Fallacy Debunking: Successful New Business Model Examples Are The 'Exception'

from the debunker's-forum dept

I’ve been meaning to start to put together a series of posts that debunk the common “criticisms” we get that are all too often based on logical fallacies. I end up spending way too much time in the comments responding to people posting those same logical fallacies over and over again, and it would be nice to be able to point to posts that “answer” the complaints quickly. I’m still not sure if I’ll ever really get around to it, but sometimes someone else does such a nice job of it, that I might as well highlight it with a post here.

In this case, it’s the commonly claimed fallacy that all these new business models don’t really matter because of two things: (1) so much money is still going to the “big players,” and (2) there are only a “few” examples of these models working, so they’re outliers.

One example of this kind of thinking was seen in the comments to our recent post about the developer of the game Minecraft making $100,000 per day, without any distribution or retail deals or really any outside help. Yet, one of our commenters said this was nothing, because Halo made $200 million on its first day. Of course, that’s a pure apples to oranges comparison. Halo is from Microsoft, and involves a giant team, a huge budget, massive advertising and distribution deals. I would guess that if you compared the two in terms of profitability per developer, Minecraft would win by a wide, wide margin.

Anyway, it’s a meaningless comparison. Setting an artificial level as determining what counts as a “success” makes no sense. What we’re interested in when we’re looking at new business models and new strategies is how these compare to how a similar person would have done without those models. Without the internet and the ability to distribute Minecraft the way Markus Persson is doing so, he wouldn’t be making anywhere near $100,000 per day. More likely is that he’d be working for a much larger gaming company, one piece in a cog, and bringing in something closer to $100,000 for the year, and not working on projects nearly as interesting.

Another example of this occurred earlier this year, when a Billboard reporter, Anthony Bruno, attacked the concept of “CwF+RtB” by arguing that I’ve only “cherry picked” the success stories, and many who have tried it failed to become successful. But, that makes no sense. No one guaranteed that using a smart business model automatically makes your band a huge success. What we said is that if you do it right, it’s likely you’d be more successful than otherwise — but that still might involve only a minor improvement if under the old system you wouldn’t be successful at all. And if the CwF+RtB concept doesn’t matter because some artists who have used it haven’t become big stars, then wouldn’t that mean that the “traditional” model of big record label/sell CDs has always been a dreadful failure since so few artists become successful that way? After all, pointing to the success of Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or the Beatles under the old model, is certainly pointing to the cherry-picked “exceptions.”

Andrew Dubber points us to a fantastic blog post by Rich Huxley, of the band Hope & Social, who ran into this sort of “criticism” after writing a blog post (similar to many we’ve written) reminding everyone that the big record labels are not the “music industry.” In the comments, a guy named Tim London challenged that by claiming that since the big record labels still take in a ton of money (in aggregate), and many of these new business models appear to be artists making much smaller amounts, the record labels still are the industry. One sentence from his comment should give you the general summary:

I know you’re wrong because the music industry as represented by the majors is still coining it and the music industry as rep’d by you is getting by, struggling, working part time or making music as a hobby.

There’s that apples and oranges comparison again. Thankfully, Huxley decided to write an entire (brilliant) blog post debunking the idea that the total amount of money some record labels make is indicative of the overall value of a particular model. First, he goes through some basics to show how many musicians there are out there, and points out that money made isn’t always an indicator of quality (“That Van Gogh was a penniless artists does not diminish the greatness of his work.”)

But then comes the real point, explained eloquently. The critics like this highlight the huge earners in the existing industry, but ignore that the overwhelming majority of the folks who try to go the old route end up making $0. They mock the person embracing new business models for “only” making a decent living, ignoring the fact that so many who went the way they prefer were drummed out of the industry making no living at all. Here’s the way Huxley explains it:

Less than 10% of signed artists recoup. Take Maximo Park for example. They have by their own admission never made a penny from record sales and make their money from DJ sets in the main. An example I have first hand knowledge of, Embrace, have sold millions of albums, they were a genuinely massive band; they performed from Glastonbury main-stage to Top Of The Pops and everywhere in-between. When they split from Virgin, they owed their label three quarters of a million pounds. I guess my point is that if we promote the Trad Music Biz’s model as “The model” then the message we’d be sending is:

  • less than one percent of musical artists are part of the music business
  • only a tenth of those will recoup and make money from their record sales, and that’s good
  • an artist should be saddled with debt, the rate at which they pay that back is equivalent to a credit card with a 900% interest rate

Basically, the problem is that those who cherry pick just the biggest artists ignore all the ones who made nothing at all from a record label deal, thanks to the fun of RIAA accounting. In other words, those artists are the true “exceptions.” They’re the ones who got the winning lottery ticket, but you can’t ignore all those who got nothing. If you were to put all of the musicians who went the “traditional” route into a set, and all of the musicians going the “new” route into a set, and took the median, I’d guarantee that it would be higher in the new set. And that’s the point. Embracing the new ways makes it much more likely that you’ll make some money. It improves your chance of being able to make money making music. And that seems like a good thing, right?

As a part of that, of course, is that all of the costs have gone down with the new ways of doing things. The reason why people needed the old gatekeepers to fund stuff in the past was because there were no cheaper options. The only way to actually get this stuff done was to go through them. But these days, everything is cheaper. As Huxley notes with his band:

Hope and Social believe in and benefit from Pay What You Want. We go on about this here, but also… As musicians, we all have the ability to take advantage of the same channels that H&S have:

  • dramatically reduced costs of recording
  • a zero cost of distribution (should we choose to make mp3s available on the internet then there’s no cost to us. This is miles away from the Trad model where the cost of recording and manufacture made it nigh on impossible to record and release independently)
  • reduced cost of promotion (CD’s don’t need to be sent to reviewers, press etc at the cost of a quid per CD, and half again on postage)
  • and by building relationships with people, they become our PRs, our evangelists (to coin another religious term, man I’ve got to stop doing that)

Also, there is a value in making your music available for free. If someone downloads an album of ours and shares it with a friend, copies the CD, plays it at a party, then that’s how we share and have our music heard by more people. This results in:

  • higher gig attendances
  • better paid shows
  • more sales of our music
  • more sales on other merchandise and art that we, and our fans make.

Finally, I’ll make one final debunking point that Huxley didn’t cover: London seems to have confused absolute revenue with the change in revenue (delta). If you look at those embracing new models, it may be smaller (now), but it’s growing quite quickly. If you look at the big record labels, they’re declining in size. Which trend is a better bet? It’s really a version of the Innovator’s Dilemma where the new growth trend is ignored because it’s not “as big” as the legacy business. Ignoring the deltas is dangerous.

And there we go. If you’re claiming these new model success stories are the “exception,” then it’s only fair to admit that those who succeed under the traditional models you claim are so good were actually much bigger “exceptions.” Can we now consider this argument debunked, and just link back to this post any time people bring up an argument like this?

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Comments on “Fallacy Debunking: Successful New Business Model Examples Are The 'Exception'”

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277 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Except pirates also rip off from small indie labels that have great deals with their artists. This constant implication that pirating music is ok because it hurts the big bad major labels is just another of the numerous rationalizations people use to rip off musicians.

If a band wants to give away their music, bully for them. But if a band wants to sell their record and expect payment in return, that right must be respected.

When you illegally pirate it, you’re just ripping them off.

And spare me any of the usual semantical justifications. It’s illegal and they didn’t give you permission. You’re the douchebag in that scenario.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:

Bands aren’t “better off”, Einstein.

If you knew anything about music and musicians you’d know that.

But you don’t. You’re just another guy that expects musicians, engineers, producers, assistants, promotion people, managers etc. to work for less or nothing so you can take and be entertained for free.

Good luck with that.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“You’re just another guy that expects musicians, engineers, producers, assistants, promotion people, managers etc. to work for less or nothing so you can take and be entertained for free.”

Welcome to Techdirt! Enjoy your stay! Be sure to check out the various proven business models listed above!

(Jeebus, Mike. What hornets’ nest did you kick over?)

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:

I know you wish they were petty semantics, but they’re not.

People know they’re breaking the law when they pirate music.

If they don’t want to get sued, then they need to keep their hand out of the cookie jar.

Stop whining. Their is no rationalization for illegal behavior.

People that pirate music and the sites that enable them are breaking the law. The US Supreme Court has said so.

http://www.grokster.com/

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“wasn’t the american revolution kind of illegal at the time? By your argument the US should still be a british colony.”

