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New Music Boss, Worse Than Old Music Boss

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the ok-but-it-all-beats-laying-brick-in-ancient-egypt dept.

Businesses 567

frank_adrian314159 writes "David Lowery, musician (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven), producer (Sparklehorse, Counting Crows), recording engineer (Archers of Loaf, Lamb of God), and geek (programmer, packet radio operator, ex-CBOT quant) talks about the economics of the music business and how the 'old boss' — the record labels — have been replaced by the new boss — file downloading services, song streaming, and commercial online music stores. His take? Although the old boss was often unfair to artists, artists are making even less money under the new boss. Backed with fairly persuasive data, he shows that, under the new distribution model, artists — even small independent ones — are exposed to more risk while making less money. In addition, the old boss was investing in the creation of new music, while the new boss doesn't. This article is lengthy, but worth the attention of anyone interested in the future of music or music distribution."

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Fairly well known issue (4, Insightful)

CAKAS (2646219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40101921)

Even indie artists have campaigned against these new services. For example, take Spotify [spotify.com] , well known European free music service that gained lots of attention.

Many indie artists tried the service for several months and when the payout time came, they found out they only got a few hundreds (if even that) from the service. It was serious degrade from their previous earnings.

At the same time, Spotify shareholders and investors include EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group. Since Spotify only paid small share to artists, the labels profited from increased stock prices. Because of this, they didn't need to pay artists any share but still profited greatly.

So yeah, there you go. Do you really think you're wiser than these guys? Keep trying to get around them, and they will assfuck you even more. Seriously. Do it. If you want to destroy any nice music we have.

Re:Fairly well known issue (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40101953)

So where's this new boss? I see new method of old boss at work here.

Re:Fairly well known issue (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40101989)

Spotify shareholders and investors include EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group.

Aren't those the old music bosses? So not a good example.

Re:Fairly well known issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102111)

This is true. Because the old bosses just invented the "new bosses", we got more middle management and less money to the artists. And then they can point at these and say "well, wasn't it better before?"

It's all ass-backwards! The artists should be paying someone to market/produce their music, not wait for some tiny percentage cut of their sales to come back to them. The music is the product, not the artist.
Sadly only the biggest artists today can play the record labels, since the labels have so much control over the airwaves that unless they like you, you're FSCK'd.

Re:Fairly well known issue (4, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102361)

It's all ass-backwards! The artists should be paying someone to market/produce their music, not wait for some tiny percentage cut of their sales to come back to them.

New artists can't do that, because they don't have the funds upfront.
The old school recording industry was not only music discovery and production but also the finance arm/bank. It would be no different if a new act went to a regular bank, and convinced them to loan $1,000,000 (which wouldn't happen anyway) for 'production costs and marketing'. All but 'some tiny percentage' would go directly back to the bank to pay off the loan. The 'recording industry' just inserted themselves in as the bank. And profited heavily off of that function.

Re:Fairly well known issue (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102115)

Yup, and they've innovated a new way to rob artists blind.

Re:Fairly well known issue (0)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102533)

After all this time of telling them to innovate or die, maybe they finally listened to slashdot...

Re:Fairly well known issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102053)

At the same time, Spotify shareholders and investors include EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group.

You are contradicting your main point here. Spotify is just more of the same if their shareholders are the same old record labels. Who the fuck modded this tripe up?

Re:Fairly well known issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102165)

More shills. This is the karma whoring mode. Look at his comments on Google.

Re:Fairly well known issue (3, Interesting)

arbulus (1095967) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102097)

The thing is, the old model is nearly dead. There are not going to be "rock stars" and big record company profits anymore. Those days are done. And it's a good thing. The record companies kept a strangle hold on the distribution of music for decades. They used that hold to make millions of dollars and made it look like they were a good thing for artists. But they aren't. And their hold is now broken. But instead of trying to adapt, the labels are taking more and more money from the artists.

Are we going to see millionaire musicians anymore? Absolutely not. Those days are done. But is music dead? Certainly not. But the record labels are no longer needed. An artists can make it on their own. Will they make the same money? No. But this is the point: yes it's less money than before, but it's either that or nothing. The old days are gone and people are going to have to accept it. But it's good because now the artists will own their own creations and can sell directly to the fans and keep all of the profits.

Re:Fairly well known issue (5, Interesting)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102283)

Are we going to see millionaire musicians anymore? Absolutely not. Those days are done. But is music dead? Certainly not. But the record labels are no longer needed. An artists can make it on their own. Will they make the same money? No. But this is the point: yes it's less money than before, but it's either that or nothing. The old days are gone and people are going to have to accept it. But it's good because now the artists will own their own creations and can sell directly to the fans and keep all of the profits.

The problem isn't that we aren't going to see millionaire musicians anymore. The problem is that your statement that "an artist can make it on their own" is, for the most part, not true. Never mind millions -- almost no artists are making a basic living selling music anymore. I am a musician -- only an amateur, but I get around enough to know and meet lots of professional musicians, some of whom are pretty well known; and I nobody that makes enough money to eat and pay their rent/utilities from music sales. And this is pretty pervasive -- I've talked about this with lots of artists that are big enough to sell out venues that range in size between 500-3000 people and they all say the same thing: no artists, except those at the absolute top of the heap, are making a living selling their music anymore. You curse the big labels and champion the independence the modern era has allowed artists to have, and those are worthy sentiments to have, and I agree with them. But it's important to remember that perversely, the practical effect of these changes has been that only a small number of artists are making money from music sales, and by and large they aren't independent artists.

These days, to the extent that an artist or act is able to make enough money to continue to make music, that money isn't coming from music sales. It's coming from shows: what they make playing shows (including merchandise sold at shows) minus the costs of doing them. It used to be the other way around: shows existed to promote record sales, and record sales were where the money came from. Now, if you like an act and what them to continue to make music, the best thing you can do for them is go see them live and buy their stuff at the merch table. If I go to a show and I really, really like a band, I'll almost always walk out with a CD (even if it's music I already have -- I'll give it to someone as a gift) because I know that that's what will keep them going.

Re:Fairly well known issue (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102427)

Then maybe you should pick a different career where you CAN make money. If there are too many musicians, just as there are too many hamburger & fry flippers, than the income will plummet and be crappy. So choose a higher-paying income, rather than being a musician or McDonalds employee.

NOBODY is owed a living just because they want to do something. *I* happen to like writing science fiction but I'm not stupid enough to think I can make a career out of it. The field of writers is waaaay too full. So I became an engineer instead..... something few people can do, so I get paid big bucks. You (and others) ought to try the same if music isn't working out for you.

