Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
The Record Industry is Doomed

By bobej in Op-Ed
Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 12:59:28 PM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

There are any number of opinions on who's right/wrong or winning/losing the current battle between the recording industry and file sharers. But I can't help thinking everyone is missing the point a little. The record industry as we know it is doomed, whether we like it or not.


Why the Record Industry Works Now

The recording industry works by signing artists, subsidizing the production, distribution and promotion of their music and taking a cut of media sales. We can argue the ethics (or lack thereof) of the industry, but in the main this system benefits both consumers and artists.

Most up-and-coming artists simply lack the resources to promote their work on any kind of wide scale. In the media rich environment we live in, gaining public consciousness is a tough (and expensive) nut to crack. This is doubly the case if the artist's work doesn't have mainstream appeal.

Consumers benefit because there simply isn't enough time in the world to listen to all the music out there, and even if you could it wouldn't be a very rewarding experience when perhaps 90% of even recorded and distributed music is crap.

Doom Looms

Unfortunately for record labels, this state of affairs all depends on a slippery premise: That media itself has intrinsic value*, apart from the content it contains.

When something has intrinsic value*, it is a simple process to assign a price to it:

Price = V * K, where V is the intrinsic value* of the product and K is some factor > 1.

Distributors and retailers can then pump up K to account for incidental costs (like pre-paid royalties, advertising, etc.) and a healthy (some say too healthy) profit margin for themselves. (K is currently around 10 or so, which is quite high, but because recorded music has a high subjective value and the recording industry isn't exactly in a free market, they get away with it.)

This makes sense to consumers who already buy commodities like food or computers that are priced in just this way. It also makes sense in the market since if a company puts K too high, a competitor is sure to come along that prices more aggressively.**

So what happens when V = 0? And when anyone with a home PC is able to create a perfect digital copy and distribute it via the web, V is very very close to zero.

The answer is the recording industry has received its death warrant.

Labels could shift to a fixed pricing scheme (a la iTunes, Napster) but such systems will always have to compete in the market against P2P sharing systems that charge nothing (really, they just subscribe to V*K, they're only free because V = 0).

DRM solutions, regardless of whether they ethically retain consumer rights, are inherently flawed, since no such system can prevent the consumer from eventually subverting it (if need be with a second computer and a microphone).

The RIAA's current tactic of suing individual file sharers can never be effective since the cost of identifying and suing every file sharer is prohibitive. And they would surely have to sue just about every single file sharer on the planet to stop P2P networks.

* - All forms of store bought media (CDs, records, etc.) have intrinsic value. It is the individual cost of procuring, pressing, packaging and distributing each piece of media. Even if artists wanted nothing for their work, they'd still need to charge some nominal sum in order to pay for the media itself.

** - It's worth commenting here on the recording industry's consistent use of price fixing and other monopolistic tactics to force out competitors. The FTC's statement regarding the recently settled price fixing case against a few major distributors is available here.

Speculation

I think the only possible answer is that the price of music must drop dramatically. There still exists an equilibrium point where the intrinsic value of a music download service (large catalog, availability, download speed, recording quality) can pump V back up enough to make a pay-to-play service competitive against a free P2P network in the free market. But 99 cents per track ain't it, at least not in this consumers view, especially when the recording industry is only passing on a few of my cents to the artist. Lower prices = lower margins = no room for the recording industry.

iTunes and Napster already offer independent labels the ability to directly sell their music, but artists are still forced to go through an intermediary service (CDBaby.com being a popular one), pay for their own production in a studio and have few options to promote or set the price for their tracks.

I think music services will begin to adopt a more direct, middleman free, approach to listing independent artists and perhaps directly consolidate some of the production and promotional services under one roof. This would allow an artist to be truly label free, if they so choose, and why wouldn't an artist choose?

Independent labels will still exist, but these labels will be able to compete much more fairly in an open market, instead of being forced to scrabble over the RIAA's leavings. Combined with the cheap and effective promotional power of the internet, this will hopefully lead to many smaller ethical labels that put more of my dollars into artists' pockets.

Originally posted on my brand spankin' new blog. Link is in my profile.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Will Universal/EMI/BMG still be the major distributors of music 5 years?
o Yes. They'll win the P2P war. 16%
o Yes, but they'll reform their ways. 16%
o Who knows. 44%
o No. They are DOOOOOMED! 24%

Votes: 25
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o some say too healthy
o here
o CDBaby.com
o Also by bobej


Display: Sort:
The Record Industry is Doomed | 144 comments (108 topical, 36 editorial, 0 hidden)
The answer, of course, (3.00 / 7) (#1)
by Kasreyn on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 01:41:12 AM EST

is to hire politicians to stop time in its very tracks! Halt all technological process and lock it up in little black boxes!

Of course, this is patently impossible. You're of course right about them being doomed; recordings have lost nearly all their scarcity, and that was the primary basis for their value. Artists will just have to go back to earning their living from live performances, which should weed out a lot of these barely-there nine-day-wonders. I see this as a good thing. Of course, before they fall, the obsolete corporations will tear down as much of the constitution as they can reach, so it's doubtful what sort of government we'll be living under.

We may wind up being able to freely trade all the mp3's we want, as long as all of them are properly respectful of the Great Leader.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
The buggy whip lobby will crush you! (3.00 / 4) (#19)
by rusty on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 09:49:04 AM EST

Horseless carriages will only be allowed if they have a horse tethered to them.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
I for one would like to say (none / 1) (#77)
by Harvey Anderson on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 01:29:58 PM EST

that is soooo funny! guffaw!

[ Parent ]
Live Performances (none / 0) (#24)
by bobej on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 10:51:16 AM EST

Unfortunately, I live in a smallish town that gets few if any good shows. I WANT to pay great artists for the privilege of listening to their recordings. Hell, I even want to pay the recording studios, producers, marketers and everybody else that made my listening possible too, but I still feel the pricing is all out of whack.

I have to disagree with your anti-corporate sentiment. If you make corporations compete in a free market, things straighten themselves out, if for no other reason than that you and I will stop buying their products.

If there's a problem with the system, it's that corporate lobbyists are just thinly veiled blackmailers and bribe artists. Eliminate that and corporations would no longer be able to (legally) influence public policy.

[ Parent ]

Free market = unworkable capitalist fantasy (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:13:34 AM EST

the same as communism is an unworkable communist/socialist one.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Sure, but... (none / 0) (#39)
by bobej on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:51:50 AM EST

The difference is that there exist proven and effective large-scale free markets (though certainly not ideal ones) whereas there are is no such thing as a large-scale working communist system of trade. And you're kidding yourself if you think China (or even Cuba) are economically communist in anything but name.

[ Parent ]
Name one (none / 0) (#41)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:59:33 AM EST

Where is there "proven and effective free markets"? From what I've seen there's no workable economy that isn't based on both capitalism and socialism including our own (despite its level of broken-ness).

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Semantics Then (none / 0) (#44)
by bobej on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 12:21:55 PM EST

Oh, I agree that almost all systems have both socialist and capatilist attributes. (As they should, there is no such thing as a good extremist.) But when forced to class the economic systems of most of the free world, you'd have to describe them as capitalist and free market. If you want to argue semantics, then: Historically speaking, systems that are predominantly capitalist work better than ones which are predominantly socialist.

[ Parent ]
Not semantics (none / 1) (#47)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 12:45:17 PM EST

From the wikipedia "A free market is an economic term for an idealized market system, where all economic decisions and actions by individuals regarding transfer of money, goods, and services are voluntary, and are therefore devoid of coercion and theft (some definitions of "coercion" are inclusive of "theft")."

An idealized market system. I wasn't arguing semantics, I'm just bringing up reality. In practice the only workable system is a mixed economy. That was my sole point.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Commodities... (none / 0) (#101)
by Znork on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 03:46:58 AM EST

Some commodities markets may qualify as more or less free, altho they may suffer interference from future speculation based on legislative changes and tolls.

[ Parent ]
Commodities are not a market *system* [n/t] (none / 0) (#102)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 04:29:05 AM EST



"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
what about (none / 0) (#92)
by ShiftyStoner on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 11:31:41 PM EST

The chinease free market?
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]
in china... (none / 1) (#93)
by ShiftyStoner on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 11:32:12 PM EST


( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]
The funny thing (2.60 / 5) (#4)
by dhall on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 02:34:39 AM EST

It's mainly a battle over popular entertainment data. The thing is, we can stand to lose all of it.

I mean really, entertainment is a commodity. Remove and replace. Anything can fill that void in your life.

More support (2.00 / 2) (#46)
by dhall on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 12:43:58 PM EST

If the Beatles had never existed, there wouldn't be other musicians trying to find the same songs.

"Aha, my experiments indicate that a song about a Yellow Submarine would be a good!"

Whenever you refuse to spend your time on one kind of entertainment, you strengthen everything else.

If people just plain stopped listening to $5.00 or more albums, then more sub-$5.00 albums would be created.

