Can We Please End The Myth That Anyone Is Trying To Take Away 'The Right Of Musicians To Get Paid'?

from the please-please-stop-saying-that dept

One of the very common myths we hear from people disputing the various business models we discuss around here for content creators is the idea that "but... but... content creators have the right to get paid" or "we need to protect the right for the musician to get paid." That implies -- falsely -- that anyone discussing these alternative business models believes that the content creators have no right to get paid. But that's not what anyone's saying at all. It's a total strawman. What we're saying is that you need to change the way you do get paid. No one is trying to take away the rights of anyone to get paid. Some of us just don't like artificial, government-structured taxes that force people to pay when it's not particularly reasonable nor efficient.

So I'm having a lot of trouble with this "set of principles" that the Future of Music Coalition has released (and kindly sent over). Considering that the whole thing is supposedly based on "the right of musicians to be paid for their work," it's no surprise that the "principles" seem to miss the point by a wide margin. They all seem focused on making sure that any tax, collective licensing, voluntary licensing, whatever scheme includes the artists getting their cut.

But what it doesn't discuss is why do we need such licensing schemes at all? Why not just let musicians come up with the various business models that work. No one's trying to take away their "right to get paid." We just think that -- like everyone else -- they should earn it not by some sort of welfare/tax/licensing program, but through making use of business models where open and willing transactions are made.


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  1.  
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    RD, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 8:00pm

    This means you

    "One of the very common myths we hear from people disputing the various business models we discuss around here for content creators is the idea that "but... but... content creators have the right to get paid" or "we need to protect the right for the musician to get paid." That implies -- falsely -- that anyone discussing these alternative business models believes that the content creators have no right to get paid."

    This means you WeirdHarold.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 8:12pm

    @RD: idiot

    I don't think that free music takes away an artist's RIGHT to get paid, but it sure puts a dent in their ability to get paid.

    It gets back to that old problem that Mike hates so much - price and value. These two items are attached with an elastic - the more one pulls, the other one follows over time. When something gains value, it almost always gains in prices - and when something loses in price, it also tends to lose value. (unless you are talking something like sentimental value, collectable value, or value in the non-business sense).

    So what happens? The prices drop to nothing, apparently 19 out of 20 songs are not paid for, which makes most people wonder who the 20th idiot is that is still paying for music.

    When it finally gets to 20 out of 20, the artists will still have the RIGHT to get paid, just no longer the ability.

     

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    JMG, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Can't get paid any other way?

    I'm a firm believer in the fact that artists do not have the right to payments. After all, part of being a successful artist (painter, musician, author, etc) is that you're good at it, not just sort of passable. If all it took to be paid for your art was to throw some words together or some paint on a canvas, everyone and their brother would do it.

    Good art, to some extent, is determined in the market by consumers (popular culture at least), and good artists will find ways to be paid for their labour. Perhaps by selling discs or individual songs, perhaps by promoting salable goods by giving stuff away, whatever. The key is to find the way that will in fact, make them an income.

     

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    some old guy, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 8:54pm

    They never had the right

    You can't take away a right they never had.

    They don't have an inherent "right to be paid".

    You want my money, you earn it. You don't have a right to it.

     

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    moz, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    artists have a right to get paid?

    WTF? I never in my wildest dreams thought that any country would enshrine a right to get paid for artists. Count me as firmly opposed. Just curious, how much would I get if I was in the US? Is it per artwork or a fixed sum each year?

    Copyright does not mean the right to get paid, it means a limited right to exclusivity. That exclusivity can of course be sold or rented (or given away), but that's strictly a capitalist market value rather than an inherent right.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 9:33pm

    I have a problem with the public having to pay forever for songs. The Beatles recorded music 50 years ago - isn't it paid for by now? I understand paying the cost of a server transaction on iTunes, but the concept that people must forever pay the artist for a couple of months worth of work seems fundamentally wrong to me.

     

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    lavi d (profile), Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 9:33pm

    Perspective

    Probably a better way to ask this question is, "How do musicians get paid for copies of recordings?"

    No one is forcing musicians to release copies of recordings.

    Musicians do not have a "right" to release copies of recordings. It's a choice, an option.

    Because technology has pushed the price of copies of recordings down to near zero, it might be necessary for each musician to weigh the possible benefits of releasing recordings in this environment.

    Talking about "rights", returning the price of copies to previous levels would require a massive trampling of the rights of EVERYONE. Not to mention reversing a couple of decades worth of technological process. Taxes on internet connections and blank media, mandated DRM in electronic devices - all of these "solutions" proposed to safeguard the release of copies of recordings - all constitute abridgement of EVERYONE'S rights.

    In yet other words, if music recording had just been invented, in its present form, musicians would have to adapt. Period.

     

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    Michael Long, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 9:38pm

    IRS

    "Some of us just don't like artificial, government-structured taxes that force people to pay when it's not particularly reasonable nor efficient. "

    Huh. Try telling that to the IRS come April 15th.

    I'm sure not paying all of those "artificial government-structured" taxes will be just as easy as stealing music from artists...

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 9:53pm

    A musician's union

    If there was a union or guild that all musicians belonged to, and if they would go refuse to make music if they weren't paid an agreed upon price, then it might be possible for them to maintain a set price for their recordings and their performances.

    However, a lot of people will make music for free. They don't care about getting paid. Supply exceeds demand so the price fans are willing to pay for music goes down.

    Now, if quality is factored in, good bands should make more money than bad bands. And that continues to be true for concerts and collectibles. Fans are willing to pay more for bands they like.

    But for recorded music, since there is an unlimited supply via easy copying, supply still exceeds demand.

    As a group, musicians will never make as much as some in other professions because so many people do music as a hobby and don't care if they get paid.

    The same issue has hit writers. So many websites do well with user-generated content that it's hard for professional writers to charge much.

    So if we are talking about the economics of music, then we also have to discuss supply and demand issues, not just price and value issues. There are too many musicians chasing too few dollars to maintain high prices.

    The whole discussion of free acknowledges that recorded music is no longer scarce. Bands that want to make a living at music need to find something to sell that is relatively scarce.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 10:10pm

    While some people complain that the market is pulling value down, I'd say there's a bit of truth to that. However, that's the point. The label fails seemingly willfully, in "pulling" the value back up.

    This is indeed what Mike points out time and time again-- that instead of trying to remove an infinte good from circulation, some artists can take an alternative approach by adding value to their brand. In doing so, artists can differentiate themselves from being merely a performer, back to being an owner in their business, their brand, and exert control over personal destiny. This seems to be absent from the major label paradigm, where contractually, derivative works are looked down upon.

