Yes, If You Don't Do Anything, You Shouldn't Expect People To Just Give You Money

from the wow dept

In the discussion on our recent post about CwF + RtB business models and how they work, one of our regular critics has been filling the comments with links that supposedly "disprove" this model. I find it fascinating that this person -- who claims to spend time helping musicians -- spends so much time in our comments constantly insisting that the examples that we show that work couldn't possibly work. Anyway, she pointed to the following article as some sort of "proof" that the CwF + RtB model doesn't work, because it involves a former supporter of "free" music, who was upset when money didn't come flowing in when he released his last album. But reading through the details, and I'm a bit perplexed. It looks like he did absolutely nothing described in the CwF + RtB model at all. He didn't support free music. He didn't work to connect with the fans and drive them to various reasons to buy. Instead, he just released an album the old fashioned way and got disappointed that people didn't buy it:
My experience with Lose Your Illusion was a big part of the reason my opinion about free music changed so dramatically over the course of this past year. It was the first album I'd been involved with that had a real label backing it up and covering the bills--all my previous records had been self-funded, self-released DIY projects--and as such it was the first one where the music didn't "feel" free. Somebody else's money was on the line.

When Illusion leaked via RapidShare shortly before its release date, at first it felt pretty good. Someone obviously thought the album was good enough to upload, and someone else thought it was good enough to download. Surely this would generate some positive word of mouth--when the record came out it might even sell better as a result. That never happened, though. I kept track of more than a dozen file-sharing links, eventually counting more than 1,000 downloads. I'm not sure yet how many copies have actually sold, but I do know it's fewer than that. Vinyl stock was still sitting on Flameshovel's shelves when the label packed up its offices late last year. (It's now strictly a back-catalog operation, with no new releases planned.)

Maybe people just didn't like the album enough to buy it. Maybe the important thing is that it got heard, whether they liked it or not. But seeing it posted online so many times was demoralizing. Nobody doing the posting ever contacted the band to check if the leak was intentional, and I can't imagine they were thinking about Flameshovel's tiny staff trying to steer the sinking ship. That really kneecapped my idealistic enthusiasm for file sharing.
So what did the band do to connect with fans? What reasons to buy did it offer? What unique ways did the band offer scarce value to users? How did it build up its fan base? None of that is explained in the article at all. Instead, it's just someone upset that a small number of people file sharing the album didn't translate into direct sales of that same album. That's not evidence against CwF + RtB, that's evidence for it. It's evidence against the old way of doing things.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:27am

    I think this guy hit it pretty much right on the head.

    He even managed to point out that Facepalm Palmer is pretty much leading the way to musical begging as a way to pay for artists. Mike, you can explain to everyone what the significance of begging in a society is, and how that reflects the lack of health in a system.

    I think at this point, most of the players are seeing plenty of ways to get attention, but few ways to make actual money.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:28am

    "Maybe people just didn't like the album enough to buy it."

    Could be. Generally the most successful albums and movies are also the ones most pirated on P2P. As I've said before, crap is still crap no matter what price you put on it.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Re:

    You seem to be under some bizarre belief that people deserve to be paid for what they do. They do not. Every day I take a crap. No one pays me. If a musician wants to release crap on a CD, no one is under any obligation to pay him.

    I asked my boss to hire me. A musician might ask to be paid for his work from his fans. If you consider those requests to be begging, that's your right, I guess. But it's ludicrous.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:37am

    i bet people just didnt like it and hes finding that hard to swallow

     

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    Esahc (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    You do realize that Amanda Palmer actually makes money at what she does.

     

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    Sam I Am, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Ima, nobody has a right to force you to purchase, passing on a purchase (for whatever reason) is one of the tenets of a free and balanced market.

    But when you take their product intended for sale using stealth and technology not to pay them, that's not only illegal, it's not very classy either. And that's what the upcoming laws will address. Pass if you wish. Pay if you take. Accountability to our choices both offline and on.

    A fair and balanced marketplace.

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re:

    Nope, you miss the point.

    The shoemaker doesn't ask individual people to employ him, he makes shoes and he sells them. If he doesn't make shoes people like, he starves and becomes a garbage picker or something. If he makes what people like, and they buy it, then he lives well.

    If I run a store, if I sell the things people want to buy, they buy it and I make money. If they don't, I am a garbage picker. I don't give my stuff away and hope that people will make enough donations to pay my time.

    Musicians make music. The record that music, and they sell copies of that music. It's the nature of what they do.

    A writer writes things. He then sells copies of those writing, or sell the entire writing to someone else who then sells copies. It's the nature of what they do.

    It is sad to think that all of music will no longer be about making music, but about begging for cash and trying to sell trinkets. I value the music way more than I value the trinkets or another series of beggers trying to wash my virtual windows with a dirty squeegee.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Heh, it's worth pasting a couple of Twitter posts I've just read from one of my favourite musical artists, Brian Transeau (better known as BT) about the release of his new album, These Hopeful Machines:

    "BT: Your decisions make a difference. Please purchase the album instead of stealing it. (7 minutes ago)"

    "BT: I'm really excited to see people's tweets that torrented the record just to hear it & ran to iTunes +Amazon to get Lossless/physical copies. (5 minutes ago)"

    I wonder how many of those sales he would have lost had the free preview not been available... quality content + exposure = more sales, period, however many torrents there are. I also wonder how many sales his record label would have convinced him he'd "lost" through piracy had he not had such a direct connection with his fans.

    I was also happy to see that the album was available on the UK iTunes on the same day as the US, so I could buy it myself immediately instead of being forced to wait. That's how to do business, not "sorry you have to wait, and do try to pretend that the guy over there isn't handing out free copies *right now*"

    (For the record, that was also the first thing I've ever bought from iTunes - I always find them far too expensive, but I got a gift card for Christmas and decided to use it this album so I wouldn't have to wait for a CD to be delivered. Making downloaded albums cost more than CDs = stupid + more lost business.)

     

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    Esahc (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    We all value the music above and beyond the trinkets. You purchase the trinkets to support the artist.

     

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    Esahc (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    "A fair and balanced marketplace."

    Sounds like Fox News economics.

    Personally I prefer the free market.

     

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    Sam I Am, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Amanda Palmer isn't actually a professional musician. She's decided to sell apparel and empty winebottles for a profession and make a little amateur music on the side.

     

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    SureW (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is sad to think that all of music will no longer be about making music

    Interesting comment. Haven't 'true fans' been bitching about artists "selling out" forever? When did we cross this magical line of making music for the sake of making music? And if that was the case, why are people always bitching about money and not the quality of music the industry is producing?

    I value the music way more than I value the trinkets

    It seems the market does not value music at the same level you do.

     

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    LumpyDog (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "All of music" hasn't been about "making music" for a long time. It's been about making money.

    And being in business is about begging for cash. That's what businesses do. They beg people to trade them money for goods or services.

    The only thing changing in music is how the money's made, and who will be making it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why in your world is the choice only between A and "starving and garbage picking"? Like there is only one career option for any given human being. "Oh no, I didn't make it, time for me to die." Duh.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Oh, and to the point of the article - who the hell are Mannequin Men? I sure as hell haven't heard of them, but apparently they're small enough for 1,000 free downloads to make or break them. Hell, I had to read the headline 3 times to realise that it wasn't referring to Guns 'n Roses.

    What did they do to market the album? Not much by the look of things. Serious people, the public has to know your album exists before they'll pay for it, and they will use free methods to preview it if they've never heard of you...

    "Vinyl stock was still sitting on Flameshovel's shelves when the label packed up its offices late last year."

    Erm, why is this important? I know that vinyl is a growing niche market, but what about the CDs and downloads? Vinyl being left on a shelf means nothing if they simply produced too many. Even if there were 1,000 left, I doubt that the downloaders would be universally interested in purchasing vinyl...

    "Maybe people just didn't like the album enough to buy it."

    Indeed. Free crap is still crap.

    "It's one thing to get someone to pay a 20-cent premium to feel slightly better about the coffee they were going to buy anyway; it's another entirely to get them to pay for a cup when there's a place next door giving it away. How much guilt does someone have to feel in order to forswear the nearly limitless amount of high-quality music freely available online?"

    There we go - reason to buy, again. If your crappy 20c extra coffee is worse than the free stuff then you won't get them to buy it. If it's better quality, or your place is nicer than the free place, or you have more parking, or something else to offer, then you'll get custom.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The shoemaker doesn't ask individual people to employ him..."

    Why not? If you look through the entire history of music, the notion of selling collections of music on vinyl or plastic discs is only a blip. A minuscule little blip. Selling collections of music did not really catch on until the 60s.

    "I don't give my stuff..."

    Your analogy fails because you're comparing scarce physical goods with nearly unlimited virtual goods. If you're selling burgers, and I open up a restaurant next door and also sell burgers. That's not stealing or immoral in anyway. That's competition.

    "It is sad to think that all of music will no longer be about making music, but about begging for cash and trying to sell trinkets"

    The era of making money selling albums was really about four decades. It started in the 50s, caught on in the 60s, thrived in the 70s, took dive in the 80s, slightly regained and then completely died in by the end of the 90s.

    Merely because something was done one way for a relatively short period of time, you expect it always to be done the exact same way. That's not the way life works.

    There are people who believe that evenutlaly the manufacturing sector in the US will come back. Just like it was in the 70s with high wages. It will not come back. Merely because it existed for a short time does not mean it will exist forever.

    And if you believe the 50s through the 90s was "about making music" you're either an idiot or lying. The music business was a business. It was not about music, it was about selling vinyl and then plastic dics. What was on encoded on those discs was irrelevant.

    Right now if you want to make music, you can make music. No one is stopping you. There are no middle-men/gate-keepers keeping you from having access to the world. If you want to make music for music's sake, you're living in a golden era. If you demand to be paid for that, you're completely out of luck. If you want to be paid for it, you're going to have to give people a reason to pay. Just like I do in my job, like you do in your job, and everyone else does in their jobs.

