Jill Sobule Shows She Can Create A 'Professional' Fan-Financed Album

from the and-it-works dept

We've written a few times about Jill Sobule's business model experiment last year, where she was able to get fans to pre-finance her album, by offering tiered levels of support that all provided something extra (usually something scarce) that created a real reason to buy. Back at MidemNet, Sobule talked about the success of the experiment, but now, as that album is getting close to actually being released, more details are coming out about how the experiment worked (via Nancy Baym). It covers some of the familiar territory, but one key interesting point: she raised over $75,000 in less than two months and used it to produce an album just as if she were with a record label. That is, she didn't want to cut corners. So she hired famed producer Don Was and a bunch of top notch studio musicians.

I bring this up because one of the critiques that some readers have had whenever we talk about these business models is that under the business models we discuss, the "quality" of the music would surely decline. These commenters insist that such a model would focus on people recording crappy songs in their living rooms, rather than doing a full professional setup. While that may be true of some, it would seem that this is pretty clear evidence that it certainly doesn't need to be the case:
"I wanted to show the labels that I could do what they're supposed to be doing at a fraction of the cost, and do it better. I spent a couple of weeks in a studio in Los Angeles where Joni Mitchell and the Carpenters and Poison --- let's not forget Poison -- recorded. I wanted to make an album that could've come from a big-label artist, and at the same time was totally grassroots."
She does note, of course, that the process of "connecting with fans" is time consuming, and admits that there are times when her writing suffers because she's spending so much time online, communicating with fans. Indeed, that is an issue, and I think that artists who are adopting these models are definitely going to have spend some time finding the right balance -- or getting to a point where they can work with someone (the role that a good label should be playing) to help manage the "marketing" side of things. Still, can we kill off the myth that these new models mean that quality of new recordings suffers?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 7:01pm

    Again, a nice story Mike, but Jill Sobule is a known artist with an existing fan base. Could a garage band raise the same type of money as easily?

     

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  2.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 20th, 2009 @ 7:08pm

    What's wrong with not hiring Don Was?

    Meh. No disrespect to Mr. Was, who I'm sure is a brilliant producer, but the stuff I've been listening to lately (Grammar Club, MC Frontalot, et al.) aren't using the talents of him or his peers.

    Weirdly, it doesn't suck.

    Music production seems to have a lot in common with Graphic Design. It doesn't take much to screw it up, but you can get it done right for pretty cheap. You just have to have an ear/eye for what works.

     

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  3.  
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    Rubber Band, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 7:26pm

    Re: WH

    Thank you Weird Harold for opening my eyes to the obvious short sightedness displayed in this blog. Obviously, the efforts of this fine artist mean nothing because there was an existing fan base. And the only solution that should be considered by anyone is one that would work for everyone including the garage band kids next door (even if they are not that good). So, in conclusion - I guess the only choice is that of the RIAA clients for anyone who wishes to make music.

     

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  4.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 8:09pm

    Re: Re: WH

    You miss the point. Mike is holding this up as a great example of the future of music (prepay, in a society where nobody wants to pay for music to start with?). Yet, there are pieces of the puzzle that don't add up.

    Jill Sobule is a lucky artist to have a dedicated fan base built up over many years that trust her with their money. She is also a lucky artist that can get a good producers, musicians and studio time and manage a whole album for that $75,000.

    However, her experience with this is likely different than what an unknown artist would have to do. I am starting to think of this as a gigantic vanity press system, except with no hope of making the money back selling the music. Sounds more like a great way for studios and other middlemen to make a bunch of money.

     

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  5.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 20th, 2009 @ 8:22pm

    Re:

    Again, a nice story Mike, but Jill Sobule is a known artist with an existing fan base. Could a garage band raise the same type of money as easily?

    This is what we call the Masnick effect.

    It only works for bands with established bases. Or bands that have no base, and nothing to lose. Or bands that have some fans, and are trying to attract more.

    Aside from those, nobody benefits.

     

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  6.  
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    Rubber Band, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: WH

    "You miss the point"

    Ahhh, no.
    I got your point and proceeded to make fun of it.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: WH

    no your the one missing the point, this article isn't Mikes main argument its just an example (of many) how alternate business models can work.

    I am not sure how long you have been a techdirt reader but if you take a look at the archives there are other models that worked new artists.

     

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  8.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re:

    That's called the koolaid effect. The desire to quote the guru without thinking.

     

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  9.  
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    Rubber Band, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: WH

    "I am not sure how long you (WH) have been a techdirt reader"

    Is it strange that WH appeared about the same time that AD disappeared ?

     

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  10.  
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    Travis, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH

    angry dude still comes by to troll once in a while.

     

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  11.  
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    It is in fact yummy kool-aid, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 9:39pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What some of us do is recall the eleventy kajillion times that Mr. Masnick has said, "Hey I'm not saying this way will work for everyone, but everybody keeps saying that the current system is the only system that works and that just ain't so."

    As the man has pointed out before. This is one system. Trent Reznor's got another system. Radiohead's got another. Prince gave his CD away with a newspaper. All worked well.

    Now as for garage bands raising money and the like. No, this won't work for them probably. But you're ignoring the fact that the costs of production go down: over time, with the advance of technology, and as more people demand those tools. If things keep going the way they do, Apple's going to release iRock for the MacBook XXS and you'll be able to mix music on your iPhone and the cost won't be anywhere near $75K.

     

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  12.  
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    Dohn Joe, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 1:22am

    Copyright is Extortion

    What this actually shows is that copyright is yet another example of protectionist extortion. Instead of finding ways to make money on something they went whining to their (democratic? free-market? capitalist!) Government for a way to extort rather than innovate (of course today we have companies that mismanage and then ask for bailout money from a supposedly democratic, free-market, and capitalist Government). What business model CAN'T succeed if the Government mandates that everyone pays it's proprietor? Why even make a product?

     

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  13.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 4:14am

    Re: Re: Re: WH

    You're right, an unknown artist would not have thousands of fans willing to pre-pay for an album. That's why there are many other business models (that you usually attack incoherently in other threads) which may be suitable for them. There is NO SUCH THING as a business model that works for everyone, within the music industry or outside of it, so stop trying to pretend that there is.

    As ever, you seem to be arguing yourself in circles. Mike *never* says that the business model he's pointing out in a particular article will work for *every* artist. Stop attacking each article in turn, and look at the big picture for a change. The cumulative effect of these articles is to point out a number of simple facts:

    - The current business model used by major labels is failing, in a big way.

    - Suing/restricting customers and trying to ban/overcharge new businesses is not the way forward.

    - There are hundreds of new business models appearing, all of which are successful for certain types of artists. This contradicts the "there's no competing with free" and "ours is the right way because it *used* to work" rhetoric coming from the majors.

    The one and only problem is that none of these new business models allows for middlemen to make millions nor for "superstar" artists to become obscenely rich. If the art is actually important to you in any way, that's not a reason not to make music, and so the music industry will survive, no matter what naysaying fools like yourself have to say.

     

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  14.  
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    DS, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:04am

    Not to exciting. Momus, with a much smaller fan-base did a whole album that was commissioned by individuals. You gave him money, and he'd make a song just for you.

     

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  15.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: WH

    Hundreds of new business models are emerging, most of which are mutually exclusive or won't play together well.

    When a major part of the business is giving music away for free, the overall value of music diminishes to near zero. The result is that any business model that suggests for a second that the end user pay for it is likely doomed (even Itunes).

    The true nature of all of these business models is the same: You expect a smaller group of people to overpay somewhere in order to pay for the music to get made. It could be pricy concert tickets, it could be some people overpaying for a box set, or 1000 fans each giving $75 for the record to be made. They all play to that same model, of sort of selective personal taxation.

    The other part of it is that the vast majority of the semi-fans or even intelligent fans get to take a free ride. Jill Sobule's "fan paid" album will almost certainly appear on P2P sites, and many "fans" will get the record for nothing. Potentially she will even give the record away for free on her site, or put it out there for free after giving those fans that paid maybe a real CD copy with an autograph on it or something. So for the few people who parted with money, everyone else gets to ride for free.

    Saying that not all models work for all bands is nice and truthful, but ignores so many realities of the music world. The process that moves a band from bar band to international star, from unknown to top 40 hit, and all those things happen because of investments made. If the entire "new" business model ends up being like panhandling, most of them will never be seen or heard of outside of their local bars.

    There is plenty of good in the existing music business, and the successes of few existing artists isn't anywhere near the proof to suggest it should all be torn down just for the heck of it.

     

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  16.  
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    Stephen Downes (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:23am

    Done earlier and better. Issa (formerly Jane Siberry, a well known Canadian musician) solicited fan contributions for production of her recent album, Dragon Dreams, recorded it and released it, and now sells it using the self-selected pricing system she has used for a number of years now.
    http://www.sheeba.ca/store/

     

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  17.  
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    R. Miles, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:35am

    Re:

    If a garage band's intent is to produce a quality album, then yes, the band can make the same kind of money if they're willing to work for it.

    Your constant dismissal of these new business models continues to support these bands work for a salary, then must turn around and sell their works to recoup the salary.

    Once again, you have skirted the question: WHO PAYS A GARAGE BAND TO WORK THEIR CRAFT?

    These garage bands aren't a business. If they were, they'd have capital to pay themselves, which is clearly not the case.

    The internet is a fantastic tool to use for free advertising. YouTube, forums, mp3 download sites, and even a personal web page to blog the garage band's quest to produce a quality album can be used to their advantage.

    But no, you insist bands can't do this, because they can't tour while taking care of the fan base. Problem with this stupid logic: there is no fan base to tour for.

    Garage bands get noticed by playing gigs, high school events, parties, whatever. Most at $0.00 paid to the artist.
    Until this fanbase is achieved, most garage bands are working to become a success.

    Just as with any business, some will succeed. Others will fail. But I can promise you the biggest difference between the two comes down to actually working to get that success. The human desire to succeed isn't the same in anyone.

    But given you do nothing but spit out rhetoric on a website being a so-called "self-employed business", we can clearly see this in action.

    Your drive isn't going to compare to someone who really wants to be a success.

    Has anyone here been at WH's website? What's it like? Does it have the same user base as Techdirt?

    I seriously doubt it.

    Your "success", if you want to call it that, is built on from a website from an individual who is still working for global success.

    See the difference? See your ignorance yet?

    We can only hope you do.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, I did go to WH's web site, out of some morbid fascination and a desire to try to understand why he continually espouses rhetoric that makes absolutely no sense. While the site seemed to be fairly well laid out, I only noticed on comment on any of his posts.

     

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  19.  
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    Rubber Band, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH

    Those damned freetards are destroying the easy street upon which the established music industry resides. Their continued attempts to succeed without paying are really pissing off the fat cats. This can not be allowed to continue.

     

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  20.  
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    kilroy, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 8:27am

    Re: Copyright is Extortion

    I do not believe that you understand copyright. Or you may not have considered how copyright may benefit the person who has done the work of "creating" something. I am one of the laziest people on the planet, and if you were to wait for me (or anyone like me) to create anything of any value, you would wait in vain.

    I do not mind PAYING someone else to do the work though ... if I want the product/end-result.

    But maybe I miss your point. Can you show me an example where someone created something, that people want, and is beneficial, that was created purely for the sake of having created that thing? Something where the person doing the creating had no other motive than to contribute something to the world at large that would make it a better place ... You see, although I am lazy, I am imaginative & I cannot think of any.

     

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  21.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Due to the nature of the internet and the software used to run the site, comments are moderated. Most people choose not to make comments when they are moderated.

    To be fair, that particular blog doesn't get a ton of traffic, it's more something I play with than a serious part of my life. I don't do it with any great expectation of return or even readership. If someone happens to like it great, if not, well, whatever. I have used it a few times though for design tests for blogs and sites, trying out new products, plugins, or ideas.

     

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  22.  
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    R. Miles, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have used it a few times though for design tests for blogs and sites, trying out new products, plugins, or ideas.
    WHAT THE HELL???????

