Thom Yorke Dissing The Album Format Doesn't Mean 'Free' Business Models Don't Work

from the ok... dept

I believe that one of our frequent critics has been submitting a series of stories which s/he believes “disproves” the basics of what we talk about here. I don’t know for sure that it’s the same individual, as they always use different names, but the names are all of the same nature, and the comments are effectively the same mocking tone — often included with a claim along the lines of “you’ll never post this because it shows you’re wrong.” Later the same person (again, this is an assumption, but one with a high probability) has been posting comments insisting that “Mike always ignores my submissions because they prove he’s wrong.” The thing is, that’s clearly not true. If you hadn’t noticed, I often post stories suggesting something I’ve written about may not be true (and in some cases, I’d love to be proven wrong). The problem is that when you break down the stories, they don’t prove anything of the sort. And, with this particular critic, s/he’s either so incredibly misread the story or misunderstood what we wrote about, they didn’t seem worth posting.

But since the onslaught continues, I figure why not spend one (and only) one post responding to two such recent submissions to explain. The first was the fact that, back at Bonnaroo, Trent Reznor announced to the crowd that it was Nine Inch Nails’ last US show ever. The critic seemed to think this was proof that Reznor’s brand of connecting with fans & giving them a reason to buy was a failure. Except… someone hadn’t been paying much attention. First, the news wasn’t new at all. Reznor had stated well before the tour even began that he was putting Nine Inch Nails on hold after the tour, but that he would continue with a variety of other musical projects. He also announced this same fact at other shows on the tour. The final statement was hardly anything new or anything of note. It certainly wasn’t a sign that Reznor’s efforts were a failure, but that he wanted to try something new — a point he’d been making for quite some time. (Also, it’s worth noting that since then, Reznor decided to do a few more NIN shows in the US, as he felt that Bonnaroo and the NIN/JA tour weren’t the best way to go out).

The latest is a similar misreading, with a similarly misguided “nyah, nyah” comment from the critic. In this case, he pointed out that The Sun (hardly a standard for journalistic excellence) is reporting that Thom Yorke of Radiohead is saying the band doesn’t want to do any new albums. Again, as with the statement above, this is not a new thing. Hell, just last week we linked to an interview with Yorke where he said the same thing. But, again, this critic seems to be confusing the fact that Yorke doesn’t want to produce a certain product (“the album”) with the idea that the In Rainbows experiment was a failure.

But that’s not what Yorke is saying at all. In fact, Yorke has been complaining about the album format for some time. But that’s a complaint about the format itself, not any sort of statement on whether or not In Rainbows was a success (which all the data shows it was a huge success). Furthermore, even the fact that Yorke wants to do something different doesn’t mean the original experiment was a failure. Hell, in the very link this critic sent (the one above), Yorke states that In Rainbows was a success as an album. On top of that, in an interview last year, Yorke pointed out that it makes no sense to just keep doing the same thing, and even if they did another album, they wouldn’t use the same method, because it had been done already, and they wanted to do something new. He was realizing, correctly, that you get more bang for your buck by doing new stuff, not just repeating the same old thing.

Nowhere does Yorke say that he won’t still be producing music, or that they won’t come up with new and innovative business models. But that he just doesn’t like the album format. This is something a lot of artists agree with, and is hardly a condemnation of the original experiment.

There have been a few other submissions along these same lines, but rest assured, if I’m not posting your submissions (and we get about 50 to 100/day, and we only have so much time to write up stories), it’s not because you’ve somehow “proved me wrong.” It might be because the stories you submit don’t actually say what you think they say… or… well… anything interesting at all.

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Comments on “Thom Yorke Dissing The Album Format Doesn't Mean 'Free' Business Models Don't Work”

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David T says:

Leave them under the bridge...

Mike, as someone who runs a successful blog, you should know better than to feed trolls. It doesn’t matter how cogent you are, you can’t change their minds. And the conversation can usually be advanced more eloquently by framing the topic around the implied hostility. Even WoW forum-crafters know this game.

barrenwaste (profile) says:

Leave them under the bridge...

