Another Reason The Music Industry Won't Be Coming Back — The History Of Music Is More About Participation Than Compensation

from the another-'piracy-apologist'-who-still-pays-for-all-his-music dept

As the debate over file sharing rages on, a number of voices have stepped up to offer their opinions on all sides of the issue. In a post titled “Paying for Music: My Two Cents (Pun Intended),” Danny Bowman (a software engineer at Funzio and developer for Brute Labs) presents the argument that this “not paying for music” is the result of two things: first, the familiar discussion of scarce vs. infinite goods and secondly, a huge increase in participation has both aided in driving down the price of music as well as bringing us more in line with our cultural past, when making music was something everyone did, rather than a select few.

The assumption that artists should be compensated with money for recording music is probably based on economic and technological factors in the 20th century, when the means to produce and distribute quality music were limited to “professionals.” Recording equipment required experience and expertise to produce anything listenable. [G]etting recordings into the hands of a large audience required a lot of infrastructure…. When the production and distribution of music had such barriers to entry, recorded music had economic value and people were willing to pay for the music that made it through those barriers. Musicians were operating in an industry, producing something that only a limited set of people had the means to produce.

But things have changed. With the barriers gone, anyone can get on the playing field.

Have you used music production software lately? It’s really easy to make a professional sounding recording. And once you do, it’s super easy to post the file online and then anyone in the world with an internet connection can hear it. In my mind, music production no longer has the barriers to entry that give it economic value. Amateurs are often making music that I like more than “professional” recordings. Heck, even I can make music that I like listening to more than a lot of “professional” recordings. In my view, recording music no longer carries economic value, so I generally don’t feel the need to compensate musicians with money for their recordings.

Despite claims to the contrary, the amount of music being produced isn’t dropping. The supposed “lack of financial incentive” isn’t discouraging thousands of “amateurs” from expressing themselves creatively. If you thought you were having trouble selling an album before, how are you going to do it now that everyone has an album of their own?

This high level of participation isn’t a new thing. Having more creators than consumers used to be the norm, rather than an indicator of massive disruption. Over the course of human history, music shifted from something everybody performed towards a top-down distribution that separated the “professionals” from the “consumers.” Bowman quotes This Is Your Brain on Music: A History of Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin.

Music is unusual among all human activities for both its ubiquity and its antiquity. No known human culture now or anytime in the recorded past lacked music. Some of the oldest physical artifacts found in human and protohuman excavation sites are musical instruments: bone flutes and animal skins stretched over tree stumps to make drums… Only relatively recently in our own culture, five hundred years or so ago, did a distinction arise that cut society in two, forming separate classes of music performers and music listeners. Throughout most of the world and for most of human history, music making was as natural an activity as breathing and walking, and everyone participated. Concert halls, dedicated to the performance of music, arose only in the last several centuries.

To further illustrate this “performer-listener” phenomenon, Levitin talks about Jim Ferguson, a professor of anthropology, who performed fieldwork in the tiny country of Lesotho in Africa.

Jim patiently earned their trust until one day he was asked to join in one of their songs. [W]hen asked to sing with these Sotho villagers, Jim said in a soft voice, “I don’t sing,” and it was true: We had been in high school band together and although he was an excellent oboe player, he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. The villagers found his objection puzzling and inexplicable. The Sotho consider singing an ordinary, everyday activity performed by everyone, young and old, men and women, not an activity reserved for a special few.

Our culture, and indeed our very language, makes a distinction between a class of expert performers – the Arthur Rubinsteins, Ella Fitzgeralds, Paul McCartneys — and the rest of us. The rest of us pay money to hear the experts entertain us. Jim knew that he wasn’t much of a singer or dancer, and to him, a public display of singing and dancing implied he thought himself an expert. The villagers just stared at Jim and said, “What do you mean you don’t sing?! You talk!” Jim told me later, “It was as odd to them as if I told them that I couldn’t walk or dance, even though I have both my legs.” Singing and dancing were a natural activity in everybody’s lives, seamlessly integrated and involving everyone […]

Music has been a participatory, non-exclusionary form of art for longer than it has been a gated community composed of a handful of beneficiaries. The timeframe in which music and commerce came together to make a handful of artists successful is much, much slimmer than even the era of “performers” and “audiences.” Mick Jagger, of all people, recognized this fact despite being one of the largest beneficiaries of this anomaly:

But I have a take on that – people only made money out of records for a very, very small time. When The Rolling Stones started out, we didn’t make any money out of records because record companies wouldn’t pay you! They didn’t pay anyone!