    So why in the world are you having a hard time with the concepts derived from the articles posted on Techdirt????

    Congratulations on making yourself the #1 hypocrite on the entire planet.

    Sounds to me you are also trying new business models.

    Well, I think this pretty much means I no longer have to out your replies. You did this all yourself, so thank you.

     

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  23.  
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    SteveD, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 9:51am

    Cost vs. Quality

    The cost vs. quality argument of recorded music is pivotal to the entire debate, as music doesn't become an infinite good until it’s been recorded somehow.

    One of the big barriers to tracks being released free in some sort of promotional scheme is the financial investment in recording them; is your promotion going to be so effective that you'll make back this investment on top of what you'd normally make?

    It’s the glaring gap between recording and mixing an album on your bedroom PC for a few hundred bucks, and recording it in a studio with professional sound engineers and producers for $75,000. Where’s the middle ground? Where’s the scalability?

    So many people think an artist can go it alone these days, but only a tiny handful of artists already have the skills needed to make a good recording, and there will always be a need for studio engineers and all the assorted professions involved. The time of professionals isn’t cheap.

    For example, I know a small indie label that’s trying to develop some young talent. It’s managed to get a few recorded tracks thrown together, but mostly on verbal agreements, borrowed time, borrowed money (and mixed with ‘borrowed’ software). Now they’re bound so tightly they can’t put the entire tracks onto Myspace without burning a lot of bridges and having rabid attack lawyers thrown at them.

    So what we lack at this juncture is a balanced cost/quality way for new acts to record material without having to sell them selves into bondage (all the infrastructure that currently exists has evolved to service the big labels). Even artists with enough of a following that they can pull schemes like Jill Sobule have to start somewhere, but few new acts can afford (or even deserve) to have large amounts of money thrown at them to get started.

    So we don’t just need clever business models. We need to find a way to bring down the fixed costs that are standing in the way of these clever business models, and the success of young artists.

     

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  24.  
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    R. Miles, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You reply to this comment, but you still refuse to answer the bold question regarding garage bands?

    Hmph!

    But, in truth, I expected this. Any time someone challenges the $0.00 cost model, and I pose this question, not a single one replies.

    Simply because they can't with a valid argument.

     

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  25.  
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    Rubber Band, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Copyright is Extortion

    "Something where the person doing the creating had no other motive than to contribute something to the world at large that would make it a better place" ... "I cannot think of any."

    Yes, you are lazy.

    You can not think of any, so why bother looking. And of course, the output of the entire world throughout history is contained within your brain - which you have scanned and found nothing.

    Sweet

     

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  26.  
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    xaegis, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Copyright is Extortion

    off the top of my head;
    Babies, Chess, Python, Linux... The list goes on.
    There is a whole world that exists outside of your own. One which does not revolve around, or exist because of, a profit motive.

     

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  27.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    *yawn*

    Is the redesign of a magazine or painting of a wall in a coffee shop always a "new business model"? Is this a sort of bizarre buzz phrase now in use, sort of like "I didn't paint the bathroom last weekend, I gave it a new business model"? Or perhaps "Hey, I replaced my old style incandescent bulbs with CF bulbs, giving my lamps a new business model"?

    It is foolish to assume that all businesses stay exactly as they were through all times. Heck, if that was the case, the music industry would only sell wax 78 rpms records and we would listen to them on gramophones. Evolution is always there, it never goes away.

    What is proposed by Mike and his crew isn't evolution. It isn't even revolution. It's just blow it all up and replace it with, well, there's the problem. They don't really know what to replace it with. It's throwing out the bathwater, the baby, and the whole freaking bath tub, with no real replacement in sight.

    Mike likes to use the old buggy whip example. He uses it pretty much every chance he can get. But what he doesn't tell you is that (a) the buggy whip business didn't disappear over night, and (b) it only died when in fact there was another valid business to replace it. If the internal combustion engine automobile hadn't caught on (maybe lack of fuel?) we might see the buggy whip review site as the most popular on the net.

    Telegraphs only started into decline when telephones became widely available and reliable, and telegraphs were still used for much of the longest distance communications for long after the phone was available. The telegraph business only died when a valid business model replaced it. The first telephone call wasn't the day that telegraphs stopped working. Again, if for some reasons telephones had not be widely accepted or had some other technical problem, perhaps we would still be sending telegraphs today (which in a way we do online, but that is another issue for another day). It's unlikely, but still shows in fact EVOLUTION, not revolution.

    So before the evolution of news or music or movies or whatever can really happen, there has to be a valid and functional replacement - and one that generates the income required to keep the people actually doing the work. SeattlePI went from 200 staff to 40 to run their website, but it isn't likely they will even be able to support those 40 (right now they show limited ad spaces used on the site). At some point, so they end up with a staff of 5 doing nothing more than turning press releases into "news" and reprinting AP or Reuters stories verbatim? Without income, the model isn't functional. New Business Model, Old Business Model, everything is the same in the end: No business, no model.

    What has been proposed here for bands (the "success story" posts) are rarely without attachments to the old system, often the stardom has been made in the past and is being leveraged to make it appear to work now. Without the music industry, Thom Yorke would probably be a professor at Cambridge in the art department, U2 would be the biggest bar band in Ireland, and Trent Reznor would probably be a busker in New Orleans or something. So using them as examples of success of "new business models" is meaningless because they wouldn't work without the massive successes of the old business models that Mike seeks to pee on from on high.

    I could go on, but I think this comment is rather too long already. Take a break and go get another cup of the koolaid and tell me how I am wrong.

     

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  28.  
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    batch, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I've taken to associating weird harold with serial rapists... they just don't stop!

     

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  29.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    Re:

    Done earlier and better. Issa (formerly Jane Siberry, a well known Canadian musician) solicited fan contributions for production of her recent album, Dragon Dreams, recorded it and released it, and now sells it using the self-selected pricing system she has used for a number of years now.

    We've covered Issa in the past a few times. I'm not sure I'd agree that it was the same thing or that it was done "better." She used a somewhat different model that was quite successful for her. And that's the point that some still refuse to admit. There are tons of models that work quite well by recognizing the basic economics at play.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060503/126211.shtml

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Someone's probably paying him.

     

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  31.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't think anyone denies that individual artist may have some success. To call them "business models" is a pretty big jump in logic, however.

    More over, if you are going to crow over a model, you might want to see that it is in fact still in operation.

    http://www.issalight.com/Issalight/music.html

    Oops, her store is closed. But hey, get it at CD baby:

    http://cdbaby.com/cd/issa

    oops, it's $20! (what happened to "FREE!"?)

    Seems like the free / tipjar model didn't work out quite so well.

     

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  32.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow... you really have no qualms about totally contradicting your previous claims do you?

     

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  33.  
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    RD, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 4:37pm

    Sigh....he even SAYS it HIMSELF and STILL doesnt get it

    "Telegraphs only started into decline when telephones became widely available and reliable, and telegraphs were still used for much of the longest distance communications for long after the phone was available. The telegraph business only died when a valid business model replaced it. The first telephone call wasn't the day that telegraphs stopped working. Again, if for some reasons telephones had not be widely accepted or had some other technical problem, perhaps we would still be sending telegraphs today (which in a way we do online, but that is another issue for another day). It's unlikely, but still shows in fact EVOLUTION, not revolution."

    You just described the very thing that is happening right now, and the very ideas that this site (and others) are trying to make you see. But where you are erring is, you are skipping over the EVOLUTION part, and going right from Buggy Whip to Buggy Whip No More without the part in between. This whole internet/sharing/new business model stuff IS THE EVOLUTION. Also, evolution takes time, AS YOU YOURSELF POINTED OUT. But because there isnt ALREADY a fully-formed replacement, you just fall back and say "it wont work, cant work, what we have is all we will ever have." You are creating a catch-22 argument. It cant work becuase it hasnt worked yet. It wont work because there isnt a new model yet. People like you stop TRYING to ADVANCE any of these ideas, throw up your hands and say "whatever! back to the labels!" and give up and try to drag everyone else away from doing ANY innovation. You are a luddite sir.

     

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  34.  
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    zcat, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 4:49pm

    still in operation?

    "her store is closed" temporarily, because it took longer than expected to find a geek that can hack the code to do 'pay what you want' and she wants to also provide the store template for that to other artists to use.

    In the mean time you can still get the CD or the mp3's (with no drm), at a fixed price because that's the only model other web stores seem to support.

    Don't count this one out just yet.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 6:33pm

    Good as PBS good, because they have been doing this for years.

     

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  36.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Sigh....he even SAYS it HIMSELF and STILL doesnt get it

    I never have a problem with advancement - it's declining or backtracking that I don't support. Regression is the opposite of evolution.

    Right now, all the "FREE!" style stuff basically says "we are going to rip down your profitable business models and replace it with, well, NOTHING! We are just going to kill your business off entirely and turn it from a profit center into just another form of advertising. We have no idea what we are really trying to sell, and we have no idea if it will make money, but we are confident we can kill your business entirely.

    When evolution starts, we have something to discuss. Right now we are at the slash and burn stage of an out of control riot, not any real advancements.

     

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  37.  
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    RD, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:23pm

    Dear Clueless Moron

    "Right now, all the "FREE!" style stuff basically says "we are going to rip down your profitable business models and replace it with, well, NOTHING!"

    Good lord, there just is no talking to you. This has been shown OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO YOU that this is not what this is about. Like all your industry butt-buddies, you see "free" and jump right to "you cant give EVERYTHING away and make money!" and NO ONE IS SAYING THAT except you and your moron buddies who see "free" and FREAK OUT and dont even BOTHER to look at ANY other alternatives, or how you might be able to USE FREE TO HELP SELL MORE. But no you'd rather ignore all that and assume that YOUR reaction to "free" is what everyone ELSE is talking about. They are not. Get a clue, or stop talking.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    First off, I ain't in the industry, so I don't have any butt buddies. So please, keep the insults to yourself, you are so far off the mark. Plus insults just show you don't have much to add.

    "you see "free" and jump right to "you cant give EVERYTHING away and make money!" and NO ONE IS SAYING THAT" - I UNDERSTAND THAT COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY! This is part of what you are missing - I understand the concept. The concept sucks! It sucks because it takes a profitable industry (music, example) and tosses it out the window, turns music into a freebie promotional tool, with the hope and desire to sell stuff as a result of the promotion. The theory is increase your fan base, sell more concert tickets, sell more merch, and maybe even sell over priced box sets (sell them yourself, don't let any middle men get involved). If you get really hard up for cash, you might even try to sell your stuff through Itunes or one of the other middlemen organizations.

    I understand. I got it. it still sucks.

    The worst part? The "FREE!" is often used to sell something else. How many banners around that Youtube video goes to the band, how many try to sell other stuff, from poker to car insurance? Shouldn't all the ads and links promote the band? After all, if the band is good, wouldn't youtube want to profit from the sales of the band? Same question for torrent sites, packed full of dating, poker, and "make your penis larger" ads. They ain't selling music, because they know there isn't any money in trying to sell to people who are getting it for "FREE!".

    I am all for the evolution of music, Itunes is a darn good idea, similar services are good and useful. The apparent shift away from singles towards more complex sets (EPs and albums) at a higher price is good for everyone involved, and shows that you can have your easy distribution without trashing the recording industry or undoing copyright. But that isn't where Mike is going, Mike wants to toss it all out the window and start over with nothing, no evolution, just slash, burn, and toss it out "FREE!" until someone figures out how to make money and fill in all the blanks that will be lost.

    Trust me, I understand. I am still trying to figure out who is paying him to say it.

     

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    Dante, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 11:24pm

    Re:

    Yup, it could. Happens in Brazil, we have good examples from Teatro Magico, Cordel do Fogo Encantado, Mombojo, and others, who managed, without a label telling them what to do, to build quite a fanbase. And produce some very fine albums. From scratch.