[ Parent ]

$5.00 Albums (none / 0) (#134)
by destroy all monsters on Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 06:50:47 AM EST

Aren't viable from anyone but the majors who can afford to take the loss in loss leaders and the like. In no way can small labels and individual musicians afford to put their product at that price point.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
I agree with your conclusions, but... (3.00 / 7) (#6)
by mr strange on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 03:39:34 AM EST

I agree with your conclusions, but even I'm not convinced by your argument.
  • You never define V.
  • Why is the price a product of V (whatever that is) and K. There are far more than two variables involved, and they are certainly not all multiplied by each other.
  • Assuming V is the marginal cost of production, you are wrong to assume that it will drop to zero. Even using peer-2-peer applications isn't free. Somebody has to pay for the bandwidth.
Leave these half-baked thoughts in your blog, where they belong. Kasreyn's short comment
is far more interesting and original than your whole article.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
The recording industry is not doomed (3.00 / 12) (#7)
by D Jade on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 03:57:39 AM EST

Your premise is wrong. The recording industry is not doomed and independent artists have resources enough to promote themselves and to record and distribute their own music. What is doomed is overpricing, and you're right, the big companies need to lower their prices if they want to continue enjoying actual cd sales.

However, to say that a decline in CD sales will result in the doom of this industry shows that you clearly don't understand how the industry works. For starters, a large part of the profit comes from broadcasting this music. Radio stations, music television and live performances all earn a healthy profit for the record companies and this makes up a larger portion of their income than the sale of a cd.

Not only do radio and tv stations pay to use this content, but also in many countries, business pays. Commercial stores are often required to pay a license to a governing body to broadcast the music they play, whether it is the radio, cd, television or a website that they are broadcasting the music from. In Australia, the body that collects this fee is called APRA and it requires that businesses report which stations they listen to or what artists' music they play. I am unsure if there is an American equivalent of this body. But it would be naieve to claim that there wasn't, given that Australia's system models the USA's down to the t's and i's.

It's not just businesses that are required to report the broadcast of music and pay licensing fees. Professional Dj's and Promoters must also pay. In fact anyone who earns an income from playing music must pay. Whenever I play a set, I must submit a list of the tracks I have played to the promoter so that they can pay the appropriate fees. If I was a mobile dj, I would have to report this directly to APRA and pay the fee. It is compulsory for all professional Djs to register with APRA as well and they are all required to pay an annual fee.

What this means is that all recording labels or independent artists receive some form of payment for the broadcast of their music. So even if they only sell one copy of their music, they will get paid if it gets played. Whether the big companies pass this on to the artist is another topic for debate and isn't really relevant to your argument.

The other point you miss is that many artists are not paid against their sales, but are given one off fees. Whether the record goes platinum, silver or gold or whether it sells three copies, they are not legally entitled to receive any further payment because they no longer own the rights to their music. It's quite a common practice. A good example is a friend of mine who produces music. He received a payment of AUD1500 for two tracks he produced. This record ended up selling 6000 units of vinyl, which is incredibly high when talking about vinyl sales; yet he only receives the original AUD1500. So nine times out of ten, the artist does not lose out when there is a lack in record sales, and those that have a comission on their sales are usually established artists who don't really need to earn more money because they already have millions.

The formula you have provided as evidence is nonsense and is in no way representative of the way the recording industry actually works. The fundamental flaw you make is to say that big recording companies price a product according to its quality. If this was the case, then almost all music is of exactly the same quality and the music sold at one store is of lesser or greater quality depending on its pricing in comparison to its competitors. This also contradicts the argument that 90% of music is "crap". Once again, if this was the case then 90% of cds in stores would be dirt cheap and only 10% would cost the consumer the current full price.

You're right in saying that there isn't enough time to listen to all the music in the world, and no one wants you. The problem is that 90% of it isn't crap, 90% of it isn't mainstream. 10% of music is crap and that's what you hear on the radios. It's this practice that cripples independent artists because they can't get radio play. However, they can still get exposure. Many independent artists provide FREE downloads of some of their music or participate in websites which relate to the music scene that they are into. The other point is that 9 out of 10 serious musicians will tell you that the real money is to be made in performance and that recorded music is a promotional tool.

To miss the point even further is to claim that an artist does not have the resources to record their own music. Now, almost everyone drives a car, and many of these people have taken out personal loans to pay for their cars. The standard price for a new car in Australia is AUD20,000. This is far more than is required to set up a studio. For this amount of money, artists could buy amplifiers, good studio microphones, computers, mixing desks, sequencers and the same computer software that professionals use. It is the initiative that is lacking in many artists, but usually, these artists won't succeed anyway because they lack the drive and passion for music. Those that do are lucky enough to be "discovered", or should I say "created" and "marketed". Once again though, the record company will not lose if they don't have many sales.

The simple fact is that the large record companies announce record profits every year. There is no indication to suggest that they are experiencing an overall decline in music sales, and digitial technology will only further promote their music and their profits.

In fact, the opinion you present is a marketing tool that the big four have been using for years to try and scare consumers into buying their music. But the simple fact is that noone is any worse off for file sharing and noone is less likely to buy a cd if they can download it off the net. The important point that everyone misses in this argument is that people like their cover art. People like having a tangible product that they can look at and touch. People like the buzz that comes with picking a cd out of the pile and the only way that they will lose this buzz is if capitalism fails completely and consumers become people again. If this were the case though it won't matter, because there will be no recording industry to suffer.

It is for these reasons above that I will give this story a minus one when you move to vote. In fact, I think I may even develop this comment into an article of its own to debunk your's.

Peace out

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive

Business model... (2.33 / 3) (#12)
by Znork on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 06:54:36 AM EST

If the big labels cannot recoup the costs of marketing through highly priced sales they will be unable to maintain the current level of exposure. That in turn will cut off the income from the other channels, as it gets replaced with a larger part of the long tail, which in turn also results in less money to generate exposure with.

The current 'mainstream' model is an artefact of market distortions due to the monopoly effects caused by copyright, which diverts the highest levels of profitable turnover from maximum number of low cost productions to minimum number high cost promotions. The exact opposite of the capitalistic free market concept.

That model of a few highly promoted manufactured artists is doomed, unless the industry can lobby for enough laws to prevent a lower cost indie takeover.

For most artists that's a good thing tho. The less consumer money that gets spent on marketing, the more money the actual creators get, and the easier it will be for the long quality tail to obtain the playtime (and consequently the per-commercial-play money) their music deserves.

[ Parent ]

I wish you were right (none / 0) (#27)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:02:52 AM EST

but sadly I know better. Nice thought though.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Great Comment (2.66 / 3) (#20)
by bobej on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 10:02:39 AM EST

You've brought up some good points that I haven't considered and I look forward to reading your article, but I have to disagree on a few things.

Indeed, the recording industry does make a fine chunk of change from selling broadcast rights, but this isn't that large a component of their overall income. In the US the companies who manage this are ASCAP and BMI. ASCAP made about $500 million in 1996, as compared to the recording industry's $10 billion in total revenue in the US. More info here. Another thing worth mentioning here is the bland media tax.

One-off fees are indeed important to the way labels benefit artists and I should have made note of it. I'd like to know though the percentage of how often this pays off for the artist, rather than ends up screwing them.

That 90% of music is crap, we may have to just plain disagree on that point. Look for tracks on Myspace or GarageBand and tell me 90% of that is not shit.

Regarding the pricing of music, I've intentionally presented a simplistic model, so as not to get bogged down in too much economics, but the bottom line is that I'm willing to pay $15-20 for a CD based on quality. The only reason most CDs are equivalently priced is because of price fixing, otherwise we'd see 50 cent bargain bins just as with shitty software. If artists are making the real money in performances, instead of from media sales, it is because they are being shafted.

Promotion: There's no way in hell a US bank would give a $15-20,000 loan to someone in order to finance their band. That same person might get a car loan, but that really just means the person gets to borrow the car from the bank until it's paid for. (I know I don't have my title yet.) To say that a person doesn't love their music enough if they aren't sacrificing is assinine. Maybe they've got talent and heart but can't find enough band-mates with the same level of commitment, or they have a shitty minimum wage job, a wife and a kid.

In the end, I still stand by my guns. The industry is in for a swift kick in the pants and it's coming soon. Once iTunes, Napster, CDBaby or some other online based distributer gets its ducks in a row and starts offering great artists' tracks at reasonable prices, it'll begin.

[ Parent ]

following up (none / 1) (#45)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 12:42:15 PM EST

ASCAP, BMI and the like add up to approximately a billion dollars so it's not chump change by any stretch of the imagination.

You're forgetting how much money is made off of soundtracks. That money is huge.

Price fixing is absolutely right. Even with the convictions though that hasn't changed.

You've lost me with your point/s about promotion.

I don't think any of those online sites are worth a damn. I have yet to see any decent cd's on cdbaby and I'd never spend money on downloading anything under any circumstance. It should be as a teaser, to decide if you want to buy the album. I also know I'm not the only person that'd rather buy from a quality brick and mortar shop that offers cd's at reasonable prices and has a good selection of used stuff.


"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

you are a minority (none / 1) (#82)
by speek on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 05:01:41 PM EST

You may think you're in the majority, but that's probably because all your friends are also over 40 (I don't say this meanly, I'm 35 myself). As time goes by, more and more people with money will only buy on-line because brick and mortar music stores are so consistently more expensive, across the board.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

He's not wrong (3.00 / 2) (#90)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 08:45:25 PM EST

The fact is that older consumers make up a large part of the market and that younger people's purchasing habits really haven't changed that much in the last 20 years. There is no evidence to show that downloading affects music sales any more than recording from a record to cassette did back in the day. In fact, year after year we see record companies reporting higher sales. The simple fact is that everyone likes cover art and even if people download gigs worth of music each month. They'll still pay for a cd with cover art for their favorite band or artist. Exactly like you would have heaps of kids recording cassettes from records before downloads. It makes no difference to people's purchasing habits, it's just that different technology is used.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
not arguing piracy vs paying (none / 1) (#109)
by speek on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 11:14:08 AM EST

It's brick and mortar vs the on-line purchasing, because the question was can independent musicians get their stuff out to the world. Take a label like Magna Carta - these discs are rarely available in local stores, but seem to do ok. It is so much easier to find unusual and good stuff on the internet than by browsing a real store, I'm surprised I'm getting much argument about this. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Depends on where you are (none / 1) (#133)
by destroy all monsters on Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 06:22:07 AM EST

"Take a label like Magna Carta - these discs are rarely available in local stores, but seem to do ok."

