Finding The Long Tail In Music

from the it's-out-there dept

In the past we've had an ongoing discussion with some folks on this site concerning whether or not it's now a better time to be a musician than before the internet became central to everything music-related. We've argued that today there are more options and more opportunities for bands than ever, and that's only a good thing. It doesn't mean that every band will be a success or can make a living. That's never going to be true (and has never been true, either). Many will still fail, but there are more tools and opportunities that if you learn to embrace them, you can absolutely do much better than you ever could under the old system -- which required massive backing to become successful. It was the golden lottery ticket story of musical stardom.

Last week, we wrote a post about an interview with Tommy Boy Entertainment boss, Tom Silverman, claiming that just 14 unsigned artists "broke the obscurity line," -- which was defined as sales of 10,000 albums. Amusingly, three days after this post, I met Silverman on an airplane over the Atlantic... and only realized it was him when he started talking to the guy seated next to me about my post not realizing who I was (small freaking world). We had a brief, but quite enjoyable conversation, and while I see his point, I'm still not convinced his conclusion is correct on the issue of breaking artists (his view of business models, however, seems right on). Meanwhile, in the comments to our post, Peter Wells from TuneCore disputed Tom's numbers. Since then, both have expanded on the discussion.

Tom provided more details on the number of totally independent success stories (decreasing the sum from 14 to 12 due to the fact that they had mischategorized 2 of the bands) over at the MusicianCoaching.com site. He then went on to claim that the long tail doesn't seem to be working for the music business:
Clearly the ease of making and distributing music does not benefit "breaking" music. Breaking music requires mass exposure which requires luck or money or both. I can say with great authority that less new music is breaking now in America than any other time in history. Technology has not helped more great music rise to the top, it has inhibited it. I know this is a bold statement but it is true.
Certainly bold words, though they did not address my original criticism with the point -- which is that number of albums sold is a poor measure of "obscurity" (or non-obscurity, as the case may be). As I said then: "You don't have to sell albums to become well known, and just because you're well known, it doesn't mean you sell albums. It's not the best proxy for figuring this stuff out." This week, at Midem, musician Hal Ritson of The Young Punx put it much more succinctly: "Sales are not how you measure success any more. You figure out how to get as many people as possible to hear your music, and then you figure out if you're profitable." Also, I still think it's wrong to only count totally independent artists in this list, because many artists signed to labels (both indie and majors) may use new technology to help breakout (with or without massive support from their labels).

Either way, even beyond that, it looks like Silverman's numbers may be suspect. Peter Wells Jeff Price (from Tunecore) followed up Peter Wells' comment on our site with a super detailed post about the problems with Silverman's numbers -- which rely on Nielsen SoundScan data, which Wells Price notes is massively incomplete. He quickly names multiple artists who sold hundreds of thousands of tracks, which aren't measured by SoundScan, and suggests the real issue isn't that new artists can't break, but that the measuring system doesn't take into account how they break these days.

I have to say that Wells' Price's post is quite convincing. It's incredibly well-detailed and provides multiple examples of clearly successful (and hardly obscure) artists that aren't counted by Silverman's method. I still think that the points raised by Silverman about new business models in his original interview were dead on (and even he made the point that sometimes it made sense to release albums totally for free and use other ways of getting money -- which under his own definition would have made them impossible to "break out."). But it seems like there's an awful lot of evidence that our original assertion is still true: there are plenty of artists that are, in fact, breaking out thanks to new technologies -- and many are able to do so without a label. Whether or not it's "harder" to break out today due to increased competition may be another issue, but I'm not yet convinced this is a real problem.


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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    You don't have to sell albums to become well known, and just because you're well known, it doesn't mean you sell albums.

    As Paris Hilton now knows, to her distress.

     

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      DH's love child, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:35am

      Re:

      "You don't have to sell albums to become well known, and just because you're well known, it doesn't mean you sell albums.

      As Paris Hilton now knows, to her distress."

      As does Heidi Montag.

       

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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:38am

    Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

    Technology has not helped more great music rise to the top, it has inhibited it. I know this is a bold statement but it is true.

    I have come to the conclusion that Mike is correct regarding business models. The older models are harder, but not impossible, to make work. The newer models provide more opportunity for new bands to become successful, if your measure of success if making a profit.

    However, I have found it harder and harder to find new music, and all of the "great" new bands accessible primarily or only on the internet will never reach me, and hundreds of millions of others, because the internet is just not I, and perhaps the majority of people in the world, look for music.

    Why? I suppose there are many possible reasons. The biggest reason, for me, is that I do not have hours to scour the internet for new bands and to then find a copy of that band's music. To do so is almost a hobby in itself. Perhaps I had that time as a teenager, but certainly not now.

    The bottom line is that it seems, to me, harder for a band to make much penetration into the consumer market unless you have a huge marketing machine, like Disney, behind you. I see the ever-growing success of "classic" music stations, classic rock, classic country, etc., but current radio pop just seems bland repeats with minimal creativity, and I have a hard time finding any new artists worth buying, much less hearing.

    I wonder when and where these creative new artists with their new business models will make their music accessible to people like me? Until they do, their business models mean little or nothing to me.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:55am

      Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      However, I have found it harder and harder to find new music, and all of the "great" new bands accessible primarily or only on the internet will never reach me, and hundreds of millions of others, because the internet is just not I, and perhaps the majority of people in the world, look for music.

      That's an argument for better filters, which are popping up every day. Someone already mentioned Pandora, but there are other things like Last.fm, Hypemachine, TheSixtyOne and many others are getting better and better at music discovery/filter tools to help people find new bands that match their tastes.

      It's not accurate to assume that all you need to do is search for stuff yourself.

       

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        Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:38am

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        Mike:

        Exactly my point. Connect with fans means that, the connection is by the band, not me with the band. I WANT to find new music, but with an expenditure of time on my part, that is becoming more and more difficult. The breakthrough replacement for radio (which mostly sucks where I live), has yet to happen.

         

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      PaulT (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:11am

      Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      "However, I have found it harder and harder to find new music, and all of the "great" new bands accessible primarily or only on the internet will never reach me, and hundreds of millions of others, because the internet is just not I, and perhaps the majority of people in the world, look for music."

      A few people have already picked on this comment, but I have to put in my thoughts as well...

      You see, what you're describing here is a dissatisfaction with the filters you're currently using - presumably mainstream radio, TV or something similar. You haven't found it "harder and harder" to find new music, you've simply chosen filters that remove the things you're interested in before they reach you.

      The solution, as others have mentioned, is to find the filters that suit you. Maybe it's a different radio station (or digital/satellite or internet (or even foreign!) station rather than terrestrial). Maybe a Pandora or last.fm to filter music based on what you like. Maybe you can subscribe to a suitable podcast that gives you a selection of music for free that you can listen to on your commute instead of ClearChannel Borg Unit 3526.

      The choice is yours and, yes, you will have to put in a little more effort to find the desired filter - to begin with, at least. Once you get used to getting rid of the music you don't like in favour of that you do, you'll probably wonder why you put up with the old system as long as you did. I know I do, and no I'm not a teenager nor do I have acres of spare time to listen to every new band (if that were even possible).

      Don't waste your time looking for the new bands - let the music come to you.

      "I wonder when and where these creative new artists with their new business models will make their music accessible to people like me?"

      They are ALREADY accessible to you. Accessibility is not the problem, filtering out the crap you don't like is the problem. You just have to choose a non-corporate filter that don't remove them from your ears in favour of the latest manufactured karaoke star or clone of teen band X.

       

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        mrharrysan (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        I couldn't have said it better myself. Kudos, Sir.

         

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        PaulT (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 4:34am

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        Heh, as a follow-up to prove a point, I was browsing Lifehacker and came across a site mentioned in their comments (http://www.thesixtyone.com). I've not come across it before, and it's a pretty interesting site, combining streaming and recommendation services with an optional "quest" game system to encourage exploration.

        Why do I bring it up? Well, before even creating an account, it started streaming a song that I really liked. The band was called Elizabeth & The Catapult, who I'd never heard of before. I went to their site, previewed a few more songs and decided I wanted to buy the album.

        ...and I would have done if the idiot label (predictably a major label subsidiary) didn't restrict their digital sales to US-only and refused to allow me to buy it (an independently released single is available to me, but not the album). Oh well, the point is that simply by opening that site, I discovered an artist I'd never heard of despite being signed to one of those almighty major labels we're always told are the only way to do business.

        Choose your filters, choose them wisely, enjoy. That is all.

         

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      Richard (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:15am

      Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      However, I have found it harder and harder to find new music, and all of the "great" new bands accessible primarily or only on the internet will never reach me, and hundreds of millions of others, because the internet is just not I, and perhaps the majority of people in the world, look for music.

      Sadly this statement could be interpreted in a number of ways...

      1) You are part of the past and therefore are irrelevant. (Please note this is not meant as an insult - just one hypothetical explanation of your statement. I sometimes think I may be too!). In the 1960's the music industry was caught completely off balance by the Beatles - the teenagers of the day knew where the new good stuff was - but the older people didn't. After missing signing the Beatles a DECCA executive asked one of them who else was good - and signed the Stones within a few hours - the resources of his major label couldn't find them)

      2) Music is going through one of its occasional "stale periods". This has happened before. Really good and really new music doesn't come from random geniuses - if it did then they would be much less geographically and temporally localised than is in fact the case. Good new stuff comes from New tech. (piano->Mozart, Beethoven, Electric guitar->Hendrix etc) or from cross fertilisation (African Rhythms+ Victorian Hymn tunes=Beatles). Even geniuses need one of these two extra ingredients - otherwise they tend to produce samey, forgettable, easy listening material. Brahms, Schumann and Mendelssohn were good - but somehow not in the same league as Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven.

       

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        Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:49am

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        Richard:

        There is still great music out there (probably tons of it). I found a few. Porcupine Tree, Spock's Beard, and Transatlantic, to name a few (I purchased albums from each of these groups). However, I found these groups by luck - I was talking with a fellow progressive rock fan and he mentioned them to me.

        The question is how I find these groups without going through extraordinary means. Satellite radio is one option. I had it for a while (and let my subscription lapse), but did not find "new" music of much interest. I keep going back to classic rock and progressive rock, because it was that much better than what exists today in readily accessible places.

         

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        mrharrysan (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        Number one, maybe. Number 2? Definitely not. There are more great new bands in a million different styles out there today than ever.

