Reznor Grosses $1.6 Million In The First Week Of Ghosts I-IV

from the nope,-no-way-for-musicians-to-make-money-at-all dept

Last week, we noted that Trent Reznor's latest experiment with business models had resulted in selling out the exclusive deluxe edition of his latest Nine Inch Nails offering, grossing $750,000. That, of course, didn't include any of the lower level sales. Reznor has now released the news that in the first week alone, the project has grossed $1.6 million in revenue, despite the fact that the music was widely available for free download (some of that helped along by Reznor himself). How long until someone says that there's no way to make money giving away music again?


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    Iron Chef, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 7:35am

    Not too shabby!

    Keep up the good work, buddy! You should start a business around this new model!

    We're pulling for ya!

     

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    Iron Chef, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 7:43am

    $38 to distribute a 36-song album?

    I just read this in the linked article:

    TuneCore CEO Jeff Price told MPR's Future Tense that his company charged Reznor about $38 for distributing the 36-song album to the Amazon MP3 store.

    Wow. I mean-- I knew the economics were there, but I had no idea that if the artist maintained ASCAP and mechanical reproduction rights that electronic distribution was soooo low.

    Your starting a revolution, Trent!!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 8:49am

      Re: $38 to distribute a 36-song album?

      "maintained ASCAP and mechanical reproduction rights..." What are you talking about? Obviously, you have no idea.

       

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    Hellsvilla, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 7:52am

    Forget it, it will never work. Noone will pay a cent for that which is available for free. It defies all logic. My calculations have determined that by doing this experiment, Trent has actually lost about 50 Billion dollars.

    Even tho I hold no copyright relevant to this work, I will, on behalf of Trent's estate, begin suing everyone that stole this music to collect. I will start by contacting his webhost and demanding his logs so I can locate these guilty parties.



     

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      Hellsvilla, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      bah, I forgot, techdirt's software strips html tags.

      Hence the sarcasm will be missed by most readers and everyone will accuse me for being stupid and a troll. Oh well.

       

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      deadzone (profile), Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:45am

      Re:

      It's even funnier when you think about the fact that some in the music business more than likely think exactly like that. :)

      Funny or sad maybe.

       

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    BillDivX, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 8:26am

    Nah, your fine...

    I got the sarcasm as soon as I hit the 50 billion part...

     

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      Shaun, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 8:47am

      Re: Nah, your fine...

      The sad thing is that if Hellsvilla had only put it as 50 million we would have gotten people not only missing the sarcasm but also agreeing with the statement....

       

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      SomeGuy, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:48am

      Re: Nah, your fine...

      It took me a few words after that, just because it's hard to sound sarcastic when people sound just as ridiculous being serious.

       

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 14th, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Re HellsVilla

    Heh, 50 billion.
    The sarcasm was most definitely picked up.
    The next line only makes it more obvious.
    I did quite enjoy your sarcastic post.
    Amusing ^_^

    On the other hand, I would still like to know when the physical copies of my 2 disc cds will be arriving. =(
    I have my confirmation email and everything, but haven't gotten anything since then. From the looks of it though, they are a bit overwhelmed.
    At least I got my 320kbps MP3s already though.
    Happy panda ^_^

     

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      SomeGuy, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:50am

      Re: Re HellsVilla

      I downloaded the songs, bought the CDs, and I'm *still* considering getting the Delux set because, after listening to the tracks a few times, I've decided they can really only benefit from being put to a slideshow...

       

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    ReallyEvilCanine, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 8:51am

    This simplistic view is getting really tiresome

    Mike, your ideas about how artists should get paid is only applicable to a very small group of people in the industry who don't collaborate outside their own groups. In the majority of situations different people and groups function as author, composer, arranger, producer, and performer. How the hell do those people get paid? Do you seriously expect to shift the costs to the performers who would have to purchase the rights from the others and keep track of each song they play at each concert, cross-reference with the amount made at each concert and pay the percentages out?