I can find releases on Magna Carta in a number of places locally. I'm certain that's the case in all the other major metropolitan areas. I sincerely doubt that Magna Carta gets most of its sales online.

"It is so much easier to find unusual and good stuff on the internet than by browsing a real store...'

Right, because that's what it's like where you are. It's not like that everywhere just like I'm reasonably certain that it's difficult to find anything other than Best Buys, Wal-Marts and the like in other areas.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

I might be a minority (none / 1) (#95)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 01:24:33 AM EST

in those areas whose only music stores are wal-mart and the like. In areas like mine where Rasputin competes with Amoeba (and Aquarius), most people go to those stores. Then again, I live in an area where there are still some specialty music shops (hiphop,reggae, electronica)which is why I grant that it is probably/possibly not the case in others. For example the likelihood of picking up the MC5 in some store in Podunk is pretty low where not carrying it in a major store in a town around here is unthinkable (outside of those shitty chain stores that might as well be organs of the majors).

Still, those folks aren't going to go to these online stores you mention either - maybe they'll do Amazon or they'll check out Midnight.

FYI- I'm not offended, I'm happier now than I've ever been so I'm proud of finally having the clarity I wished I'd had when I was younger.

As far as pricing is concerned I'll make two points:
1. I'll happily pay a little more to a store when I can get something in hand - and what I buy tends to be difficult to find or otherwise uncommon and I want to reward stores for carrying it. Most of the folks I know feel the same way - and it's not an age thing (since most of the people I know are involved in music in some way, shape or form anyway). Regional factors as above come into play.

2. My experience is that music isn't that much cheaper (if at all) online and if I'm going to buy used I sure as hell want to inspect the disc first  .


"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

maybe we're conflating two things (none / 1) (#112)
by speek on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 04:55:30 PM EST

There are 3 ways to buy music: physical stores, buying CD's on-line that are sent to you via mail, and buying songs and downloading the files. I think it is easier to find the music of interest to me on-line and have the CD sent to me, and I think I can nearly always find it cheaper. I often buy used on-line, and with people younger than myself, I expect the psychological resistance to buying over the net to be even less.

For the purposes of artists trying to sell their music without a major label, this is good enough - I can find their music and buy it. For instance, I have found and bought CD's from bands like Superior, Never the Bride, and Tiles (before they became part of Magna Carta). Even these independent artists will find their CD's being sold on Amazon in the long run. Which is my point - huge record labels are not necessary to making a living at music selling (making a killing will maybe remain another story for some time).

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

But you assume everyone is like you (3.00 / 2) (#113)
by D Jade on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 07:59:27 PM EST

Not everyone shops with a purpose. I live in the Central Business District so I have hundreds of shops to pick from. Quite often I'll hit the stores looking for nothing in particular. I just want to get some music. Maybe I'm in the mood for Jazz, or some Hip-Hop. Maybe I want some house or maybe I'm looking for something my parents used to play when I was young. The point is that the only way you can really shop like this is if you walk into a store.

The simple fact is that people like shopping and although I'll embrace digital downloads, and online orders, I'm not going to replace those methods with the bricks and mortar stores. This goes for all kinds of consumables from music and movies to clothes, accessories, toys, gadgets. The simple fact is that you can buy all of these online now. Technically, you don't need to leave your house for anything anymore. So by going on your logic, all shops should be empty, or only containing people over the age of forty.

You say that young people are more likely to embrace the digital technology in favour over the old bricks and mortar. But every weekend when I walk through the city, more often than not, the people I pass by are in the shops are young. Trust me, that's the other advantage of shopping for real, you get to check out the talent on the way.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

not all comsumables are alike (none / 1) (#114)
by speek on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 09:27:16 PM EST

Will local video stores wane with the advent of delivered dvd's? Could BlockBuster have remained Blockbuster without offering a netflix-type service? Some things avail themselves more to on-line shopping than other things. Music you can try out on-line far more easily than you can in the store. And you can browse on-line music, it's just works a little differently. Instead of going A-Z in the rock/pop section, you start from a known artist and branch out to all the "also bought by people who liked X" links. Far more effective browsing, IMO.

My logic doesn't say shops should be empty, it says on-line purchasing should soon be at a level where artists can make a living selling their art without a large label behind their efforts, and without expensive marketing campaigns.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Yes but, (3.00 / 2) (#116)
by D Jade on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 10:58:07 PM EST

A low quality shitty one minute sample does not compare to a listening post in a store where you can listen to the full album if you like while holding the product in your hand.

In your opinion, those "People who listened to this also liked..." system is sutiable to your needs. The assumption you make though is that this is the case for everyone under the age of forty. Or more, that younger generations will reject bricks and mortar for online shopping. Firstly, a lot of young people don't have credit/debit cards. Secondly, shopping is a social activity. You can't really shop online with a friend. I mean, can you see yourself stopping in the middle of a web page with your friend to have a "virtual" latte and some digital caramel slice? And thirdly, people like to browse randomly and online stores can't really facilitate this in the same way as wandering around a shopping center can.

I agree with you that artists will be able to make a living from online sales without the marketing campaigns, they already can; if they use the medium well. But your initial statement was that younger generations will favour online stores than bricks and mortar because they are cheaper and more convenient. So far there's no evidence to support this, even though the infrastructure is already in place and functional to the level required for people to embrace these technologies.

Cheaper prices are not apparent when buying CDs online. Postage usually inflates the price to equal or greater value than buying it in a store. I know this because I have ordered a lot of music online and you only get value for money if you order a number of cds at once. Then you also have to account for the fact that you have to wait for the product to arrive, so consumers do not derive the same satisfaction from their purchasing. Also, if you want it to arrive faster, you have the option to pay even more to have it shipped quicker. Then you have to take into account the fact that you can't listen to the whole CD online and you run the risk of ordering a cd that is 10% good and 90% boring.

Local video stores won't wane with the advent of delivered DvD's. See, once again, when you're buying something online, you have to know what you are looking for. Quite often people don't go to the video store with a particular movie in mind. Often they just feel like watching something. Once again, people like to browse the available products, in person.

I agree that online ordering and shopping is a great medium, and it will definitely become more prominent in the future. However, to suggest that people will choose antisocial behaviour (online shopping) over social behaviour is folly. People like the tactile and social experience that comes with shopping. People like being able to talk to a real person, face-to-face, and that's not going to change anytime soon.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

What you're failing to grasp is that (3.00 / 2) (#125)
by destroy all monsters on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 07:06:18 AM EST

many artists already *are* making a living doing their music without major labels. The internet is a puny part of that equation though. The big parts of it are: touring, developing word of mouth and supporting your fan base via different forms of outreach. This isn't to say that musicians should be able to survive solely off their musical endeavors as I'm unconvinced it is entirely a positive thing they do so.

The internet is really not nearly as important as touring. Going to concerts is not only a social event but a happening. People routinely drag their friends to shows and invariably some of them like it. There are levels upon levels of networking and people that actually want to help out bands (fans and those that support their local scenes).

I'll trust a friend's judgement, or a fellow dj's before I trust some yutz on amazon. Most people are the same. As D Jade mentions purchasing is a social activity.

"on-line purchasing should soon be at a level where artists can make a living selling their art without a large label behind their efforts, and without expensive marketing campaigns."

I don't know if I agree with *should* for reasons previously stated but I don't think that general online purchasing will be the way to go. If anything specialty online shops will do a better job at servicing those whose propensity isn't to buy the usual major label crap.


"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Word of mouth most powerful (3.00 / 2) (#132)
by D Jade on Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 02:30:07 AM EST

You highlight some good facts. The one thing that people miss is that real musicians, the ones out there doing the hard yards to get themselves heard, usually hold down full time employment in addition to what they do in the night time. It's very very rare these days for a musician to draw their income entirely from their craft.

A perfect example of this is Melbourne, Australia. It's a city that has produced a large amount of the progressive dance music which gets played by the big name dj's accross the globe and is listened to every week by 1000's of clubbers and fans. However, of the people who release their music for commercial sale, there are only a handful who work on their music full time. Off the top of my head, I can think of Phil K, Nu-Breed, Luke Chable, Infusion and Andy Page. That's about it, the rest of the Melbourne Massive all at least work part-time.

The thing about music is that it is one of the only things that truly gives individuals freedom. That is, the freedom to decide. The recording industry that is doomed is the current, large-scale industry which doesn't give you that choice. It lets you choose between one mass-marketed/produced artist or another. That's not real choice. The current industry doesn't want you to have choice. It wants you to buy their product, nothing more or nothing less.

I think there are alternatives to this doomed model, but they can't be found in the massive multinational record companies that exist today. It will be the independent labels and artists that shape their own careers that will be the face of change. It won't really put a dent in the "evil" corporations's profits. But it will allow more people to hear what they want. That's more important than money or recording quality.