    Hooray for the artists that buck the label paradigm, distribute digitally, and do things to engage their audience in new ways like Nine Inch Nails.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 10:43pm

    Re:

    When it finally gets to 20 out of 20, the artists will still have the RIGHT to get paid, just no longer the ability.

    Perhaps others would have a problem with situations where labels fail to disburse collected royalties.

    Learning from these mistakes, I am hopeful that areas where the citizens had taxes collected, an audit of tax disbursements to artists/bands could also be made available for public review.

    But perhaps the best predictor of the future is the past.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080820/0204472040.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/article s/20080812/0150041954.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20061129/213912.shtml
    http://www.tech dirt.com/articles/20070806/015203.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20061211/084226.shtml
    htt p://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081205/1952423036.shtml

     

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    Nick (profile), Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 11:14pm

    Actually, why *do* musicians have a right to get paid more than once per performance?

    People do *lots* of things without having any expectation of getting paid. Quite often, people actually *pay* for the privilege of doing things. (Sport is a good example: the professionals may get paid boatloads of cash, but the amateurs are usually handing over money for use of equipment or facilities)

    It all comes down to supply and demand: just because you *want* to be paid to do something doesn't mean that anyone out there is going to pay you to do it.

    When it comes to music, you have two forces at work:
    - people like making music
    - people like listening to music

    In the days before any kind of recorded music, the first group got paid by putting on live performances, the latter group either went to those live performances or created their own music.

    Recorded music is a recent aberration where some musicians discovered they could get paid multiple times for a single performance. Creating each new copy wasn't all that easy, but it was still a lot easier than doing a whole new performance. This was obviously a pretty sweet deal for the musicians, so it is hardly surprising that it become a very common way of providing music to those that wanted to listen to it.

    Fast forward to today, and the cost of creating each new copy has dropped so far that the ability to do it is ubiquitous and essentially free. We've moved from the original situation where the supply of recorded music was non-existent to one where the supply is effectively infinite.

    Either extreme means that getting paid for copies of recordings isn't going to happen. But just as nothing could save the buggy whip manufacturers, the recording industry as it currently stands is pretty much doomed - the problem is right there in the industry's name.

     

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    Andy, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 11:47pm

    Who is depriving who here?

    Before musicians (and others) start complaining about a right to get paid, they should probably examine their industry and figure out why it is that the writers and performers actually get paid least of all those in the production-distribution chain. When I read that Simon Cowell (as seen on American Idol) makes $45 million per year, I am quite certain that none of the musicians with whom he has worked are making that kind of income level.

    And of course it is also worth remembering that the RIAA and the musicians are not the same people. None of the demands and lobbying of the RIAA are intended to net the musicians themselves dollar 1. That may be a side-effect (or not) but it is not the principle aim.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 11:55pm

    Stop recording

    Wouldn't the logical result of not getting paid for recorded music be for musicians to stop recording music?

    Of course that isn't going to happen. Lots of DIY musicians are going to keep recording, many with every intention of giving it away for free.

    The labels are likely to sign fewer musicians if they only way they can make money is to sell recorded music, but musicians are still going to record and give it away.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 11:57pm

    You don't know anything about the music business if you think artists ever get paid what they should in the industry. All the so-called business models I see you guys post are a joke... if they are all so great more people would use them. Put your money where your mouth is, if you really believe in these alternative business models, put your money up to support artists in this regard and see what happens to your time and money.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 2:09am

    The article summary sort of misses the point, I think.

    Let's assume musicians may or may not have a right to get paid by selling recordings, whether or not you think that business model makes sense, doesn't make sense, or is doomed. Do they at least have the right to choose their own business model?

    As I understand the Techdirt line of argument, the prevailing opinion seems to be that "license your music and make money from royalties" is an ultimately doomed business model, since an increasing number of musicians will start offering music for free (because it's an infinite good), and making money some other way (by bundling scarce goods, perhaps). Eventually, to compete with this, others will have to follow suit.

    If this were actually what were happening, that would be one thing. This means that we'd see a steady transition from old business models, based on royalties, to new business models, based on something else. We might even see a tipping point, but there would likely be a long period of time wherein the new business models would compete with, and eventually come to dominate, the old ones.

    That's not what's happening, however. The old business model is being undercut by rampant piracy, not new, more sensible business models. If your business model becomes untenable because a better business model has replaced it, that's one thing. When your business model becomes untenable because of rampant crime, that's another. Whether or not the end result will be the same does not change the fact that piracy has accelerated - perhaps an order of magnitude or more - the otherwise orderly shift from old models to new models.

    Nearly none of these discussions on Techdirt ever mention risk or risk management, which is a critical commodity that's being lost here. Ideally, musicians would be able to look at the new business models based on free/scarce bundling (or whatever), decide how risky they were compared to an (admittedly shitty but well-understood) traditional record contract, and make a decision whether to throw in with the old, royalty-based model or the new bundling model. But now, their existing business model is being severely disrupted, and there hasn't been time to shake down the new business models yet.

    So, a musician has two choices: a high-risk model (staying with a royalty-based traditional contract) or a very high-risk model (throwing in with a business strategy that is unproven). The true loss here is the musician's ability to mitigate risk while remaining a musician.

    I fully understand that the party line on this is that piracy is a fact of life when you combine infinite goods and the Internet, and you just have to deal with it. Certainly this is true, but I personally think it sucks.

    A real difficulty is that we don't have a tremendous number of good analogs to understand or predict the effects of this. One analog that I haven't seen proffered too much in the articles or discussion here is "dumping," or predatory pricing. "Dumping" is usually part of international trade, where a country will subsidize the export of some (scarce) good to another country to be sold at a loss, below the cost of production. The intent is to undercut the market in the target country and drive its industry out of business, at which point the dumping country will have cornered the market. This has happened occasionally; I remember my Grandfather complaining that Japanese steel dumping in the mid/late 20th century was largely responsible for the decline of the American steel industry. I don't know whether this is true or not.

    I understand it's not a perfect analog, and I understand that in the case of media piracy, the pirates are not "dumping" content in an effort to put the media industry out of business or corner the market. But a lot of the same questions come up: should this be legal? Is it ethical? Is it something we should tolerate in a fair market? Should we just tell businesses or industries that are being "dumped" upon to get over it and start coming up with new business models? If, as my grandfather asserted, this resulted in the decimation of a national industry, was that just the free market speaking? Was this good for the world?

