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Janis Ian on Life in the Music Business

Roblimo posted more than 11 years ago | from the been-there-forever-and-done-it-all dept.

Music 295

Y'all didn't pull any punches in the questions you asked, and Janis didn't pull any in her answers. But then, the word "outspoken" has been used to describe Janis ever since she recorded Society's Child at the age of 15, back in 1965.

1) How much?
by evilviper

What percentage do you make of the sticker-price of your CDs?

Janis:
As the artist/singer, that's a tough one, because it depends on the contract, and also the sticker price. For instance, contractually I make a smaller amount on records that are priced "mid-line", cut-outs, singles, cassettes, compilations... well, you get the idea! It also depends on the era; my first contract, with Verve (now Polygram) had a royalty rate of 2%. Current royalty rates are 12-20%. Generally, figure that if I was completely paid back, there were no new charges for shipping/ distribution/ advertising/ travel/ phones/ faxes/ artwork/ publicity/ promotion/ manufacturing etc etc, I would make around $1-$2 on a list price of $17.98. Alas, that never happens, because records get high list price only when there's a lot of promotion behind them. On mid-line (you buy it for $12.98), my take drops to around 85 cents, and on down the line.

As the songwriter, I make less if I write the songs - then the record company invokes a 75% clause, where they only pay the songwriter/recording artist 75% of the Congressionally set statutory rate for writing/publishing the song. Their original argument, around 10 years ago, was that artists who insisted on recording their own songs cut the chances of a hit record, because the record company couldn't recommend potential hit songs for them to record.

Also, if you know, how much of that price is going to pay for advertising, studio time, et al., and how much is pure profit for the record companies?

Janis:
Almost impossible to determine; you'd have to know the advertising budget, studio budget etc. On my CD Breaking Silence, which is owned by Morgan Creek throughout most of the world, I paid for the entire record myself, so there were no recording costs. We've sold about 100,000 of them worldwide. I haven't seen royalties.

Do you not find it strange that a 2-hour DVD, with commentary, subtitles, and extra scenes, can be sold for less than $10, while few audio CDs are that low priced?

Janis:
I don't find it strange, I find it reprehensible.

2) Radio Station consolidation
by gorilla

When you entered the music business, radio stations were diverse. In the last few years, this diversity has disappeared. Do you have any comments on this?

Janis:
Maybe it's all part of a great international conspiracy to deprive us of choice while driving us crazy with limited playlists of bad music? Maybe the conspiracy includes not just record companies (who benefit because it's much cheaper to sell a million copies of 1 CD by 1 artist than to sell a million CD's by a million artists to a million different people), but also radio stations (who may need that new refrigerator/trip to Cancun to meet a new artist/free lunch/widescreen TV for the office much more than you or I need good, varied music), and drug companies who are using the incredible psychoses derived from hearing a Backstreet Boys single three thousand times to push their drugs on us?

Seriously, diversity is something record companies can't afford anymore - not the majors, at any rate. I'd go to this article, posted at Linux Journal, which quotes a Newsweet article (July 15,2002) by Steven Levy saying "So why are the record labels taking such a hard line? My guess is that it's all about protecting their Internet-challenged business model. Their profit comes from blockbuster artists. If the industry moved to a more varied ecology, independent labels and artists would thrive--to the detriment of the labels, which would have trouble rustling up the rubes to root for the next Britney. The smoking gun comes from testimony of an RIAA-backed economist who told the government fee panel that a dramatic shakeout in Webcasting is "inevitable and desirable because it will bring about market consolidation." That's really it in a nutshell. "Market consolidation" means the less artists they have to promote, the less ultimate dollars they'll spend. The smaller the playlist, the greater the chance that audiences will buy something from that playlist alone - because that's all you'll be able to find out there.

3) Indentured Servitude
by zapfie

In one of your interviews, you mentioned that contracts with the music industry should be likened to indentured servitude (must produce X albums, but the label has the final say on if what you produce was acceptable). Why do you think so many artists willingly accept these terms? What can be done to promote contracts that are more fair?

Janis:
Ah, you're into a two-fold problem here. Fold one is that the record companies hold all the cards; if you want to be famous, you have to go the mainstream route. If you want huge success, you have to go the mainstream route. If you want worldwide success, you have to go the mainstream route. And until we see our first Internet & Live Shows Only artist sell a million CDs without a label deal, the major labels will be the only mainstream route available. Don't quote Grateful Dead statistics to me - they're the exception, not the rule.

Fold two is that everybody wants to be famous these days, and enough is never enough. Let me use an example: in their mid-20s, my grandparents were thrilled to have a small refrigerator (without freezer) and gas stove with a tiny oven. The house had one TV. My parents assumed they were due a bigger fridge with freezer, four burner stove and three-rack oven, dishwasher, toaster, mixmaster etc. The house had two TV's. My generation went for all that, plus microwave, automatic coffee maker, food processor, and a TV for living room, bedroom, and kitchen. The next generation assumes they're due all of that, plus espresso machine, bread maker, etc. And there's a TV in pretty much every room.

It's the same with being famous. In my grandparent's day, you got famous if you were a criminal or a politician. Artists whose fame went beyond regional were really rare; worldwide fame, even for classical artists, was almost non-existent. Nowadays, with television and magazines making it seem like there are more famous people than not, every artist figures they, too, can get really, really famous. And they want the whole hog.

I think (musing on a personal note here) that's one of the benefits of my not being twenty any more, or even thirty. I'm painfully aware that I will never have another hit record; no label's going to invest that kind of money in me. (As an aside, the big Carlos Santana album cost $750,000 to make, and $1,500,000 to promote. That's a lot of money, and it wouldn't have happened if Clive Davis hadn't needed to prove a point after initially being "retired from active duty".)

Believe me, it took me years to get comfortable with that conclusion. But once I was comfortable, I could look around at my life and be pretty happy. Ten years ago I was still chasing the brass ring, waiting for my 16th platinum record to happen. Now, I'm thrilled that I can gig whenever I want, record what I want, and make a living doing what I love. I know it sounds disgustingly Pollyanna-ish, but there it is.