And on the topic of good quality studio practices versus bad; a friend of mine said last night that soul doesn't have a high bit-rate, which pretty much says it all.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

I don't know (none / 1) (#124)
by destroy all monsters on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:45:55 AM EST

"There are 3 ways to buy music" actually there's more. Buying it from the band directly at a show is another possibility. One I practice fairly religiously.

" I think it is easier to find the music of interest to me on-line and have the CD sent to me, and I think I can nearly always find it cheaper."

Which is why I brought up regional issues. Doubtless there are places where this is far easier. I doubt that that is true in most major metropolitan areas.

As far as cheaper is concerned I've gotten gems out of dollar bins at least as often as I've bought music online or mailorder.

"I often buy used on-line, and with people younger than myself, I expect the psychological resistance to buying over the net to be even less."

I prefer not to make assumptions. I can say as a matter of fact that my son, his friends and all of mine (which range from late teens to early fifties) prefer to buy things *now* rather than wait, and not to sound too snobby, we're all involved in music in some way. There's no real psychological barrier, just preference and if I can get what I want now instead of waiting I'm going to do that. Again, there's something to be said for those stores that cater to your interests. Those stores also have people that can help you select other things you might be interested in. Regardless, it's a matter of preference.

I never argued that musicians couldn't make a living by not being on the majors. I never would (hell, I volunteer at one and have friends that have labels).However you make a lot more money after you've broken if you do sign with them. Depends on the preference of the artist.

There seems to be some confusion here.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Thanks, but you're still wrong (3.00 / 2) (#89)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 08:37:17 PM EST

That 90% is crap is complete rubbish. To say that the music found on myspace and garageband makes up 90% of the music that's being created is a very big assumption to make, and also very foolish.

On pricing, you say that you're willing to pay a price based on the quality of the recording. But in your article you don't say this at all. You said that the music companies pay higher prices for music that is better quality. But that's not true. The music industry pays based on the product's market value. That is, how many sales, how many radio/tv plays and such. You could write the best song in the world, but at the end of the day, you're not going to get paid millions of dollars if it's your debut album. You'll get chicken feed.

On bank loans, and your perception of musicians. This is another assumption that I am sick of hearing. Why is it that being a musician instantly means that you have no money, or that you're a bum? I know a lot of people involved in the music industry and most of these people work full-time holding down full-time jobs and doing their music on the weekend and after work. They're not bums, they work very hard. They have jobs and they have some money.

There is no way in hell a US Bank would loan 20,000 to an unemployed person or someone working minimum wage, yes that's true. But they wouldn't loan that person money for a car either. So that point is moot. However, if someone was earning 40,000 a year, the bank might lend them 10K for a car or a studio. The fact is that this equipment can be reposessed just like your car can if you don't pay your bills. I guess my point in saying this is that a person's eligibilty to receive a loan is not based on whether they are a musician or not. Banks don't care what you do with their money (to an extent) they are more concerned with your financial situation.

This kick in the pants you talk about has already happened. The big guns in the recording industry have already realised the threat digital music poses and are working with i-tunes and its equivalents to ensure that every multinational corporation gets as much money as they can out of this exercise. You make it sound like they are standing back with their hands up in the air refusing to play. That's why I don't agree with your position because this is not the case.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

Performance Royalties (3.00 / 2) (#51)
by ktakki on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 05:30:20 PM EST

You have it backwards about record labels and the revenue from broadcasters.

Performance royalties, the funds generated by radio, television, and other public performances (nightclubs, jukeboxes, etc.) go to the composer of the piece, not the label, not the performer (unless they're the same person or persons).

As for radio stations paying for CDs, that's exceedingly rare, and the only time I've seen it done is at college radio stations. Even then, the CD is usually a rare import from a label that isn't servicing that market. At a major market FM radio station, CDs arrive by the hundreds each week.

Money actually flows from the label to the stations, conveyed by independent promoters hired by the record labels. In the '50s, labels actually paid cash for airplay directly ("payola"). In the '70s, it was drugs. Hiring independent promo men is how the labels get around the legislation enacted in the US after the Payola scandals and subsequent Congressional hearings.


k.
--
"In spite of everything, I still believe that people
are really good at heart." - Anne Frank

[ Parent ]

No, you have it backwards (3.00 / 2) (#88)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 08:05:52 PM EST

If a dj plays a record in a club he has to pay the artist or the label. Whichever owns the rights to the recording. Just like any other. If a band performs a cover, then you are right. But we are talking about recorded music here.

Anyway, as I said, the system is probably different in America. But in this country, radio stations DO have to pay for the music they play. It's not a question of paying for the CD itself. Reread my comments about APRA to get what I am talking about. But it's clear that the US does things rather differently than here.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

Missed the mark slightly (none / 1) (#79)
by Zymas on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 03:13:40 PM EST

You might want to reconsider your statement that artists can record their own material and be competitive. Some can - but most rely on professionals who know their way around MS mastering and parallel compression. Being able to afford the gear isn't enough, the same way that being able to afford a set of brushes doesn't make one an artist.

"it ain't the medium - it's the message"

[ Parent ]

No practice makes the artist proficient (3.00 / 2) (#87)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 07:57:49 PM EST

In this day and age, producing and recording your own music is a very simple process and to say that people can't learn this like they have learnt their other instruments makes it sound like musicians are retarded... In some cases, you're probably right. You miss the point to say that a musician/artist can't learn their way around a studio. Also you don't consider alternative options to saving up and buying the gear; like using that money to buy studio time with a producer, or doing a course in production.

You're right, I don't see how a set of brushes could make an artist, just like a quitar doesn't make a rockstar. But I don't see how that's relevant to the parts of a home studio.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

No practice make the artist a one-trick pony (3.00 / 2) (#115)
by Zymas on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 09:46:38 PM EST

My intent was not to imply that musicians are retarded (that would be strange since I happen to have a degree in music) but rather to point out that the complexity of sound recording/mixing/mastering is frequently underestimated, as you persist on doing, and even more frequently ignore. Don't feel bad, b/c this is a very, very common mistake, but unfortunately one that devalues an entire profession within the music industry. Perhaps you are unaware that there are actually professionals working out there who actually study music, acoustics, mathematics, analog and digital electronics, and the techniques and technology of sound recording in order to capture someone else's performance with as much artistry as possible. You don't think Steely Dan sounds so damn good by accident do you?
Back to your point, which was that the falling cost of equipment makes it easier for musicians to record themselves. Point conceded. My point, however, is that this makes as little sense as the model also developing the film (possible, but not sustainable or realistic at any high level of the art). If you're OK with crappy overcompressed, flat sound, then push your notion that the musician can go it alone.
Big picture implication is that the musical community will always require a conduit through which to reach the listener. That conduit is crucial, has been crucial since before Edison started spinning wax, and will be crucial long after every guitarist/drummer knows the dangerous end of a Finalizer. The reason is simple. Specialization yields quality. Throw specialization out the window, and quality necessarily goes along.

[ Parent ]
Being a producer in the making myself (3.00 / 2) (#117)
by D Jade on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 11:53:49 PM EST

I understand where you are coming from. I'm halfway through my own studies and understand how hard it can be to produce good quality sound. I also understand that 90% of people don't really care about well produced sound, listen to some of the gaff that gets played on radio.

My point is that many artists do produce their own music in the form of demos. This has been going on for as long as recording has existed and is responsible for the discovery and consequent signing of many many artists.

You also accuse me of giving no credit to producers and to overlook their artform. Yet, I think it is you that overlook their skills. There's a man that goes by the name of Jack "The Bear". He is responsible for producing about every composition that gets recorded in Melbourne. This guy is a wizard, like a total wizard. He can take a demo recording and make it sound like it was recorded in the most amazing studio without needing to re-record everything from scratch. I have no idea how he does it, but when you hear a track mastered by "The Bear" you can tell. A friend of mine had a record released that "The Bear" mastered for him from a 128Kbps MP3 that was heralded as one of the best produced tracks of its genre for 2004. The original composition was produced on a laptop using Logic Audio and was made by a guy who knows next to nothing about the technical side of production.

This is much like the bands/artists I am referring to who have the power to record their own music. If it is really worthy of further attention, someone will help them finish what they started and this is where your point is lost on me. The point you miss is that many musicians who are discovered don't have a degree in music and many producers have not had formal training as such either. I know a lot of musicians and producers, I've even managed a few myself in the past. One thing that is clear is that people with degrees usually end up performing dead (classical) music in orchestras, or becoming music teachers. Formal training is not required to be considered an artist, and most artists reject formal training in favour of studying with their peers. This is most true amongst sound producers who all consistently agree that the best way to learn is to have hands on studio time and to learn the theory as it comes, and the most successful education programs model this peer-based learning.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

received ITS death warrant (1.80 / 5) (#8)
by Pat Chalmers on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 04:49:07 AM EST

Learn the difference between "it's" and "its" before you even CONSIDER submitting another story.

You're a fag (1.20 / 5) (#76)
by Harvey Anderson on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 01:26:19 PM EST

.

[ Parent ]
Make it an editorial comment (2.00 / 3) (#78)
by pediddle on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 02:44:09 PM EST

before you even CONSIDER posting another one.

[ Parent ]
Not too fast (2.00 / 2) (#84)
by rodentboy on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 07:25:39 PM EST

First off I'm not saying that you are wrong. He did make a malapropism. However there is a good reason that people make that mistake.