         

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      Derek Bredensteiner (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:36am

      Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      The cool thing is you (or any particular individual) don't have to "scour the internet" so to speak for the internet to work in exposing new things. If the artist has done it right™ then it only takes one person finding it and sharing it to get the ball rolling. If it's easy for a friend to share it on facebook or to send you a link to an mp3 or to share it via new music aggregation service _____, then it can be exposed and travel the internet with relative ease (also assuming anyone has any interest in it). The internet isn't just a giant directory of unindexed content, it's a giant communications platform, and there's a lot of ways for information to be sent back and forth and sideways and every which way throughout it.

       

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      ConceptJunkie (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:46am

      Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      Try mailing lists. I've been members of e-mail lists for groups like Spock's Beard and the Flower Kings for more a decade and trust me, I am totally hooked into what's going on in the Progressive music world without having to invest a lot of time and energy. Ditto Facebook and other similar places. People are always willing to share their discoveries as am I in return. When you find people that like what you like, you will discover new things you haven't heard about yet.

      Frankly, I'm discovering more great music now than I can afford and have been for quite a few years. Of course, I am willing to put in some effort, and furthermore, my tastes are such that I'm very unlikely to find anything I'm interested through other means. I think the last time I bought something because I heard it on the radio and liked it was about 1991. Commercial radio used to be a great marketing tool for a wide variety of music, but now it's all been boiled down to claustrophobic playlists of cookie cutter artists in formats so rigidly pre-programmed it's like all radio stations of a similar genre are clones.

      Even the "classic rock" stations which generally play stuff I still like are awful. 3/4 of the their programming makes up about 2% of my music collection. If they play it and I don't have it, it's almost always because I simply don't want to buy it. And with newer stuff... well, it's blander and more homogenized than at any time in my life.

       

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      Comboman (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:48am

      Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      I think your experience has more to do with getting older than with technology. To a 30 year old, there hasn't been any good music produced since the 90's. To a 40 year old, there hasn't been any good music produced since the 80's. To a 50 year old, there hasn't been any good music produced since the 70's. etc. etc. People get nostalgic as they age and "Oldies" (I mean "Classic") radio stations can make money appealing to that demographic. Someday your kids will listen to Hanna Montana on the Classic station and talk about how much better music was in the 00's.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        I disagree with that to be honest, Comboman. There's no issue with the quality of music made today (I'm 35, btw), but rather with what's being sold to the mainstream. The way that pop music's sold tends to be aimed at teenagers and those in their early 20s. If your preferred genre isn't the current "in" genre, you'll not hear much you like. Ditto if you prefer music made in the style of your preferred era of music.

        There are many bands out there working in "outdated" genres and styles as well as innovators who are creating what will be the next wave. If you abandon new music in favour of "oldies" simply because the local top 40 station isn't playing "your" music any more, you will be ignoring a lot of current acts who are creating the music you like.

         

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        Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:58am

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        Comboman:

        I worried whether I was falling into that trap until I heard "In Absentia" from Porcupine Tree and "V" from Spock's Beard, both from the last decade and a half. Incredible music. Most of the music I have bought in this decade has been music from the last two decades, and I think that trend will continue. There is still great music, it is just much harder to find.

         

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      fogbugzd, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:30am

      Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      >>Why? I suppose there are many possible reasons. The biggest reason, for me, is that I do not have hours to scour the internet for new bands and to then find a copy of that band's music. To do so is almost a hobby in itself. Perhaps I had that time as a teenager, but certainly not now.

      At one time streaming music was a decent way to find new music. There were people out there who did scour the internet for new bands. They did it mainly for the love of music, and maybe made money on the side.

      Now you can't afford to run that kind of service because you have to pay licensing fees for everything, even if you only run music that the artist want run for free. The major labels benefit from this, of course, sine it makes it that much harder for independent musicians to break out.

       

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      chris (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 11:43am

      Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      The biggest reason, for me, is that I do not have hours to scour the internet for new bands and to then find a copy of that band's music. To do so is almost a hobby in itself. Perhaps I had that time as a teenager, but certainly not now.

      getting new music just isn't that hard for me. i hear someone mention them (discovered fleet foxes here on tech dirt), i check youtube for a couple of songs, give it the thumbs up or thumbs down. if it's a thumbs up i download it.

       

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        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        Fleet Foxes have also offered free tracks on Amazon for ages. That's how I found them.

        To those who don't know, Amazon offers a ton of free music downloads.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:44pm

        Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

        Chris:

        I have heard about a few groups on the internet. I start the same as you, either on Youtube or samples on Amazon. If it seems good, I buy it.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Even if one measures success by album sales, I think you're asking the wrong question by asking for "totally independent success stories".

    Producing a professional-quality album requires a somewhat different skill set from what musicians typically have and there are plenty of indy labels that sell their services in producing and distribution on a per album basis without forcing the artists to sign away their rights on future stuff.

    I think a better question would be how many bands have sold 10000 albums without signing over their copyright (or even, say, without entering into an exclusive contract for more than one album of future work).

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      Even if one measures success by album sales, I think you're asking the wrong question by asking for "totally independent success stories".

      Right. That's what I was saying. You're agreeing with me... I think the "totally independent artist" thing is meaningless. It totally makes sense for some artist to partner with others.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:48am


    Why? I suppose there are many possible reasons. The biggest reason, for me, is that I do not have hours to scour the internet for new bands and to then find a copy of that band's music. To do so is almost a hobby in itself. Perhaps I had that time as a teenager, but certainly not now.


    Have you tried Pandora? There are new technologies to help with the "scouring" side of things just as there are on the production side...

    (This comment is perhaps a bit off-topic in that I haven't seen any music on Pandora that is "totally independent" in the sense of this post.)

     

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      Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      I have heard of Pandora, but never tried it. It gets back to the time thing. I can go to Amazon and look for, as an example, music by Pink Floyd or Porcupine Tree and buy something I do not have. I can listen to the radio and hear music I have never heard that I like so much that I go to YouTube or hear samples on Amazon, but to go to Pandora and start looking around, why? The market should adapt to me, not me to the market, right? Where is the "connect with customers" when I have to do something I would not normally do to find new music?

      The radio was an easy way to find music. Listen to an FM station, hear a new group, buy their album. What is the substitute for this process that does not involve me going somewhere I would not normally go specifically for the purpose of finding music? That was the real value of radio, and even MTV and then VH1. You had it on in the background, and when you encountered something you wanted, you got it. With the internet, you MOVE from the place you want to be to a place you have to be if you want new music. Silly. Not a connection with customers.

       

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        The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

        Re: Re:

        This comment just shows that you have no idea how Pandora works. You don't "look" for music. It's basically a radio that uses the music you already like and then feeds you tracks randomly that resembles it (such as jazz, or acid funk) with COMPLETE cover, album and artist information, including a link to the online store where you can buy it.

        "but to go to Pandora and start looking around, why?"

        But to turn on my radio and start tuning around, why?

        The actual problem with Pandora is that it has been completely ruined by the labels wanting a "cut" of its "profits", the same labels that want radio stations to pay THEM for music.

         

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

        Re: Re:

        I have heard of Pandora, but never tried it. It gets back to the time thing. I can go to Amazon and look for, as an example, music by Pink Floyd or Porcupine Tree and buy something I do not have. I can listen to the radio and hear music I have never heard that I like so much that I go to YouTube or hear samples on Amazon, but to go to Pandora and start looking around, why?

        You don't look around Pandora. You put in the name of a band/song that you like and it starts playing similar stuff that it thinks you'll like too.

        The market should adapt to me, not me to the market, right?

        Pandora does adapt to you.

        Where is the "connect with customers" when I have to do something I would not normally do to find new music?

        I'm not sure what this means.

        The radio was an easy way to find music. Listen to an FM station, hear a new group, buy their album. What is the substitute for this process that does not involve me going somewhere I would not normally go specifically for the purpose of finding music?

        Uh. Pandora is one of many, as it's just like radio, but customized, so I'm not sure what you mean here. You're saying "tell me where to go, but it can't be somewhere new" and then saying "how come there's nowhere new!!"

        You are contradicting yourself.

        That was the real value of radio, and even MTV and then VH1. You had it on in the background, and when you encountered something you wanted, you got it. With the internet, you MOVE from the place you want to be to a place you have to be if you want new music. Silly. Not a connection with customers.

        Huh? You don't have to move anywhere on Pandora. You go, put in the name of a band/song you like, and then leave it on in the background. If you encounter something you want, go get it.

        I mean, there are hundreds if not thousands of other places you can go for the same thing. Pandora, Last.FM, Slacker all do the same thing. Or you can (as others suggested) find a podcast you like and do the same thing.

        They're like radio. But better.

         

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          Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 2:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I have heard of Pandora, but never tried it. It gets back to the time thing. I can go to Amazon and look for, as an example, music by Pink Floyd or Porcupine Tree and buy something I do not have. I can listen to the radio and hear music I have never heard that I like so much that I go to YouTube or hear samples on Amazon, but to go to Pandora and start looking around, why?

          You don't look around Pandora. You put in the name of a band/song that you like and it starts playing similar stuff that it thinks you'll like too.

          Sounds like fun, if I had the time.

          The market should adapt to me, not me to the market, right?

          Pandora does adapt to you.

          Except, I have to go there, on my computer, correct? Seems hard to do in my car or at work, where I listen to music the most. I cannot access Pandora at work.

          Where is the "connect with customers" when I have to do something I would not normally do to find new music?

          I'm not sure what this means.

          I should be able to access new music through pathways I currently use versus having to do something different. Radio is incredibly convenient because I always listen to music while I am driving. Even satellite is somewhat convenient because I listen to Sirius on cable. Computer access to music is inconvenient.

          The radio was an easy way to find music. Listen to an FM station, hear a new group, buy their album. What is the substitute for this process that does not involve me going somewhere I would not normally go specifically for the purpose of finding music?

          Uh. Pandora is one of many, as it's just like radio, but customized, so I'm not sure what you mean here. You're saying "tell me where to go, but it can't be somewhere new" and then saying "how come there's nowhere new!!"

          I suppose I could have said that better. I access music via radio and television. I only access music via the internet when I have a specific target. I have little time to go look for new music on the internet. Let's make that no time to look for new music on the internet. So, with all the new technology that exists in the world today, where are the convenient options that permit me to listen to all this lovely new music on my radio. Even satellite would be a good option, but it seems like choices there are also somewhat limited.

          You are contradicting yourself.