     

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    LumpyDog (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Re:

    Ha. That's just plain snobbery.

    How you make money doesn't define who you are (or if it does, I feel sorry for you). Think of all the artists we always hear of who weren't successful until after they died. Do we still refer to them as carpenters, or mechanics, or whatever they did to make ends meet? No.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, but she's a freetard who is destroying the old business models used by older artists. It's not fair!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:11am

    if youre only interested in sitting back and counting all the downloads and not proactively engaging your fans then maybe you should have been an accountant

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re:

    The online world will never resemble the offline world. That's a fact. Good luck in the future.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re:

    Vincent van Gogh wasn't an artist he was just lazy!

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    That's one way of looking at it. You could also argue, quite persuasively, that Coke is not in the business of selling soda, but is in the business of selling cans and bottles. You could also argue that McDonalds is not in the business of selling food, but is in the business of selling paper bags. And you could also argue that the credit card companies are not in the business of providing credit, but in imposing of random fees on unsuspecting users.

    But such distinctions are irrelevant. The point is whether Palmer is doing a job she likes (creating music) at a wage she's willing to accept (whatever the fans are willing to pay).

     

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    Another AC, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:14am

    @Anti Mike and Sam

    You do realize that people were making music and profiting from it, way before they were recording it right?

    recorded music is the marketing for your live shows, what don't you understand about this?

    New artists sign on with the labels and they make nothing on the recorded music, they make their money on merch and ticket sales.

    Recorded music is infinite and worthless. The value is in the marketing.

    Labels have always understood this, that is why they used to try to pay radio stations to play their stuff.

    Hell even Metallica understood this at one time, they are where they are now due to unauthorized sharing, its just too bad they turned on their fan base.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:19am

    1,000 downloads. That's it?

    Sounds like people just didn't like it.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    "one of the tenets of a free and balanced market"

    It's hilarious that you're arguing copyrights in the same breath as a free market. Copyrights are not a free market. They are a government granted monopoly no different from the one enjoyed by AT&T in the "good" old days.

    Copyrights and patents are a government granted exception to a free market.

    Think back to the 1800s when the player piano was invented. Copyrights only protected published sheet music, thus piano rolls were not covered by copyright. It was perfectly legal to sell piano rolls.

    What did the music industry do? In a free market when you're faced with competition, you compete or die.

    That's not what the music publishers did. They went to Congress which increased their monopoly to include performances of music. Suddenly, piano rolls were included under copyright and the music industry (of the 1800s) bypassed any market force to compete through government fiat.

    That's what happens every time the music industry is faced with competition. They sue. And if they cannot sue, they broaden their monopolies so they can sue.

    If you think that sort of BS remotely resembles a free market you're either lying or an idiot.

     

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    Esahc (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That made no scene.

     

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    Ryan, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    You obviously don't understand free market concepts. Free markets are not "balanced" - they are perpetually fluctuating and may very well become polarized for periods of time, which is fine as long as it is the result of consumer choice.

    You also don't understand the mechanics of digital artifacts. Songs are merely compositions of information, and copying one has no effect on the other. There is no "taking" a product, anymore than if I create my own chair based on the aesthetics of another, I am "taking" from the chairmaker. Neither chair nor song is taken, and stealth and technology(?) have nothing to do with it. Record labels have lobbied governments to establish artificial scarcities that no longer exist by nature to make a profit at the expense of the public. It is as if water bottle manufacturers lobbied the government to poison freshwater reservoirs to drive up the price of bottled water. Are we "taking" from them by drinking from the tap? I think not.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    Perhaps professional musicians are the ones killing the recording industry. Amateurs usually perform from the heart ... professionals perform to pay the bills. Selling apparel and empty wine bottles could be how she separates her art from her income so that making money isn't the reason she makes music, but because she has a message and a desire to create for the act of creating.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hey! It takes drive and determination to cut your own ear off! That, a quite a love of the absinthe.

     

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    Nate, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    So, he tracked about 1000 downloads, made even less sales than that, and he thinks he would have been more successful if people wouldn't have had the chance to give the album a listen-to first?

    I buy music because I've already heard it, and already like it, not because I want to "try it out." I'm not just going to trust your flashy cover art to tell me that your album is worth buying. I'm going to listen to it first.

    I hate to break it to you, but if only 1000 people downloaded your album, it's likely that they deleted it shortly thereafter.

     

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    keith (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:29am

    RtB

    "Maybe people just didn't like the album enough to buy it."
    or
    Maybe people just didn't *want to buy what you were selling.*

    Think about it. People don't 'want' to buy pieces of plastic to carry around. They didn't enjoy carrying around cases of tapes that hold their favorite songs ... some people still want to buy Vinyl ... but thats more a niche market than a high volume sale these days.

    It is just no longer a viable market to rely on CD sales... people don't want them! Just look at the floor space in a best buy (or similar) dedicated to CDs. It has dropped substantially because people were never in love with buying CD's, they are in love with listening to the music in the most convenient, highest quality format for the time. IE - 8track -> cassette -> CD -> MP3 ... CD's do not offer any real benefit over a high quality digital file that easily transfers to their latest music player.

    It is like releasing a new video game on 5 1/4" floppy discs and then complaining at the low volume of sales ... i imagine 95% of the population does not even has the hardware to read that type of disc anymore. People just don't want to buy them.

    Likewise, when everyone owns an MP3 player .... why would anyone buy a CD?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Re:

    But when you take their product intended for sale using stealth and technology not to pay them, that's not only illegal, it's not very classy either.

    Nothing was taken. They made a copy. And, thank goodness, you're not the judge of what's "classy" in the universe or we'd be in trouble.

    Pass if you wish. Pay if you take. Accountability to our choices both offline and on.

    Heh. It's funny to see you talk about accountability when talking about one of the least "accountable" industries around. When has a major label ever been accountable. Need I remind you:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091201/1957497156.shtml

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Re: RtB

    The media used for the sale isn't relevant, only that the sales don't happen when the music is given away for free. So even the wildly successful Facepalm Palmer has to run friday night flea markets to make a living, rather than writing and recording new music or performing that music live.

    In the end, while people claim to value music, they apparently no longer value it enough to pay for it, but save themselves from guilt by buying meaningless trinkets to show their (diminished) appreciation for the music.

    Too bad they have forgotten that they could just pay for the music and cut out the trinket middleman. Perhaps Mike is nothing more than shill for the t-shirt printing industry.

     

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    Nate, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Re:

    Nah, I didn't take it; I just picked it up and gave it a listen, then I put it back on the "shelf."

     

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    Sam I Am, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:43am

    I agree, Mike, no reason whatever why industry shouldn't be held just as accountable as consumers. It cuts both ways and more accountability is better for a society, not less. I thought that article on PrisonPlanet the other day about fingerprint-matching internet access was interesting. Surely some will struggle with these inevitabilities declaring "rights" to exercise "rights" they never had.

    But the internet and network regulation is still in its infancy at the moment, it will takes years and years to sort what's fair and what's doable. But anyone who thinks that the internet remains indefinitely the cesspool of unlawful and anonymous activity it presently embodies hasn't read their history. That's like an American colonist in 1885 declaring that "they'll never settle Montana, too big, too wild, too expensive."

    yeah.
    Right.
    :-)

     

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    AdamR (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    "Oh, and to the point of the article - who the hell are Mannequin Men? I sure as hell haven't heard of them, but apparently they're small enough for 1,000 free downloads to make or break them. Hell, I had to read the headline 3 times to realise that it wasn't referring to Guns 'n Roses"

    I thought the same and probably more half of those 1000 D/L’s did too, and that’s why the number is so low

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Musicians make music. The record that music, and they sell copies of that music. It's the nature of what they do." - no, it isn't...

    For most of history, Musicians made music and played music. That is the nature of what they do. Someone else figured out that you could record what they played and charge other people for it because the technology was invented to do so. Now that technology has changed and the cost barriers to recording and distributing have trended close enough to zero to no longer matter. What Musicians should be doing is using this for the free publicity that it is. Drive fans to their shows where they will get paid for doing what they do - playing music.

     

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    AdamR (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: RtB

    And you shill for what industry?

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re:

    Nice one, Fish. I commented on a post here a week ago that:

    "A lot of pro-copyright people think that they are free-marketers, when they just aren't."
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100125/0539377890.shtml#c125

    ...and some dude argued back "No they don't". So to Henry Emrich I say, "Yes they do." Henry, please refer to Sam I am, above.

    My point is not whether a free market is good or bad. Just that one cannot honestly claim to be pro-free market AND pro copyright. If you are in favor of copyright or patents, you are in favor of REGULATED MARKETS.

     

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    Joe (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If a shoemaker doesn't get enough business because people don't like his shoes his first response shouldn't be to give up making shoes and if it is he fails horribly at adapting, understanding business, and he obviously didn't choose the right profession for him.

    Instead of just giving up and taking a menial job he should first find out why people didn't buy his shoes. Maybe he set his prices too high, maybe he needs to refine his technique. Either way, business is about offering something to people that they want at a price which is profitable, but people are willing to buy the product at. The shoemaker could try lowering his prices a bit, or offering a special if you buy multiple pairs of shoes. Doing things like this is how you find a balance when starting a business, you don't just magically know the formula for profit and if it fails you're screwed.

    The same thing applies to music. You have to offer music people want to listen to and they have to be willing to pay the amount your asking. This is hard for musicians who are just starting up because people haven't heard your music. I've never heard of the band in the article and if the number of people both buying and downloading their music was so small it's probably that not very many other people had either. They needed a better marketing solution to get themselves out there. If they couldn't figure it out the first time they can always try something new with the same album to get people interested in them, or maybe just add an extra track or two that helps improve the album's quality. That's what the CwF + RtB business models are about, putting yourself out there for the fans to see, hear, and connect with, and offering a valueable product.