Imagine replacing the word "it" in that sentence with "George": "receive George's death warrant" would be the right way to express the possesive not "receive Georges death warrant".

So on a site that is populated with programmers, and we know programmers are really attached to syntactic consistency, you could see how that mistake could be nade. He's applying the rule X's and expanding the macro by substituting "it" for X.

The rest of your churlish and eletist comments are not worth commenting on, however, so I shal simply rate them accordingly.



[ Parent ]
all i know is (2.66 / 6) (#9)
by circletimessquare on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 05:21:23 AM EST

i haven't bought a music cd since 1998, when i discovered napster (well, i bought some in manila and cebu, but that's different)

meanwhile, i have about 110G of music sitting on my harddrive right now: pop from asia, techno from europe

is the record industry doomed?

well, all p2p has allowed me to do is expand my musical interests to something beyond american pop: i listen to stuff now i wouldn't have been able to get my hands on before p2p

so what does that mean?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Depends What You Mean By "Mean" (2.50 / 2) (#15)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 08:07:41 AM EST

My experience is similar to yours. The better part of my music collection is expressed in gigs instead of dollars. I miss nothing, gain everything. The only money I part with are voluntary tips.

(However, I've never considered my tastes a viable model for economic forecasting. But -- I dunno -- if you feel that way too...

((And yes, I believe Clinton was being disingenuous when he said he hadn't had sexual relations with that ripe little finger-puppet. I mean, c'mon.

Reference: "...That depends on what your definition of is is." --> Subject Field Variation --> CTS "so what does that mean?" --> JP Sartre: "I feel ill, but giddy.")))


_____
I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weeke
[
Parent ]
well let my try to answer my own question (none / 1) (#18)
by circletimessquare on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 09:34:39 AM EST

p2p does mean some sort of economic hardship for traditional music distribution channels- whether malaise they can adapt to or outright doom, who knows

but there is a LARGER force at work: a true internationalization of the music scene, made possible only by p2p

but maybe that's only appealing to a certain type of person...in other words, does your average britney spears fan care about what they listen to in tokyo, or more importantly, would he or she EVER care?

or, visa versa, would your average ayumi hamasaki fan care about what they listen to in new york? or ever care?

so what i meant was that yes, p2p hurts meatspace music distribution

but, for me at least, that is the smaller story at work here

the real story is that i can now truly listen to whatever the hell i want to, whenever i want to, and i could never do that before p2p

so the confusion over what we are talking abuot has to do with sorting out the DIFFERENT forces at work here with the introduction of p2p onto the music consumer


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I don't think it hurts distribution (none / 0) (#99)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 02:04:37 AM EST

if anything it strengthens the desire to check out new things that people wouldn't ordinarily check out (which you used to only be able to do by buying). From what I've seen the only thing p2p "hurts" is those musicians and bands so popular that a lot of people buy just because "everybody" has it. You know, the cd's that clutter used bins.

Thing is that the companies themselves hurt distribution by trying to make it harder and more expensive to buy imports than they used to be via legislation. What these clowns haven't learned yet is that by attacking the consumer they attack their base. People understandably want extra tracks or better packaging or whathaveyou that they might be depriving the local market of.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

I don't expect people to pay for music (none / 1) (#11)
by auraslip on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 06:39:55 AM EST

If people want to pay me for cds, I consider that paying for the medium and as a donation. Come watch us play, pay us for that.

BTW the new kanya west cd sucks.
124

But not many people will come (none / 1) (#104)
by HollyHopDrive on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 05:01:08 AM EST

unless they have an idea in advance of whether it will be worth it.


I make too much sense to be on the Internet.
[ Parent ]

and many people will come (none / 0) (#135)
by auraslip on Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 07:51:35 AM EST

because the music is good, and i let them have it.
124
[ Parent ]
You seem to have missed her point (none / 0) (#136)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:57:13 AM EST

She's asking how are you going to get people to see your shows since you've not mentioned any manner of publicity or promotion. Also you seem to be saying that you only sell cd's at the gig.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
myspace (none / 0) (#140)
by auraslip on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:03:30 PM EST


124
[ Parent ]
Been there (none / 0) (#141)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:23:20 PM EST

seen that. Not enough. That helps if people already know who you are - not if they don't.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Intellectual Property Bullying Level Orange (2.37 / 8) (#13)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 07:57:47 AM EST

Most up-and-coming artists simply lack the resources to promote their work on any kind of wide scale.

Poppycock. Here we are discussing the subject via a global computer network, and you're willing to condone that kind of lazy, egg-sucking thinking?

Farts to that! It's too ridiculous to bother arguing.

When you think that way -- that wide scale distribution cannot be achieved by folk -- the record company terrorists have already won.


_____
I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weeke
Honestly (none / 1) (#16)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 08:25:54 AM EST

Good point.  Anyone who owns a frying pan owns death.  It just takes work sometimes.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

The internet isn't enough (none / 1) (#28)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:10:59 AM EST

In the music industry the internet just isn't enough to make a huge difference. A difference, yes. A lot of bands get exposure on MySpace and from touring *a lot* and making a name in their local scene. That doesn't mean that they're going to break globally that way. It takes radio, and promotion to get further.

Ideally a band would want to be able to bring in at least a hundred people to a club so that they can get paid something approaching their touring costs. Just being on the net won't do that (and nearly any act on CDBaby is worth shit).

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? (3.00 / 8) (#26)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 10:59:46 AM EST

My two cents as someone that works in the industry: the industry is far from dead and won't die (even the majors). People will always want the full artwork and lyrics for their favorite artists.

It will ,however, have to deal with getting dramatically less profit then they're currently used to. What I find interesting in all this change that's occuring now is that consumer habits haven't significantly changed. People are still buying the crap that the labels, MTV and Clear Channel are forcefeeding them like Christina Aguilera (and that's part of the reason I don't think that the major labels will fail).On the issue of where CD's will cost: I think it's fallen almost as far as it's going to. Roughly $10 will be about right.

"I think music services will begin to adopt a more direct, middleman free, approach to listing independent artists and perhaps directly consolidate some of the production and promotional services under one roof. This would allow an artist to be truly label free, if they so choose, and why wouldn't an artist choose?"

It appears that you're saying is that new middlemen will take the place of the old; and you go so far as to put promotional and production services under the same roof the same way the major labels used to. How is this a different scenario than the current one? It seems to me that putting production under the wings of the money men yet again is a giant step backwards.

"Independent labels will still exist, but these labels will compete much more fairly in the open market than current labels, and hopefully consume far less of an artist's hard earned profits. "

This is confusing. How are independent labels not competing fairly now? The key to why the majors make so much is all about distribution. If you sign to any number of small labels you'll get a 50/50 deal, the problem being getting that stuff airplay and distribution.

I think your heart is in the right place and most of the beginning of your article is dead on, but I think that you should consider some further research.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice

Middlemen Aren't Bad (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by bobej on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:25:38 AM EST

I'm not arguing that middlemen are bad, per se, but that the current middlemen are. I agree there is some danger to conglomerating promotional, production and distribution services under one roof, but I think this is inevitable and I'm hoping that an internet-based service will pop-up that doesn't kowtow to the RIAA monopoly.

You're entirely right about independent labels competing. Since it's still in editing I'll clarify.

[ Parent ]

I'm going to have to disagree (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:36:41 AM EST

I work with some of the middlemen - promoters - and they do a good job of letting us at the stations know what they want pushed. However when I tell them that we're not interested in x or y, but love z they get it and leave it alone.

"I agree there is some danger to conglomerating promotional, production and distribution services under one roof, but I think this is inevitable and I'm hoping that an internet-based service will pop-up that doesn't kowtow to the RIAA monopoly."

I sincerely hope not. It'll end up being the same players playing the same games.

The key piece I think you're missing: persuading labels to leave the RIAA. Persuading bands to leave labels that are a part of the RIAA. That will make a real difference since people that are in the industry now will be there tomorrow no matter what.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Absolutely Right (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by bobej on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:41:44 AM EST

"The key piece I think you're missing: persuading labels to leave the RIAA. Persuading bands to leave labels that are a part of the RIAA. That will make a real difference since people that are in the industry now will be there tomorrow no matter what."

Absolutely. My case is that there's room now for it to actually be profitable (not just ethical) to do just that.

[ Parent ]

I think you should put it in there as a plan (none / 1) (#38)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 11:49:15 AM EST

of action then. The enemy is the Association, not the smaller labels (who've joined it) that are currently scared shitless.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
The only winners . . . (3.00 / 3) (#50)
by acceleriter on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 01:15:27 PM EST

. . . will be the purveyors of (increasingly intrusive) Digital Restrictions Management schemes.

industry change == much overrated comment (3.00 / 3) (#57)
by Peahippo on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 01:22:39 AM EST

Look, there is a new status quo for music prices.

There used to be 2 prices before: new and used.

Now there are 3: new, used and shared (... a.k.a. free).

My music buying patterns have hardly changed since the early days of the CD. Once the CD catalog places collapsed, I found myself priced out of the new market. Hence, I went used, and never looked back. My average price per CD is less than 8 bucks for the stuff I like to buy: 80s collections; Philip Glass and other "trance" or "space" composers; select pop and rock artists like GTR, Thomas Dolby, Peter Gabriel, Prince etc.; and a few wacky things like Tipsy and Klaatu.