     

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  17.  
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    Ima Fish, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 5:10am

    I'll say it. No one has a right to "get paid" for what they do. Now if someone is willing to pay for what you do, that's fine. But no one has a right to expect such payment.

     

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    Cap'n Jack (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    @16: You're almost saying Techdirt is right, but you think it sucks. It's not easy to make come up with new business models, but the artists who are trying them ARE finding successes. It's high-risk to try something new simply because you're one of the first people trying it, so you have no idea what to expect. Not all business models work and maybe none of the ones currently available are the perfect model, but what it comes down to is that musicians NEED to adapt, and the recording industry needs to die out, or drastically change.

    It's not piracy that's "killing" the recording industry, it's TECHNOLOGY that's changing the very face of it. Music isn't dying - if I'm not mistaken it's being produced more than ever. And many musicians, especially those experimenting with better models, are finding their own successes. What it comes down to is that it's a lot easier to record music, to produce music, and to distribute music than it ever was. I think you're missing the point, really. Mike says that piracy needs to be UNDERCUT by free models, because piracy is already free and you can't compete with that. The point is to distribute your music, even if you're not making money on a per-song basis (if music is such an widely available product and so many people are willing to create it, why do artists deserve to be paid on a per-song basis?) and garner fans who will pay for the content you produce.

    An excellent way to do that is using bittorrent. It's not the only good way, but it's quick, reliable, and you know that the more your music is being shared, the more well-known you are becoming. And then what it comes down to is giving people a reason to pay. People pay for quality and convenience, and artists can always make their products more accessible and higher-quality than can be provided through illegal means.

    You're saying that it sucks when older industries die out because of a changing market, and maybe it does suck, but in most cases it results in a lot more opportunity and better results for consumers. Newspapers, music, and everything that is hurting right now will inevitably become more profitable once people pin down exactly how to become more profitable from them. You can only resist change for so long, and it only sucks for those who don't accept it. That's a truth that applies in every area of life.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re:

    The quotes you give are all over the place, from artists signing bad contracts (someone needs to learn math) to bands not collecting royalities (contract law matter) to government levies in Canada (on blank shiny discs that aren't selling well anyway).

    So it is not clear how the past predicts the future here, unless you are suggesting it will be confusing and off topic.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 8:00am

    I, for one, am glad to note that I am not the only one who understands there is no right to be paid for anything. I have the right to decide to hand over my money in the ways I see fit, no one has a right to tell me I MUST pay them.(ok, so the IRS is an exception to that rule, even if there are some questions involving how the tax code is written) If a band/artist is good, and I enjoy their music, I will purchase it. Doesn't mean I won't download a copy first, doesn't mean I won't download a copy later, but I will support those I think deserve it. Never cared for Nirvana, never bought their music, never downloaded it either, so they have no reason to believe that they have a right to be paid by me in any way, shape, or form.

     

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    Ima Fish, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 8:01am

    Re:

    "Do they at least have the right to choose their own business model?"

    Sure, but no one has the right to demand that their business model has to succeed. If an artist wants to do it the old dying failing way. What's stopping him? Oh yeah, making a living, that's what's stopping him. But, he has a right in this country to choose failure. So choose it. But please don't come crying to us, or to the government, or to Google, or to ISPs because of your asinine choice.

     

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    1369ic, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Getting paid like a rock star

    I think the problem is that these people are assuming musicians still need to be able to get paid like rock stars -- that the gravy train will continue, in other words. I would say that the gravy train is a recent invention, and will possibly prove to be an historical anomaly.

    Musicians throughout history have done it for love and for money, and for most of that history any money they got they got directly and got to keep. Then people started mass marketing things and the gravy train was born because it could reach mass audiences and concentrate the profits. Of course, most musicians never really get to the gravy. The train takes all the gravy, and the musicians get a few drops that happen to fall on their biscuit.

    If the internet & all things digital are moving us from mass marketing to mass niche marketing, I think it's safe to assume a couple of gravy trains are going to get run off the rails in the process. Entertainment is obviously one of them.

    One obvious example is the CD versus the digital single. Instead of forcing me to by the $18 CD and get 9 songs I don't want, I can get the single for a lot less. So a good part of their "sale" was really closer to extortion. Once you lose that "profit" on things people didn't want, your overall revenue goes down, but people can still pay you for what you did that they want. That's going to play out in a lot of different ways, piracy or not.

    Musicians have a right to get paid. But they don't have a right to a system that tops out in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars category and creates media presences like Bono (not that he's doing badly with it). Those are the rights they're trying to keep, and they're not rights at all. They're confusing their rice bowl with owning an island with an Army of coolies to work their rice plantations.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re:

    But do the "infringers" have a right to dictate their business model to them? We are where we are today not because the bands / artists / record companies decided to be here, but rather because huge amounts of music has been taken and made available for free, without rights.

    So in the end, their right to choose their business model is limited by file trading. Is that really fair?

     

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    wheatus, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    200%

    Weird Harold...someone needs to learn math you say?

    Care to explain to us how the 200% of Publishers and writers shares works on a song...?

    I'm less concerned with my "rights", and entitlements as an artist vs. fans and more concerned with my royalty streams and the multinationals and government lobby monoliths that collect that money actually giving it to me.

    Blame the fans is fail.

    And your article has one major flaw...there definitely IS a group talking about musicians not getting paid, Major Labels...But they've been carrying on that conversation for decades so I don't understand why all the fuss now?

    "musicians have the right to get paid" is code for all the middle man groups need to lamprey the royalty streams so they don't have to go work in a rest home.

    brendan b brown
    wheatus.com

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ah.

    So are you admitting that a record company has the right to screw everyone?

    The point is quite simple actually: If moneys are collected, are they disbursed? There seems to be many situations where a dispute occurs when Record Companies and it's artists, even in situations where sales can be quantified.

    You proposed a "Music Tax" Yet, the panacea for Canada was a 30-cent tax levy on blank CDR Media. In such situations, only the Government knows how much money was collected and who it was disbursed to. Thusly, by collecting public money to remedy a problem which seems to not have disappeared, it would be interesting to see an audit of how said taxes were distributed to artists, while also detailing overhead expenses.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In speaking to Government-mandated tax collection:

    It would be my assumption that existing program's data would be audited, maintained, and readily available for Government Officials anyway as their duty to the public may include quantification of the effectiveness of the programme.

    A solid company would also provide similar financial data as part of a regular accounting package to parent companies, or regulatory requirements such as Sarb-Ox certification or similar.