4) Life without RIAA
by ahknight

RIAA is evil. This is an established fact of life. What I'd like to know, from an artist's standpoint, is how SHOULD it be? Now you sign with a label that helps production and then calls you a hired hand and steals your music. How should it work, start to finish? What's currently broken that's stopping this? Do you have any ideas on how we can fix this for the artist, as a society? How can we get involved to help the artists?

Janis:
Oh God... what a huge question! And unfortunately, impossible for me to answer. It should work so there's a fair contract on both sides; no one disagrees that record companies bear the brunt of the initial cost, everyone agrees that they deserve to make money. The question is - how much money, and at whose ultimate expense?

I don't know that you can blanketly call the RIAA evil. They wouldn't exist without support of the media conglomerates, remember. I agree that they're much, much more aggressive (nosy? greedy?) since Hilary took the reins, but ultimately it starts at the top. And the top is the buyer, the one with all the money.

How should it work? Gee, we should all be good friends, make our deals on handshakes, and always keep our word. That would be a good start. Seriously, I don't know. I do know that record companies have become way too big; there are arguably only five major labels left in the United States, and of those five, four are owned by people in other countries. I do think absentee landlordism is a lot of the problem; how can someone in Germany, or Japan, or Alpha Centauri for that matter, have any idea what consumers and artists in the US are feeling?

Another problem is the lawyers, who are paid for tying artists up as long and as cheaply as possible. And the fact that in the 70s, music became a "growth industry". Through the 50s and 60s, there were plenty of businessmen involved, but by and large they went into the music industry because they also loved music. Sure, they treated artists like shit in the main, but at least they were fun to work with. Somewhere around 1976/1977, you began seeing Harvard Business School grads going into record companies, and there was the death knell. That, and cocaine use by the executives, which made them fritter away their time engaging in pissing contests with one another. That's how these ridiculous artist advances got started. Whoever heard of an artist like Mariah Carey being dropped by her record company, and paid a zillion dollars to leave - only to turn around and get another zillion from another company?! It's absurd.

As to how you can get involved? start with getting political, and voting. Check your own representatives' voting records on issues having to do with this. Support live music, and buy your CD's at the shows - at least then some of the money will funnel right back to the artist!

5) How has the RIAA changed?
by tinrobot

I'm curious - you're an artist who's been in the business for a number of (ahem) years. How has the RIAA changed since you signed your first recording contract?

Janis:
Technically, the RIAA was formed in 1952 to "facilitate the technical standardization of records by bringing together engineers from member companies to develop the RIAA curve, a frequency response specification for optimizing the performance of phonographic playback systems." In other words, they were formed to make sure the science of recording was optimally used by all companies, in formats that everyone could play. In 1958, they decided to copy RCA/Victor's creation of a "gold record" (which they gave the Glen Miller Orchestra), and awarded the first one to Perry Como. When I was a kid, that was their entire job - certifying gold records. There are a lot of rumors about back-door dealings in that process, by the way, none of which I'll go into here, but most of which are on the Internet.

With the advent of Hilary Rosen, the RIAA took on a whole new gamut of "problems", and began holding themselves out as defenders of intellectual property rights/defenders of artist's rights/defenders of record company rights (choose one). And that's what they are now - defenders of various rights they determine are important for the good of the mainstream record industry. Unfortunately, just like defense attorneys, they never ask whether their client is guilty - they just try to get him the best deal possible.

One huge change is the amount of things the RIAA control, and the way they exercise that control. For instance, in order to buy a copy of one of my gold/platinum albums in Nashville as a gift for someone, I have to go to one store that's "licensed" by the RIAA to produce those. That's the only store in Nashville, believe it or not, and they're usually backed up several months (not to mention that the first run is always wrong, and has to be re-done. Once they even spelled my name wrong.) When I asked a friend who owns a framing shop why she didn't try to get an RIAA account, she looked into it, and was told they had to apply. The person they spoke with didn't think they would be approved, because they weren't "the type", and he warned them that it would cost $5,000 a year for the privilege, as well as their having to fulfill a minimum amount of orders. They'd also have to be re-approved yearly. In other words, whoever drops the most sugar in the lemonade, gets to have a lemonade stand.

Another huge change is the money involved. When I was 15 and first nominated for a Grammy, I went to the award show with Arlo Guthrie, and all the industry people were saying "Gosh, if we could just get some radio coverage..." A gold record was one that sold 50,000 dollars worth of units. It was a much, much smaller business, and consequently the stakes were much lower. Now, the record industry is where the movie industry was in the early 60's, and the stakes are huge. Witness Rosen's salary, over seven figures, not counting perks. Well worth lobbying for things she may not agree with!

6) What about the future?
by mshomphe

I don't think many can argue that the overall experience of downloading/ripping/burning music is still prohibitive to many. People will still buy CDs and whatnot because the current technology does not allow for immediate, complete, high-quality copies to be made. In that way, modern filesharing is very much like sharing tapes. This, in my opinion, does help artists.

However, let's take a look into the future. Let's say that technology has evolved to the point where one can transfer complete, same as CD-quality albums in less than a second, and imprint them onto CD (or whatever the current technology is) in even less time. One click allows me to fully reproduce Janis Ian's latest release - liner notes & all. At that point, should artists be worried? Or, to put it more generally, should artists always permit the reproducing of their works?

Janis:
Lots of different questions in there! Let's see... yes, I think artists should be worried. Artists should always be worried about something; it's good for our work.

If you can transfer complete CD-quality albums quickly and easily, then reproduce all the artwork, somehow get it on the CD, have the labels come out perfectly-sized to fit a blank CD box, etc etc? Well, then maybe people will really start selling their CD's on line. Maybe the entire business paradigm will move to online distribution. For that matter, online production is only a few clicks away; I can go realtime with Pro-Tools and be working with my engineer in LA right now, making the next album. It's not as much fun, but it's do-able.

I think, as I said in my follow-up article, that the music industry is going to have to provide more and better content in its CDs. Maybe CDs all become DVDs, and you get not just the music, but interviews, concert footage, games, whatever. I don't have the answer.

I do know that in my own opinion, you can't stop file-sharing. Therefore you've got to come up with a better alternative.