Well, trolls are useless ninety percent of the time, that’s true. But new readers can be thrown off by them. Sometimes it’s best to dust off a few of your favorite trolls, heat them up, and throw them out for everyone to see. That has more than one positive effect. First, people can see the idgits for who and what they are. If nobody feeds em, they are likely to die of neglect. Second, a subject can often be judged by it’s proponents and oponents. Let the people see that only morons and idgits disagree. And third, it’s a good way to relieve stress and frustrations. Nothing says fun like a good troll beating contest.

I sent them says:

I am not surprised Mike that you didn’t get the same things from the stories that I did. There are plenty of reasons for the statements as made. But it is clear, example, that Radiohead has produced only a single song (done in a few short days recents) since In Rainbows, and that they have no projects on the horizon.

NIN is in the same boat. Trent is stopping the project, likely so he can go off and enjoy his (soon to be) married life that will not allow him the same time to be the “rock star” and “studio hermit” that he has been for the last 15 years or so.

The important idea is this: two of the biggest players in the “FREE!” musicverse are out to pasture, at least for now. The question is who or what replaces them at the top of the heap? I think the answer may be nobody, that the heap will just get shorter.

For all the success of In Rainbows, Radiohead is unlikely to ever do it again. NIN hasn’t had a top selling album in 4 or 5 years. Did they really succeed in CwF, or were they just sqandering the fanbase fortune built by years of record label / distribution support?

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If this isn’t a perfect example of the “idgits” (than you barrenwaste) convincing people that they are wrong, I don’t know what is.

Radiohead won’t create a “long-play record” any more. That doesn’t mean that Rainbows failed, it means that they don’t want all that stress creating in the confines of the standard album. Didn’t they also have a long stretch between Rainbows and their previous album as well?

Trent wants to work on other projects. This isn’t new for him. If anything this should show that he’s a success, he has enough money to go work on whatever he wants to.

Remember, these are artists, not politicians. What they said is said as artists and must be understood in that way.

To even suggest that no one will ever step up and take their place shows a complete lack of understanding of marketing.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

NIN hasn’t had a top selling album in 4 or 5 years.

If you think NIN somehow failed, you sir, are an idiot.
He made over 1.6 million dollars in what, two weeks? Or was that two days?

The only way you could possibly see him as failing is if you are in the record business and are upset that your people aren’t getting “their cut”.

Having a top selling album is in no way what makes a group a success. And NIN is a perfect example of success. His fans love him and he makes enough money to continue doing what he wants to. That is all that matters. Whether that is making more music himself (which I always enjoy, I will admit) or helping others get their music out there is up to him.

For all of your people who don’t like his music, you know, that is perfectly fine. Don’t buy any of his offerings then. It is not a big deal. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t want collections from royalties agencies that he would never see anyway because they reduced it down to nothing through administrative fees. That is one of the beauties of everything he has done recently. I know that if I buy something from him, he actually gets the money. Unlike ANY group on one of the major labels or their subsidies. Such a good feeling to know I am actually supporting an artist instead of some middle man who is working to pervert laws to his favor.

So go ahead, call NIN a failure Mr. “I Sent Them”. You only look like a fool.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Obviously you can’t read. I am not calling NIN a “failure”, I am saying that the business model appears to be a failure. Quite simply, neither of the big acts that have done various free or pay whatever have wanted to come back with another album. Usually if something is so good and so encouraging, they would be right back at it.

Please consult even wikipedia for information on chart positions and such for NIN since The Downward Spiral up for a while, and now not even charting in many countries. “failure” is relative to where you are. It’s why I ask the question, is the CwF actually working, or at they just working off the momentum of a nicely built up record label supported career?

I am one of the world’s biggest NIN fans, and Trent managed to produce music that I don’t want to listen to at all (and apparently many other “fans” are in the same place). Perhaps he spent too much time on business models and not enough time on being an artist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I thought NIN’s “Ghosts” album generated more revenue than any other album he’s produced? It topped Amazons digital music sales for awhile, at the very least.

Ditto to Radiohead’s “Rainbows”, I heard that the pay-what-you-want experiment amounted to $3mil, give or take.

