebody trumping someone else down to steampunk levels of technology.

Re: DownTech (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895883)

Brother,

Can you spare a bead for my abacus?

Re:True in the DJ world, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895775)

Thats why I invented re-usable punchcards. Each card has holes that can be set closed or open repeatedly. They have also have a rfid chip and can be set wirelessly. So you just grab as many as you need and put them in a stack click and the eclipse plugin will compile the code to the cards. Then they are ready to be used by your legacy application.

Re: Reusable (4, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895895)

2000 called. They want their Florida ballots back.

Re:True in the DJ world, too. (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895971)

I hope I don't get whooshed by a jackass for this, but I think it's worth mentioning that turntables are actually being manufactured and sold right now, and people actually use records.

Re:True in the DJ world, too. (1)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895991)

you think that's bad? just try getting ahold of blank punchcards sometime!

Here. [cardamation.com]
I've not bought from them, so I don't know if they're legitimate.

Re:True in the DJ world, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25896071)

I hope people aren't throwing away their vinyl turntables and records. There's a ton of stuff out there that can still be listened to, and seriously, in comparison to the 90s and 00s, the earlier stuff is much better.

The Labels Want More Money... (5, Insightful)

gavanm (79661) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895405)

There is an interesting paragraph in the article....

The real question, Mr. Rose said, is how does the record industry change its rights structure so it captures a fairer percent of the value it creates in funding, marketing and managing the launch of artists?

To paraphrase - we think the artists owe us more money

Re:The Labels Want More Money... (4, Funny)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895441)

There is an interesting paragraph in the article....

The real question, Mr. Rose said, is how does the record industry change its rights structure so it captures a fairer percent of the value it creates in funding, marketing and managing the launch of artists?

To paraphrase - we think the artists owe us more money

To be optimistic, perhaps they simply realized that they take too much, and now want to give more to the artists?? Okay, so this is slashdot... set mod to funny.

Re:The Labels Want More Money... (3, Interesting)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895577)

Or just replace "fairer" with "fairer for us" - fairer doesn't really mean much in business anyways. It's not that they think the artists owe them more money. It's that they want to find a way to get more money out of the whole system. Honestly, if they weren't doing that, they probably wouldn't be doing their jobs. Sure, it's easy to look at the industry and say it's outdated, say they don't provide value anymore, and should die. But is it reasonable to expect them to just roll over and die? I know if it were me, I wouldn't. If I needed to make a certain amount of money to consider the venture "successful", and the total pie got smaller, then my option is to try and get a larger piece of the pie. The counter to them actually getting that larger piece isn't to have them ask for less...it's for the other people providing value to the business to say no.

Sure, they're probably going about it the wrong way. I have to say, I think they're eventually going to fail. But that doesn't mean we should expect them to just give up. And we certainly shouldn't be surprised, or even appalled, when we hear about them attempting to stay alive.

Re:The Labels Want More Money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895829)

Their job is to produce music. It's the government's job to "make money". They're just confused about that.

Re:The Labels Want More Money... (2, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895911)

Actually, they do think they are paying the artists too much. They tried to reduce the mandatory amount of money per song they had to pay for royalties this summer as part of 'negotiations',

And it's not like the labels looked at digital downloads and said, well, this gets rid of pretty much all distribution, transportation and 'loss' from the ledger, so we can just divvy up that money between us, the songwriter and the performers. They did the opposite. They are keeping all the extra money. They continue to charge artists for so-called 'losses' (as a fixed percentage). They went over all their contracts, and picked out all the ones that were poorly worded, and then decided to pay those bands ZERO for digital downloads (songwriters still were paid, but not the performers).

And they still are dicking around with the most successful, fastest growing online music store in the world, namely the iTunes Music Store, by intentionally trying to cripple it w.r.t. other online stores by forcing Apple to retain DRM on their songs (except for EMI).