    All this would help to quantify the effectiveness of a government-mandated tax, and also determine if the burden of such tax is useful with more pressing issues such as these "Rights" you seem to be demanding.

     

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  27.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    Helping artists to be paid

    Excellent article, overall. However, you give as the only solution:
    "Why not just let musicians come up with the various business models that work."
    This indicates that musicians should be ignored unless they are also consummate business people - that would exclude, for example, Mozart and Bach, to name a few.
    Having music company execs try to line their own nests the way they do is unconscionable, but people like you, who are good businessmen, should suggest ideas to musicians, who may not be.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    Re: 200%

    Care to explain to us how the 200% of Publishers and writers shares works on a song...?

    Blame the fans is fail.


    Can you try that again in english?

     

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    a musician, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    music isn't business

    people are born with different talents, and the idea that only the business men should be fat cats, while musicians have to struggle in a profession nobody respects is not pleasant. in a band of 5 people, if one person buys a song we've split equally, i get 3p.

    everyone loves to employ musicians for nothing because we're desperate, and our job seems to lack the respect that those in a day job, slaves to money are given

     

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  30.  
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    RD, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    And yet...

    "But do the "infringers" have a right to dictate their business model to them? We are where we are today not because the bands / artists / record companies decided to be here, but rather because huge amounts of music has been taken and made available for free, without rights.

    So in the end, their right to choose their business model is limited by file trading. Is that really fair?"

    Tough shit. You dont have to LIKE it, but its what is happening now. Technology has enabled change from the OUTSIDE, and thats just too bad. These things happen, history is replete with examples of this happening, of changes happening outside of someone's control. You adapt or die. If you get laid off from work through no fault of your own, just because the company is doing poorly and they need to cut people, do you say "well, since *I* didnt chose this model to change to, its not fair." Sure you would. But its not in YOUR hands to control that, its going to happen anyway, and you now need to adapt or die. Its not RIGHT, its not FAIR, it may not even be LEGAL, but it IS. Crying and whining about it like a little baby wont change what is happening. If the founding fathers had your attitude, we wouldnt even be ABLE to have this discussion about the merits of these ideas, because there wouldnt BE an America.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re: And yet...

    RD, seriously, you need to take a vacation or something. I know high school is tough, but you don't have to take it out on the rest of us.

    LIKE OUTSIDE YOUR RIGHT FAIR LEGAL IS ABLE BE!

     

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    bigpicture, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Right to get paid

    Of course the creators of content have the right to get paid, and even from the time of court jesters, storytellers and musicians (entertainers) they have been.

    The related issues and questions are not about that, they are about for how long should they be paid for a days, a weeks or a years work. Some want to get paid a life time for a weeks work, and before the age of ubiquitous recording technology THAT COULD NOT HAPPEN. So basically the creators of content are saying we are the only ones who have the right to benefit from ubiquitous recording technologies. Basically said another way the content creators are saying WE DON'T WANT TO WORK ALL OUR LIVES LIKE EVERYONE ELSE BECAUSE OUR WORK IS MORE IMPORTANT AND MORE VALUABLE THAN FOOD OR HOUSING ETC. WHICH IS AN ABSURD EXPECTATION IN THE EXTREME!!!!

    Then you have the middle man, who used to profit off the backs and efforts of the content creators (recording companies and publishers) on a marketing pretense, and their jobs are now gone because this new (reproduction) technology is making them obselete and irrelevant. (their previous monopoly on reproduction) All the fuss and whining about copyright and file sharing is because of these two issues above.

    The group who previously had no say or no lever in the previous system and process was the consumer. Now the consumer has a say about their treatment in this huge gravy train, and now the content creators and middle men don't like it. To hell with the consumer, well to hell with them, they are reaping what they have sowed!!!

     

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    Cecil, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:04am

    "Content Creators"

    All musicians and songwriters are officially now simply going to be called "content creators". They make content that I can use on my website.

    If they want money, they've gotta give head or something. I'm serious about this BJ-based business model. I can copy files infinitely, but BJ's are one of a kind and a finite resource.

     

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    wheatus, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: 200%

    No see, you don't understand that part so you should STFU. If you remotely knew anything of what you speak here you would not have to ask what the 200% is, ...um in English, or any other language.

    Harold, this industry and independent artists like me are having a hard enough time without an ignoramus like you spattering the conversation with nonsense...If you don't know about the 200% then you need to be quiet on the subject of IP all together.

    brendan b brown
    wheatus.com

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    No one gets paid

    I've been in the online content business since 1993. My colleagues and I were talking about the online news business back then.

    I've been in the music business since 2001. I had assumed that the Internet would disrupt the old music business model and something new would come into play and whoever invented it would become wealthy.

    Now, having watched so many ideas come and go, I'm starting to tell everyone no one in music will make any money from it. Of course, some still will, but I (1) want to lower everyone's expectations, (2) to encourage everyone who hopes to make a living at this to get out, and (3) to have the industry start over to see if anything workable develops.

    I think we will see a lot of reversion back to what music once was: people playing amongst friends and family for their own amusement. We will also have traveling musicians who will play the house concert circuit and get a lot of food and housing support from fans along the way.

    There will continue to be a massive amount of user generated content, as there is with writing. The content creators won't get paid and neither will the site hosts (not enough ad money to go around).

    I think it is more honest to tell people to expect no money and then let them decide what they want to do. Of course everything isn't equal. Bad musicians aren't going to have many fans (though some mediocre bands have far more fans than great bands because they have lots of friends) and good ones should do better. But to suggest to 10,000 bands that tweaking a business model for them will help them make money is misleading. Most of them won't make money no matter what they do.

    I have many musician friends and some of them are so talented they should be doing music full-time. But for them to do that, they need to carefully monitor how much money they put into the business compared to how much they can expect to take out of it. Run a business plan in advance to get a realistic idea of what you might make. Then run some experiments on a low level. If a tactic doesn't work, don't count on it.

    I believe there are some concepts (e.g., patronage, tipping, non-profit) that will become models for music. That's where I am currently looking.

     

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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No but the 'artist' don't have the right to dictate their fans either.

    If they use a bad business model they shouldn't expect to make any profit. If I choose to share my pencil I should be able to do that, If I can do that with the original pencil still at hand I should be able to do. 'Artists' shouldn't be able to infringe my right.

    They can still make profit with limited editions, charging money to create the albums, spreading t-shirts, live performances, dinner with your grandmother. The distribution of music increases the value of these goods they should use that. They shouldn't expect to make money selling an infinite good. [mind you, a CD is not infinite, a download isn't, the music is.]