     

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    Yosi, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 3:02am

    Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    There's one very basic thing you fail to comprehend. The era of "paying for recorded music" is ending. Simply as that.

    Not long time ago (about 200yrs), the only way to pay for music was going to concert. All other kinds of music were free as beer AND as speech. Then, recording technology was invented.

    Today, technology reached the point, where distribution is nearly free. All those "bandwidth costs" are negligible as various P2P sites have shown.

    And we have same situation people had for thousands (!) years - only concert is music-for-pay. Rest is free.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    "It sucks because it takes a profitable industry (music, example) and tosses it out the window, turns music into a freebie promotional tool, with the hope and desire to sell stuff as a result of the promotion."

    *facepalm*

    Yeah, you really, really don't get it, do you?

    The whole point is that music (at least the recording on a shiny plastic disc) is less and less profitable. Fighting the phantom evil of "piracy" is not working. It's becoming less and less profitable to make money solely by selling CDs, and the only people who were making real money from CD sales alone were the labels, anyway.

    So, rather than sitting around crying about how things are getting worse, the solution is to use the situation to your advantage. Change your business model to one where "piracy" does not lose you money, and in fact leverage it to your advantage. Otherwise, you're in the oft-cited buggy whip industry.

    "I am all for the evolution of music, Itunes is a darn good idea, similar services are good and useful."

    For you, maybe. For the rest of us, they're a monopoly that has been allowed to exist too long thanks to the artificial restrictions of DRM. It's only recently that they're been able to have actual competition, and the industry still enforces pointless regional restrictions and other barriers to make the services universally useful (hence the fact that despite buying 30 Euros of music per month digitally, I've never used iTunes or any similar mainstream service).

    "The apparent shift away from singles towards more complex sets (EPs and albums) at a higher price is good for everyone involved"

    Except the customer of course, but you've already shown that the end user is the least of your concerns (and then act surprised when said users want to find a way to circumvent restrictions).

    "shows that you can have your easy distribution without trashing the recording industry or undoing copyright"

    "Undoing copyright" has nothing to do with any of free models, of course. As for "trashing the recording industry", that's been a necessary thing for a long, long time - 4 corporations should not be the gatekeepers to our culture. Thankfully, artists like Radiohead, Jill Sobule, Prince and NIN are showing that these corporations are no longer necessary for success.

    "How many banners around that Youtube video goes to the band, how many try to sell other stuff, from poker to car insurance?"

    You have a problem with the fact that while helping a band promote itself, YouTube's platform is allowed to make money for itself and its advertisers at the same time? That makes no sense. There's nothing to stop the band having links to buy its album and make money from those videos as well, its just that if they're using it free-of-charge and aren't paying to have large ads on the site, the running costs have to come from somewhere.

    I have to wonder how you can possibly run a business as you claim to, given you woeful knowledge of business models and bizarre ideas of how they should work...

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    What you don't understand is this: The era of "making music for money" is soon to be over as well. End of the road. When nobody pays for music anymore, music is no longer a business.

    Enjoy your Ipod things filled with old out of date music because nobody will be making anything new. Why bother?

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    Here's the problem for you: I get it more than you do, which is the real problem you face.

    Start at the end, it's easier: "artists like Radiohead, Jill Sobule, Prince and NIN are showing that these corporations are no longer necessary for success."

    Wrong-o Bongo. Each one of these artists is known only because of these corporations. Without them, Thom Yorke would be teaching art at Cambridge, Trent would be washing dishes in a bar in New Orleans, and Jill Sobule would probably be that weird quiet girl that works in accounting. They exist right now and can do what they exactly because those corporations picked them up out of nothing and gave them the money and the time to mature as artists. These artists are proving nothing other than "once you have an audience, a fan base that you are happy with, that you no longer need part of all of what a record label offers".

    Oh yeah, not to forget that Radiohead's great "free" album made more for them being sold as shiny discs than it did as an online giveaway. Not to forget that Jill Sobules "FREE!" album isn't actually available free, and so on.

    Now this one: "that if they're using it free-of-charge and aren't paying to have large ads on the site, the running costs have to come from somewhere."

    Oh geez... you almost get it, and then you lose the plot again. The running costs have to come from somewhere. Where do the running costs of being a musician come from? They have to do something else (concerts or whatever) to make a living. Seems somewhat unfair, no? There are running costs to make records, there are running costs to run youtube. Why should the musicians (and music business) be the ones eating it each time? Remember the important logic: Without the videos, youtube doesn't exist. Their audience goes "poof" 1 second after the videos disappear. I think it should be something more like "the video producers make the money, and allow youtube to promote itself, maybe giving youtube a small cut of the action".

    Now this: "Except the customer of course, but you've already shown that the end user is the least of your concerns (and then act surprised when said users want to find a way to circumvent restrictions)."

    hahahahahahahahahahaha (I could keep going, but it would lose it's meaning). You don't pay any attention except to the things you like. I almost think you are getting it, and then you fail. Real music fans, fans of a band or artist, typically want more of the artist. While 99 songs are nice, there are starting to be more sales on Itunes of combos, EPs, and even full albums. Hey, Jill Sobule is selling albums, not singles. Is she out of touch? Make your mind up.

    Now this: "they're a monopoly that has been allowed to exist too long thanks to the artificial restrictions of DRM"

    monopoly means no other music sellers exist. They are not a monopoly. They are just better organized than most, and Apple has made any number of closed market devices to support it. Remarkably, those same customers you say aren't interested line up in droves to buy their ipods and iphone and imusicthings and gladly use them every day, turning white headphone wires not only into a common site, but a sign of our times. You would do well to pay attention to what the actual consumer is doing, not what you wish they were doing.

    Finally this: "The whole point is that music (at least the recording on a shiny plastic disc) is less and less profitable. Fighting the phantom evil of "piracy" is not working."

    Canada is pretty much open to downloading - the government isn't getting in the way, and nobody is shutting it down (although Bell does traffic shape P2P downloads during the day). Yet, only 23% of the internet users recently surveys had downloaded music within 30 days. Put it another way, 77% of the population still gets their music the old fashioned way, buying shiny plastic discs. There is great love for the shiny discs, so much so that most music pirates burn their music onto them so they can listen to them in the car, in the living room, etc. Sales of blank shiny discs is a big business.

    So if you fixate on the shiny discs (which really seem to catch your eye) you forget that they are only the visible end of an entire industry. They could be replaced with USB keys or digital downloads or whatever. You don't have to trash the entire music business to get rid of shiny discs. It's a slogan, a symbol, a bs way that certain koolaid dispensers have you thinking not past the end of your nose. It makes more sense when you stop getting caught on stupid details.

    So yes, I get it so massively: One group is trying to push out the middlemen so they can become the middlemen (see livenation). All the nonsense of this is now free and that is valuable can usually get traced back to who will make the money because something became valuable. Don't let the glint of the shiny discs blind you, that is just magicians flash paper being used to distract you from what is really going on right in front of you.

     

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    Kaden, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    "Enjoy your Ipod things filled with old out of date music because nobody will be making anything new. Why bother?"

    Stupidest statement in the history of stupid statements, now featuring extra stupid.

     

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    Brenda Walker, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Quality and Business Models

    "Still, can we kill off the myth that these new models mean that quality of new recordings suffers?"

    Quality is more dependent upon technical capability (as SteveD suggests) and budget than it is the model. The cost of production has gone down dramatically, but there is still a need for technical expertise in the ears of people who know what they are doing, whether they have gained that capability through training, working on their own music or working for a label (regardless of whether it is an independent or a major). Not all recording musicians can or will be able to do that just because they buy the computer and the software. It is a skill of its own.

    It's very likely that someone of Jill's stature could have found a record label to give her the same $75k under a limited term license (so the she owns the master). The question for someone like her becomes a matter of how she wants to spend her time and if the side benefits of direct fan interaction and publicity for being "experimental" outweigh the time intensity.

     

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    Yosi, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    Very long bunch of irrelevant stuff. For thousands of years, the ONLY way to make money of music was ONE: give concert, sell the tickets.
    I don't see it obsoleted today.

    But types like you are running around screaming "but we want to sell recordings!". Tough luck, pal. That era had ended. Want money - give a concert. Want more - give ANOTHER one. Somehow musicians survived so far without need of RIAA-like bitches.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:32am

    "Very long bunch of irrelevant stuff. For thousands of years, the ONLY way to make money of music was ONE: give concert, sell the tickets."

    For thousands of years the only way to travel was to walk or ride an ass. please give back your car, stay off the bus, and don't go near airports or train stations.

    Luddite.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Re: WH = Luddite

    Harold,

    May I suggest that you look this up in a dictionary

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: Quality and Business Models

    The labels have NOT been improving the quality of the recordings, intentionally.

     

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    Booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 9:08am

    @Wierd Harold. Another has pointed this out, but I wanted to ask about it anyway.

    Do you think that all the lawuits, the stronger copyright, the insanely high financial and criminal penalties, and the DRM is going to stop file sharing? Do you think these are going to keep it from continuing to grow? Do you think you can turn back the clock and slow, or even stop, legitimate digital distribution either?

    If you're honest and intelligent then the answer to all three is no. If the answer is no then what to you think is going to happen to the companies making money from sales of CDs and, eventually, digital media? Is money going to magically appear in their bank accounts? No! They're going to lose their shirts and go out of business. It's only a matter of time before they can't make money directly off of music sales. Period. End of story. They cannot avoid it.

    What can they do? They can recognize that change is coming whether they want it or not and they can DIVERSIFY. They can recognize that change is coming and they can ALTER THEIR BUSINESS OR THEIR BUSINESS MODEL. They can spend years fighting a losing battle, and finally fail, or they can recognize the changes ahead and leverage them to their advantage to stay alive, or even grow, during the transition.

    If the recording industry stays on its current path it will go the way of the buggy-whip makers. It doesn't matter whether the change comes overnight or over a decade. It doesn't matter whether the new business models are here or they're just developing. What matters is that change is starting and it is inevitable. They can fight a losing battle against it or they can embrace it and help define the direction it goes in. One way they fail, guaranteed. One way they have a chance of winning.

    You're shooting for failure as they are. Don't be stupid. Shoot for a chance at success.

     

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    RD, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Yeah!

    Everything Booger just said. Read it. Understand it. This is reality and its not going away. Adapt or die. Especially that last paragraph: change comes when it does, not when YOU are ready for it. The genie is out of the bottle, use it...or dont, but dont whine about "there arent any viable alternatives"....tell me, whats the viable alternative to an entire industry changing out from under you and doing nothing to adapt to it?

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 10:43am

    Novels vs. Music

    We expect a good novelist to be the master of his craft (parenthetically, J. K. Rowling of the Harry Potter books is not generally recognized as a good novelist). That implies a certain versatility. A novelist is expected to write poetry when the occasion calls for it. He is expected to write dialog, which is a form of play-writing. If he writes novels about topics remote from everyday experience, such as historical novels or science fiction, he is expected to be capable of doing library research, and good novelists are usually capable of shading over into the less academic forms of nonfiction writing. The novelist is expected to be capable of editing, and is very often capable of teaching, at least at the secondary school level. We expect a novelist to produce a manuscript ready to hand over to the printer, without needing a ghost writer. There is a strong tradition of authors printing their own books, and selling them on streetcorners, so websites are nothing really new. Authors are normally expected to get started writing in their spare time, and to have a substantial readership before they give up their day jobs. Publishers only give advanced to established authors, and reputable agents only agree to represent established authors. Official statements of policy from major publishers tend to the effect that aspiring writers should publish on websites or blogs, and that when and if they write something with commercial potential, the publisher will get in touch with them. HarperCollins has created a kind of novel authors' blog, where authors can post novels and critique each others' novels.

    http://www.authonomy.com/

    It works on a karma system like Slashdot. The HarperCollins editors intervene only very occasionally. In the case of one book, Heather Richardson's _Magdeburg_, the editors had to gently explain the difference between a critical success (a book admired by writers and intellectuals) and a commercial success. There is a problem trying to sell a historical novel about people, such as seventeenth century Puritans, who thought very differently from the kind of people who buy novels in airports. The airport buyers want to read books about people who are more or less like themselves, whose motives are substantially their own motives. They don't want to confront ideas like predestination or infant depravity. Someone who is after critical success will probably have to set up his own website, and offer free downloads.