Re:The Labels Want More Money... (1, Troll)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896051)

Actually, they do think they are paying the artists too much. They tried to reduce the mandatory amount of money per song they had to pay for royalties this summer as part of 'negotiations',

If by "too much" you mean "more than they think they can get away with" then I agree with you.

And it's not like the labels looked at digital downloads and said, well, this gets rid of pretty much all distribution, transportation and 'loss' from the ledger, so we can just divvy up that money between us, the songwriter and the performers. They did the opposite. They are keeping all the extra money. They continue to charge artists for so-called 'losses' (as a fixed percentage). They went over all their contracts, and picked out all the ones that were poorly worded, and then decided to pay those bands ZERO for digital downloads (songwriters still were paid, but not the performers).

So...you expected them to generate revenue from this new business stream, and, without any sort of contractual obligation, give it away? They didn't "decide" to pay the bands ZERO - the bands' contracted were written in such a way that they didn't owe them anything, therefore the expected behaviour is to not give them any money. I'm not saying the contracts are fair, or just, or a good idea...but they do exist.

I should add, I'm purposefully not considering any possibilities of fraud or similar illegal or tortious actions. These are outside any point I wish to made and should be dealt with appropriately.

Re:The Labels Want More Money... (3, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896267)

>>Actually, they do think they are paying the artists too much. They tried to reduce the mandatory amount of money per song they had
>>to pay for royalties this summer as part of 'negotiations',

>If by "too much" you mean "more than they think they can get away with" then I agree with you.

Yes. They have all kinds of fun legal and accounting methods to reduce or eliminate (or claim the band owes them money), suing their customers (as well as other random people, dead or alive) for copyright infringement while keeping all proceeds from said lawsuits for themselves, while standing up in the middle of the room and shouting "Don't steal music or the performers and songwriters can't get paid".

Hell, they still trying to recover their own bribe money, after their repeated violations of bribing radio stations to play specific songs, by trying to get it legislated that terrestrial radio stations have to pay them for every song they play. And how much of this "new revenue stream" do you think will go to the artists?

Re:The Labels Want More Money... (2, Insightful)

VisceralLogic (911294) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895637)

Gubmint bailout... it's the obvious solution.

Oblig. Simpsons Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895695)

Now, now, I'm not greedy. As long as I've got my millions of dollars and my solid gold house, that's good enough for me.

$15 for a CD with 1 good song? Doesn't fly. (4, Insightful)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895423)

"It's not at all clear that digital economics can make up for the drop in physical."

Well, no shit. Their old business model of selling a $15 CD with 1 good song---aka ripping people off--doesn't fly anymore. If you just want that one song, you just buy that one song.

Digital sales aren't going to match physical sales because--plain and simple--there's a lot of complete crap out there that people don't have to buy, anymore.

Re:$15 for a CD with 1 good song? Doesn't fly. (1)

crakbone (860662) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895545)

Actually when you think of it, no distribution, no packaging engineers, you dont have to add those RFID tabs to keep them from being stolen, lack of store theft, not having to pay for that super plastic wrap they put on them, not having to pay for the stamping of the cd's, or the cases, cover art is simpler, marketing is simpler, they cover a broader market and instant marketing feed back. How can they not be making hand over fist, unless they pay unreal amounts for their lawsuits and drm. Not only that most artists are making their big money on the concert tickets.

Re: Double Reduction (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895941)

You forgot to concatenate your argument with the other one.

1 Good song - purchase 1 good song
11 other dubious songs - paid for that stuff you mentioned.

So their revenue went down at the same time their costs went down, so their profits might be the same on 1/10th of the raw sales.

Re:$15 for a CD with 1 good song? Doesn't fly. (1)

penginkun (585807) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895573)

Well, no shit. Their old business model of selling a $15 CD with 1 good song---aka ripping people off--doesn't fly anymore.

So there's never been an artist with an album that was consistently good? REALLY?