    They shouldn't make money on something that can be easily copied and shared. Copyright is just a government granted monopoly, there was music before that and there will be music after.

    For a certain amount time major record labels dictated what you listened, and I won't be sorry if the abolition of copyright deprive them of that 'right'. It makes the real quality count again, not something that got granted the 'infinite copyright'.

    Thank god for the internet. It will only be just a while.
    Thank god for the internet.

     

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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: And yet...

    Look around you, apparently it is. =)

     

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    Lucretious, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    aftyer I download all the free music I can handle, I will determine whether it is worthy of remuneration....


    .....and there's not a goddamned thing you can do about it if you disagree.


    how's that grab you, counselor?

     

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    Lucretious, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Re: No one gets paid

    you really don't come here often, do you?

     

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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: No one gets paid

    I must say she actually has some point, beside from the fact there are quite some easy ways to make some money, it's right you shouldn't expect any money. Any money you get than is profit.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Re:

    When the bands stop making music (because they can't afford to / don't have the time / have to work Mcjobs to pay the rent) then we might end up back at that place where you have no more music to consider. At least, you may end up with less choices of good music and plenty more choices of garage band stuff. It's good if you like garage bands, sort of sucky if you prefer a higher quality product.

    Out of curiousity, what's your major? When do you graduate?

     

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    wheatus, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Once again your comments here betray the hard facts that you have absolutely no background or experience in the technology of record making. Are you serious with the whole "not have time/can't afford to make records thing?"

    There will be records a plenty, just none for douchey middlemen to get their grubby worthless mitts on...perhaps that is what bothers you the most...So YOU may want to think about a "McJob" you elitist philistine.

    bbb
    wheatus.com

     

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    RD, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Wow again

    "When the bands stop making music (because they can't afford to / don't have the time / have to work Mcjobs to pay the rent) then we might end up back at that place where you have no more music to consider. At least, you may end up with less choices of good music and plenty more choices of garage band stuff. It's good if you like garage bands, sort of sucky if you prefer a higher quality product."

    Wow...just, wow. You REALLY have no sense of history, do you? You DO realize that mankind has been making music since there was a mankind, right? And that not all of those people had copyright protection and/or got paid very much for doing it, right? The idea that NO ONE will ever make music unless there is HUGE amounts of money to be made is ludicrous at best, and disingenuous at worst.

    But that is Harold. Stick your head in the sand and ignore reality. Yes, it might be garage bands, but SOMEONE will make music. And you ignore the salient point: If EVERYONE is doing that, then that is the only kind of music to listen to. That is all that will be available. People will still listen to music as well. So, you can either listen to what is available, or, you can not, and go back to reading and stealing pictures and stories from other websites like you do now.

    Music isnt a RIGHT. You arent ENTITLED to it, THEY arent entitled to get paid just because they created some piece of music. Like anything in life (and like you choose to ignore repeatedly) if you make something people LIKE, you can find ways to get paid for it. It used to be big record labels and shiny discs. Now, and in the future, it will be something else. Maybe iTunes. Maybe self-produced. Maybe some other form of record business. But what we have now is going away whether you and your industry butt-buddies like it or not.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, I have plenty of experience in the area, especially with the starving artists that hope one day to go on to be stars. It's not something that is unknown to me. You know the drill, how many bars do you have to play in for "the door" or beer money?

    Almost every artist ends up at some time having to have a "real job" to pay for their art. What percentage of bar and restaurant staff in Nashville are aspiring musicians, example? How many waiters in Hollywood are actors or screen writers or whatever?

    What ends up happening? Stuff like this: "The Lightning EP will feature Real Girl, as well as five (or so) other brand new songs. The band is spending the next few weeks finishing these tracks, and we hope to have the new EP available to you early next year."

    Is that early this year and you are late, or early next year and it's going to take a long time?

    What do you do for a living? I tried to figure out where the band is playing but between your website and myspace, I couldn't find it. So I ahve to assume that the various members have real jobs or go to school or something, right?

    It's just a question of time - and when your life gets in the way of time, the songs come more slowly, the EPs get recorded more slowly, and everything slows down.

    Most musicians I know hate to be reminded of it, because it sucks to know that no matter how well you do, there is a fence to jump that you might never get to, the point where you don't have to do anything but be a musician. Most artists never jump that fence. So then where does the future music come from? Where are the newest hits? Who's on the top 40? Who has the best selling R&B album, if all music is done patchwork, regional, and local only?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: No one gets paid

    This has turned out to be a good place to discuss the economics of the music business, which I am very interested in.

    Mike is tossing out discussion-worthy topics.

    I've done band business plans, looked at the numbers. What to sell and to whom is the core of the music business.

    If there are other discussion boards where I should be going, I'd be happy to check them out.

     

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    Steelsky, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Simple

    Why should someone profit from traffic generated by presenting the musicians work? This is what is so rancid about Google, et al. They are quite happy to take the advertising revenue but don't believe they should pay a fair price for the content that attracts the consumer.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Wow again

    RD, honestly, screw you and your nasty attitude. Keep your rude insults to yourself, I don't work in the music business and I sure as hell don't have any butt buddies in the business as a result. Your are just being a very crude little child, one who doesn't even understand the very basics.

    Music isnt a RIGHT. You arent ENTITLED to it, THEY arent entitled to get paid just because they created some piece of music.

    Hello? First amendment calling. Music is a right, like any other speech.

    As a listener, you aren't ENTITLED to anything. You have the right to music, that right is #1 in the US constitution. Only places like Afghanistan have laws against music.

    Artist have the right to get paid. There is no law saying "all music must be free" The artists have a right to get paid. More importantly, if they sell the work commercial in any fashion, they are entitled to get paid. If they rent the work to be played on radio or in a club, they are entitled to get paid.

    You don't realize, you don't have a RIGHT to someone else's work. You can use it if you choose to pay the fee the are ENTTITLED to.

    You need to learn the difference between rights and entitlements.

     

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    Willton, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: 200%

    No see, you don't understand that part so you should STFU. If you remotely knew anything of what you speak here you would not have to ask what the 200% is, ...um in English, or any other language.

    Harold, this industry and independent artists like me are having a hard enough time without an ignoramus like you spattering the conversation with nonsense...If you don't know about the 200% then you need to be quiet on the subject of IP all together.


    Then why don't you explain what this 200% means, if you are so damn knowledgeable? Because last time I checked, you can never have more than 100% of a certain population of people.