          Let me rephrase:

          Artists need to figure out how to connect with fans by a variety of techniques. If you are thinking all your fans are going to go looking for you on the internet, you are sadly mistaken. The artist who will dominate the future will be the one who takes advantage of new technology as well as existing technology. As a simple example, I have not heard of many of the artists you listed in your post as those who have used the "new" business models. As for those I have previously heard, I am not a fan (e.g., Nine Inch Nails - yuck, Jill Sobule, interesting, but insufficiently interesting for me to get her CD's).

          That was the real value of radio, and even MTV and then VH1. You had it on in the background, and when you encountered something you wanted, you got it. With the internet, you MOVE from the place you want to be to a place you have to be if you want new music. Silly. Not a connection with customers.

          Huh? You don't have to move anywhere on Pandora. You go, put in the name of a band/song you like, and then leave it on in the background. If you encounter something you want, go get it.

          I mean, there are hundreds if not thousands of other places you can go for the same thing. Pandora, Last.FM, Slacker all do the same thing. Or you can (as others suggested) find a podcast you like and do the same thing.

          They're like radio. But better.


          I do not listen to music on the internet. I have a lovely stereo system that plays CD's, and plays them reasonably well. My CD's are portable to my car and my work computer, and when I tire of my collection, I listen to the radio. If I am away from my stereo, I turn on Sirius on cable, where I can sometimes, though rarely, find interesting new music.

          The internet is interesting, but it has yet to fit into my pocket and it is hardly cost effectively portable. Once I can get get internet radio on my car, I will likely change my mind, but until then, my sources of new music remain limited.

          What artists need to realize is that there are tens of millions of people just like me. Find a way to access us, and you have the opportunity to make a mint. By way of example, Feist was relatively obscure (in the Midwest, at least) until her song "1, 2, 3, 4" was used on a commercial, and her sales shot up by orders of magnitude (I bought two of her CD's) and she became quite successful. Smart use of one of her songs.

          I repeat: Access the people who do not look for music on the internet and the potential for sales will increase by orders of magnitude.

           

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            Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sounds like fun, if I had the time.

            Really? If it takes you 30 seconds, it's taking longer than it should. Seriously. You go to the site, type in a single band that you love and you're good to go. Claiming it takes too much time is ridiculous.

            Except, I have to go there, on my computer, correct? Seems hard to do in my car or at work, where I listen to music the most. I cannot access Pandora at work.

            Um. Ok. You sound like someone complaining that bands don't put out 8-tracks any more. Really not sure what to tell you, but it does not support your point.

            If you want to get Pandora on the go, it's available on a variety of mobile platforms that work quite well. I've used it in the car and it works great.

            I should be able to access new music through pathways I currently use versus having to do something different. Radio is incredibly convenient because I always listen to music while I am driving.

            I mostly listen to podcasts when I drive, and it works great. I guess I'm just confused by what your issue is. There are tons of tools out there, and your complaint seems to be that they don't work, but what you really mean is you won't use them.

            I don't know what to say to that except no, the tools you don't use won't work for you. But they do work for plenty of others.

             

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              vivaelamor (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:03pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Takes me longer than 30 seconds, I have to acquire a non-UK IP first =)

               

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              Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 6:49am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Mike:

              Really? If it takes you 30 seconds, it's taking longer than it should. Seriously. You go to the site, type in a single band that you love and you're good to go. Claiming it takes too much time is ridiculous.

              Mike, I will endeavor to give a try later this year. After I get my basement refinished.

              Except, I have to go there, on my computer, correct? Seems hard to do in my car or at work, where I listen to music the most. I cannot access Pandora at work.

              Um. Ok. You sound like someone complaining that bands don't put out 8-tracks any more. Really not sure what to tell you, but it does not support your point.

              lol...I never had an 8-track, and thought the format was kind of dumb. I did have multiple cassette players, but absolutely loved CD's.

              If you want to get Pandora on the go, it's available on a variety of mobile platforms that work quite well. I've used it in the car and it works great.

              I guess I will have to figure out how to do that.

              I should be able to access new music through pathways I currently use versus having to do something different. Radio is incredibly convenient because I always listen to music while I am driving.

              I mostly listen to podcasts when I drive, and it works great. I guess I'm just confused by what your issue is. There are tons of tools out there, and your complaint seems to be that they don't work, but what you really mean is you won't use them.

              I have never heard a podcast, and am clueless as to how access them. But, you see my point. I, and more than 90% of all adult Americans, continue to hear music most often on the radio. You can ignore the market opportunity represented by these people, or you can figure out how out how to creatively use modern technology to reach people, not have them reach you. The song that played on the web site is a cute idea. I am sure there are more. Just putting your music on Pandora and praying just seems like a poor way to get access to the billions of people not using Pandora (or any other internet site).

              I don't know what to say to that except no, the tools you don't use won't work for you. But they do work for plenty of others.

              True. However, I still represent the majority of the market. Worse, I love to buy music, and would buy more music, if I encountered music I enjoyed. I encountered that music in the past on the radio (though rarely, these days), and on MTV or VH1 (where have all the videos gone?). I still listen to the radio, but I don't even have time at home to watch MTV or VH1 any more.

              If you have a potential audience of 200 million people, but those people do not routinely seek music on the internet, how do you get the music to them? The question is simple. The answer requires creativity, if an artist wants to be successful.

               

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                PaulT (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 7:16am

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

                To sum up your post:

                "I am dissatisfied with the way music is sold to me by corporations who are chasing the lowest common denominator. However, despite being given a great many alternative options of how I can discover more music I like, I can't be bothered to change my routine. If a band wishes me to listen to their music, the only way they can do so is to get themselves airtime on whatever radio station I happen to be listening to."

                Want to look at podcasts? The easy way is to fire up iTunes and click on the link marked "podcasts". It's all free and easily available. There are many other options apart from podcasts, of course, but you will miss out unless you can be bothered to look. If you can't even be bothered to spend 2 minutes Googling podcasts to see what they're all about, it's no surprise that you have so many problems finding anything new.

                "If you have a potential audience of 200 million people, but those people do not routinely seek music on the internet, how do you get the music to them? The question is simple. The answer requires creativity, if an artist wants to be successful."

                This is what's happening, gradually. The problem is that ALL of the channels that the mainstream usually expose themselves to are controlled by the same corporations that run the major labels - who have no interest in promoting change. Therefore, it's difficult for independent artists to get a chance.

                As services like Pandora become more popular (despite the RIAA's best efforts to shut them down), and as mass media becomes more fragmented, more people get exposed to new music. For example, independent music is becoming increasingly common for use in video games, advertising and TV shows. Facebook/Twitter/etc. are also rapidly increasing in popularity, and are being used to effectively market entertainment.

                It's happening gradually but the real problem is people like yourself, who will not actively look for new music even as they're dissatisfied with the stuff that's being sold to them. If you passively consume whatever's thrown at you, of course it's difficult for the status quo to change. Yeah, yeah, you "don't have time", but you could probably have discovered 10 new artists in the time it took you to write your posts here, with or without access to live streaming media.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 11:22am

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

                  It's happening gradually but the real problem is people like yourself, who will not actively look for new music even as they're dissatisfied with the stuff that's being sold to them.

                  As you have correctly noted, you can find a store to buy, or the store can find you. In the vast majority of cases, in the past and in the present, the store finds you.

                  Do I need to go look for "Wal-Mart"? Of course not. I know a lot about Wal-Mart from commercials, newspaper inserts, and even the news. Wal-Mart knows that if it failed to advertise consumers would go to the stores that did a better job of "connecting with fans."

                  The vast majority of people do not "look" for music, because music is everywhere. The question is how new and independent artists "connect with fans." Waiting for a fan to come to your website or to Pandora or its equivalent may yield some fans, but not anywhere near all potential fans.

                  Yes, things are "changing," some, but face it, 3.5 million visits to Pandora each day from across the globe hardly touches 250 million daily radio listeners in the U.S., and if that ratio holds across the world, around 4.5 BILLION daily radio listeners. Would you rather connect with 3.5 million listeners, or 4.5 billion listeners? The only thing standing between those who have limited themselves to the internet and the ability to access billions of listeners is creativity.

                   

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            mrharrysan (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Lonnie,
            If your primary access to new music is radio, then you are doomed. With few exceptions, radio and TV are the primary conduits for the legacy labels force feeding you the same old or the same new crap. Radio is about that tiny percentage of artists that c the corporate labels put their marketing might behind. If you like Spock's Beard, you are never going to find a newer band of that genre on the radio. "Niche" music has always been about digging deep, whether it's in bins of vinyl at the record store or the catacombs of the internet.

             

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              Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 6:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              harrysan:

              Now you see the problem. Yes, I like niche music. Indeed, virtually everything I get these days is niche music. My only salvation is several people I know who have recommended new groups to me. I just heard about another group (Thirteenth Floor, though it might be 13th Floor) from Jeff Pilson of Foreigner (who is also a member of War and Peace, which I plan on looking into). Word of mouth still works quite well.

               

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            Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So... You want musicians to send magic beams into your brain to see if you'll like their music, and then use those same magical beams to project their albums into your head? Because that's about the only things that going to require no time, no effort, and no money on your part.

            You have to make an effort, whether you want music, or someone to fix your toilet. Musicians aren't going to come to your door any more than a plumber will come to your door before you make an effort and call them. No matter what service they provide, they're not knocking down your door just to ask if you want what they're selling.

            The people who don't look for music on the Internet already have ways to find music. Those ways have been working for years now. The anti-Internet group is decreasing rapidly, and most of them are going to be dead soon enough. Why make brand-new concessions for a shrinking market?

             

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              Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 6:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Actually, penetration of all markets, regardless of the item, eventually stabilizes. Did you know that the number of new cars sold with manual transmissions in the U.S. has hovered around 92% for a long time? Did you know there are about 2.5 million homes without a television?

              Currently, about 20% of all U.S. homes do NOT have a computer. Estimates vary, but somewhere around 50% of U.S. homes have a computer and an internet connection capable of receiving and playing streaming media.

              Given that there are about 304 million people in the U.S., approximately 150 million people are unable to hear the internet's equivalent of the radio. However, also consider that somewhere between 50% and 80% of adult Americans listen to the radio every day, compared to roughly 3.5 million visitors to Pandora each day.

              Let's calculate. There are about 250 million adult Americans. Based on the percentages who listen to the radio daily, at least 125 million Americans listen to the radio every day. Though Pandora has around 3.5 million visitors daily, many of those are likely to be non-Americans.

              So, do you put on your exposure marbles on the internet, with daily exposure to less than 3% of the music listening population, or somewhere else?