Re:$15 for a CD with 1 good song? Doesn't fly. (1)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895639)

Sure there has been. That doesn't change the business model. It just means that they put in a little bit extra effort at some point - or got lucky.

Re:$15 for a CD with 1 good song? Doesn't fly. (1)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895839)

Stop posting this, seriously. Nobody has once said that there was never an artist with a totally good album, just the truth: the majority of them are complete shite. The only albums I have ever completely enjoyed were Santana's.

Re:$15 for a CD with 1 good song? Doesn't fly. (1)

nwf (25607) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895957)

So there's never been an artist with an album that was consistently good? REALLY?

There have been plenty, just much fewer recently. I generally only purchase CDs where 75% or so of the songs are good. That used to be 2-3 per week, now it's like 2 per month.

Heck, it used to be that if I liked one CD from an artist, then I'd almost be assured to like their next one. Now, it seems, the labels push them to "grow" artistically, which generally means they start to diverge from what everyone liked about them.

Re:$15 for a CD with 1 good song? Doesn't fly. (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896377)

So there's never been an artist with an album that was consistently good? REALLY?

Sure. But that doesn't mean it's not a fluke. e.g.

Real McCoy: Another Night - Practically every song on the CD was "good"*. They were all radio hits as well.

Real McCoy: One More Time - The title song was it. The rest of it was filler. And rather bad filler at that. All those morals they preached in the first album? Pfff. Out the window. We need a music video of two people having sex in a public bathroom so we can include it on the disc. Sales are going to go through the roof!

As you can imagine, the second album was nowhere near as popular as the first and ended up killing the band. No worries, though. The music industry always finds someone else to draw in, chew up, and spit out.

* Subjectively assuming that the listener likes this sort of music.

Re:$15 for a CD with 1 good song? Doesn't fly. (1)

CometRico (1414917) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895973)

Artists are starting to pick up on this as well, and surprisingly, are finding their own ways to make money without the help of the recording labels.

Take, for example, what Radiohead did - let their fans decide how much to pay for the album. While with a CD you typically get $10 an album, a digital copy you may get 2-3 tracks on an album bought for around $3, Radiohead found many of their fans paying $20 and up for the album.

Can someone help me figure out the ethics of this? (0, Troll)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895433)

On one hand, it isn't right to steal. On the other hand, nothing is being stolen.
On one hand you have a bunch of jerks suing grandmothers. On the other hand you have a bunch of jerks suing college kids.
From what I can see, piracy actually helps society. More people get the valuable information they want and need to help them with their education and productivity. There is a small loss in that there is less value produced for the creator. And there is a chance that if things go out of control in favor of the pirates that the loss can become big. I just wonder. I sometimes wonder if pirates leveled the playing field so that people got almost no monetary value from what they're making, would people stop making things altogether. And I think the amount being made would be reduced, but it wouldn't be gone completely.

I think stuff would have to be funded from governments and foundations instead of trying to find a profit. Intellectual property could then be thought of as more like public roads and less like private bars of gold. This is just stuff I think about when I wonder why we don't have a centralized Internet library yet. I think the value of a centralized Internet library may outweigh the loss of new stuff produced.

Anyone want to field this..? Anyone who isn't highly biased towards the music industry... Because they never want to rationally think it through. They just want to maximize profits at all costs.

Re:Can someone help me figure out the ethics of th (5, Insightful)

Renegade Iconoclast (1415775) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895563)

It isn't right to steal, it's true. However, our rights to the public commons have been stolen by Disney and Congress. Irving Berlin's estate still gets royalties for Blue Skies, for crissakes. Therefore, perhaps a bit of civil disobedience is in order. It depends on your calculations.

Re:Can someone help me figure out the ethics of th (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895759)

the one saving grace of Lessing's argument to the Supreme Court is that Congress is allowed to roll back the copyright time if we can ever convince them to do it. The court said Congress sets the term. I'd like to see a push to get it rolled back 50 years and see how they squirm!