    And please make your explanation coherent, preferably using proper English and grammar, so people can understand what it means. Your last few posts have been anything but coherent.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Wow again

    I think we are moving toward a streaming model, where people no longer own music but can access it whenever they want. There have been several ideas based on this concept and I'd like to see at least one of them take hold.

    What I don't want to see is internet music sites shut down because of high royalty payments. Many up-and-coming artists want the exposure even if they don't get paid. So eliminating all the internet radio stations and music discovery sites for non-payment doesn't serve them well. Artists should have the option to allow their music to be played royalty-free.

     

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    Derek, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re:

    Out of curiousity, what's your major? When do you graduate?

    Ah. So often when an opponent can't form a rebuttal against a particular data point, they often change the subject and make statements personal in nature and focus on another problem. When people attack other people by challenging their background and authority, it's usually because their own logic has flown out the window.

    So when you can't form a rebuttal against a particular datapoint, you resort to personal attacks.

    You Stay Classy, Weird Harold.

    Hey WH, why not take a stab at comment #26?

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Wow again

    right now the cost of delivery is too high for the stream model to work. It's okay for home (for music), but even then it isn't efficient because there is a 1 to 1 relationship between transmission and reception. Broadcast is a 1 to many and as a result is more efficient.

    Over high royalties aren't really the issue - it's under developed business models. Streaming trying to compete with broadcast while having no economy of scale on your listenership is just a non-starter. Too many of the web companies want the music producers to take a huge cut in payouts only because their business models don't work. Simple business logic says the music people get no great benefit from accepting a smaller payment.

    Artist don't get the choice if they sign their right away to a record company or other form of publishing company. They could keep those rights if they wanted to, but then they would see smaller advance payments or even lower payouts than the currently see.

     

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    suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow again

    I'm including online radio in with the streaming model. That's a one-to-many model, albeit a much smaller audience than most terrestrial stations. It has worked because stations haven't had to pay royalties to labels. And as everyone knows, it was the other way around, labels paid to have their music on the stations.

    I've sent CDs to small internet stations. They used to have you sign a release form saying you wouldn't collect royalties, but now even that doesn't work. An artist who owns all rights to the music should be able to submit the music for free. MySpace is based on the concept.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Derek, honestly, post 26 ends with:

    "All this would help to quantify the effectiveness of a government-mandated tax, and also determine if the burden of such tax is useful with more pressing issues such as these "Rights" you seem to be demanding."

    There are two things at play here: Confusion as to what a "right" is, and then the issue of taxation itself.

    In essence, you can attack the issue of piracy in a couple of ways. The Canadian government has chosen over and over to apply taxation on blank media as a way to recoup money for the affected industry / artists. From blank cassettes to CDs and DVDs, they have taxed them accordingly. There is an issue now because they are not taxing MP3 players, example. That is up for debate.

    The downside is that any tax like this punishes the innocent and rewards the offenders, but provides the entertainment industry with a source of revenue to keep them quiet. Is it right? It is probably cheaper than trying to eradicate piracy, at least at this point. But it makes the error of somewhat approving of the offenders actions, and supporting them. In the long run, it only encourages them, and makes the problem worse.

    In the end, copyright laws needs to be clarified to clear up the grey areas, and they need to address the implications of current technology. Taxation is only a band aid over a bigger issue.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow again

    streaming radio isn't one to many - it's one to one many times. each user has their own full connection all the way back to the source. Radio is one to many - a single transmission received by many.

     

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    RD, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:14pm

    Wow again

    "Artist have the right to get paid. There is no law saying "all music must be free" The artists have a right to get paid. More importantly, if they sell the work commercial in any fashion, they are entitled to get paid. If they rent the work to be played on radio or in a club, they are entitled to get paid."

    You are speaking of contract and copyright "rights". I was speaking of inherent rights. Just because you MAKE something doesnt ENTITLE you to make money at it. You can certainly try, and do whatever business you can to make money with that, but that is just working hard and making something someone wants, and if they will pay you for it. IF. IF they will pay. You arent ENTITLED to be paid simply because you made it. There is no "right", for instance, that says just because you made a CD you are OWED $15. If someone is willing to pay it, then fine, that is a business model. But there is no RIGHT to it. Just like you blather on about price and value, also you need to separate the RIGHT to make money with the ABILITY to make it. You CAN make money, you arent ENTITLED to it.

     

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    superdude, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:15pm

    Re:

    WH, no one has the right to be paid for making music. Just like no one has the right to be paid for paintings, or any other arts. It's like how alot of history's best painters died in poverty. No one thought their work was worth the price. Same as with most music these days.
    If artists want to sell each song for a price on services like itunes, they should charge 1 cent. This exceeds the supply-demand value, and they still get paid. This would probably take off is they also did it DRM free. Hell sales would probably pick up for 5 cents per song.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow again

    Unless the rules have changed, online radio has certain limits. You can't play more than three songs by the same artist in a row and you can't dictate which songs/artists are played. At best you can keep tossing out artists/songs you don't like until you have narrowed it down quite a bit. There is some customization, but online radio is still meant to deliver playlists rather than on-demand songs.

    At any rate, on-demand streaming and online radio are set up somewhat differently. Either way, a lot of websites will go under if they can't play music for free. If the artists hold all the rights and want to give their music freely (as they do my MySpace) I think they should have that option.

     

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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Wow again

    Artist have the right to get paid. There is no law saying "all music must be free" The artists have a right to get paid.You aren't entitled to get paid, you only may have an opportunity to get paid.

     

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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow again

    I don't think that is going to work.
    I want to play my music how I want it, when I want it.

     

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    rjk, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:54pm

    Why should someone profit from traffic generated by presenting the musicians work? This is what is so rancid about Google, et al. They are quite happy to take the advertising revenue but don't believe they should pay a fair price for the content that attracts the consumer.

    Why? Because they provide musicians and records companies with SIMPLE, FREE, GLOBAL distribution...

    If the record companies don't like that option they are free to come up with another solution. The whining about this is just ridiculous. No one is forcing anyone to use YouTube or any other video service. If you don't like the terms of service... don't use the service.

    If Google really is making a ton of money from advertising then the OBVIOUS solution is for the record companies to create their own video service and grab all the money for themselves.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you suggest that Artists should be entitled to a 'right for payment', per se that should be collected by the state in the form of taxes.

    To continue on this, I have a few questions:

    1.) Should countries that are being pitched a mandatory taxation model consider the Canadian Blank Media Example?

    2.) Would it make sense to understand how collected taxes on Blank Media are translated into royalties?

