Musicians Need Business Models, Not Charity

from the not-this-again dept

You have to give the new website LaLa.com credit for one thing: they know how to generate a ton of publicity for nothing special. When they first came out, we noted how they got a lot of big name publications to write about them, with not a single one noting that the company's idea wasn't even remotely new, and that other companies in the space had come and gone, because it just wasn't that appealing. A month later, they got a nice, but absolutely bizarre, writeup in the NY Times, suggesting that the startup (which has raised $9 million from venture capitalists) had a strategy that involved not making a profit. The company isn't doing anything new. There are tons of CD trading sites out there, and there were a bunch in the past that failed. The worst, part, though, was the positioning that this was some sort of "legal alternative" to file trading, ignoring that plenty of people who would use the system would probably first rip their CDs into MP3s before getting rid of the CDs. Since then, whenever we write about the RIAA, one person (always from the same IP address) comments on our site trying to position LaLa as some sort of anti-RIAA service, which makes no sense. Today, the story gets even more ridiculous. LaLa has officially launched, and is getting plenty of press coverage for announcing that the company is starting a "charity" for musicians, and will contribute 20% of revenue to this foundation. Beyond being a cheap publicity stunt, this is sending the wrong message. It suggests that musicians somehow need "charity" to survive. What musicians need is not charity, but to learn how to embrace one of the many different new business models that some musicians have figured out. For those musicians, they seem to be making out quite well -- without the need for some random "charity" from a site that seems unlikely to make enough money to make much of a difference anyway.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 9:13pm

    Can't put my finger on it

    but it's better than the other sites. It's all in the execution, which makes it a joy to use. Whether they can make money is a different matter. But it's a good service.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 11:07pm

    Shocked!

    What you mean that Lars Ulrich didn't actually go bankrupt after Napster came out!? Man I thought those RIAA spokesbands were practically living off the street. Next thing your gonna tell me is that the VHS fairy isnt gonna come and swap my old vids for Dvd's now that I cant find a cheap VCR.

     

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  3.  
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    I, for one, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 3:19am

    Art and business

    The RIAA and cohorts would stop at nothing to *prevent* new independent bands from promoting their work on the internet, including paying them off through phoney charity. It's not about piracy or sales, it's all about control of the media channels and the means of dissemination and distribution. Their greatest threat is the real artists who do not primarily want to make money. People who want to make money are easy to control, those motivated by passion are a serious problem. As with free open source software, there are many talented individuals and bands out there who can deliver a superior product for the love of it, and they are only getting better at. Audiences want interesting new music, artists want audiences to deliver interesting new music to and there's no need for a middle man to tell anybody what is interesting or new anymore. It's not their business model that is broken, it's the twilight of their entire raison d'etre. Successful new businesses in artistic media will simply make a small revenue by facilitating the hosting and filesharing that is already going on.

     

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  4.  
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    Jimmy Bear Pearson, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 5:31am

    No charity required

    Musicians don't need charity (although, there are tons of great musicians in the Gulf Coast who lost everything - they could use new instruments - see http://www.musicrising.org - Please donate or lend a hand.)

    There are literally thousands of us out there that have not only embraced new venues and means of distribution - we have come to enjoy it. Never before have musicians been pour their soul, sweat, tears, and time into a work - then have it distributed to the world in minutes. I love the thousands of "listens", comments, and downloads I have gotten - and I'm not even one of the really great independent musicians out there. It's great to be heard and it's even cooler when folks buy your indie downloads/cds/merch to support you.

    What do musicians need? Encouragement, support, kind and constructive criticizm, and FANS, FANS, FANS, and FANS - not a charity.

     

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  5.  
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    Jon, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 6:08am

    Somewhat Agreed

    I never understood the whole "we give 20% backt to the artist" thing. While I think that the press would have us believe that artists desperately need to renegotiate their royalties, CD trades are a secondary market, and the artist really should get no part of it. It's a secondary sale.

    I also question the advertising that says trade CDs for $1. The cost is really $1.49, which seems to be buried in the middle of most articles. In reality, the cost or 1 CD = 1 CD + $1.49. This is still better than trying to trade in a brick and mortar, though.

    Even though I'm currently ignoring the questionable longevity of lala's business model, and the facts that some of the CDs I've gotten seemed like the previous owners stored them in steel wool, I have to say that trading CDs on Lala is pretty addictive for the price.

     

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  6.  
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    Shohat, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 6:34am

    But currently musicians are making more money than mucisians in any other time in history , why the heck should they need a new model ?

     

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  7.  
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    paul Manning, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 7:19am

    its not just music and art, its business !

    Paul has written a great peace on making it in the music industry and more to the point has proven it !

    everyone starting up in business must at least visit www.x7.com at least once. follow the links and look out for news articles.

    Brilliant !

     

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  8.  
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    Paul Manning, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 7:21am

    music is a business respect it like one !

    music is business and there is a formula

    everyone starting up in business must at least visit www.x7.com at least once. follow the links and look out for news articles.

    Brilliant !

     

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  9.  
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    Paul Manning, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 7:22am

    Art and business hand in hand !

    everyone starting up in business must at least visit www.x7.com at least once. follow the links and look out for news articles. Brilliant !

     

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  10.  
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    Kelly Adams, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 7:25am

    lala.com seems to have a good idea, but I am in agreement with Mike... they will hardly make a difference with this 20% and are basically wanting to sop at nothing to get publicity.

     

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  11.  
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    Paul Manning, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 7:26am

    sorry

    I thought I was responding to three different stories, however, the matter still stands as un trendy as it is to appear as a businessman or woman in the arts and music industry you still must remember its business

    and if you need to know about it
    visit www.x7.com

     

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  12.  
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    Funny, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 7:41am

    Charity Sells

    Look, I've been in the music underground for a long time and I seems to the the recent trend now is charity. If lala can affort to take the cut, then why not. It shows consumers that they "care" in giving back. But whats funny is that most of the time charity can be used to more or less as a marketing tool. Can we say tax write off?

     

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  13.  
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    Intergalactic Hussy, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 10:02am

    If I was a musician and recording artist or even a talentless pop princess, I'd have my songs for download for free!

    Musicians make their money from touring anyway. Damn, I guess that means I have to get up off my ass and tour... I'd could (or would) never be a pop princess anyway, I have too many thoughts.

     

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  14.  
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    anonymous coward, Jun 9th, 2006 @ 12:17pm

    thanks for the shout out!

    but you never really explained why lala isn't anti-RIAA. do you really think that the RIAA wouldn't stop a business like lala if it could? I've swapped over 100 cd's on lala and probably 30% or more have gone on to other users.

    I'm quite sure that the RIAA would claim that my 30% re-traded represents piracy and would they would also assume that the next person in line would have bought all those CDs at full retail so the industry lost $xxx because of lala.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2006 @ 12:16pm

    lala and the owner Bill don't care about the music and the musicians. This is all just a big publibity stunt to drive traffic. And I think it's sad.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2006 @ 2:04pm

    Musicians ought to use Eventful Demand. http://eventful.com/demand

    They can solicit their fans to "demand" concerts in any city in the world. Musicians can negotiate with the fans on the venue location, work out a ticket price, and completely bypass the whole music business.

    So why aren't they using it?

     

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