Musicians Realizing They Don't Need Major Labels Anymore

from the hello,-kickstarter dept

Music reality TV has become a key feeding ground for the major labels lately. Shows like American Idol, the Voice, X Factor and the like seem to be where the labels have been picking up some of their bigger name stars lately -- allowing the shows to help build up an initial following and then picking off the stars with typical record label deals. Except... it appears that some of those musicians are realizing that they don't need the labels any more. Jordis Unga, a singer who has appeared on two reality TV shows (Rock Star: INXS and The Voice), has decided that she doesn't need to sign a label deal. While she didn't win on either show, she did build up quite a following, and she decided that for her debut album, she might as well just hit up Kickstarter, and ask for $33,000. Which she got. In less than a day. In the first day alone her project on Kickstarter raised over $50,000.

Now, perhaps some will complain that she is now beholden to her fans, but that seems a lot better than being beholden to a multinational conglomerate who claims all ownership and control of your work. Others, quite reasonably, will point out that she built up some of this following by being on two prime time network national TV shows. That's absolutely true. No one is saying that the trick to being a successful musician today is to just go on reality TV. But the point is that if you can build up a following -- in any way possible -- the need for a record label diminishes. And there are more and more and more ways to build up that audience today. If the labels aren't worried about these alternatives, they're not paying very much attention.


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  1.  
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    WysiWyg (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 3:24am

    Beholden huh?

    I always find the whole "beholden to your fans" "argument" quite odd. Isn't ALL forms of entertainment "beholden to their fans"?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 3:24am

    Reminds me of Orange Unsigned Act

     

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    The eejit (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 3:29am

    Re: Beholden huh?

    No, that would be sensible.

     

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    Torg (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 3:30am

    Re: Beholden huh?

    If that were actually true, The Last Airbender would never have been made.

     

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    Richard (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 3:41am

    Elephant

    Thes shows are the elephant in the room.

    They are the populist version of Kickstarter.

    They raise upfront revenue from fans via the pay-to-vote system.

    The format is entirely viable in a world without copyright!

     

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  6.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 3:48am

    "Beholden to your fans"

    So making material your fans actually want, rather than just making what some drivel that hits a focus group flowchart just right?

    A short story by TAC...
    Band X started out posting videos on the internet. Their big success was being featured on The Promo Bay, where they uploaded all of their videos and previous tracks. They got international exposure and used Kickstarter to raise money for their new album and to film a "behind the scenes" special for people who donated. Band X gets triple what they sought to raise on Kickstarter.
    Band X is still touring today, they lack the flash and polish and don't get the blanket radio coverage of "the big groups" and somehow are still selling out venues. They are making more than they ever would with a label, because the fee's for travel and promotion aren't being billed against any revenue they might earn in the future that have to be paid back. They stay within their means and manage to keep turning out music the fans buy. Even the weird rock opera project they worked on did ok, but was a real departure.

    Band X will never be called a success by "the business".
    They are making music they like, making money, and are living well. But because they don't have a big label pushing them they can't be a success.

    I think alot of bands would prefer being "beholden" to their fans, instead of beholden to a corporation who is more concerned about their bottom line instead of keeping the fans engaged. Corporations who just want to own the copyrights and make sure that the corporate coffers are filled.

    The dream of being a "Rock Star" where you stay in hotels, fly on your own plane around the globe, own 5 homes is long dead. Look at what happened to the big acts of yesterday. They had all of this grand "success" until the label found the new younger version of them and moved on. Then we see them living in homeless shelters and can't understand why a "rock star" is now penniless and destitute. They wrote songs that are still being used on TV and in Films... how is it they have nothing?

    Success is should not be measured in how many exotic cars you can buy, it should be measured in how happy you are and if the fans are still happy with you. Bands now can make money just by being a "top band" being paid with money that should have gone to some up and coming artists... but they aren't big enough to deserve a payment for the collection society.

    Music, it works alot like a ponzi scheme. The new artists have to toil long and hard to make it to the top, but it seems to come at the expense of the new acts that come after them who are trying to claw their way up to. And somewhere there are a bunch of executives in suits who will make the same if not more money no matter who the "top act" is.

     

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    drew (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 4:04am

    but, but...

    it won't scale / didn't work for me / only works because of previous exposure / yadda yadda yadda / give it away and pray

    Think that should give the usual trolls their prompts...

     

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    Planespotter (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 4:15am

    ... and after building a fanbase via music reality TV if she doesn't maintain her connection with her fans she may disappear.

    This story is actually a good one to keep a track on as it will be interesting to see where she is in 12 months time and what level of fan interaction she has maintained.

     

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    relghuar, May 14th, 2012 @ 4:22am

    ...not paying very much attention?