Yeah! And by your argument it’s ok for me to send someone over to break into your home, take all your money and dunk your head in the toilet!

Awesome dude, thanks!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Yeah! And by your argument it’s ok for me to send someone over to break into your home, take all your money and dunk your head in the toilet!

Oooooooh! Well argued! VERY lucid! and what was my argument there exactly except, that sweeping generalisations that are clearly untrue don’t really help much?

Kaega (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Why are you getting so upset? You don’t seem to realize these people agree with you. Taking something that someone worked hard to make, especially when they create it to make a living, is wrong. No one is trying to rationalize illegal behaviour. But you ignore the help these people try to provide.

It is illegal to kill someone. No one disagrees with this, not that it’s illegal or that it’s wrong. Someone who has murdered someone else will go to jail for a long time. Has this stopped homicide? Nope. In big cities it is more rampant then ever. So many people have taken to a model that reduces the risk.

1) Walk in groups with your friends (don’t walk alone)
2) Don’t walk around after dark
3) Make sure someone knows where you are, and call when you reach your destination safely
3) Stay in your vehicle (if driving) until you reach your destination safely.

Techdirt has been dedicated to finding new business models that propel the music industry forward. Instead of attempting their methods, you’re simply yelling “I have every right to walk down this dark alley in the middle of the night alone. Murder is illegal and all murderers are douch bags.”

You’re absolutely right, but it doesn’t change anything when someone finds their body the next morning.

No law or legislation will ever stop music piracy. The facts are anyone can do it, and no agency in the world can watch every person at once. The number of people who pirate music are much more than those who have never pirated a single song.

Do yourself a favour, and just think about it. And if you do decide the old model is out of date, remember that you don’t have to adopt the models that Techdirt has suggested. Maybe you could come up with something much, much better… maybe.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Techdirt is dedicated to one thing: Trying to make sure that illegal downloading continues unpunished and unabated.

By coming up with old schemes (promotion, merchandising) and trying to dress them up as the “new model”, they are really just trying to present a cover for the fact that they don’t like IP law.

There is no “old model”. Selling something is not an old model. Piracy messes with the supply (or scarcity) of what is being sold. It’s illegal. No amount of rationalizing and argumentative diversions will change that.

The new legislation and court decisions across the globe this past year and next, are a major blow to piracy and a much needed victory for artists.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Techdirt is dedicated to one thing: Trying to make sure that illegal downloading continues unpunished and unabated.”

Wow – is that all you’ve got? Everyone knows that statement is wrong, even you – so why bother?

Maybe you would get more respect if you actually addressed the issues rather than throwing turds.

Anonymous Poster says:

Re: Re:

The suggestion that piracy is somehow “okay” because it hurts the major labels is, itself, another fallacy.

In the time I’ve been reading Techdirt, they have never actually advocated piracy. They have, however, suggested that piracy isn’t just a one-way street; if artists learned why piracy occurs and alter their business models to convert pirates into legitimate paying customers, then piracy has actually helped them, not hurt them.

Cory Doctorow has a famous quote: “An artist’s enemy is obscurity, not piracy.” Piracy, whether an artist approves of it or not, helps to spread awareness of their works to audiences that they might not have reached through legitimate means alone. As long as the audience expands, there is always going to be a portion of it that wishes to support the artist. Back in the days before the Internet, supporting the artist directly was hard. You had to purchase works through a middleman (or “gatekeeper”), and there was (and still is) no guarantee that the middleman would give the artist proper compensation for their works from that purchase. Now, artists can sell their works directly without the need for a middleman, and consumers can feel confident in knowing that their money is going directly to the artist instead of the middleman.

Piracy is illegal, yes. But there’s no stopping it any more, short of eliminating pretty much any device that can produce a digital copy of a work and/or shutting down the Internet. 100 years ago, creating a copy was cost-prohibitive in many different ways; now, it’s as easy as point-and-click, drag-and-drop. So instead of taking all the time and effort towards stopping non-profit piracy (sending DMCAs, getting involved in lawsuits, and placing confusing and often-easily-cracked DRM on your product), why not embrace the fact that people like your work and use that as a stepping stone to connecting with that fanbase and giving them a reason to buy?

(I use the “non-profit” qualifier there because if for-profit piracy is happening, I do support any artist’s effort in going absolutely Dark-Ages-level medieval on those types of pirates’ asses.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“But if a band wants to sell their record”

If someone wants to prevent me from freely copying and redistributing content however I feel then I do not want such content occupying our monopolized broadcasting spectra and hence displacing freely copyable and redistributable content. It should be illegal. Same goes with the monopolized cableco infrastructure just as well.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I do not want such content occupying our monopolized broadcasting spectra and hence displacing freely copyable and redistributable content. It should be illegal. Same goes with the monopolized cableco infrastructure just as well.”

Then get your congressman to change intellectual property law.

Until then, you’re ripping off artists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Until then, you’re ripping off artists.”

No, whoever puts copy”right” music on monopolized spectra are ripping off artists who want to freely release their music by denying their music that spectra to gain publicity and they’re ripping off the public by making it more inconvenient to learn about and listen to that free music.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

That when I turn on my car radio ALL I want to hear is content that I can freely record, copy, and redistribute. Anything else should be illegal on monopolized spectra. I have just as much a right to that spectra as anyone else and if the govt is going to allocate my rights to use that spectra however I feel they should at least try and pretend that they are doing it in my best interest. They have no right to tell me I can’t copy and freely redistribute whatever is on public airwaves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

There are plenty of artists that would be more than willing to freely have their music broadcasted on public airwaves. Heck, at one time no one paid anything to the artists or record labels to have music broadcasted on public spectra (I believe artists even paid broadcasters), artists used to get enough just out of the promotion they received (ie: encouraging people to attend concerts). Artists hardly get anything from record labels, most of what they make comes from concerts even today. Look how much music is released under a CC license, a license exactly designed to circumvent copy protection laws at least to some extent. Many of those artist will be more than willing to have their music played on public airwaves just for the publicity it gives them. To deny them that by having copy protected music displace their music is unacceptable.

For the govt to grant corporations a monopoly on both distribution channels and content is not acceptable. It ensures that people only have convenient access to monopolized content on those channels, at monopolized prices. The purpose of laws should be to make things cheaper, more abundant, and better for the consumer, not to ensure high prices. This is called stealing, these people are stealing the economic benefit we can get by not having to pay monopoly prices on everything and they’re stealing our rights away by depriving us of them. We have one sided laws written by monopolists that give them everything they can take in as much as they can profit and benefit, at public expense, in return for nothing (content provision will occur regardless). Neither the artists nor the public benefits, only the monopolists. Content will be made and distributed perfectly fine without these monopolies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

(and the same thing goes for our monopolized cableco. The govt has no good reason to grant cableco monopolies under the false “natural monopoly” pretext. There used to be 50 media entities. Now only about five control a substantial portion of our media and it’s the governments fault for not allowing competitors to enter the market).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

If you want to define it as theft then you’re using a different meaning of the same word. One definition, copying something without authorization, is not wrong or unethical because no one should need authorization. The other definition, taking something and depriving the rightful owner of it, is wrong. See the difference. Generally when people use the word theft they mean the later while infringement refers to the former. To attempt to equate the former with the later is dishonest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“Copyright owners frequently refer to copyright infringement as “theft”. In law copyright infringement does not refer to actual theft, but an instance where a person exercises one of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner without authorisation.[6] Courts have distinguished between copyright infringement and theft, holding, for instance, in the United States Supreme Court case Dowling v. United States (1985) that bootleg phonorecords did not constitute stolen property and that “…interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The Copyright Act even employs a separate term of art to define one who misappropriates a copyright… ‘an infringer of the copyright.'” In the case of copyright infringement the province guaranteed to the copyright owner by copyright law is invaded, i.e. exclusive rights, but no control, physical or otherwise, is taken over the copyright, nor is the copyright owner wholly deprive of using the copyrighted work or exercising the exclusive rights owned.[7]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#.22Theft.22

Try again.

Colin says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

When did I say “new”? I’m pretty sure I never said “new”. I certainly said “different”, and I said it’s not about illegally downloading music, but I didn’t say it’s about “new” business models. Your reading comprehension (or lack thereof) might be why you’re so confused about the article.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“If a band wants to give away their music, bully for them. But if a band wants to sell their record and expect payment in return, that right must be respected.”