Re:Can someone help me figure out the ethics of th (2, Interesting)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895623)

Ethics in this situation are pretty subjective to which part of the issue you're seeing. However, I'd have to say that, no, people would not stop making things altogether. You'd have people producing as a hobby. You'd have new business models. Look at open source. Sure, it's software, rather than "art", but if you compare it as a business opportunity, it becomes obvious that there are viable business models out there that aren't destroyed by "piracy". And, I think that "funded from governments" would be more likely to stifle creative expression than influence it. However, going back to foundations and benefactors - that has potential.

Re:Can someone help me figure out the ethics of th (4, Insightful)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895725)

From what I can see, piracy actually helps society.

Please, PLEASE stop calling copyright infringement "piracy". Piracy happens on the high seas, generally, lately, near Somalia. And it can be deadly, as the pirates who tried to attack the Indian Navy vessel learned last week.

Copyright infringement is not even stealing; it's copying. Stealing (legal definition) involves depriving the owner of their property, but copying does not do that; rather, it enriches both parties.

In addition, corporations have stolen from the public domain that was granted access to all works after a short period of time, as defined by the US Constitution. So, these corporations have reneged on their social contract, and therefore do not deserve to have their copyrights respected (note that this last part has not been confirmed by the courts, but it should, soon; Google "Lessig Eldred").

And I agree: rampant copying does help society, because it helps us ensure that we bring forward our culture, rather than letting it rot, forgotten, in unmarketable silos.

Re:Can someone help me figure out the ethics of th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25896037)

He actually said "piracy" wasn't stealing.
...but yeah, copyright infringement is very different from piracy.

Re:Can someone help me figure out the ethics of th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25896269)

As if somehow, it is better for the artists to make 0.00 instead of 0.01.

Tell us, is that line of crap what you really believe, or is it just how you justify your theft?

Practical ethics: a deal is a deal (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895785)

A fair deal that we've had since time dancing around a campfire was a political gesture is that songs and stories and legends and art become apart of the commons after a period of time. We've made a deal with the artists and their representatives that they can have exclusive use of their works for a limited time in order to encourage them to make more. That's "the deal".

With their exploitive contracts, exclusive play deals, abusive lawsuits and lobbying to get the "limited time" extended to "essentially forever", they undermine every possible benefit in an attempt to "improve their deal". They just don't get - and they won't ever get - that the deal they're breaking is the one that allows them to profit at all.

A growing share of people consider the deal broken and its terms no longer binding and they are enforcing their view of things by technical force. This may not yet be legal, but it certainly is ethical and eventually the law tends to come around to the common point of view. At first there were only a few remix geeks and DJ's. Now the amount of storage media sold in a day outstrips a year's published sales of content. I suppose it's the vast majority of people now and demographically more often the young. The young are responsible for the most enduring social changes so this change looks fairly permanent. As the years go on peer pressure will kill the rest of their market - "Kalen bought encrypted music again? He didn't learn the last six times! (tee hee)."

Copyright as applies to media content is a dead letter. It should be abolished. Maybe after a generation it can be started again with strict limits to ensure it doesn't follow the same hateful course.

Re:Can someone help me figure out the ethics of th (1)

musicalwoods (1115347) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895905)

On one hand, it isn't right to steal. On the other hand, nothing is being stolen.
On one hand you have a bunch of jerks suing grandmothers. On the same hand you have a bunch of jerks suing college kids.

Fixed that for you.

I just wonder. I sometimes wonder if pirates leveled the playing field so that people got almost no monetary value from what they're making, would people stop making things altogether. And I think the amount being made would be reduced, but it wouldn't be gone completely.

I listen to music that people make and release for free. Creative Commons music is great. There are quite a few artists I enjoy, and if I like them enough, I donate money to them.

I think stuff would have to be funded from governments and foundations instead of trying to find a profit.