    From what I can tell the band from the article didn't connect with their fans or give a reason to buy. If they tracked the downloads to about a thousand then there was obviously no reason to buy. People talk about music, they share interests, that's one of the primary ways to hear about new musicians. If an album is only downloaded about 1,000 times then the people who downloaded it didn't think it was even worth mentioning to their friends. If they couldn't even justify telling other people about it when they got it for free then there was no real reason to buy it either. As far as connecting with fans, as I said, I've never even heard of them before. Maybe they have a small fan base but connecting with fans doesn't just mean existing fans, it means potential fans, too. It means getting exposure, hopefully positive, and getting people to like you, as well as your music. Their problem wasn't that more people downloaded the music than bought it, it was that not enough people heard it so no one even knew it was there.

    I rarely buy any music, just listen to stuff I have, but the last CD I bought is a good example of the CwF + RtB business model. I bought the special edition of the album Brand New Eyes by Paramore. I'm a big Paramore fan but I honestly wouldn't have bought the CD if it weren't for the special edition, which comes with a 9" vinyl, a poster, a dvd, some photos and a copy of the lead singer's journal where she wrote the song lyrics and notes on each song, along with some drawings. The regular CD didn't justify a purchase in my mind but the extra stuff that I got made it worth the extra money and more.

    You can argue that it's different, since Paramore is already famous and gets played on the radio, and that's true, it's harder for bands trying to make it on their own because they don't get the essentially free exposure the radio brings. But I'm not involved in the music business in any significant way and even I can think of a few good ideas. Sending free copies of products to well-known bloggers, for instance, is a great way to get exposure. If you send them something good, something worth mentioning, they'll give you a shout-out and a link to your site, because it doesn't cost them more than the time is takes them to listen, and generally, people can decide if something is good or not very fast. And if they don't want to help you out, don't even want to listen, at worst you wasted a few bucks on the CD you sent them and postage to send it.

    There is an inherent risk when creating and selling any product, if people don't want what you have to offer you could end up out a lot of time and money, but that doesn't mean the system is bad or you didn't get what you deserved. That's capitalism, you invest time and money in a product with the hopes of making it back. If musicians truly love music and making music then they'll try again, if they decide to just give up and move on to something else for their income, then they weren't really musicians anyway. As a writer, I find that statement to ring very true. I've only had a few poems published and I've never made any money, and most likely I never will, but that doesn't mean I just stop writing. I still write and post it up to the internet, because it's cheap, easy, and I'm primarily writing because I love to write and share what I write, not because it's a good way to get a paycheck. I should hope musicians feel the same way about music.

    whew, man, I need to start shortening my posts.

     

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  41.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All I can say is that you are confusing the rise and fall of technologies (from the vinyl record to the cassette to the CD to the digital medium) with the public's desires.

    Pre 1930s or so, recording were very expensive to buy, fragile, and basically the reserve of rich people. The 1940s and 50s were a key time in the music industry, as vinyl records came around that allowed the mass production of discs, and the prices of the players and the discs themselves dropped down to levels people could afford.

    Right now if you want to make music, you can make music. No one is stopping you. There are no middle-men/gate-keepers keeping you from having access to the world. If you want to make music for music's sake, you're living in a golden era.

    it is a golden era with no gold, no simple way for an artist to support themselves as an artist. Instead, they must be other things, like a t-shirt hawker or a professional mini-putt player to make end meet. That isn't golden, that is just sad.

     

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  42.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:03am

    "Perhaps Mike is nothing more than shill for the t-shirt printing industry."

    I hope not, if so then they are out of T-shirts as well.

     

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  43.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Re:

    All the classical composers that worked under patronage were not musicians - they were servant houseboys with a little amateur music on the side.

    There's my contribution to the dumb idea thread. Great idea Sam.

     

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  44.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Pre 1930s or so, recording were very expensive to buy, fragile, and basically the reserve of rich people. The 1940s and 50s were a key time in the music industry, as vinyl records came around that allowed the mass production of discs"

    And the vast majority of musicians during that time made money by "begging" to play live.

    "it is a golden era with no gold"

    Wait, you said you wanted music to be about the music. That's the here and now. Anyone who wants to create music can create it and the world has access to hear it.

    But now you're telling me you want music as a means to get rich. What exactly is your point?

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    bob, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:09am

    To Bad

    But that Mannequin Men album was at best only mediocre.
    Thank god it leaked out on the web.

     

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  46.  
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    Luci, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:10am

    Re:

    Pointless trolling will get you nowhere.

     

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  47.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:10am

    Re: RtB

    +1

    "It is like releasing a new video game on 5 1/4" floppy discs and then complaining at the low volume of sales ... i imagine 95% of the population does not even has the hardware to read that type of disc anymore. People just don't want to buy them."

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Vincent van Gogh didn't really make any money while he was alive, which, by some standards, would make him worthless. But we don't think of Vincent van Gogh as worthless or lazy (because he made no money) we think of him as an artist because he made art. Art that sells for a shitload of money, today.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    The internet in 2010 is nothing like Montana in 1885.

     

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  50.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: RtB

    "The media used for the sale isn't relevant,"

    It is when the recording industry is myopically focused on selling disks. And when that recording industry has far too much influence on the music industry. And way far too much influence on laws and government, when they should have pretty much none.

    That's an industry that has fought digital music every step of the way. They have shut down sharing sites, MP3.com, streaming radio sites, sites that tried to play fair with them, they have sued their customers - all in the hopes of driving them back to a bygone era of plastic disk sales.

    Reluctantly dragged into the next century, they overprice their digital versions, they encumber them with onerous DRM schemes that mean you are really renting, not buying the music.

    Yeah, I'd say the media used IS relevant, because THEY make it very relevant. It probably shouldn't be relevant, but as long as they are trying to legislate, goad, guilt, and coax the world back to plastic, it is relevant.

     

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  51.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:21am

    New Biz Model CMC+Lu = Jack

    This was a good case study. We learned the business model of:

    CMC + Lu = Jack
    Create Mediocre content + Lurk on sharing sites = Jack

    I'm sure very few are surprised.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anon, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    RI is 1% the size of Montana with a larger population, do we really consider Montana to be settled? Maybe a very small portion of it.

    I would say that is not doing a whole lot for your argument.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have never known a single cobbler to:

    1) Make millions.
    2) Get paid every time the shoe was worn.
    3) Object if you took his shoes apart and started making your own shoes
    4) Get upset because someone else has figured out how to make shoes more cheaply
    5) Lobby Congress to restrict the rights of other shoe makers.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re:

    "I asked my boss to hire me. A musician might ask to be paid for his work from his fans. If you consider those requests to be begging, that's your right, I guess. But it's ludicrous."

    So... if he didn't hire you you would then be obligated to still sho wup and work for free? Right?

     

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  55.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re: RtB

    It is when the recording industry is myopically focused on selling disks.

    Again, I think you are wrong here. I think the music (and movie) industries are looking at all possiblities, but are focusing on the sales mediums that are actually making money.

    The digital realm is nice, but it is still a very small part of actual dollar sales, although increasing. However, online is a huge part of the "problem" of piracy, which is what came before any online sales.

    I don't think they are myopic at all, I just think they are smart enough not to stop selling discs and losing 80% of their income just to satisfy the online early adopters.

     

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  56.  
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    SureW (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    no simple way for an artist to support themselves as an artist

    Oh, they need a simple way. When did anyone get an entitlement to simply making money doing whatever they wanted (musician, painters, horse manure shoveler)?

    Aside from that point, when was it ever simple for most artists to make money and support themselves with music? Haven't artists always had day jobs? Isn't the struggling, starving artist an archetype?

     

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  57.  
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    SureW (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RtB

    Again, I think you are wrong here. I think the music (and movie) industries are looking at all possiblities, but are focusing on the sales mediums that are actually making money.


    I would agree with the above sentance if you change "are actually making money" to "were actually making money."

     

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  58.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:35am

    Re: RtB

    It is like releasing a new video game on 5 1/4" floppy discs and then complaining at the low volume of sales ... i imagine 95% of the population does not even has the hardware to read that type of disc anymore. People just don't want to buy them.

    Amusing, but not entirely relevant. Almost everyone owns a CD player (I suspect the computer you are using has a device that would do the job nicely) and almost every car has one.

    Your computer can easily convert your CD to MP3 files at whatever level you want them (from compressed to hell to full quality). You can pick and choose the songs you like, don't like, and all that stuff.

    Now, if you were selling music on 8 track tapes, you might have a problem. But a CD doesn't compare to a 20 year old out of date computer disc format, does it?

     

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  59.  
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    LumpyDog (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    Ha. That's just plain snobbery.

    How you make money doesn't define who you are (or if it does, I feel sorry for you). Think of all the artists we always hear of who weren't successful until after they died. Do we still refer to them as carpenters, or mechanics, or whatever they did to make ends meet? No.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    :), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:42am

    Lets make music.

    I think we should do some music for the industry anyone has a requiem in the public domain that we could remix?

    Here anybody interested should download "hydrogen" and start playing with it. See the video below for what it can do.
    Showing The Power Of Hydrogen!!

    Have fun people.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    It's not that it's impossible. It's that the only way to do it is to strip away freedom of expression, right to privacy and do away with true property rights in favor of ip.

     

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  62.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, but if I built something and tried to sell it to someone and they turned it down, that doesn't mean I still get paid. It means I made an investment and it didn't pan out for whatever reason.

    If a musician makes music and records it and no one likes it (or is otherwise not willing to meet his price point), it's not the system that failed him, it's he that has failed the system.

    That is how it works. Not everyone that *wants* to be a musician *can* be a musician.