    Oh, I'd say they're paying very close attention, but if you look at megaupload, dajaz1 and others, what do they really have to be worried about? ;-)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 4:51am

    about time! unless, i suppose, they like being ripped off from arse to breakfast and paying others instead of actually keeping the money they make themselves

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    I would not be surprised to see the shows get pressure from the major labels to build a clause into the show contract requiring contestants to sign with record labels.

     

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    Planespotter (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 5:16am

    Re:

    From what I understand they normally sign a contract that retains them for the duration of the show, once the show finishes and if they haven't won then they are normally released from the contract, unless the contract covers a nationwide tour of finalists.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 5:23am

    Re:

    That's already the case for the winner, he/she/they get a contract at $big_label.

    If they were to put that clause in the show contract for all 'talent', then what would the incentive of winning the show be?

    And would the label include the less than talented talents that fall off at the beginning of the talent show?

    Could get costly for $big_label.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re:

    Or in some cases even the more 'popular' rejects

    *cough* Idols The Netherlands, where one year, they had the people who didn't make the auditions were put on a show on the field of a large football stadium at half time of a football match.

    Off key singing and showboating from the ex-contestants and whistling and booing from the audience. It was embarrassing to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIKkUTn1Wuc

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 5:38am

    Death to the R.I.A.A. Real Ignorant Asshats of America

     

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    Michael, May 14th, 2012 @ 5:51am

    All of those televised music talent contests represent by-the-numbers corporate mainstream drivel. They have absolutely nothing to do with great music and everything to do with trying to manufacture stars. I contest that a true music lover wouldn't even bother with such mainstream garbage. They're geared towards lemmings who will blindly eat up anything the corporates throw their way. I refuse to give them ratings, much less my money.

    The major labels are DESPERATE. All of the risk-taking, smart, talented artists are going independent. Sure, a great bunch of them don't sound as "professional" as some of the major label artists but they're catching up very quickly. The success of Kickstarter is going to send shockwaves across the industry, along with the other independent artists who are gaining traction on their own. The major labels are clinging tooth and claw to their antiquated 'intellectual property' and even that is fading away with the termination rights going into effect.

    Game over.

     

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  17.  
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    bordy (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Re:

    If you're taking about an "agreement to make an agreement" then it's already a pretty problematic idea, especially where material terms are vague, undisclosed, or disproportionately favoring the side with all the bargaining power. A court will not enforce a contract it determines to be unconscionable.

    Not that it won't find a way to rule that an unconscionable agreement is wholly acceptable. Surely the major record labels' contract attorneys have had some success convincing judges to endorse their clients' strong-arming of naive or legally ignorant artists.

     

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  18.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 6:05am

    Re: Beholden huh?

    Your fans probably don't use Hollywood Accounting(tm) **.


    ** patent pending.

     

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  19.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 6:07am

    Re: "Beholden to your fans"

    > Success is should not be measured in how many exotic cars
    > you can buy, it should be measured in how happy you are
    > and if the fans are still happy with you.


    Another objective measure is if people will still be playing your music, um, what is it now, 90 years after you die?

     

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    Michael, May 14th, 2012 @ 6:10am

    Re: Re: "Beholden to your fans"

    "Another objective measure is if people will still be playing your music, um, what is it now, 90 years after you die?"

    Something tells me that the trash currently filling the airwaves won't make it past one or two at the most.

     

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  21.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 6:18am

    Re:

    I saw something related to this on the news.
    Tony Lucca, the guy Christina Aguilera was kicking around on 'The Voice', was talking about how song selection for these shows was such a pain in the ass.
    That there are only so many songs in the pool for all the different reality shows to pull from, and much of the voting is people voting for the song as much as for the performer.

    The labels want them locked into contracts, but only clear a handful of "popular" songs to be allowed. These shows aren't so much about finding new talent, as they are about locking onto someone who fits a demographic and will earn them money like every other cookie cutter artist they have.

     

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  22.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Re: Re: "Beholden to your fans"

    Actually the artist shouldn't care at that point, they will be dead.
    Hopefully they will have taken the Warren Buffet model and paid for all the education for their offspring and then left them on their own, rather than expecting something that made money decades before will support their great great grandchildren.

     

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  23.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    Re: but, but...

    You forgot "begging".

     

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  24.  
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    Michael, May 14th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re:

    "The labels want them locked into contracts, but only clear a handful of "popular" songs to be allowed. These shows aren't so much about finding new talent, as they are about locking onto someone who fits a demographic and will earn them money like every other cookie cutter artist they have."

    Seeing as the talented artists don't want anything to do with the major labels, this is the method they employ --they don't have a choice. It's all about making a quick buck, not long-term investment. Right now the independent music scene is blossoming and it's only a matter of time before a new musical renaissance is ushered in, leaving the middle-man in the dust.