This is the funniest thing ever!

So, by that logic, my right to be paid a million dollars a day for writing comments on techdirt must also be respected. Pay up you thief!

Anonymous Coward says:

Consider an argument debunked?! Mike, this is the internet. I once tried (and failed) to convince someone of the existance of the abstract concept of probability.

In the words of Sherlock Holmes, “Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l’admire.” (“A fool will always find a bigger fool to admire him.”)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

> Hey Mike: why don’t you go contact 50 musicians, producers,
> etc. that are actually well known and successful and see
> how your crackpot theories go over. LOL

Except then you would be doing exactly what Mike has been accused of doing: CHERRY PICKING.

People like you like to ignore all of the artists that have been abused and exploited by the status quo.

Brian (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And when you think that going with the big labels is the only way to go then you DON’T have an informed choice and you can’t make a proper decision. When you are presented with bunk information then you can only make bunk choices.

Is it also okay for the major labels to claim they couldn’t find the artist to avoid paying? Or moving money around to avoid paying? Perhaps pushing rules and laws into place that would do NOTHING to give more money to the artist and just funnel it into the companies pockets? Taking money away from the little guys to give to the one big guy is fine too? How about forcing the artists to record at chosen studio X using equipment Y to be taken out of their money advancement without any choice being given to the artist as to where and what they want to use.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What?

You have no idea what you’re talking about. That isn’t how things go.

You heard about some band having a bad experience and now you decide to paint all labels with the same brush?

Keep digging. Everyone knows that this site is nothing but a propaganda arm for the free content lobby.

Anonymous Coward says:

Thanks for ignoring what I said Mike. I’m sure no one but me noticed.

Here- I’ll repeat what I wrote for you:

why don’t you go contact 50 musicians, producers, etc. that are actually well known and successful and see how your crackpot theories go over.

Hell, I’d be satisfied with 20, as long as you don’t try to drag out the stale NIN and Radiohead examples.

Let’s see you put your money where your mouth is and interview 20 well known musicians and producers about the current trends in the music biz.

Anonymous Poster says:

Re: Re:

I don’t know why he has to interview anyone when he’s already presented plenty of examples here on Techdirt about artists of all different levels of “successful” – from stadium-playing acts like NIN and Radiohead to independent artists like Matthew Ebel. The point of these tales aren’t that the ideas will propel someone into superstardom – it’s that the ideas, when properly implemented and followed through, will result in better business than by simply trying to sell content. (And selling digital content alone is a horrible business decision.)

Additionally, you say that NIN and Radiohead are stale examples. When the examples prove to be part of the string of successful experiments in alternative business models, I don’t think they’re stale. I think it makes them wholly relevant to this topic and worth discussing. The fact that NIN and Radiohead were famous because of their record deals and promotion shouldn’t matter one bit.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Was he referring to 50 Cent

No, because 50 Cent agrees with Techdirt. So do Shakira, Norah Jones and Nelly Furtado.

Note that it’s not their attitude towards illegal file sharing that makes them agree with Techdirt (which has never advocated piracy). It’s the idea that “connecting with fans” is more important than piracy, and that “selling scarcities” (like shows) is better as the focus of your business.

ukyo_rulz says:

Re: Re:

It’s funny how this comment basically demonstrates the fallacy that Mike was talking about before.

Let me say it again because apparently you did not understand the first time: If you want to say that the business models espoused by Mike are no good because they only work for those “lucky few” who are the “exceptions”, then you must first acknowledge that the current system is also no good for the same reasons. Most musicians with record label deals wind up not very successful at all (or at least, do not find success by earning royalties from record label sales of shiny plastic discs).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, Mike’s entire manifesto is based on logical fallacies.
1. He thinks labels don’t pay musicians. They do. Most labels LOSE money on the acts they advance money to because the acts end up not being sucessful. And the labels eat that cost. So that old justification for ripping off music doesn’t work.
2.He likes to try and convince people that the old music business mdel is dead. The old business model was offering something for sale and expecting people to pay for it if they wanted it. That business model isn’t old or dead, it stil exists everywhere in the world and has for thousands of years. It’s just that for the last 10 years you’ve been able to rip off music without fear of getting caught.
But thankfully, for artists, the law is finally catching up.

RadialSkid (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“And the labels eat that cost.”

Horse shit, if you’ll pardon my French. The labels continue to take 100% the artists’ royalties until their upfront is paid back, now and forever. The labels don’t lose nearly what the artist does.

“That business model isn’t old or dead, it stil exists everywhere in the world and has for thousands of years.”

WHAT??? Remind me again, what sort of licensing scheme did Francesco da Firenze use? What were his iTunes royalties?

“the law is finally catching up.”

Protip: If 500 million people want something, no law is going to stop them. Remember who is ultimately in charge.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

And you have no idea what you’re talking about.

I’ve worked as a musician, producer etc. for years with real bands- successful bands that are well known. Some bought homes with their record label advances. One who I know never recouped on their advance. Did that mean he lost his home?

NO.

This forum is full of people with ZERO real world experience that just want to rationalize their ripping off of artist’s work.

RadialSkid (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Did that mean he lost his home?”

It might…since he’s attempting to be a “professional musician” but isn’t making money, I can’t imagine where his income to keep his home would potentially be coming from.

No one is rationalizing ripping off anything, since no one is ripping off anything. I’m simply sending you the objectively true message: You lost. Roll with the tide or drown.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Some bought homes with their record label advances.

Here you go, making the same fallacy. Sure, there are bands that make money via major labels. But they’re in the vast minority. If you’re not in that minority, you make no money.

On the other hand, if you use Techdirt’s business models, you can usually make some money. Obviously the chances of living off your art are always going to be slim. But you’ll have a better chance than you would on a major label.

One who I know never recouped on their advance. Did that mean he lost his home? NO.

What he almost certainly did lose was the rights to his own music. Unless he’s one of the tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of artists that didn’t have to assign exclusive rights to the label as part of his deal.

I personally know many artists whose works went out of print. Do they have the right to release them themselves? NO.

And if the label offered him enough of an advance to buy a house, you know damn well that the label was making money hand over fist from his work. If he had been able to cut out that middleman, he would have made a lot more money.

That’s the way it works when middlemen own a monopoly on production, distribution, and promotional channels. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re talking about: workers (here, artists) are always better off when the monopoly is broken.

That’s the best thing about the internet: it is working to break this monopoly. The more it is broken, the more power artists will have, and the more money they can make.

Including your friend that bought a house. Or do you not like him very much?

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Why don’t you tell everyone about your inside experience with major labels?

You just blabber on about something you have no knowledge of and make up bullshit to try and buttress your position.

None of the real world examples I gave regret their experiences. They now have more than they ever would have had otherwise.

And I like my friend very much, thanks for asking, asshole. I’m thrilled he got to make albums before people could just steal them.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Why don’t you tell everyone about your inside experience with major labels?

On that other thread, I gave a (probably too) detailed account of how fans sharing files helped the genre that I’m in. Apparently you didn’t read it.

I don’t have any personal experience inside a major label, but I know people who do. I’m not going to name-drop them, that would be gauche. If you don’t want to believe me, that’s fine.

Of course, you don’t have to be a major label musician to criticize major labels. I mean, their monopoly effects every musician in the country, because they block access to all artists except their own.

I noticed you haven’t revealed your “inside experience” with major labels. Who do you work for, exactly?

None of the real world examples I gave regret their experiences.

You gave one (unnamed) example of a guy who bought a house. Good for him. And good for you for having a rich friend.

Now, let’s see some figures about how much the average recording artist makes from the sale of recorded music.

They now have more than they ever would have had otherwise.

They don’t know that, because the U.S. has never had “otherwise.” Within ten years, we will. If your friend is still making music, he’ll probably be a lot richer – since he won’t have label “freeloaders” to support.

I’m thrilled he got to make albums before people could just steal them.

Wow, I didn’t know your friend’s musical ability was magically drained when someone shoplifts a CD. That must suck.

cc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

This forum is full of people with ZERO real world experience that just want to rationalize their ripping off of artist’s work.

Ah yes, the good old days when the direct sale of music recordings was still considered a viable business model. The world has moved on I’m afraid, and what was a reasonable way for some musicians to operate no longer works — musicians once again need to make their money the same way they did before recording technology came along, which was less than a century ago, and they can also use the internet to reach a wider audience.