    Something similar applies to art. Fine artists, such as painters or sculptors, are all very "crafty." They tend to be good carpenters, who can make a living rehabilitating old buildings, or mechanics, etc. Some sculptors are welders, nowadays. If you don't have the makings of a decent craftsman, you aren't likely to be very good at art either.

    It is with pop music that one has a kind of departure, with singers who need session musicians, producers, etc. Traditionally, folk music meant one person singing, and playing an acoustic guitar at the same time, often doing it on a street corner ("busking"). By now, there are all kinds of new tools for musicians. There are electronic instruments which are not tied to the physics of sound production, and are therefore capable of a much wider range than traditional instruments. There is computer-based editing, mixing, and synthesis software. And so on. There are all kinds of tools which ought to make a musician's life easier. Why is it that someone who calls herself a musician cannot simply produce music without any particular expenditure, by being multi-skilled, and doing all the different tasks as needed?

    A set of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's complete collected works runs to 170 CD's. Bearing in mind that poor old "Wolfie" only lived to thirty-five, he was producing the equivalent of, what, an album about every month or month-and-a-half, or the equivalent of a song every couple of days.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Complete-Works-170-Box/dp/B000BLI3K2/ref=sr_1_6/175-2274621-36 77354?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1237653757&sr=1-6

    Incidentally, when I looked at Weird Harold's blogsite, I couldn't get any sense of who, or what he is, or what creed he lives by. The whole business looked like a more or less random assortment of national stories from a local newspaper belonging to one of the big chains, minimally paraphrased from the sources. It looked pretty much like the kind of local newspaper which gets driven out of business by internet competition because it really doesn't have anything to say, but is simply regurgitating the wire service feeds.

     

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    Bad Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Tsk, tsk

    Hey Harold, for someone that disagrees with mike so much you sure like using his content on Kizo.com, don't ya? It's a good thing he doesn't care I guess. Of course you like making money off all those celebs too, using their images on putaface? On the other hand, I can't argue with linking to all that porn on in-the-raw, I might actually have to follow a few of those links.

    Politics, porn (lotsa lotsa porn), feng shui, starlets, wireless, domains... for a guy that likes to protect the cookies you sure have your hands in a lot of cookie jars.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 11:04am

    Re:

    (before I start, just let me say any time you use the term "buggy whip" it makes me think you got an extra cup of the koolaid)

    I could go a long way on this. What caused the lawsuits, the drm, and such? File sharing. File sharing isn't a result of any of that. Cause and effect. Actually, here in Canada where there is no real legal action against file sharing, only 23% of net users surveyed had downloaded a file in the last 30 days. I suspect that if copyrighted material was removed from the file sharing systems, that number would drop to about 1 or 2%. The attraction is what they should be paying for otherwise, not the truly free stuff.

    Remember too: The companies selling the CDs are the ones paying the artists to record, to make a living, to have the product they can use to promote themselves to sell seats at their concerts. Remove them, the content doesn't exist in many cases, and certainly won't come out in a way that enough people will hear it to make it work out. The record companies don't exist in a vacuum, don't get so fixated on the shiny pieces of plastic as to forget all that goes into it and all that the cash paid for that shiny piece of plastic does.

    Cause and effect.

    What the record companies have realized is that massive amounts of sales are lost to file trading "infringers" (aka theives stealing instead of paying). They also know (and the recent Canadian study proves) that these people who steal the music aren't spending significantly more for concerts or anything else. If the income dries up, there wont' be any major concerts either.

    Cause and effect.

    You raise the buggy whip thing. Laughable. You forget who is riding the buggy: The artists. The whip companies went out of business when there were no more buggies being sold. No more buggies means no more artists as you currently know them. The buggies and the whips and the buggy drivers and the buggy cleaners and the buggy repair shops and the buggy shows and the buggy festivals are all linked with the common interest. When the whips stop selling, it's because the entire buggy business is gone. In this case, replaced by nothing more complete than pogo sticks and roller blades.

    Shoot for a chance at success.

    The only success being offered is "go out of business and hope like hell people pay more for other stuff to pay your way".

    Please, explain to me how I am wrong. Show me which of these flailing non-business models is suddenly going to work. Help the recording industry to understand where it is going, show them how to re-tool their buggy whip machines. Just don't start with "and you give it all away" because they won't hear the rest of it, they will be laughing too hard.

     

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    Booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re:

    and once again Harold skirts the issues...

    Now go back and answer the questions I asked, then explain how you see record companies making money for much long. Come on, let's see you do it. You can't. They can't. No matter what they do more and more people are going to take the music and distribute it. That's only going to grow. Explain how the record companies are going to get out of that hole? Sue their way out? DRM their way out? No, they are going to die in that hole unless they find some way to change their business model and their source of income. They can jump on the bandwagon and help steer it in a direction that helps them or thy can get drug to their deaths behind it. Personally I hope they listen to you. I'd like to see them die.

     

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    booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 11:23am

    Re: Tsk, tsk

    Wow! Harold making money off someone elses content, who woulda thunk it!

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Re: Tsk, tsk

    Heh-heh. You guys need to learn what "fair use" really is. My lawyers are confident.

    It's only amazing that everyone was fast to tar and feather me without knowing who I am. Makes all those stupid pricks calling me an industry shill look like fools, don't it?

    BTW, Mike invites the use of his stuff, and has stated it over and over again. In fact, it would be really funny if the king of no copyright got pissy about it.

     

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  58.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Quite simply, there is no reasons for the music business to jump into the middle of a shoplifting riot and direct anything. They are the shop owners trying to keep the destructive thieves out of the store.

    There is NOTHING, repeat NOTHING, in the current bandwagon that does anything good for the music business (and very little that is even all that good for individual artists). Steering this bandwagon will only make the difference between ending up in the ditch and rolling over in the middle of the road.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    Sigh...

    "Each one of these artists is known only because of these corporations."

    So? The whole point is that 10 years ago, the corporations were necessary for recording, distribution and marketing. Now they're not necessary for any artist - famous or otherwise. Not to mention that one of the artists I mentioned was hindered greatly by his label, not helped in any way. Should these artists have to return to a corporation who treated them poorly just so they can get their new material released? Not any more.

    By the way, I don't know how well-known Jill Sobule is in your neck of the woods but I'd never heard of her before she started being mentioned on this site. Nice marketing machine there...

    "Real music fans, fans of a band or artist, typically want more of the artist. While 99 songs are nice, there are starting to be more sales on Itunes of combos, EPs, and even full albums."

    Well, duh. I was addressing the "higher prices", which you claimed were "good for everyone involved". I was merely pointing out that higher prices aren't good for the customers. I'm not sure how higher prices would help, especially since many people still see 99p / track as expensive (only North Americans are lucky enough to get a price as cheap as 99c, by the way).

    "monopoly means no other music sellers exist. They are not a monopoly. "

    Apple had the ONLY store that was allowed to sell major label content to iPod owners because the labels insisted on DRM. They did not licence the DRM to other companies, and other DRM would not work on iPods. They were effectively a monopoly on sales to iPod owners until DRM started to get removed and albums were licenced DRM-free to other sites. True, other stores still had the non-iPod market, but that was a small fraction of the actual market.

    "Sales of blank shiny discs is a big business. "

    Yet, sales are constantly falling on pre-recorded media...

    "You don't have to trash the entire music business to get rid of shiny discs."

    ...and so you continue to ignore the points actually raised by people here. The CD arm of the music recording industry is the ONLY thing dying. EVERY other part of the industry, including paid music downloads and even vinyl are INCREASING sales. There are more albums being sold, more gigs being played, even more instruments being sold. We fixate on the CD market because nobody else seems to be having problems.

    "Put it another way, 77% of the population still gets their music the old fashioned way, buying shiny plastic discs."

    But, who are these people? Are they the 50 year olds who buy 1 album every couple of months? Or are they the music fans who buy 5 albums a week? Not to mention, are they simply buying CDs because the market isn't actually serving their needs (e.g. audiophiles who constantly whinge about wanting FLAC and refuse to buy lossless)? How sustainable are these sales in the long term?

    "So yes, I get it so massively: One group is trying to push out the middlemen so they can become the middlemen (see livenation)."

    Yet, you clearly don't get it. LiveNation is a single company with a single business model. There are many other companies out there with many other business models, some concentrating on different ways of promoting music, others on different ways to create it, others on different ways to distribute it. Many of them don't even involve the use of "middlemen". Why not address those instead of cherry-picking the ones you happen to not like (for the record, I'm also doubtful about LiveNation's long-term prospects). At least accept that there's no single business model being advocated here for every artist.

    "Don't let the glint of the shiny discs blind you, that is just magicians flash paper being used to distract you from what is really going on right in front of you."

    As I've mentioned before on this site, I haven't bought CDs for years. Yet I spend at least 30 Euros per month on recorded music, and more on live music and merchandise when I feel like it. CDs are dead to me, but I'm still a good customer for the (independent) music industry. You, like the RIAA, would rather concentrate on attacking customers and whining about how people are "stealing" instead of actually adopting business models that piracy can't harm.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Harold,

    Your response to buggy whip is koolaide ? Impressive

    So what do you suggest the labels do ?
    Whine to the govnmt asking for a war on piracy ?
    - Because all the other wars on * have worked out so well.
    - Three strikes is doomed to failure
    - filters do not work
    - etc
    Continue to sue their customers ?
    - And accept the collateral damage; gramma, babies, laser printers, etc ...
    - Find a better way to id the bad guys
    Do more coke off some hookers tits
    - and hope it all goes away

     

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  61.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "There is NOTHING, repeat NOTHING, in the current bandwagon that does anything good for the music business (and very little that is even all that good for individual artists)"

    Want to clarify that with evidence? NIN and Radiohead, for example, both claim they made more money from their "free" giveaways than with the sales of their previous albums on CD (Radiohead stated that they made more money from just the early download experiment before the CD release than they did in the entire CD run of Hail To The Thief).

    Artists have more artistic freedom and direct links to their fanbase, while consumers get to sample new types of music they would normally not even consider with no risk. The only "problem" with these new models is that the people who used to make a fortune from the old models are no longer able to do so.

    Feel free to disagree (any real world examples of your pie-in-the-sky fears?), but I fail to see the problem. It's not destruction of the music industry, simply a necessary paradigm shift.

     

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    Booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Once again, quit avoiding and answer the questions.

    Do you think the lawyers, the lobbying, the extensions of copyright, the DRM, etc., are going to prevent file sharing from growing until it is the primary means of acquiring music?

    If file sharing and digital distribution become the primary means of distribution, legal or not, how are the record labels going to make money selling music?

    If the labels can't make money selling music, how are they going to survive?

    I'll answer for you. 1) These things will not prevent it. 2) They won't make money. 3) They won't survive.

    If you think any of those answers are incorrect, please explain, but don't waste our time with another ignorant rant that ignores the obvious before you, that doesn't answer the questions asked of you, or that doesn't explain an alternative that works.

    You got one thing right, there is nothing in the current bandwagon that does anything good for the music business - it's killing itself. It's so busy debating whether the ditch or the middle of the road is softer that it's ignoring the cliff ahead of it.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    ...and so you continue to ignore the points actually raised by people here. The CD arm of the music recording industry is the ONLY thing dying. EVERY other part of the industry, including paid music downloads and even vinyl are INCREASING sales. There are more albums being sold, more gigs being played, even more instruments being sold. We fixate on the CD market because nobody else seems to be having problems.