Then, there was a small period from 1970 to 1997, where people did get paid, and they got paid very handsomely and everyone made money. But now that period has gone.

So if you look at the history of recorded music from 1900 to now, there was a 25 year period where artists did very well, but the rest of the time they didn’t.

Some, however, seem to feel that this brief window of commercial success is the way it always has been and the way it always should be, despite evidence to the contrary. As Bowman points out, artistic expression and capitalism are an uneasy mix.

I think another important point here is that these content industries have always involved an uneasy fusion of Art and Capitalism, and that given the choice, people want to lean towards Art. Put another way, people prefer to think of music as an expression of something emotional and visceral that just wants to get out into the world, not as an industry or a business or a vehicle to make money. When anti-piracy advocates talk about not paying musicians as a “social injustice,” it simply doesn’t hit home. You have to pick a side – is music to be treated as Art? If so, then expecting payment is just delusional. Is music then a business? If so, the more broadly accessible means of production and distribution have eliminated the economic value that made recording viable as an industry. Deal with it. We didn’t like music being a business anyway.

As long as file sharing and the music business are still being discussed as a matter of right and wrong, the real issue – economics – is ignored. And as long as this pertinent part of the equation is ignored, those arguing against the current reality will continue to miss the point, at their own expense.

The changes in business model are not caused by morals or ethics, but rather by economics. When you take Art and monetize its production and create an industry, and that industry is then faced with the realities of capitalism and supply and demand, don’t act like there is social injustice at work. You can object to the capitalist system, but you can’t argue that things should work the way they did when capitalism was going well for you.

Many argue that today’s world will be the death of any form of artistic expression that can be converted to ones and zeroes, but what they’re really saying is that the very brief moment when art and commerce merged successfully is over. With the way forward being a much more competitive path, it’s no surprise that these voices choose to conflate economics and morals in order to make today’s reality seem like the kleptomania of spoiled children. But if the music industry dies, music will still live on.

I think the bottom line is that nobody cares if the Music Industry dies because nobody believes it is adding value anymore, and that Music will continue on just as it has since the protohumans first started making it. That’s why people won’t pay for it.

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Comments on “Another Reason The Music Industry Won't Be Coming Back — The History Of Music Is More About Participation Than Compensation”

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Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Copyright and ethics

It’s not at all helpful to try and dismiss the moral dimension of copyright and argue that it’s a purely economic issue, when perhaps the strongest argument on our side is that copyright is, and always has been, a moral issue. A lot of the problems we’re seeing with it these days comes directly from us having lost our understanding of that and replaced it with an economic model. But it is a moral issue, and furthermore, the morality of it is on our side!

The original copyright law was the Statute of Anne, passed in 1709 by the British parliament. And in its preamble, it spells out exactly why it was drafted: because publishers were printing authors’ works without their consent and without any contract with the authors, thereby ripping off the authors and bringing financial ruin upon them. Copyright was created to address this issue. It was a moral issue through and through.

The irony is astounding. The original copyright law was created for the explicit purpose of preventing wealthy publishers from abusing expensive modern technology (the printing press) to exploit people. Whereas the DMCA was created for the explicit purpose of enabling wealthy publishers to abuse expensive modern technology (DRM) to exploit people. It was, and still is, a moral issue. Copyright has been corrupted, twisted and turned to evil, and until we start treating it like the moral issue it is, we’re not going to make any progress in getting it fixed.

SujaOfJauhnral (profile) says:

Re: Copyright and ethics

Copyright has been corrupted, twisted and turned to evil, and until we start treating it like the moral issue it is, we’re not going to make any progress in getting it fixed.

I don’t know the exact details of the history of Copyright but I do know that the perception of what is “moral” is against us.

The world, or atleast the art world, views Copyright as the ultimate savior do-good in the universe. Any sort of opposition is viewed as “immoral” and “disrespectful”.

All of my attempts to convince them otherwise have been failures no matter the facts. Like cement that has already set, their view is final.