7) RIAA Attitude to all this
by sdjunky

What has been the RIAA's or labels' attitude about your online pieces regarding the "biz"BPO/ and have you received threats (legal or otherwise) for speaking so candidly about it?

Janis:
Stunned silence? annoyed silence? loud and angry silence? Hilary is a very bright woman, one might even say brilliant, and a savvy politician. She sent me a lovely email telling me that while she disagreed with a number of things I said, she admired my writing style.

As to the labels, I've heard from numerous executives, secretaries, and everything in between, saying they agree with me but want to remain anonymous for fear of their jobs.

About the only other fallout is that I was supposed to be on a panel at the NARM convention, and one of the "big five" said that if I appeared, they wouldn't come to the convention.

But as I said in an earlier answer, I know I'm not going to get a major label deal, I know I'm not going to have a hit record, and I know I have nothing to lose. So I don't really care, as long as people keep listening to my music.

8) Can Artist Retain Copyright and Still Make a Living?
by reallocate

How practical or common is it for an artist to retain copyright to their own material? Is there a financial incentive to do that? Does a wish to retain copyright of recorded material have an impact on your chances of signing with a "mainstream" label?

Janis:
Do you mean the record master, or the publishing rights? That's a big difference. And remember for purposes of this discussion that writers still get 50% of the income, even when they don't own the copyright. The publisher gets half, and the writer gets half. You can't (at least, not legally) sell your writer's share.

I own the copyright on about half my songs. I had to buy my catalogue back when I was 21, but as time has proved, it was well worth it. I own the copyright on about half my records, but that's only because I had a brilliant lawyer for many years (Ina Meibach), and because I've been making records "just for the fans" that didn't fall under my contracts.

It's not common, unfortunately. And sometimes not unfortunately! Imagine you're a beginning songwriter; you have no money unless you work a day job. Someone offers to support you for three years if they can own your copyrights for that period. Not only that - they'll pitch your songs, trying to get other artists to record them! I think that's a pretty fair deal, personally. After three years, you can leave, hopefully with some success under your belt. And you'll write more songs.

In terms of records, it's a bit different, just because of the length of time they tie you up. Most publishing contracts are for 1-5 years, with an option at the end of each (sometimes mutual, sometimes just the publisher's). Record contracts are always tied to the production and release of material. There's no way to sign a 7-record deal and get out in 5 years, or 7, or even 10, unless they're willing to let you go.

In both instances, the buyer "owns" the material forever. However, as a songwriter, the buyer never owns more than half of my income. With a record, they do.

Is it practical? depends on the circumstance. It's not for me, but I earn enough to afford a business manager who tracks all of that, makes sure I get my royalties around the world, etc. I'm also savvy enough to check my statements, and I notice when a country is under-reported, or a song is missing. It takes up a lot of time, though.

Would it affect your signing with a major label? Absolutely. There's no way, if you're not a huge success already, you're going to own your own master recordings and get a label deal. And most of the time, you'll have to give up at least 50% of your publishing. All that is incentive to the label, to sign you.

9) FBI files on you?
by small_dick

Your site has some material that implies you were the subject of FBI investigations. Could you tell us more about that? Was it related to your early work regarding interracial relationships ("Society's Child", 1966), or something else?

Janis:
No. In fact, I was a little miffed that it wasn't! The files were started about a year before I was born, when my Dad (a chicken farmer at the time) went to a meeting in South Jersey about the price of eggs. (No, I'm not making this up.) Then my Mom made the mistake of attending a Civil Rights Congress meeting about voting rights. Then they had the gall to open a summer camp that advertised itself as "multi-cultural and interracial". That was the main reason.

Your tax dollars at work...

10) What do record companies offer artists today?
by Just Jeff

Not too many years ago, widely distributing recorded music took expensive equipment and cost a lot of money. Only a large record company could do it. Artists had little choice but to sign their life away to a major record company.

Today, distributing recorded music costs next-to-nothing. Yet the price of recorded music has never been higher. What does a record company offer an artist today? What can a record company do for an artist that the artist can't do herself? Are artists beginning to realize this on their own?

Janis:
A lot. Really.

Start with distribution and manufacturing. Joe Shmo uses the same manufacturer/distributor as Radiohead. Both their records are "released" the same week. Radiohead order two million, and run out in a month - they need more, right away! Joe orders 5,000, and runs out in a month - he needs more, right away!

Who do you think is going to get their records in time? Whose records are going to get into the shops first?

Distributing doesn't cost next-to-nothing, alas, and won't in the foreseeable future. Just think of all the record stores, online companies, etc in this country, and imagine trying to make sure your record is in all of them - and in every city you gig in. Then think about coordinating that worldwide. It's a nightmare. Sign with a distributor yourself? Sure, except there are only two or three major distributors in America, and they don't want you if you can't guarantee reasonable sales (say, 35,000 or more). It's not worth the warehousing and trucking for them. And even if they take you, you're still the one who has to make sure the records are in the stores!

Add to that making sure radio stations have the records x 50 states, or times 20 countries.

So there is a lot they can offer, in addition to paying the upfront costs. Look at it from my viewpoint? Windham Hill picked up my option. Two years later, they asked if I would leave. They paid me enough "departure bonus" money to easily make my next record. So I thought, hey, I'll make it, own it, sign a distribution deal. Until I started looking into it.

Now I'm talking with 3-4 smaller labels, working on a licensing deal - they get it for 5 years, they deal with distribution, promotion, publicity, all that stuff. I get a really good royalty rate, keep the overseas rights completely, and get my US rights back in 5 years. A whole lot easier!

There are two other things a record company can offer an artist that are next to impossible to get on your own - perks, and serious fame. I've had #1 records in pretty much every western country in the world, as well as Japan, and let me tell you - it's really big fun. Forget about the fabulous suites hotels give you for free, the automatic bumps up to first class on planes, the Rolex watches from grateful promoters. Think about the kick of playing to 25,000 people a night.

Think about getting to see parts of a country most Americans can't get into in the first place! I've gotten to go places in Japan that only royalty go to normally, amazing old places. I've gotten to meet people I'd never ordinarily get to meet; kings and queens, novelists, Pulitzer Prize winners, artists I've dreamed of meeting. I've gotten to watch 35,000 people in Holland sing harmony with me. Those sort of perks, that sort of fame, is something that right now (for better or for worse), you can only attain with a label behind you.