     

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      Hellsvilla, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 8:59am

      Re: This simplistic view is getting really tiresom

      You're comparing new business models for "artists" to the future lack of employment for "entertainment professionals". The two don't have anything to do with each other.

      The collapsing of the entertainment dynasty will have many people without employment. But the actual artists will be just fine. This is getting rid of waste. If you're waste, prepare to be gotten rid of.

      Noone seriously expects there will be no jobs lost in this revolution. But all enlightened individuals expect the actual artists will be far better off than they were before. Just because they don't need you anymore doesn't mean you should have the right to force them to need you. Deal with it, and move on. Or fight it, and get left behind. Choice is yours. The entertainment cartel is ending, and the artists are going to be better off.

       

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        Mark, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:07am

        Re: Re: This simplistic view is getting really tir

        Ok, let my provide another simplistic view of how this system could work for other "entertainment professionals":

        For example, say I am a song writer and I write a song for NIN and Reznor. Now, in the old system I would get royalties based on sales and whatnot. In a new system I sell them the song for a set fee (I can probably figure out what this fee should be with relative certainly) and a limited license. In addition I offer my services to "consult" with them at a set hourly rate to make any changes and modifications to the song.

        NIN and Reznor get a song they can make $1.6 million (or more off of) and I get paid upfront for my work. The better part being that I don't have to wait for royalties to come in, I am paid upfront and if someone makes me an offer I don't like I can hold on to the song until someone does.

        See, simple and profitable and no one is even out of a job.

         

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          ReallyEvilCanine, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:39am

          Re: Re: Re: This simplistic view is getting really

          That's fine for those who have the money and for the handful of Rick Rubins who have the track record. What do you propose for everyone else? The royalty system allows for work to be done on spec and keeps barriers to entry lower.

          I don't like the mess we have but the answers being thrown out aren't realistic and don't take into account a huge part of the music business.

          And if such a model were instituted, how would that affect authors? Books are arguably in the same boat (I can find a PDF of damned near every popular title out there) and authors don't do performances. Research into electronic paper continues and I expect in about 20 years we'll have book-like electronic books with the back cover a flat-pack battery, the front cover containing the electronics and the paper containing all the words of files you load into it the way you load mp3s into a player today. Copy and distribution costs of PDFs or (whatever format they choose) drops to nothing. How does an author earn anything?

           

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            SomeGuy, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 10:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: This simplistic view is getting re

            So, right now it looks like Songwriters are basically freelance and write songs for whoever wants to liscence them. And maybe that's Ok but as you point out, it won't be sustainable if music goes where it appears to be heading. And maybe it'll be harder to break into the business, maybe not; that remains to be seen. (After all, who buys from unknown songwriters in the current modle? You have to get in SOME how.) But why can't a songwriter just be another member of the band? Even if just for starting out? I mean, the singer gets paid, the drummer gets paid, just slice in the Songwriter. And when their songs get popular enough, then maybe they can go freelance. I'm not business genius, and it's just an idea, but I'm sure there are others.

            As to writers, LOTS has been said about them, by Mike and others. I think it's stickier than music because, like you said, authors don't do "performances." But there are other scarcities they can sell, like the ever-present "exposure." And as the fact that Trent just sold CDs (which are well on the way to dying if not already dead), I imagine dead-tree books will be around as a piece of art for a long time even if ePaper comes into its prime. (Though I have strong doubts about ePaper, myself...)

             

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            Mike (profile), Mar 14th, 2008 @ 11:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: This simplistic view is getting re

            That's fine for those who have the money and for the handful of Rick Rubins who have the track record. What do you propose for everyone else? The royalty system allows for work to be done on spec and keeps barriers to entry lower.

