Musicians Don't Make Money From Copyright

from the and-so-it-goes... dept

Honestly, the only thing surprising in this new research (found via Boing Boing) is that it took so long for someone to actually look into it. The fact is, the vast majority of musicians don’t make money from copyright. In fact, copyright seems to hinder their ability to make money. We’ve made this argument repeatedly — and every time, people say “without copyright, there’s no way to make money.” That’s simply not true. Already, musicians tend to make their money from touring, concerts, merchandise and other goods. That’s why, for quite some time, we’ve believed the whole issue with digital goods isn’t settled by new technologies or by new laws, but a simple recognition that the digital goods are promotion for something else that’s being sold — and then market forces take over. These are the same market forces that recognize that the efficient market price of digital content is zero (marginal cost, and all that, for the economists in the house). Clearly, that’s already true for the vast majority of artists. If there weren’t this myth that everything comes from copyright, and more people recognized this fact then many bands would be making a lot more money too, as they would focus on using their music to promote everything else they sell.

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Comments on “Musicians Don't Make Money From Copyright”

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thecaptain says:

Re: Re: but if the bands don't get airplay

At this point it becomes a problem of getting the word out.

See, the sheeple, britney-craving, boyband-loving buying public get their orders on what’s new and what’s cool from radio, which are influenced by …yup…record companies.

We’re not at a point yet where radio stations (ie: ClearChannel) will scour the net and play indie artists…they don’t want to play what’s GOOD, they want what SELLS.

So you’re stuck, as a band, to maybe make a website, flood Kazaa with Mp3s, spending hours daily finding indie sites to host your stuff, handing out homemade CDs at shows (or selling them for 5 bucks a pop, which isn’t bad really).

However, you’ll never get major exposure that way.

Of course, you’ve said it before…under our new system, there will be less superstars and less insanely rich artists and more quality artists who are somewhat popular (mostly locally) and make a good amount of money (translation: enough to get by…likely never enough to buy a house). However, in response to that…let me point out that MOST bands, beyond the music, WANT to be superstars, they want the limos and hotels and crowds…and the only way to get em is the music industry.

And as long as the music industry is the ONLY game in town for the big bucks, that won’t change until they do.

Bob says:

Copyright lottery

It might be useful to view the production of copyrighted material as a lottery – there are a very small number of producers (artists) that will see an enormous payoff, while the overwhelming number of producers are out their cost of production and receive no (direct) return. The combination of certainty on the part of all producers that they will be the lucky ones in the face of statistical evidence to the contrary, coupled with the self-interested support of the supporting cast that are the recipients of most of the actual revenue (media delivery companies from copyright, states from lotteries, etc.) ensure that the systems will be perpetuated.

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