And I’m almost certain that the chart positions are based solely on CD sales. Neither business model cared much about CDs, so the charts are really meaningless.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

And that would be the 2nd half of my post if you hadn’t already made it. Although I failed to reference your post in my reply to him.
Well said though.
Ghosts did indeed top Amazons digital downloads for awhile.
I did not pay attention to Radiohead’s figures considering I like very little of their music, so thanks for adding in that they made a ton of money as well. =)

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Quoting myself:
He made over 1.6 million dollars in what, two weeks? Or was that two days?

Obviously the model didn’t fail. There are an amazing amount of web sites that commented on his model making a ton of money (more than he ever did while on label related to selling discs). Techdirt even has one in the archives:

Okay, here, I looked up Techdirt’s for you:

It appears that it was 1.6 in the first week alone.
So no, the model did not fail in any way, shape, or form.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It is amazing that when you stop talking about the topic and start to talk about whatever, you can make something a current success, even if it happened years ago.

If the “name your price” model was a raving success, if the “give away the store” model was such a success, and if it was so invigorating for the artists, they would be falling all over themselves to do it again, and others would be heading that way at high speed.

Name me one major band with a “name your price” album since Radiohead – and no, some unknown for Boise isn’t a major band / act.

Trent turned out tons and tons of material, gave it all a way, and quit?

Where are the major acts following in his footsteps?

Oh yeah, how many copies did Radiohead sell on their “name your price”, and how many more have been sold through their standard record deal distribution that they don’t like to talk about much? Again, if it was such a success, why would you have to go back to stores?

Quite simply, there is no stampede, and in a world where everyone knows everyone else’s business moves, a successful model would be copied quickly and often.

The sounds of crickets (and leftover bits swirling in the network breeze) are all we hear.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“The sounds of crickets (and leftover bits swirling in the network breeze) are all we hear.”

Apparently even that is lost on you, since your philosophy seems to be the “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” kinda.

I love how you try to make your opinion have more weight than facts. Apparently cold hard dollar figures don’t mean much?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“I love how you try to make your opinion have more weight than facts. Apparently cold hard dollar figures don’t mean much?”

It’s not opinion. Radiohead did it when, 2 years ago? How many albums since them (any major artist) were sold as “pay as you want”? None.

The crickets win.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Logic fail for the win.

So you’re saying if I made $50 TRILLION dollars, and no one else tried the same thing, it means my business model was a failure?

Apparently Google’s business model is a failure, because no one in a decade has managed to repeat their work?

DeBeer’s is a failure, because no one else has turned a common gem into a priceless object?

Christianity is a failure because Jesus Christ only happened once?

Want me to keep going, or would pointing and laughing suffice?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

NO, again, you aren’t paying attention.

If your business model made 50 trillion dollars, there would be a lineup of people trying your business model. Don’t be all puffed up about Radiohead taking in 3 million, the reality is that it wasn’t enough to get anyone else interested. Quite simply, while 3 million isn’t chickenfeed, it apparently isn’t enough to get anyone else to do it.

You are trying to put a monetary value on “fail” or “win” – but it’s the market and the marketers who have decides, and the vote appears to be “fail”.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

You are right, it is the market who decides. The consumers.
And as we can see, the sale of those little plastic discs continues to drop year after year. So that is undeniably a failing business model.

Have you noticed that most major bands that are signed to labels don’t like the labels? Most of them are perfectly willing to speak out against it. Probably because the labels only screw them over. At least the labels don’t steal money from touring as well (one would hope).

If 3 million isn’t enough from them, they really need to lower their standards. Greedy bastards.

Back to the market and consumers. You know one area that has been growing every year in the music industry (yes I know most have aside from plastic disc sales, but focus for a moment)? Downloads. Torrents. Other stores like Amazon’s.

And your argument really does seem to be that just because a ton of other rich musicians haven’t used the same methods of these guys yet, it can’t be a success. Well, there may not be any large ones, but give it some time for their current contracts to expire with the major labels. Things are heading this way. Stick your head in the sand, it is okay. A ton of smaller artists who are not limited by stupid contracts are going this way more and more often. And they are all being successful with it. Which is truly great and makes me happy.