     

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  63.  
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    Sam I Am, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    " it's not the system that failed him, it's he that has failed the system. "

    That's true enough as long as people leave the good alone and don't make surreptitious unlawful copies so they can have the product but avoid his proper payment. The use of technology and secrecy to facilitate the illegal uncoupling of the quid pro quo between possession and price is where the customer fails their obligations to the barter, belying the definition of "customer" and cheating both the musician AND the system.

    And if you think that interpretation is farfetched you'll have Internet 3.0 waiting for your enjoyment soon enough. :-)

     

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  64.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: RtB

    Your computer can easily convert your CD to MP3 files at whatever level you want them

    My scanner can easily scan a book to pdf format for my ebook reader. The point is that my only disc player is my computer that came with my laptop and it hasn't been powered up in a year. I see no reason to give me an extra step to the process. When everyone buys tomatoes and chops them up what do you do? You sell chopped tomatoes. It's not rocket science.

    The disc is dead. So, now they have no physical good to sell, and it's a though pill to swallow paying a dollar to teach my computer to arrange 1's and 0's so my media player can synthesize music. They hate it, but we don't care.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    Yes, If You Don't Do Anything, You Shouldn't Expect Artists To Just Give You Music

     

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  66.  
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    Mister Blue (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re:

    Nice comment There are always multiple perceptions of both fair and honest. Sam I Am sounds like a music industry (label) gentleman. I picture a dinosaur, or a fish flopping, gasping for air. Just like what I envision goes on in the minds of the talking heads at Faux News.

     

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  67.  
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    hegemon13, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Huh? Since when is the artist obligated to continue making music? Your analogy makes no sense at all.

     

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  68.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    Ah BT released a new album eh?
    I shall have to check it out. Not an artist I keep up on regularly, but I do enjoy most of his music.
    Now I have to give it a listen later.
    Thanks Paul! =)

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Re:

    I did do something. I copied it.

     

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  70.  
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    keith (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: RtB

    Exactly Joe.

    The disc is dying. Yes, my computer has a DVD drive - but for how long will that remain relevant? 5 years? 10 years? I have 32GB USB flash drives that can handle much more abuse than a CD/DVD, (multiple trips through the washer and dryer have proven it....), can be used much more easily than a DVD (faster read/write), and are generally more useful (portable HD, live boot OS, etc) ....

    So what happens when those flash drives are 1TB? 10TB's? When the CD/DVD is replaced? They will be -- think back to the year 2000 - 3 1/2 floppy drives were still standard in some machines. What happens 10 years from now? When laptops are built w/ wireless networking cards and USB/Bluetooth only? (oh wait.....)

    The problem with the Music/Movie Distribution business is that there will no longer be a need to go buy the latest physical medium to play a recording. That business model just no longer works. The distribution network has already been put in place - now they are just scrambling to keep the old revenue stream alive. I don't blame them, I wouldn't want to give up easy money either - I just don't think it is sustainable.

     

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  71.  
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    Joe Perry (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, if I wasn't hired I wouldn't be obligated to show up anyway but if I did show up and start working without being hired the boss of the place wouldn't be obligated to pay me, either. Just because someone makes music doesn't mean they deserve to be paid, if they make music and no one likes or buys it that's a risk they shoulda known about. Even if they didn't I have no pity for them, at least they learned about risk vs. reward.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:51pm

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

    As a very successful starving artist I have to say that horse manure shovelers don't have an entitlement complex because they know better.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re:

    You listened for free? That's stealing!

     

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  74.  
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    Emo the Libertarian (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Re:

    didnt sell because the music suxed... the market spoke they lost.. hmmm how is this hard?

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RtB

    The era of the shiny plastic disc is over. Deal with it.

     

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  76.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    I'll keep posting examples.

    I was the one who posted the link to this and I'll continue to do so. Most musicians get into music to make music. That probably isn't going to be lucrative for them. So I'll trying offer realistic expectations. Music in and of itself isn't lucrative for most. Mike keeps making that point himself, over and over. Music is no longer a reason to buy for most people.

    Are musicians disappointed because they haven't found something to sell? That's my point. Find a job that pays well, and then use that income to support your music.

    Whenever you are doing something other than performing music, you are starting to get into side businesses. So therefore, look at ALL career possibilities for income.

    Be a doctor who plays music, for example. Health services is a reason to buy.

    Be a plumber who plays music. Plumbing is a reason to buy.

    How about selling tamales at your shows? Food is a reason to buy.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re:

    We've got to tame all these savages! By killing them and forcing them onto reservations!

    Problem solved!

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    In some countries it's not illegal to make copies. Levies are paid.

    IP has failed the public for the past 40 years.

     

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  79.  
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    Emo the Libertarian (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    Re:

    Except thats not the laws they wish to pass... the laws the Record Labels want: Pay if you take, pay if you dont take, pay if you think about a bar played in our song, hell just give us you wallet we will take what we think is fair and not bother to make any music you like anyway.

     

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  80.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 2:08pm

    Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    In fact, here's my recommendation for musicians looking for publicity. Whenever you do anything for money, hand out a CD, and then use this as an example of CwF + RtB. Then write it up as a case study and publicize your success here and elsewhere.

    If you tie all of your income-generating activities to music, you can use it as an example of your savvy music marketing skills, which will then make you an example for others.

    Here's an example. If you are dogsitting, hand out CDs. This will show that you have connected to fans and the dogsitting services are your "reason to buy." It will make a clever story about creative ways to make a living in music.

    I

     

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  81.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Suzanne,

    You are not giving very good reasons to buy in your examples, you are just being silly. I see from your blog roll that you are a fan of Seth Godin. Or, maybe not that much of a fan, because it seems you have not read his book Tribes, which pretty much says CwF+RtB. Here is more of Seth;s view of the music industry: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/02/music-vs-the-music-industry.html So, tell me you really are a fan of Seth but think Tribes was a terrible book.

     

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  82.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    I didn't put that blog roll together. That was done by John Loken, of Brands Plus Music. He's the one who started the blog, though I have become its primary contributor.

    As for Tribes, actually, I don't see that as the future. Here's my response to the concept.

    The People Formerly Known as Fans

    If you have been following my comments on Techdirt, you'll see I'm suggesting a more revolutionary idea than Mike does. He talks about a model where people will give away free music, and then build a core group of fans which supply income.

    I envision a world where creativity will become so widespread and diffuse that everyone will be a creator and if there are tribes, they will be quite small.

    I think current idea of a lot of DIY artists with their fans is really just the major label model on a smaller scale. I say we push it out even further so that there are no "fans" as such.

     

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  83.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    I've felt that the CwF + RtB has been so vague on specifics that it isn't really all that helpful.

    But this thread has given me an idea for a new mantra. "It's not my day job. It's my 'Reason to Buy.'"

    Imagine this story opener. "I wanted to come up with some interesting packages for fans to buy, so I offered several at different price points. One fan took me up on a year's worth of bartending services for $35,000 a year."

    Or this:

    "I was looking for a variety of fan packages. One was to buy my car for $20,000 and I found a taker. I'm proof that CwF + RtB works."

     

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  84.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is sad to think that all of music will no longer be about making music, but about begging for cash and trying to sell trinkets. I value the music way more than I value the trinkets or another series of beggers trying to wash my virtual windows with a dirty squeegee.

    Everyone who sells things has to learn to be a salesman. Any good salesman will tell you that before you can sell anything you have first to sell yourself. A beggar also sells himself so your distinction is not valid.

    Here are some other activities that also survive on what you disparage as begging:

    1) A large proportion of all scientific research - including

     

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  85.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It is sad to think that all of music will no longer be about making music, but about begging for cash and trying to sell trinkets. I value the music way more than I value the trinkets or another series of beggers trying to wash my virtual windows with a dirty squeegee.

    Everyone who sells things has to learn to be a salesman. Any good salesman will tell you that before you can sell anything you have first to sell yourself. A beggar also sells himself so your distinction is specious.

    Here are some other activities that also survive on what you disparage as begging: (AKA bidding for funding)

    1) A large proportion of all scientific research - including
    Large Hadron Collider
    A large proportion of cancer and Heart research.

    2) Relief charities - do you also think it would be demeaning to work for Oxfam.

    Plus some musicians seem quite happy with begging...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeRF9ijwZLM

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re:

    On a major label contract 1000 CDs would have netted the band.... about $400...

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 4:00pm

    Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    Basically every person who gets paid for anything has come up with a "reason to buy" even if it hasn't been articulated.

    So what more musicians need to do is to look at everything they get paid to do (whether directly related to music or not), reframe their PR to suggest that they are part of the new music business model, and they should be able to get coverage in the overall discussion.

    I've played spoiler by suggesting that most people will need day jobs for income, but I could just as easily say (and am saying now) that every person who makes music and gets paid by someone for something is embodying the CwF + RtB ethic. All transactions involve "reasons to buy."

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    All transactions involve "reasons to buy."

    Except the ones that involve gov't mandated licensing.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    Except the ones that involve gov't mandated licensing.

    I don't get into that part of the discussion. I accept that free music is the norm these days.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    I don't get into that part of the discussion. I accept that free music is the norm these days.


    That's a rather big part of the discussion, isn't it? The whole reason that we put forth the whole RtB concept is because so many are screaming for mandated licensing.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    That's a rather big part of the discussion, isn't it? The whole reason that we put forth the whole RtB concept is because so many are screaming for mandated licensing.

    That's your reason for many of the Techdirt topics. And I don't get into those discussions because it's not my crusade, for or against. And I also don't say too much about major labels other than I understand why some artists and managers still want to do those deals. My primary view is that the major label system is history and I'm not really interested in what they did wrong.

    What does interest me is the fact that there are far more people wanting to make music than there are fans to support them. So I try to interject some realistic expectations into the discussion. There has been a bias that if you don't get signed to a major label or if you aren't doing music full-time, somehow you aren't successful. Even the 1000 fans discussion (which I know does work for some artists) still focuses the discussion on art as an income-generating proposition.