Well, I think some of the arts would return to commission work, like it was in the past. Some good musicians could make worthwhile profits by releasing their music online with a donation page or a fill-in-the-box-with-what-you-want-to-pay scheme. That is the system I want to see for music. One where I am able to hear an artist's music before I spend money, and then vote with my dollars who I think is the best.
Software would be funded by gov't/bussinesses that benefit from said software.

Oh the fantastical imaginary worlds I create with my mind!

I agree, though. Society could benefit from more public domain and less copyrighted works.
Too bad this is going to end in draconian laws. :(

...and good riddance (1)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895457)

Instead, the music industry is now hoping to find growth from a variety of other revenue streams it has not always had access to, like concert ticket sales and merchandise from artist tours.

Meanwhile I think I'll go straight to the artists and the more relevant publishers/studios who work with them, and have a better understanding of the current industry and which don't have huge overheads in place that make them slow to adapt.

This is me shoving the world's smallest violin up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895465)

your ass.

Hey, it's even a musically-oriented title.

This whining is like a horse carriage manufacturer complaining that he doesn't have enough customers.

Guess what? We don't owe you any of our money, asswipe. I would say, "get with the program," except that I don't want the music execs to get with the program, I want them to wither and die because they are so clueless in the digital age, and be replaced by something more Democratic.

CDs are Digital (0, Redundant)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895471)

CDs are digital.

They mean downloads?
Or music with no physical medium that is sold?

(Go ahead, mod me +1i Pedantic)

Re:CDs are Digital (1)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896283)

I dunno, CD's seem pretty physical to me.

Missed the boat + 10 years. (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895499)

When I first encountered Napster I truly believed it was the start of a revolution. I considered it a matter of months before some kind of legit business model was made out of it.

I also believed with some money it would improve massively, and within a few years cds would be a thing of the past. I stopped holding my breath when the first few, half-wit lawsuits arrived a fewyears later....

Re:Missed the boat + 10 years. (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895763)

Missed the boat + 10 years.

Fuck me, I hadn't even thought it had been that long. These guys aren't just stupid in the face of changing reality, they've been willfully stupid for over a decade on this issue. Oh well, their loss is Steve Job's gain, I guess.

Re:Missed the boat + 10 years. (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896009)

Oh, it was the start of a revolution all right. It was the Download Heard Around The World.

Problem is your second sentence doesn't necessarily follow. Was it the War of 1812 where the British wanted the rematch?

The lawyers and execs dragged it all out for a decade, but we're seeing the momentum build to *something*. But expect another decade of thrashing before it all shakes out.

Re:Missed the boat + 10 years. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896465)

expect another decade of thrashing before it all shakes out.

Knowing how these people think and work, and simply crunching the numbers, I can tell you that they won't last another decade. They simply don't have the money to do so, the way they've been burning it.

amazon (4, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895517)

It's strange that nobody ever talks about Amazon. You can buy MP3's on Amazon for 89-99 cents per track, complete albums typically for about $8. I ripped all my CDs to mp3 this year, tossed the CDs in a dumpster, and am now buying music only on Amazon. I love not having piles of CDs lying around and making my house messy. Amazon sells music with no DRM. It works on any OS that can run a web browser.

iTunes, on the other hand ... yeesh. It's a completely proprietary system, and it doesn't run on my OS. It's also got DRM (although the DRM is fairly easy to circumvent).

Re:amazon (3, Insightful)

Hashi Lebwohl (997157) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895673)

For the approx 300 million people in the USA, perhaps. I wish I could use Amazon, I really do, but living in Aus prevents me. WHY can they not sell to people outside of the USA? I'm guessing it is again the record labels that impose this crap. Well, fuck you very much, RIAA, I'll just make my own, cheaper, arrangements.

Re:amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25895803)

Of course, now that you threw out your CDs you can no longer give the "fair use" argument that allows you to make copies in a different format for personal use. Without the physical CD you have no proof that you actually purchased the music to begin with. That's why I have 400 cassette tapes in storage....

