Indie Artists Discuss Dealing With File Sharing

from the there-are-strategies dept

Unfortunately, I can't find who first sent this in, but the site Inieoma recently had an interesting multi-part "discussion" on how independent artists are dealing with the issue of "piracy." Some of the parts are quite interesting. Simon Indelicate has a bit of a bipolar post that does a fantastic job laying out the economic issues of music production and consumption. He notes that the technology has flipped scarcity and abundance on its head -- entirely separate from the file sharing issue. He is pessimistic about new business models working for most musicians (about the only point I disagree with him on), but thinks that the overall world is a better place with the internet and cheaper production of music. Quite a good read.

Then there's an interview of Dan Bull, known around these parts for his musically brilliant open letters to Lily Allen and Peter Mandelson. In the interview, he discusses his views on the music business and things like file sharing. He notes that he's mainly "against... enforcing backwards laws in order to cling onto an obsolete business model."

Next up, is an interview with Matt Stockman who is starting up a new record label, called Sharabang, which plans to give away its music for free to "open up other revenue streams."
No matter what industry you're in, to thrive you must firstly listen to your customers. For Sharabang Music it's about listening to music lovers, how music is now consumed and adapting to this to offer genuine choices. What we're actually doing by offering music fans a choice is trying to put the value back into recorded music by diversifying the product range and offering far more than can simply be sent over the internet.
The whole interview is interesting, as Sharabang is working hard to come up with interesting scarcities. One cool idea is that every concert of a band on the label will be filmed with audience participation encouraged. And there will also be limited edition t-shirts that are tied to a specific event or group, to encourage people to buy more and "wear them with pride." We keep hearing more and more about companies stepping up to help artists embrace new business models, so it's great to hear of one more that appears to understand the best way to face the modern era.

There are some other parts to the discussion as well -- some I agree with and others I disagree with, but overall there are some great viewpoints and thoughts on this general issue of how musicians can adapt to a changing world. Perhaps none of it's really all that different from what we usually discuss around here, but it's still great to see how different people are expressing their opinions on the issue.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    pipcork (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 4:13am

    nice work

    I am usually a passive reader, just wanted to say nice work. I am diggin this site more all the time. I agree with your music related articles more often than not. Keep it up.
    Cheers

     

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  2.  
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    Mirjam from Beatpick.com, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 4:39am

    I'm Mirjam Swart, working at Beatpick.com, a non stop music licensing organization (over 300 artists and over 5000 tracks) and want to say that in short we offer free music for non commercial projects as we think those are uses that cannot be prevented.

    People simply use the artists' music illegally and there's not a thing you can do about it. Therefore we think it is much better to try educating them by asking them to leave their name, email address and a project description. We are being very rigid and ban their email addresses when we suspect misuse of the music or we follow up asking for more info. We also send follow up emails after 15 days and 2 months from the original downloads asking for a feedback (users can embed a video or simply leave a link to a website). All videos with no proper credits are removed. Our artists have access to their personal artist account and they can see if someone left a feedback. The last point is that we also use many tools to track music and check for proper credits.
    This is how we deal with non commercial use of music and getting the approval of our artists in doing this (we communicate this in the contract and tell them to make them aware of this issue).

     

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  3.  
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    Bob Jonkman (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 4:41am

    more of the same...

    There's more of the same discussion on the Spark Exchange blog.

    Even for musicians knowledgeable about the nature of the Internet, knowing that their music will be shared, knowing that the Big Music labels are unlikely to make them mega-stars, even then some musicians are afraid to embrace new business models.

    --Bob

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:26am

    indie artists by nature have little issue with file sharing because they have nothing to lose from it. when they sign the record deal they really want they will probably sing a different tune at least about file sharing.

     

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  5.  
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    catullusrl, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:47am

    More nonsense from Masnick

    The first thing Dan Bull says is that he is not a full time musician. Another thing he says is that he does not play live.Is this really a good example of your new business models?

     

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  6.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    Re: More nonsense from Masnick

    The first thing Dan Bull says is that he is not a full time musician. Another thing he says is that he does not play live.Is this really a good example of your new business models?

    for real. the only way music ever gets made is by full time artists who tour and do nothing else.

    it's physically impossible to make music when you have a day job and are not actively touring because the act of playing live and not having a job is what activates the midichlorians that make music possible.

    clearly dan bull, mike masnick, and all of techdirt know nothing about how music gets made. thank god you stepped up and set things straight.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    Re: More nonsense from Masnick

    Musicians can only make money from the selling of 8-track cassette tapes.

    Everbody knows that this is the only way for music to properly flourish!

    The only way!

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Old way of doing business = easy. Release cd's to public, collect money. Maybe a bit of promotion if needed, but with radio and MTV (back when it played videos), a lot of the promotion was "set it and forget it".

