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Online Business Model for a Band?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the strike-up-a-tune dept.

Music 420

Backes asks: "I've seen a lot of submissions about P2P, iTMS, DRM, piracy, and the RIAA, lately. Apparently everyone has an opinion on this and most seem think that the recording industry are a bunch of greedy people that stick it to the consumer as well as their own artists. After hearing some of the stories, I'm not even sure that getting signed to a label would be the best course of action for an aspiring musician or band. So what is a better option? What would you, the Slashdot community, do to make it big on your own using the Internet?""What kinds of features would a site need? Would you pay for downloads of MP3s from a band's site or not? At what price? Would donations work, or would everyone just freeload? How often would you need updates or new songs to keep you coming back? If downloads were free, would you then buy a full length album from the site just to get the CD? What special features should the CD include? How would you get your name out? What do you think is the best course of action for a band that wants to completely circumvent the whole music industry process and do it themselves?"

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Get your priorities right (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121236)

Groupie model first, then business

The Pope Is Dead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121237)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Pope John Paul II was found dead in his Vatican City apartment this afternoon. There weren't any more details. I'm sure we'll all miss him, even if you weren't a Catholic or believer in his faith or any other faith, there's no denying his contribution to popular culture. Truly a Polish icon.

Re:The Pope Is Dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121263)

Was he the guy who invented the bacon-scented car air fresheners or the one who said you'd go to hell if you used birth control, thereby advancing the already horrific human suffering on the African continent due to overpopulation and HIV infection?

Re:The Pope Is Dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121310)

No! He was the one who single handedly brought down the Soviet Union. Take that, you Commies!
In Soviet Russia, Pope defeats YOU!

Re:The Pope Is Dead (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121365)

Hey, I thought they said the same thing about Ronald Reagan?! Now who's not telling the truth here?

Re:The Pope Is Dead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121370)

Wait...why is parent -1 Troll?...he did take down communism...

Re:The Pope Is Dead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121409)

Yeah, right. Communism destroyed itself. The downfall was not due to Reagan or the Pope.

Dumbass.

Re:The Pope Is Dead (0, Offtopic)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121417)

Ahhh...so it's the Pope's fault that people can't keep it in their pants. This, on a continent where Christianity is a minority (although increasing).

Naaa...couldn't be the fault of the individual. Let's blame it on the big guy. After all...they followed his instructions to the letter. No condoms, and go screw your brains out with anyone and everyone.

Yes...it's all the Pope's fault.

Yes, sure, that was all his fault. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121456)

Yes, that was all his fault. Find something better to do with your time, troll.

Re:The Pope Is Dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121267)

Who fucking cares?

Re:The Pope Is Dead (-1, Offtopic)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121362)

"I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Pope John Paul II was found dead in his Vatican City apartment this afternoon"

You humorless, compassionless bastards. The Pope was a great man who deserves veneration, and the Stephen King troll is a venerable Slashdot tradition. I'd have posted it myself, if the AC hadn't gotten to it first.

Mod parent up.

Re:The Pope Is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121394)

The Pope was a great man who deserves veneration

WTF? What did he do? He just help spreading AIDS through Africa with his nightmare stories about condoms, that's all.

Re:The Pope Is Dead (-1, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121371)

What contribution are you talking about?.
He was a religious person, that's more than enough to diserve death. Then, he was a catholic. Then, he was the head of the single most corrupt organization ever (the catholic church), responsible for more deaths and other atrocitys than any other organization / company / state / person. He was a right wing asshole that just diserved to die.
Celebrate the death of this motherfucker. And, don't post more offtopic shit.

You sons of satan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121430)

His Holyness' corpse is not even cold and yet you're already pouring your venom on his memory.

Shame on you.

Re:You sons of satan (-1, Offtopic)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121457)

No. I Said all this stuff when he was alive, years ago. Thank you.

AFAIK the name of my father wasn't "Satan". Get this into your head: There is No god, There is no Satan. You are on your own, if you are to weak to assume Life, then just kill yourself, you looser.

Re:The Pope Is Dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121452)

Damn. You're pathetically ignorant.

Does this mean that Satan rules tonight? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121439)

I am afraid to go to sleep tonight.

What's the official line on this? I am not Catholic, but I've always been brought up to believe that he is the God's representative on Earth and will protect us from the Evil.

Now, if Pope is dead, are we at the mercy of Satan until a new Pope is found?!

I would like to know (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121246)

How to protect your music/lyrics from being stolen. If I have a band and we publish music on the web (for free, or a price, whatever) how can I protect them from being stolen and used by another band?

Re:I would like to know (2, Funny)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121318)

dress like KISS or Gwar, act angry.. throw in some weapons, sex toys and, believe me, they will not risk the consiquences of stealing something you might miss.

Re:I would like to know (3, Insightful)

GileadGreene (539584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121358)

Uh, perhaps the fact that you own the copyright on your lyrics?

And, just to please the slashbots, note that it wouldn't be "stealing" if another band used your material, it would be "copyright infringement".