Uh huh. (1)

newtown1100 (1415771) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895527)

...and you thought that cheap over compressed art-less bits of data were NOT going to outsell overpriced over compressed bits of plastic?

How Music Used to Be (4, Insightful)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895575)

I simply don't like the music produced right now, and I don't think I'm alone. In the 60's through the 90's, the defining part of each piece of music was typically the melody. We listened to things that had beautiful sounds and chords. We had thought provoking lyrics that read like poetry, or lyrics that one could simply associate with.

Now music is so hip-hop/rap influenced that the only thing the composers seem to think about is the beat and the star-power behind each act. This commercialization + beat + weak melody is just not working a vast minority, if not a majority of music listeners. A song today probably only has a single catchy part that lasts a few seconds, and the rest is trash. We are expected to buy this music so we can hear the 5 seconds we like of a 3:30 min song. What about the song as a complete work of art?

This problem has always existed, but before it typically showed up as filler in an album. Now the album has been scaled down to fit inside of one song, and it's just not a compelling experience.

Really young people are going to like whatever is produced because they don't know anything better- that is certainly a big market. However, the music industry has almost completely lost the 18+ crowd by trying to cater to people who have relatively unestablished tastes. They got away from the fundamentals and they're getting severely burned. If they produced good work and were losing money to piracy, I would feel sympathy for the artists and even a little for the labels who do the sound engineering. Since their work is crap, though, I'm not spending a cent on any music they produce.

Re:How Music Used to Be (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895799)

Meh. While I'm generally on your side (fave bands the Beatles and Led Zep for starters), looking at the ~500 4 and 5 star rated songs I have in iTunes that were released this millenium says that you're not looking hard enough.

Re:How Music Used to Be (2, Insightful)

germansausage (682057) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895843)

"the defining part of each piece of music was typically the melody. We listened to things that had beautiful sounds and chords. We had thought provoking lyrics that read like poetry"

Speak for yourself dude. I was listening to Motorhead the whole time.

Re:How Music Used to Be (2, Informative)

musicalwoods (1115347) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896053)

I simply don't like the music produced right now, and I don't think I'm alone. In the 60's through the 90's, the defining part of each piece of music was typically the melody. We listened to things that had beautiful sounds and chords. We had thought provoking lyrics that read like poetry, or lyrics that one could simply associate with.

Oh, that music is still being produced, just (mostly) not by the big recording companies.

Re:How Music Used to Be (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896073)

I simply don't like the music produced right now, and I don't think I'm alone.

You mean you didn't buy the Dr. Horrible soundtrack?

Re:How Music Used to Be (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896469)

You're so right.

It seems like a large majority of bands start with a familiar chord structure they have heard before and are nice and comfortable with and then they improvise a vocal melody above it.

That is shit writing. Come up with the melody first and whatever chords happen to fit go with it, plus you have options for chord substitutions because that isn't the driving part of the song.

I V mIII IV

I swear almost every song I hear these days uses that same god damn chord progression. I call it the "When I Come Around" progression, the first time I had played it, though I'm sure it was popular long before that.

Can we get a new tag here? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895593)

Tag this one ripvanwinkle or rtfmripvanwinkle....

Bajebus! Is this guy reading 5 year old newspapers? Can we all chip in and buy the RIAA a cake that says "welcome to the 21st Century" and underneath that 'dickheads'....?

On the other hand, I thought we already had a noshitsherlock tag?

It's good to see that someone is awake in this industry, after such a long nap, perhaps now is the time to really swing with the clue stick. What I mean is perhaps now would be a really good time to stage one of those 'day without downloads' or 'week with out CDs' kind of things to get their attention. As we are coming up to the shopping season it might mean something?

OT: User page offline! (-1, Offtopic)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895629)

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, pater@slashdot.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

RIP Sound Quality (1)

fyrie (604735) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895711)

We've sent a very powerful message that says the buying public doesn't give a rip about audio fidelity.