     

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  25.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problems is that the middle-men think they own the whole idea of someone performing music and getting paid. And they have alot of those old formats under complete lockdown.

    This is why they hate Kickstarter, The Promo Bay, and every other service that allows artists to skip the middle-men of old. With the lots and lots of hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute/second (someone will remember the most recent numbers) it is harder to use that for self promotion. Then add in the flawed ContentID system weighted to believe the middle-men would NEVER claim to own what they do not. Then the secret deals they have with some middle-men going above and beyond legal requirements and unable to be questioned or seen. They are using their influence and money to slowly try and corrupt the systems that are springing up to bypass the old ways.

    The internet is an amazing tool for the indies, as long as we can keep the old middle-men at bay. What once took a long time, special tools and deals, now can be done in seconds by anyone willing to grab for the brass ring.

    It would be nice to see someone disrupt the "reality" tv music show bubble by putting indies out there and giving them that extra exposure they might need. I would rather see a less than polished indie on a stage than some cookie cutter singing head.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "With the lots and lots of hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute/second (someone will remember the most recent numbers) it is harder to use that for self promotion."

    It's 60 hours of video uploaded per minute. Which is the figure that was released and current at the time, which was around the 20th of this past January.

     

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    DEE, May 14th, 2012 @ 6:56am

    Re: "Beholden to your fans"

    awesomness

     

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    Colin, May 14th, 2012 @ 6:56am

    Re: Beholden huh?

    Exactly what I came here to say.

     

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  29.  
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    Colin, May 14th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    Re: but, but...

    Isn't something about Pirate Bay contracts on the list now?

     

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  30.  
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    Torg (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re: but, but...

    That was just one idiot. It doesn't seem to have caught on.

     

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  31.  
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    Michael, May 14th, 2012 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All very valid points you brought up. As you said, the middle-men are looking at ways to weasel money out of user content on YouTube which they have absolutely no right doing. I heard that several people are taking up lawsuits against the ones who are going around trolling videos for ad revenue by falsely claiming ownership, i.e. copyfraud. Aren't these the same people who throw a tantrum about how their intellectual property is being stolen?

    As for other things such as Kickstarter and such, there really isn't anything they can do. Artists can now receive direct funding by the fans, promote themselves and do it all without the greedy mafia cartel sucking them dry. The labels' fortunes were amassed by sitting back and reaping the profits of others, doing none of the hard work themselves. Their days of rooking artists of both their work and rightful profits are coming to an abrupt end; the writing is on the wall.

    Let 'em keep manufacturing their artificial 'sensations.' you know, those flavor-of-the-month, cookie-cutter, corporate-molded celebrities. They're building a house on sand and the storm is approaching ...and there isn't a single thing they can do about it.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 7:24am

    It would be so sweet to see someone win American Idol and be offered a contract and say, "No thanks."

    Er, I should say, hear about someone willing American Idol. I'd never actually watch that crap!

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Today's xkcd.

     

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  34.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    dajaz1 arguably helped them make money, they had no problem shutting it down by lying. They got to demand something go away and it was held up as being all legal. They are trying to hide how much control they had over it and its not working.

    Copyfraud happens so very much, because the system is weighted towards the large copyright holders always being right and innocent, and anyone else is a thieving pirate stealing from them. I am willing to bet any cases that make it off the ground will just be tied up in court until the person who was wronged is out of cash or gives up.

    They are spending money to buy laws and "trade agreements" to get control over anything they think is a threat, do not think they are going softly into that dark night. They are willing to pay someone off with a cushy job to slip things into legislation, a spokesman openly talks about buying off lawmakers, and they are still not being investigated.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thank you. I knew it was a massive amount but didn't remember exact numbers.

     

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  36.  
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    Michael, May 14th, 2012 @ 8:06am

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

    I understand about the corporate powers not going away quietly and all of their shady practices, but the thing is that people are constantly outsmarting them, bypassing their crooked business models and creating their own. Because the people realize that they're unnecessary. We're seeing the people create their own media and their own culture, reaping the benefits and keep all the rights to their own work. The genie is out of the bottle and they cannot put it back.

     

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  37.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 8:32am

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

    My fear is that they "cyberwar" narrative will end up creating a walled garden interwebs, where only content they approve is allowed. The internet is popular, but people in the US are willing to accept children being felt up in airports for the sake of being "safe". I can see the proper fear model being run and people demanding the net be censored to keep us safe... and corporate profits high.
    Just wait till 6 strikes kicks off, and see what lengths they will want to push the ISPs into. Not the first time content holders have pushed well beyond what everyone agreed to.

     

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  38.  
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    Bengie, May 14th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Corps

    I find it "funny" how someone can some along and say "If I get $2mil and I will make over $3mil", which is a 50% margin. But big corps will say "That's not enough money".