AAS says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Why are you so closed to new ideas? To me it seems that no idea would work but what the record industry uses…

I also find you stray from whats important… the music. Music has two main functions: 1. Expression of an artist, 2) Enjoyment, relaxation to the people who listen to it. As any artist you get a satisfaction from having your fans listen to your music and enjoy it. In the past it made sense that the record industry help manage these artist. Back then it worked but I see how greedy the industry is now. All they care about is making money, to me thats not wat is important, connecting with the fans (the people that listen and buy the artist music) should be first and everything else will fall into place after. However people don’t see it that way and neither does the entertainment industry.

These new ideas are just what they are ideas. Sometimes they fail but as my karate instructor told me once “You only fail when you give up”. Think about things like Linux (a completely free based OS), it has come a long way since its first conception, if they gave up cause it didn’t work what would have happened.

So please before you “bash” a new idea sit down and think: 1) Why did it fail 2) What can I learn from this 3) What can I use again in another idea. Innovation will only stop when people give up and I personally think that these ideas were not a failure and pretty soon better ones will come of it.

Cabal says:

Re: Re:

How does a lack of new material equate to a failure in the model? When the model is predicated on delivering a quality product (doesn’t matter how much extra ‘value’ you add if no one wants what you’re giving away for free), flooding the market with drivel is disadvantageous.

Now your point that two of the most influential ‘free’ players appear to be sidelining themselves in the future is valid. It’s a shame to see them go… but it doesn’t ring the death knell of free music. Check Facebook, check youtube, do a google search or two. There are thousands happily giving away thier product in exchange for exposure and the right to sell value-add services like live performances, exclusive access and memorabilia.

By implying the retiring of NIN and Radiohead is the end of free is like saying the civil rights movement ended the day King was shot. You can say it… but it won’t change (even for a moment) that you’re an idiot for saying it.

Sheinen says:

Having just seen NIN at Londons O2, I can confirm that the reason they aren’t making new albums is because their new songs are crap.

As for the album format it really is becoming completely outdated. Why would anyone sit through the 5 out of 14 inevitable crap songs when you can pick and choose the tracks you want from the itunes store?

In which case, why bother releasing them as a package at all? Would it be more cost effective to produce one new song every few weeks?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The reality is that not only is Radiohead NOT producing albums, they have only produced 1 song in 2+ years (a tribute to the last WW vet in the UK, who died recently – the song didn’t take long to make).

NIN / Reznor are in the same boat, outside of rehashing what was already there, it appears there is nothing going on. The NIN project is in the process of being put to sleep, and so far nothing “trent” out there to measure them by.

Mike, I have to ask this. You said:

“he pointed out that The Sun (hardly a standard for journalistic excellence)”

Now, if the Sun isn’t that good, what would you call amateur blog writers, random hacks, and people with an agenda writing “news” online? Sometimes you astound me with your arrogant dismissals of sources that don’t agree with you.

Cabal (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

1. The ‘trend’ you refer to is not one that is limited to those that have used ‘free’ models. Many, many bands that started more than 20 years ago are no longer producing as much content as they used to. Considering many ‘drudge’ jobs have a 20 or 30 year retirement, it shouldn’t be that hard to understand why these bands are ready to be done with doing what they’ve been doing. Bands which stay active until they’re geriatric are the exception, not the rule.

If both bands were saying “Wow, we can’t afford to produce another album because we’re broke…” that would be a valid argument for saying ‘free’ doesn’t work. Instead they’re saying “We’re bored, tired and old. We’re going to find something new to try.” That doesn’t mean the experiment was a failure… in fact it makes no statements about the experiment at all. Any conclusion to the opposite is an unsupported inference.

2. The Sun is a tabloid. Like the ‘Star’ or the ‘National Enquirer’. From time to time they break a real story, but for the most part it’s typical tabloid pap like “Look at the cellulite on X’s knees!!!”. That’s not exactly a foundation of journalistic excellence…


Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

What makes you think they’ve stopped? They have lives and are living them. I don’t know what goes on in Trent Reznor’s head, but I’m certain there are no lack of ideas. Further, why do you think you can read an artist’s or anyone else’s mind because of what they have (or haven’t) done recently? I went out and bought just one banana today, that must mean I have an affinity for one banana a day and that’s what I’ll stick with in the future. No, that’s just silly, who thinks that? Tomorrow, it may be two, or three, or none.. or a peach instead.