    I would rather frame the discussion this way: If your goal is to make art, what lifestyle can you adopt that gives you the most freedom (financial and time-wise) to make art? For many musicians, whatever day job they have may be a better way to allow them to do music than to look for direct and indirect ways to monetize music.

    I am also joining the chorus of those saying that the division between "amateur" and "professional" creates a false elitism.

    So, overall, what I am trying to do is to move the music industry beyond the focus of what it can sell. Music is something most people do because they want to do it. Sex, too, is something some people can sell successfully. But most of us are happy to do it to such an extent that we don't charge for it.

     

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    The Mighty Buzzard, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's the way it started. Is there any reason to think that this relatively shortlived change to selling music as a product isn't the abberation?

     

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    Ex local music promoter geek, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RtB :- for The Anti-Mike

    However, online is a huge part of the "problem" of piracy, which is what came before any online sales.

    IMHO it seems that what's missing is acceptance of the actual situation. People are illegally sharing music and have been doing so on a massive scale for more than 10 years.

    You have 2 choices. Demand that hundreds of millions of people stop doing it or accept it and find a way to move on. Making the first choice hasn't proven very fruitful so far.

    And the end result appears to be that musicians and the music industry will need to find new ways to make money. For the sake of argument let's consider it sad, detrimental, horrendous, painful and totally unfair.

    So what are you going to do about it? Not find new ways to make money? All of your arguing with Mike (however eloquent and intelligent) is not constructive.

     

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  94.  
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    Henry Emrich, Feb 2nd, 2010 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I *never* said that they don't claim to be "free marketers".

    If you read what I actually said, I was AGREEING with you.

    ""A lot of pro-copyright people think they are free marketers, when they just aren't."

    "No they don't.
    In the vast majority of cases, the term "free market" is nothing but a convenient buzzword/cover-up for the *real* agenda --- total corporate hegemony, enforced by their cronies in Government.
    For-profit Corporations (by far the most prevalent and powerful businesses out there right now) are explicitly created by the State, and involve the State granting some really extensive boons and "safety nets" to those utilizing such a business-form: limited liability, legal "personhood" (up to and including the ability to essentially "buy" elections with no restraint whatsoever, thanks to the recent Supreme court decision regarding "citizen's united").

    "Corporate pond-slime and their apologists wouldn't recognize anything even vaguely resembling a "free" market if it bit them on their cost-externalizing, too-big-to-fail asses."

    They don't "think" they're advocates of a Free-market, any more than folks who are in favor of corporate "personhood" think they're advocating a "free" market.

    They want *us* to believe they support a "free market" -- that's the difference.

    State-granted privileges like cost-externalization, limited liability, copyright and patent monopolies, etc. are anything *but* a "free" market -- and apologists for such things understand that full well.

    That's why they get so pissy and hostile when people actually call them out on it: I mean, god forbid that anybody admit that copyright even *is* a monopoly privilege, or that patents really *are* about preventing market-competition!

    Hell, if we admit that *those* kinds of interference with "the market" are sometimes useful, Republican/corporate gas-bags would have to admit that maybe OTHER kinds of interferences (minimum wages, safety laws, environmental regs, etc.) might have some uses.

    But then they couldn't continue using their favorite buzzwords, etc.

    More to the point: I've debated "Sam I Am" on other boards, too. Have a look over on p2pnet, and you'll see some of our fun li'l discussions. I've derailed his idiocy too many times for it to even be interesting anymore, so don't even TRY to claim that I'm on *their* side.

    They use "Free market" as a code-word to obscure the fact that they're REALLY in favor of the State micromanaging socio-economic affairs for *their* maximum profitability. That's what corporate pond-scum DO.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 1:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    I'd double-check that 'fact that there are far more people wanting to make music than there are fans to support them'.

    Let's imagine a desert island of a hundred shipwrecked lute players (each of whom loves lute music).

    Each lutist may have as many as 99 fans.

    So, that could be an island with 100 lutists and a total fan count of 9900.

    On an island with a million lutists, there could be a total fan count of 999,999,000,000.

    So, don't forget that one person can be a fan of many artists.

    I think you'll find that however many good musicians there on this planet, they won't have a shortage of fans.

    The ones with a shortage of fans are bad musicians.

     

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    Burgos, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 8:46am

    Re:

    But when you take their product intended for sale using stealth and technology not to pay them, that's not only illegal, it's not very classy either. And that's what the upcoming laws will address. Pass if you wish. Pay if you take. Accountability to our choices both offline and on.

    A fair and balanced marketplace.

    A fair and balanced marketplace allows the customer to return unsatisfactory goods. In many places, it is even illegal for sellers to have "no return no exchange" policies.

    Now tell us, where you're from when a person buys a CD and ends up not liking most of the songs in it, can she simply return the CD to the record bar and get her money back? If no, then your place, like many other places, does not have a fair and balanced marketplace where music-related products are concerned.

    Again tell us, if a person goes to the theater to see a film and ends up not liking it, can he simply ask for his money back?

    File sharing actually provides the fairness and balance in the IP marketplace, where a customer can sample a product and then decide if the product is worth spending for.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    So, don't forget that one person can be a fan of many artists.

    People can be fans of multiple artists. But most people have a limited amount of disposable income. So they aren't going to pay to support all the artists/bands that they like.

    I've been following consumer spending as closely as I can. I haven't yet tried to work out a formula to compare how much people are spending on music to how many bands can be supported based on that money, but given that many people are cutting back on entertainment spending, I don't see the amount of money available expanding any time soon.

    The money that once went to buying albums is now going into other entertainment options like cable TV, video games, etc.

     

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    Burgos, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Be a doctor who plays music, for example. Health services is a reason to buy.

    Be a plumber who plays music. Plumbing is a reason to buy.

    You've left out the most obvious example:
    Be a session musician. Prowess with a musical instrument is a reason to buy.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:27am

    Here's another resource

    In another Techdirt post, and elsewhere on the Internet, there have been discussions about how few artists/bands are selling significant numbers of CDs.

    Someone have countered that those figures come from Soundscan, which doesn't track all music sales.

    Here's some data which might offer some perspective. It's charting numbers of views per YouTube video. Since it is pretty representative of video viewing of user-generated content, it might be comparable to interest in user-generated music.

    http://www.techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/image4.png

    Only 2.69% of videos get between 10K-100K views.
    1.73% of videos get between 100K-500K views.
    Only .33% of videos get more than 1 million views (I wonder if that was meant to be > than 500K views.)

    At any rate, I know an artist who is in those top categories. Some of her videos have generated in the 200K-300K range. Collectively her videos have been viewed over 2 million times.

    So she has a following though I'm not certain to what extent those online viewers can be turned into paying fans. She hasn't yet made enough money to be touring constantly, so it's mostly local shows combined with some mini-tours.

    According to what is publicly viewable on YouTube, her top demographic groups are:

    Female 13-17
    Male 35-44
    Male 45-54

    Since I am not involved with her professionally, I just watch to see how it evolves, but I have wondered whether the online fandom will turn into something lucrative for her. We've seen MySpace "stars" who aren't able to turn that into much. The fact that you pay attention online doesn't necessarily mean you'll turn into a paying fan.

    My point: relatively few video creators get their videos viewed (similar the case with music). Even among those who do develop fans of their free material, turning that into actual income can be difficult. In the case of YouTube, there is advertising money for YouTube partners, though it's a relatively small amount. In most cases not enough to live on.

    So when I talk careers in music, I point out that there's music and then there is marketing. If you don't want to bother with the marketing or don't have someone else who can do it for you, go for the day job that is the most lucrative and don't try to use music as your source of income.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    You've left out the most obvious example:
    Be a session musician. Prowess with a musical instrument is a reason to buy.


    I left out a lot of examples.

    Here's something I have posted before, but lays out some options. Making your money directly from music (getting paid to play in some fashion, including being a session musician, or selling your recorded music) would fall under category one.

    No degree of separation: Sell your music.
    One degree of separation: Sell stuff related to your music.
    Two degrees of separation: Use your existing music to sell other people's stuff (e.g. have your music in commercials).
    Three degrees of separation: Write music specifically to sell other people's stuff (e.g. write jingles and commissioned works).
    Four degrees of separation: Play music. Use your visibility as a musician as a way to promote your real profession (e.g., the singing plumber).
    Five degrees of separation: Play music. Don't mix it with any money-earning activity. Keep your hobby and your income generating activities totally separate.

    As for being a session musician, some of them are losing work, too, as more recording is done via computer-generated music. A lot of tools are coming out that allow people to do it all by themselves without having to hire anyone.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    I bet you'd put 'selling copies - CDs, etc.' under '0 degrees' rather than '1 degree'.

    Selling copies is of course 'selling stuff related to your music'.

    Similarly the printed score is not the composition, but a copy of it. Mozart would sell a composition for a bag of gold, but a printer would sell a copy of the score for a silver coin.

    Don't let the corruption of the language that conflates copy=music corrupt your thinking.

    Too many people think 'sell your music'='sell copies'.

    That linguistic conflation has been caused by copyright. Deprogram your brain of this insidious bug.

    The market for copies has ended. The market for music continues.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    People can be fans of multiple artists. But most people have a limited amount of disposable income. So they aren't going to pay to support all the artists/bands that they like.

    You know, markets have a funny way of figuring this stuff out. I'm not sure why you don't think they will.

    The money that once went to buying albums is now going into other entertainment options like cable TV, video games, etc.

    I agree that there's competition for entertainment dollars, but the actual numbers suggest consumers are actually spending more than ever to support their music habits.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    Ok, so let's qualify 'shortage of fans' into 'shortage of fans able to pay anything'.

    For such a situation you don't need a business model that can withstand file-sharing, you need to give up hope of ever making any money at all.