Re:I would like to know (3, Interesting)

shrewmy (37432) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121402)

I'm not sure how true this is, but i remember reading it before... and it said to email the lyrics to yourself. That way you have a copy of the lyrics with time and date stamped all over it.
I'd think emailing yourself an mp3 or sheet music (if your band does that kind of thing... the couple i've been in havent) to yourself could protect the music in the same way

Re:I would like to know (2, Funny)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121443)

if this works, and I'm not entirely sure this has been tested in too many courts.. you would most certainly have to leave the mail UNOPENED and I would keep them all in a safety deposit box away from your house for extra security (like fire, water, theft, tornado, ex-girlfriend, etc).

Re:I would like to know (1)

Dasch (832632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121414)

Just release them under an appropriate license, such as Creative Commons. That way you can ensure that your work can't be used commercially (legally, that is.)

Magnatune (5, Informative)

kernel_dan (850552) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121247)

Check out Magnatune [magnatune.com] . Motto: We're a record label. But we're not evil.

Ween (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121257)

Do what Ween did, give your music away for free on your webstie, then sell CD's and concert tickets.

1. Give music away
2. ????
3. Profit

take the contract (2, Interesting)

geekee (591277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121260)

"After hearing some of the stories, I'm not even sure that getting signed to a label would be the best course of action for an aspiring musician or band. So what is a better option?"

Don't be stupid. If a label offers you a contract take it. If your career goes anywhere, you can renegotiate a better contract after the terms of the first have been completed

Re:take the contract (4, Insightful)

File_Breaker (16834) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121298)

Yeah, but then 99% of the time you lose all rights to your own music. I was in many bands and even when we got an offer that was pretty good deal we said no because we wanted to own our music and not have the record lable own it. You have to watch out.

Re:take the contract (2, Insightful)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121309)

Yeah, but has anyone ever heard of your band? Would they have heard of your band if you'd signed the contract?

Take the contract, get famous, then worry about rights.

Re:take the contract (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121343)

Take the contract, get famous, then worry about rights.

.. Why is our music being used to advertise hemroid cream?

Re:take the contract (3, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121398)

Would they have heard of your band if you'd signed the contract?

Maybe, maybe not. That's not an indicator.

You've probably never heard of 95 percent of the bands that have signed on to a record label. Many, many times, the label simply does nothing with the band/artist. And they'll still prevent you from actually doing anything else creative.

Sometimes it's in your best interest not to sign.

Re:take the contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121410)

"Don't be stupid. If a label offers you a contract take it. If your career goes anywhere, you can renegotiate a better contract after the terms of the first have been completed"

Err, no- you don't be so stupid. Just blindly signing contracts that lables offer is how many bands get into trouble.

Re:take the contract (2, Funny)

beatljuice (735526) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121455)

Yeah, and when standing at the crossroads, be sure to make a deal with the devil. You can always back out later... right?

Making money as a musician (2, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121264)

Remember... information wants to be free. You have no right to earn money. Just provide all of your music. We will download it, and then tell you that if your music weren't crap, we'd pay for it.

Re:Making money as a musician (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121348)

Excellent post.

Re:Making money as a musician (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121428)

Or, work on commission, and get paid each time you write NEW music, instead of failing to get paid over and over again for the same music now that people have cottoned on to the fact that copyright law itself is closer to theft than copyright infringement ever was.

Then your freely released music is just free advertising for your services as a musician/composer of NEW stuff.

sign with a label (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121265)

advertising and marketing is worth it for a new band, unless you think youre gonna be the next metallica. just get a good lawyer, and make sure that your contract isnt for the next 50 albums or some shit.

my take (3, Interesting)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121266)

It seems to have worked for some 'indie' bands recently, using viral marketing - offering demos or live versions of their songs via p2p, or even the full song to get publicity

After they get a name for themselves with fans who download music to check out new stuff, they make an effort to get signed, the problem here being the production of new material if they used their best to get a name for themselves online

I don't think the internet would ever top the playing in bars to get your name out, but if mixed with services such as download.com - while sharing live or demo versions on p2p, you could build yourselves a name quickly. A lot of things would also depend on the type of record label who would sign you, the 'indie' kind who give out songs online for promotion, or the big labels who try to stop download and have huge budgets for promotion

Re:my take (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121301)

Then you should work with bands that have enought talent to produce more than 3 good songs.

best way to start out (1)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121269)

give away a lot of your songs to start with, until you devlop a following. People won't be very willing to pay for something they have never heard before. Most stores offer some sort of display to listen to their new music. You should offer free, decent quality files with no DRM to get your name out into the world.

After you've got some fans, then try to sell them something (cd, download, tshirts) and I think you will do better than starting with DRM.

Get some priorities! POPE is dead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121278)

The POPE is dead
"Fluent in eight languages, John Paul II visited more than 100 countries on every continent except Antarctica."

Lousy guy didn't like the penguins, so I guess he was anti-linux too!

******

I just heard some sad news on CNN. Pope John Paul II was found dead in his Vatican apartment today. There weren't any more details. Even if you didn't care much for his work, there's no denying his contribution to archaic beliefs. Truly a Catholic icon.

To make it big on the internet... (4, Insightful)

Peterus7 (607982) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121279)

Get one of your fat friends to do something really stupid, videotape it, and put it up on newgrounds with a music track. Then sell t-shirts.