    3.) How is the Canadian Blank Media Taxation system structured-

    3a.) Who gets what percentage of the collected taxes, and how is such a datapoint derived? For example, is the system based on assumptions like 'Top-40 artists X,Y,Z receive royalties collected in T time frame'?

    3c.) How do unsigned artists receive royalties?

    3cI.) How are unclaimed royalties claimed?
    3cII.) What steps is the industry taking to ensure unclaimed royalties are claimed?

    4.) How is the system "Trustworthy" by all parties?

    5.) How often is this system audited by third parties?

    6.) What financial and accounting controls are in place to ensure timely and accurate payout?

    7.) How are Royalty Disputes resolved within the system framework?

    8.) What are the overhead costs for such a system?


    ... I firmly believe that if you were to consider some of the real issues of blanket taxation and the complexities of proper royalty payout, you'll find that the best solution is to abandon taxation, and look to different ways.

    The more I look at it, the more it seems like Entertainment will be the next industry to need a major retooling, like the US auto industry. You keep saying it's a legal and piracy problem that is causing people to not open their wallet. But someday people like you in the industry will wake up and just like Wallstreet, you'll have your bailout cash, and not know what to do with it.

    And that, Sir, is the most unfortunate part of all.

     

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  62.  
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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:18pm

    Re: Re:

    again, learn the difference between rights, entitlements, and obligation.

    Everyone has the right to be paid for their work. The obligation to pay is created by contract, by law, or both. But the right exists. I can ask you to pay me to post. I have that right. Because there is no contract or law that makes you pay me, there is no obligation.

    Rights are rights - they are not obligations.

    Understanding the difference is really important.

     

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  63.  
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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:23pm

    Re:

    Because they provide musicians and records companies with SIMPLE, FREE, GLOBAL distribution...

    Not really - at this point they are forcing free distribution. The record companies have the RIGHT to say now. They are not obligated to be distributed.

    If Google / youtube / whoever puts a good enough bottom line proposition in front of the record companies, they may go with it. But saying "give all your stuff away for free, and we aren't paying you either, but we are going to make money off it anyway" is crap and entirely disresectful of the process.

    Think about it. Would it be any more logical if ticketmaster said "we are going to give away your tickets, and only collect our usual fee, and we will keep all the money, because we are giving you FREE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION"?

    Perhaps network TV should be like that. NBC shouldn't be mad if I set up a TV station and broadcast their stuff with my commercials, because I am helping them get free distribution.

     

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  64.  
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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not at all.

    The music (and movie) industry's only true issue is piracy. We would not be sitting here right now having this discussion if the copyright laws were strong enough to make file trading hard to do. Right now it is too easy for all that material to get traded, and possessing it isn't enough to merit action under the current laws.

    Remove piracy, and there really would be no issues. There would be no need to tax blank media or other, because there wouldn't be a huge problem.

    Everything else is a discussion on how to keep moving forward with a gaping wound that is making the industry lose blood at an alarming rate. All the while, the buzzards circle waiting for the beast to fall, so they can feast for a few minutes. It is pretty disgusting to watch.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:30pm

    Wh

     

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    RD, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    You're skipping important points again

    "Everyone has the right to be paid for their work. The obligation to pay is created by contract, by law, or both."

    But not everyone has a right to do the kind of work they WANT to. You yourself have shown that many musicians end up waiting tables to make ends meet while they build their career. But you dont have a RIGHT to make money doing anything. If you are HIRED for a job, then you have a right to expect pay, because thats the law and whatever you work out with your employer (contract). But if you choose to become a musician (or writer, artist, whatever) simply because you create something doesnt entitle you to be paid for it. You need to separate the idea of "artists NEED to be paid for what they create" as a blanket idea with "artists get paid based on WHO WILL HIRE THEM to do the work." See comics, games, books, magazines, etc. If this is not the case, then perhaps people wont get to earn a living doing something they love. It happens, but its not a RIGHT.

    "But the right exists. I can ask you to pay me to post. I have that right. Because there is no contract or law that makes you pay me, there is no obligation."

    That is one of the most inane, contradictory, and unclear statements you've ever made. And coming from you, thats REALLY REALLY bad. I dont even know the point you are trying to make with that gibberish. The right exists to get paid but there is no obligation because there is no law or contract? What the HELL?? Not to mention it directly contradicts your previous paragraph. Sad, sad....

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re:

    "Think about it. Would it be any more logical if ticketmaster said "we are going to give away your tickets, and only collect our usual fee, and we will keep all the money, because we are giving you FREE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION"?

    Perhaps network TV should be like that. NBC shouldn't be mad if I set up a TV station and broadcast their stuff with my commercials, because I am helping them get free distribution."
    ________

    It happens all the time. There is pay-to-play. There was payola.

    Companies pay for advertising. They hire publicists to get into articles. They sponsor events to read the people attending/watching the events.

    Basically whoever already has an audience collects money and whoever doesn't have an audience pays to reach one.

    The idea behind free music is word-of-mouth marketing. Some companies pay companies to give out free samples. Same concept.

    There are no rules about who pays and who doesn't pay.

    There are, of course, laws about ownership, but the owner should be free to decide whether he wants to give items away for free.

    Many writers are told by publishers, "We won't pay you, but think of the exposure." Established writers tend not to agree to it, but unpublished writers often do it to get the publishing credits.

     

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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Think about it. Would it be any more logical if ticketmaster said "we are going to give away your tickets, and only collect our usual fee, and we will keep all the money, because we are giving you FREE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION"?
    With how much money Ticketmasters charges for this they could easily do this.
    But in the normal world this is stupid: it is one of the scarce good you could charge for. There only fit a XX amount of people in front of that stage. The artist only has an XX amount of time. This is one of the ways for artist where money could be made.
    Ofcourse they also could add advertisement, But I know I won't be there anymore when that happens...

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    Piracy

    I think if piracy can be stopped, that's great.

    But some of us aren't waiting for that to happen, are accepting "free," and are even trying to find ways to capitalize on viral marketing. If the goal of advertising is to reach as many people as possible, then you can use the same model to encourage people to spread your music as advertising. Then you sell something else or you find sponsors who take advantage of your popularity and pay you for it.

    Personally I don't want to spend my time arguing about free music. I'm wasting time if I do. I'd rather embrace it and move on.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Perspective

    It is quite possible that the adaptation would be to not make music at all. We talk a lot about the demise of buggy whip manufacturers. It is quite possible that the value of recorded music will fall so low that most new recordings will be of such low quantity or dubious value that new recordings will end up being rare. Even with copyright, the law of supply and demand applies. If there is minimal demand for music that costs money, then that kind of music will die off.