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295 comments

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HAH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312089)

Have an interview with my first post? It'sgo

I have never once heard of Janis (-1, Offtopic)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312092)

Outspoken? What is this a joke. NEVER ONCE!

Is it that important... (-1, Offtopic)

tomblackwell (6196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312137)

To share your ignorance of the topic with us?

If you don't know about Janis, why not either
1) read a different story
2) read this one and learn about her
3) go to google and figure out who the hell she is.

Re:I have never once heard of Janis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312138)

She was, most likely, just some groupie that sucked off Kieth Moon from the Who or she suppled smack for the group. That is why Taco has such a stiffy for her.

Re:I have never once heard of Janis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312181)

And now you have! Amazing, that slashdot might introduce you to new people and things.

Re:I have never once heard of Janis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312233)

More than have heard, or ever will hear, of Breakfast Pants, asshole.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312094)

fp!!

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312119)

I would have hoped everyone realised by now that no one cares who has the first post...even more so when you don't post anything of value, and even more so when it's not even the first post.

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312164)

I would have hoped everyone realised by now that no one cares who has the first post.

Everyone but you, apparently.

Just one more question... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312104)

WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?


Has anyone here heard of Janis Ian?

The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1, Offtopic)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312105)

"Who the fuck are you?" I have never heard of Janis Ian.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (5, Insightful)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312204)

"Who the fuck are you?" I have never heard of Janis Ian.

Oh for crying out loud, all you had to do was follow the link in the article (ahem: janisian.com). And please don't put her down by claiming she's old or you never heard her music. Fame is very fleeting in music. Bands that are on top of the world now will be have people saying "Who? I never heard of them!" in fifteen years.

And anyone who is pro-music should realize that the best music isn't always from people who get coverage on Entertainment Tonight. One of Janis's big points is that there's a difference between mega-bands like Radiohead and the 99.9% of other bands that don't sell 10 million copies of each CD they release.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312319)

Ok, I read her site, but still, who the fuck is she? I have never heard of any song by her. Can you name a song I might have heard?

nd anyone who is pro-music should realize that the best music isn't always from people who get coverage on Entertainment Tonight. One of Janis's big points is that there's
a difference between mega-bands like Radiohead and the 99.9% of other bands that don't sell 10 million copies of each CD they release.

Yeah, the 99.9% usually suck ass.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312395)

As do the 0.1%.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312445)

What are you, 12 years old? What the fuck does it matter if you've heard any of her music? She's sold a pile of records, has first-hand knowledge of the music business, and took the time to do a slashdot interview. I can't say I've heard any of her songs or not (probably, sounds like she's been a pretty prolific artist) but that doesn't affect the quality of the interview at all.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312619)

Society's Child - A bit of a shocker for its time, apparently.

Seventeen - Studio drek? I don't know the story behind it, but it's a bit drippy for my taste, and you've probably heard it somewhere before, even if you don't recognize it.

Try the MP3s she's offering; she's got a great voice.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312230)

Well then stop eating pizza and poping zits.
Get some culture dork.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312335)

So, being 'cultured' involves listening to some 'never-was' hippie burn out? I'll remain uncultured then, thank you.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312234)

You've got a browser in front of you. Hit a search engine, type in "Janis Ian", do the search, hit a few sites, and you might just learn something.

Re:The Big Question Was Never Answered (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312416)

You live under a rock or something? Janis' articles made big waves on the internet, and even got mention on NPR and other mainstream news sources.

Who the fuck are _you_?

Yes I do. (3, Informative)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312115)

"Do you not find it strange that a 2-hour DVD, with commentary, subtitles, and extra scenes, can be sold for less than $10, while few audio CDs are that low priced? "

Yes. Maybe the rest of the music world will wake up to this too.

Re:Yes I do. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312227)

To record the commentary track for a two hour movie takes two hours. How long do you think it takes to record a CD?

Re:Yes I do. (2, Insightful)

Carlos Laviola (127699) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312261)

1 hour and 14 minutes, in your own line of thought.

Re:Yes I do. (1)

OrangeSpyderMan (589635) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312266)

And a two-hour movie takes how long?

Re:Yes I do. (2)

schon (31600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312275)

To record the commentary track for a two hour movie takes two hours. How long do you think it takes to record a CD?

Why is that relevant? Are you suggesting that the entire two hours is all that it takes to make a movie?

Re:Yes I do. (2, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312389)

When a DVD is released most if not all of the production cost has all ready been made back. The only new production expense is the added features. Compare this to a CD that has to earn enough to pay for production AND distrabution in one go.

Re:Yes I do. (2)

schon (31600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312438)

When a DVD is released most if not all of the production cost has all ready been made back.

You're using some pretty nebulous terms. Most of the production cost has been made back - OK, how much (on average) is made back, relative to the amount spent on production, and how much is the average amount spent on production.

Then, how much does the average CD cost to produce? Give us some

I'll give you an example (using made-up numbers) of why you MAY be correct, but it's still a moot issue. - Say the average movie cost $10M to produce, and the average CD costs $1M to produce.

Your assertion that the movie has made back most (say, 90%?) of it's costs could be correct, but still have nothing to do with relative retail costs, because the total amount of money is still the same! (90% of $10M is $1M!)

The only new production expense is the added features.

OK, so what about the direct-to-DVD releases? They're usually even cheaper than hollywood blockbusters - by your logic, they should be much more expensive, because the blockbusters have already made tons of money.

Re:Yes I do. (5, Interesting)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312587)

Just remember that the bottom line is this - I have a wallet. The wallet has money in it. The money goes towards things. I can pay $17-$18 for the soundtrack album to a movie or I can pay $20 for the movie itself. Yeah, I know about how both industries work. Yeah, I know there's like 50 people to pay with the CD. Yeah, I know the musicians on the CD are hard working artists who deserve to be paid. But my wallet doesn't care about that. My wallet says $20 for a movie is a better deal than a $17 CD. I buy the DVD instead of the CD. And not because I can't afford both - I can. The CD, given that it's audio only, just seems like such a ripoff.