Unless someone’s got a brainwash machine the only hope of winning this battle lies with the new generations.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Copyright and ethics

That’s because they’re grounded in a bad understanding. Most people don’t know about where copyright came from, and a few of the explanations out there (including Nina Paley’s, who really ought to know better!) are just plain wrong, and harmful to attempts to try and fix things.

I find that “brainwash machines” aren’t really necessary, you just need a bit of empathy and good reasoning. There are basically only two reasons why someone holds a wrong idea. Either because they’re founded on a bad premise, or because they’re using bad reasoning. Most people have a bad premise about what copyright is supposed to be and where it came from. Attack that with facts. Show them the text of the Statute of Anne, (it’s available online,) point to it and say “look, copyright was designed to stop publishers from exploiting authors. It says so right here at the top. That’s its true purpose.” Once that sinks in, you’ve got a good premise to begin reasoning and reaching conclusions from.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Copyright and ethics

say “look, copyright was designed to stop publishers from exploiting authors. It says so right here at the top. That’s its true purpose.”

But that’s not what copyright was designed for.

The relatively late development of the Statute of 8 Anne was designed to continue the Stationer’s Company economic privileges after the 1662 Licensing Act finally expired without renewal in 1695.

Copyright is nothing but the bastard child of royal censorship.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Copyright and ethics

Yeah, that’s the Nina Paley explanation. I’ve heard that one before, and it’s quite without historical merit, twisting the facts to try to drive an ideology of copyright repeal (which realistically will never happen) instead of copyright reform, an actually realistic, attainable goal.

The Stationer’s Company had nothing to do with it, except that the issue was about cleaning up the mess occasioned by the power vacuum that ensued when the Licensing Act expired. Copyright was in no way a renewal of the Licensing Act, and the legal regime it put in place looked nothing like it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Copyright and ethics

The Stationer’s Company had nothing to do with it

More from Professor Patry:

In 1703, 1704, 1706, and 1707, petitions to Parliament were presented by the Stationers. On February 26, 1707, leave was granted to introduce a Stationers? sponsored bill ?for securing property in such books as have been or shall be purchased from, or reserved to, the authors thereof.? A bill was introduced two days later, but died in committee. This new approach of emphasizing the author as the source of rights was taken not out of a conversion to the cause of authors, but out of a strategic judgment that the Stationers could hide behind the cloak of authors.

A new bill was presented to the House of Commons on January 11, 1710. After being amended in committee on February 25 and again on the floor on March 14, the bill was sent to the House of Lords, which considered it on March 16, 24, and 30. On April 3, a committee amended the bill and reported it to the floor of the House of Lords, as amended. The House of Lords recommended approval on April 4. A conference committee held on April 5, the last day of the Parliament, quickly agreed to a final version of the bill. Royal assent was obtained, and the Statute of Anne, ?An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned? became effective on April 10, 1710.

(Emphasis added.)

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Copyright and ethics

Well, I don’t know who Professor Patry is or what his agenda is, but it sure looks to me like he’s conflating unsuccessful acts that got shot down by Parliament in preceding years with the one that ended up passing in 1709/1710, (some historical confusion exists about the actual year, due to calendar rearrangements,) which has nothing to do with the defunct Stationers’ Company monopoly.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Copyright and ethics

Let’s put it this way: the events leading up to the Statute of Anne are historical fact. There’s documented evidence of these events happening.

It was shot down at least five times before it passed in 1709, and became law in 1710. And Professor Patry is Harvard’s IP law specialist IIRC.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Copyright and ethics

…passed in 1709, and became law in 1710…

Wikipedia: New Year:

It was only relatively recently that 1 January again became the first day of the year in Western culture. Until 1751 in England and Wales (and all British dominions) the new year started on 25 March ? Lady Day, one of the four quarter days (the change to 1 January took place in 1600 in Scotland). Since then, 1 January has been the first day of the year….

For information about the changeover from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and the effect on the dating of historical events etc., see Old Style and New Style dates.

Besides starting the New Year on 25 March, also note that between 1500?1700, the correction between the Julian and Gregorian calendars is 10 days.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Copyright and ethics

Of course, in citing UK legislation:

Chapter numbers for Acts passed before 1963 are not by calendar year, but instead by the year(s) of the reign during which the relevant parliamentary session was held.