Re:To make it big on the internet... (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121312)

Do you mean like this:
CBC [www.cbc.ca]

get a good name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121284)


Once you have a good band name [popealien.com] the cash should just come rollin' in.

oh and it might help to be able to play an instrument.

Get Some Prirorities! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121285)

Pope John Paul II, one of the longest serving popes in this planets history, noted humanitarian, and spiritual leader to the 1 billion catholics in this world has passed away. Yet all you seem to talk about is Online Buisness Models.
GET SOME PRIRORITIES!

I'm so glad you asked.. (5, Informative)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121288)


Well, I am not famous, yet.. but I am working on exactly what you speak of, and here is a simplified version of what I am doing:

I have a living room studio where I record all of our practices and jam sessions to firewire harddrives. I use 24 channels to mix down about 6 different sized diaphram condensers and a few 57s here and there. There's all the gear we need (amps, bass, guitar, two keys, and a trap set), effects, a PA, and we have and now own the only copies of all our material. We all learn and teach each other to engineer.. play.. compose.. we all treat it democraticaly when decisions are to be made about lyrics, composition, song selection, mastering, mechandise, etc. With all this in our own hands, we all sell CDs and merch at our gigs and in our spare time (running to local record stores and getting things on consinement), and reinvest certain monies from band oriented sales into necessary things like legal docs or advice.. expensive promotional materials such as ads, cds, etc. Repeat.. profit. we've removed the need for a label at the expense of not having everything all at once. But with a bit of work, the band can work like a sucessful startup company, and we're having one hell of a time while we're at it!

pego the jerk

Re:I'm so glad you asked.. (1)

Wizy (38347) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121359)

A lot of bands do this. It's pretty much the normal way to go about things BEFORE you get a label contract, if thats what your looking for. It seems your not, but that is the normal thing any successful band had to go through to get to the point where a label would be interested. That and actually have good music and a loyal fanbase.

It is still good advice though. One thing you might consider is holding onto all of those early recordings just incase you actually somehow make it. They will sell huge if you do.

Model (4, Insightful)

seaniqua (796818) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121292)

Unfortunately, I don't see a band making more than a moderate regional success without the aid of a lebel. The industry is just too closed to outsiders. You won't get your album shelved in Sam Goody, Wal Mart, and the like without the aid of a high-powered record company. The only other option is to join a smallish, "indie" label. While you still won't make MTV (most likely), a good indie label will be able to get you some exposure in independant record stores, radio stations, and the like. Some idie labels even band together in loose organizations, and can manage to get more clout that way. With this setup, you might be able to get a regional distribution in major outlets, but you still won't make the billboard charts. Sad to say, but if you want to be a rock star, you still have to play the label's games. At least until I get my plan to revolutionize the record industry underway...

Label Schmabel (1, Offtopic)

SpaceyWilly (869432) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121297)

here's one: first you make a myspace music account, then you plug it as often as possible. Like the one for my band, The Apples [myspace.com] tee hee hee

SOME CUT UPS? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121299)

AINT NO CUT UPS IN HERE!!!

I CUT YOooooooooooooooooooooooooo ASS UP!

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theres a million and two websites about this (2, Interesting)

shrewmy (37432) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121300)

My totally uneducated guess type advice on how to spread the word you exist?
become friends with everyone at your popular music shop. they'd probably know everyone who's anyone in the local music scene.
From there get to know people from WELL KNOWN local bands that play similar music and try to set up some shows where you can open for them. Unless you're an amazingly awesome band I doubt anyone's going to pay to download your music.
There's a lot of places now that will do small runs of bulk cds, I know musiciansfriend.com does it or has ads for a place that does it. Once you get known doing shows, get a few hundred CDs pressed up and sell them for $5 at your shows.
If you did free mp3s (dont do ogg unless every major player supports it cuz how many of your nongeek friends even heard the word before?) then I'm sure if you were good enough you could move some CDs off your own website.
Don't halfass on the CDs, 4 track recorded songs can be made to sound good enough to play loud on home/car stereos. Digital recorders are getting very cheap now too. Put effort into it... no matter how good your music is and how talented you guys are, if the recordings are shitty so aren't your record sales.

Re:theres a million and two websites about this (1)

shrewmy (37432) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121352)

Thats awesome i get one post modded down and now i'm stuck in the bottom with the trolls

Re:theres a million and two websites about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121388)

I hate getting stuck in the bottom.

Re:theres a million and two websites about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121446)

Nope, it seems like all your posting history sucks. You were already a troll a long time ago!

A Sure thing (2, Interesting)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121302)

I don't know all the details behind becoming a big band, but one thing is for sure: If you go on your own, and you suck, you're going to go nowhere. (Hopefully you would realize this, though.)

There have been 'big names' that were mediocre groupd/people that their labels hyped like crazy (and who also generally had looks to help them out.)

Anyone looking for wide recognition would do well to become local stars. Especially if you live in a bigger city, being a local star, with fans who will post on the internet, will help your career if you try to be independent.

Re:A Sure thing (1)

Slowleggs (604433) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121426)

Quote: "There have been 'big names' that were mediocre groupd/people that their labels hyped like crazy (and who also generally had looks to help them out.)"