Perhaps I'll feel the same about DVD's one day. Perhaps someday there will be a $20/month service that lets me watch whatever I want to watch whever I want to watch it forever. When that day comes I'll feel like $20 per movie is a ripoff.

Plus, its interesting to note how much of this is about possession. Right now the above scenario seems so dirty - I want to have the movie on disc. Think about all the people who download movies they see in theaters - crappy picture, horrible sound - but there they go burning them to VCD and playing them on their DVD players. And then when the movie comes on DVD they buy the DVD and throw their VCD away. It's like it was just holding a spot for the DVD. People download more MP3's than they can possibly listen to - they just like having them. People download thousands of MAME ROMs, knowing they won't play them all (or even understand the Japanese ones) because we like having things and possessing them.

Look at how the pay-per-download music systems have failed (and how Napster would have failed, given the chance) - they took away the one thing people wanted: possession. I say, give people the ability to download MP3's for $20/month and do what they want with it and few will bother to give it to others - they'll tell the others to buy their own. This DRM stuff is for the birds.

Re:Yes I do. (2)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312464)

BINGO, the above is right. Most DVD releases are long after theatre release, and the movie has made its money back. The DVD is just an additional market and BONUS money I think.

Re:Yes I do. (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312306)

It's worth pointing out that producers of documentaries probably aren't subsidizing 50 documentaries that fail for every one that makes money.

Re:Yes I do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312338)

If by "subsidizing" you mean "burning $100K's on cocaine for the execs, billable to the documentarian," you're right.

Re:Yes I do. (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312411)

It's worth pointing out that producers of documentaries probably aren't subsidizing 50 documentaries that fail for every one that makes money.

Right, because it's probably more like 5,000. Documentaries almost never make money. For every Ken Burns, there's an army of non-fiction film makers who are utterly ignored.

On a side note, it's too bad nobody modded up the question that I most wanted answered by Janis Ian: "Who the fuck are you?" I listen to lots of music from every decade of the 20th Century, in a wide variety of styles, and I never even heard that name before /. announced an interview with her.

Re:Yes I do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312487)

You're really an idiot, aren't you?

Just because you haven't heard of someone's name in your tiny little isolated corner of the universe you can presume judgement on someone's relative value, as if, because ... ...eh, never mind. You are an idiot, and you post too much here.

Re:Yes I do. (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312562)

Just because you haven't heard of someone's name in your tiny little isolated corner of the universe you can presume judgement on someone's relative value, as if, because ...

Here's a concept: a sense of humor.

Lighten up.

Oh, and yes, I do post too much here. I'm on a job with way too much down-time right now, and bored. /. discussions passes for entertainment with me.

Re:Yes I do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312537)

Well, golly. I'm sure if you haven't heard of her Mr. Music Expert, then she must be a nobody!

Re:Yes I do. (2)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312649)

For every Ken Burns, there's an army of non-fiction film makers who are utterly ignored
Yeah but think of the number of documentaties that are made out of love or for fun. Many are film school projects or are mainly for Oscar consideration. Few documentarians are in it for money - many have a point of view to express or have an agenda.

Re:Yes I do. (2)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312443)

So, how many bombs does Hollywood produce?

It's also worth pointing out that each movie has a soundtrack of similar length. Yet, a DVD is close to the same cost as an album. Promotion is just as high, if not higher for movies (when's the last time you saw a toy for an album at McDonalds?)

Re:Yes I do. (3, Insightful)

Enigma2175 (179646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312457)

It's worth pointing out that producers of documentaries probably aren't subsidizing 50 documentaries that fail for every one that makes money.

Perhaps not 50, but there are certainly documentaries that do better than others, pulling in more viewers and ad revenue. The difference is that when you are making a documentary you don't just produce a load of crap, throw it at the wall and note which part of the crap sticks. You actually produce a good product. If the record companies would be more discriminating in what they choose to promote, they wouldn't lose so much money backing losers. I don't see why I should have to pay for their incompetence in signing bands. If only one out of 50 of my programs worked, I would be fired immediately. Maybe these people are jsut in the wrong business.

Re:Yes I do. (2, Funny)

GraemeL (30045) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312565)

If only one out of 50 of my programs worked, I would be fired immediately.

Someone tell that to Microsoft.

Re:Yes I do. (0, Redundant)

Leigh13 (96452) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312312)

"Do you not find it strange that a 2-hour DVD, with commentary, subtitles, and extra scenes, can be sold for less than $10, while few audio CDs are that low priced? "

Yes. Maybe the rest of the music world will wake up to this too.

While I do agree that compact discs are often overpriced, you can't accurately compare the price of music albums to DVD movies.

What you are forgetting is that a DVD is usually not the primary source of income for a film. Most major studio releases make back their money in the theatrical release, so the DVD is just another revenue stream. A CD (or LP, or cassette), on the other hand, is the only current method to recoup an album's own production costs.

-Leigh
Evelyn Forever [evelynforever.com]

Re:Yes I do. (1)

rlangis (534366) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312374)

Yes - perhaps the recording artists will just make DVD's now, complete with music videos, lyrics, cover art, snippets of live shows, concert dates, website address, computer content, screensavers, themes, etc etc etc...

Perhaps in doing so, they can bypass the RIAA entirely (since it's not *just* a record) and sign under the MPAA. Er...

Re:Yes I do. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312413)

DVD's are not the bread and butter of the movie industry. The money is supposedly made at the box office.

Having said that, the MPAA admits that most movies don't turn a profit until merchandising and the home video run is taking into effect.. But regardless, lets not forget that while some DVD's cost under $10, so do some CD's, and that some DVD's cost $50+, at least if you're after something a little more 'fringe' (box sets, anime's, etc).

Please, don't compare DVD's to CD's. The politics of the box office are vastly different than that of the radio industry, and the politics of the DVD market different than the CD one.

Re:Yes I do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312530)

DVD's are not the bread and butter of the movie industry. The money is supposedly made at the box office.

Considering movie tickets are $4-$9, I don't really see them changing the balance books significantly on a per-customer basis.

Re:Yes I do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312586)

while some DVD's cost under $10, so do some CD's,

Yes. I know that I myself have bought several CDs for $1 or $2. If you're willing to buy a low-priced classical music CD, you will find that they can be very inexpensive.