              There are many ways to get your music exposed, as Mike has noted. The most common way still seems to be television or radio, and based on the rate of growth of internet media and the current lack of convenience of listening to internet "radio," that seems unlikely to change in the next couple of decades.

              As I noted before, in order for musicians to connect with the vast majority of the population, they need to be much more creative than just throwing their music on the internet and praying that someone will intersect with it. We have seen Feist gain huge sales with a commercial. Another person noted a song played on a web site they visited (cool idea - I know I would be intrigued and I hope more web sites try this idea).

              You said that the "anti-internet group is decreasing rapidly, and most of them are going to be dead soon enough." Based on demographics, neither of those statements is true.

              Growth of the internet has slowed over the last several years. Also, I have seen statistics that show that internet growth is quite fast among retired Americans and young Americans. Guess who is left? Yep, the people who are not dying any time soon.

              So, when you ask about making "brand-new concessions for a shrinking market," I counter that the "shrinking" market still represents over 90% of the market, and will represent more than 50% of the market for a long time to come. You can ignore those 90%, but hey, if you are uninterested in making money, why bother to sell your music? Just give it away for free and have a day job.

               

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                Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 6:52am

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

                So no comment on the magic beams, huh?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 11:11am

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

                  I thought you were being hyperbolic.

                  Comment: We call what we do not understand, magic. So, your "magic beams" may be an implanted receiver with a subdural speaker. It could be something far more sophisticated with even greater finesse. I look forward to the possibilities.

                   

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            PaulT (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 12:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I can listen to the radio and hear music I have never heard that I like so much that I go to YouTube or hear samples on Amazon, but to go to Pandora and start looking around, why?"

            You really don't know what Pandora is, do you?

            Basically, Pandora is a radio station. You go there and you say, for example, "play me music that sounds like Pink Floyd". It plays you music that it thinks are similar. if you agree, you can buy the music, if you don't like the music you can skip it instantly. Which radio station do you listen to that does that?

            You claim to have time to listen to the radio, but not time to listen to a radio station that's specifically catered to your tastes. How is that possible?

             

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              Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 6:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              PaulT:

              Probably because I do not listen to the radio (or Pandora) on the computer. I have time to listen to the radio in two places, my car or at work. My car is not set up to receive the internet. I have the internet at work, but streaming media and sites classified as entertainment are blocked.

               

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                PaulT (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 6:47am

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

                Fair enough.

                But, bear in mind that Pandora is just one example of alternative ways to be exposed to new music. There's plenty of ways to listen to music without requiring a live internet connection - podcasts, free (legal) downloads, etc. If you're not satisfied with radio output, you can quite easily pick up a cheap MP3 player and load it up with a week's worth of new music with minimal effort.

                If you limit yourself to only one discovery method, and one that's run by corporate interests, there's only so much that any band can do to get your attention. That's sad, but it's your choice, not theirs.

                 

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                Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 8:40am

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

                If you can't purchase or find new music at work, you 'can't' purchase or find new music at home, and you can't purchase or find new music in the car, then face it. You can't purchase or find new music. You are a tiny minority that, for whatever reason, is choosing not to make music a priority.

                To bring up Pandora again, you can listen to Pandora on your mobile phone, using a headset. It's no different than an mp3 player. You can stick a speaker in the same jack, and then it's no different than a radio. There are endless options out there for people who value music. You just don't seem to be one of them.

                Now, you can ask musicians to beam magical music into your head if you want, but I'm betting that they're going to stick to the Internet, which reaches many more people than have desktop computers and a broadband connection, including those with mobile telephones, gaming systems, laptops and netbooks, a library, a school, a job with the Internet, a friend with the Internet, or a family member with the Internet.

                 

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                  Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 11:36am

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

                  Rose:

                  If you can't purchase or find new music at work, you 'can't' purchase or find new music at home, and you can't purchase or find new music in the car, then face it. You can't purchase or find new music.

                  That would be true if I did not have other resources, such as friends who tell me about new groups I might find fascinating. However, word of mouth is a poor substitute for a real business model. I also refer you to my previous posts where I pointed out that I have purchased new music, but it would be nice to get access to lots more.

                  You are a tiny minority that, for whatever reason, is choosing not to make music a priority.

                  You have made a generalization that is apparently unsupported by facts. The fact is that most people get their music via the radio, even today. Does that make music a "priority"? I do not consider music a "priority." I have a life. I think my life is enhanced by what I consider to be good music, but the time I am able to devote to finding good new music, which was much more when I was young and had much less to do, is severely limited.

                  To bring up Pandora again, you can listen to Pandora on your mobile phone, using a headset. It's no different than an mp3 player. You can stick a speaker in the same jack, and then it's no different than a radio. There are endless options out there for people who value music. You just don't seem to be one of them.

                  Or, I have a company phone that is blocked from access to Pandora.

                  You have twice implied that I do not value music. Not true. I have a moderate CD collection numbering several hundred. Each was purchased after careful consideration for the likelihood I would enjoy the music for a long time. I treasure good music and will until I am no longer able to treasure good music. I just wish bands would try harder to figure out how to connect with me.

                  Now, you can ask musicians to beam magical music into your head if you want, but I'm betting that they're going to stick to the Internet, which reaches many more people than have desktop computers and a broadband connection, including those with mobile telephones, gaming systems, laptops and netbooks, a library, a school, a job with the Internet, a friend with the Internet, or a family member with the Internet.

                  The number of people unable to access music via the internet or do not spend the time looking for music on their cell phone still outnumbers those who do, apparently by a lot. I stand by my previous statement. You can ignore the hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of fans who do not get their music from the music sites on the internet. If you do not supply their needs, someone with more creativity will, and I will buy their music.

                   

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                    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

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

                    When will you purchase music? You've stated repeatedly that you don't even have time to listen to music, except in the car and at work, which are both times when you are presumably occupied and unable to purchase music.

                    The number of people unable to access music via the Internet in America is minuscule. Sure, lots of people in Haiti can't access the Internet (or clean water, for that matter) but it would be dishonest to include them in a discussion about purchasing music, specifically purchasing 'long tail' music.

                    And, yes, there are lots of people right here in America who can't use a computer or a mobile telephone to access music via the Internet, and quite a few of them can't do so because they're mentally unable to navigate the technology (and therefore unlikely to purchase music, anyway). This includes toddlers, some seniors, and people who are mentally deficient.

                    Of course, alot of those people can't use a radio or a CD player either, so I guess they could benefit from the magical music beams, as well.

                    Even if this weren't true, this whole conversation highlights how many tools there are for musical dissemination. Previously, your friends could only recommend a limited numbers of musicians, mostly made up of golden ticket musicians. Now, your friends have access to more music and more music finders than ever before.

                    This means its even more likely that your friends are going to be discussing music, and make even more recommendations to you. The tools that you're obstinately refusing to use are still useful to you, and still help you become part of the long tail. Of course, the long tail will function perfectly well without you, and anyone else who prefers magical music beams to the Internet and computer software tools.

                     

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                      Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 1:39pm

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

                      When will you purchase music? You've stated repeatedly that you don't even have time to listen to music, except in the car and at work, which are both times when you are presumably occupied and unable to purchase music.

                      I also previously stated that when I have a specific target, I go to Amazon and buy it. The amount of time it takes to purchase music is miniscule.

                      The number of people unable to access music via the Internet in America is minuscule.

                      I dispute that. I gave you numbers earlier. The number is not only NOT miniscule, it is about half of all people.

                      And, yes, there are lots of people right here in America who can't use a computer or a mobile telephone to access music via the Internet, and quite a few of them can't do so because they're mentally unable to navigate the technology (and therefore unlikely to purchase music, anyway). This includes toddlers, some seniors, and people who are mentally deficient.

                      Wow, so the 250 million or so people in the U.S. who listen to the radio are somehow handicapped by age or mental capability. You are an arrogant person.

                      Of course, alot of those people can't use a radio or a CD player either, so I guess they could benefit from the magical music beams, as well.

                      Do you have any real point, or do you just want to spew more insults?

                      Even if this weren't true, this whole conversation highlights how many tools there are for musical dissemination. Previously, your friends could only recommend a limited numbers of musicians, mostly made up of golden ticket musicians. Now, your friends have access to more music and more music finders than ever before.

                      Ah, but you have failed, again, to answer my point. But, whatever. Just keep on about tools that the majority of people are uninterested in using.

                      This means its even more likely that your friends are going to be discussing music, and make even more recommendations to you.

                      Sadly, very few of my friends talk about music.

                      The tools that you're obstinately refusing to use are still useful to you, and still help you become part of the long tail. Of course, the long tail will function perfectly well without you, and anyone else who prefers magical music beams to the Internet and computer software tools.

                      You seem fairly dense. You can build the best car in the world, but if no one hears about it, why would they go out and find you? How would they know anything about your car? Oh, they could go "research" your car on the internet, but would they? Most people seem to look up information on specific manufacturers or specific models. Your Arroganomobile may never go anywhere because you figured the world would come to you.

                       

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                        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 7:06pm

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

                        ...when I have a specific target, I go to Amazon and buy it. The amount of time it takes to purchase music is miniscule.

                        The amount of time it takes to use Amazon to download a song, and to use Pandora to find one are very similar. If you have time for one, you have time for the other. Regardless, Amazon itself has a very good system for recommending music. If you've purchased music there, you've already started on the path to using the Internet to find music.

                        The number is not only NOT miniscule, it is about half of all people.

                        You gave numbers of people who don't have what you call a computer in their home, and who also don't have a connection that you think is capable of downloading music. That's certainly not the same thing as the people who can use the Internet to find and purchase music.

                        You didn't give numbers of people who use the Internet at cafes, at school, in libraries, at work, at friends homes, at relatives homes, on their telephone, with their gaming system... The list goes on. Your statistics have nothing to do with who's able to use the Internet to find music, so I'm not going to bother with them.

                        Wow, so the 250 million or so people in the U.S. who listen to the radio are somehow handicapped by age or mental capability.

                        You've gone on and on about how many people can't use the Internet to find music. That's incredibly incorrect. People can choose not to use the Internet, but that doesn't mean that they 'can't'. 'Can't' and 'won't' are two very different things.

                        Choosing to use a radio doesn't mean that you're mentally or physically deficient - being unable to use the Internet does. The point (that I guess you were too dense to get) is that all of these people, including yourself, who 'can't' use the Internet actually 'can'. You just 'won't'.

                        But, whatever. Just keep on about tools that the majority of people are uninterested in using.