Re:Fairly well known issue (5, Insightful)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102499)

no artists, except those at the absolute top of the heap, are making a living selling their music anymore

This is fairly common in a lot of areas. No one makes money playing sports except the few at the very top. Actors are the same way. The issue is that anyone can do these things. Most of us can't do them overly well, we don't practice enough, but people play music for fun and can achieve a pretty decent level of expertise without ever expecting to be paid for it. In order to make money you need to be significantly better than the laymen that do it for free for their own enjoyment.

Want to make a living wage in a creative field? Go work for Disney, or Paramount, or some company that makes commercials, or any other established industry that needs those skills constantly. No, you don't get to decide what kind of music you're writing if you're writing the background track for a movie, but that's part of making money without taking a major risk.

Re:Fairly well known issue (4, Interesting)

pedropolis (928836) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102509)

True story:
A friend of mine and I were at the 9:30 Club in DC circa... July 2006 to see Cracker play. The opening acts finish up and here comes this tall, lanky, scruffy-looking dude who is laying down cable and taping up mics. He's setting up guitars and stuff, roadie jobs. I turn to my friend between sips of beer and say, "You know, that's David Lowrey." At the 9:30 Club you're about 10 feet from the stage once up front, max. We've got a clear view of this guy and sure enough, it's David Lowrey, roadie.

As you'll read in the article, David Lowrey is a math grad. If he's calculated that his band can't pay a roadie to do set-up, then you know they're making next to nothing for these shows. I'm not saying he's supposed to have a designated cape handler like James Brown, but a roadie - sure.

Point is - I'm not sure they were making anything off this show. He was his band's roadie, and they drove Johnny Hickman's microbus to the show from Richmond. This was a harbinger of things to come.

Re:Fairly well known issue (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102547)

that money isn't coming from music sales. It's coming from shows: what they make playing shows (including merchandise sold at shows) minus the costs of doing them. It used to be the other way around: shows existed to promote record sales, and record sales were where the money came from. Now, if you like an act and what them to continue to make music, the best thing you can do for them is go see them live and buy their stuff at the merch table.

Most musicians made their living from live performance for all but 60 years or so of human history. It's always a pain when technological changes screw over the way you're in the habit of making money, but that comes to just about anyone in any industry - no reason for musicians to be immune. However, I think long term it will work well, and we'll have as many milionaire musicians as we've ever had (a few each generation), as any musician can now reach a vast potential audience, and it doesn't take much when you have 10 million fans.

Re:Fairly well known issue (3, Interesting)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102131)

"Many indie artists tried the service for several months and when the payout time came, they found out they only got a few hundreds (if even that) from the service. It was serious degrade from their previous earnings."

In tradition of claiming problems without giving us any kind of reference, I still was kinda interested how big their previous earnings are and what kind of contracts they had with their publishers before going online? :) Just really want to know, already thanks for any reply.

Re:Fairly well known issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102135)

Even indie artists have campaigned against these new services. For example, take Spotify [spotify.com] , well known European free music service that gained lots of attention. Many indie artists tried the service for several months and when the payout time came, they found out they only got a few hundreds (if even that) from the service. It was serious degrade from their previous earnings. At the same time, Spotify shareholders and investors include EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group. Since Spotify only paid small share to artists, the labels profited from increased stock prices. Because of this, they didn't need to pay artists any share but still profited greatly. So yeah, there you go. Do you really think you're wiser than these guys? Keep trying to get around them, and they will assfuck you even more. Seriously. Do it. If you want to destroy any nice music we have.

Ah, given the blatant relationship between the "old boss" and the "new boss" (as clearly outlined above), I see you have failed to take into account the increase of greed and corruption across the entire organization, old and new.

Oh, deficits can go up, interest rates can go up, prices can go up, billionaires can get richer, but somehow we think that greed and corruption has or will remain a constant? Hardly.

At this point, I have little faith that the artists would be treated fairly no matter what "boss" you point to. As far as how things were back in the "good ol' days" of the old boss, yeah, well my house used to be worth more than 27 dollars back then too.

Re:Fairly well known issue (4, Insightful)

danomac (1032160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102139)

However, the cost of creating recordings has gone down. I sure wish I could do a week's or month's worth of work and get paid for it over my entire lifetime (and maybe even my kids' lifetimes.)

They can always go live and get paid for concerts. The days of being paid for a lifetime over a month's worth of work is going the way of the do-do.

Re:Fairly well known issue (5, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102189)

They can always go live and get paid for concerts. The days of being paid for a lifetime over a month's worth of work is going the way of the do-do.

Bingo.

The situation is similar with e-books. A few people can upload one book and make a million bucks, but the majority will make a few thousand per book, if it's well written and the writer isn't particularly unlucky. Which means they need to actually do a normal work week writing multiple books a year if they want to make a living at it.

Expectations are hideously skewed by the experiences of the last few decades, which are far from the historical norms. For most of history musicians did actually have to work for a living rather than perform once and go on vacation for a year.

Re:Fairly well known issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102167)

You can do stuff so you don't get screwed over but allot of bands don't.

I know for a fact iforward russia! managed to not get into a stupid situation over their second album.

(They paid the producer and for the studio and the stuff) then sold just the right to produce it to a label who lost a fair bit on it I think.

(To be fair they spent $30,000 on the recording)

But they never really got into debt for their little shot at fame..

Re:Fairly well known issue (3, Informative)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102175)

your example is the music industries reactionary response to itunes and the rest of the online music migration? There are lots of services that are not just more of the same from the big music companies where the artist gets a fair share like http://bandcamp.com/ [bandcamp.com]

Re:Fairly well known issue (4, Interesting)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102193)

Jonathan Coulton was talking about this a few months ago in the TWiT podcast.

Streaming services pay garbage to independent artists because the big studios (the old boss) bullied them into accepting horrible terms or literally take them out of business.

Make no mistake; the big studios get a generous split of the Spotify profits. But for Spotify to survive with such a "generous" deal, they had to screw someone else: the indie musician that "can't really bully" them.

Mind you, in some ways, if all indies got together and left Spotify, they would suffer (right now they average their profits with a mixture of indie and big studio playbacks.)

I would not be shocked if the studios want it to work this way, to discourage the next gen of artists from pursuing an indie career.

The moral of the story (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40101941)

Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

Re:The moral of the story (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102039)

Actually, I think the moral here is: Don't trust someone with a history of burning artists.

STFU and give us free music (1, Funny)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40101957)

you should me making music for the love of it, anything else and you're greedy

Re:STFU and give us free music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102055)

What do you do for a living? If your not doing it for the love of it, you're greedy. Spoken like a true slash jerk. Oh no someone might make an evil profit. I don't know whats worse your post or the first one with all the slang in it trying to be taken seriously.