AAaaa.. hahaha haahahahaa *sob*

*Ahem*, sorry for that. It's just that the "there have been"-part is a great understatement =P

Star Wars Kid (3, Insightful)

kai.chan (795863) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121304)

"What would you, the Slashdot community, do to make it big on your own using the Internet?"

Having a site with your work isn't enough these days. Unless you are the best of the best out of the billions of sites with the same type of content as yours, you won't be recognized. Although it might sound like a joke, but doing something wacky and weird will get you all the attention on the internet, as people start propagating and promoting your site to others. Take Star Wars Kid, realultimatepower.net, Yata, etc, for example, instant fame in a matter of days. Now, shifting from wackiness to the content you are promoting might be a more difficult challenge.

Perception (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121305)

One thing that the RIAA, evil as it is, has apparently beaten into people's heads is the whole concept of "making it big." Why the hell should anyone? It's just music. I personally think it is ridiculous that sports and entertainment generate the kind of money they do. We need to rethink, as a culture, our priorities. Do I think people should be able to make a living off of music? Absolutely - if they are good enough. Do I think the RIAA or the musicians themselves shoud create million dollar iconic figures? Hell no. The RIAA is a problem. No question. But so is the belief that musicians, entertainers, and sports figures should make any more than the rest of us.

Promote using message boards (1)

smilinggoat (443212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121306)

Promote using message boards like this one. Slashdot gets many hits, so perhaps if many people read this post they will check out my band [deadhooker...geclub.com] , listen to our music [deadhooker...geclub.com] , and buy our shirts [deadhooker...geclub.com] .

But in all sincerity, we're starting our own label and going to focus on getting distributors to pick up our label. That way albums come out when we want, we get all the profit, and we still seem legitimate. There are services like DollarCD.com [dollarcd.com] that allow musicians to get their stuff pressed for extremely good prices, then you just take care of the rest yourself. Pretty cool service.

And oh yeah, we rock [deadhooker...geclub.com] =)

Aspiring? (1)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121308)

You're either a musician or you're not. Play the music; everything else will take care of itself.

I realize that doesn't answer your questions, so, in order: Flash, no (prefer FLAC), $0, kinda/yes, weekly, yes, doesn't matter, publicity (and you just blew it with a front-page /. article and no link, or does this "band" not yet exist?), and just play, respectively.

Re:Aspiring? (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121382)

so, in order: Flash,

HAHAHAHA you haven't done this much have you? That's a great way to further limit your audience. If you want your music and name to get out there, you're going to need to stick with stanards that everyone can use. HTML, MP3, CD you get the idea.

"Make a living"-template (1)

Snotboble_ (13797) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121322)

1: Form a band/company/whatever
2: Assume geeky /.'ers know what #3 is
3: ???????
4: Profit!

Re:"Make a living"-template (1)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121427)

Of course we do!

3: Blow own head off with a shotgun.

Viral Marketing? (1)

jmkgh (787409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121324)

You might try to spread the word about your band by putting songs you've recorded up for download. You could go so far as to upload your songs onto P2P networks, where if people liked them they could spread like wildfire. This would, I imagine, get people interested in you and coming to your shows. That is, assuming you do play shows.

CD Baby (3, Informative)

fohat (168135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121326)

I'm currently considering being my own label and selling CD's through CD Baby [cdbaby.com] . My experience with them has been positive so far.

Audio Lunchbox (1)

James Palmer (4768) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121453)

Another way to sell your music (in addition to CD Baby) is to work directly with companies like Audio Lunchbox [audiolunchbox.com] . ALB gives 65% of sales to the artist. They also offer up your music in the non-evil MP3 and Ogg Vorbis (even less evil) formats. You can also plug your band across the internet on various indie and digital music sites. Audio Lunchbox also offers forums [audioblabber.com] for just that purpose as does CD Baby [cdbaby.org] and MP3.com [mp3.com] .

How about (1)

Rs_Conqueror (838344) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121329)

You could just self publish. Pay a manufacture to make you X ammount of CDs with your choice of tracks to put on them. Then you open your own little yahoo store and pay a couple of your friends to ship stuff for you.

its pretty simple really (5, Insightful)

deathcloset (626704) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121330)

play shows.

That's all.

The "recording artist" is becomming something of an anacronism - or will become so IMO.

We are returning to a time when musicians get payed to actually perform their music, not just record it.

Ask a signed band, and the record company always, always gets the biggest cut of the money from record sales.

the band just counts on the sales driving concert attendance...but it's not really SALES driving the attendence, it's the people hearing the music.

and that hearing can now be achieved without the expenses of distribution from a decade ago.

that's truely why the Recording Industry is going to the toilet. The fleets of trucks driving to the stores and the warehouses of duplicatation equipment are already outdated - and that was really all that we needed those guys for. They didn't MAKE artists, the found and held them - like a zoo animal.

Give your music away, if you love it set it free. They will come to see you play if you rock :)

and I hope you do :D

link to your bands website?