                        So you're assuming that not having a home computer or a broadband connection (or whatever your criteria were) means that they're uninterested in using Internet-based tools to find new music? That's an awfully long reach, there. Try again.

                         

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                          Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 8:53pm

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

                          ...when I have a specific target, I go to Amazon and buy it. The amount of time it takes to purchase music is miniscule.

                          The amount of time it takes to use Amazon to download a song, and to use Pandora to find one are very similar. If you have time for one, you have time for the other.

                          Why, clever you. However, I never download from Amazon, as I have noted several times. I purchase CD's.

                          Regardless, Amazon itself has a very good system for recommending music. If you've purchased music there, you've already started on the path to using the Internet to find music.

                          Yes, Amazon recommends CD's. However, after my experience with Amazon's book recommendations, I do not trust their CD recommendations.

                          The number is not only NOT miniscule, it is about half of all people.

                          You gave numbers of people who don't have what you call a computer in their home, and who also don't have a connection that you think is capable of downloading music. That's certainly not the same thing as the people who can use the Internet to find and purchase music.

                          Just because people can read does not mean they own or buy books, magazines or newspapers. Can is not the same as will. However, there are several very good surveys that have estimated the number of people who can download, in a practical fashion, music or video. Having previously been on dial up for a long time, downloading music was impractical, and streaming downloads were IMPOSSIBLE.

                          You didn't give numbers of people who use the Internet at cafes, at school, in libraries, at work, at friends homes, at relatives homes, on their telephone, with their gaming system... The list goes on. Your statistics have nothing to do with who's able to use the Internet to find music, so I'm not going to bother with them.

                          Cool. No reason to provide counter facts, merely layer on possibility after possibility. Show me facts. How many people have ever downloaded music from the internet? How many people routinely listen to music on the internet. I have given you actual numbers, now give me yours and not some vague possibilities.

                          Wow, so the 250 million or so people in the U.S. who listen to the radio are somehow handicapped by age or mental capability.

                          You've gone on and on about how many people can't use the Internet to find music. That's incredibly incorrect.

                          Bullshit. Not once have I said that people cannot use the internet to find music.

                          People can choose not to use the Internet, but that doesn't mean that they 'can't'. 'Can't' and 'won't' are two very different things.

                          You have either deliberately missed my point, or inadvertantly. In either case, my point was that there are hundreds of millions of people who do not use the internet as their primary source of knowledge about new music. If you are going to be obnoxious, at least be factually obnoxious.

                          Choosing to use a radio doesn't mean that you're mentally or physically deficient - being unable to use the Internet does.

                          Not true. Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. Education is a wonderful thing. Go get some.

                          The point (that I guess you were too dense to get) is that all of these people, including yourself, who 'can't' use the Internet actually 'can'. You just 'won't'.

                          Let me see. Should I go find sellers, or should sellers find me? Historically, sellers go find their customers, not the other way around.

                          So you're assuming that not having a home computer or a broadband connection (or whatever your criteria were) means that they're uninterested in using Internet-based tools to find new music? That's an awfully long reach, there. Try again.

                          You are quite good at making unwarranted assumptions. No, I never said any such thing. They MAY be interested, but statistics do not appear to bear out that they ARE using those tools as often as they are using non-internet tools. Try again, with facts this time.

                           

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                        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 7:25pm

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

                        You know, with further thought, I don't believe that there is an Internet connection that can't support an mp3 download. Even dial-up and wireless can do it, on crappy telephones and computers. Quote your source, please.

                        It doesn't really matter, since having your own personal Internet connection that leads to a computer in your home isn't necessary to use the Internet to find and purchase music, but I'm curious.

                         

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                    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

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                    You have twice implied that I do not value music. Not true... I just wish bands would try harder to figure out how to connect with me.

                    You don't have time to use Pandora, but you do have time to spend replying to posts on Techdirt. You have time to visit record stores, but not to visit Amazon. You willingly use one piece of technology to listen to golden ticket music, but refuse to use any other kind of technology to listen to music because it would take a slight effort on your part.

                    Yes, I believe that music is very low on your priority list, making you a bad example of a music customer, just as I'm a bad example of an erection drug customer.

                     

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                      Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 2:15pm

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

                      You don't have time to use Pandora, but you do have time to spend replying to posts on Techdirt. You have time to visit record stores, but not to visit Amazon.

                      I believe I have said more than once that I visit Amazon. Indeed, almost all the music I purchase is from Amazon.

                      You willingly use one piece of technology to listen to golden ticket music, but refuse to use any other kind of technology to listen to music because it would take a slight effort on your part.

                      Nooooo...it requires a significant effort on my part because it requires me to change my current behavior substantially. Sorry, not going to happen. I would willingly spend several hundred dollars per year more on CD's if I found music worth buying. If bands are unable to connect with me, too bad for them.

                      Yes, I believe that music is very low on your priority list, making you a bad example of a music customer, just as I'm a bad example of an erection drug customer.

                      Yes, finding and buying new music is low on my priority list. I listen to music everywhere I go. When I find new music I like, I buy it. Does that make me a bad customer? Only if your idea of a "bad customer" is one who actually spends money.

                      As for you being a bad example of an erection drug customer, I sympathize with whatever problems you may be having and wish you the best of luck correcting them.

                       

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                        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 7:20pm

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

                        Nooooo...it requires a significant effort on my part because it requires me to change my current behavior substantially.

                        Yeah, I bet the people who used coal hated electricity... Wait... You mean they loved it for its efficiency, even though it caused a substantial change in behavior? Huh. I guess that your refusal to change means that you're stuck with old, inefficient methods of finding music.

                        If bands are unable to connect with me, too bad for them.

                        The exchange goes two ways - too bad for them, and too bad for you. They don't get money and you don't get new music. Putting the onus for marketing entirely on them is silly, and doesn't do you much good, as evidenced by your posts.

                        After all, your plumber probably doesn't spend very much on advertising. Certainly not as much as you're asking musicians to, and they have much less chance of attracting your attention, and will make much less money when/if they do.

                        I would willingly spend several hundred dollars per year more on CD's if I found music worth buying.

                        It seems silly to say that you'd be so willing to spend so much money on music, when you're not willing to spend an ounce of energy or time on music. I very much doubt that you

                        I sympathize with whatever problems you may be having and wish you the best of luck correcting them.

                        Wait... Who's dense now?

                         

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                          Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 9:01pm

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

                          Nooooo...it requires a significant effort on my part because it requires me to change my current behavior substantially.

                          Yeah, I bet the people who used coal hated electricity... Wait... You mean they loved it for its efficiency, even though it caused a substantial change in behavior? Huh. I guess that your refusal to change means that you're stuck with old, inefficient methods of finding music.

                          I stand by my earlier comment. Sellers can either choose to wait until someone comes to them, or they can "connect with fans." If your whole business model is to wait until someone comes to find you, your business model sucks.

                          If bands are unable to connect with me, too bad for them.

                          The exchange goes two ways - too bad for them, and too bad for you. They don't get money and you don't get new music. Putting the onus for marketing entirely on them is silly, and doesn't do you much good, as evidenced by your posts.

                          Ah, but I do discover music from the few artists who try to connect with me, do I not? Of course, those same artists are connecting with millions of fans. The other artists are limited in their scope and will remain so until they come out of their closet.

                          After all, your plumber probably doesn't spend very much on advertising.

                          Probably not, since I have never used a plumber.

                          Certainly not as much as you're asking musicians to, and they have much less chance of attracting your attention, and will make much less money when/if they do.

                          Musicians advertise more than you think. I am bombarded by musician advertisements every time I watch television or listen to the radio. Even commercials expose me to artists. I would dare say that artists are among the biggest advertisers there are.

                          I would willingly spend several hundred dollars per year more on CD's if I found music worth buying.

                          It seems silly to say that you'd be so willing to spend so much money on music, when you're not willing to spend an ounce of energy or time on music.

                          Obviously your statement is untrue, or my CD collection would not contain several hundred CD's, correct? I still buy CD's, but at a slower rate than in the past, because it is so difficult to find good new artists.

                          I very much doubt that you

                          I have the same doubt about you.

                          I sympathize with whatever problems you may be having and wish you the best of luck correcting them.

                          I have no sympathy for your attitude and hope you get therapy to assist you with your issues.

                          Wait... Who's dense now?

                          You remain the champ!

                           

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                            Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 4:15am

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

                            Obviously your statement is untrue, or my CD collection would not contain several hundred CD's, correct? I still buy CD's, but at a slower rate than in the past, because it is so difficult to find good new artists.

                            My goodness Lonnie. That statement is so ridiculous it's hard to take you seriously. It is NOT difficult to find good new artists at all.

                            This whole thread is full of astoundingly easy ways to find excellent new music. You just choose not to use them. I don't quite get your point.

                            You claim you use Amazon to buy CDs. It's *easier* and *faster* to use Pandora to find new music than it is to go to Amazon. Seriously. Your argument makes no sense. All you are saying is that because you refuse to make use of tools the tools don't work.

                            Wow.

                             

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                              Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 6:55am

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

                              Mike:

                              I started with a rather easy point that is getting ignored by all the hyperbole and reasons why people should be able to find new music...which is where the problem lies.

                              Go back to the basics of marketing:

                              POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS


                              POTENTIAL SELLERS

                              Now, let us say that there have traditionally been (arbitrary number) three advertising routes, 1, 2, and 3. Let us say that because of the longevity of those selling routes, they are well know. Furthermore, those routes require no action on the part of potential customers because routes 1, 2, and 3 will expose customers to music while they are performing other activities, which is quite ideal.

                              Now, let us say that (arbitrary number) routes 4, 5, and 6 have now been developed to address potential customers. However, let us say that routes 4, 5 and 6 require focused attention by a customer rather than being something a customer will be exposed to while doing other activities.

                              Customers accustomed to routes 1, 2, and 3 will be naturally resistant to making time to TAKE ACTION to FIND music rather than having music FIND THEM. They already have routines in their life, and routes 4, 5 and 6 require them to break those routines. Automatically, routes 4, 5 and 6 become de-prioritized, and may be so de-prioritized that they are not used.

                              The problem for POTENTIAL SELLERS is to figure out how to get their music exposed to POTENTIAL BUYERS while POTENTIAL BUYERS are doing other things. Why? Let's do the math.

                              There are several different kinds of POTENTIAL BUYERS (probably more than I will list).

                              POTENTIAL BUYER 1 is a casual and occasional listener of music. POTENTIAL BUYER 1 will occasionally buy music when they hear something they like. They do not seek music. POTENTIAL BUYER 1 makes up X1% of the POTENTIAL BUYER population.