    WTF?! 50% profit isn't enough?

    Publishers don't even care about profit anymore, just control and revenue. But above all, control.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 8:40am

    Musicians never needed major labels, the 'need' for major labors was always artificial thanks to anti-competitive laws. Government established broadcasting and cableco monopolies and laws that deter restaurants and other venues from hosting independent performers without paying a parasite collection society a fee (thanks to a one sided IP penalty structure allowing collection societies to threaten these venues for extortion money) systematically prevents competition from entering the market. and they are making every effort to do to the Internet what they have accomplished outside the Internet, to effectively ban all competitive forms of information distribution so that content creators must go through them to get their content distributed and they can force a one sided deal on the content creators, a deal detrimental to both the public and the content creators.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 8:42am

    Beholder

    What's a popular monster from Dungeons and Dragons doing working at a music company? :/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    There was a band on Shark Tank last friday asking for an investment, presumably so they wouldn't have to do a label deal. They were offered a deal but didn't take it because they didn't want to give up 50% but it just goes to show that there are plenty of alternative ways to make money from music these days. I suspect their next stop will probably be kickstarter or something similar.

     

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  42.  
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    Michael, May 14th, 2012 @ 8:49am

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

    Don't fall for any of that fear-mongering nonsense. They will never get away with mass censorship, especially if they try to throw people offline. As for their 'walled garden' approach, e.g. .music sites, sorry, not going to work. If everybody cared so much then they'd all go hang out on the major corporate websites ...yet they don't (and never will, I might add). The internet will not tolerate becoming just another form of mass media distribution for the mega-conglomerates to exploit and control.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Monkey (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And because they think they own the idea of someone performing music and getting paid, you see crap companies like "Pirate Pay" that will probably be used to try and kill off their competition. And I say 'try' because it won't work, just like everything the labels and **AA have tried before.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 9:41am

    so, out of curiosity, what has to be done by those going into talent contests? do they or the show or both have to get permission from whoever before they are allowed to perform? if so, i can see a serious lack of talent in the not too distant future. would be better to have a serious lack of labels, me thinks!

     

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  45.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, the contracts most contestants on those shows sign give significant control to the producers of the show. I think it is generally up to the producer and the associated label, not the contestant, to determine whether or not a label deal will happen. There's a significant loss of career control when appearing on one of the reality TV music shows, so even going on one turns you into a product of the Hollywood music machine.

    I've seen and saved copies of some of the contracts, and could pull them if people want further reference.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Funny headline

    Yes, all musicians have realized this. End of story!

    Or, it's just one musician's decision conflated into something much bigger that suits your agenda, with no regard for the calculations of that decision or whether or not it will be successful in the long term.

    Do you want to be a writer or a hack?

     

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  47.  
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    Ruben, May 14th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The problems is that the middle-men think they own the whole idea of someone performing music and getting paid.


    Hubris. It will be their undoing.

     

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    Ruben, May 14th, 2012 @ 10:37am

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

    ....the [legal]system is weighted towards the large copyright holders always being right and innocent...


    Indeed, the legal system in the US is set up such that you're treated better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent. It challenges our identity as a nation dedicated to equality, fairness, and justice.

    Innocent until proven guilty. Yea, right.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    Re: Beholden huh?

    Wow that's sheltered thought. It's beholden to their money in a majority of cases

     

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  50.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I went ahead and pulled some of the links. Again, it isn't really up to the musician to determine whether or not to accept a label contract. It's up to the show producers.

    American_Idol_Contestant_Agreement.pdf

    The Voice contestant contract terms

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Funny headline

    It's called hyperbole, dumbshit.

     

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    Robert (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's some interesting (awful) contractual obligations.

    I especially find the American Idol breach section (1st page, last paragraph) interesting, as it assumes damages done by breach of confidentiality to be $5 million!

    I wonder if the leaked portion of the contract that I just read constitutes such a violation and somehow means the Network and Producers are under a $5 million damage claim?

    Or are they insinuating that they have some hidden stuff, such as fixing the results outcome, that if revealed would tarnish the show's reputation (and the Netowrk/Producer)?

    In that case, what exactly are they hiding?

     

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    @jimikarma, May 14th, 2012 @ 11:30am

    Article

    You mean twitter? Lol who ever wrote this is & idiot..

     

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    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: but, but...

    Also forgot "looooooots of t-shirts".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    I have always said to my family and friends the best place to finish these shows is in 2nd place. Finishing 1st is a punishment as you have to sign to the label. Sure they say the winner gets so much money but I bet that money comes from the label in the form of an advance to the artist, an advance that the artist will NEVER be able to pay back given the fancy accounting game the label will play. Whereby finishing 2nd gives you the exposure of being on the show which gives you the fans and ability to go out on your own with your fans supporting you.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Yes! Screw the RIAA!