    It's actually an important point here. When you stop selling $15 cds and start selling 99 cent songs, guess what? You make less money. The real issue is that by killing the CD or album based business, you are trading dollars for pennies. It kills much of the financial stability of the music business.

    I was addressing the "higher prices", which you claimed were "good for everyone involved". I was merely pointing out that higher prices aren't good for the customers

    Again, the higher prices are good for everyone. Consumers are getting more for less per track, and the demand is there because the singles are also sold and people are buying the EP products without being forced, and good for the music business because the singles market isn't enough to make things work.

    What many people don't understand about the music business is that albums are records as albums for a bunch of reasons. One reasons is that it is difficult to predict what would be single material. You record a bunch of songs, and put them together on a record. First single comes out, people buy the album, and discover the other tracks. The second and third singles often come not from choice but rather what the public has chosen to hear. It isn't a coincidence that the 2nd and 3rd singles on an album are often tracks right next to the first hit (it got most exposure as people jumped to the single).

    If the industry sinks to a "singles only" mentality, the economics get worse.

    Apple had the ONLY store that was allowed to sell major label content to iPod owners because the labels insisted on DRM.

    If you choose to buy an Ipod, you bought into one business model, not a monopoly. You could have bought a Zune or a Creative or any one of a huge bunch of other MP3 players and not been part of the "monopoly", which means it isn't a monopoly.

    But, who are these people? Are they the 50 year olds who buy 1 album every couple of months? Or are they the music fans who buy 5 albums a week?

    Actually the numbers show that they are buying CDs and attending concerts at very similar levels to downloaders. So they are buying stuff. What is really concerning is that the apparent music fans (those who download are likely more interested in music) are not buying and not attending concerts in numbers that merit a change in business model. In fact, they appear to be buying less than what true fans would buy, only a few percentage points higher than all other internet users combined. If you eliminated the very occassional buyers and non buyers from the bottom of those numbers, the people in the middle would be buying more and attending more than the file traders. Oops, file trading isn't getting people to concerts? Oh noes! There goes a business model out the window.

    Okay, now, tell me exactly, what business model can piracy not touch? I am sure that the independant music you are buying could just as easily be downloaded for free. Merchandise can be counterfeited. So who is making the money?

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Radiohead's Hail to the Thief was a horrible record that sold poorly. It's not a great comparison.

    Here is the question for you: How are artists going to distribute their works in the future? How will I know to go to bobsbestgaragaeband.com to download? I won't. I will go to a middleman site that has a collection of artists together and pay for the content there. Guess what, you went from one middleman (record companies) to another set of middlemen (download websites, artist managers, concert bookers, etc). All you are doing is changing the characters but not addressing the issue. The bands can't do it all themselves (most of them are barely able to make it to concerts on time as it is) expecting them to suddenly manage themselves, book themselves, record themselves, and sell their own product is just not logical.

    So please, show me what the new music business looks like - and don't forget to pay the music writers, and the producers, and the booking agents, and all those other people when you do it. ;)

     

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    Tim, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Re:

    >Consumers are getting more for less per track,

    I rarely find a CD with more than 1 or 2 songs worth listening to. Consumers don't benefit from that. The artists and the record companies maybe.

    Consumers do benefit from being able to buy a song at a time. Why are we talking about CDs though? CDs are dying. How many people do you see carrying CD players around? CDs are going the way of cassettes, they'll be in new cars for a while, and on home equipment for a while, but slowly they'll be replaced by thumbdrive and ipod plugs.

     

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    RD, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:35pm

    Sigh again....

    "It's actually an important point here. When you stop selling $15 cds and start selling 99 cent songs, guess what? You make less money. The real issue is that by killing the CD or album based business, you are trading dollars for pennies. It kills much of the financial stability of the music business."

    So what? No one PROMISED you (them, really, but I'll use the general "you" here to mean "the industry" since you are a shill for them anyway - signed, the prick) and ever-increasing amount of earnings from music for eternity. Things change. This is one of those things, and its a big one. YOU DONT CONTROL THE INDUSTRY ANYMORE. The people have voted with their wallets and their internet connections, and FOUND A BETTER WAY. So, once again as I have said numerous times before and you have ignored and built straw-man arguments and ad-hominem attacks, what do you do when things change beyond your control? Adapt or die. Change, find a way, USE the new tools, or go out of business. You arent ENTITLED to having the business be what YOU want. Maybe for a time, but when tech and consumer tastes change, you better F-ING CHANGE WITH IT. History is littered with the corpses of business that didnt do this.

    And we wont even get into how completely and utterly wrong you are about things like NIN and Radiohead, considering they made MORE money...FOR THEMSELVES...by selling less and direct than they did via their greedy overlords.

    And this nonsense about "without the corporations..." Listen moron (and you are a moron at this point), how does ANY act get "big"? Huh? Answer that Mr I'm So Much Better Than All Of You? You think EVERY band just gets a big corporation interested in signing them? No, they do it the way its been done FOREVER. They start a band, build it up, play local gigs, etc. EVERYONE has to START. Almost no one hits it big right away. Maybe American Idol winners. EVERYONE else has to start something and build it to a point where enough people are interested. You conveniently skip this essential point and, like always, throw up your hands and give up on ANYTHING that isnt "the big label."

     

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    Bad Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Tsk, tsk

    Yeah, do you really expect anyone to believe you've asked lawyers about that?

    What a joke, you just want people to think you're sure our every use is legit so people that don't like you won't start raising hell for you.

    Well, I hope your lawyers (wink, wink) specialize in copyright law, else their opinions aren't worth squat. In fact, I hope your laywers (wink, wink) are the ones helping write copyright law, or their opinions either aren't worth much more than squat or they won't be for more than a few weeks at a time.

    BTW, you do know that, while you can use A celebrity's image when you comment on them, you can't use MY image of them or any other person's image of them you unless you've obtained permission or the rights to do so, don't you? Better get some new lawyers (wink, wink).

     

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    Bad Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Sigh again....

    lolz, Harold knows that where music goes porn is soon to follow. He like people going to his pages to get their porn instead of going to torrents.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Sigh again....

    And we wont even get into how completely and utterly wrong you are about things like NIN and Radiohead, considering they made MORE money...FOR THEMSELVES...by selling less and direct than they did via their greedy overlords.

    I don't think anyone is disagreeing on this point, but you aren't looking at the whole picture - NIN and Radiohead got there on the backs of the "greedy overlords". Like I said before, without the music business, Trent would be washing dishes in New Orleans and Thom would be an art professor at Cambridge (or running a news cabin in Chipping Norton). You cannot look at their relative (and I do mean relative) successes without looking how they got there. They are horrible examples because they aren't there as a result of an all digital free give away system from the start, but rather long term manufactured stars that have a huge following that is no longer dependant on record label marketing. They benefitted from the industry teat to get her, so ignoring it conveniently to make a point isn't possible.

    Right now the only change in the music business is that the public has learned to get the product for free by "violating copyright" (aka stealing it). There is no business that would want to get on board with theft.

     

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    Booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    >Right now the only change in the music business is that >the public has learned to get the product for free
    >by "violating copyright" (aka stealing it).

    Do you think the music business is going to force the public to unlearn that or do you think it's only going to get worse with time?

    What is your solution?

    You don't think the music business can or should find a way to incorporate it into their business model since "there is no business that would want to get on board with theft."

    I take it you think they should sit back and wait for their slow but inevitable demise, wasting their ever dwindling incomes on copyright lawyers and lobbyists who will NEVER be able to turn back time or solve the problem.

     

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  71.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Um... why would you give away a physical CD for free (nm shipping costs)? A physical CD is a scarce good. It's the digital audio files that are abundant.

     

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    Booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re:

    >Okay, now, tell me exactly, what business model can piracy not touch?

    Oh gosh, piracy can touch all business models, none of them work, so let's shut our doors and cease doing business. Is this what you are saying?

    I'll keep asking until you answer. Do you think you're going to stop file sharing and piracy? Do you doubt that it's going to continue to grow despite everything the *IAAs do?

    You adapt or you die. You keep saying that adapting won't work... because it'll change things... it'll be harder... it'll just change the middlemen. Well? Your choice is adapt or die. You're choosing sticking you head in the sand and waiting for a slow death by suffocation. No wonder your friends call you wierd, you like to suck sand.

     

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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    Yosi said "recorded music," not music in general. There's more to music than recordings.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    No, the problem is this: The public hasn't connected the dots yet on this "infringing". If enough infringing happens (and we are pretty much getting to that critical point), the record companies will stop financing new releases. If the public places no value on recorded music, the people who have been the money behind the business will leave the building.

    For all that I read here, there is nowhere for the music business to go that makes money. People aren't attending more concerts, they aren't buying more shiny discs, they expect it all for free. So, really: If you are so sure about it, tell me where the money is. Then I will call the music business and tell them.

    Because without it, the solution is the end of the music buisness (and everything that goes with it, and you won't like it)

     

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    Booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re:

    Again. You are not going to stop it. They are not going to stop it. You say it yourself right there:

    "If enough infringing happens (and we are pretty much getting to that critical point), the record companies will stop financing new releases."

    and that will be the end of the record companies. Bang! They are dead! So what have they gained? Nothing. What have they lost? Everything.

    Now tell me, how is this better than changing their business model to focus on making money off of hard goods and using the soft, infinite, ones to market them?

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's the point. They are playing the only cards they have, because after this, they are gone (and so is the music).

    Careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Ask Me About Digital Video Express

    I have a failed business model I want to tell you about. I believe it went bankrupt.

    http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/4096/pict0879.jpg

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Ask Me About Digital Video Express

    I have a failed business model I want to tell you about. I believe everyone went bankrupt... except the lawyers

    http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/4096/pict0879.jpg

     

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  79.  
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    Booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's a good thing the porn industry didn't take the same attitude. There's free porn all over the internet, from clips to full lenth movies. You don't see them using *IAA tactics and they are thriving despite all the shared porn floating around. Why? They innovate, they address the customers wants and needs, they constantly change their offerings and business models. How about that, in spite of the rampant piracy they rake in the dough.

    So let's see, just off the top of my head what could the music industry change?

    They could distribute music digitally through affiliate programs. Sure there'd still be piracy, but there'd be a lot more sales too because of the increased eyes (ears) exposed to it, plus many pirates would say why give something away free when you can make a commission. Much like the porn industry.

    Instead of grooming a handful of artists they could groom a couple orders of magnitude more. They'd serve a much bigger portion of the public and offer a seemingly endless variety of stars and styles to those that wanted it. Much like the porn industry.

    They could save endless dollars by letting the public find the true talent then grooming them... rather than picking the half-talent and marketing them. Much like the porn industry.

    Their stars could offer web cams and clubs. Live streaming video from their clubs, their concerts, their tour busses, their studios, their homes.. or even their bedrooms. Live and even interactive. Pay by the day... or by the month... or even by the year. Much like the porn industry.

    They can sell novelties and unique memorabilia, far beyond t-shirts and cds. Why heck, they could even sell toys (yes, even that kind). Much like the porn industry.

    The only cards they have left? Suing and legislation? Not hardly. They haven't even unwrapped the deck.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re:

    No, the problem is this: The public hasn't connected the dots yet on this "infringing". If enough infringing happens (and we are pretty much getting to that critical point), the record companies will stop financing new releases. If the public places no value on recorded music, the people who have been the money behind the business will leave the building.

    Funny. You should talk to JY Park. He notes that Korea hit critical mass when broadband was available to 80% of the population. Record sales dropped to next to nothing.

    You know what he did? He reinvented the business model and is producing MORE new music today than in the past and making a lot MORE MONEY via JYP records than he did in the past. He figured out some great new business models and it's been working out great. He's producing tons of new music and making more money -- by not worrying about how to sell music, knowing that that's not where the money is. But he's still making music because that leads to exactly where the money is.