                              POTENTIAL BUYER 2 is a casual and frequent listener of music, listening to music in the background while performing other tasks. POTENTIAL BUYER 2 may buy music if something is particularly interesting. POTENTIAL BUYER 2 makes up X2% of the POTENTIAL BUYER population.

                              POTENTIAL BUYER 3 is a casual and frequent listener of music, listening to music in the background while performing other tasks. POTENTIAL BUYER 3 often buys music if something is particularly interesting. POTENTIAL BUYER 3 makes up X3% of the POTENTIAL BUYER population.

                              POTENTIAL BUYER 4 is an avid listener of music, but most always while doing other things. POTENTIAL BUYER 4 always has the radio on, or a CD, or has a music station on the television while doing hobbies or working around the house. POTENTIAL BUYER 4 may buy music encountered via these other activities if the music is particularly good. POTENTIAL BUYER 4 makes up X4% of the POTENTIAL BUYER population.

                              POTENTIAL BUYER 5 is an avid listener of music, but most always while doing other things. POTENTIAL BUYER 5 always has music playing in the background while working or doing hobbies. POTENTIAL BUYER 5 buys a lot of music heard while doing other activities and owns a sizable music collection. POTENTIAL BUYER 5 makes up X5% of the POTENTIAL BUYER population.

                              POTENTIAL BUYER 6 is also an avid listener of music, but in addition to listening to music on the radio and television, does some searching for music on the internet or via other means when time permits. POTENTIAL BUYER 6 purchases most music based on music heard via traditional routes, represented by X6%, and some music by newer routes, Y1%.

                              POTENTIAL BUYER 7 is also an avid listener of music, listening to music about equally between traditional routes and new routes. About half of POTENTIAL BUYER 7's purchases are made as a result of hearing music via traditional means, represented by X7%. The other half is made as a result of hearing music via newer routes, represented by Y2%.

                              POTENTIAL BUYER 8 an avid listener of music, and does listen to music via traditional routes, but POTENTIAL BUYER 8 makes seeking out music a priority and finds most new music by newer routes, represented by Y3%.

                              Now, music sold as a result of hearing via traditional routes is represented by:

                              X1% + X2% + X3% + X4% + X5% + X6% + X7% = X total percent

                              Music sold by newer avenues that require a listener to seek music rather than music finding them is represented by:

                              Y1% + Y2% +Y3 = Y total percent

                              Now, as I have pointed out time and time again, X total percent is much bigger than Y total percent. I have also pointed out that waiting for people to find you is rarely a good strategy. Some companies and products have "gone viral," as people like to say today, but most products have to get a ton of exposure to make that happen.

                              I am quite surprised at your statements. You are the person who has time and again said that you need to connect with fans. Connect with fans is not equal to wait for fans to find you.

                              There have been several posts that have discussed some of the ways that artists can make use of even newer routes to get their music exposed to people who might buy. Having music play on web sites I visit (like Techdirt) or from a popup is cute. EXPOSURE. Wow.

                              My point seems so simple and yet everyone has it turned around that I have to TAKE ACTION TO FIND...fill in the blank. No, music is all around me. It is in commercials, on the radio, on television shows (to the point that the music played on a television show is described at the end of some shows with the name of the artist and title of their album and how to buy it). Wow. And the artists are almost always new artists. Wow.

                              I will say this once more because it is worth saying, and I am merely repeating what you have said TONS of times:

                              If you want to connect with fans, you have to get exposure. Waiting for them to come may work for a very small number of people, but for most people, the connection requires hard work by the artist. Waiting for people to find you on Pandora (or any other web site) is a short road to failure.

                               

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                            Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 6:23am

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

                            Whether or not you've used a plumber is irrelevant. Here are the points that I made, in little words:

                            When people need plumbers, they look for places where plumbers advertise, and pick one. They don't wait until a plumber knocks on the door to advertise that they can fix your broken toilet. Sometimes they do pick one through word of mouth, but it's much more likely that they found them through the Internet or a telephone book. Not magical beams.

                            A musician is a service provider, like a plumber. Putting the marketing onus entirely on musicians is like waiting for the plumber to knock on your door. The man who doesn't contact the plumber is going to have a broken toilet forever. The man who waits for magical music beams is going to have a limited music collection forever. Someone who is willing to wait obviously doesn't have a fixed toilet or music acquisition very high on their priority list. If it's not a priority for you, that's fine. But you can't blame the plumber or the musician for not showing up at your door.

                            Yes, musicians do advertise alot. That's what I said. My point was that it's expensive to advertise, and you're asking them to advertise more, with less chance of return, and less profit when they do see a return. It doesn't make sense to spend $100 in advertising in hopes of making $50 in sales. You represent that lost $50. It's not a loss to skip you as a customer - it's a gain.

                            In other words, you have an overinflated sense of your worth as a customer.

                            My statement about your claim of willingness to spend more money stands. Your current collection of music is irrelevant. It might show your willingness to spend x amount on music, but it simply doesn't show that you'd be willing to spend several hundred dollars more than x each year.

                            Now, you haven't answered half of what I've written, about the statistics that you keep spouting with no sources, about how you go from unable to uninterested, and without even fake numbers to back your claims that people don't use the Internet to find music and purchase music.

                            In fact, you've spent most of your time here being deliberately obtuse, and pulling numbers out of the air. That tells me that you don't really care about finding music; you just wanted to 'win' a discussion. Well, you win, hon. You win as much time without good music as you care to spend. Hooray!

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 7:07am

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                              Every one of my numbers came from various studies posted on the internet. There is some variation in the studies based on assumptions, and no one truly knows how many people listen to and download music from the internet, but it appears that less than half our population seems to do so. Do you really want me to drag out a dozen web sites, or do you just want to go find your own data? The time it took you to write your post you could have found the same studies and information I did.

                              Read my reply to Mike. I am not being deliberately obtuse. I am being practical. However, that practicality is getting lost in noise.

                              Incidentally, one question I almost invariably ask people (because I am interested in music), is where you get your music from. To my continuing surprise, most people I know are not downloading music (I only know one frequent downloader, and even he has had to cut way back because of time constraints - we all have to grow up). However, I hear the same complaint from them that they have no time to go look for new music and they are hearing little new music that sounds interesting.

                              There is a huge potential market that remains untapped and will remain untapped until artists get more creative in connecting with fans.

                              As for "winning" the discussion, there is no win or lose. Well, there is lose, but that is not the point. In fact, I have only been trying to make a single point that is getting lost in the noise. How hard is it to explain that artists need to be more creative in connecting with fans? Of course, if you do not care about selling more music, the...whatever. I cannot help you.

                               

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                                Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 7:08am

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

                                Darn it...my post.

                                 

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                                Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 7:28am

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

                                You're asking me if I want you to quote your source??? Yes, of course, I do. That's why I've repeatedly asked you to do so. Are you going to quote your sources for your statements or just keep babbling?

                                 

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                                  Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 9:27am

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

                                  Number of daily visits to Pandora is from:

                                  http://www.statbrain.com/www.pandora.com/

                                  There are multiple sources for radio listenership. The numbers vary slightly from source to source, but are around 250 million listeners in the US. You might find the first link interesting since it also points out various sources of news, including internet, HD radio and satellite (radio remains number 1 by a massive amount).

                                  http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2009/narrative_audio_audience.php

                                  http://www.examiner. com/x-760-Business-News-Examiner~y2008m10d21-Radio-listeners-up-ad-revenues-down

                                  Broadband Access (Not actual use)

                                  http://www.bizreport.com/2006/12/broadband_to_reach_50_of_us_homes.html

                                  Number of U.S. homes with a computer (though not capability of the computer - I am having trouble finding that analysis, which estimated that around 20-30% of computers actually in U.S. households were impractical for download of internet media, primarily due to memory and processor speed)

                                  http://www.gadgetell.com/tech/comment/about-80-of-united-states-homes-has-a-computer/

                                  T otal number of broadband subscribers:

                                  http://www.internetworldstats.com/am/us.htm

                                  What other data can I give you that will stop your mindless babbling?

                                   

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                                    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 11:19am

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

                                    Real data, not news blurbs about statistics that might be included in some reports by unknown sources. (I especially liked the blurb that quoted a report by an unknown group with no information about the report other than that it was about Americans not having computers and it was available for sale for 2,995 pounds, which is darn near $5,000 US.)

                                    I listened to a radio every day at work for years. That doesn't mean that I used the radio for music, or that I didn't use other sources for music. You can say, 'These people are radio listeners and can't possibly be anything else.'. That just doesn't make sense. Radio listenership stats don't have any impact on this discussion.

                                    A broadband report on American homes doesn't have any impact on this discussion, because you don't need broadband in your home to download music. Really, I can't think if a single Internet connection that could stop me from downloading music, including borrowed WiFi. Can you?

                                    The number of people with desktop machines in their home have much impact on this discussion. People who don't have desktops at home may have gaming systems, cell phones, computers at work, the library, school, friends and relatives home... The list goes on endlessly.

                                    Besides, where's the source report for that? Certainly nobody's ever asked me if I have a computer (I have four PCs, a Blackberry, a Wii, a work machine, a netbook, and endless local libraries, schools, friends, and relatives), so how did that polling work again? Somebody just estimated that those homes didn't have machines? Based on WHAT? I don't know, and neither do you, but you didn't link to any studies or any sources for those numbers.

                                    I don't see how anyone with half a brain can look at those numbers and conclude that half of everyone in America are unable to use the Internet to find and purchase music. There's no link. There's no logical inference. It's just 'mindless babbling'.

                                     

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                                      Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

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

                                      I don't see how anyone with half a brain can look at those numbers and conclude that half of everyone in America are unable to use the Internet to find and purchase music. There's no link. There's no logical inference. It's just 'mindless babbling'.

                                      Do you know how to read English or do you just like to hear yourself talk? I have never said that people in America are unable to use the internet to find and purchase music. Not once. What I said was that there is little evidence that the vast majority of people are in fact using the internet to find and buy music. However, I look forward to YOUR evidence that they are doing so as opposed to hand waving about Wii consoles, Blackberry's, and your endless lists that, as far as I can tell seem to have more relevance to your social life than to music.

                                       

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                                        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

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

                                        My insistence on the success of the Internet based marketing and sales methods are backed by the fact that people are spending more money on music than ever, especially on digital music. CD sales are sad, sad numbers nowadays. Links below. That shows quite a bit about how people are purchasing their music.