Re:STFU and give us free music (1)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102303)

Or it could be that your sarcasm detector is broken, and the parent how s/he thinks most people here see it.

Re:STFU and give us free music (5, Insightful)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102081)

you should me making music for the love of it, anything else and you're greedy

Here's the thing about it though:

Let's say I make good music. Right now I have a full time job to support my family, which means that any music I make is in the spare time between work and sleep and whatnot. If I can't make money off of the music I create, it will continue to be made only in the spare time I have. I will produce it slowly and sparingly. I won't be able to do that many live shows.

We don't need a system where I become a millionaire, but it does need to be enough that I can make music (or books, or any other form of art) my occupation rather than my hobby, if I'm good enough.

Re:STFU and give us free music (2, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102243)

"We don't need a system where I become a millionaire, but it does need to be enough that I can make music (or books, or any other form of art) my occupation rather than my hobby, if I'm good enough."

But exactly why? Some people has very artistic talents, still, they working as clerks or programmers and play on stage on their free time because they enjoy it.

All acts I have seen in their breaktrough has been superbly talented and therefore their effort was just worth that. If you just below average - then you can make descent art, but it will be a hobby (not bad thing, but you can't hope make a living out of it). It is also a decision - if you want to go for it, you have to sacrifise something. You can't expect everything to fall into line for you.

Re:STFU and give us free music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102433)

I suppose as long as you're ok with no more large venue concerts and only having live access to local players there is no reason why they should be able to make enough money to avoid having another job. It would be the end of big nationally known artists for the most part, but if you're willing to accept that then it is probably fine.

Re:STFU and give us free music (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102285)

We don't need a system where I become a millionaire,

I'd agree - you shouldn't be "guaranteed" millions just for putting on a suit made of meat, but I'd also stipulate that we DO need a system where you COULD become a millionaire, if you're talented enough to produce some book, music, film, etc. that sells enough copies to the public. A system that rewards you for your talent shouldn't arbitrarily say, "you've made enough money to pay for a small apartment in NYC, that's all you get." If you can get a million people to buy your CD, you should be entitled to the profits.

Re:STFU and give us free music (2)

RedDeadThumb (1826340) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102517)

but I'd also stipulate that we DO need a system where you COULD become a millionaire

Why do we need that? Do we need a system where a janitor could become a millionaire, or a plumber, or a bus driver? What is so special about the occupation of being a musician that they deserve more than a living wage just like everyone else?

Re:STFU and give us free music (4, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102373)

...We don't need a system where I become a millionaire, but it does need to be enough that I can make music (or books, or any other form of art) my occupation rather than my hobby, if I'm good enough.

We *need* a system where everyone has access to shelter, food, water and health care. We *want* books, movies, music and other entertainment.

Re:STFU and give us free music (3, Insightful)

deisama (1745478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102479)

I feel like a lot of replies to your posts are missing your point, which is sad because it is a good one.

I believe the parents point is this:

If you WANT more music/art from someone, than a system that allows that person to spend the majority of their time working on it is beneficial to both of you.

Saying that someone doesn't deserve to be rewarded for their efforts and given the opportunity to pursue them full time will only result in getting less of what they have to offer.

Re:STFU and give us free music (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102107)

Lots of ok music out there from people who do just that, but there is a reason indie music hasn't completely toppled the industry...

Hint: it's the same reason indie movies haven't toppled Hollywood.

There is still something to be said for those who actually devote all their time, not just the weekend, to producing content.. and who can afford the cheaper than before but still expensive pro gear.

And in general I agree with the sentiment in the argument. If the kind of distribution/creation model we've all been pushing ever actually takes hold.. it'll just become overrun by opportunists and we'll be right back to what we've got now.

Re:STFU and give us free music (2)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102125)

Graphic and other visual artists should also screw it and stop making art for money as well. Don't forget writers, because writing is art, too! Monetizing expression is evil and selfish, so let all the artists take college educations and enter careers they hate like the rest of us so they can spend what little time they have left making stuff for our pleasure.

Re:STFU and give us free music (1, Funny)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102235)

Lady in street: I loved your performance, thank you, lovely music. I'll be on my way now.

Singer: But... I need food... please give me some money....

Lady in street: You greedy asshole? How dare you ask me for money?! Music should be done for the love of it!!! Performing for my pleasure while I eat should BE your food!!!! Now sing and stop begging!!!! If you want money go and get a real job!

the problem is there is too much music (5, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40101995)

the bosses aren't the problem, the problem is the amount of product

i like most rock from the mid 60s to present day. there are so many good bands to listen to that its impossible to buy it all on CD. too expensive.

recorded music is your advertising and you should be making money on live performances from the real fans

just like almost every line of business these days. break even or lose on 90% of your customers and make your profit on the rest. something like 4% of dropboxe's customers pay them, yet they make A LOT of money

Re:the problem is there is too much music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102033)

recorded music is your advertising and you should be making money on live performances from the real fans

I was under the impression that it was always this way... that the records don't make you much, it's the gigs. Is that wrong?

Either way, those dirty fucks at Ticketmaster need to be next.

Re:the problem is there is too much music (1)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102333)

I was under the impression that it was always this way... that the records don't make you much, it's the gigs. Is that wrong?

You're not wrong that that's how it is; you're wrong that it was always this way. Historically, gigs existed to promote music sales. These days, for all but those at the top of the heap, it's the other way around.

Re:the problem is there is too much music (2)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102337)

recorded music is your advertising and you should be making money on live performances from the real fans

I was under the impression that it was always this way... that the records don't make you much, it's the gigs. Is that wrong?

Either way, those dirty fucks at Ticketmaster need to be next.

Partially true. The artist himself was not making much money because between loopholes and fine print tricks, the studios end up keeping nearly all the profits of media sale, in some situations some artist may find themselves owing money to the studios (since every cd sent to a radio station was/is fully expensed at a full retail price as a marketing cost that you are supposed to pay for from your profits.)

But media sales have always been very lucrative, an indie artist that refuses to give away his music in Spotify and instead sells directly via iTunes and other digital outlets, or even burning his own disks, may make a LOT of money.

I was into Reggaeton a few years back, a lot of the "reggaettoneros" artists wised up darn fast. They didn’t go to any label, they self-published their stuff and got filthy rich fast. Don Omar [wikipedia.org] is a good example. These are people that didnt really grow daydreaming about the rock star life, so they seem to have pursued things in a more sensible way (despite their appearance and image of being uneducated and thug-like.)

I still don't get why in this information age, the american artist still dreams of being picked up by a big label and become a super star the 80's way.