Artists tend to do things that are out of the norm, which doesn’t mean they’re going to just produce and produce so consumers can enjoy more and more. Sometimes ideas take a long time, sometimes not. If they don’t put out an album a year, or even make a song, doesn’t mean everything has come to a complete halt and music and the bands we love are dead. Further, is it not possible they are working on things behind the scenes, away from prying eyes?

Brendan (profile) says:

Re: In defense of the Album

“As for the album format it really is becoming completely outdated. Why would anyone sit through the 5 out of 14 inevitable crap songs when you can pick and choose the tracks you want from the itunes store?”

To enjoy the music as the Artist originally intended. While I doubt it’s much of a concern for Billboard Hits artists, there are still those that put an effort into making an album a creation to be taken as a whole. Having just been to the concert last week, I can’t imagine listening to The Decemberists’ Hazards of Love anything less than fully and completely. (Not to mention The Crane Wife before that).

As I mentioned, this means less and less for the hits-based plastic disc industry. When the artists I like start releasing their work in another form(at), then that’s what I’ll listen to. For now, it’s still albums.

It might actually be nice to get small sets of 2 or 3 new songs in between “full albums” and it makes more sense when you don’t need to worry about filling the CD. But, I don’t want that all the time. For artists I’ve been listening to for years, it would be the equivalent of my favorite authors deciding to write only short stories instead of novels or series. The short form is great as a snack, but it can’t replace the long form.

Comboman says:

Re: Re:

As for the album format it really is becoming completely outdated. Why would anyone sit through the 5 out of 14 inevitable crap songs when you can pick and choose the tracks you want from the itunes store?

While I agree that most modern acts don’t utilize the album format correctly and it has been used to push a lot of “filler” material, there’s nothing wrong with the album format itself. In the heyday of album rock (1970’s), artists produced albums of thematically-linked songs. While each song may not have been a “hit”, each contributed to the overall theme of the album.

Sheinen says:

To be fair, the front page of today’s sun is ‘Armed Rubbery’ about the £40million Gem theives who ‘the sun can reveal’ wore rubber masks…

Next to this is an article about how Baby P’s mother was a lesbian, despite the baby (clue 1 sherlock) and her live in lover, who was also a man.

The Sun isn’t a newspaper, it’s a comic. It’s fun to read but ultimately pointless

Rubyatwork (profile) says:

Agree completely that The Sun is a comic. It exists to sensationalise stories and print gossip about celebs.

Re Radiohead, check out this link from NME (premier UK music mag. To quote from the article:

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has hinted that the band aren’t currently planning to release another album conventionally.

The singer said that he still had a lot of time for the album as an artform, but explained that to release another batch of songs in that format would “kill” Radiohead.

Thom Yorke went on to say that Radiohead “need to get away” from releasing albums in the traditional format. Instead, he hinted that the band may release new music via EPs or online.

Doesn’t sound to me like someone who is giving up on experimenting with new ways to release music. Indeed, the whole idea of NOT releasing an album, but only releasing EPs or whatever, is pretty radical by the record labels’ standards.

Harry says:

Actually, Yorke was saying something slightly different

They have links to an extensive interview with Yorke over at Green Plastic (the best unofficial Radiohead site)

Sometimes, I think people read into this stuff too much. I don’t think Yorke is complaining about formats, or business models at all. He’s simply saying the creative process it took to make In Rainbows was painful. It’s pretty well known, Radiohead makes a ton of versions of each song before they decide on the right one and that there’s a lot of give and take between the band members – so it’s a long process for them to make a full album and creatively exhausting, especially for Yorke who has had the same complaint after most of their albums. It sounds like they are going to focus on smaller projects, like single songs or EP’s. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them do a few more solo projects – ironically, the last time Yorke complained about this, he went out and made his solo album.