            You write songs, if the songs do well, you get hired for more money the next time. This is pretty straightforward. Or, why not have a company that starts up by hiring talented songwriters, it pays them a salary and then can sell their songwriting ability to musicians. Or, the songwriters learn to start performing to. Or, the songwriters write a hit song and get hired to write commercial jingles. Or, the songwriter sells his abiity to write songs for movies. Etc. etc. etc. Again there are hundreds of possible business models.

            I don't like the mess we have but the answers being thrown out aren't realistic and don't take into account a huge part of the music business.

            No, what's not realistic is pretending that the existing model will last when the economics makes it clear it will not. So rather than whine about it, why not help us find the new business models.

            And if such a model were instituted, how would that affect authors?

            We had this discussion last week. And the week before. And the week before. Do a search.

            Books are arguably in the same boat (I can find a PDF of damned near every popular title out there) and authors don't do performances.

            I never said the answer is "performances." I said it's selling something *scarce*. In some cases that's performances, but it's also the creation of new works.

            Look at Cory Doctorow. He gives his books away totally free, and it's helped land him a bunch of speaking engagements, new jobs, writing assignments, a teaching job and more.

            And you'll notice, of course, that adopting this type of model doesn't mean NOT selling physical goods. Reznor made his money here still by selling physical goods. You just need to make those physical goods WORTH BUYING over just the content. There's no reason you can't sell collector edition versions of physical books as well.

            The idea is that there are plenty of models.

             

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              Anon Cow, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 11:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This simplistic view is gettin

              The easiest thing for an author to sell would be autographed copies...

               

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      The infamous Joe, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:01am

      Re: This simplistic view is getting really tiresom

      I'm really tired of this overly-complicated, "I should keep getting paid for work I did in the past" view of things.

      If you need someone to mix your tracks, pay them. Once. They only mixed it once, afterall. Then, you don't have to keep track of how many times you perform the song, because you've already paid them. The artist, however, deserves to get paid each time they perform the song. (aka, Concerts)

      So, there ya go-- it really *IS* simple, unless you think like some kind of entitlist who feels because you have performed a service ONCE that you deserve to be paid for it for 100 years after that-- and your children should get paid for it too..

       

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        yo, idiot, Jun 5th, 2008 @ 10:25am

        Re: Re: This simplistic view is getting really tiresom

        If I create a song, anyone who listens to it or performs it should pay me. Forever. No ticky, no Washy. otherwise, Don't listen to it. (period)

         

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      Mike (profile), Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:06am

      Re: This simplistic view is getting really tiresom

      Do you seriously expect to shift the costs to the performers who would have to purchase the rights from the others and keep track of each song they play at each concert, cross-reference with the amount made at each concert and pay the percentages out?

      No. I expect them to hire people just like any business hires people. Do you get a percentage/royalty from your boss on every sale your company makes?

      Clearly, there are a ton of ways for musicians to make money (and I'll note that you seem to claim performance is the only way, but Reznor's revenue here has nothing to do with performances).

      If the musicians needs a good support team in order to make the music (and make money) then he'll figure out a reasonable way of paying them.

       

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      deadzone (profile), Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:53am

      Re: This simplistic view is getting really tiresom

      You know what? Then come up with a better idea! Isn't that what it's all about anyway, regardless of what side you may pick? Seriously, as a consumer, all I want is for you guys to figure something out and do it that DOESN'T involve attacking me in some way or another through stuff like restrictive DRM or lawsuits.

      It's really that simple, so when people like Mike here at Techdirt offer up some sound and thoughtful commentary on the state of the music industry, I can appreciate it.

       

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        deadzone (profile), Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:58am

        Re: Re: This simplistic view is getting really tir

        When I see stuff like what Reznor is doing I make it a point to support them by buying there stuff. Because I can appreciate the fact that he's breaking new ground and trying something new and I have a lot of respect for that.