So note that, ?Anne … ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702.?

Thus Wikipedia assigns the Acts of Parliament in the Eighth Year of Queen Anne to 1709.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Copyright and ethics

The original copyright law was the Statute of Anne, passed in 1709 by the British parliament. And in its preamble, it spells out exactly why it was drafted: because publishers were printing authors’ works without their consent and without any contract with the authors, thereby ripping off the authors and bringing financial ruin upon them. Copyright was created to address this issue. It was a moral issue through and through.

Although I agree with the general thrust of your argument I have to disagree with your history here. I suggest you take a good look at thi site:

Sadly copyright was not moral – even in the early days. The moral arguments you quote were never more than a front and a deception. The statute of Anne was designed for the publishers – not the authors. The Authors’ interests were purely a front. In fact when UK copyright law was reformed and extended in the 1840s one of the principle arguments in favour was that the 1710 statute had helped publishers but the authors has been left behind. Of course the new reforms, when they appeared, still favoured the publishers!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copyright and ethics

The original copyright law was…

Constrast with Wm. Patry Copyright Law and Practice. Although he subtitles this chapter ?England and the Statute of Anne?, note where he begins the story:

Because of its great influence on the evolution of our copyright law, and without slighting the earlier and more sophisticated contributions of continental printers, England must be the focus of our attention. When William Caxton established his movable type printing press at Westminster in 1476, a new English trade was created;.?.?.?.

As might be expected, the Crown, through its ability to grant royal licenses and to suppress dissidence, played a very influential role in publishing. In 1504, Henry VII appointed William Facques as the first royal printer, granting him the exclusive right to print official documents. In 1518, a printing privilege was issued to the second royal printer.?.?.?. In 1533, there arose the first complaint of piracy.?.?.?.

Domestic control over printing was further tightened by use of the Privy Council. On November 16, 1538, Henry VIII decreed that all new books had to be approved by the Council before publication, a requirement that remained in effect in some form until 1694.?.?.?.

After the chartering of the Stationers Company, Star Chamber decrees regulating printing were issued in 1566, 1586 (a particularly important one, drafted by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift), 1623, and 1637.?.?.?.

In 1640, the Star Chamber was abolished by the Long Parliament during the Puritan revolution.?.?.?.

In 1643, ?the licentiousness of libels? of a free press led Parliament to pass a licensing act (patterned after the Star Chamber decrees) for the benefit of the Stationers Company, including search and seizure powers. This act prompted the outrage of John Milton, who, in 1644, excoriated the Stationers Company in his Areopagitica, a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing.?.?.?.

In 1662, Parliament passed a new printing act, based on the Star Chamber decree of 1637 and the 1649 Printing Act.?.??.

All this! and more! before 8th yeare of Queen Anne.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Copyright and ethics

Yes, I’m familiar with the history. The Privy Council tightly regulated printing until 1694, and when it was gone, the state of the publishing industry degenerated into what is commonly known as “anarchy”. While the overall merits and problems of the Council can be debated at length, what’s beyond dispute is that with no one to rein them in, publishers ran amok and started printing whatever they wanted to, frequently with neither permission from nor compensation to the authors of the works they were printing.

This is what set up the problem that copyright was invented to solve, and by ignoring that, by ignoring the simple fact that it was explicitly intended as an anti-exploitation measure, we cast aside one of our best arguments!

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Copyright and ethics

As equally outlined in the preamble to the Statute of Anne publishers were busily bankrupting themselves with the same title being issued by a number of publishers at the same time which was no way to stay in business either.

That and you argue against your own position of morality when you say: “thereby ripping off the authors and bringing financial ruin upon them.” True enough but that isn’t a moral argument it’s an economic one. If you want a large number of people to write books you actually have to pay at least some of them. Morality is tangential at best.

DRM existed long before the DMCA was written much less passed. Lotus protected Lotus 1-2-3 by adding a dongle to the box that had to be plugged into the parallel port, or was it the serial port?, to work. And that’s just one example. VHS videos that you rented often came with a kind of DRM that prevented you copying from one VHS deck to another.

As far as DRM is concerned I’ve heard it argued that it’s been needed to enforce copyright for the benefit of the artists/authors/programmers]. In neither case is it a moral argument as it has to do with money changing hands and who gets it. It’s an economic transaction. Worse, because the motion picture and recording industries have basically become cartels in North America is has little or nothing to do with the artists but with the members of the cartels.