    JYP's success pretty much disproves every single point Harold has tried to make. It represents up-and-coming artists who have been MASSIVELY successful (Rain, Wonder Girls), and none of them were based on the need to sell music directly, but through a variety of ancillary businesses that are paying off like you wouldn't believe.

    People aren't attending more concerts,

    Actually, they are.


    Because without it, the solution is the end of the music buisness (and everything that goes with it, and you won't like it)


    Yes, that's why more music is being produced today than ever in the past.

     

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  81.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Rain and JYP are a great example actually. Rain's last two albums were released (are you ready) on "shiny plastic discs".

    Heh?

    Oh, not to mention the 8 milion dollar plus lawsuit lost in Hawaii and the copyright issues, the failed concert tours, etc.

    Never mind. I just learned what "massively successful" is to you, and that is a joke.

     

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    RD, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Oh COME ON NOW, you are just being oblique to be a troll...

    "If enough infringing happens (and we are pretty much getting to that critical point), the record companies will stop financing new releases. If the public places no value on recorded music, the people who have been the money behind the business will leave the building."

    Yes. BUT MUSIC WONT DIE. Music has been around for THOUSANDS OF YEARS. The only thing that dies is the CURRENT INDUSTRY and the people who run it. Music, musicians and the art form WILL CONTINUE SOMEHOW. Always has, always will. People will STILL make music and find ways to profit from it.

    "For all that I read here, there is nowhere for the music business to go that makes money. People aren't attending more concerts, they aren't buying more shiny discs, they expect it all for free. So, really: If you are so sure about it, tell me where the money is. Then I will call the music business and tell them"

    Um...NIN AND RADIOHEAD MORON! And before you pull the "yeah, but..." card again, that doesnt take away from the fact THAT IT WORKED. Concert business is UP year over year for the last DECADE. iTunes is another example. I dont like it for the DRM, but it works and proves people WILL PAY for music. There are ALREADY some (and I say SOME before you go on your "but they are big names already!" whine) viable alternatives as a place to start from. Get your head out of the ass of your pals in the industry and OPEN YOUR EYES. God, its like talking to a 4 year old, except the 4 year old would have GOTTEN THE POINT BY NOW.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Oh COME ON NOW, you are just being oblique to be a troll...

    Geez, It's nice to see you flail, but you still flail fail.

    First off, yes, there will always be "music". But instead of Beyonce or Fall Out Boy, it will be Jill at the coffee bar down the street and your nephew's trash metal band in the garage. Music doesn't die, but music as we know it goes way when the money leaves the room. It's a question of size of the world, amount of people to contact, radio stations, and all that stuff that a single artist can never do by themselves.

    What it means is that this group of middle men called record labels gets replaced with "artist mangement" (see Live Nation), because the middlemen are needed to make it work. Those middlemen will do the same thing, attempting to make the most money possible. That's business.

    NIN and Radiohead come up all the time. They are a Red Herring, the products of the massive machine they attempt to distance themselves from. As noted, the last 2 NIN albums haven't charted anywhere near as good the previous ones, and both NIN and Radiohead signed deals with record companies for distribution of their products, again unable to get actual sales without middlemen. Apparently these artists still value the income from those "shiny plastic discs" enough not to cut their noses off to spite their faces.

    My eyes are wide open, which is why I can understand that the poster children for the "new business model" are just riding on the wave of the old business model, nothing more.

    @Anonymous Coward: As a side note about the Korean business, I would suggest you might want to get a better understanding of the asian market before using it as an example. Asian culture generally is a "go out and do things" culture, in part because most of them live in fairly small houses / apartments. The music world also benefits from the small physical size of the countries involved, Korea as an example shows about 120 radio stations, but out of that 120, about 90 - 100 are the same few networks. What this means for music producers is that getting on a playlist immediately gets you countrywide coverage. So potential exposure to all 50 million or so people with a single phone call. Hong Kong is simple because of size, and Japan's market is very similar to Korea. Shelf life for music in these countries is often days, if not hours. Japanese J-pop is an endless cycle of quickly replaced artists, one hit wonder factories generating looks and not music, but still selling tons of music (shiny little discs again).

    The market doesn't scale up to US size, or world size. People live differently in different places, and different type of marketing applies. Most of what works in the Japan fails in the US, because Americans don't go out 5 or 6 nights a week, most stay home and go out on Saturday. It's just a different market.

     

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    Omega, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Um, R.Miles... that's kind of a dirty little secret for the industry. Whether these garage bands are hired by a label or choose to do things independently, NOBODY pays them. They support themselves through other means. It is the curse of starting in a saturated market that leans heavily towards the successful few (similar to actors). Musicians are meant to survive on their 'love' for creating and playing music.

    Or maybe I didn't reply to your question...

     

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    Omega, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright is Extortion

    The original comments about copyright are not 'bad' as is so often said. They were created in a time when the cost of exposing new music to the world was very expensive... The price structure also allowed for people to commit themselves to the artistic development on the fruits of a few top works. The balance needed to create a 'hit song' is rare amongst songwriters and is never consistent or predictable.

     

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  86.  
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    Omega, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright is Extortion

    Point being... copyright isn't 'extortion' it is a pricing structure that the market of the time functioned well with. It is just starting to show its age now with the ease of communication available to everyone on the internet.

    It still isn't as easy as 'if you build it they will come' though. The process is still tough.

     

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    Brent Bonn, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    Re: garage band

    Harold,

    Jill Sobules point is that anyone can do it. She states in the last paragraph "I think that artists who are adopting these models are definitely going to have spend some time finding the right balance -- or getting to a point where they can work with someone" - So to answer your question. A garage band might not need to raise that kind of money to get them to the next level. But they can probably raise enough money to get themselves to the next level.

    I know a small time musician in Toronto named Corin Raymond, and he did exactly this. Although he did not raise enough money to finance the entire record, he did raise enough to finance over half of the production costs to release his new album... and put himself in personal debt to finance the rest. I can attest that Mr. Raymond used this "contract" with his fans as a motivation to release an album he and they can be proud of on all levels of quality, from writing, to playing, to production, to packaging. He did not cut corners as doing so would result in an inferior product that may not live up to the expectations of his fans (share holders).

    You just watch, Mr. Harold Naysayer. These business models ARE going to keep popping up and flourishing, all the while the AIGs of the world go bankrupt and crumble all around us.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: garage band

    Brent, part of the problem is that this is nothing new. Artists have produced demos and whatnot for years with money from friends, fans, and whoever else they could get the cash from. Calling it a new business model isn't exactly right. It really isn't news, except instead of hitting people up at the bar they played at this week, it was done over the internet, on a blog, by email, or whatever.

    But all of this is an end to itself. A small group of friends and fans get a custom shiny disc, and the musician sets about trying to raise the money to do it again next year. Grind on. It still doesn't get Corin Raymond airplay, doesn't get him residuals, doesn't get him the potential of making a true living in music (one that makes enough money to pay for retirement). He probably does it for the enjoy, and more power to him. My brother in law has a blues band and they play because they like it, record if they feel like it, and don't give a damn. But they all have day jobs, and just like most people here adding comments on this blog, this is a hobby, not a job.

    There are plenty of tiny business models out there. But if you are going to pull down the golden gate bridge, you better replace it with something better than paper airplanes, otherwise we are all going to get wet.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your ignorance of the adult industry is huge. Adult is actually suffering even more greatly than the music or movie business, because porn is attractive for eyeballs, and is increasing used by non-producers to sell services other than porn (dating, poker, viagra, etc). The amount of full length free porn is actually putting many companies on the brink of destruction, because they have no way to recoup their costs in producing the content.

    Your ideas are interesting, but most likely cost prohibitive in many cases. Affiliate programs raise costs to consumers (money comes from somewhere, and they don't work for pennies). The amount of traffic required to make a sale makes it impossible work for small amounts of pay.

    When you get off to gear and other stuff, the record companies may not be involved in it (unless they are LiveNation, the borg of music, that takes a piece of everything under the sun). Merch sales are also generally very low numbers outside of concert venues, Really big acts do okay, but the fall off is pretty quick (I wish I still had the link, but basically outside of top acts, merch sales drop off really fast as you get down to the 1000 seat venues and all but disappears after that). It's a nice add-on, but it isn't the main business (and will never be, there are only so many ugly black t-shirts and crappy key chains anyone needs).

    Streaming video is another good idea, but one that fails quickly. Costs are insane. Licensing can be a pain. actual costs (in licenses, residual payouts, etc can hurt you), and many clubs don't have an interest in doing it. Plus, the band risk chewing up their potential live audience paying $XX for someone viewing a stream for a night for $X. Pay per view has been tried by a few bands in the past, and for the most part people just won't pay it - although they will buy the live show DVDs after, providing the act is big enough.

    There are plenty of ways for money to be made, I don't debate any of it. But there aren't any 10 billion dollar a year ideas out there right now, just pocket change concepts. It could take a whole generation before people once again think that music has enough value to pay for, it's rare as heck to find anyone between about 14 and 25 who actually pays for music. That is a real challenge. The lawsuits and the legislation are attempts to break the "FREE!" cycle that has been created, making it so people being to relearn the actual value of music. It sucks that it has ended up that way, but the alternatives are pretty much fatal for commercial music.

     

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    Booger, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 5:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Unfortunately, the lawsuits and legislation and idiotic attempts and they won't break the cycle. Instead they'll spread the sharing ever farther and ever wider onto numerous, smaller, sites. Instead they anger and alienate fans and potential fans. Instead they'll eat up a sizeable chunk of what profits there are. That's where the record companies fail, that's where you fail, in believing that such an approach can save the current business model.

    Maybe you are right, maybe we're seeing the end of superstars, or maybe we're just getting a break from them. The current recording industry started from scratch too you know.

    As far as people re-learning the value of music... maybe it's you and the record companies that'll be relearning the value of music. Maybe the true value of music can be found in widespread diversity and not the narrow, scripted, "music" that comes from a handful of superstars.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again, increased sharing actually makes the problem worse for the music fan. If the money dries up, the supply drops off. It's just simply math.

    The end of superstars, isn't the point - take the entire top 100 from any category and toss them all out the window. They can't make money, so they are gone. The song writers won't write if they can't collect residuals on the songs getting played on the air and in concerts, so they are gone.

    Seriously - take the money away and the whole thing stops. So the more and more that file sharing increases, the less and less there is to share that is of any interest.

    That is the point that people like you learn that music actually has a market value, the one you wish you had paid so you had something new to listen to.

     

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    Tim, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Streaming video is another good idea, but one that fails quickly. Costs are insane. Licensing can be a pain. actual costs (in licenses, residual payouts, etc can hurt you),

    If the individual artists are the ones doing the streaming and collecting the fee for the fan's membership then this point is moot. Sure, bandwidth and set-up has cost, but that's getting easier and cheaper by the day. Anyway, who knows, maybe the next Google product with be "Google Band" where any band can set up their own pay-per-view or pay-per-membership club and collect a check.

    You know, bands don't have to stream their concerts if they fear fans not visiting (it's not a likely outcome anyway). They can stream all the events that don't bring them any benefits now. They can stream their jam sessions, their recording sessions, their breaks, or just short member to cam sessions where they interact with select fans and answer questions. What teen girl wouldn't love to participate in that with her latest heartthrob?

     

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    RD, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 6:06pm

    wow...just....wow

    Holy mother of GOD what a load of tripe. You are an amazing piece of work. If you dont work as a mouthpiece for the industry, you really should. This is the most amazing piece of crap I have ever read. To wit:

    "There are plenty of ways for money to be made, I don't debate any of it. But there aren't any 10 billion dollar a year ideas out there right now, just pocket change concepts."

    Hey here's an idea: MAYBE YOU DONT GET TO MAKE BILLIONS. Tastes change, people change, and sometimes and industry LOSES OUT. Tough shit, you arent entitled to obscene amounts of money. And your absurd assertion that BILLIONS are NECESSARY for there to be a music industry is so far removed from reality and history as to completely invalidate your arguments.