    New way of doing business = very very hard. It's possible to make money, but you have to constantly reinvent, constantly market, constantly engage the fans. The artist doesn't get to record, tour for six months then go off onto a beach for the rest of the time collecting royalty checks. The record company doesn't get to sit back and rake in the money from plastic discs. There is no "simple" anymore.

    There's no sure thing. There's no one business model that will guarantee a growing rate of return that an investor craves. And this pisses people off. No more 9-5 job coming into your record company office and perusing the top 40 charts to see how your artists are doing, followed by a 3 hour martini lunch, followed by a couple hours on the phone making deals. That job is now obsolete. That person will now have to be an expert on marketing, social networks, technology, demographics, logistics, etc. etc. etc.

    Eventually the dust may settle into more clearly defined roles. Until then it's the wild wild west. Lots of people got very rich in that environment.

     

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  9.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re:

    Old way of doing business = easy. Release cd's to public, collect money. Maybe a bit of promotion if needed, but with radio and MTV (back when it played videos), a lot of the promotion was "set it and forget it".


    Not even close. The old way was very very hard. Because the only way to effective release CDs to the public was to sign with a major label, which limited your options and chances a LOT. Then you needed them to actually support you. It was a lottery system with a very small number of winners each year.

    New way of doing business = very very hard. It's possible to make money, but you have to constantly reinvent, constantly market, constantly engage the fans.

    Wrong. It's much, much, much easier than the old way. You ALWAYS had to constantly market yourself, but thanks to the internet that's now MUCH EASIER than in the past.

    The artist doesn't get to record, tour for six months then go off onto a beach for the rest of the time collecting royalty checks.

    Uh, under the old system, there were a very small number of artists who matched the above statement.

    Under the new system, more artists are making more music than ever before and more artists are making money for their music than ever before.

     

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  10.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    Simon Indelicate

    Probably the best take on the whole issue is the one by Simon Indelicate:
    http://www.indieoma.com/commentaries/johnny-others-piracy-and-pieces-of-eight

    "It may be that recorded music was a blip. It may be that recorded music is like whaling or airship building or the rare spice trade and is simply doomed by the blameless advance of technology. Perhaps the closest model for the future of recorded music is the sad, funding-dependent, workshop-running, pleading and dwindling subculture that still writes poetry while dreaming of the infamy of Byron."

    (Not to disagree, but I think he's at least ten years too late with this observation.)

     

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  11.  
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    Johnny Others (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:55pm

    Cheers

    Hello, just wanted to say thanks for the comments, I'm glad you enjoyed the feature and cheers to Mike Masnick for linking back to us. We'll be running a follow up of sorts next week. Johnny Editor - http://www.indieoma.com

     

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  12.  
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    Bob Jonkman (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 4:14pm

    Old way == easy, new way == hard. Or not.

    AC: Old way of doing business = easy

    MM: Not even close. The old way was very very hard.

    AC: New way of doing business = very very hard.

    MM: Wrong. It's much, much, much easier than the old way.

    I think the two of you are looking at it from opposite ends. Anonymous Coward writes from the PoV of the Record Industry Executive. Under the old model, the artist had a very, very hard time of making it, constantly at the whims of the Record Industry Executive, who had it very, very easy with an exclusive lock on distribution. But under the new model, the artist has it very, very easy, with a World Wide Content Distribution System and Marketing Engine at his fingertips, while the Record Industry Executive has it very, very hard trying understand all this new-fangled media stuff.

    --Bob.

     

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  13.  
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    Benjamin Wade Inman, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    Innovation

    It's very important for independent artists and their associated labels to be very innovative in their marketing in this day and age. Given the large amount of choices facing each music consumer nowadays, it's very important to create and implement an effective marketing strategy.

    Also, just because production costs are lower now doesn't mean that anyone will discover a new artist. Given the large amount of choices facing each music consumer nowadays, that's why it's very important to create and implement an effective marketing strategy. We wish the best to every indie artist and label striving to pioneer a new road!!

    Regards,

    Benjamin Wade Inman, Founder
    LAUNCHpad Music Group
    An Indie Music Marketing Firm
    Nashville, TN
    http://www.twitter.com/launchpadmg

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    seminar projects, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 7:11am

    seminar projects

    hey dude
    Great stuff! i got a lot of inspiration from this post
    it is very interesting ....
    i went through this page two times
    am learning for social work

    Thanks

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    mirradric, Mar 21st, 2010 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Old way == easy, new way == hard. Or not.

    Actually I think that AC = very very sarcastic

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Johnny Others, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:49am

    Indieoma Follow Up

    Hello,

    Follow up now on site as promised. Simon Indelicate Talks about the Digital Economy Bill: http://www.indieoma.com/commentaries/johnny-others-digital-rights-bill

    Hope you enjoy it.

    Cheers

    Johnny

     

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