Re:its pretty simple really (1)

westyvw (653833) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121433)

RIGHT ON! MOD UP!! This is what I have been saying for the longest time. The CD now is just an ad. Performance, merchandise, maybe the artwork to hold the music is whats for sale. Go out and perform and work just like the rest of us, no offense, but thats how it should be. Otherwise, if you love to play music, good enjoy it,money is irrelevant. Give away the tunes, play 5 days a week, and of course, be something people want to hear and you are set.

Not as easy as you'd think. (1)

neosar82 (792049) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121331)

The simple fact is it's not as easy as you'd think. I work for an indie record label, and we plan to start offering DRM-free downloads through artist websites in addition to more common practices such as CD sales, and even other download services such as iTunes. However, the cost of professional recording is damn near outrageous. You are looking at MINIMUM $20,000, and more realistically somewhere in the 30 - 50 thousand dollar range to get the quality you get in a CD you buy at a store today. It's not uncommon for majors to pay $150,000 per SONG to put out a CD. People can use the argument that with Pro Tools and other computer-based recording solutions that it shouldn't cost that much, and you can do it on your own. But if you record it in a garage it's gonna sound like a garage recording. Studios are built for sound, and they have very high end equipment and people who know how to use it as fluently as you type on a keyboard. THAT is what makes a recording sound good. Unfortunately without the backing of a label it's really hard for a band to make it big. Usually if anything they make one of their garage recordings, guerilla-market themselves to the point where they are well known in their area and then get a label to pick them up so they can make a "real" recording. I will probably get flamed for saying all this, but it's the sad truth. Not ALL labels are evil. The majors are, and unfortunately a lot of the little labels are tied in with majors for distribution among other things. The problem is unless you target a niche market like we are it's nearly impossible to compete, and I can't imagine an artist pulling all that off on their own. That's not to say it CAN'T be done... but I've never seen it.

Re:Not as easy as you'd think. (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121366)

"The simple fact is it's not as easy as you'd think" Of course not easy and impossible are two different things. Yes labels might be needed to a point, and I would be very trusting to an indie lable to tell you the truth, but I think that eventually no lables will be needede. Sure you won't get your CD on store shelves as easily (it CAN happen), but there is always a will, and a way, and to get that way, you need a will of titanium steel.

My opinion (0)

programgeek (726420) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121334)

Let me apologise ahead of time if I don't make sense, I'm bad at comments, but I have a beleif on this subject. I personally have no problem with the sharing of online music.. In my opinion, I would offer the technically oriented a torrent of the album.. Because if people want music that bad, it's very hard to stop them from getting it. I think a good business plan for a band making money would be something like a club, or other kind of subscription service (a la Linkin Park Underground [lpunderground.com] . A club could offer merchandise for fans, and a preview of music to come, along with special songs which may not be released on normal albums. My idea: If your music is so damn good, why not let people download all your songs to hear, full and complete, and if it's that good, and they love you, they can go off and buy the album, t-shirts, and other goodies...

What I would Do (2, Insightful)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121336)

1. Offer decent quality samples or one or two(more as I made more music) full tracks, ABSOLUTELY NO "Digital Rights Management" (DRM), it has proven itself to be nothing but a worthless, overcrackable piece of shit. 2. Price the individual songs, or singles, and full CDs at low prices. - Single songs: $0.99 - $1.10 - "Singles" CD: $5 - "Full CDs": $7 - $10 3. Use a website to promote my stuff, try to get music on as many sites (pay-per, or free) as possible, including Dmusic.com, ITunes, Napster, etc. 4. If piracy helps you, truthfully show it. If piracy hurts, truthfully show it too. If they have both a negative and positive impact, hell, show that to your fans as well. Don't call them theives or robbers, or make analy incorrect analogies to compare to copyright infringement to. Don't go to making false "losses" clainms or do anything to make yourself look like a whiny baby. Show them that while you have a firm stance, it is truthful, and you can actually prove/back it up, unlike the **aa/BSA/MPAA/CRIA/ETC

No substitute for the stage. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121340)

The truth is how you make your audience move is the key. You can have all the chops in the world and it does not mean squat if you cannot make people sit up an listen. Having a good set of honest ears listening to what you do is really important. Of course stage presence is key, regardless of the style that you play. If there is shoddy musicianship and lackluster performance, then all the recording and hype techniques will not help you, unless you have a bod like Brittany, but then again her performance has very little to do with music.

So the best way to use the net is to direct people locally to where and when you perform. Give them discounts on tickets and cd's that they can print out then redeem at your concerts. That way there is an incentive for the individual to try you out. Hype means nothin' if you have not got a groove.

Give It Away Now (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121350)

Give the music away for free, with URLs embedded in the MP3 ID3 tags etc. Sell the things you can control access to, like concert admissions, copies of CDs for people who want that (many still will), t-shirts and other merchandise. Try to license your songs to people selling other things, if you think that's cool. If you sell the songs, there's a cost to sales, and you'll wind up spending lots of other money on other promotion and marketing. With the Internet offering so much free distribution, the music itself is the most effective, cheapest promotion available. And the primary idea is to get as many people listening as possible. So help the music get to the people who want it, and your audience will be more interested in paying for the rest of the package.

how popular are you? (1)

theguitarizt (773106) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121354)

If you're just starting out trying to get your band noticed and promoted, then try submitting your music to web sites such as Pure Volume [purevolume.com] or music.download.com [download.com] .