RIP hearing (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895835)

What's that, son, you say the buying public dented a rapper's Audi Quattro?

Re:RIP Sound Quality (3, Funny)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895855)

That message was sent 25 years ago. It was delivered on a cassette tape.

Re:Sound Quality The Zombie (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896049)

I don't think so.

I stayed with tapes as a cheapskate, relishing in my lack of musical finesse. I just wanted a hundred of the things to stash in my car for road trips. But once CD's began to hit the flea markets tapes were finally on their way out.

Re:RIP Sound Quality (1)

vonFinkelstien (687265) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895901)

I've done the reverse. I've stopped buying digital downloads (except the odd case of iTunes Plus content every blue moon). Now I try to only buy SACDs.

Re:RIP Sound Quality (1)

fyrie (604735) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895937)

I've purchased a few SACDs, but it seems to be more or less a dead format. Best Buy isn't carrying many SACD players these days.

Perhaps the very small resurgence in LPs is a sign of hope.

Atlantic Records are bad guys (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895771)

Atlantic Records is one of the most common plaintiffs in the RIAA cases. (Here are some in which it is the first named plaintiff: Atlantic v. Andersen(Portland, OR) Atlantic v. Anderson (Houston, TX) Atlantic v. Boggs (Corpus Christi, Texas) Atlantic v. Boyer (Tampa, FL) Atlantic v. Brennan (New Haven, CT) Atlantic v. Dangler (Rochester, NY) Atlantic v. DeMassi (Houston, TX) Atlantic v. Does 1-14 (Portland, ME) Atlantic v. Does 1-25(New York, NY) Atlantic v. Howell (Phoenix, AZ)(pro se) Atlantic v. Huggins(Brooklyn, NY) Atlantic v. Lenentine (Portland, ME) Atlantic v. Myers (Jackson, MS) Atlantic v. Njuguna (Charleston, SC) Atlantic v. Raleigh (Missouri) Atlantic v. Serrano (San Diego, CA) Atlantic v. Shutovsky (New York, NY) Atlantic v. Zuleta (Atlanta, GA)...) As far as I'm concerned they should rot in hell.

Re:Atlantic Records are bad guys (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896057)

Can we get a +1 Hero moderation option? NYCL is beyond Informative merged with Insightful into a class all his own.

Re:Atlantic Records are bad guys (1)

musicalwoods (1115347) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896067)

Atlantic Records is one of the most common plaintiffs in the RIAA cases. As far as I'm concerned they should rot in hell.

I think you say that for most of us, sir. Not only that, you actively take part in protecting innocents while fighting against them. Thank you.

Digital Media may have effected sales. But... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#25895931)

But it may not have been because of piracy but because increased competition. Back in 1997 you had limited sources of music if you wanted to find no-name brand brand you needed to go to those shady music shops where you feel like it will be busted for a drug operation any second. But you were more or less limited to main stream media. That and combined with the fact that most music was played publicly back then vs. Now with an iPod or other portable music player. You are no longer ostracized for listening to BlueGrass mixed with death metal. So with digital music we find what we like. Vs. just getting what were are supposed to like. Also the economy was doing a lot better in 1997 then it is now, meaning back then buying music wasn't as much a luxury as it is now.

Lowly scum (1)

asamad (658115) | more than 4 years ago | (#25896131)

You mean they are going to have to work for it. Ha, the only work it seems like they are doing is talking to their lawyers.

more like trading cruise ships for yachts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25896295)

trading analog dollars for digital pennies

This is more like trading your overblown mansions for houses, or trading trillions for billions. It's not this sad pitiful situation where CEOs are somehow being victimized. After all these years, welcome to the real world music industry executives. If you're losing money on digital sales that don't cost you anything to package or distribute, you might want to ask yourself what kind of extortion your "success" came from before.

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