Good Golly (-1, Offtopic)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312124)

Someone needs either an HTML class or a lesson in editing, or both... trying to read through that hurt!!!

My penis on Life in My Pants (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312126)

It's dark in here.

--
SweetAndSourJesus [slashdot.org]

formating (-1, Offtopic)

Hall and Oates (575706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312127)


We need to show Janis how to format HTML. It's easy, Janis.

fix the darn HTML'ing of Janis Ian's answers! (2, Informative)

jdbo (35629) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312146)

the second question has been combined with the end of the first answer. grrr!

Or is /. just moving to XHTML 2.0 already? ;)

Re:fix the darn HTML'ing of Janis Ian's answers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312318)

Im afraid we just have to accept that the editors arent interested in that silly waste of their precious time. Its not as if their are tens of thousands of people trying to read through the lack of grammar and spell checking to work out what a story is about.

Maybe this will help... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312329)

http://www.c-source.com/csource/newsite/ttechnote. asp?part_no=651695

Re:fix the darn HTML'ing of Janis Ian's answers! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312341)

If I was an editor, Id now change their to there, for example, but why bother?

I dunno (4, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312165)

I hear a lot of bitching, whining and complaing about the record companies, yet I don't see a bunch of these incredibly wealthy artists (not this one, probably) start their own freaking record company. If they're ripping people off THAT much, I would think the artists would have banded together long ago.

Although I'm not an expert on the business, I would be willing to be that it HAS been tried. I bet a lot of artists have started their own labels, and found out that it ain't cheap being a record company where 50 acts fail for every one you make money on, and they end up turning into the beast they hated.

Re:I dunno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312264)

Do you have a job, or do you just flame on Slashdot all day?

Re:I dunno (2)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312273)

it ain't cheap being a record company where 50 acts fail for every one you make money on

Exactly. People criticize the prices charged by pharmaceutical companies, and losing control of your company to venture capitalists, but the fact is that these are all high-risk industries, and one success has got to cover the cost of many, many failures.

It's difficult to find a pure recording company these days, so it's hard to evaluate the margins, but I would be very surprised if recording and media companies consistently outperformed the S&P 500 or FTSE 100.

Re:I dunno (0)

slapshot (10210) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312332)

have you heard of madonna? Maverick?

Re:I dunno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312360)

I couldn't agree more.

It's the Ralph Nader syndrome: his job is telling other people how lousy they are at their jobs.

Hey Janis: put your money where your mouth is.

Re:I dunno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312544)

She's in the Grammy Hall of Fame and you are anonymous Slashdot troll and will likely die a virgin. You ought to know your place and shut your face.

Re:I dunno (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312367)

They have also done it with success....see Maveric records (owned by Madonna), Real World (Peter Gabriel), Pangea (Sting).....

Re:I dunno (4, Insightful)

DaytonCIM (100144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312382)

Warning: I'm rambling this morning:

I hear a lot of bitching, whining and complaing about the record companies

The problem is not labels, but distributors. There are only 4 major distributors now. Probably thousands of labels, but each (if they want to get their music to the masses) must use a major distributor.

, yet I don't see a bunch of these incredibly wealthy artists (not this one, probably) start their own freaking record company

I can't think of any major artist who DOESN'T have their own label. Beginning with the likes of Frank Sinatra (who was fed up with label control over his music) and his startup label: Reprise to Madonna and Maverick Records or The Beatles and Apple, etc...
Now if you mean, why don't major artists like Michael Jackson take some of his Millions and start a label that is fair to artists (and not racist like Sony as he claims)? I don't know. Maybe they know that the chance of losing all of their investment is probable...
To be honest, most of the rap stars have their own label and distribution network. They really have taken control and are making ENORMOUS amounts of money doing their way.
I still laugh when I read about TLC having a #1 album, selling 10 million units, having the #1 tour of the summer, and being bankrupt. Definitely, should be required reading by ALL up and coming bands.
Out

Re:I dunno (2)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312422)

I hear a lot of bitching, whining and complaing about the record companies, yet I don't see a bunch of these incredibly wealthy artists (not this one, probably)
start their own freaking record company.
If a corrupt system made you incredibly wealthy, would you want to change it?
The folks who are (in your words) "bitching, whining and complaining about the record companies" are the ones whose work is fueling the machine, not the ones who are becoming gazillionairs from the machine.

Re:I dunno (1)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312433)

madonna & prince ring a bell? several other out there....

Not Slashworthy... (5, Interesting)

sysadmn (29788) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312458)

You haven't heard of them because the story I submitted was rejected. (Whine, Whine). Jimmy Buffett's label [azcentral.com] is going after artists who want more control. His hook is a $5/cd royalty rate, rather than $1-2/cd. The catch is that the label doesn't spend anything on promotion. It works for him - he's sold a million copies of his last two albums. From the article:
Mailboat's roster is growing and includes a diverse array of acts from the heavy-metal band Poison to pop-blues artist Boz Scaggs and country-rocker Maria McKee (of Lone Justice fame). Poison has already released music on Mailboat (which sells direct to retail), and the latter two acts will release their first Mailboat discs soon.

Re:I dunno (1)

LoRider (16327) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312521)

Think about it for a minute. Start your own label and compete against the government supported bigass labels. If you hate Microsoft, why not start your own software and do it better than MS can? Because it's hard to fight and win against a 800 pound gorilla that has a 1000 pound elephant(US government) doing anything and everything it can make sure the big boys stay the big boys and the little guys can't stand a chance. If we had a truly free market where corporations large or small can actually compete, then I would agree with you.

There are some people out there who have succeeded running small labels (Lookout records, Fat records..). But it's not easy and not every artist wants to run a record label, but that doesn't mean they can't bitch about record labels. I don't like my bank, but that doesn't mean I have to start my bank or quit bitching.

Re:I dunno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312653)

elephants are heavier than 1000 pounds, dumbass.

Re:I dunno (2)

Seanasy (21730) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312630)

Those are just a few labels started by bands. They haven't turned evil and they consistently put out new and good music.