    However, I know there are some who feel a tax is thus the answer, to extract money from those fans through force. As in "If you enjoy our music, you must pay us money".

    Forcing money from people is the logical next step for the unscrupulous - once suspending people's liberty has run out of steam.

    The question is are you a publisher into extracting money from people via any means, or are you a musician willing to offer your music at whatever price a FREE MARKET will bear?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    I agree that there's competition for entertainment dollars, but the actual numbers suggest consumers are actually spending more than ever to support their music habits.

    I'm not sure we have seen that. That UK study indicated that money being spent on music was staying about the same, although being redistributed. And we weren't able to assess whether the lower tier of artists was benefitting, or whether the money was going to the top artists charging more for tickets.

    I looked at some historical data that suggested overall entertainment spending has remained about the same % of consumer income over the past 100 years. (a jump around 1970 and then back down again).

    100 Years of Consumer Spending

    At any rate, I've been following all the various Nielson and Gallup and other polls to see which way everything is going. My personal belief is that if more money will be spent on entertainment, it will come in the form of tools that allow consumers to make their own arts/entertainment.

    Technological advancements have eliminated many musicians who played at musicals.
    Technological advancements have eliminated many studio musicians.
    Technological advancements have eliminated many recording studios.
    Technological advancements have allowed bars to put in karaoke rather than live music.
    Technological advancements have allowed people with little or no musical training to make music.

    I think it would be great if more money goes out to support artists. But the trends I see are that there are more artists, so the pie has been divided up into smaller slices and will continue to go that way.

    There will always be music and there will always be musicians, so I'm not predicting any of that will go away. I'm going the other way and saying that people will continue to make music to such an extent that they will give it all away just to be part of the process.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    For such a situation you don't need a business model that can withstand file-sharing, you need to give up hope of ever making any money at all.

    You do realize, don't you, that is the theme of a number of "future of the world economy" discussions. A lot of people are struggling to pay for the necessities. Music will be there, but they may not have money to pay for it.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Too many people think 'sell your music'='sell copies'.

    That linguistic conflation has been caused by copyright. Deprogram your brain of this insidious bug.

    The market for copies has ended. The market for music continues.


    I checked your website and it doesn't appear that you make your living in music. If I'm wrong, then you can probably share your own experiences.

    What do you have in mind in terms of selling music? If you don't think copies count (which is all many people want), then what are you envisioning? Sure live music is an option, but people only have so much time and so much money to go to live shows. Plus bands are competing for those slots and are, in some cases, actually paying venue operators to be able to play.

    Some people do make their money teaching music or playing weddings and the like. The wedding business used to be better, but now having a DJ has replaced live music in many cases.

    So what scenarios am I missing by including all forms of music sales (live, recorded, lessons, session work, private events) in one category?

     

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    ReallyEvilCanine, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Paramore

    I only found Paramore because of the Safire "hooping" video which I luckily downloaded before the soundtrack was stripped for "© violation". You wouldn't think some wonky American band would be popular in Germany but when they played a free concert here last summer (sign up as a myspaz fan, make a top-8 'friend', print out page as ticket) the queue to get into the venue had more people than the place's capacity. At 1pm. For a concert that didn't start for another 7 hours.

    The kids were all wearing official/licensed merch, most had albums to be signed (by members of a band just as smart as King's X who spend HOURS with their fans after a concert), and the group was more than able to pay the rent with the takings that night.

    Here's the kicker: Only two of more than a dozen people I asked could name a single Paramore song other than Misery Business, and every single one of them had first heard of the band because of Safire's viral (and now ruined) video, a chick who did something interesting, gave credit, demanded nothing, and introduced an otherwise completely unknown band to the world because she did cool stuff with a hula hoop which, as it turns out, promoted the shows she does herself as a Hula-Hooping performer.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, I see, I am saying that they are examples of cognitive dissonance, where you are saying they are lying. That would put us in fairly close company, while we still disagree on their frame of mind.

    However, you can forgive me for interpreting you as disagreeing with me when you started with "No they don't".

    You and I could someday get on a debate about whether they are outright lying, or just fooling themselves. I really think it's the latter for most. The shills are the minority and the delusional are legion. For example, there are shills on screen @Faux news, and the delusional are those that tune in.

    Many, non-lying people will assure you that they are:
    -free-marketers (except when they're not)
    -anti-regulation (except when they're for some)
    -anti-government spending (except when it suits them).
    And they'll pass a lie-detector test as they tell it to you.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 1:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How to put a new spin on what people are already doing

    Did the government just steal a trillion dollars from the taxpayer while I wasn't looking?

    If audiences will be struggling so will artists. That means artists will be even more keen to get paid rather than give their work away.

    Either way, I really don't think disposable income has any bearing on business models. It might have a bearing on charity, but that's not a business model.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 2:06am

    Re: Re:

    Subscribe to his Twitter feed if you can for some entertainment. He seems to be experiencing orgasm over how well the album's selling...

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 2:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    "So what scenarios am I missing by including all forms of music sales (live, recorded, lessons, session work, private events) in one category?"


    Your breakdown of music sales into 'live, recorded, lessons, session work, private events' seems reasonable to me.

    My suspicion is that you believe selling recorded music involves selling copies. All the other forms of 'music sales' aren't affected by file-sharing. However, for recorded music the tradition has been for the artist to sell it to a label, and for the label to produce and sell monopoly protected copies. This particular business model (relying as it does on an unnatural 18th century privilege) has finally met its nemesis in the form of the public and its widespread use of digital communications technology.

    I don't make my living in music, but I was intending to make a living developing a p2p based massive multiplayer game - file-sharing, but of 3D scenery rather than music. So, I had two problems: a hostile legal environment and a need for a business model that didn't rely upon control over copying. I need a solution as much as any musician or movie maker.

    The public is now able to perform every function of the publisher, and without charge - except for one. That missing function is to pay the artist to publish their work so the public can have it, distribute it, consequently promote the artist, and build upon it.

    And so I've developed the Contingency Market: an online exchange that enables the members of an artist's audience interested in encouraging their further work to make thousands or millions of micro-contracts. So instead of contracting with a label, the artist contracts with their fans (their true customers). Thus a thousand fans can say "If you record a new single and publish it I will pay you $10". And no, I don't demand a cut of that - I get paid independently, on the same basis: those who want further enhancements of the system micro-contract with me to produce them.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    I don't equate recorded music with labels. Artists can make their own recorded music and sell directly to fans and many of my friends do exactly that. People buy those at shows, in part to have a souvenir from the show. They get it signed at the show by the artist.

    Many of my musician friends continue to sell recorded music rather than just give it away for free because it is a significant source of income for them. However, I am sure most of them are selling fewer copies now because some fans, who in the past would have bought CDs, now get copies for free from friends. Still most of their fans do like to get the physical copy. That's why CD release parties continue to be a big deal. Another trick some of them are using is to up the price of the CD release party ticket and then to give everyone who comes a free CD. But generally that means the cost of the show has increased by about $10 per person.

    All I try to do in these discussions is to give realistic expectations for musicians. As more enter the field, the pie tends to be sliced up thinner for each. I am seeing that all the time. Lots of great musicians, all playing on the same nights, dividing up their audiences who like all the bands, but can't go to all the shows.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    I highly doubt any of your musician friends sell recorded music directly to fans. They'll be selling copies of it.

    You can persist in conflating music=copy, but it will handicap your perception of the critical distinction (as it is evidently doing so).

    An author sells their novel to a book publisher. The publisher sells copies of it: books.

    An author could sell books (copies of their novel) directly to people who wanted to read it, but they wouldn't be selling their novel, they'd be selling copies.

    The author COULD try selling the novel to their fans (and this has been tried in the past - qv Stephen King & The Plant). And then those fans could read the manuscript, make their own PDF copies, or even print their own books (via Lulu say). Those fans could also sell copies too.

    However, when an author simply sells PDF copies of their novel online, they aren't selling their novel, they're selling copies of it.

    Similarly, when a musician sells CDs or MP3 downloads of their music via their website, they aren't selling their music, they're selling copies of it.

    You might think I'm splitting hairs, but you cannot understand the business of selling intellectual work until you recognise the difference between the work and a copy, between something that takes a human considerable time and effort, and something a computer can do in a microsecond.

    To sell copies you need a monopoly. There isn't one (any more).
    To sell music you don't need a monopoly.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    I highly doubt any of your musician friends sell recorded music directly to fans. They'll be selling copies of it.

    What are you talking about? Pretty much recording a performance IS making a copy. I suppose you could say that the master is the original, but if you aren't going to make duplicates of it, then why bother to record anything in the first place? Just play live and leave it at that.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    A studio performance and recording is labour intensive and highly skilled.

    Making a copy takes a microprocessor a fraction of a second.

    Try and recognise the difference.

    Writing a poem - difficult.
    Making a photocopy - easy.

    Sell the poem. Let people make their own copies for nothing.

    Sell the studio recording. Give copies away.

    Notice how just before the 'give copies away' bit there's a 'sell recording for money' bit? That's why you can give copies away, because you've sold the recording.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Sell the studio recording.

    To whom? That's what musicians have been doing for decades when they sign label deais and publishing deals.

    How do you sell the studio recording to fans? Are you saying that each musician should commission songs and sell them for, say, $10,000 per song, and the buyer can do what he wants with it and it is no longer the property of the songwriter?

    At one point you said 1000 fans should chip in $10 each to buy a song. So now they collectively own the song and the artist no longer does? In what form do they own the song? Do they each get a copy? Do they get to sit in at the studio for the recording (in which case, I'd say $10 per person is kind of low)?

    When you say fans purchase and "own" music, what exactly do you mean?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2010 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I see where you're coming from, but unfortunately for those in your school of thought, file sharing isn't going anywhere. People can try to fight it as long as they want, but from here on out, there are always going to be people ripping music and sharing it with people.