I don’t really listen to music any more, and I certainly don’t pirate it. Yet, I still think that copyright as it stands is stupid and ridiculous and must be struck down. Why? Because it’s draconian, unconstitutional and is being exploited by companies and governments that would love to see the internet in ruins. Losing the internet to save a dying business model is too high a price to pay, and it’s my duty to make sure that business model dies quickly before it does more damage. I’m sure in time more and more concerned citizens will join the push to put copyright in its place.

At the end of the day, recording artists in the new age need to find new ways to make money, while the dinosaurs will need to accept their fate.

I’ve worked as a musician, producer etc. for years with real bands- successful bands that are well known. Some bought homes with their record label advances. One who I know never recouped on their advance. Did that mean he lost his home?

NO.

I’m happy for your “some” successful bands and their fancy houses, I really am. I’m also happy for the drugs they could afford to snort and their private jets. I’m happy the success of those bands was determined by suits in a board meeting rather than by the market. I’m happy about the way the labels distributed the money to the smaller, less-well-advertised (and less successful) artists. I’m happy about the royalty percentages given to artists and the number of records an artist needed to sell to be profitable. And I’m definitely ecstatic that the music industry is buying laws to spy on people’s private communications in case a song changes hands.

All of those are signs of a healthy and vibrant cultural ecosystem that promotes creativity, artistic freedom, consumer choice and democracy. Anyone who opposes this regime is a villain and a pirate, and must be DMCAed, disconnected, hanged, drawn and quartered.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“It’s just that for the last 10 years you’ve been able to rip off music without fear of getting caught. But thankfully, for artists, the law is finally catching up.”

That’s a good joke. Remember the prohibition era? Putting that into the constitution sure solved a lot of problems didn’t it?

You can legislate all you want, but that won’t stop the “ripping”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

One more thing:

“That business model isn’t old or dead, it stil exists everywhere in the world and has for thousands of years.”

Which puts us in at least 10 AC and before. What business model did musicians have at that time?

Unless you were referring to the business model of selling physical goods? Because that, my friend, is totally different from trying to sell music, because for each bread/chicken/trinket I make, I have costs, so it makes sense that I charge for each copy of my bread/chicken/trinket. In the music business only the first copy has costs. Every subsequent copy costs 0 to make, therefore, it makes no sense to charge for it. Find something else to charge for, thief.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“In the music business only the first copy has costs. Every subsequent copy costs 0 to make, therefore, it makes no sense to charge for it”

LOL. This is so stupid I can’t believe you wrote it.

When an album is made there are costs. Those costs are hopefully to be recouped with sales.

Your pirating and copy distribution of music throws the supply end completely out of whack.

And it’s illegal. That’s not a real business model. That’s not competition as in a real market, it’s illegal.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“When an album is made there are costs. Those costs are hopefully to be recouped with sales.

Your pirating and copy distribution of music throws the supply end completely out of whack.”

For those who choose not to adapt, maybe. I’m inclined to listen to the actual artists, whom I’m supporting with my money, who send me thank you emails for helping put food in their bellies. After four studio albums I’m wondering how long it takes before your unbearable costs stop them making music.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I’m thrilled that unknown bands that people aren’t paying attention to are creative with their promotion. It’s great.

But it’s been around forever. And it doesn’t negate the damage done to most successful bands that have worked hard on their recorded output.

They’re the ones that get ripped off because it’s their music everyone wants to have.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

“I’m thrilled that unknown bands that people aren’t paying attention to are creative with their promotion. It’s great.”

I know them. I’m paying attention to them. I’m unsure where you got the idea that they were unknown and unpopular.

“But it’s been around forever. And it doesn’t negate the damage done to most successful bands that have worked hard on their recorded output.”

Of course it has, but the recording industry needs to re-learn some lessons because saying ‘thank you’ to fans is much smarter than calling them thieves.

“They’re the ones that get ripped off because it’s their music everyone wants to have.”

That makes absolutely zero sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Nothing gets you RIAA-dronetards in a lather faster than logic.

If you are so smart, provide simple guidelines to enforce this copyright you so vehemently defend. Start by something easy: a simple rule to determine if a file hosted or being uploaded somewhere is infringing on copyright or not.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“Actually the people you’re ripping off are the ones that are complaining.”

That is not entirely true. What about the musicians complaining about being ripped off by the labels?

As I’m sure you are aware, people complain everywhere about most everything. Very few complaints actually have any merit. But yeah, lets all contribute to the musical charity called “I’m entitled to money because I made something”.

I would appreciate it if you mediatards would stop accusing me of illegal activity. Either put up or shutup. You have nothing on me because I have not infringed, but I’m sure you are busy manufacturing some “evidence” that everyone must be infringing. What a load of crap.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“That’s another funny fallacy you freetards always trot out- anyone that defends musicians from being ripped off has to be from the riaa”

Hum…funny that you admitted, while replying to another comment, that you “work in the music industry”.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101022/04042611537/fallacy-debunking-successful-new-business-model-examples-are-the-exception.shtml#c771

You may not be from the RIAA, but I nailed it pretty close.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Any musician, producer, engineer, manager, etc. that is part of the creative process and makes their living from it…

Is in the music business.

Wait, weren’t you the one who asked for my experiences with major labels? As in, if I didn’t have any, I had no right to speak on the matter?

I did, for a time, make my living doing live sound. So do I magically know what I’m talking about now?

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“manifesto”
– Nice choice of words.

“He thinks labels don’t pay musicians.”
– So do the musicians, funny that

“Most labels LOSE money”
– Accounting is wonderful, no?

“justification for ripping off music “
– I missed that part of Mikes post, please point out exactly where that is.

Not sure how you got off the track here, but nice rant anyways.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, Mike’s entire manifesto is based on logical fallacies.

No, your entire criticism is based on “straw man” fallacies, since you don’t understand what Techdirt’s business model (not “manifesto”) actually is.

1. He thinks labels don’t pay musicians. They do. Most labels LOSE money on the acts they advance money to because the acts end up not being sucessful. And the labels eat that cost. So that old justification for ripping off music doesn’t work.

It’s abundantly clear that you have no idea how the music industry works. The way labels are set up, their artists do not make a cent until well after the label does. The only thing labels pay for is manufacturing and distribution. The rest of it (recording costs, promotion, etc) gets charged back to the artists.

From an artist’s perspective, you’re more likely to get paid following Techdirt’s business models, than you would be under the traditional label system.

There’s a good economic reason for that: Until file sharing, the recording industry was a monopoly. And whenever you have a monopoly – no matter what the industry – both consumers (fans) and workers (artists) are exploited.

2.He likes to try and convince people that the old music business mdel is dead. The old business model was offering something for sale and expecting people to pay for it if they wanted it. That business model isn’t old or dead, it stil exists everywhere in the world and has for thousands of years.

Techdirt’s business models also involve “offering something for sale and expecting people to pay for it if they wanted it.” Techdirt is just sane enough to realize that “something for sale” needs to be a scarce good, not a public good.

And the copyright system has only existed since 1709. Not even close to one thousand years.

But thankfully, for artists, the law is finally catching up.

The law has been steadily getting more draconian, especially since 1997. And it’s making society worse for everyone, artists included. And hasn’t even slowed down the constant increase in illegal file sharing. And even if it could work, and piracy could be completely eliminated, there’s no evidence whatsoever that artists would make even a penny more than they do now.

Plus, like I said above – not a single one of Techdirt’s business models have anything to do with piracy. They would work better than the traditional label system even if piracy never existed.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Sometimes things are just way too easy.

“That business model isn’t old or dead, it stil exists everywhere in the world and has for thousands of years.”

The RECORDING industry was born as an industry in the early part of the 20th Century after Edison recorded Mary Had A Little Lamb on a wax cylinder not thousands of years ago. Try barely a century ago.

(Edison, by the way, had no qualms about ripping off others, breaking their patents and whatever he needed to do to make money off his stuff.)

Copyright has NOT existed for thousands of years it was “invented” by the Statue of Ann, in the 1600s, to protect publishers from from each other. The “artist” was never part of the deal and, in reality, isn’t now. Check your basic arithmetic and then check your research.