    "The lawsuits and the legislation are attempts to break the "FREE!" cycle that has been created, making it so people being to relearn the actual value of music. It sucks that it has ended up that way, but the alternatives are pretty much fatal for commercial music."

    Once again, lets say it for the Econ Dropouts....VALUE AND PRICE ARE NOT THE SAME. You are operating under some incredible zero-sum-game notion that whatever replaces the current industry MUST BE AT PARITY with it. Come on, when there are paradigm shifts, SOMEONE LOSES. What you are missing here is the critical element that a FEW (big execs, a few big acts) will lose the most. The dismantling of the current industry only signals a massive loss FOR THE INCUMBENTS. Music will survive. Artists will survive. SOMEONE will make music. SOMEONE will figure out a way to leverage the new paradigm. SOMEONE will make money at it. Its as inevitable as rain. People like you and your industry pals clinging desperately as they go down with the ship will throw all these ridiculous arguments out as if thats the ONLY way things can happen. Guess what? The Buggy Makers said the same thing, did the same thing, and had to either do something else or go out of business. Its tough but thats change for you, its a bitch. Learn to live with it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You think that if the recording industry died today music would die with it. You think if the superstars died today music would go with them. It won't. New superstars will take their place and they'll find their way there through new venues. Why? Because people want (good) music and people will search for it. Kill the labels, people will go to whoever best fills their shoes.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 6:19pm

    Without value, there is no price possible. $20 for a CD isn't a good price in line with what people perceive the value of the product to be. I'm not even talking price (get over it!). the "FREE!" cycle removes value, not price. It makes music as common as dust, with no VALUE.

    If you weren't so angry, perhaps you would think for a minute before posting.

     

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    RD, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 6:27pm

    yes, but...

    You just made my point for me:

    "Without value, there is no price possible. $20 for a CD isn't a good price in line with what people perceive the value of the product to be."

    Once again, you are equating value with price and sticking it into a CD. But you are right about one thing. People dont see $20 for a plastic disc to be a good deal. So they are turning to alternatives. Which is what this ENTIRE DISCUSSION IS ABOUT, and which you keep ignoring and skipping past.

    And music is ALREADY COMMON. Radio has for DECADES played FREE MUSIC and that hasnt hurt sales one iota. People still make music, and have come up with ways to profit from that. You have no answer for that though, because you are stuck in your paradigm of Big Label+CD=ONLY way to do things. That model is changing, will change and will not be the dominant one someday. And you know what? SOMEONE will find a way to a) leverage the new "free" and b) profit from it. It WILL happen. Remove your head from the posterior of your industry pals and get a clue. You can be the windshield or the bug. Right now, you are the bug.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 7:22pm

    Re: yes, but...

    Again, don't be linking price and value, I am trying NOT to do so.

    Value is the real problem of "FREE!" in all it's forms, because over time, whatever the come-on product is (free samples, free music, free whatever) over time can saturate the market and make the free product have no value (not price). When you combine the idea of giving away music as promotion with the torrents, file sites, and other giveaway sites, you end up with a product that is valueless.

    It's important - once the value is gone, it's value as a come-on is gone as well. So free music won't in the long run sell more concert tickets or anything else, because it won't have the value to attract people to it to start with.

    Again, I haven't said PRICE, but value. But without value, the price is always, absolutely ZERO.

    That's why I say - until people start to VALUE music again, there is no discussion of business possible because all of the business have no income model that will work. The music has lost it's value because you can get all you want for free on a torrent or whatever, and so many artists already are giving it away for free.

    The radio argument is one of the most laughable things I have ever read. You have to be a fool not to realize all of the reasons why radio works - from the fact that the songs are NOT high enough fidelity to trade, to the voice overs, to the fact that they are effectively giving SAMPLES, not the whole meal. Just as importantly, radio stations pay artist royalties when they play the songs. It isn't just a give away, it's a key part of the business model. No one station pays enough to make it worth while, but hundreds or thousands of stations playing your song is a living, a way that authors and composers make a living.

    Because you don't really understand the music business (you come off like a flailing downloader in mom's basement), you aren't making sense in your attacks. At best, you are regurgitating the pap getting fed to you, nothing more.

    Without value, all the "FREE!" marketing strategies and business models return nothing more than the fail whale.

     

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    RD, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:30pm

    yes, but...

    "The radio argument is one of the most laughable things I have ever read. You have to be a fool not to realize all of the reasons why radio works - from the fact that the songs are NOT high enough fidelity to trade, to the voice overs, to the fact that they are effectively giving SAMPLES, not the whole meal."

    Amazing. You are so blind and dogmatic that you cant see that this is EXACTLY what is happening with all these other "free" (FREE TO THE CUSTOMER moron) methods that we are discussing. And how is playing a song in its entirely a SAMPLE? Are you REALLY that ignorant? And dont tell me "people dont buy singles, they buy overpriced albums on plastic shiny discs" because iTunes has proven that to be wrong too. To the tune of billions of "singles."

    "Just as importantly, radio stations pay artist royalties when they play the songs. It isn't just a give away, it's a key part of the business model. No one station pays enough to make it worth while, but hundreds or thousands of stations playing your song is a living, a way that authors and composers make a living."

    Um, wrong wrong and wrong. The artist sees almost nothing from this. Once again, it goes to the LABELS. Your big industry pals. And they dont pay the artist anything from this, as has been proven time and again. They get very little from CD sales too, unless they sell 10's of millions of CD's. Not millions, thats been proven to make a band only a few thousand (see: TLC, Tom Petty in the early days, and numerous others). So, this system doesnt work either, yet you are holding it up as the gold standard by which artists can justify tackling a music career, and yet it pays the artist almost nothing unless they are a mega-hit.

    And since you cant unhook your value from price cart, lets throw another example out there. Guitar Hero. Care to explain the failure of GH to sell songs? Oh wait, thats right, a lot of the songs featured on GH (and the other games) had a big RESURGENCE IN SALES due to using music in a creative, fun and different way! How is that not value? How about using them in TV shows or movies? Again, adding VALUE increased SALES. Then after this gift of a license fee AND many many extra sales, the greedy labels wanted EVEN MORE money for people to use these songs. Then there is the whole Universal/Warner/YouTube debacle). The PRS in Britain demanded so much in fees to use their music, it was MORE THAN YOUTUBE MAKES IN TOTAL (not just music, ALL of youtube) in advertising. So youtube pulled them and they went crying to the govt to make a law to MAKE them carry the content AND then pay. Yes, I know full well how the music "business" works. It works like the mafia. Shakedown followed by extortion followed by "protection."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re: yes, but...

    Well, if fidelity and having the "whole meal" was a truism, then the SACD and DVD-Audio markets would have been booming.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Rain and JYP are a great example actually. Rain's last two albums were released (are you ready) on "shiny plastic discs".

    No one said that they shouldn't release the albums on CD at all. But that's not where the majority of the money is coming from.

    Never mind. I just learned what "massively successful" is to you, and that is a joke.

    You should call up JY and see what he has to say about that. I would guess he made more this month than you've made in your career.

    As for your claim elsewhere that Korea (and Japan) are different types of markets, you clearly did not bother to learn about where JYP makes most of its money. It's in neither of those two countries.

    Either way, you still missed the point (by a country mile). Even though they're not making money from CDs, they're still producing music and making a ton. Your claims to the contrary are proven false. Your credibility is shot to nowhere.

     

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    Brent Bonn, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 12:32am

    Re: Re: Re: garage band

    Actually, Corin is rather successful based on his definition of success. Likely it differs from your as you equate success with having lots of money. Corin is a working musician. Music is his day job and his night job. He may not be selling out Madison Square Garden, but he does sell out smaller clubs across Canada, and he tours The US, Australia and the UK regularly making enough to finance his tours and other living expenses. He pays his taxes on his earnings, claims his expenses... just like... ack... a business model.

    He is also young by greater standards, meaning he's doing extremely well at this stage of his career. He IS considering the direct to fan (he calls his fans his record label - no middle man inbetween) pre-sales, marketing and gifting (freebies - or loss leaders as marketers like to call them)

    Just so you know. You may argue that what he is doing is not a business model... I fail to see how it is not.

     

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    Brent Bonn, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 12:38am

    Re: Re: Re: garage band

    Oh yeah. And young bands don't call them demos anymore. They call them Albums, or CDs, or releases. And they make them themselves and sell them themselves and some of them do it so well that they make a living without having to rely on a major label's support system. It does not take 75000 to make a high quality album anymore, you don't have to play to tens of thousands of people to make it worth while.

     

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    fuzzix, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 1:52am

    Re:

    Again, a nice story Mike, but Jill Sobule is a known artist with an existing fan base. Could a garage band raise the same type of money as easily?
    No, but they probably wouldn't need to...

    Read up on the DIY ethic as it relates to music. A friend of mine helped fund a split 7" release of Operation Cliff Clavin/Max Levine Ensemble - it was just a few dollars, but in return he got several copies of the EP and his name printed on the cover.

    Funds from sales of the release went to a free bicycle repair centre.

    I guess it's easier to get the tunes out wen the profit motive isn't concern #1.

     

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  104.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re: Re: garage band

    You see, you're missing the point yet again.

    Things *used* to work that way because people needed the recording industry gatekeepers at one point. A normal band didn't have access to professional studio facilities and producers without signing to a label. They didn't have access to marketing avenues like TV and radio. They didn't get to make a "hit" record because the corporations controlled everything (well, apart from a few new waves of music like punk, grunge, hip-hop and house music, all of which were very much self-produced up until the corporate buyouts...)

    Today, that's not true. Marketing can be done via numerous online channels. A professional mastering job can be done with a laptop. The entire point of the story you're trying to argue with above is that if an artist can raise a reasonable amount of money up front, they can produce a piece of work identical to a major label job, but without the heavily biased contracts, creative label interference, etc. The caveat here, of course, is that bands may find it difficult to make a fortune while depending on selling a single recording of their work - they actually have to work for a living now. Not a problem, as very few bands actually made any money from CD sales alone in the old model either. The major labels are becoming increasing irrelevant.

    Again, the only problem is that you seem to be obsessed with "big", that bands somehow have to make $10 billion through new business models for them to be worthwhile (even though no current model makes the ridiculous amount you keep quoting), the people have to become millionaires for this to be "real". That is utterly idiotic and at odds with what most real musicians are actually trying to do.

    "My brother in law has a blues band and they play because they like it, record if they feel like it, and don't give a damn. But they all have day jobs, and just like most people here adding comments on this blog, this is a hobby, not a job."

    If you're the guy giving him business advice, I'm not surprised he hasn't managed to go pro if he wants to... You do realise that this contradicts everything you've been claiming above - that nobody will write songs or play in "real" bands if they're not paid obscene amounts of money?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 4:11am

    Re: Re: Oh COME ON NOW, you are just being oblique to be a troll...

    "First off, yes, there will always be "music". But instead of Beyonce or Fall Out Boy, it will be Jill at the coffee bar down the street and your nephew's trash metal band in the garage."

    Some people would argue that the Beyonces of this world are what have destroyed the music industry creatively, and that what we need is a proper new metal wave to cleanse the world's palate...

    "Music doesn't die, but music as we know it goes way when the money leaves the room."

    Again, good. It would be nice to turn on the radio and hear some good music, rather than yet another crappy cover version by some American Idol "winner". "Music as we know it", in terms of major label output, is 90% soulless crap that's been focus-grouped and overproduced to remove anything resembling what music used to be about.

    Thankfully, the independent labels that are starting to follow new business models are putting out some great music - and making a decent profit.

    "As noted, the last 2 NIN albums haven't charted anywhere near as good the previous ones"

    IIRC, they have been ineligible for some chart entries because there's no reliable way for a 3rd party to track their sales, so chart positions are the red herring you're thinking of. There's also the small fact that because there's no middlemen involved, they don't have to sell anywhere near as many copies to turn decent profits.