Take a look at my band's site [rocketpowe...uneral.com] for an example of how NOT to promote your band. Create a more professional looking site, and give more information.

A good website is a plus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121355)

Get a good designer to make a great website like this guy [billyharveymusic.com] , it piqued my curiosity and I bought his album. Turns out that he is pretty darn good.

From a non-musician... (1)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121357)

I'm not a musician, and have almost no musical talent at all, but I know what I like to hear. That said, I think that the number one thing is:

Step 1: Be good. If you don't write good music, you stand no chance of making it big, and doing covers forever won't get you ahead for long. Dispatch was a great band that had a huge following, and it certainly wasn't because of a big-name label that they were so popular. I also know a lot of people from HS and college who were in bands, and to be quite honest, they suck. They won't make it big because of this fact, and as much as I feel bad for them, c'est la vie.

So as to bot discourage you, I also know of a lot of good bands who never made it big because they weren't really into it. They wrote great original music, they did a few covers to keep the mindless drones happy, but they moved on to other things.

Step 2: Persistence. Don't let a few critics spoil your attitude. There will be people who don't like your music, especially if you're in a genre-defining band. Develop a following and try to have them spread the word.

Sorry for going OT and not giving a real business model, but this is what I have seen as the biggest issues facing my friends' bands.

Live shows first (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121363)

If you are entertaining to watch live, the rest will take care of itself... it is impossible to duplicate the concert experience.

Micropayment (0)

jerometremblay (513886) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121364)

As far as I can see, ultimate solution is Micropayment.

Listen to a song for 1/4 of a cent, download it for 1 cent.
Run a program for 1/10 of a cent, buy it for 10 cents.

Have the artists/authors/whatever sell their stuff directly, they will end up with a much bigger part of the pie. Seize the long tail [wikipedia.org] !

some required reading (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121373)

Go here [janisian.com] , then here [janisian.com] , then go here [magnatune.com] . Then you decide what works for you. And that's the bottom line, it's all about what works best for you.

Myspace has worked well for my friends (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121377)

My friends in the band HPD [myspace.com] have done pretty well just playing shows and getting their name out via Myspace. Unfortunately, they haven't released an album yet, because quite a few people ask to buy one after a show. I think they'd tell you that it is most important to get your name out locally by doing as many shows as possible.

It all depends on what you want to be doing. If you want to be heard on the radio 24/7/365, then you probably need to try to get with a major label and hope you don't lose your shirt in the process. If you're content with making some modest amounts of money and willing to tour a lot, then an indie label is probably your best bet.

a band is not a business (1)

mattkime (8466) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121381)

is your band anywhere near being a financially successful venture?

if so, have you quit your day job yet?

JungleJar (1)

kevfoster (872928) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121386)

Most seem think that the recording industry are a bunch of greedy people that stick it to the consumer as well as their own artists http://junglejar.com/ [junglejar.com] was set-up for sole purpose of providing promotion and distribution of independent electronic music. All of our artists take at least 50% of the sale price (usually more). We offer full length downloads as well as CD's for those who prefer to purchase something they can actually touch.

No pun intended - Get some priorities ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121387)

I just heard some sad news on CNN. Pope John Paul II was found dead in his Vatican apartment today. There weren't any more details. Even if you didn't care much for his work, there's no denying his contribution to archaic beliefs. Truly a Catholic icon.

Re:No pun intended - Get some priorities ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121447)

Indeed. I just noticed if you search for "pope" on Google there is already an sponsored link reading "In respect for Pope John Paul, buy our Catholic flag".
Click on the bastards and waste their money. (Don't buy the flag though!)

steve albinis opionion on the music biz (1)

Hank Chinaski (257573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121389)

good read:

The Problem with Music [negativland.com]

for those who dont know him: he's a very good musician and a famous producer (nirvana etc), too.

My thoughts (1)

Recovery1 (217499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121390)

I'd say the best thing to do is to give away the music for free. Submit copies to the local community stations both in your area and across the country (if you can afford it). The community stations love indie artists and has been the best way for me to learn about good artists. I assure you it hasn't been through the main stream radio and record stores.

Use your website to promote the music by giving it away as non DRM files, and put them on P2P networks. Make money through concerts and T-shirts and anything else that you can think of. The music is like your business card. Merchandising will make you a profit.

If the music you have is good, the fans will find you. If it is really good, the record deals will come to you. I would not go to them. Let them come to you, then you can negotiate on your terms. Other artists I have heard have done this and gotten better deals then if they had gone to the labels to begin with. Remember labels have one agenda, making money. If you can approach them already with a fan base they would slit their own wrists to sign you.

Well this is my thoughts, practical or not.

Step 0 - Make good music (1)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121393)

If you want credit as a band, it is less about the features on your website and more about your music. It needs to be polished and profesionally mastered. A lot of groups pride themselves on being "indie." The problem with is that they can't record a song to save their lives. Most musicians are masters of their instrument, not cubase, protools, etc.

