50 Cent Is The Latest Artist To Understand The Economics Of Music

from the not-so-hard dept

More and more musicians seem to be recognizing what fans have been trying to tell them since Napster first came on the scene nearly a decade ago: it’s not file sharing that hurts the music business, it’s treating your fans badly that hurts the business. We’ve been seeing more and more musicians recognize this over the past few months, and the latest to join the pack is Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent. In an interview, he noted that while file sharing may hurt record labels, it doesn’t seem to hurt artists or any other part of the music business: “What is important for the music industry to understand is that this really doesn’t hurt the artists.” He notes that shows are still packed and fans are fans no matter how they first hear the music. He says that the labels need to learn to adapt and embrace the technology while noting that the thing labels should be doing is making money on the scarce goods that are made valuable by the music: “The concerts are crowded and the industry must understand that they have to manage all the 360 degrees around an artist. They, (the industry), have to maximize their income from concerts and merchandise. It is the only way they can get their marketing money back.” This isn’t that surprising or new, and we’ve noted recently that hip hop stars seemed to implicitly realize this well before most of the rest of the industry. However, it is yet another big music industry name saying this. Yet, why is it that the RIAA is still out there insisting that suing fans is the right strategy? Why is it that the RIAA claims it’s trying to protect the artists, and even getting new legislation moved forward, when the very artists it’s trying to protect are arguing against those policies?

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Comments on “50 Cent Is The Latest Artist To Understand The Economics Of Music”

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36 Comments
Technomancer says:

Go Shorty!

Glad to see that there are some people within the music industry that aren’t clinging to the old distribution models. Let’s face it; our world is going to change. If you can’t accept that, and change with it, then you’re going to wind up a relic of the past.
The record labels have had many opportunities to adjust, and were practically handed the key to survival in the form of original Napster, but flubbed it miserably. Perhaps they will start to listen to people like 50 Cent, and at least salvage some of their hard-won name recognition.
Companies like Allofmp3.com have proven a very simple truth: If you make songs cheap enough that it’s more convenient to pay for than to pirate, people will beat your door down handing you money.

Charging a flat rate for unlimited downloads or a very small fee per song = Winner.

Gouging the customers for all you can get for a CD, or making them pay a buck a song for DRM-protected content just makes people look for alternate ways to get what they want.

innocent bystander says:

Sad Times

As soon as it becomes all about money, music is not.
Plenty of true musicians make money as a by-product of their art. The real shame is that people are not honest enough to go buy their music, or is it that the people who “share” certain types of music, realize it is crap, and is not worth purchasing because they won’t even listen to it in a week anyway.
Proof that greed and stupidity abound in the record industry,
“50 Cent Is The Latest Artist To Understand The Economics Of Music”.

Tricky says:

They are just lazy bitches who don’t want to change. Until they change their actions, I won’t buy anymore music. There will always be another way to get what you want and lawsuits don’t scare people anymore. Everyone thinks it won’t happen to them, so they will continue doing what they do until they find another way that suits them.

Jeffry Houser (profile) says:

The Record Industry isn't Changing..

The record industry isn’t changing, but the music industry is. It’s all about selling records, tapes, CDs, (or digital downloads). That is what record labels do. The labels often don’t usually have a piece of the artist’s other activities (such as live performances or other merchandise sales).

Artists have long been living in a world where they are making no money off their studio works due to restricting label contracts.

One could argue that the original Napster (or current file sharing methods) may have been good for artists, but they are not good for record labels.

Last.fm fan says:

Re: Funny...

95%, if not more, of the artists I like, I didn’t find out about through any direct activity of the record labels. I found out about them through other fans (Last.fm) or online review sites. I sample by downloading from p2p and, if I like the music enough, I start buying music from that artist. No, I don’t end up purchasing everything that I download, but I sure buy more than I would if I didn’t get to know music this way.

dorpass says:

Re: Coward being Cowardly

If it wasn’t for the marketing and development investment of record labels, no one would know who 50 Cent is.

Artists like SPM came up without any record label support whatsoever, in fact even Forbes wrote about it a few years back. SPM also pulled other artists that you now hear on the radio just about daily, like Baby Bash. That’s just a couple examples of artists that made it without record labels. But of course, you rather live in the world of “what if” than “this is what really happened.”

Overcast says:

..and Mike Masnick continues to not understand what it is record labels do.

It’s not about manufacturing CDs.

If it wasn’t for the marketing and development investment of record labels, no one would know who 50 Cent is.

Maybe, maybe not. Can’t say that for sure.

Oddly enough – some other artists seem to be well known without an ‘Industry Group’ backing them…

Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Beethoven…. need I continue?

People will seek out music – just because the ‘industry’ isn’t shoving them down our throat doesn’t mean a thing, lol.

The consumer doesn’t need ‘marketing’ – large corporations who make their profits off the backs of artists because they can market junk – well, they need marketing. But again, if there was just a huge file sharing network with zero advertisements and marketing, I guarantee some artists will still become quite well known.

Anonymous Coward says:

Here's a model for record companies

Imagine a recording label that specialized in being a portal for getting material by your favorite artists. Imagine searching on “50 Cent”, to use the example from the article, and having his label’s page for him come up. Imagine a free preview of every track they have by him. All of it. And videos. Imagine easy downloads of all of it, even if they are charging for it. Make it easy to get. Link to every magazine article about him. Put his concert schedule up with links for buying tickets. And sell CDs to anyone who wants to order them.

Now go a couple of steps farther. Any time he appears in concert with some other opening act, provide links. Sell their music. Do what online retailers are doing and provide links to other stuff that 50 Cent’s fans are also buying. Generate some buzz by putting up new live tracks regularly.

Fans aren’t buying record companies. And musicians aren’t playing for the record companies, they’re playing for their fans. And yes, I do have friends who are musicians. I know it is a business. Record companies need to be about making money by making it easy for musicians to reach fans and for fans to hear the music they want to hear.

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