The music industry hardly notices that I exist. The only way they notice me is through their imagining that they are losing revenue since I buy used CDs. That brain-damaged viewpoint of theirs is almost exactly the same accusation leveled at the MP3 crowd. People consume that much music SINCE it's free.

But the industry is not going to change. Why should they? They make great money for themselves and a very few "winner" bands, and a lot of greed and hope fuels that kind of thing. In an age of MP3s, they still make great money. It's the same thing as when all those used-CD places sprouted up -- the industry didn't see a dime of that, yet they still made great money from their main business.

There's simply no incentive for the industry to drop music prices to any noticable extent. If anything, prices will RISE for the new stuff since the USA is becoming more a corporate fiefdom with each passing year and regardless of what political party dominates the Presidency or Congress. The legal apparatus in the West will support the industry more and more, if anything.


My goodness! (none / 0) (#59)
by Lanes Inexplicably Closed to Traffic on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 02:28:57 AM EST

Did you just get fired? Welfare check denied? Unemployment run out? Last possible customer on earth pass you up? Or whatever it is that lunatics do to put food in their mouths and roofs over their heads. You are mightily prolific of late.

[ Parent ]
That's funny ... (none / 0) (#62)
by Peahippo on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 02:54:03 AM EST

... since from my viewpoint, I've been restrained by work and social events from fully embedding myself in the Internet news and commentary stream to the extent that I envision as necessary for my self expression. The stomach flu isn't helping either -- {guuurrrgle} -- ugh.


[ Parent ]
OT: nice music taste (none / 0) (#60)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 02:31:33 AM EST

despite our previous disagreement. BTW you may want to check out btmusic.org for stuff along that vein.

You might want to check out F-Space if you haven't already heard of them. Ex- Savage Republic folks.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

OT - GTR (none / 0) (#71)
by LodeRunner on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 07:11:02 PM EST

Yay, you mean the Hackett-Howe supergroup? It's not every day you see those guys mentioned. I mean, Asia still gets the occasional mention (if you pay a lot of attention -- or maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part)... but GTR is like a footnote in the book of rock history that's cool to know if only as trivia. Love "The Hunter", BTW. :)

---
"dude, you can't even spell your own name" -- Lode Runner
[ Parent ]

FYI (none / 0) (#97)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 01:47:35 AM EST

you might want to check out Nightingale (featuring Dan Swano) and Tiles from Detroit if you like that kind of stuff.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
bankrupt analysis (3.00 / 7) (#64)
by foon on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 03:32:01 AM EST

Well, you are right about one thing:  If the music industry is indeed obligated to compete with free pirated copies of their own products, there really is no way they can survive, because it will be impossible to place any value on their product.

But this is true when any kind of property right is undermined.  You might as well argue that the auto industry is doomed, because as soon as car theft is legalized they will not be able to compete with inexpensive resold stolen cars.

In fact, the music industry does not depend on any kind of nonsense "instrinsic value" of distribution media.  The amount that media costs factor into the price of a CD is likely more or less the cost of the materials and labor associated with it.  What you are paying for is the right to listen to the content itself, which is under copyright.  This right has value only if copyright law gives the creators of artistic work the exclusive right to control reproduction -- that is, if it is made into property.  Like any other commodity, the legal construct of property is necessary in order for market forces to function at all.  If you take it away, if you strip creators of their rights, then the content cannot be monetized effectively.

Now you are starting with the proposition that creative work is not property and that content creators are therefore obligated to compete with unauthorized copies of their own work, so of course you come to the conclusion that the situation for content creators is hopeless.  But it isn't:  All we need is the legal and technological framework to ensure that copyright remains strong and the property rights of content creators are protected, and all these issues become moot.  Then market forces, not theft, can determine the fortunes of the music industry.

It can't be done, Vern! (3.00 / 3) (#67)
by An Onerous Coward on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 12:37:00 PM EST

Okay,  technically creative property isn't property in the traditional sense.  But I don't think the argument relies on this belief.  The "therefore" can be drawn from premises based more on pragmatism than ideology.  For instance,  the simple premise that,  like it or not,  a large amount of illegal copying will always exist.

Of course,  this premise contradicts your belief that the right legal and technological framework can put an effective end to illegal copying.  So allow me to explain why I think that cannot happen this side of a totalitarian state.

First,  there is a real and legal need for general purpose devices like CD burners,  DVD burners,  sound recorders and players, video cameras,  digital cameras,  etc.  So long as such devices are allowed into the hands of the public,  anything that can be played can be copied.

So any conceivable copyright protection scheme can be broken.  The quality might not be perfect,  but it will probably be acceptably high for most of the population.

Next,  we have the fact that it is impossible to create a copyright protection system that can both fully protect media from illegal reproduction,  and still protect the fair use rights of the purchasers of the media.  The reason for this impossibility is simple:  the protection system has to determine the intent of the person asking to copy it.

Finally,  the copy protection has to allow complete access to the media once the copyright on the media has expired.  No copy protection system of which I'm aware is even considering trying to implement that.

If a system you propose that does not do these things,  then it isn't merely "protecting the rights of creators";  it's giving them rights they do not--and should not--have under copyright law.  Moreover,  the legal framework necessary to support a world without copyright infringement would be positively Orwellian.  Give me a world without music over a world without rights any day.

Finally,  I would argue that even if I'm wrong in all my assertions up to this point,  and that there is a feasible solution that quashes piracy without the collateral damage,  the recording industry is still doomed.  Okay,  maybe "doomed" is too strong a word,  but they're definitely in for changes that will leave them unrecognizable in ten years time.  

Consider this:  The primary value-add that a major label brings to music is simply the ability to advertise a product more effectively.  But as we go forward,  sites on the 'Net are going to continue developing increasingly nifty ways to match individuals' varied tastes with music that suits those tastes.  Also,  making use of the Internet allows smaller labels to perform many of the same advertising services as the bigger labels.  The big labels will be increasingly forced to rely on competition-thwarting mechanisms like payola and the ability to lock up major concert venues.  But with that reliance comes increasing recognition by listeners:  the big labels aren't giving us what we want.

[ Parent ]

Market forces... (none / 1) (#68)
by Znork on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 02:43:37 PM EST

"Then market forces, not theft, can determine the fortunes of the music industry."

Right. Market forces. For something that per definition is a monopoly. That's certainly a very wide definition of market forces... rather like 'market forces' determined the fortunes of Soviet era factories, eh?

Funny how that little economic experiment in monopoly markets didnt seem to particularly benefit the consumers or the economy in the end. Still, compared to the western intellectual monopoly industries they're starting to look like they were fairly cost-effective in bringing products to the consumers.

[ Parent ]

nonsense (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by foon on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 07:02:23 PM EST

Property, any kind of property, is a legal invention. It gives you the exclusive right to the legitimate use of something despite the fact that some other person might be perfectly capable of taking it from you and using it themselves. And property is the basis of ownership, and ownership is the basis of markets: Because what is being bought and sold in any market, if not the right of ownership of something?

Why should you pay me, say, for some land that I say that I own when you could just get some guns and occupy it yourself, especially considering you would need the guns anyway to protect yourself against other claimants? The answer is that the state recognizes my ownership, and you cannot come into legal possession of my land except through a contract agreed to by me.

That is perhaps a kind of "monopoly" but it is not what is usually thought of when monopolies are referred to in a derogatory sense; rather, this "monopoly" is not only the basis for the capitalist system but a basic human right, and its abrogation the hallmark of socialist and communist systems.

Now so-called "intellectual" property laws just take this idea one step further, and grant similar ownership rights over one's intellectual creations. And this ownership is central to the modern information economy that has been created through free-market trade in ideas and inventions. When you talk about piracy of media products being legitimate you are talking about destroying the right of ownership of one's own intellectual creations. Moreover, this extends far beyond making copies of software or CDs. How can the Coca-Cola company stop competitors from stealing their formula and branding, and selling identical copies of their own products, without the protection of IP laws? And once this has been done, what is to stop the bandits from stripping the equally artificial rights to "real" property away, and truly plunging humanity back into a miserable Hobbesian state? For that is what will happen if piracy advocates have their way, let there be no doubt.

[ Parent ]
nonsense back at you (3.00 / 3) (#73)
by Polverone on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 10:38:33 PM EST

I'm sure you've been here long enough to hear this a dozen times, but it bears repeating: if I steal a car, the owner no longer has that car. If someone "steals" information by duplicating it himself instead of paying the owner for a duplicate, the owner is deprived of nothing. I would not be very upset at car thieves either if all they did was make a perfect copy of cars they liked.

It is often difficult to explain to people why they shouldn't "steal" (duplicate) copyrighted material, while children from the youngest age understand being deprived of material possessions. I call bullshit on your slippery slope argument equating material property rights with government-granted monopolies on the use and duplication of information. If respect for intellectual property is necessary to maintain respect for material property, you have a lot of explaining to do for the centuries of civilization that included material but not intellectual property rights.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Rationalizations... (3.00 / 3) (#74)
by Znork on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 05:16:56 AM EST

If someone takes a physical possession from you, even if there were no property laws at all, you could explain to your peers that you lost something.

If there were no laws against repeating or duplicating something how would you explain to your peers that you've lost something?

You havent, of course. No more than I lose anything because you breathe. After all, I could theoretically get a law passed that gives me a monopoly right to charge for breathing. But that wouldnt make air any kind of natural property any more than monopoly rights on copying make intellectual monopolies into any natural property.