To me, this just sounded like a tired member of a band after a long recording process and an even longer tour.

jsl4980 (profile) says:

Why not make a new feature "Things we didn't post"

Gizmodo has been doing a new daily post called “Remainders – Things we didn’t post” where they show stories they decided not to write full posts about. Why not do the same thing and put up links that were sent to you that you decided weren’t good enough. You might find that your readers do find some of those sites interesting that you might want to revisit. I have no clue how long it would take to put up something like that, but it would be interesting to see what you deem unworthy.

kindofageek (profile) says:

Album Has Its uses, Just Not For These Guys

I admit that when I purchase music on iTunes I generally get the whole album. That’s just because I like to have full albums. Having said that, I typically don’t like every song on there and could probably save money by buying individual tracks. That’s just the way I do things. Of course if Radiohead or Trent Reznor want to release singles or EP’s or whatever, more power to them. I’ll still buy/download them as well. Although I like to get the whole album, I do agree that the format is somewhat dying. Not dying as a whole, but dying for those that wish to innovate in new exciting ways. That’s what these guys are doing. Something new. Reznor made millions with his experiments, and Radiohead was successful with theirs. Now that they are taking some time to come up with some new radical ways to get their music out they must be failing? I just don’t see it. What I do see is a bunch of people with their panties in a wad over a bunch of highly successful groups that are going against the ancient/failing business that we call the music industry, and doing well at it. So please, PLEASE, stick with your current model so that when it completely collapses, you can shut up and I can finally listen to my The Slip and In Rainbows downloads in peace.

kindofageek (profile) says:

Re: Album Has Its uses, Just Not For These Guys

I would also like to point out that I do have to agree with some of the posts that what appears to be failure to some, is just lack of good content. I didn’t like the In Rainbows second CD all that much and some of Reznors latest work isn’t at the top of my list. Dare I say that these guys realize this and want to take some time to get back in touch with their creative selves? Let these guys take a break and come up with some more good stuff.

fogbugzd says:

Failure *IS* an option

Even if one or several of the innovative groups went belly up, it would not prove anything except that all businesses fail (unless they are artificially propped up by the government). The innovative businesses have as much right to fail as anyone. In fact, they should be failing more than they are because by definition, innovation is risky. The fact that these models like NIN have been around so long defies logic, and is itself probably a testament to the weaknesses of the old, artificial oligopoly system that the music industry is trying to perpetuate.

Sheinen says:

In the heyday of album rock (1970’s), artists produced albums of thematically-linked songs. While each song may not have been a “hit”, each contributed to the overall theme of the album.

True that – for example, any Pink Floyd album or most Led Leppelin LP’s would be significantly poorer for the loss of any single track, regardless of whether I’d listen to that track as a one off.

However that’s not the way the music industry works any more, and while Albums should certainly still be made by anyone willing to use their actual potential, it seems like a waste of digital space the way it’s used right now.

KB (profile) says:

I’m an advocate of Mike’s opinions, in the very large part. I got to wondering today though, if we expect musicians (and other artists) to spend huge amounts of time figuring out new business models and new and interesting ways to connect with fans or deliver “content” (that still makes me flinch, denigrating music by calling it mere “content” but…), won’t their creativity suffer? I mean, the majority of the musicians I know are not marketing-savvy people or bleeding-edge techies, but they’re effing good musicians who deliver good songs. How does someone who is a great musician thrive in a (proposed) market where the current model is completely obsolete? Thom Yorke is in a privileged position in that he was already very rich before he started to break the mould in terms of content-delivery. It’s not nearly so easy for an independent artists to do the same thing and have really strong exposure.

I’d be interesting in hearing what Mike thinks about what I see as a gap in the (otherwise very sound) logic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well, here’s what you’re missing: Leaving labels != Doing everything yourself.

I can HIRE people to do that for me. Production, distribution, marketing, all of that has gotten cheaper and cheaper over the last decade.

What’s more, I don’t even have to go through the process of finding good people to hire, because that’s what you hire a manager for.

The greatest benefit here is that I’m the one calling the shots. I’m hiring them, I get the final say, I keep all the rights to my creations, and if the people I hire aren’t doing a decent job, then I just don’t hire them again. More than that, the money goes into my pocket first.