Re:the problem is there is too much music (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102399)

This is second hand, but from a few people I know who are (kinda) in the business.. it used to be the exact opposite (the live performances promoted the music sales) but has now switched around to what is described. Best way to support your favorite band now is to see them live and buy an overpriced cheap screen printed t-shirt or CD off their merch stand.

Re:the problem is there is too much music (2)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102087)

just like almost every line of business these days. break even or lose on 90% of your customers and make your profit on the rest. something like 4% of dropboxe's customers pay them, yet they make A LOT of money

I really wish Hollywood would wake up and realize this, and stop fighting Netflix. They're ruining their own industry, and blaming it on piracy.

What was the quote from Tywin Lannister when he heard they had killed Ned Stark? "Stupidity. Stupidity and Foolishness." Something like that. :P

Re:the problem is there is too much music (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102329)

there is no way hollywood can make money on $8 netlix subscriptions and letting them have first run movies before blu ray street date. and netflix refuses to have a tiered model

for $5 or so you can rent almost every new movie after it leaves the theaters and the apps are on most consoles and blu ray players and set top boxes

Re:the problem is there is too much music (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102445)

there is no way hollywood can make money on $8 netlix subscriptions and letting them have first run movies before blu ray street date. and netflix refuses to have a tiered model

I don't know. They could stop paying 'stars' $50,000,000 for a few weeks' work on a movie.

Much of the cost of a big Hollywood movie is 'star' salaries, and those salaries are justified because they bring in more revenue than they cost. So if they're not doing that any more, just reduce those salaries to the point where you are making money.

I'm sure you'd find plenty of people eager to act in or direct a big Hollywood movie for a mere $1,000,000.

99.9% is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102159)

I would say there's a huge shortage of quality product buried under piles of crap. For get the 90% is crap, more like 99.9% of music is crap, and that's across the board.

Re:99.9% is crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102483)

Spoken like a true idiot. News flash - it isn't crap simply because you don't like it. Music is expression, fuckface.

Re:the problem is there is too much music (3, Insightful)

Beerdood (1451859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102321)

Exactly the problem here. Until digital distribution was available, most of the music being purchased prior to that came from a select few artists. The record store would carry material from maybe 100 artists or so (rough estimate). They simply couldn't carry music from 10,000 different bands there, due to size constraints. 1% of the artists making 99% of the money.

The amount people spend on music hasn't really changes by that much of a factor - it's just that there's more available artists now. The other 9900 artists that weren't popular enough to get in the record industry are now getting heard. They're just starting to get a cut now, via spotify or whatever

Re:the problem is there is too much music (3, Insightful)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102439)

the bosses aren't the problem, the problem is the amount of product

i like most rock from the mid 60s to present day. there are so many good bands to listen to that its impossible to buy it all on CD. too expensive.

recorded music is your advertising and you should be making money on live performances from the real fans

This is quite right in my opinion. Roughly 2 years ago I read an article on the BBC's website where they interviewed Mick Jagger. He shocked them with what he had to say. This is not in any way, shape or form an accurate word for word account of what was said but my paraphrase covering the main points.
BBC: So what do you think of digital music such as MP3 files?
Jagger: It's not a problem for me. (note: The Stones were on iTunes long before the Beatles were and were serious about their web presence earlier too.)
BBC: (stunned) You don't think you're being ripped off by illegal downloads?
Jagger: Look. The truth is that for all of our years in the industry, for very few of them did we really make good money just from the music. There was a period of about 10 years from the 1980s into the 90s where we got paid a lot of money, but for most of my career the actual royalties from music sales have not really been all that good. We have always made the majority of our income from touring.

The music companies hate this because they don't make money from touring so they are still trying to make the old models work in a world that rejects them. Paul McCartney can't sell CDs any more like he used to but whenever he feels like playing a concert he regularly sells out 50,000 seat or larger stadiums throughout the world and I've not once heard him bemoaning the current state of the industry.

Re:the problem is there is too much music (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102469)

recorded music is your advertising and you should be making money on live performances from the real fans

Which kinda defeats the purpose of having fans from all over the Internet, there's many many bands that won't come to my little corner of the world and you'd have to be a pretty big fan to travel very far just to go to a concert. And even then they still only get one ticket. And maybe that one weekend they are there it doesn't work because you got another important event. You can't live off just a handful of fanatic fans who'll go to any length to see you.

just like almost every line of business these days. break even or lose on 90% of your customers and make your profit on the rest. something like 4% of dropboxe's customers pay them, yet they make A LOT of money

Where the analogy breaks down is that it's easy for everyone who wants to get dropbox's paid service to do so. With a live performance there's probably 4% that'd pay and 4% that easily could go (remember anywhere you hold a concert is where >99.9% of the earth's population doesn't live) for a total of 0.16% that actually came and paid.

Once machines take over your occupation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102023)

You're fucked.

But this is what 'we' want, right? (5, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102025)

But this is what 'we' want, right?

We don't want there to be multimillionaire 'artists', or hundreds of supposedly indie (but really signed with GenericIndieLabelX that's part of IndieGroupY that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of QuirkyMusicZ, a division of SONY Music Entertainment).

'We' want bands to be able to stand on the merit of the quality of their music - be that through being highly popular at the whim of the way the 'popular' wind blows, or through a devout share of followers who will buy merchandise and go to concerts. We want the remaining artists to perform music not for the money but because they want to perform it for their own joy (either out of performing or out of the reactions of the crowd) and any money they get out of that is just a nice little bonus.

'We' don't care if that means most current artists will just have to find something else to do, and others will just have to make it their hobby next to an 'honest' job.

And if that situation is not to particular people's liking, they would be more than welcome to become patrons of the (musical) arts if they have the wealth to do so.

As long as 'we' get to enjoy music for next to nothing or completely nothing, and certainly with as few middlemen as possible - because that is what the process induced by technology has allowed us since the days of the cassette tape, which the internet has merely accelerated.

tl;dr: Something about horse-and-buggies and all that.

Re:But this is what 'we' want, right? (1)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102383)

My thoughts precisely. Thanks for spelling it out so nicely.

Competition? (5, Interesting)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102029)

There are more music acts than ever, and they are each individually able to reach a FAR greater audience than before. The number of people and the amount of spare money the public has to spend on entertainment has been fairly constant. So, of course, each individual artist is going to make less. There's new genres and new artists every day.

Futhermore, now we have videogames and other new media competing for our entertainment dollars.

Its not that artists are making less money. Its that there aren't as few mega "rock stars" as before. You don't have the beatlemania where people are going crazy for a particular one act, who effectively has a monopoly on popular music.