     

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    Karl (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again, it isn't really up to the musician to determine whether or not to accept a label contract. It's up to the show producers.

    Or, more precisely, the multimedia enterprise run by Simon Fuller.

    There's a good (though older) article about the contracts on Salon:
    http://www.salon.com/2002/09/18/idol_contract/singleton/

     

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    Karl (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    Re:

    Yes! Screw the RIAA!

    19 Group is not a member of the RIAA, so far as I know. Not surprising: they're not a record label. They're a combination management, marketing, promotions, and merchandising company.

    And, amazingly, the contracts you get from them appear to be even worse than the label contracts.

    It's not just the RIAA that is evil. There's plenty of that to go around.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 2:19pm

    Speaking of INXS, they hold a reality-show contest to find a new lead singer, find him, release one album, and then...what? Haven't heard anything from them since.

     

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    dgtlmktg (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

    About time

    So much greed and corruption in the music industry, its a shame it isn't about the music...

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, May 14th, 2012 @ 3:20pm

    The Celebrity Mentality

    A Priori, the odds against becoming a Rock Star, or a Movie Star, are about a hundred thousand or a million to one, much the same as the odds of those of becoming a Football Star, a Basketball Star, or Miss America, or winning millions of dollars in the state lottery. Nothing, but nothing, works consistently for ordinary schmucks. That is the nature of the lottery odds. The underclass tends to spend too much time fantasizing about these unattainable lotteries.

    I simply cannot imagine a teenager who is fairly good at math and science, better than nearly everybody at his school, worrying about whether or not he's going to get a Nobel Prize in Physics or Chemistry, or a Field Prize in Mathematics. What such a teenager is thinking about are achievable intermediate objectives, things like AP exams, and being allowed to take courses at the local college while still in high school, which have their own reward in terms of college admissions. Okay, so maybe you wind up as a mechanical engineer, instead of a theoretical physicist, but that has its own compensations. The whole notion of "star-ness" is defined by the immediate un-profitability of certain pursuits in the short run, the foreseeable future.

    For someone who is working behind the counter at McDonald's, ownership of a taco vending truck might or might not be an attainable goal. It depends on the local licensing regime.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: Beholden huh?

    You mean the movie, I assume. But note that a second movie was not made, and that the animated sequel Korra was created instead. It may have taken a flop to prove the point, but the show still relies on pleasing its fans.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

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

    If I may step in and ask - The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was established by fans and creators to help deal with fraudulent and censoring legal battles in that area of content. It actually works pretty well.

    Do you think it might be possible to crowdsource the creation of a similar group to operate in cases like dajaz1, to help create legal precedents to protect others? A sharers' legal defense fund of sorts?

     

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    mike, May 14th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re: but, but...

    It appears you are the only one here that can see the whole picture. All these bullcrap methods of promotion works for the exception. How many kickstart bands will not get funded? 99%? The only good thing coming from this is perhaps forcing the label companies to change the deal they have with artists.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 4:42pm

    Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    And that's the reason I step in to burst the bubble of the upcoming golden age of the DIY musician. Most aspiring musicians aren't going to make enough to live on even when the major labels disappear. A realistic expectation is that you'll do music for fun, but not for income. There's something about music that encourages a lot of people to think they have a chance, when the odds are against them amassing a big enough fanbase to provide the necessary financial support.

     

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    Torg (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Re: but, but...

    The general Kickstarter success rate is about 50%. I'm not sure what it is for music specifically, but I'd be very surprised if it was only 1%.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 7:39pm

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

    the biggest problem with dajaz1 is it was done secretly. Even the lawyers working for dajaz1 were denied access to documents filed with the court, denied a chance to make any arguments before the Judge, and the Judge blindly ignored the rule of law by letting the Government file late repeatedly.

    There is no way for any defense fund to help when it the law is being handled in secret with only 1 side getting the ear of the Judge.

    The sheer number of misdeeds by the DOJ in these types of actions is reaching stupid proportions and no one has done a damn thing to stop it. The tracker site from Spain, they told the Judge in court that the owners had not done anything to get the domain back or move the case forward. They lied to the Judge in court, they lied to the public. What does the DOJ have to actually do to finally be called on crossing the line in bending the law. They are the top of the food chain for Justice, and they are selling it out.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 7:46pm