The law cannot catch up or control a massive shift in how our culture(s) and consumption patterns change as a result of the Internet. It can try to protect those who are destined to fail if they don’t adapt and try to slow things down but that will fail as did laws that stated that a crier with a bell or some such thing walk in front of early autos to announce that the dangerous beasts were coming, as if people couldn’t hear the noise and see the belching smoke of early internal combustion engines.

If the recording and motion picture industries refuse to change then they will die. Along with broadcasting and print publishing, newspapers and others who are tied to a century and more old model. And good riddance.

Nor will silly laws that only go to prove that, often, once again that “the law is an ass!”.

Something will arise to take their place. It always has because if nothing else, we humans are highly adaptive. Even if we have to copy then modify from the past to suit current situations cultural industries will continue to exist.

We may not know the form they’ll take but they’ll continue to exist.

Oh, and the reason that laws need to catch up is that cultural shifts and changes are taking place so quickly now that the law just can’t keep up with them. Particularly things like copyright and patent law.

“But thankfully, for artists, the law is finally catching up.”

Surely you mean the recording, motion picture and publishing industries along with their various hangers on

Stuff this into some of the obvious vacancy space in your brain — COPYRIGHT HAS NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH ARTISTS IT EXISTS TO PROTECT PUBLISHERS ALWAYS HAS AND ALWAYS WILL. At least in it’s current form.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Do you know that most songwriters own their own songs and publishing?

Do you know that artists who sing and perform are only paid 75% of their statutory royalties, because of “controlled composition” clauses in their record contracts?

Wait, you do?

I guess maybe we should both not assume the other is an ignorant asshole.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How about one example, jackass.

The Grateful Dead.

Now, I have a question for you. Just how to you think most artists survived prior to the recording industry came into existence? Leave out the Brahm’s, Litz’s, Handel’s of the world and just tell me.

I don’t mean the well known and “successful”, these days meaning overhyped for the most part, acts. (At least that much never changes.)

The odds are that the Beatles, Stones, Elvis, Zep, Mellencamps, Dixie Chicks and other well known and, by your terms, successful acts would have been hugely successful regardless of the business model. In fact, the ones I’ve just listed became successful and wealthy IN SPITE of the recording industry’s business model not because of it.

You want to know something else? All those I’ve listed as well as producers such as David Foster, George Martin and a host of other successful producers got that way because, like the artists they worked with, they love music. Not because of any business model.

You’re reminding me, more than most have recently, about the (in)famous A&R guys all over England who refused to sign The Beatles because “the day of the guys and guitars are over”. So wedded to your own preconceptions and prejudices that you can’t see beyond them just as they were.

Anonymous Coward says:

cowardly examples...

how is minecraft related to the music industry? No one in the music industry is making 100,000/day, regardless of the business model. That’s the problem people have with your ignorant ideals of magic business models. Even with the most innovative music business models, no one is exactly raking in the dough, unless you are a huge act that already has a crapload of devout followers (NIN comes to mind). I challenge you to state actual dollar amounts artists are making with your praised innovative business models. Put up or shut up…

Anonymous Poster says:

Re: cowardly examples...

There is no “golden ticket” business model. Nothing Mike has ever said here on Techdirt has claimed to offer that “golden ticket”.

No, Minecraft isn’t related to the music industry – but successful business models are always worth exploring, and what works for one form of media can sometimes be adapted to another form. It’s not always the case, but some basic core ideas – including “CwF + RtB” – aren’t media-specific and can be carried over to any number of types of media.

Instead of having Mike try and prove you wrong, why don’t you go out there and prove him wrong yourself? Go and prove that all the old models are still viable, and refuse to adapt and change to the marketplace. See how well that works out for you.

Shadow Six (profile) says:

Re: cowardly examples...

“That’s the problem people have with your ignorant ideals of magic business models. Even with the most innovative music business models, no one is exactly raking in the dough, unless you are a huge act that already has a crapload of devout followers (NIN comes to mind).”

ummm yeah that IS the point. You don’t make dedicated fans by suing the freckles off of every fresh faced kid. So, here ya go, the music industry is going through the same metamorphosis that the News Papers, Books, TV, Movies and even software is going through. Net revenue (budump ching) may drop initially, but the merchandising, live shows, Bah Mitzvahs or what have you, will have fewer greedy creeps, taking more than they deserve. By trimming the (mostly) fat. Artists will prosper, and manage their own celebrity directly with their fans. Basically an army of lawyers, performance rights “societies”, record labels, managers A-X … will have to pound sand… they make terrible backup singers anyway.

“I challenge you to state actual dollar amounts artists are making with your praised innovative business models. Put up or shut up…”

Well, whats say you put up a reasonable comparator first so we’re not comparing apples to oranges. I’m going to need you to scan their tax forms and driver license photos. Please provide us with, the name of act, if not evident by the above documents.

I look forward to your next post Mr. Coward. If that is indeed your real name.

John Duncan Yoyo says:

Re: Re: cowardly examples...

The problem with the old model is that the successful are the aberrations. The failures are the norm.

I know Jerry Pournelle has said he makes more money from Amazon if you buy his books from links to Amazon through his site than he gets for the book from his publisher. I can’t find a bibliography with links to his own work on Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor to Amazon but what should one expect from a site with that name. http://www.jerrypournelle.com/

This is understandable- The value of the link for Public Relations is closer to the act of an actual sale than the actual creation of the work. The massive machine that needs to be funded make the actual distribution of profits to the artist an unlikely proposition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike's COWardly Examples

Mike, you said “I’ve been meaning to start to put together a series of posts that debunk the common “criticisms”.

Well, That’s great. Because I have a criticism for you. My criticism is: Where’s The Meat? I’ve been watching your blog for a few months now, and all I can say is that you don’t have any. You offer a number of theories, and comments but no real beef.

Thankfully, I have found some beef. It’s Omaha Steaks new “Steak Time” application available on the iPhone.

With “SteakTime”, you can get access to over 100 steak preparation recipes, and exclusive how-to videos, and an amazingly accurate steak timer. In addition, you can wow your guests with “Steak Trivia”!

—–

Okay, kidding aside, I love developers who solve a problem. Consider that Omaha Steaks can make an iPhone app, why don’t you make one, Mike? Are you a poultry guy?

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Be sure to check out the end of the Universal- 20/20 thread, you’ll see what I mean.

Ha ha, yeah, please do check out his comments in that thread. “John Paul Jones” was smacked down continuously, then resorts to childish name-calling, like the spanked baby he is. It’s kind of funny. Or it would be, if people with his attitude weren’t exploiting artists and the public.

Johnny says:

Nice post!

Thanks for writing this post, it really explains well what I’ve always felt was the case: The old business model distributes unfairly, a few become very rich but most remain poor, it looks like a 3rd world income distribution model where 98% of the population live in absolute poverty but a few are filthy rich.

The new business model, is much fairer, it will lead to more artists making something, but probably fewer becoming super rich.

Overall that is much better, it will increase the amount and diversity of music available to us.

Anonymous Coward says:

You've got to wonder

The thing that always gets me (and many including Mike seem to have said the same thing) is the number of people who scream “Show me examples” and then come up with a gazillion reasons why those particular examples weren’t actually examples.

However, there seems to me to be quite a number of valid examples where new business models that don’t scr*w the consumer so badly work, and each time someone has shown actual figures they tend towards supporting that. It gives me to wonder…. this is in the face of some of the most letigious, protectionist and rich (=access to lawmakers) corporations in existance, so just how much *more* successful would they be if instead of fighting them the big corps got on board and *supported* new business methods.
Given the war-chest they have to start (they are not after all starting from nothing), you’ve gotta figure existing corps could make a ton, though it would mean a few others including startups would likely get to the same level. After all new models are based on “smartest and most agile” and not “strongest” and there’s always someone smarter than you.
The only conclusion I can draw is they don’t want to share their toys. Hey! I’ve just realised, corporations are like 3 year olds! Wow! Revelation! 🙂

CrushU says:

Re: Re: You've got to wonder

It’s a variation of No True Scotsman known as Moving The Goalposts.

No True Scotsman changes the definition of the point of contention, whereas Moving The Goalposts requires ever-more rigorous standards for accepting a counter-argument.

Doing either of these means You Fail Logic Forever

(And if you clicked any of those links, I’m sorry for destroying any other plans you had for the day. ;( )

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You've got to wonder

Thanks, I was trying to remember that one. I forgot it was on TVTropes instead of Wikipedia.

