Musicians Need Business Models, Not Charity

from the not-this-again dept

You have to give the new website credit for one thing: they know how to generate a ton of publicity for nothing special. When they first came out, we noted how they got a lot of big name publications to write about them, with not a single one noting that the company’s idea wasn’t even remotely new, and that other companies in the space had come and gone, because it just wasn’t that appealing. A month later, they got a nice, but absolutely bizarre, writeup in the NY Times, suggesting that the startup (which has raised $9 million from venture capitalists) had a strategy that involved not making a profit. The company isn’t doing anything new. There are tons of CD trading sites out there, and there were a bunch in the past that failed. The worst, part, though, was the positioning that this was some sort of “legal alternative” to file trading, ignoring that plenty of people who would use the system would probably first rip their CDs into MP3s before getting rid of the CDs. Since then, whenever we write about the RIAA, one person (always from the same IP address) comments on our site trying to position LaLa as some sort of anti-RIAA service, which makes no sense. Today, the story gets even more ridiculous. LaLa has officially launched, and is getting plenty of press coverage for announcing that the company is starting a “charity” for musicians, and will contribute 20% of revenue to this foundation. Beyond being a cheap publicity stunt, this is sending the wrong message. It suggests that musicians somehow need “charity” to survive. What musicians need is not charity, but to learn how to embrace one of the many different new business models that some musicians have figured out. For those musicians, they seem to be making out quite well — without the need for some random “charity” from a site that seems unlikely to make enough money to make much of a difference anyway.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Musicians Need Business Models, Not Charity”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
I, for one says:

Art and business

The RIAA and cohorts would stop at nothing to *prevent* new independent bands from promoting their work on the internet, including paying them off through phoney charity. It’s not about piracy or sales, it’s all about control of the media channels and the means of dissemination and distribution. Their greatest threat is the real artists who do not primarily want to make money. People who want to make money are easy to control, those motivated by passion are a serious problem. As with free open source software, there are many talented individuals and bands out there who can deliver a superior product for the love of it, and they are only getting better at. Audiences want interesting new music, artists want audiences to deliver interesting new music to and there’s no need for a middle man to tell anybody what is interesting or new anymore. It’s not their business model that is broken, it’s the twilight of their entire raison d’etre. Successful new businesses in artistic media will simply make a small revenue by facilitating the hosting and filesharing that is already going on.

Jimmy Bear Pearson (user link) says:

No charity required

Musicians don’t need charity (although, there are tons of great musicians in the Gulf Coast who lost everything – they could use new instruments – see – Please donate or lend a hand.)

There are literally thousands of us out there that have not only embraced new venues and means of distribution – we have come to enjoy it. Never before have musicians been pour their soul, sweat, tears, and time into a work – then have it distributed to the world in minutes. I love the thousands of “listens”, comments, and downloads I have gotten – and I’m not even one of the really great independent musicians out there. It’s great to be heard and it’s even cooler when folks buy your indie downloads/cds/merch to support you.

What do musicians need? Encouragement, support, kind and constructive criticizm, and FANS, FANS, FANS, and FANS – not a charity.

Jon (user link) says:

Somewhat Agreed

I never understood the whole “we give 20% backt to the artist” thing. While I think that the press would have us believe that artists desperately need to renegotiate their royalties, CD trades are a secondary market, and the artist really should get no part of it. It’s a secondary sale.

I also question the advertising that says trade CDs for $1. The cost is really $1.49, which seems to be buried in the middle of most articles. In reality, the cost or 1 CD = 1 CD + $1.49. This is still better than trying to trade in a brick and mortar, though.

Even though I’m currently ignoring the questionable longevity of lala’s business model, and the facts that some of the CDs I’ve gotten seemed like the previous owners stored them in steel wool, I have to say that trading CDs on Lala is pretty addictive for the price.

Funny says:

Charity Sells

Look, I’ve been in the music underground for a long time and I seems to the the recent trend now is charity. If lala can affort to take the cut, then why not. It shows consumers that they “care” in giving back. But whats funny is that most of the time charity can be used to more or less as a marketing tool. Can we say tax write off?

anonymous coward says:

thanks for the shout out!

but you never really explained why lala isn’t anti-RIAA. do you really think that the RIAA wouldn’t stop a business like lala if it could? I’ve swapped over 100 cd’s on lala and probably 30% or more have gone on to other users.

I’m quite sure that the RIAA would claim that my 30% re-traded represents piracy and would they would also assume that the next person in line would have bought all those CDs at full retail so the industry lost $xxx because of lala.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...