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

    We live in a country where people think they get a say in what a woman does with her own body.
    They passed laws to make it ok for a Doctor to LIE to a woman about having a disease if the treatment could hurt the fetus.
    They want to make women who have been raped have a probe shoved into them so they can see the "life" they want to end.
    They believe the AbortionPlex is real.
    They believe that their tax dollars fund abortions.
    They believe that their religious beliefs are the law of the land.
    While the rest of the net might fight back to avoid the cyberwar drama, these are the same geniuses who wanted a button to turn off the whole net.
    I fear a large event like hackers penetrating a critical system and causing havoc will make people run to have the Government wall off our garden. Its for the children.
    Afterall DHS did tell someone who detected hackers poking around in their critical systems to let them stay and keep poking around but keep and eye on them and try to stop them before something really bad happened.
    With guidance like that from the people "in charge" it is merely a matter of time before something horrible happens and we get legislation that makes the Patriot Act look like a walk in the park.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    Well in their favor you can save a ton of money if your not snorting your profits off a hookers ass.
    The internet gives them a worldwide market at once.
    They don't have to treat each continent or group of countries as different areas that need special release dates.
    They also don't have their profits being whittled away repaying "loans" that might never get paid off due to amazing accounting. Or wait years for their royalty checks to actually be sent to them. Or have the labels put them on a list to be paid... someday after they take all of the money and hang onto it for a while.

    Yes they might not make 10 million a year, amazingly most of the planet lives on much less than that. "Rock Star" doesn't require you to have a 7 digit income to survive.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    Here's the deal. Most kids who play sports find out by the time they are in high school that they won't have a career in professional sports. That doesn't mean they can't enjoy playing on the company softball team, but they don't spend much time talking about a sports career.

    Most little girls who take ballet lessons aren't going to be professional ballerinas and they know it.

    Among all the aspiring actors and actresses, we don't hear much talk about how they can now have sustainable acting careers with the Internet. Yes, indie filmmakers have new options, but for actors and actresses, we aren't getting a lot of pep talks about how now they can keep more money in their pockets.

    But for some reason, we're telling musicians how they can become successful full-time musicians because the label system is gone.

    Expectations in music seem out of line compared to expectations in other fields.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    But for some reason, we're telling musicians how they can become successful full-time musicians because the label system is gone.

    Not at all. We're showing them how they can produce without the dubious 'benefit' of a label.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    We're showing them how they can produce without the dubious 'benefit' of a label.

    The majority of musicians have never been signed to a label nor were they going to be signed to a label. There have been musicians recording their own music and selling it at shows since at least the days of cassette tapes. Major labels have only been a factor for artists who have signed to major labels, but they have not be a factor for everyone else.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Funny headline

    Yeah, because with a label your success is guaranteed, and you'll never get ripped off.

    Douche.

     

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    Karl (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 10:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    The majority of musicians have never been signed to a label nor were they going to be signed to a label.

    True, but they've never "made it" before. Largely because they couldn't - the avenues of expression were monopolized by a cabal of multinationals.

    It is now possible to "make it" - or at least make a living - without having to deal with that cabal. And that deserves to be trumpeted.

    Of course, the vast majority of those who try to make a living off of art will fail. That has always been true, and always will be true. I don't think anyone here has ever pretended it wasn't. But it's still better for musicians now than it ever was before.

    I'm unqualified to talk about actors and actresses, but from what little I know, they earned the majority of their money on a "per-gig" basis anyway.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    It is now possible to "make it" - or at least make a living - without having to deal with that cabal. And that deserves to be trumpeted.

    That's what I don't think people who haven't been a part of that music culture don't understand. I've been around unsigned musicians for 30 years. The ones selling their own cassettes and CDs at shows were "making it" as much (or even more) than those who are "making it" now without a label. People who have only known the music business since the Internet days are assuming that the Internet has transformed life for DIY artists. The ones raving about their great success now tend to either be those who used to be signed and are now keeping more of the money, or those who have only known life as a DIY musician in the Internet age and don't know what it was like pre-Internet. Some of what they think is new is the same thing unsigned musicians have always done. People have played gigs and made money from gigs for as long as there have been gigs. Artists who couldn't get radio play still found ways to find fans. It was done even before the Internet.

    What I am saying is that there has always been a vast subculture of music that wasn't associated with a label. And the Internet hasn't changed things that much. There are more people who "feel" famous because they get a lot of people checking them out on YouTube, so yes, there are more people who are famous in their own minds. But in terms of making a living at this, I'd say that hasn't changed that much. The conversion rate from being seen/heard online and actually sales isn't all that great.

     

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    Karl (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 3:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    The ones selling their own cassettes and CDs at shows were "making it" as much (or even more) than those who are "making it" now without a label.

    Suzanne, I've been making music since the 1980's, and I was doing exactly the type of things that you are talking about. I've also known many musicians over the years who have done the same.

    And at least as far as me and the musicians I know are concerned, you are mistaken. It is far easier to make money now than it was in the 1980's or 1990's.

    Certainly the process hasn't changed: get the word out, tour as much as possible, sell directly to fans, etc. And most musicians (myself included) never even broke even, and probably never will.

