Rolling Stone Recognizes The Future Of Music: Forget The CD, Sell Other Stuff

from the sounds-familiar dept

Video Savant writes in to let us know about a new Rolling Stone article that probably won't be all that surprising to folks who read Techdirt on a regular basis. Basically, bands today aren't relying on CD sales to make money (or even as a measure of their own success). Instead, they're using the music to sell all sorts of other things having to do with themselves. While the article does focus a lot on licensing deals, the much more interesting deals aren't the ones where songs are licensed, but where the musicians themselves are being paid to create new music. That's what the guys from They Might Be Giants are doing: Dunkin' Donuts is paying them a million dollars to create new music for Dunkin' Donuts commercials.

The article also touches on how important the video game market is for the music industry these days, talking about efforts by bands to license their songs into video games, knowing how much more attention it gets them. While some video games will pay good money to license songs, it seems like bands are so eager for the exposure that many would (and probably should) do it for free -- knowing that the increased exposure will help them with everything else they do. On that note, another reader, Lucretious, sends in a story about how the video games Rock Band and Guitar Hero are driving tremendous interest in music, to the point that bands are releasing songs for use in those games even before an album comes out.

Of course, what may be most amusing, is that the Rolling Stone article reads remarkably similar to a USA Today article we wrote about three years ago, which looked at how the Chinese music industry had successfully adapted to rampant unauthorized copying of music. Musicians there learned to adopt new business models and thrive -- just as bands in the US are doing today. While the CD may be disappearing, the music business continues to thrive.
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Filed Under: business models, music, rolling stone


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  1. identicon
    Mwingerski, 29 May 2008 @ 10:10am

    who cares about quality anyway?

    Since the CD doesn't generate any more for anyone, why bother spending any money to make it.

    There's a huge myth out there among tech people that creating a recording now costs next to nothing. I doubt the same people think that creating a website costs next to nothing.

    And if you don't spend much money making something, it can sound pretty lame. 80% recordings released in the past year don't sell over 100 copies. This might have something to do with quality too. The music that people actually want to listen to requires a vast expense to make them sound good.

    Of course you can get digital copies of music for free. That doesn't mean that what you're going to get actually sounds good. Record companies have done a reasonably job of spending money on recordings with decent sound quality (separate from the music quality). That's one thing that indie artists and tech people ALWAY fail to mention. That's the whole reason most artists WANT a record deal. It's not to get paid for making albums, it's so you don't have to fork out a ton of money to get a good recording with a good team of people who know how to make your music sound like something unique, cool and not completely shitty.

    The pop music in China, from a sonic perspective, and from my limited experience in hearing it, is not terribly well recorded or mixed. It usually sounds pretty tinny and harsh. That probably is fine for the market where nobody expects to pay for their recordings. I hope the same doesn't happen here.

    I'm not saying that the CD should make a come back. But to claim that recordings cost close to nothing to make is just total bullshit.

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