         

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      interval, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 10:51am

      Re: This simplistic view is getting really tiresom

      Your so wrong on so many levels here, but I'll focus on the main one; maybe all those extra people aren't necessary. Or put it another way, what is Reznor doing, locking producers and engineers in a dungeon and bringing them up in shackles when he wants to produce a new album??? And I'm leaving out the fact that author, composer, and performer are Reznor himself. I applaud this move for artists away from conglomerates and towards their own efforts. This is good for artists, not bad.

       

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    Mr. Tunes, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 8:51am

    well i bought it

    i haven't bought a nin album before, but i liked the demos i heard on the site and for $5 to get the whole album in FLAC i couldn't go wrong.

    i also am of the small breed who buys music though. i think when artists come up with creative models like this one almost anyone should be inclined to buy.

    i think the radiohead model of giving it away on the artist website is a little flaky.

     

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      The infamous Joe, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:04am

      Re: well i bought it

      I'm not a huge NIN fan, myself, and really I'm even less of a fan of instrumental music, but I'm a *BIG* fan of the business model, so I paid $5 for it anyway.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:11am

      Re: well i bought it

      i also am of the small breed who buys music though.

      Uhhh what? Record sales for music this year, and your the minority?

       

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        The infamous Joe, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:16am

        Re: Re: well i bought it

        No, he's a midget who likes music. :P

         

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        Mr. Tunes, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:12pm

        Re: Re: well i bought it

        i also am of the small breed who buys music though.

        Uhhh what? Record sales for music this year, and your the minority?


        sorry for the over generalization, but the sad part is that i could easily tell you that 90% of my friends don't buy music any more. and a large percentage of those people are avid music lovers who used to really support the industry. now they only support in the form of ticket sales

         

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    Overcast, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:40am

    In the majority of situations different people and groups function as author, composer, arranger, producer, and performer. How the hell do those people get paid?

    Well - yeah, that's because talent is 'corporatized' for profits. It used to be - artists did pretty much all of the music creation themselves, now it takes a staff of 500 to do that? I'm curious how Bach ever made it without a large support staff!!

    Only once they get in the 'association' does there seem to be a need for this. I can't see why, with today's technology that *real* good talent would need much more than a PC, Mixer, and Internet connection to produce and distribute music.

    I mean - any person who made a livelihood at manufacturing vinyl records is out of a job now - but is that a bad thing?

    I don't see the RIAA or anyone else complaining about how small record stores are disappearing because places like Best Buy and Wal-Mart are selling most of the CD's now either.

    The whole 'industry' thing with music was a means of 'production line' music, really. It wasn't about the music anymore, but how fast CD's could roll off the line - with tracks strategically put together to simply sell the CD. Regardless of one's opinion of that, it seems music has came 'full circle' and it's going back to the hands of the actual artist now - as the industry isn't really needed now, at least in the same capacity. If it's willing to adapt it will survive, if not, it will fail.

    I think that's called survival of the fittest.

    If I chose to - I could put all my digital music on a computer cluster with RAID 6 arrays, backing up nightly. That would most easily outlast a CD by a decade - then it could be simply copied to a new server. Even a plain bottom of the line PC is far more robust and dependable than a CD.

    The industry is trying to make consumers stick with the old way of doing things, when a far better method is widely available, one that - lasts longer, is easier to use, gives the consumer a better and more personalized choice, quicker with media selections, has much more capacity, better quality if encoded right, doesn't require physical CD swapping to listen to a different group, is more versatile, and could offer FAR more music per dollar spent than a CD with one good track... and on and on.

    Name one single thing a regular Audio CD has over all that?

    In spite of the 'hype' - radio has been THE major driving force in selling music for many, many years - if not since the inception of the 'music industry'. Actually, it's almost safe to say radio gave the Music Industry the spark it needed to even exist, without it no real advertising could have been done.

    And in all of that - in the consumer's point of view, to a degree - radio is free.