    But there is no way that someone like Amanda Palmer would have been able to get $200K for making an album without a label. Even I, who make almost nothing, have been able to get more gigs, with more people in them, than I ever could in even the early 2000's. And it's largely due to the internet.

    The internet doesn't just allow bands to connect with fans; it also allows fans to connect with each other - which is just as important. Especially with underground music, the ability for fans to connect with each other directly (and I include file sharing here) allows people from around the world to unite tiny local "scenes." This makes it easier for musicians to connect with those worldwide fans. But more importantly, that worldwide connection causes those local scenes to actually grow.

    I've personally seen this happen: bands that were drawing a handful of people in the 1980's-1990's retired, but are now coming out of retirement to play shows for hundreds or even thousands of people.

    I remember the shows in the 1980's. They were much smaller than they are now. For example, have you seen the crowds at the early shows of the classic punk bands, like the Misfits or the Dead Kennedys? They were tiny. Even I pull in more people than that at my own shows nowadays, and I'm nobody.

     

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    Karl (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 3:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    People who have only known the music business since the Internet days are assuming that the Internet has transformed life for DIY artists.

    Sorry to keep harping on you like this, it's nothing personal obviously. But here, again, I just don't see that. In fact, I see the opposite.

    It's the bands that weren't DIY'ing it before the internet that think it's harder nowadays. This is especially true of musicians on a label today. They say stuff like: "I've heard selling 100,000 records today is like selling a platinum album in the 1990's." Of course it's not true at all. And that's not experience talking; that's what they heard from someone at their label.

    It's the ones (like me) who have been doing it on their own for 20 years that see how things are better. It certainly hasn't "transformed life," but it's made things a tiny bit better, one small increment at a time.

     

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    Jewell (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 4:40am

    Re: Reminds me of Orange Unsigned Act

    Great information! Too bad many indie artist fear standing out on their own or don't know how to be a business person and musician at the same time.

     

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    drew (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    "But for some reason, we're telling musicians how they can become successful full-time musicians because the label system is gone."
    I think I see your point Suzanne, in that we appear to be setting a different level of expectation for musicians when compared to other artists.
    I think that's true, for three main reasons:
    1) The old model was sooooo bad for the majority of musicians that it's not that difficult to find a better way.
    2) The barriers for entry are lower. The kit you need to get started is, in real terms, cheaper than it has ever been, as are the advertising and distribution tools.
    3) I think it's a less polarised (and more enduring) market, the scale for "successful" ranges from selling a few albums here and there as a bonus to your hobby, right up to the Amanda Palmers / Jonathan Coultons who make a good living from it; it all depends on what you're trying to achieve. Compare that to, say, professional sports.

     

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    lee smilex, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:30am

    reality sucks

    realistically, what credible artist would put themselves through being on one of those shows and aligning themselves with such drivel! that inxs show was pissing on michael hutchence's grave worse than adam lambert fronting queen!
    one day people will realise real artists don't go on talent contests - that's for plastic pop shit - we play gigs! :-)x

     

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    lee smilex, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    reality sucks

    realistically, what credible artist would put themselves through being on one of those shows and aligning themselves with such drivel! that inxs show was pissing on michael hutchence's grave worse than adam lambert fronting queen!
    one day people will realise real artists don't go on talent contests - that's for plastic pop shit - we play gigs! :-)x

     

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    Overcast (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    It would be so sweet to see someone win American Idol and be offered a contract and say, "No thanks."

    And they should. For probably $100.00 a month, they could get a custom web site up and running and maintained.

    If they sold MP3's at 25 cents each, they would likely make exponentially more than the RIAA will get them.

    Heck, the artists themselves could cut CD-R's - advertise that too and people will buy them just because of that, lol.

     

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    Overcast (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 8:25am

    Of course, the Music Industry has had it so good and so easy for so long... Now they are getting the shaft so hard and so deep, it's just coming back around full circle.

    For years and years, this industry gutted the public with over priced content that you would buy a whole disc/album/tape for just a single good song. Now, the consumer is gutting the industry. And they want sympathy?

    Naaaa.

    I'll still buy CD's, for ethical reasons (even though it's obvious the music industry NEVER sought to treat consumers with this same respect, but I'm above that) and because I like to have them, plus it's legal.

    If the RIAA withers and dies, I'll buy digital media. The sooner the RIAA dies and let's the industry move on to the digital age - the better. Since you obviously won't evolve: go away RIAA.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    It would be so sweet to see someone win American Idol and be offered a contract and say, "No thanks."

    And they should.