No need to worry about me, I have read enough TVTropes to become quite resistant to its lure (being able to say “Oh, I already read that one” to most of its internal links does that to you).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You've got to wonder

Your “big corporation” bs is a strawman.

You steal music from tiny and destitute indie labels too.

Hypocrites and douchebags pirate music.

Didn’t mention piracy once, didn’t mention not paying for something once and FYI never downloaded a song without paying for it and don’t use fire sharing networks.

Hypocrites and people who can’t think of a valid counter argument try and change the subject.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You've got to wonder

Yeah, that’s why sales were cut in half in the last decade while the ISPs got mega profitable.

Man, you’re just a walking set of talking points, aren’t you?

It’s like you’re every single harebrained theory that Techdirt has completely debunked, all rolled up into one big ball of fail.

Too bad your talking points have nothing to do with this article… or even the comment you replied to.

Obviously you’re here solely to derail the topic, and I’m guilty of letting you. No more. Have a nice life.

Transbot9 (user link) says:

I'm a graphic artist...

…And the system is pretty much set up to screw me. I’ve never heard of graphic designers and artists getting royalties for CD covers, packaging designs, posters, etc. It’s all “work for hire.”

Nor do I have the money for lawyers if someone does steal my stuff, so practically, the law might as well not even be there. More draconian laws wouldn’t help, either.

To be honest, it doesn’t bother me. Someone may “steal” an idea of mine, but they will never be able to exicute it the way I would. If someone takes my art and passes it off as their own, I’ll probably mock them if I ever found out about it. But it isn’t worth me getting all bent out of shape for something I can’t control.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: I'm a graphic artist...

“…And the system is pretty much set up to screw me. I’ve never heard of graphic designers and artists getting royalties for CD covers, packaging designs, posters, etc. It’s all “work for hire.”

Nor do I have the money for lawyers if someone does steal my stuff, so practically, the law might as well not even be there. More draconian laws wouldn’t help, either.

To be honest, it doesn’t bother me. Someone may “steal” an idea of mine, but they will never be able to exicute it the way I would. If someone takes my art and passes it off as their own, I’ll probably mock them if I ever found out about it. But it isn’t worth me getting all bent out of shape for something I can’t control.”

Work for hire is what nearly everyone else has to put up with. I’m just glad that more people, like you, are realising that relying on copyright as a crutch is not helping anyone. To use music as an example, if it weren’t for the easy exploitation of copyright then there would be far less manufactured bands for dedicated musicians to compete with. I’d wager that you’d also see less professional graphic designers without copyright, but I’d also wager that the ones left would be better off; especially as I doubt there are any graphic designer ‘rock stars’ to lose out.

Transbot9 (user link) says:

Hrm...

Maybe it is a good thing I’m being ignored while Anonymous Coward is resorting to angry epithets…

I can honestly say that the “traditional model” isn’t working for me, so I’m working on an untraditional model – but I’m creating something because I want to. If it starts making a profit, that’ll be awsome. If it doesn’t, I at least get a good portfolio piece.

Karl (profile) says:

Not bad, but...

This isn’t bad, but I would’ve liked to see more about why the “old” business models won’t work any more.

The economic foundation of copyright, is to legally convert a public good into a club good. But this is only possible if there is a reliable way to exclude others from using that good. That was possible when that “good” was embedded in physical objects or other scarce resources, but it becomes impossible if it’s non-excludable. In other words, club goods are only possible with a natural monopoly.

And I do mean “monopoly.” The record labels’ sole business model depended upon their economic monopoly of the music industry. They did this by controlling excludable goods. They controlled radio airplay, bin space in record stores, access to major venues, etc – all “scarce goods.”

I’m sure someone will come along and point out that there’s more than one major label, so technically it’s an oligopoly. But those labels realized long ago that they would benefit more by forming a cabal than by competing with each other. And as the number of major labels shrank (from six in 1988 to four today), and those labels became integrated with other media, it became easier to collude with each other and deliberately exclude any other market players. In essence, the cabal acted as one unit, forming a monopoly.

(I would also like to point out that record labels aren’t the only monopolists in the music industry – read up on Clear Channel for another example.)

Whenever you have a monopoly – no matter what the industry – everyone else is exploited: workers, consumers, and other businesses. Most consumers should remember the CD price fixing scandal from the late 1990’s. The detrimental effect on “satellite” businesses is talked about on Techdirt all the time. Two examples (of many) are the ridiculous royalty rates that make it impossible to start a legal digital music service, and EMI’s snubbing of indie record stores.

So it should be no surprise that artists are also exploited. It’s pretty common knowledge that recording artists almost never make any money from the sale of recorded music. If you need the details, you can read articles by musicians such as Janis Ian, Steve Albini, Michelle Shocked (PDF here), or Courtney Love. Or read articles from The Root or The Austin Chronicle. Or read about how the current VP of the RIAA tried to secretly make all recordings “works for hire” so artists would never own the rights to their own songs.

This doesn’t just effect the 90% of musicians who will never make any money on recorded music. It effects the top industry earners as well. In 2002, the top 35 earning artists in the music industry made only 17% of their income from recorded music. For Paul McCartney, the top earner, the amount was only 6%. (Source: Connolly and Krueger (2006), quoted in File-Sharing and Copyright (PDF) by Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf (2010), page 39.)

It’s obvious why artists sold themselves into what is essentially indentured servitude. They had little choice. If they didn’t sign these contracts (all of which were the same), they couldn’t be played on commercial radio; couldn’t play the larger venues; couldn’t get shelf space on record stores. They were at the mercy of a monopoly industry.

The only way artists will truly benefit is if that monopoly is broken, and the Internet is doing just that. The fear of losing a monopoly is really what’s behind the attacks on Techdirt. The CwF+RtB model can be used by labels, but it doesn’t depend on them, and this lack of dependence is what’s frightening the “old guard.”

It has nothing to do with “ripping off” artists, and everything to do with empowering them.

Transbot9 (user link) says:

RE: vivaelamor

Thanks for the reply! When I found out about how the royalty system for writers (song, film, etc) works, I found it rather odd (and still do).

I’d wager that you’d also see less professional graphic designers without copyright, but I’d also wager that the ones left would be better off; especially as I doubt there are any graphic designer ‘rock stars’ to lose out.

You’d lose that bet, as what has caused an explosion in designers has been the rapid expansion of technology and media. It’s an over-saturated job market, with a lot of people in the field. A lot of them arn’t very good, though, and the best always stand out. I’m still working on getting up there myself.

Copyright, one way or another, is pretty much a non-issue. The real issue is the fall-out from being creators of infinitly scarce goods. Any digital artist creates a file that can be copied infinitly, rather than a “traditional” artist that often works in a real-world medium to create a unique piece. Some of these “traditional” artists also believe in a fallicy that the computer does all the work, which is an antithesis of a sizable chunk of modern and post-modern art philosophy.

The scarce good is no longer the final product, but the artist’s creativity. The tricky part is convincing someone to pay for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

How about JPJ and the like just stay on topic and discuss business models for the future of music and those that love it?
One day effective business models that work with music/movies/tv/etc and those that consume it will be required to keep people like JPJ working.
Thowing people (The fans) in jail may be one way but it certainty doesn’t make new fans or keep the old ones very effectively.
Also, obscurity is the death of any artist. Rights that prevent the publishing of an artist that has long since passed away (Can’t fight to have their work published.) is death of the art and artist. How is that effective?
Anyway, I’m a bit tired of the name calling and the back biting. Lets discuss an effective future for both the artists, consumers and (some) of the gatekeepers?

vivaelamor says:

RE: vivaelamor

“You’d lose that bet, as what has caused an explosion in designers has been the rapid expansion of technology and media. It’s an over-saturated job market, with a lot of people in the field. A lot of them arn’t very good, though, and the best always stand out. I’m still working on getting up there myself.”

Yes, my point was that the professional industry would shrink to fit mostly the truly creative designers, who as you say are selling their talents rather than their creations. While their business model may not change from how they’re doing things now (they are already at an advantage by selling their talent rather than relying on copyright), the money they get rise as it is not being spent on less talented competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

If that were the case, no one would have responded to my first post and all the others I’ve written. I’ve just been responding ever since.