    What industry could possibly survive without adapting to the times and new technology I think the RIAA and the rest of the music industry stands to make some serious profit, if they can offer some value to their service. Look at Google - after all, how much does it cost to do a Google search? :)

     

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    s1ugh34d, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:43am

    You could only download 9 songs for free, of the 36 song album. He learned his lesson on the Saul Williams album.

    He definitely is making profit on this one.

     

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      The infamous Joe, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      Unless I'm mistaken, it's released under a Creative Commons license... so I suppose that means sharing it is allowed.

      At $5 for 36 tracks, though, even the poorest of college students can afford it, which, I imagine, is the point. :)

       

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    bt garner, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 9:50am

    It should be even more that that

    I know that I am one of countless people who went through the whole buying process (including the paypal part), only to never see anything (so no, I was not charged)....but I will bet that there are lots of folks out there who tried, failed and gave up because the servers (?) got overwhelmed.

     

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    Gluefreak, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    @ ReallyEvilCanine

    You're not using your imagination. There are any number of ways authors can utilize these same new business models. They can give readings. They can add value to print editions of their books while offering lesser versions for free (just like NIN). They can use the books to build a sort of author brand that can be marketed same as any other brand. You see the amount of homespun William Burroughs and Philip K. Dick memorabilia for sale on ebay? Authors can make the stuff themselves. Posters. T-shirts. Pins. They could offer to do special performances, like corporate readings or speeches. They could enter into sponsorship deals. (Who was the author two years ago who included a jewelry brand in her novel in exchange for financial support?)

    Etc. Etc.

     

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    zhenchyld, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 11:50am

    I paid $5 for the album. That includes 36 tracks with an accompanying pdf with the photographs which served as the visual inspirations for each track, as well as album art and wallpapers. im a huge fan of TRs work and can say that i kinda felt bad i wasn't paying more for the album.

    best $5 i ever spent.

     

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    Alphonso, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 12:12pm

    Time will tell

    I doubt there will be any single model for how music is sold in the future. Some artists will take the NIN route. The corporate bands (American Idolizers?) will do something else. CDs will still be sold, albeit in small quantities. Audiophiles can continue with vinyl. The future is about niches, not single solutions.

    I've never been a big NIN fan, but I thought I'd give the 9 freebies a try. Surprisingly, I liked the tracks a lot. Why? I'm not certain, but I suspect that by self-publishing TR had complete creative control that allowed him to produce something interesting. (At least to me.) And yes, then I bought the $5 flac download.

    As a big fan of alternative (and eclectic) music I look forward to artists having control over their work. That's how we get great music (and some not so great) rather than mediocre pop.

     

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    ReallyEvilCanine, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    I've worked in the business.

    I never said I had a better idea. I'm simply that Mike's idea is seriously and painfully flawed, excessively simplistic and ignorant of how most music makes it to market.

    Overcast:
    Well - yeah, that's because talent is 'corporatized' for profits.
    Tell it to the Dixie Chicks, who were dropped by corporate country radio and almost dropped by their label. See their film Shut Up & Sing and watch the process of how the Taking The Long Way shaped up. While they wrote most of the music, they brought in Rick Rubin who told them some of the lyrics were shit, something they already knew. They collaborated with Dan Wilson for some of the songs and specifically thanked him when they got the Grammy for Not Ready to Make Nice for putting into lyrics what they were trying to say. They also collaborated with Sheryl Crow on the song Favorite Year on the same album.

    You've got your head stuck up your down-with-corporations ass and don't realise that while it's nice that some bands can write some good music, that distribution of work to the most competent and best performing is a better system. Yes, it gets us shit like boy bands but it also results in a lot higher class works.

    I can't see why, with today's technology that *real* good talent would need much more than a PC, Mixer, and Internet connection to produce and distribute music.
    Perhaps because many musicians aren't also tech-freaks. I know some great photographers who aren't getting much work these days because while they can take excellent pictures, they have no m4d Ph0t0sh0p sk1llZ. When photography was only film they'd shoot the pictures and specialist graphic artists would handle the touch-ups and airbrushing. Not anymore. Apparently you've never heard of "division of labour".