Finally, they can't force us to buy 12 song albums with 2 hits and 10 crap songs anymore. We've broken their hold on that business model. Now we expect to be able to pay .99 cents to get the 1 song we want. That isn't "unfair" to artists, rather, it was unfair to the consumer before, and now its been made right.

I'm so sorry you can't afford to drink top shelf champagne on your private jet anymore.

Publishers (2)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102045)

If the artists aren't making as much money as they used to, how about they do the logical thing and vertically integrate? With music stores like iTunes now, there's almost no need for a publisher, where before you were completely dependent on one.

Cut out the middle man, sell directly to consumers, keep all the profits, and probably end up making more money.

Re:Publishers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102179)

Cut out the middle man, sell directly to consumers, keep [70 % of ] all the profits, and probably end up making more money.

FTFY

Re:Publishers (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102317)

Many people might ask what the alternatives are to e.g. iTunes.
One is http://bandcamp.com/ [bandcamp.com] with a clear policy on how they charge and in what way explained right here [bandcamp.com]

And placing your music online (even for free) is pretty simple. Or as they like to say themselves [bandcamp.com] : So Easy Even Your Drummer Could...Well, Perhaps Not That Easy

That site does exactly what you say. Cutting out the middle man.

Marketing (3, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102061)

It's quite simple - in online, you have to handle your marketing yourself. If you just replace old model with new one, but keep old way of doing things, sorry, it won't fly. Online gives posibility to compete a lot more bands than old system. And in result of course you get less money. Don't like it? Then try to stick with old system. Didn't like it too? Do pros and cons then and see what's working for you.

Also sorry, while I recognize that artists should get something about their efforts - but only then if their art is "consumed". There's tons of music out there. Tons of CC (lot of them really good ones). And it's a pitty, but some of artists can crunch really high class stuff without any sweat, but some has to do lot of pushing. So maybe it's not worth then.

Collaboration and self-publishing are the answer (3, Interesting)

Zondar (32904) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102071)

Not to be prophetic or philosophical, but it will be in the end like it was in the beginning.

In the beginning, bands formed and recorded music in their garage, with the best equipment and recording technology that they could afford. The collaborated in the best space they could find (someone's garage) and they self published the recording they made. Maybe they made money, maybe they didn't.

Today, musicians can record with (nearly) the same quality in their house as they can in a major studio. Musicians can collaborate over the internet either directly or with the help of a collaboration service that helps musicians find each other and exchange / submit tracks. Musicians can publish their tracks on services where they either get money per track or as a donation model (see http://coryjohnson.bandcamp.com/ for a perfect example of this).

Musicians can self-promote on the internet, and perhaps reach greater audiences than they can through traditional media and distribution channels.

The musicians simply need to embrace these new ways of doing things and be willing to take on these tasks directly instead of having someone else do it (and probably rip them off in the process).

Re:Collaboration and self-publishing are the answe (3, Informative)

sdavid (556770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102315)

Today, musicians can record with (nearly) the same quality in their house as they can in a major studio.

Just to be clear: they can't. The recording equipment has become much cheaper, but the the cost of making an acoustically designed studio has not. Nor has the cost of hiring an experienced engineer for the recording. I love what can be done with today's PC-based recording equipment, but a real studio is still a real studio and a garage is still a garage, even if the tracks ultimately end up on a Mac either way.

I can believe it. (4, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102083)

The internet is hurting everybody, by making things cheap. DJs, singers, authors of books..... Correction: Not everybody; it helps the billons of people who are lower and middle incomes to afford buying entertainment and education online.

So it's a matter of choice: Do we choose to help the small 0.1% of singers, artists, authors by protecting their income with ~$15 CDs and ~$25 hardback books. Or do we help the other 99.9% by offering them cheaper $3 albums or $5 books that you can download from the comfort of your chair? (And also a lot of free material like college lectures.)

I choose the 99.9%.

Re:I can believe it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102463)

On the flip side, the internet gives you a far wider base of potential customers for theoretically less effort. Take something like Dwarf Fortress; without the internet, it's likely its creator never would have had the chance to quit his job and live off of the donations from the game. Or the recently (alpha) released DayZ. A mod for a pretty niche game (ArmA II, a milsim) that's a hardcore survival sim set on a zombie-infested fictional Russian island. The mod (and the base game) blew up, thanks to word-of-mouth through internet forums and groups.

Re:I can believe it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102505)

I choose the 99.9%.

So, if the 99.9% wants to enslave and rape the 0.1%, do you still choose the 99.9%?

Who cares? (1)

stewski (1455665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102105)

What money did Van Gough make, if you need to make it do so. If you've got a hair cut some jeans and a record label you bore me.

Boo hoo (2)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102129)

So now you can't do something that both gets you laid *and* makes enough money to live on. I here the waaambulance coming..

Cry me a fucking river (4, Interesting)

starworks5 (139327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102157)

Just because what you do is time consumptive and requires skill, doesn't mean that your somehow special and entitled to make large sums of cash. I mean the food that you eat is inherently more important than any music you make, however people slave at near or below minimum wage to produce it for you, and somehow you presume your labor is more important? Because you have the force of government on your side to protect your interests, because you end up lobbying them with massive amounts of money to do so? The idea that you should limit a limitless resource, so that you can extract alot more value out of it, sounds alot like extortion to me. Just because that sort of extortion is propping up our economy doesn't mean that its right, its a form of non productive consumption and people would rightfully so, switch to a form of production that the market finds more valuable and scarce otherwise.

Re:Cry me a fucking river (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102369)

>Just because what you do is time consumptive and requires skill, doesn't mean that your somehow special and entitled to make large sums of cash.

That's the way the Indians and Chinese feel about you IT monkeys too. Infinite H1-Bs, please, and if you can't compete, that's your problem.

Re:Cry me a fucking river (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102391)

Any fucking retard can produce food though.

Re:Cry me a fucking river (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102513)

And judging by 99% of the music today... any retard can make music.

Re:Cry me a fucking river (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102423)

By this logic, police officers, farmers, street cleaners and bus drivers should for sure be paid more than whatever the hell it is you do for a living...

Sucks to be in a industry? Change industries! (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102177)

This is rather fundamental to the entire copyright debate when it starts to focus on artists being unable to make a living anymore.

Well, how is that different from ANY other profession being unable to make a living anymore? In Holland it has been decades since the coal mines closed and not because of lack of coal. How would you, or indeed any artist, support any law dictating the installation of gas networks to keep the demand for goal high?

It goes further. With printing and the translation of the bible came the possibility for the faithful to get their fairy tales from outside the church and my my did the church hate that and not just try to ban this but committed murder on a massive scale to stop this.