Not even the laws pretend to equate physical and intellectual property; what physical property ownership 'expires'?

"And this ownership is central to the modern information economy that has been created through free-market trade in ideas and inventions."

The 'information economy' is nothing but trade in monopoly rights. It's not the right to own something. It's the right to exclude anyone else from competing with you.

Economists from Adam Smith, through Friedman and Hayek have understood this. Monopolies are not part of a free market economy.

"How can the Coca-Cola company stop competitors from stealing their formula and branding, and selling identical copies of their own products, without the protection of IP laws?"

I dont know, how can I prevent you from stealing my air without the protection of air monopoly laws?

Why _should_ Coca-Cola be protected from competition? What purpose does that serve in the free market?

It may give Coca-Cola an exclusive monopoly right, equal in efficiency to taxation rights, and it may give Coca-Cola Corp money, but at the same time it diverts money from the free market production of cheaper products; it intereferes in the market and encourages resources spent on completely wealth-depleting things like marketing. It causes economic waste, and it interferes in the creation of the wealth of nations.

This diversion of resources from efficient wealth-creating production to negative-value products premeats the entire western economy, in the end causing even things like the high costs of social security systems and the expensive labour.

What is good for Coca-Cola Corp is not necessarily good for the market or society as a whole, any more than communism was good for the wealth of the people even while it sure was good for Soviet State Bed Factories.

The idea of calling 'intellectual property' 'property' is a propaganda trick intended to create the kind of misunderstanding that many free-market proponents have fallen for (and that I've suffered from myself). Once you start ignoring the 'property' part of it, and see it as the state-monopoly derived private taxation rights it actually is you can start understanding the actual concept and see the huge problems it causes (and why they will grow fast as globalization will kill western competetive power as IP becomes a larger part of our economy, shifted from the wealth-creating production of material goods).

[ Parent ]

biting (none / 1) (#118)
by fhotg on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 05:31:27 AM EST

there is a couple of differences between a piece of land and a pice of music. Which ones is left as an exercise for you.

Ownership (get your terms right, "monopoly" is something else) which is defined and agreed upon in a society is not a "human right" in the sense that it should apply to everybody everywhere on grounds of basic ethical considerations like for example your right not to have your nails torn out while being raped with a fourbyfor wrapped with barbed wire not using any lubricants whithout your explicit consent.

There are times and places where "ownership" does not exist or is tied to certain duties, yet society is fine with that. Ask an American Indian about the concept of land ownership.

Intellectual property is a modern invention to allow certain businesses to make profit. An artist or scientist does not need IP laws. They depend on a consensus that plagiarism is bad or banned and nothing more. Sometimes the Creatives profit indirectly from IP-laws because it allows businesses to exist which make accesible their works to many more people than otherwise, which is what they are after.

Sometimes technological development makes superflous a hithero use- and successful business-model.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

Interesting point you make... (none / 0) (#138)
by mirleid on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:18:27 AM EST

What you are paying for is the right to listen to the content itself, which is under copyright.
If you follow that up to its logical conclusion, then, what you get is that if you break, scratch or otherwise damage one of your CDs in such a way that it is no longer possible to listen to it, you should then be entitled to go back to the store, return it, and get a new one for the price of the *media*. Because, after all, you paid for the right to listen, and if your CD doesn't play anymore, then you are not getting what you paid for, are you?

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Captain obvious (none / 0) (#69)
by omegadan on Sat Jun 18, 2005 at 03:12:07 PM EST

We saw this coming 10 years ago, you're late to the party. And dont bother with TV or Movies, we saw that coming 5 years ago.

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley

What I'm worried about is... (2.66 / 3) (#80)
by kick out the yams on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 03:33:05 PM EST

...the psychological effect that getting music for free might have. Won't file-sharers (and I include myself in this group) unconsciously regard music as having less "value" than before, because they can just get what they want for free?

I'm not one to say that music can change the world (even as a musician), but I am slightly distressed at the thought of people taking it for granted.

true, but it's a good thing (3.00 / 2) (#83)
by speek on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 05:10:12 PM EST

After downloading thousands of songs, it does lose value. Except the stuff you truly like - that remains valuable to you, cause you actually like to listen to it. What you come away with is the realization that you don't actually like nearly all the music out there, and that you'd never have been willing to pay a dime for it had you known beforehand how boring it is. The stuff you do like, you find a way to reward the artist.

I've found netflix has done the same to movies for me. I've grown to truly hate nearly all movies. Maybe 1 in 20 still is good enough to entertain me. But the ubiquity of it has reduced the value of the crap to zero (sometimes less than zero).

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Nonsense (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by der on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 07:53:15 PM EST

I have > 1000 albums, every single one of them downloaded, and I appreciate music about as much as anyone possibly could.

If you want to show appreciation financially, you go to shows, and you buy merch/albums (esp. vinyl). Give money to the artist.

Giving $20 to Time Warner doesn't show your support or appreciation for anything but illegal monopolistic tactics and destruction of your civil liberties.



[ Parent ]
But (none / 1) (#120)
by HollyHopDrive on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:09:50 AM EST

what of the good artists who got signed up and now need the company to help them maintain their success?

Or what about the people who work in the company to promote a good band and then don't get paid for their role in its success?

Music piracy is never going to stop, I don't think anyone believes it will. I think the best thing companies could do is to stop overcharging SO DAMN MUCH. I appreciate they have to make a profit over costs, but sometimes they are taking the piss.


I make too much sense to be on the Internet.
[ Parent ]

I'll bite (none / 1) (#123)
by destroy all monsters on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:31:34 AM EST

"what of the good artists who got signed up and now need the company to help them maintain their success?"

Offhand I can't think of any cases like this. Since the labels are essentially bagmen (albeit bagmen with the muscle of distribution and the ability to market) do good artists actually need to do this? I suppose it depends on how desperate you are to be rich. Then again I'm not inclined to bleed for anyone that has that goal (or is already).I'm reminded of Steve Albini's rants about the industry (himself a producer of note and former leader of Big Black, Rapeman and currently of Shellac). One mirror of it is here: http://www.ram.org/ramblings/philosophy/fmp/albini.html

"Or what about the people who work in the company to promote a good band and then don't get paid for their role in its success?"

These are people I might actually have some amount of sympathy for. Not the A&R folks but those that have to do the gruntwork that might otherwise be laid off. Thing is, they don't really get paid for it now. Generally these folks cover a lot of area- and bands and they'll keep collecting whatever pittance (in many cases) of an hourly wage they already get. This isn't directly involved with your question but where some of the big money is, is with independent promotions.

I'd argue that all the majors are taking the piss.The smaller labels less so. Still, you should be forced to put copy-protected music in an entirely different section that shouldn't even be able to be listed as CD's.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

I can't see it (none / 1) (#96)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 01:45:19 AM EST

As someone else in this thread commented a lot of what people download isn't what they love. It might be popular or they're dabbling in this or that. What ends up happening *because* of p2p and internet radio (as well as college/community radio) is that a wider array of music is open to everyone. If anything this helps smaller acts get more exposure.

It's not like the majors are there to pump up smaller acts (since it merely monetizes acts that have already proven popular in the independent realm).

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Smaller acts (none / 0) (#111)
by freestylefiend on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 04:19:58 PM EST

"It's not like the majors are there to pump up smaller acts (since it merely monetizes acts that have already proven popular in the independent realm)."

The British Minister for Creative Industries claims that record companies would support smaller acts, if only copyright lasted longer.

[ Parent ]

I take it they take bribes, I'm sorry (none / 1) (#121)
by destroy all monsters on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:17:31 AM EST

_donations_ like our congress does...

Wholly unrealistic and entirely unlikely.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

The final nail (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by shokk on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 04:04:23 PM EST

will be when someone big like Google or Yahoo reveals a blockbuster hit that is to be found online-only.  They'll DRM the hell out of it, but since you are always allowed to cut a CD from your purchased music, it will still be available for free.  More likely they are just going to be "safe megahit" marts and produce nothing original.  It is this originality that the internet must eventually produce to attract buyers.  There is no money to be made in music when one can assume their work will be pirated, so no one will take chances and only "safe megahits" will thrive.  When I say "safe megahits", please picture my eyes rolling into the back of my head in resignation a la Kip in Futurama.

To paraphrase the Village People, "You Can't Stop the Music".  Music is no different than other infotainment - it wants to be free.  Unfortunately for artists, that means that only those with spectacular talent will be richly rewarded.  Those with mediocre talent will drown in the sea of peers that likewise produce pap, though some will be seen as the OTG of the pap and be seen as innovative for a while.  Most artists will make less than they do now, subsisting on the equivalent of what bad bloggers now make.  

Who will judge what spectacular talent looks like?  The record companies will be left around to produce tha Ashley Simpsons of the world to those who refuse to touch the Internet.  And come to think of it, that's not a small market.  For those that do not have systems to download media, they will be left with the same "safe megahit" downloads that they can burn onto CD at ubiquitous kiosks like those that were unveiled at McDonald's flagship restaurant this past week.  Your only source for music will be the people who make music for the love of the work and expecting very little in return, and that is the ultimate artist.  It will be condensed love of the art boiled down to the very raw essence, or it will be crap on a stick.

Hasn't it been a while since the US has had a musical "invasion" from another country with which to infuse it with life again?

"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master."

Unlikely with anything other than the same crap (none / 1) (#103)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 04:49:50 AM EST

being peddled today by the majors- like Britney.