    I don't see the RIAA or anyone else complaining about how small record stores are disappearing because places like Best Buy and Wal-Mart are selling most of the CD's now either.
    RIAA doesn't care as long as the product is being moved. And they do miss the smaller stores since deals with smaller distributors were much more lucrative than what they can get from hard bargainers like Wal*Mart. People now don't miss them because they've been gone for 20 years and the large stores are still inconsistent in setting up listening stations.


    It wasn't about the music anymore
    Anymore? Never was. It was always about making money. the handful of people you might be able to name who "just wanted to get their art out" in comparison with the rest is so statistically insignificant as to be non-existent. The rest of your idealistic and idealised hippie rubbish doesn't warrant further response.


    deadzone:
    Then come up with a better idea!
    Not my job. Mike keeps going on about how great it'll be for music to be free and how bands can earn on concerts and merch, failing to understand that the music industry has a lot more players than just garage bands. Reznor is an exception, not a rule. He got where he is in a considerably more sparse market. Try and find one good song over at MySpaz now. This was one of the problems with the original mp3.com: the space is overaturated and finding the wheat among all the chaff is going to require some brilliant rating idea and an even more brilliant idea to keep it from being gamed. Mike made a proposal, I'm showing how it lacks, it's time for Mike to either rework that proposal or scrap it.

    SomeGuy:
    why can't a songwriter just be another member of the band?
    Because a band is or becomes a legal partnership or corporation and the guy who writes one song for them shouldn't have a share in all the fucking merch they sell because the logo is so goddamned cool. And are you going to make everyone who ever wrote a song for your band a member? Can you fire the songwriter (who only ever wrote that one song) the way you can fire the drummer?

    Gluefreak:
    [Authors] can give readings
    They do that now to promote their dead trees. For free. Ever wonder how many people would pay even €5 to attend a reading? Maybe twenty in any city. Now figure the costs of using a venue, production, workers, drivers, publicity and more. And what for? To hear someone skip around chapters and read excerpts? Hardly comparable to a band doing a concert. Your other suggestions are... small potatoes and totally irrelevant to 99% of authors out there.


    interval:
    Division of labour. People doing specific jobs so that together they make an even better product. Just because you want the world to work a certain way doesn't mean it should or even could.

     

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      Mike (profile), Mar 14th, 2008 @ 3:57pm

      Re: I've worked in the business.

      I never said I had a better idea. I'm simply that Mike's idea is seriously and painfully flawed, excessively simplistic and ignorant of how most music makes it to market.

      Actually, I'm very much aware of how most music makes it to market. I've been working in this space and researching it and talking to all the different players for nearly a dozen years at this point.

      That doesn't mean some of how things are done won't change.

      Also, I'm not offering up "a model." I'm saying the market will make it work, just as the market tends to do.

      Just because you want the world to work a certain way doesn't mean it should or even could.

      Er, that's kind of the point we're making to you. YOU want the world to work in this specific way, and we're saying that it doesn't. You can try to prop up the old model, or recognize that it won't last. Your call, but it won't stop the fact that the market is changing, and it won't change the economic forces that are changing it.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Mar 15th, 2008 @ 2:01am

      Re: I've worked in the business.

      OK, I have to ask what the hell ReallyEvilCanine is really on about here...

      "Do you seriously expect to shift the costs to the performers who would have to purchase the rights from the others and keep track of each song they play at each concert, cross-reference with the amount made at each concert and pay the percentages out?"

      Nobody's saying they can't hire management, songwriters, engineers and representation to perform these jobs for them. What's being disputed are the ideas that the recording is the only method of income and that royalties for this recording need to be paid to everyone for 100 years.