The moral argument, such as it is, gets reduced to ought creators get paid. As has been stated here repeatedly the answer is a resounding yes. Even with the reality that the cartels rarely seem to get around to paying them. See Mick Jagger’s comments above.

Had the Statute of Anne been a document primarily concerned with the morality of a creator getting paid and controlling their work it would have forbid assignment of copyright to anyone be it publisher, recording company, motion picture company, Uncle Joe or third cousin Jane four times removed. It didn’t. It did bring order to the publishing industry in the UK, it even got some authors paid. But the moment a creator signs over their copyright to someone else the creator loses all control over the work and that often includes the right to get paid for it.

Which is why I don’t send off news tips or pictures to TV stations or newspapers or news sites on the web because part of the standard deal there is that I have to sign over my copyright and all the rights that come with it. Including getting paid for it.

While there may be a moral obligation to pay a creator copyright didn’t create a moral right to a thing once the creator assigned the copyright to someone else. The (supposedly) temporary rights are conferred on the rights holder who, more often that not, is someone other than the person who created the work.

Now, to get back to the main point of the post that prior to the time where an artificial division was created between performers and musicians and the public everyone did take part in music and performance. Whether is was on something as simple as a recorder or something as complex and difficult to learn as a piano. People played music, they sang and they danced. Everyone did.

That died out during the 1950s with the arrival of listenable AM and then the arrival of stereo FM where people began to imitate the “professionals” which got us to the “air guitar”. I had to put up with piano lessons as a kid, all classical crap. Nothing folk or modern, jazz or that awful rock’n’roll stuff. But I could sing. I was blessed with one hell of a good voice. A 5 octave range as a boy soprano who got tapped for solos in my church choir because not only did I have the range but I learned to sing with power in a way that didn’t tear my vocal chords to pieces. I’m a bass-baritone now, still have the power and still just love to sing. I can sing everything from sacred music to rock and country and everything in between. And I don’t need sheet music now any more than I did then. Play a few bars and let me go. I got it, Toyota.

We all can. We can all dance. Most of us can play some kind of instrument if we take the time. Music is intrinsic to our species. It’s central to every known culture. And no activity lights up so many parts of the human brain as music does.

Where copyright is used to deny us access to something this fundamental it’s corrupt and it’s wrong. Deep in our beings and souls we know this. If morality plays a role that’s where it comes in. Music is part of what makes us human.

Copyright, on the other hand, is economic. It was supposed to set up an economic arrangement where we would tolerate, for a limited time, our access to this central resource. It’s long since stopped doing that.

varagix says:

Re: Copyright and ethics

I wouldn’t say that the morality of copy is obvious. In fact, I say that the morality of it is dubious at best.

First there’s the method by which copyright achieves its purpose: securing sole ownership of an expression of an idea. At it’s very core, copyright’s methods run counter to the right of people to freedom of expression by necessarily limiting certain forms of expression to certain individuals. This isn’t surprising as the majority, if not the entirety, of the purpose of “fair use” exceptions to copyright is to limit how much copyright infringes on freedom of speech, and vice versa. Even then, there’s a long legal history of conflict between free speech and copyright, and there will likely continue to be as it gets easier and easier to copy and remix other peoples expressions to communicate ideas of our own.

Based solely on this, copyright is by its very nature unethical, though its purpose in securing for artists the right to benefit from the reproduction and distribution of their works is noble.

Noble, and a bit misguided, as you can intuit from the law, as written, that the presumption is that authors cannot benefit from the reproduction and distribution of their works without having complete control over the act of reproduction and distribution. As many people are learning today, that’s inherently false.

Authors can use their works to advertise their ability and expertise in whichever field they work in: fiction writers excel at creating stories which can then be performed for or told to others, nonfiction writers excel at teaching and understanding a particular subject matter, singers and musicians excel at performance, artists excel at creating visually pleasing environments, etc. Outside of that, authors can monetize their work through various forms of investment, patronage, and commission work.

The only individuals that -need- copyright to benefit economically from the reproduction and distribution of expressions are publishers, who’s business is centered around monetizing the reproduction and distribution of expressions.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

True, but the central question is that do songbirds use song as a way to relax and to enjoy another bird’s song or is it still a matter of communication no matter how beautiful it sounds to our ears. I’m not sure that’s been answered yet.