Financial success isn't a metric of quality. Never has been and never will be. Talent never directly translates to monetization, (primarily) marketing does. Networking helps too.

You present no evidence as to why musicians would make less than they do now. I don't see that as true at all.

"Megahits" if they ever exist will still only be the same old crap as I mentioned earlier. The likelihood of McDonald's' experiment actually succeeding is not only in doubt, but highly unlikely to be successful. If you can get the same crap there you can anywhere else why buy it at Mickey D's?

Our only source for decent music already is (and has always been) people that do it for the love of their craft. How is the rest of it anything else but "crap on a stick"?

"Hasn't it been a while since the US has had a musical "invasion" from another country with which to infuse it with life again?"

There's plenty of life in music. You'd just never know it by watching music videos on television. There's no need for "an invasion" because the cross-breeding  is constant and on-going.

If you're not hearing great music coming from this country I strongly suggest you start listening to college/community radio and start doing a little research. There's so much great stuff out there - in every genre - it's truly amazing.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

MLP (none / 1) (#86)
by der on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 07:55:00 PM EST

Just because I havn't seen it mentioned yet:

Downhill Battle



PIRACY (1.25 / 4) (#91)
by ShiftyStoner on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 11:30:08 PM EST

YOU WOULDNT STEAL A TV

YOU WOULDNT STEAL A CAR

YOU WOULDNT KILL SOMONE

       PIRACY

   IT'S STEALING

    IT'S A CRIME

( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler

Crime (none / 0) (#110)
by freestylefiend on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 04:15:05 PM EST

"IT'S A CRIME"

Under the British-Euro-DMCA it actually is.

[ Parent ]

You forgot (none / 1) (#119)
by HollyHopDrive on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 05:59:34 AM EST

PIRACY FUNDS TERRORISM, IGNORANCE IS NOT AN EXCUSE and LOVE MOVIES. HATE PIRACY.


I make too much sense to be on the Internet.
[ Parent ]

Ah yes (none / 0) (#122)
by destroy all monsters on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:20:30 AM EST

INSERT STOCK SELF-SERVING INDUSTRY SLOGAN HERE.

:)

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

NO (none / 1) (#130)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 04:18:35 PM EST

I WOULDNT SAIL THE HIGH SEAS, ATTACKING SHIPS, KILLING THE CREW AND STEALING THE CARGO

But that's not really the same as copyright infringement, is it?

[ Parent ]

Fuck the artists. (none / 1) (#139)
by daani on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 12:43:39 PM EST

Most of them are rich anyway. And if not, well they can damn well get jobs or stop taking so many drugs like everyone else has to.

[ Parent ]
you claim to know a lot of things that (none / 0) (#144)
by monkeymind on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 08:44:28 AM EST

I wouldn't do. Are you sure?

I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.
[ Parent ]

Ipod (none / 1) (#94)
by ShiftyStoner on Sun Jun 19, 2005 at 11:35:33 PM EST


( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
Sturgeon's Law does apply (3.00 / 3) (#100)
by 87C751 on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 03:21:05 AM EST

Though not equally. 90% of everything is crap. But it's not the same 90% for everyone.

That said, the recording industry may well be doomed. Certainly, it's having problems. But it's worth noting that many of the diatribes on this subject tend to conflate the indistry with the product it's mediating. Music (and musicians) existed long before there was a global cartel organized around its packaging and distribution. It will exist long after that cartel has fallen.

What frosts me in this long-running debate is the incredible sense of entitlement shown by the industry. Business models become obsolete as technology advances. (witness the oft-flogged buggy whip manufacturing industry) Why, then, should one such model be guaranteed to continue in the face of its growing irrelevance?

File sharing is not killing the recording industry any more than text messaging is killing the movie industry. What is threatening both (and others, I'm sure) is sunlight. When a listener can know in advance that a performance fits within their own 90% crap bracket, it's less likely they will part with their FRNs to own a copy. And that's what's "killing" the recording industry. It's a natural outgrowth of the streamlined retail model, where everything is about unit sales count.

I would also disagree about the touchie-feelie aspect of music purchases. Not that it doesn't apply in some cases, but personally, I now touch a newly-purchased CD once, when I place it in my computer for ripping. Afterward, everything happens through SlimServer and the physical disc gets stored away. Cover art isn't why I buy music. Music is why I buy music.

My ranting place.

Oft-flogged buggy whip manufacturing industry (none / 0) (#128)
by mberteig on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:43:33 AM EST

Genius!


Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
[ Parent ]
Your Free Music Isn't Free (none / 0) (#105)
by deem on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 06:28:55 AM EST

What you ignore is that there is a cost in downloading a free song. It's called Guilt. For me, and I believe many others, the value of that guilt has been reduced since we've found out that the artists are getting a very small share of the money we spend on a CD. I hope the time comes when artists start self-producing and self-distributing their own songs. If I have the option of paying 10-15c for a song, directly to the artist. Then the price of my guilt will have been undercut and I will gladly pay up.

Evangelize for the acts you discover and (none / 0) (#108)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 20, 2005 at 09:37:09 AM EST

your guilt will quickly diminish.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
How's that? (none / 0) (#126)
by rpresser on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 09:50:03 AM EST

  • Ross downloads a large collection of TMBG songs.
  • Feeling guilty, Ross tells everyone he knows about how great TMBG is.
  • People Ross has convinced come over to his house to listen to his TMBG collection.
  • They cajole him to make copies for them.
  • ???
  • Ross's guilt diminishes.

------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
You missed (none / 0) (#127)
by destroy all monsters on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 10:10:18 AM EST

Ross and his friends go to see the band, paying for their tickets.
Ross and his friends buy merch/cd's/dvd's/limited edition gear at the concert
Ross tells everyone within reach of his blog/myspace etc. how great this band is.

Net result: more money and fans for the band.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Think of a future with no hard media format ... (none / 0) (#129)
by k24anson on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 11:49:29 AM EST

And this spells the loss of control and revenue for the record companies.

The first person and or company to bring a system to use that secures the digital media of an artist's work to the platform it was purchased to, wins the big bucks.

Purchasing plastic CD's, DVD's? Someday it's an obsolete mode of commerce. A large percentage of all forms of entertainment in the future is simply downloaded from the web to the personal entertainment or computer device. Then transferred from there to one's other home entertainment devices. First ones to master this simple mode of commerce wins first prize.

Independent artists still have to seek or produce their own vehicles of publicity for their material, which is always a tough nut to crack.

The "better" artist(s) shouldn't have any problem right?

Que sera sera.
KLH
NYC

Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.

That might be likely (none / 0) (#137)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:58:07 AM EST

once we've become creatures of light and energy, but until that time seems more than a little unlikely.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
A Format The Customer Does Not Want (none / 1) (#131)
by EXTomar on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 05:34:12 PM EST

The reason why the "recoding industry" is doomed is that they continue to sponsor a format their customers do not want. They can try to choke distribution. They can try to throw around their weight in the courts. The problem is they are backing a format which fewer and fewer want to buy music in. It is tantamount to trying ramming 45 RPM vinyl records down the throats of buyers. The consumer simply has chosen a format that the industry dispises. Is that so wrong or a crime? If the industry has their way it will be.

The Internet appears to be the ultimate distribution medium because it eliminates the middle man which is what the recording industry has settled into. As the article pointed out, once you eliminate this cost why bother with the middle man? If the recording industry wants to survive, as oppose to going the way of the dodo, they need to rethink the way they spend their money because the CD is just as viable as vinyl.

I see the future of music in the actual live performance not the in the amount of disks a company pushes out. The music you see on MTV or hear on the radio will end up being the advertising for the tour or live performance. Anyone can get music where it appears that it is a conicidence if you pay for it. Give it away like popcorn! However you can't redily copy experience of a live performance. Even groups who have an open policy about recordings at their performances, who is going to really want one recording that any number of thousands that also attended? It really does lose value once the band leaves the stage.



Problems with this... (none / 1) (#142)
by oneiromancer on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 09:11:57 PM EST

For one, I like to own CDs. There's something about having the liner notes and lyrics to hand. I suppose I'd have been something of a vinyl collector back in the day, but now I occasionally buy CDs. Physical ownership is a powerful thing, and I'd still rather have this physical media in my possession than a digital rip.

There's also the practical problem of availability -- most of the music I listen to is horribly obscure. I can guarantee that if you search major BT sites or Kazaa that you won't find a single song by most of my favourite artists. For me, there's no real option other than buying the CDs -- I can't get the music any other way.

You also claim that up and coming bands are unable to properly promote themselves -- I'd disagree. I've recently been watching a few small bands perform at pubs and clubs, bands I wouldn't otherwise have heard of were it not for the fact that they were recommended to me by others. Musicians never used to have a global hype machine, and they don't need it now. Music can sell on its own merits, especially in niche genres.

You seem to be conflating the record industry with the major labels -- they aren't the same at all. Independent labels are already very successful; if you listen to heavy metal, chances are you probably have a Roadrunner-branded CD in your collection. If you're into goth, you probably own several 4AD/Beggar's Group productions. Bands like Bile even operate their own 'label'. The music industry may well evolve, but I don't foresee the stranglehold of the major labels being broken just yet -- not until the record-buying public's appetite for the latest pop-culture phenomenon recedes.

'You are a heartless bastard.......' -- K5 hate mail
The Record Industry is Doomed | 144 comments (108 topical, 36 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!