    Unfortunately they can't. The contracts everyone is required to sign just to try out and then appear on the show give the show producers control of the contestants. I've known people approached to try out and I have recommended that they do not.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    We're probably seeing different realities. I know that email has made it a lot easier to contact fans. No more sending out show calendars via postcard. And now you can reach club bookers via email, which can be faster than phone. But sometimes it still works better to contact them by phone or in person and sometimes a physical press kit still works better than an EPK.

    As for gigs, I think it depends. I live in a college town and it used to be that every fraternity party hired a live band. Now it's a DJ. That has nothing to do with the Internet, but a major source of paid gigs dried up. Similarly, lots of clubs switched from live music to DJs or karaoke.

    There have been a number of paid gigs from corporations and cities hiring entertainment, and now that so many bands are competing for those jobs, the going rate has gone down. Weddings that used to hire bands now often hire DJs instead. Schools are cutting back on arts programs, so I would expect the demand for music teachers has declined (not sure how it has been for private lessons, though if you don't play in a school band, you might not be taking those lessons on the side).

    Technology has lowered the barrier of entry for musicians, which is good, but the majority will not make a living at this and they should understand that.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    For example, have you seen the crowds at the early shows of the classic punk bands, like the Misfits or the Dead Kennedys?

    You know, thinking about a band like the Dead Kennedys, I think it was okay for them to have tiny crowds at the beginning. I knew about them early on because of the name. There have always been zines and alt-weeklies reporting on underground music and if you were one of those who kept up on that, you could find out about it.

    Had the Dead Kennedys become an overnight sensation on the Internet, I'm not sure it would have worked well. Part of being a band like that is to be under the radar until word-of-mouth is so great that everyone eventually hears about you. The idea of blasting your presence everywhere online has given us one type of music, but to be truly underground, you aren't supposed to use mass media to let everyone know about you. Someone like Rebecca Black truly is an Internet creation.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, May 15th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality (to: Suzanne Lainson, # 85)

    I don't know if you have seen this:

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-10/behind-europes-workday-club-craze

    The Swedes are apparently doing "lunchtime raves," if I have the terminology right. A DJ, an ad-hoc space, and a serving table full of water and cheese-lettuce-tomato sandwiches--- and away they go! I'm not clear as to whether one is supposed to dance furiously while eating a sandwich, or to eat the sandwich while walking back to work. Oh, to be young again!

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality (to: Suzanne Lainson, # 85)

    No, I hadn't seen it, but I love anything like this. Pop-up events are very cool.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, May 15th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality (to: Suzanne Lainson, # 85)

    Of course, you realize what is involved in putting up even the most minimal decent meal, a sandwich and something to drink, for six hundred people. On that scale, the DJ is economically unimportant compared to the sandwich-making crew. Let's see, someone to slice the baguettes, someone to run the cheese-slicing machine, someone to slice up tomatoes, ditto for lettuce, a couple of people to assemble everything, someone to wrap the sandwiches up in celophane... By comparison drawing beer from a tap in a normal "dive" is a comparatively simple proposition.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 4:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality (to: Suzanne Lainson, # 85)

    On that scale, the DJ is economically unimportant compared to the sandwich-making crew.

    Very true. But what I love about pop-up events is that they are easier to do than opening a full scale restaurant. In this case you try it and if it works, great, you do it again. If not, on to the next idea.

    And quite honestly, even if the music is bad, but there are pretty people to look it, the crowds will come.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality (to: Suzanne Lainson, # 85)

    This kind of says it, too. Food first, music second.

    Eating, Live Butchery and, Oh Yeah, Music - NYTimes.com

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    You are to someone.
    Your Karl, you come here and give us the benefit of your real world experiences.
    Pretty sure that makes you not a nobody.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    "Someone like Rebecca Black truly is an Internet creation."
    Can we send it back and try again?

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, May 16th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    Pop-Ups (reply to Suzanne Lainson, # 90)

    Yeah, I know what you mean about pop-ups. I saw it myself in Cincinnati, back in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The local Greek Orthodox church started holding a Greek Festival, or "Panegyri," once a year. They did food, folk music and dancing, folk costumes, a look inside the Byzantine-style church. The whole bit, in short.

    http://www.holytrinity.oh.goarch.org/92.html

    At any rate, it got more and more popular, dragging in all kinds of people who were not parishioners, or Greek Orthodox. At a certain point, Greek restaurateurs, who had not been serving their national cuisine, because they thought their customers would not like it, took notice of the trend, and the rest is history. By 1985, there were any number of places you could get a Gyro and a Moussaka.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 16th, 2012 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Pop-Ups (reply to Suzanne Lainson, # 90)

    Denver has one, too, put on by the local Greek Cathedral. This year will be its 40th annual festival. I didn't attend the very first one, but did get to it just few years later. I was living in a Denver suburb, and my father and his family were Russian Orthodox, so I checked it out. Great food.

     

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


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