      "Tell it to the Dixie Chicks, who were dropped by corporate country radio and almost dropped by their label. See their film Shut Up & Sing and watch the process of how the Taking The Long Way shaped up. While they wrote most of the music, they brought in Rick Rubin who told them some of the lyrics were shit, something they already knew. They collaborated with Dan Wilson for some of the songs and specifically thanked him when they got the Grammy for Not Ready to Make Nice for putting into lyrics what they were trying to say. They also collaborated with Sheryl Crow on the song Favorite Year on the same album."

      What are you getting at here? What you seem to be suggesting is that the corporate structure was good because even though they were dumped by corporate radio, Rick Rubin and Dan Wilson were working for another corporation that saved them? I don't get this.

      If the corporate structure wasn't followed, the Dixie Chicks may never have been dumped in the first place, or the dumping wouldn't have had such a massive impact. If they knew their lyrics needed work, they could have hired a writer (either for royalty payments or a one-off payment, up to them). The fact that Sheryl Crow collaborated with them is meaningless - this neither improves the music nor is special - it only means something today because Crow's corporate representation allowed the collaboration. there are thousands of potential collaborations that have not happened over the years due to corporate disputes over publishing and royalty rights.

      "I know some great photographers who aren't getting much work these days because while they can take excellent pictures, they have no m4d Ph0t0sh0p sk1llZ. When photography was only film they'd shoot the pictures and specialist graphic artists would handle the touch-ups and airbrushing. Not anymore."

      So, you're saying that the photography industry's focus has changed from plain photographs to digital montages? Shocking. There is absolutely nothing stopping a decent photograph from being sold to the right market, nor is there anything stopping the photographer from collaborating with a digital artist to provide saleable material (the photoshop dude still needs raw material to work with). If the photographers are sitting around whining that something that sold 20 years ago doesn't sell now, that's not the industry's problem, it's theirs.

      Face it, what's being suggested in Mike's article and every other article here on the subject is that free music, including "piracy", doesn't necessarily have a completely negative impact on the industry. If the industry is willing to change (and experiments / new businesses like Reznor's, WE7 and last.fm (among many others) show possible, successful and/or innovative directions), there's no reason why the industry can't continue. The problem is that the last thing that most of these corporations want to do is change the business model they got fat on, and that's what's causing their plummeting profits.

      When we're trumpeting these kinds of models, it's only to show that there no longer any need for artists to jump onto the sinking major label ship. Sure, hire songwriters, producers and marketers if you need them to do that work for you, and negotiate a contract that allows a share of revenue in t-shirt sales or live performances if recording royalties aren't enough. But, there's no need to if you have imagination and the desire to succeed.

       

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    John Canada, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 1:39pm

    Song Writers Payment

    It is simple, they get paid a flat fee for the song up front, then lets say one cent a download by the band.

    Then if another band wants to record they same song, they contact the writer and make a deal.

    Gee that sounds like royalties to me.

     

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      Willton, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 2:30pm

      Re: Song Writers Payment

      It is simple, they get paid a flat fee for the song up front, then lets say one cent a download by the band.

      Then if another band wants to record they same song, they contact the writer and make a deal.

      Gee that sounds like royalties to me.


      Gee, that sounds like the current system, the one that everyone claims is "broken."

      The fact of the matter is that people's tastes in music and entertainment are not as predictable as people's tastes in the much balleyhooed tangible goods. The system of how writers and artists get paid is the way it is because the system recognizes this indisputable fact.

       

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        Iron Chef, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 8:35pm

        Re: Re: Song Writers Payment

        Gee, that sounds like the current system, the one that everyone claims is "broken."

        Yep, your right, but the difference is the embracement of technology, and transparency to the transaction.

        So that's just one of the reasons why people think it's so gee-wiz cool. Another is that instead of coddling the artist, this new model returns control to the artist, requires the artist to make wise fiscally-responsible decisions to be genuine to your fanbase. Hiding behind a label, you can afford to be more of a reckloose (Britney- Shame, Shame on you!)