Tech, changes, the, WORLD. It is not just about you holding a computer in your pocket now more powerful then early spaceships BUT it is about our very society changing because of tech. Anything from the pill, to the automobile and the post office box (before the post office box, women could not post without everyone knowing about it, mail became a great liberator long before the Internet).

And that change isn't always good for everyone. Modern artists have taken the bread away from many of their predecessors. Recorded music? Took the place of live music. Once every movie theater had a small band playing and of course movies took the place of real life artists on the stage.

You can't stop tech, well you can, red flag in front of cars and all that but ultimately, tech will prevail because for the majority, the good outweighs the bad. The Internet will continue to be. You can't stop the digital age just because you don't like that bits can be copied at near zero cost and be distributed for only slightly more.

And if you argue different then why do you care about artist who make millions while ordinary factory workers are unable to feed their families because that same tech has outsourced all their jobs? When those same millionaire artists flee the country to tax heavens and buy foreign goods?

Oh sure, not all artists are like that, they just dream of being like that one day.

There is still a normal average salery to be made as an artist, you just got to work hard, just like everyone else and not hope people will just buy your 1 good song with ten crap ones for what amounts to several times minimum wage EVEN if you had to perform it live. 5 minutes 1 dollar == 12 dollars an hour wage. Takes more time to write it? Take me more then 8 hours to keep an 8 hour job to and I know who is in more danger of throwing in his back.

The world has changed, either change with it or get steamrolled. If the artists cared that much about it all, let them strike. I will happily they get the same treatment as the coal workers around the world.

And if I sound angry? In Holland we have a recession, so how does the leftist (elitist) green party react? Impose taxes on public transport reimbursement payed by employers so you can make art and antiques have a lower tax rate. FUCK THAT.

And you might think I am extreme but when I voice this in real life, you see people going... well I don't agree, sure I don't buy any music anymore either and I am totally untouched by any plea from the industry or artists... oh wait... I do sorta agree.

Once people loved artists and were fans of record labels. Now that is no longer true except for the future burger flipper generation.

And if you don't believe me... do you have adblocker installed? Yes? So it is okay to steal from websites but not artists?

See? Once the people have been pushed to far, they can stand by and see a group destroyed with no remorse whatsoever. Human beings ain't nice and the world does not owe you a living.

Interesting idea, wrong conclusion. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102181)

Unfortunately the writer completely ignores is the real reason profits are going down for everybody. Competition. The old model granted exclusivity and control of the distribution channel. That, and a huge degree of social manipulation. They were both able make sure that there were a small number of artists/records and that those got exclusive play all distribution channels.

With the new model there are many many many more artists, more styles, more availability. I can listen to several albums from a band called "Austrian Death Machine" that makes songs exclusively based on Arnold Schwarzenegger movie quotes. (Not kidding) This band has several albums. This band could not exist in the old model.

Ultimately artists make less because the pool of money has more players to be spread to. Demand is lower because the supply is high, and the price is lower too. Ultimately, the price of a song really is as low as an audio ad every few tracks. (Going off Pandora as a model here)

Personally I welcome this, because 99.5% of what large music companies publish is pure garbage. Statically optimized, designed by committee, autotuned, sensationalized celebrity worship audio filth. The faster we bring these dinosaurs down the better for the human race as a whole.

This Part (4, Interesting)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102195)

It took a while to find anything solid but these I considered informative,

Under the new digital model I calculate that most label artists get between 15%- 35% of wholesale. For example the most recent of my recording contracts says I should get a total of 20.5 cents on a 99 cent song (including mechanical royalties). This works out to 29.7% of wholesale. So this part of the new digital paradigm is about the same as the old record label system.

So when you compare share of revenue for artists on record labels under the new digital system to the old system it looks pretty good. At least until you consider the fact that the price of music has dropped. For instance, an artists royalty on an album is now calculated at 6.90 not at a $10.00 wholesale price as it was in the 1980s. . This drop in the price of music was inevitable. But the record labelâ(TM)s expenses fell considerably in the switch from physical to digital products whereas the artistâ(TM)s expenses (the recording budgets) did not. So this had the effect of reducing artists net revenues and shifting revenue towards the record labels. For the new digital distribution model to be as âoefairâ to the artist, the artist share of download revenue should have increased. It stayed the same or increased only marginally.

and

And then there is that iTunes store 30%. Seems kind of high to me. What is their risk? Today in 2012? Do they really deserve more per album than the artist? At least the record labels put up capital to record albums. At least the record labels provide the artist with valuable promotion and publicity. Historically in the music business when someone was taking more than 20% of gross revenues that had some âoeskin in the gameâ. They risked losing a lot of money.

This does show a problem with the economic system that the industry has set up. Consumers ran screaming from one oligopoly to another. Is it this really surprising that artists are still taking the brunt of it when you are still dealing with the same businesses?

Re:This Part (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102395)

for a long time itunes would only deal with wholesalers which after the itunes cut and their cut the artist got 30%

i hear now they let anyone sell music

Call the WAAAMBULANCE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102201)

Maybe these so-called "artists" should change their business model so that they can make money with the new realities in the market! Maybe they should focus on touring and merchandise rather than trying to make money off recordings! Artists that have made this transition are doing exceptionally well. Even established artists make MILLIONS more on tour than they do from their record sales. I have no pity whatsoever for musicians who whine about these services not being "fair"! The WORLD isn't fair! Get used to it!

Only surprise is that Slashdot posted this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102205)

(The original) Adam Smith described how it all worked very well in "The Wealth of Nations". Greed and opportunity attracts talent, motivates people like the Beatles to devote every waking hour to music for 15 years when most of their peers were working 9-5 and starting families. Take away that, and many people go elsewhere to seek fame, fortune, or just to have regular lives.

Some of the rewards still exist, but mainly for "American Idol" type musicians.

Another thing that the "music industry" (including record companies, radio stations, record stores, concert venues, magazines) does - but much less effectively now than in the past - was to create structure for the listening public. In each genre (popular, R&B, album oriented, alternative/new wave, country, etc) there were the top artists and the current hits. Since consumers have limited leisure time, this was a helpful focusing mechanism. Most people don't have all the time in the world to research unknown bands to mine the gold from the tons of mud, even with the convenience of YouTube. That's what the music industry does/did.

Why should we care if the artists are making less? (1, Interesting)

Maudib (223520) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102213)

The artists were part of the problem in the old system. So long as they are trying to perpetuate the abuses of the current copyright system, they are still a problem. Until the DMCA and CTEA are overturned, we should celebrate the losses of any musicians that rely on these for profit. They are party to the greatest theft from the commons ever. They can work for free until that debt is repaid.