                                        Oh, and please note that 33% of digital music sales were mobile in 2007, three years ago. Wanna guess what they are now? Clearly, a desktop computer and a broadband connection in the home are not necessary to Internet based music consumption.

                                        You keep insisting that artists should spend more time, effort, and money marketing to you because the current ways of marketing to you don't work for people because [insert bogus Internet-related excuse here]. I've refuted all of them. Deal with it.

                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_industry#Recorded_music_retail_sales

                                        http://www.fool.co m/investing/high-growth/2007/01/17/digital-musics-double-trouble.aspx

                                        http://www.techcrunch.com/2 008/01/25/global-digital-music-sales-up-40-percent-but-overall-sales-down-10-percent/

                                        http://www. ifpi.org/content/library/dmr2009.pdf

                                         

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                                          Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

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

                                          I notice that many of the downloads are ringtones, which means that people are probably buying artists they already have rather than seeking new songs.

                                          However, your links also further support my point. Even though digital sales are up, even though the number of artists seems to be up, even though the number of outlets for artists is up on the internet, overall music sales are DOWN. Yes, the growth of internet sales and downloads is very high in some areas, according to your data, but it is slowing, also according to your data.

                                          You are helping me make my point. Eventually, whether in four years or eight years or twelve years, digital downloads will stabilize and the music market will be divided between vinyl, CD and digital downloads. Lovely. The question is whether artists will try to reach out to the millions who have yet to discover them or whether they will continue to follow the throw it out there and pray for people to find them. I suspect artists will become more aggressive and creative. They should.

                                          Before you attempt to refute my comments (which you have failed to do so far), consider this: artists are already coming up with new and creative ways to advertise their music. I have already listed several in my posts, but you have not acknowledged them.

                                          I suggest that the "wait for fans" attitude among artists may be common, but it is most assuredly NOT how to connect with fans. I also suggest that as more new business models are developed for artists, they will try even harder and be even more creative in connecting with fans, and THEN obscure artists will become successful (and just maybe, in the process they will find me and the hundreds of millions of other me's in the world).

                                           

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                                            Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 11:52am

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

                                            Roflmao, so now it's only music if you say it's music? Just give up, hon. You lose. Artists are doing what they should be doing, and doing it well. It's a very exciting time for music, musicians, and music-lovers. Musicians have more opportunities to, and are, making more money than ever, without you. Yay!

                                             

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                                              Lonnie E. Holder, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 5:40am

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

                                              Where did I say "it's only music if [I] say it's music"? That is the dumbest damn statement any fool could ever make. Music is music even though a listener might not like it. I daresay I listen to a lot of music that you would probably dislike.

                                              New artists may be making "more money than ever," without me. So, I guess the same old artists. So I bought two Elton John DVD's ("The Red Piano" and "The Dream Ticket") instead of buying music from new artists. So I have Foreigner's new album instead of music from a new artist.

                                              Music, just like any other commercial endeavor, is a business. You can say "I am not going to compete for this person's money," but that is exactly what General Motors did when they neglected small and then mid-size car buyers and Toyota did not. Yes, "musicians" have more opportunities to make money than ever, but they will have an opportunity to make even more money when they figure out how to connect with fans who have little time to go to the top of their particular mountain and walk into their particular cave.

                                               

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            Yeebok (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 1:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Lonnie, from what I understand of your time-poor situation,you have most likely spent several hundred times the amount of thought, effort, time and keystrokes on this thread, than it would take to get benefit from Pandora. I've never used it but from what I read and hear it's quite good at picking stuff you'll probably like.
            If you never listen to music on your PC, that's something you will definitely need to rectify. You can buy a CD full of songs and burn them to a disc in a similar amount of time as it'd take to go to the shop and buy them. As others have said, it's likely the music you will like is not being output near your inputs - so you're never likely to hear anything new you'll like.
            I'll be signing up to Pandora shortly.

             

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              Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 5:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yeebok:

              Perhaps one day I will look into Pandora. However, I do not have time right now.

              If I am going to get a CD, I will buy it. It takes almost no time at all, once I know what I want. I buy almost everything from Amazon these days, though I have tracked down CD's on eBay before.

               

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    John Doe, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    Music co-op?

    It is time for a music co-op where independent bands can list their music. Sort of an iTunes for bands not signed with a label. This non-label could become the largest "label" in very short order. But artists appear to be very poor business people. Just like photographers need to learn to market their art, bands need to learn to market theirs or be captive to a label who will do it.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    Many will still fail,

    Many will still fail, because many will still suck.

    There will always be a supply of starving musicians because anything that makes it easier to be successful will just attract even more people to try. That is the basic economics of any "glamour job".

    There is no "tail" of aspiring sewage workers!

    Of course we must be careful to distinguish different types of musicians here.

    There are performers (ie instrumentalists and singers) and then there are composers/songwriters.

    There are many more "competent performers" than good composers. I have seen tribute bands who could perform the music of famous names better than the original - but of course their own material was not in the same league.

    A competent tribute band can make a reasonable living from the concerts and of course they don't need to be well known in their own right - since they can trade off the publicity of the prototype.

    In a way this is made easier because so many musicians want to be famous for their own compositions rather than make a crust playing someone else's.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    typo

    Mike, Ctrl+F for "mischategorized"

     

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    Tom The Toe, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

    Some of the other folks are correct in saying "the problem is the filters you use". I've found the best new music is regional not national. Forget i-tunes, Pandora, the internet, etc. Get out and listen to live shows locally and regionally. These are the bands with something new to offer. Where I live is a radio wasteland, (Oklahoma). Same crap regurgitated over and over. The live music scene however is wonderful. We can see new bands from OK, TX, Mo, KS, CO. and pretty much without exception they have music to sell or give away, whether from their web site, myspace or from the stage. Don't wait for the music to come to you go get the music and support the touring artists in your region. I've rarely been dissappointed and most shows are between $3 and $10. Great entertainment for a few bucks.

     

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:05pm

      Re: Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point...

      Been reading the Gazette, huh? Despite their hype and OKC City Council wishes, the music scene in Oklahoma still sucks. Wish it didn't.

       

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    reboog711 (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    The Long Tail...

    "He then went on to claim that the long tail doesn't seem to be working for the music business"

    Do people / companies / bands in the long tail make any money? I always thought money was to be made by companies like Amazon.com or CDBaby who are set up to service hundreds of long tail 'markets' at little cost.

    But, those actually creating the long-tail content are making very little money.

     

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      vivaelamor (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:09pm

      Re: The Long Tail...

      Just because the tail is long doesn't mean it is skinny. Might mean it is no longer obese however. The laws of supply and demand ensure that the tail never gets too thin which seems to be your worry. Shedding skin is natural in economics.

      I shall stop before the imagery gets any more weird.

       

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    Joel, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    I think Silverman is missing the point of the internet -- the important line should not be which artists sold 10,000 records or more, but rather which artists were able to make a living (i.e., have their band/music be their full-time job) outside of the major label system. With the internet, it is incredibly difficult to get the word out on your music and to reach 10,000 potential customers (so having hundreds of thousands of impressions). That being said, even if you only find 1,000 true fans who will buy your album, you both a) get a larger cut of the profits without the label, and b) can leverage that interest into additional sales. I'd be willing to bet that while, even today, it is difficult to reach 10,000 sales without a major label, you can make a living with alternative business models.

     

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      Richard (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:13am

      What is the true measure

      which artists were able to make a living (i.e., have their band/music be their full-time job)
      Inevitably the public has only so many entertainment dollars to spend - so there will always be failures and the internet will not change the size of the market much.

      The true measure should be:

      What is the level of correlation between being good and being able to make a living?

      Under the old system it was definitely poor both in terms of poor bands making an undeserved living and good bands failing.

       

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    Haggie, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:14am

    Search for the "long tail" happens in an industry that has been optimized for its core markets thus leaving the "long tail" as a new revenue stream because it is not yet optimized. There is no need to search for the "long tail" in the music industry because the core of the music industry is operating so far below its potential that efforts should be focused on that before you even start worrying about find the "long tail". Seeking the music industry "long tail" is like standing in a hayfield searching for a needle when next door is a needle factory.

    My sole source for finding new music is a monthly compilation that I download via BitTorrent. Of course, the bands that I like from this compilation I also download via BitTorrent. I have plenty of money to spend on music, I just haven't found a music company that has the ability to build a product and/or delivery system that is even remotely compelling (with the exception of R. River whose Media Center application is worth paying to use).

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    The changing levels of what is success

    I think that this post is a good indication that the level of what is considered "success" is slipping rapidly.

    10,000 albums would be about 100,000 or so songs sold (assuming 10 per album, usually more). When you take this sort of number, and work it out over the US as a whole, you realize that this is not even really very successful at all.

    What do I mean? The idea generally is to get a band on the road playing gigs. Under the old system, the concerts and the media exposure (such as radio or newspaper interviews) helped to sell product, and made the band more money by doing the gigs.

    However, let's say the band can play 250 nights a year. If they have sold only 10,000 albums, it would be hard for them to have critical mass in very many places to play bigger gigs. As a result, they might be touring and playing for only a very few fans each night.

    Further, a band with only one album might find themselves short of material to play a full show, they are likely to be an opening act for a larger band, once again to get them more exposure in the marketplace.

    A band with 100,000 downloads of a single song would likely find themselves in worse shape: Not only would they not have a big enough following to tour, but by being an independant act, they might have a hard time finding an opening act slot to get exposure.

    It comes back to the same thing for me each time: Music risks becoming a very regional business, packed full of part time bands, weekend warriors, and students doing it for a kick, and not really the same level of "commercial success" that we have been use to measuring things by in the past.

     

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      Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:59am

      Re: The changing levels of what is success

      "10,000 albums would be about 100,000 or so songs sold (assuming 10 per album, usually more)."

      Usually it was more like:

      10,000 albums would be about 10,000 songs sold and 90,000 songs given away FOR FREE.

      People usually bought an album for 1-3 songs, and the rest was just there to fill up a CD. One of the major driving forces from audio cassettes to CDs was the fact that the "filler" could be skipped, and the handful of good songs repeated ad nauseum without rewinding/fast forwarding and degrading the physical tape.

      Just because people bought a physical delivery method with 10 songs doesn't mean the person was buying all 10 songs. They had NO CHOICE. To buy 1 song meant you got 10 songs.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 11:11am

      Re: The changing levels of what is success

      Stop measuring things based on the past. Welcome to the present and good luck in the future.