        While this digests, May I suggest some lovely petroglyphs for your cave?

         

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          Willton, Mar 15th, 2008 @ 2:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Song Writers Payment

          So that's just one of the reasons why people think it's so gee-wiz cool. Another is that instead of coddling the artist, this new model returns control to the artist, requires the artist to make wise fiscally-responsible decisions to be genuine to your fanbase. Hiding behind a label, you can afford to be more of a reckloose (Britney- Shame, Shame on you!)

          Okay, first, it's "recluse," not "reckloose." If you're going to use SAT words, at least have a good idea as to how they are spelled.

          Secondly, artists have always had the ability to "take control" of their careers. The problem is that most artist in the music biz, especially those that are just starting out, do not have the resources to do so. Believe me, if and when artists think that they can make a decent living in the music biz without the label's help, they will jump ship. But typically, artists do not have the resources to get started and often have to rely on the label's help to provide funding for their craft (advances of money to pay for living expenses while creating their music, the ability to pay for the recording of the music so that the music is distributable, funding for promotion outside of music distribution, etc.). And a label is not going to do any of that for the artist unless it has an opportunity to get a return on its investments. That requires the ability to license the music for a fee.

           

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    ReallyEvilCanine, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 2:39pm

    I've worked in the business.

    That's certainly a more viable solution than the simplistic "only bands should do everything and then there's no problem" that's been the norm in both stories and comments. Except that the downloads "should/will be free". How do you determine a fee and how would a (merit-based system) percentage be paid out of performances?

     

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    Hellstorm, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 2:47pm

    Re: How would this affect authors?

    To: ReallyEvilCanine

    Perhaps you should ask Cory Doctorow, who attributes his success in selling the print editions of his books to his giving away free digital copies on his website.

    http://www.craphound.com/

    He even promotes people translating his books into different languages, and reformatting them for different mobile devices.

     

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    Jake (profile), Mar 14th, 2008 @ 3:06pm

    Copying all in all

    I actually went out and bought this. Just to support the band, I'm of the generation who used to copy C-cassettes... and now, there's an infinite supply of copycat bands I don't even like I might listen to occasionally and then delete off my hard drive. But anything that I do like, I go out and buy a CD. Tho in general, I'd prefer they'd have a PayPal button, because I really don't like all those millions of CD's lying around. I download movies, those I like, especially domestic ones, I buy a ticket for. Yes, I'm one of those idiots who download a movie and then might buy a movie ticket, with no intention of going to the movie at all. P2P is free, but at least for those of us in small countries, we like to support good domestic effort (which we have seen more and more of, regardless of the supposed losses of the media industry) with real money to see more of those movies, regardless of P2P. All I can say is, WTF? I wouldn't buy those crap cd's anyway, I still download those I buy just for the ease of use, and... who loses here if they put me to jail?-)

     

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    Blueon462, Mar 16th, 2008 @ 4:14am

    Death of bloated record companies

    Reznor was smart and decided to jump ship on a failing business model. I don't think his method of distribution will work for everyone. I think it will end up being a more compartmentalized system.

    EvilCanine:

    Just because a certain job has become obsolete doesn't mean it should be kept around. This happens in almost every job sector...its a sad fact of capitalism and something people should pay attention to. Maybe said writers and corporate hang on should start thinking of a way to become useful in a market where there particular job description's days are numbered.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 27th, 2008 @ 6:55am

    Well

    I know this thread is a little aged now and not top of the list. But, earlier I had mentioned that I wish I knew when my CDs arrive.
    Well, I should have always known, it said it right in the confirmation email.
    I opened it up, saw the correct pricing and just figured I was set.
    If I had actually read the whole email I would have seen that the 2XCD sets ship on April 8th.
    Heh, thats what I get for rushing =
    But all is well, still listening to the MP3s. =)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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