There's already an alternative to the major labels. You just won't become a mega-superstar as easily. I have little sympathy for bands that go with major labels, they have a choice.

Re:I dunno (1)

harveyswik (592377) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312647)

Here's some record labels you might not have heard of:

http://www.nitrorecords.com/home.html Started by the lead singer of The Offspring, Dexter Holland

http://www.fatwreck.com/ Started by the lead singer of NOFX, "Fat Mike"

http://www.alternativetentacles.com/ Started by the lead singer of the (former)Dead Kennedy's, Jello Biafra

http://www.dischord.com/ started by Ian MacKaye of Fugazi

fighting from within (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312175)

You hear this all the time, recording artists complaining that the music industry machine is hell. In my experience too many of them are passive sheep outside of their performances, signing what their agents tell them to and sweetly accepting the status quo.

They should take example from Courtney Love. http://dir.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/ index.html Rock on babe!

Re:fighting from within (2, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312379)

Sure - but when you've lived through the hell of working dead-end jobs and wondering where you'll get the cash to pay for your next meal (all so you can keep on working towards a dream of being "famous"), you probably don't feel much like "biting the hand that feeds you" when you reach the top.

Courtney Love is in a "more comfortable" place than many artists. I'm not trying to knock her here, but let's face it. She didn't really have to earn all of her fame herself. Being married to Curt Cobain had its advantages. I'm not really sure she'd be giving the industry the proverbial finger like she does today, if she didn't have the Nirvana fame to ride the coat-tails of first.

Sloppy (0, Offtopic)

legLess (127550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312186)

Tell me, is it too much trouble for the editors to make sure the interview is actually readable? That the questions are correctly broken out as such, and not mixed with the previous answers? Can't Slashdot even proof its own content?

[ Pause for laughter ]

Re:Sloppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312324)

[uiuc.edu]
NCSA's Beginner's Guide to HTML

famous (4, Funny)

morgajel (568462) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312200)

"you got famous if you were a criminal or a politician."

isn't that repetitive?:)

Re:famous (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312410)

Repetitive? -1 Redundant

Somebody put the kids to bed (3, Insightful)

cavaroc (315490) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312224)

Why doesn't everyone just quit bitching that you're too young to know who Janis Ian is and be glad there's someone speaking out for your rights to download music?
Grow up.

Re:Somebody put the kids to bed (1)

adewolf (524919) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312310)

Good point. I was just thinking this.

Alex DeWolf

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's interview (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312231)

with Tom Smith, a vocal and outspoken computer repairman from Phoenix. I hear he even has a web page.

Re:I'm looking forward to tomorrow's interview (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312258)

I am willing to be that Tom is known by more people than this Janis chick.

PLEASE RE-FORMAT!!! (1, Informative)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312248)

Okay, in the first paragraph after the followup question to #1 "...how much of that price is going to pay for the advertising...etc.," there is another question smooshed in to the end of the paragraph that Janis answers: "Do you not find it strange that a 2-hour DVD, with commentary, subtitles, and extra scenes, can be sold for less than $10, while few audio CDs are that low priced?"

In the very next paragraph, Ms. Ian's answer to the previous question, there is another question tacked on to that paragraph:

"2) Radio Station consolidation by gorilla When you entered the music business, radio stations were diverse. In the last few years, this diversity has disappeared. Do you have any comments on this?"

I haven't gotten past that yet. I found egregious errors in the first answer in the interview.

I know we're (most of us at least) not paying for the fine service of slashdot, but could somebody please edit these f@$#ing articles!? I mean, let alone the question of what the readership is owed (not much, I guess...), where's the personal and professional pride? Aren't we computer geeks intelligent folks, who should be able to process the written word better than most? This low quality is shameful. It doesn't take that much time to have a few folks read over the piece before posting it, and that's not even real editing, but I'm sure it would catch 99% of the stupid mistakes that happen on these story postings.

*sigh*

Her Best Song "At Seventeen" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312260)

http://frogstar.com/stern/Celebrities/Jerry%20Sein feld/shoshana.mp3

She says it all in one short phrase: (5, Insightful)

Tri0de (182282) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312263)

"As to how you can get involved? start with getting political, and voting. Check your own representatives' voting records on issues having to do with this. Support live music, and buy your CD's at the shows - at least then some of the money will funnel right back to the artist!"

Not *THAT* is succinct and comprehensive!
IMHO her music is really good ,too.

RIAA Equalization.. IETF in 2027? (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312307)

I really appreciated the capsule history of the RIAA. Until recently, the ONLY thing I'd ever heard of the RIAA doing was to standardize the equalization curve on LP records--anyone else ever have a record player with switch-selected LP/AES/RIAA/78 settings?

Funny about certifying gold records...

It's sort of like the AMPAS, that only does two things I know of--I'm sure it does more but only two that I know of: a) Standardize the leader on films (you know, that clock-face 8-7-6-5-4-3 countdown things you used to see if the projectionist was careless) and b) run the "Academy" awards.

I wonder what things the IETF will be doing by, say, the year 2027? Giving software awards? Lobbying Congress for special privileges for the giant "Big 3" companies that run everything on the Internet? Do you suppose theres some kind of organizational law that groups that start out with legitimate, technical, engineering always degenerate into other things?

Re:RIAA Equalization.. IETF in 2027? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312559)

It just seems that way. Consider NIST, the ARRL, and... a few dozen lesser-known organizations that are lesser-known for just that reason.

There are probably other organizational 'laws' that make certain ones more prone to 'selling out.' AMPAS and RIAA had the proximity of the recording industry; ICANN had a non-democratic process... and so-forth.

It also depends how many people care about your standards; the more your standards are worth - and Academy awards are a form of standard, too, when you think about it - the more interest there'll be in manipulating/breeding the system for profit.

The Answer is simple (3, Insightful)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312317)

The fundamental answer is simple, the laws of capitalism work no matter what. One of those laws is the simplest to follow:

THE LAW OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Simply put if people campaign against the RIAA effectivly and boycott (of course how hard is it to boycott the crap they are putting out these days) the company will continue to lose money. Lobbiests and lawyers don't work for free and if the RIAA can't pay there goes the problem. More importantly if the recording labels start to lose money the shareholders will intervene.