    Either adapt to the times and develop a new way of doing business, or don't. Sink or swim, it's your choice.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Yes, I have been trying to explain that the artist traditionally sold their studio recording to the label (in exchange for whatever the contract stipulated), and that this has been the case for decades. So, let's finally agree that the artist is familiar with the process of selling their recording.

    Like a label, the artist is also familiar with the process of selling copies of their recording, e.g. CDs via mail order.

    However, very few artists are familiar with the process of selling their recording to their fans.

    $10,000 is just an example. Obviously the actual amount depends on the artist, the size of their audience, and the number of fans interested in commissioning them to make a recording.

    But let's say the artist did accept $10,000 from 1,000 fans in exchange for a studio performance, a recording thereof, and the (copyleft) release of that recording to those fans.

    It becomes the property of all those fans (as well as the artist), and it becomes the property of whoever those fans distribute it to, whether for love or money, e.g. via public file-sharing networks.

    The artist gets paid $10,000
    The fans get a new studio recording of the artist that they wanted.
    Everyone keeps their liberty (no-one gets prosecuted for file-sharing, playing it in public, or remixing it, etc.)

    You may think $10,000 is too low. Sure, perhaps you have a thousand wealthy fans who can afford $100 each, or a million fans $1. The point is not the price, but the exchange of the recording with the fans for their money - and that it's nothing to do with the sale of copies, or any monopoly.

    And no, fans sitting in the studio would pretty much make it a live performance and ticketed event. The fans are only buying the recording, and this enables the artist to sell their work to a global fanbase, without the hassle of everyone having to fly to a large stadium somewhere.

    Once the deal has been done, the recording has to be delivered to the fans who commissioned it, e.g. FLAC files via BitTorrent, or even commemorative DVDs (for an additional amount). Those fans can then redistribute it as MP3s and/or remix it as they see fit.

    The copy is a means of communicating a music recording, but the copy is not the music, nor the recording.

    The music takes talent and is made by talented musicians, whose talent can obtain a high market value.

    The recording is not the music. It is a recording OF the music.

    The recording takes skill to get 'just right'. Recording engineers' skill can be highly valued.

    The copy is not the recording. It is a copy OF the recording.

    The copy takes zero skill to produce and takes a microsecond. There is no market for the skill or services of people who make digital copies - because everyone and their dog can make millions of them in double-quick time for next to nothing.

    So sell what takes talent and skill - the music and the recording of it. Then the copies are as free as nature makes them.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Well, that's nice in theory, but it seems that having 1000 fans chip in to collectively buy a song pretty much amounts to a donation since once the song is recorded it will likely be available to anyone.

    And I have absolutely no problem with fans donating to artists. You and Mike say it isn't charity or tipping, but the mentality is very similar. People are contributing money in support of an artist. If you want to say they now own the song (which seems to imply the songwriter doesn't anymore), so be it.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 3:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Suzanne,

    The fact that more people might benefit from a work than those who commission it does not define the payment to be a donation or the commissioned worker a charity.

    If IBM pays a team of programmers to fix a problem with the Linux kernel this isn't a donation. IBM gets the fix they want in exchange for the money the programmers want. The fact that there is no state granted monopoly covering Linux doesn't render this business transaction an act of charity.

    If umpteen thousand concert goers pay umpteen dollars for a ticket in exchange for a band's live performance, the fact that a recording of the performance is uploaded by the band to their website as a free download for the benefit of those who couldn't attend, does not negate the fact that the band's live performance was NOT a charity performance. Money was exchanged by those fans who attended for the performance. The fact that there's a free recording doesn't make the concert a charity event, nor does it mean that concert goers made a donation to a charity when they bought a ticket.

    Similarly, that a thousand fans pay an artist $10,000 for a studio recording, isn't transformed from 'business transaction' to 'charitable donation' simply because the recording is not constrained by the monopoly of copyright.

    As for ownership. If you sell someone your secret recipe for super-cookies this doesn't mean you have to erase it from your memory. Both you and the purchaser now own the recipe. Both of you can keep it secret or sell it on further. The same applies when you write a song or make a studio recording. You can destroy it (even try to forget it), or you can sell it. But selling it doesn't require you surrender it. You're selling the intellectual work to someone who wants it. The purchaser simply wants to have it - they don't want you to be deprived of it. If bread could be copied as easily and cheaply as words, people wouldn't require as a condition of purchase that the baker of the loaf must surrender or destroy their recipe, memory of it, and all existing copies of that loaf - instead of just providing a loaf to the purchaser. That sort of nastiness is only in the mind of the monopolist who wants to be the only one on the planet able to sell something.

    Commerce does not have to be destructive in order to be recognised as business instead of charity.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    The fact that more people might benefit from a work than those who commission it does not define the payment to be a donation or the commissioned worker a charity.

    We've already established that once song is recorded, it will be available for free everywhere. So what is the motivation of the fans who pay to "own" the song? In the end they are going to get what everyone else gets -- to hear the song. So if "owning" the song essentially means nothing, aren't they contributing money as a show of support?

    As for ownership. If you sell someone your secret recipe for super-cookies this doesn't mean you have to erase it from your memory. Both you and the purchaser now own the recipe. Both of you can keep it secret or sell it on further. The same applies when you write a song or make a studio recording.

    If multiple people buy a recipe, they are getting a "copy" of the recipe because it will be printed on a piece of paper, right? So if multiple people buy a song, they will get a "copy" of the song in the form of a recorded version.

    How does anyone "own" anything that is digital if it can be copied multiple times? Does the creator even own it, especially if he has sold it to fans. If everyone can copy it and give it away, does anyone own it?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Perhaps you can clarify this for me. If you are one of 1000 or 10000 people to chip in to buy a song from a musician, what value are you personally receiving other than feeling good about helping the musician? And if the primary value IS supporting the musician, isn't that the equivalent of sponsorship/patronage/donation?

    And let's say you walk past a street musician playing a song. You are the only person there and you drop in $5. Have you given a tip or paid for a performance?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 4:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Suzanne, it is only you who have said that "once a song is recorded, it will be available for free everywhere". I've never said that, and it's obviously false.

    Once a song is recorded it's entirely up to the producers whether they destroy the recording, keep it to themselves, sell it, or give it away. It's not suddenly free everywhere the moment it's been made (unless perhaps by 'recording' you mean 'recorded via live radio broadcast', but that's a strange definition of recording).

    Many fans believe that by attending a concert they are showing support - and they may well be, but this doesn't make it a charity. The band has to say something like "All proceeds are going to charity" or "Free entry".

    If you buy a recording you expect delivery (whether by radio, BitTorrent, or a memory stick, HDD, or DVD in the post), however the fact remains you are buying the recording - as a record label would have bought it. You are not buying a copy. Copies are things that record labels sell after they have paid for the recording.

    If you have a chair, and are a skilled carpenter able to copy it multiple times, that doesn't affect your ability to own the chair, nor does it affect anyone's ability to own a copy (or to make copies of their copy).

    It is only indoctrination by copyright that causes you difficulty in understanding ownership of intellectual work (whether in digital or material copies).

    If you stop thinking in terms of the 18th century privilege of copyright then you can understand the true nature of owning material and intellectual works.

    If I give you my recipe you own the recipe. It's immaterial that I also own it. People still have to get our permission if they want us to give it to them, or make and sell them a hundred copies of it.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Suzanne, the musician and the fans make a deal: "If you pay me $10,000 I'll record a new song". What the fans benefit from and receive is the studio performance of a new song and its recording. That's pretty valuable don't you think? Wouldn't you pay $10 to your favourite singer for them to record a new song? Why is it any different to pay a singer to sing in a recording studio than at a concert? Sure, the concert may have a better vibe through 'being there', but that doesn't mean the studio recording is going to be worthless.

    As for the street musician. It depends whether you make a deal with them. If you simply give them $5 because they look like they need it then that's a charitable donation. If you give them $5 because you feel cheered up by their music then that's a tip or reward. If you offer them $5 on condition they play a particular tune, then that would be payment for a performance. If you make a more relaxed deal by saying you'll give them $5 each day they're there playing and you happen to be passing by then that's patronage.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Suzanne, the musician and the fans make a deal: "If you pay me $10,000 I'll record a new song". What the fans benefit from and receive is the studio performance of a new song and its recording. That's pretty valuable don't you think? Wouldn't you pay $10 to your favourite singer for them to record a new song? Why is it any different to pay a singer to sing in a recording studio than at a concert? Sure, the concert may have a better vibe through 'being there', but that doesn't mean the studio recording is going to be worthless.

    But if I know there are going to be copies available even if I don't pay, what is my motivation?

    I've been saying that musicians will make music even if they don't get paid. You are suggesting that if their fans don't pay them to make music, they won't do it. But there are millions of musicians are doing music already for free so we know the financial incentive isn't the only reason they would make music. That's been my point all along. So many people make music for free that the economics of the situation aren't about payment.

    You and Mike are going round and round about getting rid of copyright as if it is standing in the way of music. But it isn't. Most musicians already own the copyrights and are free to do what they want. And many of them want to give away their music. So fans have an abundance of free music to choose from. If fans want to give money to musicians, I applaud that. But ownership really doesn't factor in because you don't have to pay to own the music. It's so freely available that it's a non-issue in most cases.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    What does owning a song mean?

    Here's where I don't follow your logic.

    As you rightly point out, if you have a record, you only have a copy. If you have a paper with lyrics, you only have a copy.

    The only people who "own" a song are those who hold the copyright. If you eliminate copyrights and their equivalents, no one owns a song. The minute it is conceived, it enters into the public domain. So there is nothing to buy. You can pay for a copy, or you can sponsor a song or a recording but you haven't bought the song because its ownership isn't for sale.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 3:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll keep posting examples.

    Your motivation is in the song being recorded.