You do realize that virtually every post is just people telling you how no one’s advocating piracy, right? I really want to make sure I’m understanding you (although on second thought I’m not sure I want to get that far into your head…)

NAMELESS.ONE says:

@1

“But if a band wants to sell their record and expect payment in return, that right must be respected.”

its a right we citizens grant you, and it is one you are abusing us for. IT’s supposed to be a limited time offer from us so you get a few bucks so you can continue to create new works….NOT retire on and create a tax on society like it has become. YOUR sense of entitlement bewilders me.

YOU create art and music to be shared FIRST. compensation of any kind comes after or not. IF not your in the wrong field of art.

I keep thinking of that artist gene roddenberry whose one invention the replicator made it very clear the future was free of IP issues. Artists create freely for the love of what they do and even food is free.

Piracy is a group of people on a ship or vehicle or bunch of ARMED guerillas hijacking something physical that cannot be replaced NOR at this juncture “replicated for free” NOT a bunch a kids “replicating” music , tv , and movies with technology that is here and never going away. GOT THAT? IT IS NOT GOING AWAY……

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Man, someone moved your cheese, the business has changed, downsize and adapt or find a new line of work.

Here, I wrote you this rap, maybe it’ll save the music industry: “I’m mad at pirates cause I’m broke as joke and my pimp likes to choke, I cry myself to sleep, sniffle, sniffle, wha, wha, weep… waitin’ for this rash to clear up, turning trix for my cough syrup, blamin’ pirates on the take cause I’m livin’ like Saget in Half Baked.. yeah check check bounce.. what do you mean it bounced?”

Transbot9 (user link) says:

RE: vivaelamor

“Yes, my point was that the professional industry would shrink to fit mostly the truly creative designers, who as you say are selling their talents rather than their creations. While their business model may not change from how they’re doing things now (they are already at an advantage by selling their talent rather than relying on copyright), the money they get rise as it is not being spent on less talented competition”

Again, copyright and trademark law don’t really come into play. The only time they do come into play is when someone creates resources, such as stock photography or a font. In which case, I do choose to use only the items that are avalable for free for commercial use, or they are resources that I pay for the appropriate license.

In fact, derrivative works are common, even amongst professionals. Plenty of pros draw a Spiderman action pose or cheesecake of a well known character for a commission or for an auction. These items are trademarks that are usually very heavily protected in other areas – however, there is a long standing tradition of letting artists make a little bit of cash on the side in this manner. Technically illigal? Yes, but many of these artists also work for the companies that own the mark. Heck, most people and companies let fanwank slide as it is free advertisment for the brand.

Copyright and trademark law can only protect someone if they have the resources to defend it in court. Few artists, even high-end professionals, have that kind of cash. If the mark cannot be defended, the law might as well not exist for that circomstance.

Hephaestus says:

Re:

“Maybe you would get more respect if you actually addressed the issues rather than throwing turds.”

Understand that if (s)he is part of the record labels or RIAA, there is a general state of fear.

Currently there are about 2 billion people on the internet, in 5 years there will be 3.5 billion, the 14 to 25 age group isn’t buying music any more, the older generation is beginning to act like the 14-25’s with music purchases, online music sales are begining to flat line and will reverse in the next yearr or so, the business models they have been using for 80 years have failed.

With your business failing before your eyes, wouldn’t you be striking out at anyone that says “look these business models work, but will never work for your corporation. They require a personal touch that a corporation can never have”.

So let the monkey throw his turds and just ignore him …

Hephaestus says:

Re:

Just an observation based on running my own home brew ~10,000 site search engine. It seems that there are alot more posts in the past two ~months stating that “Piracy” is “illegal”, “Theft”, “against the law”, “stealing from the artists”, “ripping off *”, etc. It seems to be a concerted effort. My guess is it will peak about the time COICA shows up in the lame duck session.

Also when are you going to implement e-mail notification based on a specific comment or comment chain? It would get you more readers and more people contributing to the discussion.

David

Anonymous Coward says:

You've got to wonder

[Citation needed]

Why would you need a citation? Surely his truth is self evident? All the ISP’s got rich from “piracy” and not from, well you know, the massive exposion of internet conenctivity to end users in the last decade. Can’t you see that???

Clearly the answer is to invade Russia to stop the guys in the silly costumes and eyepatches because it’s all their fault too. Dammit why can’t you see that??? It’s so clear!! I’m sold now…. I think we should all stop the arguing and draw up the invasion plans.

Richard (profile) says:

Re:

And spare me any of the usual semantical justifications. It’s illegal and they didn’t give you permission. You’re the douchebag in that scenario.

Please don’t shoot the messenger. The authors of this blog, and most commenters, don’t advocate piracy, although we may complain about the side effects of aggressive copyright enforcement.

Pointing out the inevitable existence of large numbers of people that you call “douchebags” is very different from being one.

Offering suggestions about how to route around the piracy problems that are inevitable if you persist in relying on copyright is very different from advocating piracy.

Richard (profile) says:

Re:

They’re the ones that get ripped off because it’s their music everyone wants to have.

But not, apparently, that everyone wants to pay for.

I’ve spent more on music this year than ever before, and none of it went to major label recordings. Less than 10% went on recordings of any kind.

The bulk of it went on live concerts, music teaching and funding musopen to record and release for the public domain.

If you connect with fans then they will want to pay you and the piracy problem evaporates. If you don’t then you don’t deserve to be paid – whatever the law says.

alternatives() says:

Re:

You’re just another guy that expects musicians, engineers, producers, assistants, promotion people, managers etc. to work for less or nothing so you can take and be entertained for free.

Naw, I’m a guy who expects that government force won’t be used for private gain.

And if such becomes the case, I then expect that the IP I own to be defended the same as, say Disney. I also expect that before The Government knocks on my door over such issues they have knocked on the doors they have control over such as the military and the various workers of The Government in Washington DC.

You gonna let me know when my expectations are gonna be met, or is your response a pithy “good luck with that”?

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

stay on topic and discuss business models for the future of music and those that love it?

Not a bad idea, and the timing is actually apropos.

If you don’t know, today is “Quit MySpace Day.” The idea came from Andrew Dubber (from New Music Strategies). It was based on a blog post from one year ago, and since nothing changed, he’s stickin’ to it.

In that blog post, Andrew presented a number of good ideas for MySpace. Any one of these could be implemented by a more business-savvy music service:

Imagine if they started a merchandise service, and topsliced $1 off each sale. Even if every artist in the world only sells two t-shirts – one to themselves, and one to their mother – and with an average of (let’s say) 2.5 people per ‘band’ – there’s $25m right there without even blinking. By being actually helpful.

Or what if they set up a publishing company to connect artists with independent film-makers, games developers, television producers, web companies and other media outlets? Or helped artists connect with brands, so that Coke could offer $500 to each of 1,000 young indie rock bands in exchange for the usual sponsorship stuff on tours?

Or suppose they designed the perfect online independent music contact management system. Or gave ordinary members – non-musicians – the tools to set up their own MySpace ‘labels’ to discover, promote and distribute artists.

(I especially like the “fan label” concept.)

He also wrote a follow-up to that post (a year ago), explaining why this will never happen at MySpace, despite the high number of musicians who work there:

Myspace is purely and simply a broadcasting platform that makes money for Rupert Murdoch’s corporation by selling advertising. That’s it. That’s the whole story.

Given Murdoch’s stance on paywalls, it’s not surprising that the company can only see a (former) social networking site as a “broadcasting platform,” as if MySpace was terrestrial radio.

So, I guess we should add this to Dubber’s ideas above: Don’t consider music as something that’s “broadcast” from “artists” to “fans” (even if you take middlemen out of the equation). Consider it what it really is: part of a shared culture, in which everyone (artists, fans, the general public) has an equal stake.

Aside from being the right thing to do, it also results in your market growing from just one set of potential “clients” (i.e. advertisers, in MySpace’s case) to multiple, diverse sets.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“Dark-Ages-level medieval on those types of pirates’ asses.”

OMG, listen, the penalties are FAR too steep as it is, and the line between “commercial” and non is (as per the lobby’s request) blurred to the point of belabored distinction in many clearly non commercial scenarios. Goto China town, you can get cam movies from little old ladies selling crappy copies of a movie that’s probably a waste of 5 bucks. Those folks DO NOT need to be dealt with like “terrorists” despite what whinny fat cats would have you believe. There has never been an attempt to make an ethical distinction between large and small scale operations that haven’t been met with lamentations, and thusly, they want to see everyone tortured to death sloowwwwly, they say it ALL the TIME. So, yeah, commercial infringement is bad, it’s a crime, but I’m not down with watter-boarding little old Asian women because they’re selling some cam shooting of a film.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

The horror!