A few pointers... (1)

Combuchan (123208) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121400)

First off, let me say this--don't quit your day job. Don't go in this for the money. If you're truly passionate about what you do (and methinks your fans will be able to tell this), you won't be afraid of supporting your hobby rather than your hobby supporting you.

When it comes to your music, distribute, distribute, distribute--on P2P, on the Web, you name it. Radio isn't that inaccessible--one of the DJ's for a local station here plays MP3's he finds from bands just like yours and I'm sure would also accept free CD's. This is how you get your name and sound out.

But as for actually making money, you still have to sell old fashioned tangible goods.

For the album itself, put all your music into an album that's worth more than a jewel case and a burned disc--take some time with your album art and include as many extras as you can. Hardcore fans will buy your albums, and you won't have to sell many to make a profit. The average signed artist make might a buck or two of albums he sells, you could make four times that by selling for half the price without going through a label. But you have to do your own work.

T-shirts are also of fundamental importance and are a source of free advertising for your band--chances are the people who really pay attention to that T-shirt will have similar musical interests with the person wearing it.

I could be alone in this, but I'd be careful to not place your name on every trinket, knicknack, and piece of crap--you'll look like a sellout and the world does not need another keychain. But I think the cardinal rule is to not price your side business out of existence. A CD shouldn't go for more than $15 including shipping, a T-shirt shouldn't go for more than $20 including shipping. That's my pricepoint--sure, there might be others. A little bit of research in determining good prices would surely be worth it.

Congratulations on taking the step, and good luck!

being a band (2, Interesting)

pronobozo (794672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121401)

If you want to try and succeed on the net, you have to get hits, lots of hits, more hits than you could probably get. For every million, there 100,000 that'll like your style, 50,000 that'll visit your site twice, 10,000 that'll be a fan, 1,000 that'll buy a cd.


Get hits is key, use internet as your main tool, everything else is too expensive. Find the indie radio stations, sites, genre related communities. It's your only tool but the best tool. You can get thousands of people hearing your music everyday, something you can't do very well with other methods.

Stick in the game for a long time, let your name build.

There isn't much more to it.

yes sell mp3s,cds,shirts whatever you can. If you are trying to make a living, then damn, you need more ways to make the money.


p.s. please visit my site. I'll have an album out in a month or two. http://www.pronobozo.com [pronobozo.com]


In all honesty (1)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121405)

Some clever viral marketing and 'community building' and you could have yourself a huge word-of-mouth base in no time.

YOu have no idea the power of the zealous people of the internet... a lot of these fanbois will get obesessed with anything and just go nuts over it.

Build community, give it intrigue and mystery, make people feel 'cool and selected' to be a member of that community...

It will spread like wildfire!

distrobution (1)

blanks (108019) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121408)

Depending on what style of music you are into there are plenty of zines where you can sell your CD's or have people do reviews.

Also again depending on your style of music you can find very large distributors that will sell your CD's for a %. Basically if they like your cd's they will buy them at a large discount, and sell them through other zines or catalogs and websites.

Some tips for new bands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121424)

Signup for Garageband
www.garageband.com

Create CD at CafePress
www.cafepress.com

CD Baby Digital Distribution (get on iTunes!)
http://www.cdbaby.net/dd [cdbaby.net]

DMUSIC
www.dmusic.com

Multiple Strategies (2, Interesting)

wwahammy (765566) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121425)

Part of what the internet gives is number of different avenues for bands to get their music out. Getting onto Napster for its subscription service could be a really good idea as it allows people to relate your music to more established bands' music. For example, people won't necessarily check out a new band but if they see this new band is similar to say Korn they're gonna be more likely to give it a whirl and with the subscription service they're not out anything. If you don't like the idea of selling people DRM music, I believe you can just distribute it on these services as a subscription album not for individual sale.

I also think something like Magnatune is a good idea in that it gives you a more direct distribution channel. One of the advantages of smaller bands is that people tend to actually buy their music instead of getting it over P2P networks of a band that's on the radio.

I think something that's been mentioned too that is important is the idea of giving out certain tracks while selling others. Live versions could be given for free while the album version could be downloaded from a service.

What's most important though is creating a buzz and fans. Getting the music out there is relatively easy, its actually finding listeners and a group of loyal fans to preach the gospel so to speak is what's hard.

From my secondhand experience . . . (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121435)

I have some friends that have done this. Quite a few, several bands. They're pretty popular locally right now, but they are young enough that only one has released a full length album.

They have a decent web site up. That's the one thing that has helped most. When they just had a flash movie on a web server, it did almost nothing for them. Everyone was just going to the fan sites to get their info in a readable format. Now they have some band info, photos, bios, and free downloads of mp3s of some of the best tracks.

They make their money at shows. Merch, concessions, and admissions do them okay. They're in the green now, after a couple of professional releases (an EP and full album, both of them recorded at an actual studio, pressed professionally, etc). They play at a lot of local venues, and have gigs around the state (and in Texas, that's not a small accomplishment). And they don't want to work with a label.

As far as getting the music out on the internet, I mentioned they have a few tracks up. I don't think they intend to release full albums on the web site, but they don't mind other people doing it for them. Basically, as far as I know, if anyone asks if they can share stuff on the net they get "Sure, feel free to copy, but please encourage them to come see us and buy something if they like it."