We humans use music for it’s own sake. If it ever was something central to our survival that’s long past. Now we sing, dance, stomp, play and listen to music just because. For a number of us, in the right time and place, it may be the best antidepressant there is, as our minds turn to the music everything else gets crowded out.

Not to take a thing from birds. Most of their songs are for communication. We don’t know how much is for enjoyment. Personally I don’t care. I love them just the same. 🙂

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Music whether it is to communicate a story or just to relax with is still communication.

The birds might not use their music to relax, but it is still music.

Humans use music for a variety of reasons but when it comes down to it it is used as a method of communication, and interestingly it communicates better in a lot of respects than any written language now or previously. This is because it has physical, visual, aural, and more importantly emotional communication ability. It runs the gamet of all methods of communication we have as a species . Well except for olfactory [scent].. but if you have ever smelt a room full of sweaty performers then it does that too 😉

So whether you think it is now only used “because” it is still because of communication purposes. Oh and children start very very young performing music, it’s an innate form of communication. Just watch a toddler with a bunch of toys. They bang them, hear and feel the sounds they make. They make music, whether to amuse themselves, learn, or get the attention of mum it is communication at it’s basic level.

Mike Martinet (profile) says:

This is Right On

There is always going to be people who can sing the songs and play the instruments better or best.

These people will be able to make money in proportion to their talents.

We – as people – have become accustomed to being entertained. I don’t see us abandoning that habit any time soon.

We have also come to love the people who entertain us the best. And that “best” is subjective.

So, there will continue to be a pyramid of people who make money from performing or creating art, it’s just that the barriers to who can join the pyramid have recently (last 10-15 years) gotten a hell of a lot lower.

kenichi tanaka says:

The music industry, and I’m referring to the RIAA, should have been embracing the file-sharing, bit-torrent and the internet instead of waging an all out war on the very fans who actually purchase music after they hear what it sounds like.

After reading that article about how a crowdfunded album sold more music than Coldplay and Rihanna, the music industry is dying and so is the RIAA.

They are an old dinosaur that is doomed to extinction and music artists no longer need major recording studios to produce an album, especially when they can keep 100% of the income generated from their own sales.

Maybe instead of filing all of those lawsuits and attacking internet users, their downloading habits and demanding tougher copyright laws so they can kick internet subscribers off the internet, maybe they should have been embracing the internet and file-sharers and taking advantage of the massive grassroots efforts efforts and tried to increase music sales even more.

andrew me (profile) says:

What to do.

Simple solution to all the problems .
1. give all artists there copyright back, and no copyrights are allowed to be passed on to anyone be it a business or an individual.

2. Anyone is allowed to download all content free for personal use.

3. Any business that wants to generate money from an artist must pay 80% as a minimum of all profits to the artist.
If a song is sold for 99c then 90c or 80c must go to the artist.

4. If any label wants to use an artist or keep there content on there label they must have an agreement with the artist for a maximum of 1 year, this could be extended but if a label is not generating enough for an artist they must have a cut off point where they can go elsewhere.

5. Any person or buisness entity that uses an artists content must pay for the use of that content , a fee structure could be set up for various distribution uses.
i.e if in an advert $20 000 if on a cd $20 000 plus 80% of the sales of said cd.

6. Any business that uses a creators content must have there accounting done in a way that is clear and easily understood by an artist. If any other costs are to be paid by the artist they must firstly be agreed to by the artist and must come from the 20% of profits the artist gives to the distributors/lables.
If a label cannot cover costs for a tour on 20% of the profit they must look for other ways to get the money together , an artist will always be paid there 80% of costs before any other costs are looked at.

Only artists are allowed to sue for infringement of there content and they can only sue the owners of the websites or manufacturer of cd /dvd’s with the intent to generate profits, be it from sales to advertising.

AG Wright (profile) says:

Music is fun

As a musician for 40 some years I’ve been saying that we are lucky to have this job to professional musicians.
Lots of others would like to make a living this way and don’t get an opportunity to do so.
We get paid to play. It’s as simple as that.