Jay, take my advice and don’t bother with this guy.

He’s one of those monopoly beneficiaries that thinks anyone who makes money without paying him is advocating piracy.

He’s already shat all over this thread. Let’s not give him any more ammo.

Instead, let’s talk about what artists can do to earn money without these creeps.

For instance: A while ago, there was a discussion about Freakonomics experimenting with a “pay what you want” model. I remember somebody there was going to try a similar experiment, that compared “pay what you want” with a “suggested price” model. Did anything come of that?

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

the penalties are FAR too steep as it is

I’ve always thought it was insane that the punishment for downloading a CD are much worse than the punishment for actually going into a record store and stealing that same CD. What’s up with that?

In one case, you’re depriving others (store, consumers) of something that actually cost money to manufacture and ship (and also to get placed in record bins). In the other, you’re making your own copy, paying the (negligible) costs for making that copy, not depriving anyone else of anything, and the labels don’t even have to shoulder the cost of bin space.

out_of_the_blue says:

It's all about money, is what strikes me as the sum of above.

Musicians and industry drones alike struggle over ways to scrape tons of cash from people who are *actually* productive — because the underlying problem is that *entertainment* produces nothing except brief sensations. It may be desirable and so on, but *no one* in the entertainment field is as valuable to me as the illegal immigrants who labor to produce food for me (not that I’m *for* illegals, but the whole “capitalist” system is rigged to prevent fair rewards for laborers; I acknowledge a fact), so why the heck should societal rewards to entertainers be so out of line with objective value? Frankly, musicians and industry drones should be glad to be eating: instead, they’re all conspiring at new ways to get “money for nothin’ ” as Dire Straits admitted.

These arguments are devolving into what re-distribution of wealth scheme can now be effective, and totally disregard that the productive parts of society are being left to wither. My bet is that within five years, as the banksters tighten their grip, raid pension funds, continue to loot the nation, you’ll all begin to grasp true economic values.

Karl (profile) says:

It's all about money, is what strikes me as the sum of above.

“money for nothin’ ” as Dire Straits admitted

Hah, that’s actually the opposite of what that song implies.

I’m not about to suggest that musicians don’t work for their money. It’s also why I don’t like statements like being “paid twice for the same thing” and all that.

Ephemeral or not, what artists do is valuable to many people. Nobody else here is denying that. The question is the best way to turn (subjective) value into income – when what is valuable is a public good (in an economic sense).

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re:

Goodness, you woke up!

“Do you know that most songwriters own their own songs and publishing?”

I call bulls**t on that one.

Please, then, explain to me, the relationship between Northern Songs and The Beatles for one. Or how that entire catalog ended up in the hands of Micheal Jackson.

In some cases the songwriters do but in the majority they don’t unless, of course, they self publish.

Of course, you’re the music industry expert here, not me, but I’d be tempted to say the closest you ever got to that was scalping tickets outside an event and probably not that well at that.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

It's all about money, is what strikes me as the sum of above.

Sorry but you’re wrong.

Musicians and performers work extremely hard for their money. And all have been needed throughout human history.

And most never do “make it” and end up in a mansion on a hill. Chad Kroger wrote a song about that but as he and his band aren’t taken seriously no one would notice. 🙂

chris (user link) says:

Re:

I know them. I’m paying attention to them. I’m unsure where you got the idea that they were unknown and unpopular.

uh, if they were as popular as you claim, they wouldn’t have time to connect with their fans and give them a reason to buy.

nice try thanks thieves good luck with that LOL what internet stealing illegal piracy.

That makes absolutely zero sense.

his argument is that radio pop is mass market and it gets downloaded in mass quantities. he thinks this is wrong because it bucks an 80 year old tradition.

one way to rise above the tide would be to make the sort of content that inspires people to support you, like the band that you mentioned.

another way is to shout “HEY INTERNET! GET OFF MY LAWN!”

chris (user link) says:

Re:

I know them. I’m paying attention to them. I’m unsure where you got the idea that they were unknown and unpopular.

uh, if they were as popular as you claim, they wouldn’t have time to connect with their fans and give them a reason to buy.

nice try thanks thieves good luck with that LOL what internet stealing illegal piracy.

That makes absolutely zero sense.

his argument is that radio pop is mass market and it gets downloaded in mass quantities. he thinks this is wrong because it bucks an 80 year old tradition.

one way to rise above the tide would be to make the sort of content that inspires people to support you, like the band that you mentioned.

another way is to shout “HEY INTERNET! GET OFF MY LAWN!”

chris (user link) says:

Re:

“justification for ripping off music “
– I missed that part of Mikes post, please point out exactly where that is.

that’s the problem with you freetards. you’re all “facts” and “examples” and not enough “feelings”.

i feel that this blog is an elaborate ruse to sucker everyone in to illegal file sharing, and possibly gay marriage, and i don’t need your “facts” distracting everyone from paying attention to me!

The Mad Hatter (profile) says:

How do you get the guitarist off your porch? Pay for the Pizza.

How do you streamline a musician’s car? Remove the Pizza delivery sign from the roof.

What do you call a musician who’s been dumped by his girlfriend? Homeless.

*****

You’ll hear those jokes wherever you meet musicians. Another thing that you’ll hear is that ‘Real Musicians have day jobs’, must musicians don’t regard people like David Bowie or Billy Joel as real musicians. They are the ‘outliers’ as Mike said, the odd balls.

TJGeezer (profile) says:

@Anonymous coward

“Except pirates also rip off from small indie labels that have great deals with their artists. This constant implication that pirating music is ok because it hurts the big bad major labels is just another of the numerous rationalizations people use to rip off musicians.”

That might be interesting if it had anything at all to do with the post. It reminds me of blog comments that preface irrelevant remarks with *sigh* as if a faked long-suffering attitude will hide the stupidity of making irrelevant objections to good arguments.

Or did you reply to the wrong post? (Yeah, right. That must be it.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

i feel that this blog is an elaborate ruse to sucker everyone in to illegal file sharing, and possibly gay marriage, and i don’t need your “facts” distracting everyone from paying attention to me!

But you can’t possibly ignore ALL facts!!! It’s a fact that reading this will lead to killing puppies! There’s proof! I saw it once and I say so, so there. It’s just all the OTHER facts you should ignore.. THOSE are the ones with the marriage and files thing. Pay attention now because this is important… you are killing puppies otherwise.

darryl says:

What is different about CwF+RtB than what everyone does anyway ?

CwF+RtB

I know you tout this as something increadibly innovative and able to propell any industry through the roof. But what in.

Connecting with fans + Reason to buy

IS DIFFERENT to any other business concept, and dont for a second call it a ‘model’, if it is a ‘model’ it is the most vague, and poorly thought out model that has ever existed.

Its really amateur hour stuff.

What business model does not connect with existing clients and possible future clients, and that does not give them a ‘reason to buy’ ??

The ‘reason to buy’ a product is the consumers choice, he needs a reason, that reason to buy will be decided by the customer, not the seller.

And if you as a seller create a ‘reason to buy’ that is not based on the desires and requirements of the client, then you are doing a CON job on the client.

Its not up to the seller to create a ‘reason to buy’ beyond offering a product that meets the requirements for the client to determine his OWN reason to buy.

Do you see the difference Mike? it seems not.

It seems you look at this from only the sellers perspective, and you try to seperate ‘creating a customer base’ and ‘reason to buy’ as if they are two seperate issues.

The “reason to buy” is the creation of a customer (fan) base.

(I really like to buy this brand of product BECAUSE)

because you have a reason to buy, when would you buy something that you had no reason to buy it ?

So how is that different from the real world were everyone allready see’s your ‘system’ as kids stuff, and way to basic to be at all usefull.

This comes down to innovation, and where is the innovation in CwF+RtB ?

So when a car company places an add on TV, showing a family enjoying a new car, they are not connecting with Fans ? (or clients)???

And when they talk about its safety, its fuel economy its reliability and so on, they are not providing a ‘reason to buy’.

So what is it Mike, can you not come up with something a bit more creative, and original ?

Or do you just want to put in a bizzare way what everyone has allready been doing throught time ?

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