Re:Why should we care if the artists are making le (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102397)

The artists were part of the problem in the old system. So long as they are trying to perpetuate the abuses of the current copyright system, they are still a problem. Until the DMCA and CTEA are overturned, we should celebrate the losses of any musicians that rely on these for profit. They are party to the greatest theft from the commons ever. They can work for free until that debt is repaid.

Yes me lord.

Quite long, still read. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102219)

Short version: he's saying shitty deals set A (Spotify and sons) and shitty deals set B (iTunes store and Amazon) are shitty deals while simultaneously saying 'in the olden days, you could've turned down shitty deals set C (record labels)'.

He also says shitty deals set D (uploading on video sites) and set E (where FilesTube leads) are responsible for everything bad in the universe.

That's basically it.

My Awesome Revelation: why don't you turn down shitty deals A, B and C and use the right and proper legal means against D and E?

Point, You Missed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102221)

This guy is well reasoned, but he is missing the point:

While services like Spotify give you exposure, they are still a middle man and they have to take a chunk out for their expenditures.

If you truly want to make more money as an artist, you gotta BE the middle man, and cut out the guys who take some of your money.

With Music/Movies/Video/Shows, thanks to digital media you don't NEED distributors. This guy is trying to play the game the new way with the old board.

Pot meet Kettle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102245)

So they are complaining about how digital distribution is eating into their profits. This sounds like they drank the same kool-aid that the RIAA drinks. How about instead of bitching and moaning about the situation and attempting to control the digital distribution of information you embrace it? Give your music away for free, all of it, give sheet music away. Do anything and everything you can to make it incredibly easy and convenient for people to listen to your art at any time they desire.

Then, when you have fans who admire your work and enjoy it, let them support you. Find ways in which they can support and encourage you to produce more work. Be it through concerts, swag, fan clubs, etc.

And Amanda Palmer, And Steve Albini (4, Informative)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102253)

Amanda Palmer [amandapalmer.net] just posted a very long and informative blog about where all the money goes when people donate to her Kickstarter effort to finance her upcoming tour/album. In that post, she references Steve Albini's classic rant [negativland.com] against an industry churning through young talent and keeping all the candy for themselves (well, one of his rants on the topic, anyway).

I'm glad to see these issues starting to get major traction and hopefully change can come from without, since it will never come from within.

The Real Problem - Less Crap (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102265)

The real "problem" is that musicians and record companies con no longer make as much money selling crap as they used to.

Prior to iTunes and other legal methods of downloading music, there was only one way buy music -- you went to a store and bought an album. Whether it was a CD, vinyl LP. 8 track tape or whatever, and it didn't matter if half the songs where crap. That was your only choice. Period. And that was a great deal for both musicians and record companies because it meant that they sold a lot of albums and made a lot of money. And lets be honest. Even the all time greatest "classic" albums have some filler on them. Songs that absolutely nobody cares about. In the past, it didn't matter, you bought the whole album and the musicians'/record companies got the maximum amount of money

But now, that's no longer the case. Only like 3 songs from an album? You just buy those 3 songs. And the math is pretty simple:

-- A million people buy those 3 songs from the album -- the artist royalties from 3 million songs sold on iTunes is a lot less than 3 million albums sold.

-- A million albums sold with 12 songs per album = $1,080,000 in publishing royalties for the songwriter (9 cents per song). But if a million people just buy those 3 songs publishing royalties = $270,000.

In the end, it's really no different than any other technological change. You can't make a living delivering packages by stage-coach anymore either.

Re:The Real Problem - Less Crap (2)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102387)

And here I am with no mod points. You're absolutely correct. I'll go even further and say the market for recorded music will shrink even more whether it's record companies or Apple doing the distribution. The days where you can add a gimmick and Autotune & then foist off on the musical consumer a talentless flavor-of-the-month so-called 'artist' that doesn't even play an instrument are hopefully gone. Musicians will have to make their money honestly by playing in front of live audiences. There will always be recorded music in some form, but this is where everything's headed.

Why bother ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102269)

Why bother ? Here in France it seems that people are trying to survive !
Look at this video and you will see there nothing more important than safety
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lncIwb7hiOg&feature=g-all-u [youtube.com]

Who here thought they were talking about games? (1)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102273)

Who here read the title and thought they were talking about the background music during a boss fight?

Article? More like rant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102289)

I gave up on trying to find meaningful content after about the fifth paragraph complaining about the "Digerati" and "Freehadists". It's kind of hard to take any economic argument seriously with that kind of self-evident bias at the start of the article.

New boss still trying to copy the old boss (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102305)

A lot of his criticisms of the current "new" system are valid. But the fundamental problem, as I see it, is that instead of truly "breaking the paradigm", everyone is treating the business the same way it had been.

In short, they know the players have changed, but nobody's realized that the game can be changed. Artists still expect some form of publisher to pay for their studio time, they still go to some publisher to publish their music. And now they complain that the publisher is still taking too much money.

Here's an idea (and it's just that, an idea): Go completely, 100% independent
Use Kickstarter or the like to get the cash to record an album. Having a demo of one or two songs should suffice, if you can market yourself properly, and you can self-fund demos easily enough.
Once you have the album, sell it on your own site instead of iTunes or Amazon. Maybe Humble-Indie-Bundle it with other, *similar* bands, if that can give you more publicity.
Either use the profits from the album, or ticket presales (Kickstarter may work well again), to go on tour. Get merchandise to sell - t-shirts, physical CDs, posters, etc.
Make sure to have some sort of contact for licensing. If Hollywood Director Q wants to use your song in Summer Action Movie Part XIV, you shouldn't make it hard for him. Commercials. Radio play. Anything - if someone wants to pay you to use your music, it needs to be possible. And price yourself lower than the Big Media bands do (since there's no publisher to take a 90% cut, it should be easy).

Between album sales and concerts, it should be possible to make a good living. The era of the multi-millionaire superstar is probably over, but honestly, I won't mourn them.

There are some problems with this. The publisher is normally the one to do all the advertising, so you'd have to do that yourself. It means a band *will* need some sort of marketing person to succeed, from Day 1. Music critics will also have to do a much better job - they can't just look at the list of what Big Media inc. is publishing this month, listen to the CDs mailed to you, and write down 4 stars for all of it.

There's probably a million other problems, too, but we won't find them until someone at least *tries*.