For the past couple of generations some people that weren’t performers got lucky to be paid to promote us on recordings but it seems that that is over. This is a good thing.
Now we can make music for our community again and darned if our community isn’t the whole world.
How cool is that?

writeem (profile) says:

“But things have changed. With the barriers gone, anyone can get on the playing field”. Funny how things have changed. I just looked at the top 10 songs on the Bittorrent charts and, surprise, surprise, they are all from major labels or “indies” distributed by them. The same was true of the You Tube most viewed music videos. Yes, I’m counting Adele’s XL as a major because they have all the infrastructure of a major, huge a$$ets, world wide marketing and distribution.
I’ll buy into this blather about a level playing field when even 1/2 of the top p2p charts are from true indies. Have a nice 4th. Let’s all declare independence from group-think.


Re: Conflate it until it explodes.

You are trying to confuse legacy market dominance with an inability to produce or distribute.

The entire hip-hop genre could be described in terms of disruptive technology that lowers the barriers of entry both in terms of technology and required skill level. It also took over a decade to fully incubate.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Funny how things have changed. I just looked at the top 10 songs on the Bittorrent charts and, surprise, surprise, they are all from major labels or “indies” distributed by them. The same was true of the You Tube most viewed music videos.

I don’t understand the connection you’re trying to make. Having majors and indies in the top 10 on Bittorent and Youtube does not mean the barriers haven’t been removed. There are thousands of artists creating new work and finding distribution through the likes of Tunecore and Bandcamp. The selection is wider and deeper than it’s ever been, but if you’re just going to look at various “charts,” a majority of this new work will elude you.

Anyone can get on the playing field. Not everyone will be successful. Many will fill niches. Others will exist slightly outside the so-called “mainstream.” There are varying levels of success and not every artist is aiming to be the most viewed video on Youtube.

And here’s something that fits right into your conflated metrics:

bratwurzt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Bullshit – it’s merely difficult to make music that is mainstream but still good. There is a lot of music out there that is worth listening to – at least it is to me, that is.

But if by “worth listening to” you mean “worth by TOP charts” and money it brings in – usually such piece of garbage is unlistenable to me.

You started with “The fact is…” and ended with “…retarded he is.” – try better, we got higher troll standards here.

Michael says:

Re: Re:

“”But things have changed. With the barriers gone, anyone can get on the playing field”. Funny how things have changed. I just looked at the top 10 songs on the Bittorrent charts and, surprise, surprise, they are all from major labels or “indies” distributed by them. The same was true of the You Tube most viewed music videos. Yes, I’m counting Adele’s XL as a major because they have all the infrastructure of a major, huge a$$ets, world wide marketing and distribution.
I’ll buy into this blather about a level playing field when even 1/2 of the top p2p charts are from true indies. Have a nice 4th. Let’s all declare independence from group-think.”

Thanks for illustrating the core problem, that being that copyright was created to favor the corporations and not the artists. That major label acts occupy #1-10 in the charts should come as no surprise given the fact that the labels, in tandem with media conglomerates, promote only themselves. But their market hegemony is being disrupted and dismantled, one independent artist at a time. An independent artist who sells through 500 albums at $10 a pop makes more than the vast majority of major label artists who sell through 10,000. Furthermore, independent artists are not in debt to a label and therefore can keep all of their earnings. Sucks to be a major label act.

Anonymous Coward says:

What i is funnyy to me is that this article completely ignores history, not only of music, but every other endeavor that could be considered a hobby and a job.

Example is model building. My Father is a model railroad nut, and spends many hours hand building models for his train set. He doesn’t do it for money, he does it for enjoyment. His is participation, not compensation.

Yet, those people who build sets for movies, or who build models for display (say architects) are doing it for a living. They are about compensation as well as participation. Yes, they may be only 1 or 2% of the total model building world, but they are, well, the “pros” in the field.

Music is the same: Very few people make a living making music, most who play music are doing it for their own enjoyment, for pleasure, and perhaps to impress their date. Whatever. Some aspire to stardom, others just want to be able to strum a tune to play by the campfire. The small percentage of “pros” doesn’t really change.

The only real difference now is that certain tools allow the wannabe stars to produce their own work (often by copying the performances of others), and generating “new” music that they think is great.

The percentages shift slightly, but it’s always been the same. Think of this as the modern version of saving up your money to press a 45 record, or perhaps publishing vanity press. It’s not really any different.