SUN TZU says "One cannot win a war without the will of the people"

Ultimatly WE are responsible for allowing the RIAA to get this far. Perhaps we will all learn something from this Digital Dark Age that looms on the horizon..

THE COST OF FREEDOM IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE

and I will clarify with

THE COST OF FREEDOM IS ETERNAL AND "PROACTIVE" VIGILANCE.

Re:The Answer is simple (1)

cavaroc (315490) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312560)

Good luck getting the mindlessness of the mainstream to boycott Britney Spears, Creed, and Limp Bizkit and the rest of the BS they think is so great. They don't care about good music, they'll buy it simply because it's marketed and they actually believe that whoever's at the top of the charts is who's the best artist out. That's why a successful boycott of the RIAA will never happen.

Re:The Answer is simple (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312593)

The question is not so simple though :-) Where exactly do I go to buy real music produced by humanely treated artists? Not computer-synthesized/experimental stuff. Some songs where I can hear the words and empasize with them. Since it will not be on the radio, I want to be able to preview a good portion of it before ordering or going to a concert.

Ahem... (4, Interesting)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312361)

For all the people who keep implying that anyone who thinks US intelligence agencies are not seriously spying on its own law abiding citizens and that people who think otherwise are paraniod, tin-hat wearing idiots, I present the following excerpt:

"The files were started about a year before I was born, when my Dad (a chicken farmer at the time) went to a meeting in South Jersey about the price of eggs. (No, I'm not making this up.) Then my Mom made the mistake of attending a Civil Rights Congress meeting about voting rights. Then they had the gall to open a summer camp that advertised itself as "multi-cultural and interracial"."

That is all.

Re:Ahem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312417)

Erm, if I were a skeptic, would I not also think that Ms. Ian's telling of the tale could be inaccurate?

Scratch the not. -_- (0, Offtopic)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312441)

*cough*feels like a dumbass*cough*

Re:Ahem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312577)

Thank you for enlightening us about the Government (circa 1950). Maybe you can start a campaign to get Mr. Hoover removed from the FBI before he spies on us any longer.

Re:Ahem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312594)

I'd like to point out that "before I was born" would refer to pre-1950, during the notoriously corrupt and overpowered Hoover administration of the FBI. Although I wouldn't be so naive as to say this kind of thing doesn't happen anymore, there have been several waves of reform that have made it more difficult.

I would also point out that no mention is made of anything being done to her parents aside from their names being recorded in some file burried in some folder somewhere.

Re:Ahem... (2)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312604)

"For all the people who keep implying that anyone who thinks US intelligence agencies are not seriously spying on its own law abiding citizens"

Fifty year-old anecdotes probably aren't the best way to prove your point. Those anecdotes date back to the McCarthy era.

Lost Bands (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312365)

I noticed a reply that pointed out that fame is fleeting. For Minnesotans they might remember "Slave Raider" from the 80's. Great band but they have since faded. I wish they would master their albums and remaster them into CDs. They had a sweet song called "The Black Hole" and "Rollercoaster." Ohhh I wish my tapes hadn't wore out...

Slave Raider website (unofficial I think) (1)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312573)

http://www.vldesign.com/bands/slaveraider/ [vldesign.com]

The gist I get is that they've broken up, & apparently Jive/RCA (divison of BMG now I think) 0wns a lot of their master recordings (which are probably sitting in a vault somewhere).

she's a musician, not a businesswoman (1, Funny)

God! Awful (181117) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312369)


I think, as I said in my follow-up article, that the music industry is going to have to provide more and better content in its CDs. Maybe CDs all become DVDs, and you get not just the music, but interviews, concert footage, games, whatever. I don't have the answer.

Here's another variation on the old theme:

1. Let people copy your music for free.
2. Pad your CDs with premium content that they can also copy for free.
3. ???
4. Profit

If at first you don't succeed, try try try again. When scientists/alchemists figure out how to get blood from a stone I'm sure it will be frontpage news.

-a

OT : </b> (1, Offtopic)

Geeyzus (99967) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312408)

I would love to read this whole interview... but can someone please fix the bold tag that was not closed midway through question one? I'd rather see 10 spelling errors than pages worth of all bold text.... thanks,

Mark

Don't buy major artists (4, Interesting)

bluGill (862) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312415)

Record companies make their money from the famious artists, and then use their cut to lobby for laws that are against artists and people. Don't don't buy the major artists, because in the end it works against you. Buy from the artists that are self producing (who may or may not have independant distribution deals) who won't be lobbying for laws that are against you.

There is a large amount of music out there. Stores want to carry what sells, radio stations want to play what will get listeners. When they see enough people are buying from talented no-names they will put forth some effort to get the money in there. If they discover that not liking certian laws is part of the reason a no-name is chossen over a major artist of similear talent, they will solve the problem. (of course good luck finding talen in major artists today, but they will likely look for talent before they realise there is more than just talen at stake)

Quickies (0, Offtopic)

Photar (5491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312450)

I miss the quickies.

Re:Quickies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312525)

Like Quickies? Try Memepool [memepool.com] . Or try this mega-MLP on Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] .

An option (4, Interesting)

pyramid termite (458232) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312463)

Give it away. Seriously. Put mp3s wherever you can and let people have them at will. Fame? Fortune? You probably won't get it anyway and they can be disappointing when you do. Clear it all away and do it because you love it and give it to people because you want to share it; perhaps you'll parlay it into a little fame and fortune, more likely you won't.

It's time for the amateurs to take art and culture back from the professionals.

Check out the cool articles... (4, Interesting)

broody (171983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4312470)

I like the way this woman writes. I don't really know jack about her music, other than what I read on her website, but the articles are amusing and insightful [janisian.com] . I particulary likely the Memorable Mistakes article. Overall it looks like some interesting reading.

How many recording artists bother to fight back? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4312504)

You hear this all the time, recording artists complaining that the music industry machine is hell. Too many of them are passive sheep outside of their performances, signing what their agents tell them to and sweetly accepting the status quo.

They should take example from Mrs. Courtney Love [salon.com] ... someone actually willing to bite back, rather than simply removing herself from the system by distributing music online. And fading to obscurity as a result.

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