Missing some of the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102323)

I think some of the conclusions the author makes about the lack of increase of revenues ignores the balkanization of genres that the internet and new media have had. 20 years ago, a particular market might have had a dozen radio stations, and MTV (when they actually played music) Now with so many avenues of content delivery and marketing, there are a lot more artists, genres, and subgenres to choose from, but the pool of demand hasn't increased, it has just been spread thinner. The internet has also allowed a lot more garbage to be accessible. A major label wasn't going to sink millions of dollars in marketing something that isn't marketable, but the "new Boss" methodology creates a much lower barrier to entry, and with that lower barrier, we loose the filter of expensive marketing.
      Ultimately, I think given more choices, and having to filter through more cruft, consumers aren't concentrating their purchases on a select few artists, but spreading their consumption around much more... the end result, each artist is making less.
RB
Tour Lighting Crew

How to make money in recorded music (3, Funny)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102331)

Write songs that are catchy enough to be picked up by ad agencies to be used in TV commercials. Best if they have choruses about freedom, cars, or hair. Niche songs might obscurely allude to feminine pads.

Duh (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102367)

There is a reason Big Music has to bribe, threaten, buy out and coerce media and sellers: on the whole, 95% pop music has never been any good, requiring brutal tactics to shovel shit into the public consciousness. Therefore, hones marketing and buying of music has to be a smaller business. Also: where is it written in stone by God that musicians have to be wealthy?

TFA has no solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102371)

What does this guy want? TFA is a giant, unstructured internet rant. It's the record industry in-crowd's "NO, YOU!" to match the "NO, YOU!" that reality beats them over the head over each day.

But what does he want? He doesn't give a solution to the alleged problem, probably because he doesn't have one. So he's done nothing to improve anything.

Let's assume it's true that all artists, corporate or indie, are worse off now in a business sense. Well, it's up for those artists and/or companies to face reality, innovate, and experiment to find better models. The dude bitches about how the current model has been stable for six years and sucks. Well, find a new one then. It isn't easy? Tough shit. Life isn't easy. Making money isn't easy. Are we supposed to put the world and technology on hold for you? Lobby your record label to get off their fucking asses and try to make something of the situation. So far, they've done almost literally jack shit except persecute their own [potential] customers. And TFA wonders why everyone has such ill will toward the record industry and wishes them death. The guy is out of touch with reality.

Or maybe this is the model? Whine on the internet and guilt trip people into buying CDs or something? I don't want CDs anymore. And I'm not paying CD prices for mp3 album downloads. With all the money you're saving by not having to build, ship, or stock anything physical through various middlemen, you shouldn't be trying to rip me off by charging me the same price for an mp3 download, as if I don't realize it. $1 per mp3? Really? $1 for the equivalent of CTRL+C/CTRL+V? $10 for ten mp3s? That's hysterical, but no, it isn't happening. Not in a million years. Sorry.

I look forward to Techdirt's response to this.

Perception of value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40102385)

I agree that the proliferation of music acts leaves less money for all. I also wonder if having so many options to stream music or preview albums through services like Bandcamp lowers consumers' perceived value of songs or albums. This is one of the reasons music labels hated iTunes. It cheapened songs both literally and figuratively.

Too soon to tell (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102407)

The Internet is burning down market models all over the world

You can't pass judgement on the new models, until the smoke and ash from the old ones is gone.

He had me until... (4, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102457)

It’s usually after someone like myself suggest that if other people are profiting from distributing an artist’s work (Kim Dotcom, Mediafire, Megavideo, Mp3tunes,) they should share some of their proceeds with the artists.

Maybe I'm not hep to the way you kids are getting music these days because I have to spend time keeping you all off of my lawn, but these services advertise a way for me to access the music that I bought from any device anywhere that I happen to be.

Is he implying that Mp3tunes should be paying him to store my music and make it accessible to me from wherever I am?

Let's see...I have a SanDisk MP3 player. I have a bunch of music on it. Should he be getting paid by SanDisk? After all, SanDisk made a profit selling me a device to listen to their music. Without that music, why would I buy a SanDisk MP3 player? Shouldn't some of that go to the musician? How about that CaseLogic case I have to hold CDs? They made a profit from that. Shouldn't some of that go to the people who make the music that I hold in that case?

You made your money selling me the music. Now go away.

I am interested only... (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102461)

in the future of GOOD music.
I suppose therein lies the crucial difference.
But then again, I am a consumer, not a 'music' 'pusher'.

Have a nice day!

If you're in music to make money... (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102493)

then you're probably in the wrong business.

The arts have always been a 'winner take all' tournament. To then come along and think the world owes you a living because you're a musician is naive and ridiculous.

Obliquity and all that. You're in the music business to make good music, not make money. The best enterprises in the world don't exist to "create shareholder value". They exist to be the best at what they do. Profit is merely a means to keep score.

The problem with his argument (1)

jakegmerek (2579439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102529)

Here is the problem with his argument. He is ignoring the fact that in a capitalist system there is supply and demand. The demand for recorded music has not decreased, however the supply of recorded music has gone to infinity. When a song can be copied for free with no real world costs then the supply becomes infinite and cost goes down to zero. If the market for recorded music were truly a free market that cost would have gone to zero as soon as Napster was invented. However, we have a protected market in the form of copyright that has artificially propped up the price of recorded music and thus has delayed the inevitable.

To use an example that he uses consumers want other things for free such as cars but can not have them. This is true do to the basic laws that are killing the price of recorded music. However to equalize the analogy, if GM were to somehow produce a trillion cars next year, there would be way too much supply and the price of cars would drop to probably near zero but not zero because a trillion cars is still not infinite as music is.

So how are musicians supposed to make money? They have to innovate and compete with free and it can be done. The greatest example of competing with free is bottled water. I am willing to bet that the vast majority of people reading this can walk a few feet and find a source of fresh, drinkable water for essentially free, yet the bottled water industry has made billions selling what is ultimately the same thing. How did they do this? They provided the product in a convenient manner that consumers wanted and people are willing to pay them for it. Is it hard to do? Yes. But look at how long water was around before someone put it in a bottle and became rich off of it.

Giving up software patents? (3, Insightful)

jjo (62046) | more than 2 years ago | (#40102555)

This guy does make some reasonable points, but for all that he thinks himself an uber-geek, he is apparently disconnected from the realities of the tech world today.

I’ll make technologists a deal, I’ll give up my song copyrights if you give up your software patents. Software patents are even less unique than your typical song.

He thinks that technologists like software patents. Most technologists who are familiar with the issue are strongly against them; the only group consistently in favor of software patents is the patent lawyers.

The downside of his proposed deal, in my view, is not abolishing software patents (which would instead be of tremendous benefit), but abolishing music copyrights. For all that the strength of copyright protection has weakened in the Internet era, it is not zero by any means, and still plays its role of promoting the 'progress of science and the useful arts'.

The big problems come if you attempt to recreate, via stringent and draconian restrictions, the strong copyright regime we had before the Internet. These attempts are doomed to failure, and will create significant collateral damage while failing in their intended goal.

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