    "What it means is that this group of middle men called record labels gets replaced with "artist mangement" (see Live Nation), because the middlemen are needed to make it work."

    Why are you so obsessed with LiveNation? You keep bringing them up, but neither the article nor any other posters here are mentioning them...

    "My eyes are wide open, which is why I can understand that the poster children for the "new business model" are just riding on the wave of the old business model, nothing more."

    Sadly, no. NIN, Prince and Radiohead get mentioned because they're the biggest names. They're far from being the only bands to have made money through new business models, they just happen to be the most recognisable.

    Here's the thing: this isn't going to change for a while. The thing about the new business models is that they don't depend on #1 chart hits or multi-million advertising investments for them to work. This means that it's quite possible for an artist you've never heard of in your area to make a large amount of money. People may not necessarily become household names through these new models, but that's no longer necessary to make a very comfortable living from music.

    That does not invalidate the models themselves, nor does it mean that it's not possible for lesser-known bands to make money. It just means that until someone becomes a massive hit unexpectedly from these models (e.g. think of what the Arctic Monkeys did, only self-releasing the final album rather than releasing through a label), those names will keep popping up.

     

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    R. Miles, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Clueless Moron

    Put it another way, 77% of the population still gets their music the old fashioned way, buying shiny plastic discs.
    Incorrect. Several companies have reported sales of CDs have dropped by more than 68% total in the past 10 years.

    Math would indicate 77% is much too great a number.

    So much so, Walmart, Target, and other retailers are reducing the number of CDs kept in stock due to drop in demand for them.

    More likely stocking popular CDs only.

    What everyone's been trying to tell you is this: The CD market is dying because other forms of distribution are now available.

    It matters not if these models require payment or not.

    They're here. And they're affecting the revenue generated from the sales of plastic disks.

    But now, ironically, it's the CD now turning into the scarce good, not the infinite "press until demand drops" model once used.

    Accept it, Weird Harold. Famous or not, every business now has to market a model where consumers demand content be $0.00.

    Yes, it's not easy to do given this was just thrown out in business.

    But this is why you continue to read about NEW BUSINESS MODELS, rather than focus on old ones.

     

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  107.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Radiohead's Hail to the Thief was a horrible record that sold poorly."

    Christ, you don't have any problems dismissing things because they're not to your taste, do you. So, In Rainbows doesn't count as a success because you didn't like the previous album and it didn't sell the same number of copies as Kid A? Is that honestly your argument?

    "How are artists going to distribute their works in the future?"

    They have a huge number of choices now that don't involve major labels. There is absolutely nothing stopping an artist from self-releasing albums on their own sites. They can also deal directly with retail sites like Jamendo, AmieStreet and eMusic. There is NO REASON for an artist to use middlemen if they do not wish to.

    If they don't want to do this, they can use middlemen who allow them to retain control over their own material, for example dealing with aggregators like CDBaby and The Orchard. If they wish, they can also hand over control to a manager or a label and let them deal with promotion, tour booking, etc. But it's their choice to do so.

    "The bands can't do it all themselves (most of them are barely able to make it to concerts on time as it is) expecting them to suddenly manage themselves, book themselves, record themselves, and sell their own product is just not logical."

    Again, missing the point entirely. Artists have the choice. If they don't feel that they can handle the management of their own promotion or their own career, they hire someone who can. It's just not necessary as it once was to do this. There are artists out there who do everything themselves, just as there are small business owners who handle every part of their business. If they feel they need to hire someone else to manage part of the business for them, what's the problem?

    "So please, show me what the new music business looks like - and don't forget to pay the music writers, and the producers, and the booking agents, and all those other people when you do it. ;)"

    Well, you can hire a songwriter if you need one (many bands don't), and you make your deal with him when you hire him. The deal you come up with is down to your negotiation skills (or those of your manager), and could be anything from a flat up-front fee to a percentage of total profits including merchandise and tours. Just as there is no "new music business", only a collection of new business models, so there is no one way to pay someone to write a song. Yeah, writers can no longer make millions by sitting on their arse and letting other people do the work after they've written a couple of hits. Cry me a river.

    Producers, again, it depends on the deal you cut. Jill Sobule managed to get a good producer without involving a label so I fail to see why others could not. Booking agents would probably take a cut of the tour profits, or maybe not. There's no reason for the people who organise tours to be paid any differently, as their income would not be directly linked to CD revenue.

    ...and so on. Did you have a point with this? Unless you cut a deal that is solely dependent on the sales of recordings (a very dumb move nowadays, whichever part of the industry you're in), you shouldn't be affected negatively. In fact, given that some part of the music industry are increasing their revenue (e.g. touring), most people aren't losing anything at all.

     

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    Dave, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:23am

    Re:

    Yes, they were called the Barenaked Ladies and raised a bunch of money to release their initial cassette.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, Paul, I don't dismiss In Rainbows because I don't like it - I dismiss the comparison to their previous album that stunk. It would be better to compare the sales of this album to more popular albums, to see where it really stands.

    "They have a huge number of choices now that don't involve major labels."

    You miss the point: These guys are signing up with major labels for a reason: The vast majority of the public prefers shiny plastic disc or some other form of physical product. Amiestreet or eMusic isn't a replacement for a record store or the music racks at WalMart. it may be the "easier" distribution for you or I (computer savvy) but it isn't where the public prefers to get it's music. Again, you are making an unfair comparision. If Radiohead and NIN were making enough on their online stuff online, they wouldn't feel the urge to sign distribution deals, which once again makes the poster boys into just dilettantes, playing to your feelings but really with their feet solidly in the old system, where they know they will make money long term.

    "Artists have the choice. If they don't feel that they can handle the management of their own promotion or their own career, they hire someone who can."

    Again, missing the point. The bands always have the choice - they also have the choice to be full time musicians or be part time musicians and part time something else. That isn't the point. The reality is that a truly popular band that makes records and does 250 shows a year doesn't have time to arrange press and schedule radio interviews and deal with distribution snafus and handle authors right issues and all those other things that actually happen every day in the music business. There will always be middlemen, now we call them "record labels" and tomorrow they will be called "live nation". New label, same old middlemen.

    "you can hire a songwriter if you need one (many bands don't), and you make your deal with him when you hire him. The deal you come up with is down to your negotiation skills"

    This again is something you aren't grasping: Artists make money not just selling records or playing concerts, but also as writers, collecting royalties on their songs. It isn't just outside writers, it is themselves. Also, most pop acts (including stars like Mariah Carey or Beyonce) write very little of their own material, often collaborating with outside writers or using pieces written by third parties for them. Producer / writers like Timbaland really respresent a big part of the current music business. Why would any of them want to trade potential big money for some negotiated low rate?

    Jill Sobule I would bet spent the $75,000 like this: $10,000 of studio time, $20,000 of studio musicians, and the rest to Don Was - and he still gets a cut of all album sales in the future. He ain't working for beer money.

    "In fact, given that some part of the music industry are increasing their revenue (e.g. touring), "

    Now this is where the true lies part of this process comes in. Touring revenues have increased in the last few years because ticket prices have increases dramatically compared to all other parts of the music business. That is the Live Nation effect for you. But ticket prices have to increase massively to make up for lost record sales - and the loss of record sales so far isn't anywhere near enough to justify the price increase. Right now, the acts are soaking their biggest fans for the most money possible. $300 for Madonna? HELLO? What it means is that these fans are paying to make Madonna and Live Nation rich - more middlemen making money, which is exactly what we are all against trying to kill the record labels, no? It's just different middlemen doing the same time.

    It's pick your poison, nothing more.

     

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

  110.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Sigh....he even SAYS it HIMSELF and STILL doesnt get it

    "Right now, all the "FREE!" style stuff basically says "we are going to rip down your profitable business models and replace it with, well, NOTHING!"

    Where in the HELL does it say that??? That is your slanted view, which exist only in the weird world of Harold, but not the real world in which the rest of us live. Perhaps you missed the part of the article above that says Jill Sobule raised $75,000 for production before she even started recording. That's something.

    And don't start with the crap about this not working for smaller bands. That's like saying that a car should not have third gear because it can't start out in third gear. It has always been difficult for small bands to get started and find an audience. But, when they do, this is one of the new models available, the SOMETHING that replaces the outdated models.

    By the way, no one is "tearing down the old models, just for the heck of it." The old models are failing, and artists are trying new things to find models that don't. It's a very simple economic principle. Eventually, the old model will either fold, or more likely, it will just become a smaller part of the industry, one option among many. In twenty years or so, the major labels will be like Sears - the superpowers of yesteryear that now just sort of exist in a sea of competing alternatives.

     

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

  111.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In addition, in the "existing system" garage bands have to work hard to get the attention of fans which eventually leads to the attention of a label (who then financially slap them around).

    The difference in the new era...bands just focus on growing/working with fans.

     

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

  112.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 11:24am

    From an article written by John Cougar (yeah, I am old, tough) that appears in the Huffington Post.

    These days, some people suggest that it is up to the artist to create avenues to sell the music of his own creation. In today's environment, is it realistic to expect someone to be a songwriter, recording artist, record company and the P.T. Barnum, so to speak, of his own career? Of course not. I've always found it amusing that a few people who have never made a record or written a song seem to know so much more about what an artist should be doing than the artist himself. If these pundits know so much, I'd suggest that make their own records and just leave us out of it. Nora Guthrie, Woody's daughter, once told me a story about a reception she was at where Bob Dylan was in attendance. The business people there were quietly commenting on how unsociable Dylan seemed to them, not what they imagined an encounter with Dylan would be like. When that observation about Dylan's behavior and disposition were mentioned to Nora, the response was very profound. She said that Bob Dylan was not put on this earth to participate in cocktail chatter with strangers. Bob Dylan's purpose in life is to write great songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are A' Changin'." This sort of sums it all up for me. The artist is here to give the listener the opportunity to dream, a very profound and special gift even if he's minimally successful. If the artist only entertains you for three and a half minutes, it's something for which thanks should be given. Consider how enriched all of our lives are made by songs from "Like A Rolling Stone," a masterpiece, to "The Monster Mash," a trifle by comparison.

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/03/24/jill.sobule.album/index.html

    The story made it to CNN, and Jill explains a bunch more about this.

    more than a third of the money was raised from a very small number of donors. She did 5 or 6 private living room concerts at $5000 each. There are also some $1000 donations in there. Not sure the total number of donators, but it certainly wasn't 7500 at $10 a head ;)

    This is interesting too:

    " CNN: Have you gone through all the money?

    Sobule: I have pretty much gone through all of it. I did not know how expensive it was to do all of this."

    For all her years in the music business, she didn't know how expensive it would be? Wow.

    Her comments about not making money recording are true. She has never been the biggest selling artist (even with exposure on MTV and even in Beavis and Butthead), and it would be pretty tough to recoup what it really costs to do. For her market and her fan base, self produced and self marketed albums are probably a good way to go. I don't think it will help her expand her fan base in the long run, but I could be wrong. Certainly the discussions (such as this one) are bringing her exposure, but not for her music (not my style, thanks) but more for her marketing.

    The real answer will come on the next record. :)

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    KSE, May 12th, 2009 @ 2:21am

    Music Models

    Which has priority: Music or Fans???

    Both feed off the other. The are like parallel tracks that an artist must keep focused on daily. A new up & coming artist will never make a living without both of them, which means, writing good/great songs (or finding great songs) that connect will, over time, build your fan base.

    We think, a successful touring indie artist, needs to build their fan base to 5 to 10k, which will allow them to stay on the road without having to work that second job.

    An artist without a significant fan base needs to figure out how to establish one or hire someone that knows how to build a large fan base over a period of 3-5 years.

    It's not easy, but, there is no other way to become successful in the indie music business, nor will you survive without working supplemental jobs.

    Unless, you are one of those special artist that have a ton of family money supporting you and your band, We have not found many with those deep pockets that allow them to do whatever they want.

    ---end

     

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


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