Bottom line, you definately can get popular and profitable as an independent with no label or contract. But like any other job, it takes work. Don't expect to get automatic income just because you can make some music - any job, any business, requires actual work.

Live Broadcasts Over The Net (2, Interesting)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121440)


Only way to go.

Set up a monthly subscription plan whereby people who like your music can log on and see live (and prerecorded live) streaming video (and audio) of concerts and jam sessions on a regular (weekly, whatever) basis.

All the money goes directly to you (and your bandwidth provider, of course - somebody's going to take a percentage of your earnings, and that's a fact.)

Do NOT concern yourself about "pirating" of your content - it's irrelevant to your success. It's merely "unauthorized marketing" and will do you some good.

Secondly, do major marketing. Look at The Corrs - they went to practically every country on the planet, as they say, "selling each album door-to-door, country-to-country, stage-to-stage". They feel it's only right if someone buys your music, they should have the opportunity to see you live. (And the Net allows that without the jet lag.)

And they have a cameraman following them around practically twenty four hours a day, given all the documentary footage they're released over the last ten years. They have a good Web site. They log on to their fan sites and post messages (both Sharon and Caroline Corr logged on to the Corrboard in the last couple weeks to thank fans for birthday wishes). They walk across traffic to sign autographs. Treat your fans right - they buy your music.

I'd pay, probably. (1)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121441)

I once stumbled across the tunes of an imo very promising Canadian punkrock-band named "Slush" on the FastTrack Network in late 2001 or so. Ever since, I've tried to dig up information on where to buy their records. Some mate of mine googling in 2004 really popped up with the band's website, and I got in contact with the leadsinger - though he wasn't interested in earning money with their music, providing all their songs for free to me in (however poorly encoded) mp3 format... I'd definitely had paid for what they had got to offer, and I'd probably do so with your songs as well, if the content is worth it for me personally, and I'm unrestricted (e. g. no Digital Restriction(sic!) Management applied) in its usage. If it was OGG Vorbis -q6 or so, and you provided high quality CD Covers for printout and the like, I'd give it a shot, and with me some other fellow /.ers as well, I guess :)

Business Model? Band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121445)

You fucking faggot - make some music and get a job you asshole.

what I can tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12121461)

I can't answer what you are asking, but for yourself and aspiring musicians, what I can tell you is that if you get a "budget" from a label to cut an album, to be careful and pay attention to how your exec from the label spends the money. One of the biggest scams is that the suits from the labels conspire with recording engineers/studios to grab as much of the budget as possible.

Very few bands who succeed in getting a budget actually get to release an album (cd), even fewer get to see that album succeed. The suits are well aware of the statistics. With the way they launder the money, there's little chance of their getting caught. I know of a case where the suit actually convinced one individual who got a budget from a label to himself become a recording engineer, and the suit and the individual used a recording studio in which the suit was an off-the-record stockholder. The musician was a complete idiot in common sense and financial matters, so he actually assisted the suit in spending the entire ($50,000, about 25 years ago) budget at that recording studio, with the engineer billing over $100 per hour for the effort but actually receiving $0 for his efforts (he had a recording contract!).

Some of the ways the entertainment cartel gets to keep the money while claiming poverty and losses and sticking it to the individual musicians are by owning all the steps to getting that cd or dvd out. They partially or totally own the company that stamps the cd/dvd, they partially or totally own the company that designs the cover, that manufactures the cd/dvd, that manufactures the case, that manufactures the marketing material, the studio where the music/movie is cut, now the download sites owned by the labels/studios, etc.

That's how you hear stories about actors promised a part of the profits of the movie instead of a wage/salary getting nothing, because the movie grossed hundreds of millions in ticket sales but still lost money. Meanwhile, everyone in the entertainment cartel food chain still managed to get paid. Whether they actually showed a profit or not at the end of the fiscal year is a different matter.

That's why if you ever have any leverage at all, for the very few (less than 1%?) who are lucky enough to be able to negotiate a payment contract, never base your payment on profit, always on revenue. And if possible (from what has been posted on slashdot and elsewhere this normally isn't possible), write into the contract that revenue will be determined on independent auditors picked by you (not by the entertainment accountants' unauditable figures, as is normally the case).

And good luck! Don't believe the entertainment cartel's bullshit. If your music is good, people will buy your cds, regardless of p2p. p2p will actually help, because people will sample your music who otherwise would never have heard it. Once they hear it and like it, they are likely to buy it. p2p doesn't include music recorded to the same quality as cd sound (nor does listening to the music on computer speakers). And for true music lovers with good ears, cd quality isn't even the best. I know someone with "golden ears" who can't believe how inferior cds are to analog albums. He tunes pianos for a living, and once tried to demonstrate the difference between a cd and an album on his high end equipment. I'm tone deaf so I couldn't really hear the difference, but others could.

I think the turn is just around the corner. (2, Interesting)

Asprin (545477) | more than 9 years ago | (#12121462)


I'm waiting for that first new act to realize they can make a ton more money selling $7 CDs themselves over the internet than going through a label selling them for $20 and giving up their catalog to the man. As soon as the first band is succesful making it work, the floodgates are open!
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