Learn from history, and then you will understand not to make such grand claims.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m really not sure what your argument is. Most of what you’re saying confirms what was said in the article. Other than the unneeded slam against “wannabe stars” producing their own music by “copying the performances of others,” I’d say we’re in agreement.

You seem to feel otherwise, but I can’t really make out your point other than “a small percentage of participants get paid.” Yes. Agreed. But we’re getting to the point where those at the top are making less and more artists are participating than ever, bringing us closer to erasing the division between audience and creator(s). Equating a physical object (model) with something more abstract (a song or string of ones and zeroes) is just muddying the waters in an attempt to prove your point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

All I am saying is that there is no great conclusion to be drawn. What is happening today isn’t any different from what has happened for hundreds of years. There is no magic copyright or **AAs action that is going to stop you from picking up a guitar and strumming a few bars of music.

Nothing has changed. Writing a big long article trying to draw some sort of magical shifting paradigm thing is totally bogus and self-serving.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And since you agree that what is happening today isn’t any different from what has happened for hundreds of years, there is no magic copyright or **AAs action that is going to encourage the behaviour they claim that they want to protect.

What magic copyright and **AAs action do today is instil panic in a lot of people, thanks to huge statutory rewards for alleged, unproven damages using unverified methodologies in front of technologically uninformed judges, and fails to make any lasting impact on supposedly illegitimate behaviour while hurting completely unrelated and innocent individuals. The shifting paradigm is that more people are realising that the whole “save the artists” mantra is bunk because in the end, that’s not what’s happening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I would say you are drawing the conclusion you want to draw, rather than thinking to the end of the sentence.

Copyright isn’t magic, and it isn’t some horrible concept as Mike tries to paint it. It is really a way to define ownership of a work. That ownership allows everything that follows, nothing more.

To be fair, if you remove the “rock star” aspirations from the music world, many kids today just wouldn’t bother. Many get involved, in the period past their parents forcing them into piano lessons, to try to get better, so that one day that can perform live and move on to being a star.

Remove the star portion of the puzzle, or make it way to easy to obtain fleeting stardom, and you perhaps kill the very reasons that drive so many talented (and talentless) hobbyists. You don’t need money or control or anything like that, but you certainly do need the dream.

Perhaps the internet’s gift (or curse) is that everything dreams smaller. They just want 100 people a day to read their inane blog and listen to their sampler music. Evolution? Not so sure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If copyright had stopped at ownership, as in attribution and official versions (who started it first and who deserves to be mentioned for it), I don’t believe most people would be complaining. I personally don’t think everything should be free (I won’t speak for other people here, because the maximist shills always insist everyone wants free beer). But when you have chefs that insist copyright means they can ban people from taking photographs of their food, and CEOs complain that SOPA was needed to shut down websites that parody or satirise them, it’s a lot harder to justify copyright if that’s what it’s used for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Many laws are abused or stretched by people trying to get an advantage. But it’s a pretty poor way to look at things when you consider the 1% extreme cases, and ignore the 99% that works. I know, that is what you get taught reading blogs like Techdirt, but let’s be fair: Copyright work most of the time as intended.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Does your father have the power to stop others from building?

Very few will make a living out of anything we can agree on that, we should also agree that nobody ever should have the power to stop others from doing something even if they copied somebody else.

Giving that power to “Pro’s” is like going back to medieval times where kings granted monopolies to only persons they liked.

Anonymous Coward says:

Then, there was a small period from 1970 to 1997, where people did get paid, and they got paid very handsomely and everyone made money. But now that period has gone.

Interesting that the record companies started paying their artists about a year or so after the Beatles started their own record company, Apple Records. When the Beatles effectively made themselves filthy rich by investing their profits from Sgt. Pepper’s into creating Apple, it became obvious that a top act did not need the record companies, they could do it all themselves if they really wanted to. The record companies saw that other artists, upon hitting a certain level of fame & fortune, could follow suit and start their own record companies, too, so they began sharing the profits with their top-earning acts to buy their loyalty. It was the prospect of potential competition that spurred them to make groups like the Rolling Stones rich.

I wonder what happened in 1997 that caused them to return to their former stinginess? Any ideas? I’d think it had to be something technology-oriented.

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