This is really the natural outcome of today’s situation, as control is shifting hands. The only reason the labels existed was because of the difficulties of delivering content to a broader market, and because of the high cost of initial investment. When I can speak to the world at the click of a button, and when music production has become ridiculously easy and cheap, why is a centralized music organization even necessary?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Except for the two obvious questions:

1) Who the heck are you, and why are you not so famous that you don’t have time to post here, and

2) How much time do you lose from being an artist to be a manager, a producer, a sales guy, a booking agent, and an HR person?

Is your potential as an artist lost because you end up spending your time being your own label?

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“which I’m quite certain is what I said above”

Yep, you did. Some people apparently have trouble with reading.

Further to your well-made points, why can’t the existing labels do the roles that KB indicated may not be suited to some artists. I mean, that’s what the @#$@ labels are SUPPOSED to do. Handle the business end, and let artists create. But through the years, they added in “sticking it to the artist, capturing all the profit, taking all the rights, and then gouging the customer” to the mix. But really, the role of a label should be changing to fit the modern production costs and distribution economics. They don’t, because this would mean a reduction of power, control, size, jobs, and profit. So new labels will emerge that DO meet the business needs of artists. Some, like Reznor or Amanda Palmer will handle much of the biz themselves, while others can choose to outsource it all. The great news is: it’s their choice. They can control it all, they can outsource or do whichever pieces they choose.

KB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

See I disagree with one of your points. You cannot “speak to the world at the click of a button”. Not really. You have the “potential” to speak to the world at the click of a button, but when this fact is stated in this way, it makes it sound like I can post my music and automatically, 50 million people will hear it. This is obviously not the case. There’s still a lot of leg work to be done and a LOT of money to be spent promoting. I think that’s the only part of the large machine that I see as being valid and sustainable, the promotional aspect. It should obviously change to leverage technology more often, but simply stating that, to paraphrase, “you’ve got the internet, you can hit your market” is nonsense.

rideincircles (user link) says:

I like the format

As a fan of both the bands, I love the format of being able to pay what you like. I agree that innovation is always necesary and pushes the limits of what happens. More and more people seem to be going the route they went down.

I will also mention I was up front for the Bonnaroo show, and it was absolutely amazing. Nine Inch Nails came out with a vengeance and they destroyed that place that night. It would have been fine to go out the way they did. I rank that as tied for the best show Ive ever seen. I wonder what he has planned for the last shows. He will bring it no doubt. Look up rideincircles on youtube for videos if you care to see.

barrenwaste (profile) says:


Wrong. It is not the marketers who decide if a strategy is a failure or a winner. Never has been. The marketers ride the trends, predict future intrests and demand. However, large companies don’t like changing markets, as it generally means loss of profit for them. Smaller companies, on the other hand, generally like a market in flux, as it often opens niches and horizons for them. Enter the marketers. One group, those who work for large companies, attempts to generate intrest in failing markets, identify new markets, and force smaller companies out through brand spam. They do this through a variety of ways, but they don’t decide what works and what doesn’t. They attempt different methods, find the one that fits thier clients intrests best, and proceed. Notice I did not say they find the most effective method. The company decides which sttategy to use, after consulting with the marketer. This is how you end up with idiot brand campaigns and markets that act as if they are dying of terminal cancer. Mike’s method works, and it works well. The reason it hasn’t caught on like wildfire is simple. There are to many large companies totally invested in the old methods. The new methods popping up revolve around the musician, not the label. Because of this the companies are pumping all available capital into legislature to halt the new methods as well as brand spam campaigns and market campaigns. With that lined up against it, no wonder musicians are flocking to it in droves. Give it time. It will win out.

Mehul says:

No more Albums

It sort of makes sense to not have albums now as people would still prefer to download single tracks than the whole thing. Also a collection of 12 tracks together can create buzz once a year (or twice if your Rush!) but a single a month would more or less hold you at the charts for a longer period of time.

Even the concerts would have a different energy when fans realize that a new song can be debuted tonight!

All in all this is a new experiment to have a sustainable business model for the Music Industry, let’s see if this works.

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