       

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      Richard (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 11:42am

      Re: The changing levels of what is success

      Music risks becoming a very regional business, packed full of part time bands, weekend warriors, and students doing it for a kick, and not really the same level of "commercial success" that we have been use to measuring things by in the past.

      I am at a loss to understand why any of this is necessarily bad. You just seem to be objecting to change for the sake of it.

      Under your "nightmare" more people than ever before would have the buzz of performing at least semi-professionally. Why is that not absolutely wonderful?

       

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      mrharrysan (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

      Re: The changing levels of what is success

      That's not a bad thing, sir. These so-called superstar artists are the ones most guilty of producing the mindless corporate crap that infects the airwaves nowadays. I would much rather support a "real" regional artist who makes honest music.

      All of your numbers really only apply to the old system. Things are better now than they have ever been for a touring band playing venues in the sub-1000 seat range. I'm living it.

       

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        Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

        Re: Re: The changing levels of what is success

        mrharrysan:

        I suspect if you are looking for a niche band, you are right on multiple counts.

        - Yes, most of the pop on the radio is mindless and is junk. It is certainly repetitive and generally not very creative. Talk about "me-too," or three, or 5,000...

        - The groups I like (except classic rock artists) are rarely huge success. Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, Porcupine Tree, King Crimson, etc., were never "superstars," but played music I loved.

        - Are things "better"? Depends on your definition. There is more selection, but it can be harder to find the good stuff. I never go to concert by a band I have yet to hear somewhere else. That means that if they fail to find a way to expose themselves to me, it may be that I never hear them and never get the chance to buy their music (I buy CD's, I never buy or download on the internet).

         

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          mrharrysan (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 3:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: The changing levels of what is success

          @Lonnie,
          I think we are actually in agreement. I've got a soft spot for prog-rock myself and those bands have never gained exposure through radio play(except perhaps during the heyday 70s when you could hear Yes and Genesis on the radio, but never Gentle Giant or Marillion.)

          Thing are better now. Before the internet, how would one have found out about Spock's Beard? Certainly not on the radio. Now, you can Google "prog-rock" and see all kinds of bands you nver would have been able to find before.

          I am a so-called garage rocker and our "niche" genre is thriving in music scenes all over the US. There are blogs, zines, forums, and all sorts of communities built around the discussion of this music. I always know when an artist I might like is coming to town and I can go to their Myspace to see what bands they like and are friends with, and I can hear what they all sound like.

          I haven't looked myself but I am sure there are probably some groups and blogs for prog-rock that will make reference to bands you might be interested in.

           

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    pink floyd, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    open osurce music industry is born

    so maybe we need osme volinteers to help get the word around for NON SIGNED , NON LABEL music
    and pass that around
    to you know OUR websites
    and ya know what happens is people will hten flok to us and then ignore main stream

    think about how linux was made and how it works today

     

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    Peter Wells (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Finding The Long Tail In Music

    Lots of points to address here, I'll take a few.

    Re: Sadly, Silverman appears to have a good point... (by Lonnie E. Holder):

    ...I do not have hours to scour the internet for new bands and to then find a copy of that band's music. To do so is almost a hobby in itself. Perhaps I had that time as a teenager, but certainly not now.


    But that's the point. If there really were solid ways to show the success artists are already enjoying, then that data could be measured and used and mined. When Tommy says 12 bands (!!) "broke through," he's saying he's got a measure, and by that measure, 12 bands "made it," and if you trust his authority, presumably those are the 12 you'll listen to in your minimal spare time.

    But the data Tommy's using is at best incomplete, and it should be far, far more than 12--and even the definitions of "success" and "breaking through" need to be changed to reflect the new ways people produce and consume music. If that number climbed to something else arbitrary, say, 1,000, then maybe a service would come alone that used the better data to break even that down to manageable chunks you can use to find what appeals to you. The point is, the definitions and existing data (and what we choose to COUNT as data) are way out of step. Pandora, among others (as Mike Masnik noted), is point guard on this. Imagine their algorithms combined with new kinds of data, more complete data, and put into a framework where "success" was given new and multiple definitions. Finding music is going to be FUN.

    That's part of The Anti-Mike's great point, one I make over and over again: success is a big, monolithic and practically useless word, in any general sense. But leaving aside even the vanity case, the point is people ARE hitting "traditionally successful-level" numbers (to coin a phrase), they're just not being counted properly, and the industry is way behind HOW to count them, let alone what to do with the data if they had it. And I'm unfair even to restrict this to "the industry" as if it were one thing located in NY, LA and Nashville. Regions are key, and not just as "stepping stones" to some larger geographical success.

    Alan Gerow's point about people having to buy albums to get songs: that's certainly the way it used to work. But now, people can buy songs, and that's just one thing that's being improperly measured.

    One final note: I appreciate the praise, but Jeff Price, our CEO, wrote those articles. You should hear him talk, too, he brings the same passion and accuracy and attention to real-life examples when he speaks. Back when TuneCore was just the three of us (with Gary Burke), we'd all talk late into the night about how we were going to change this industry.

    --Peter
    peter@tunecore.com

     

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    rjk (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 6:08pm

    Steve Lawson on Obsurity

    Steve Lawson comments on Tom Silvermen's thoughts in this post. http://www.stevelawson.net/2010/01/quick-thoughts-on-obscurity/

    So this is a made-up measurement - it’s what ‘we’ (no mention of who ‘we’ are), arbitrarily decided, that selling 10,000 records makes you not obscure. Why? How? Nope, nothing. Just that ‘people know about you’. Very scientific and verifiable. ‘People’.

    It’s also based on ‘Soundscan’ statistics. By Soundscan’s reckoning, I’ve sold about 3% of my actual sales across my career – that’s how many have gone through the Soundscan system. Not a single one of my gig sales, my own website sales, bandcamp sales, CDbaby sales have gone through Soundscan. So this tells us that 1500 artists have reported 10K sales to Soundscan. And that’s apparently a story about obscurity?

     

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    Yeebok (profile), Jan 26th, 2010 @ 1:31am

    Or not ..

    Damned US only - be nice to mention that /somewhere/ !
    You claim to have time to listen to the radio, but not time to listen to a radio station that's specifically catered to your tastes. How is that possible?
    When you're in the wrong country, obviously.. :(

     

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      Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 5:53am

      Re: Or not ..

      Yeebok:

      Yes, I am in the U.S. However, the problem is not being in the U.S., it is being in the middle of cornfields. We can receive about 10 FM stations. Five are country (NOT my genre). One is classic rock. Two are current pop (yuck). Two are harder, mostly current rock. Regardless of how you cut it, these stations leave out about 95% (or more) of all genres, and problem more than 99% of all music being produced today. Sad...

      Satellite radio is an improvement, but there are only so many stations, and there are curiously huge gaps in genre coverage. I did drop my satellite radio for my car (not finding enough music to make satellite worth it - might as well buy a CD a month, if I can find some worth buying).

       

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        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re: Or not ..

        So purchase a smartphone and use Pandora. Fake problem solved. (Not that you wanted anyone to solve it.)

         

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          Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: Or not ..

          How about artists continuing to figure out how to connect with millions of people who do not have time to look for music on the internet?

           

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            Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 1:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Or not ..

            If you don't have time to look for music on the Internet, you don't have time to look for music. Looking for music on the Internet takes no more time than any other method I can think of, except where it's faster.

             

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              Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 2:27pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Or not ..

              Rose:

              Let me be sure I am clear on my definition of "finding music." I do not mean knowing that I want "The Incident," or the "new album" from Porcupine Tree. I heard about the album, I go to Amazon and buy it. Piece of cake.

              Or, I hear about Evanescence from the end credits of a television show after hearing one of their songs. I go Amazon or Youtube, pull up samples from the album, and either buy or not.

              What I mean is that I am a fan of groups such as Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Porcupine Tree and Transatlantic, and I would like to find other music that I like that might be in the same genre, or might not.

              Since I have very eclectic tastes in music, my collection might seem bizarre to some - particularly since I like music unlike anything I currently have. MGMT's "Oracular Spectacular" was refreshingly unusual. Augie March's album "Moo, You Bloody Choir" was interesting and enjoyable, but both came to me; if they had not come to me, how would I have ever found them? Recently MGMT's music has shown up in a commercial (good for them!), but Augie March is a virtual unknown in the U.S.

              Perhaps you can see my point now?

               

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                Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 11:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Or not ..

                I've seen your point. Pandora is the solution. Your next problem is that you don't want to use Pandora. There isn't a reason for it. You just don't want to. That's fine. I'm sure that you're happier waiting for the magical music beams. Have a nice time!

                 

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                  Lonnie E. Holder, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 5:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Or not ..

                  *Sigh* Some people can walk in the forest and never see the trees around them.

                  Pandora may be "a" solution. However, I do not have time to use Pandora. Hell, I do not have time to be here trying to help people see different perspectives.

                  So, I will just keep doing what I am doing, finding the odd bit of music here and there as I encounter it in my other activities, or have people send it to me (which is how I get most of my music now). Nearly every person I know is in a similar quandary: they like and enjoy music but with their busy lives it is difficult to find the time to go look for music. Of course, when you are a child you have yet to realize how busy adults can be..

                   

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                    Rose M. Welch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 2:08pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Or not ..

                    You must not know very many people, or have a circle of acquaintances who have the same low priority on music that you do.

                     

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        Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 11:22am

        Re: Re: Or not ..

        Also, funny how much country music you purchase on Amazon for someone who doesn't like country. You have time to research music for other people but not for yourself? Odd.

         

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          Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 1:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: Or not ..

          How much country music I purchase? Good heavens. What are you talking about? If you are talking about the two country songs on my recently purchased list on Amazon, I purchased them to play at my father's funeral.

           

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    Susi O'Neill, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 4:17am

    Independent musicians online music research

    Interesting post Mike. I recently did a large piece of research looking into independent musicians and online music marketing: it confirmed some of these points, that it's virtually impossible to make money from The Long Tail (according to research by PRS in UK) and that, as one interviewee said, "the more things change, the more things stay the same". Clearly, 'new' media requires the muscle and budget of 'old' media to rise to levels of superstar success (it's TV and pop music that have grown Twitter users, not word of mouth per se). However, I captured examples of other musciians doing well in the new economy, in ways they couldn't have done pre internet, but it's creating a lot of 'middle class' musicians (both in their social status and in terms of earning middle incomes). Here's research: http://digitalconsultant.co.uk/research/the-online-music-economy-for-independent-music-en trepreneurs/

     

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