    Copies are nothing to do with it - whoever sells them or gives them away. We are already in the age of free copies.

    I can make you a million copies, but this doesn't persuade a musician (who needs to pay the mortgage) to work for nothing.

    Of course there will be millions of artists publishing work for nothing - no-one's paying me for these comments I write - and I don't care how many free copies are made of them. If no-one wants me to write then obviously no-one will pay me to. However, for some very good writers, singers, artists, they have fans who are so keen for them to do more great work that they will pay them.

    You are so obsessed by copies and copyright you have been blinded to the talent and labour that goes into the production of a studio recording. The copy is not the music. The copy is not the recording.

    Copyright is redundant. The only sense in which it is 'in the way' is in blinding you to the art that copies are made from, and the fact that it's an unethical law that enables publishers to persecute the public for making their own free copies.

    Have you read the Techdirt story about Kevin Smith trying 'crowdfunding' of his next movie? Or did you not notice it because you are wearing 'Fans won't pay for a movie to be made if there will be free copies of it afterwards' Lainson sunglasses?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 3:47am

    Re: What does owning a song mean?

    Suzanne, could you quote me where I "rightly point out" those things? I think you'll find I didn't.

    You're talking about ownership being defined by copyright. Copyright is the privilege of a monopoly that excludes others from making copies. It's nothing to do with ownership of art. You could be said to be the current holder of the privilege, i.e. 'copyright holder'. However, copyright is still nothing to do with owning art.

    Even without copyright I can conceive of a poem and yet it hasn't entered the public domain. I haven't even set it down on paper. When I do write it down it is still my exclusive property, both the words as well as the ink and paper. In order for you to copy it you must either burgle my house and obtain it from me without my authorisation, or you will need to persuade me to give it to you, e.g. offer me money. Alternatively, at some point, possibly never, I may decide to give it away. I might even burn it instead. The public domain is simply 'works readily available to the public whether by dint of publicly accessible location or in wide circulation'. Some people use 'public domain' to mean 'works no longer covered by copyright', but that is a rather specialised meaning (not even recognised by copyright legislation).

    If you have redefined 'own' as 'hold the copyright to' or 'have a reproduction monopoly over' then you've changed the language and won't understand me when I use 'own' in the sense of owning a chair (that I don't have a reproduction monopoly over). Consequently for you there cannot be any 'ownership' in the copyright sense without copyright. So you've really caused yourself considerable brain damage. You're not going to understand 'ownership' in the natural sense until you deprogram yourself of copyright.

    Even without copyright, I own the poems I write. I also own the poems that other poets sell or give to me (the words and the paper). Just because there's no copyright, this doesn't mean you can burgle my house to obtain the poems I own without my permission.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: What does owning a song mean?

    You can't own a song any more than you can own a feeling. It doesn't have a physical form, so copyright is the manifestation of ownership. But there is no possession as such.

    So if I give you money to write a song and you perform it for me, I have seen you perform it, but I don't own it. If there is no copyright, you don't own it either because you've established that anyone can perform it.

    Imagine that you have a street performer doing a routine. Now imagine others doing exactly the same routine. Can anyone say they "own" the routine?

    I understand giving an artist money to make art. But if I don't have the physical object or some legal document saying I own the art, then the artist has not given me the performance to own. It's gone into the air unless a recording of the performance, a copy, has been made. But, as you point out, a copy is not ownership, so presumably no one owns that performance.

    What I am objecting to is your idea that if fans commission a song, they now own the song. How has that ownership been transferred to them and what does that mean?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: What does owning a song mean?

    I understand the concept of hiring an artist to create art. Give him a salary to make some art. You are hiring his services. If he makes physical objects, part of the agreement may or may not include owning the objects he products.

    With a song, you only get copies because once it leaves the artist's mouth, the only way to hear it again is for it to be recorded or sung again, either by the artist or someone else. So unless there something saying that someone owns a song (which is the definition of copyright), then no one owns the song because nothing has been transferred from one person to another other than a copy.

    How do you propose that ownership of a song be established?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: What does owning a song mean?

    Suzanne, an intellectual work can be owned by whoever can possess it, whether in their brains or in an MP3 player, e.g. I own the ideas in my head even though I haven't set them down on paper. You can't even take them from me by force.

    If an intellectual work is identifiable, discrete, fixed in a physical medium (outside the body), and someone can control access to it then it constitutes property, e.g. the poems in my notebook are my (intellectual) property as much as the notebook is my (material) property.

    You can refer to the 18th century privilege of copyright until you're blue in the face but it's not that which enables people to own the intellectual work they create or to exchange it as property.

    Copyright is simply a state granted monopoly that people can sell to publishers along with any original work they create so that the publishers can prosecute anyone who makes copies (or public performances) without their permission (including the creator).

    If I give you a poem then you own the poem as much as if I gave you a chair. You don't need a piece of paper to prove that you own either item. If you obtain either through burglary then I need evidence of that.

    I use a poem as an example to keep things simple, because a song can be lyrics, music, vocal performance, recording.

    If you attend a poet's public recital, then you own your memory of it (as far as you can recall it). If you record it then you own your recording of it (it is your property). If you transcribe the poem from your memory or your recording then you own the poem you have transcribed (it is your property). If the poet gives you a book of his poetry (or sells it to you) then you own the book and the poetry in it (it is your property).

    If you're lucky the poet may recite their poetry for free. Otherwise they may need payment - by those who want them to, possibly including yourself.

    Copyright is nothing to do with ownership. It's about suspending people's cultural liberty in order that producers of copies can have a monopoly on their manufacture. As we know, that monopoly is no longer effective at preventing copies - all it's good for is suing fundamentally innocent people. However, abolishing the 18th century privilege of copyright does not put an end to people's ability to own intellectual works or to exchange them as property.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What does owning a song mean?

    All recordings are copies, as you have pointed out. So it isn't ownership and if you have the recording, you haven't bought it.

    Copyright is another word for ownership. There is no need to enforce it, but it assigns ownership.

    You can give another name to ownership other than copyright, but it will function in the same manner if ownership implies something other than public domain. If there is any difference between owning a song and not owning a song, then call it what you will, but it functions the way copyright can function --to assign ownership so it distinguishes who can claim it and who cannot claim it.

    If I own a song and you do not, and I can determine if I can transfer ownership, it functions the say way a copyright functions.

    Copyright is a claim of ownership. That's all it needs to be.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    Here are the options

    You can pay for a copy of the song.
    You can pay for a performance of the song.
    You can pay to own the song (commonly known as a copyright).
    You can pay the artist a salary and he keeps his output.
    You can pay the artist a sponsorship or donation and he keeps his output.

    Now if you want to call ownership something other than copyright, that's fine by me. But assuming ownership means something other than unlimited copies for everyone, then it involves a transfer of something from one person to another person, company, or group of people.

    As far as I can tell, your concept fits into one of the above.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What does owning a song mean?

    Suzanne,

    You can't have it both ways.

    Either you persist in attempting to understand the nature of intellectual work in terms of 18th century privileges - and many lawyers and legal scholars can help you in this - some even willing to adopt your corruptions of ownership=copyright and monopoly=property.

    Or, you attempt to understand the nature of intellectual work as if copyright had never been granted. And very few people can help you in this because such an unpolluted cultural environment hasn't existed for over three centuries - though people are having to understand it, because it's what we're rapidly reverting to.

    I've tried to explain the latter to you, to help you understand, but you stubbornly cling on to the concept of copyright as if it were the handrail of a narrow cliff ledge path.

    Get back to me when you've realised that copyright has no future - either as a monopoly or as a way of understanding intellectual work, its production, ownership, treatment as property, and exchange (whether for love or money).

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What does owning a song mean?

    I don't care about copyright one way or the other.

    You are the one who talks about artists selling songs. Actual songs. So when you sell a song, what do you call that? How do you establish ownership? I don't care if you want to give this a new name other than copyright. If I own a song, what does that mean? If I sell it, what have I given away? Not a copy, right? The actual song. So what do you call the transfer of a song? How do you define "owning" a song?

    All I am trying to establish is what "owning" a song means. If I own a car, I have it in my possession and I get a title to the car.

    If I "own" a song, what do I have and how do I transfer it if I want to sell it? You keep talking about paying an artist to record a song and then saying the recording is just a copy.

    And you talk about an artist having a song in his head. But if no one else has heard it, then they haven't bought it.

    And you say that hearing a performance of a song isn't owning it either.

    So again, what does buying and selling songs involve if none of the above? You haven't given a workable definition because every example you give still involves hearing or owning a copy. If the songwriter writes it own on paper and gives it to me, it's still just a copy.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What does owning a song mean?

    I've said all along that fans can sponsor or donate to an artist and then the artist can be creative and do what he wants with the songs.

    For some reason, you've wanted to talk about the artist "selling" the actual songs, which means there has to be some sort of distinction between the owner of the song and everyone else. Traditionally this has been a copyright. That doesn't mean people automatically get sued if they make unauthorized copies. Everything I write is immediately covered by copyright, but since I haven't registered the copyright, my legal rights aren't quite as strong as if I had registered my writing with the US Copyright Office.

    At any rate, I think what you want to accomplish is already being done via sponsorships and donations. People don't need to own the art to support the artist. If you want to develop a system to transfer the ownership of songs to buyers and you want to avoid "copyrights" then call it something else. But you still need to have a way to explain how owning a song is different than making a copy of the song since you stress that there is a difference.

     

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    Vital Mezery, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:56am

    We do not sell almost nothing...

    We have already two albums on sales in cdbaby.com and other on line shops. We have two my space pages and we try to do everything that supposed to be doing to promote his music.
    The dilemma is: Almost everybody who hears the music says they like it, and then nobody almost ever want to spend even less then a dollar to download a song. I started supposing that I just lack talent.Even though I know that what i do is way more mature than the majority of indie music.
    Any advices?

     

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


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