    I have also observed that in general musicians are lousy business men. Had the Beatles, who were awful at business, been formed today, it is possible that they would not have lasted long.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Actually, why *do* musicians have a right to get paid more than once per performance?

    The sad side effect of this situation is that certain artists either no longer record or rarely record because there is so little money in it. When an artist can comman $125 or $135 per ticket and routinely sell 15,000 tickets, why should they record new music they will not get paid for anyway? Amazingly, many of the highest paid music acts in the world have not recorded a CD in years. See the wave of the future.

     

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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Piracy

    I must say I disagree with you on the 'I think if piracy can be stopped, that's great.' I absolutely love the possibility's from the consumers stand point and I can see the possibility's from the creators side.

    I don't know if you have read this: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939.shtml
    But there are a lot more things that can be sold. Don't just solely think of a sponsorship. I personally hate any of that kind of advertisement. I only believe in mouth to mouth and I HATE all the rest, but I won't go in to detail about that here.

    I agree that arguing free is wasting your time. It won't work, and others will be faster to adapt. What I wanted to say: Look for other scarce goods. Write down all the things you can think of that are possibly related. Write down everything, every little thing, it does not matter what.

    Divide them in two categories: Things than can easily be duplicated copied, in the second list you put everything that can't be copied or duplicated, things that take some kind of effort, a scarce good. While doing this you might even come up with more things that might be related. Don't be afraid to at those to your list. When done with all that, everything, you have two lists: One with the scarce and one with the infinite. Give away all the infinite a lot as much as you can. Make it be good and try to sell all the rest. This way you can make a profit.
    Over time you might even come up with more ideas, just add them to the list and check if they are scarce or infinite.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 5:03pm

    There is minimal demand for paid for music because tools here believe it is their right to just go out and get it free. Yeah Mike, you wink and not about it, but it is clear you agree with most of these posters.

    I guess criminals win this one. Course, you could say the same for our government.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Piracy

    "Don't just solely think of a sponsorship. I personally hate any of that kind of advertisement."

    Sponsorships come in all forms. Let's say an artist has a day job and his employer wants to support the music, provides cash or some free stuff, and in return, the artist lets people know his employer is his sponsor.

    Or let's say the artist's brother has a company and financially supports the music. So the artist plugs his brother's company by listing it on his website. That's a sponsorship.

     

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    Jeremy, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re: Piracy

    I don't know if you have read this: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939.shtml

    Some say the author's politics are terrifying, his picture is on high-value stamps in Scotland, and he once punched a horse to the ground.

    All we really know for sure is that he's called "Mike".

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    Re: You're skipping important points again

    RD, seriously, you need to understand what a RIGHT is - it isn't an obligation.

    You have the right to free speech. It doesn't mean you HAVE to use it, you have the right to it.

    People have the RIGHT to charge for their work. It doesn't mean they have to. It also doesn't oblige anyone to pay them.

    The obligation to pay is created by contract, by law, or both. When you buy a CD (as opposed to download it) and the clerk says "that will be $79" - you are obliged to pay $79 or you don't get the CD. they have the right to ask for payment, and you have the right to not pay them, and not take the product.

    A right is something you CAN do, not something you have to do. An obligation is something you have to do.

     

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    superdude, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 8:46pm

    so.....

    Just because he put his work on the internet for me to see, like artists on the radio and such, does not mean I owe them money. Just like I don't owe adobe any money for photoshop, because I don't want it, I don't owe artists money if I don't want their music. THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE PAYED WITHOUT EARNING IT! I think WH has it confused, not everyone he is fighting with. Music is a product, not a service. An mp3 is no different from photoshop or MS office, it is a product.
    A better example is this: A guy digs a trench for my lawn sprinkler system, he has a right to be paid for that. Another guy builds a ditch digging machine, I don't want it, therefore I don't have to go out an buy one. Music is the same way, a concert is a service (artist deserves to be paid) and an mp3 is a product (I owe artist nothing if I don't want it).

    WH you clearly don't understand the way the world is GOING to work soon. I am 24, meaning I am the first wave of the post Napster generation if you will. In middle school everyone was righteously pissed that downloading free music was deemed illegal, and had the general attitude of music not being worth money. We didn't pay for it on the radio, we hadn't paid for mp3s, and no one was going to. Do you understand, the next few waves of adults will not think music has any value, it is free or it will be made free. My music collection consists of cd's I was given as gifts, and nothing else, it's all radio after that. If music cost 5 cents per song I MIGHT be willing to buy music, otherwise they can all get me my fries while they work on the next LP. And if you think people like me are bad, you have no idea, I actually pay for movies, my brothers will not go see them (they are all younger). They actually get mad at content producers for not making the content free. Before posting a damn straw man argument try wrapping your mind around that.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    Re: so.....

    Superdude, I understand it - it is what makes it so painful to watch Mike with some of his posts, because he hasn't clued in that not only has the price of music gone to zero, but the value has as well. Your friends assign it NO value. So it is no longer a question of price for them. At this point, it isn't even clear that music owuld be an acceptable upsell for a concert.

    otherwise they can all get me my fries while they work on the next LP

    When it gets to that point, musicians will end up doing office jobs, getting careers as used car salesmen, and they won't have the time to make music. Sort of sucks that way, and that is how you find out that the music actually had value and you wish you had paid for it. When Jay-Z is only running a clothing company, and Timbaland is just some dude in the office, and Rihanna is just some girl working at the bar in an all inclusive resort... then you will know the value.

    As for the "right", you need to understand that a RIGHT isn't an obligation. They have the right collect money for they work, but you have the right not to use their product and thus owe them nothing.

    This is where it has hit the wall (and most musicians

     

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    superdude, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Re: so.....

    Great we are getting on the same page here. This is why I threw out the thought the mp3 for 5 cents idea, it could be as high as 25 cents. However it must also be DRM free. Long story short college roommate bought sony music cd, found rootkit and tried to remove it. After reinstalling windows he became a pirate. So DRM = more pirates.
    My brothers and I have considered buying albums, meaning the music isn't totally valueless yet, that is why people pirate. If it had a value of 0, why bother. People can be won back from piracy, but price must match value. Also songs can have different prices : (insert favorite song here) 25 cents, Laffy Taffy negative $500. Can you tell I hate that song? Base the price from 1 to 25 cents on things like radio requests.
    The music industry must also act fast as even my dad is going toward the dark side after he found out the RIAA doesn't think he has the right to convert his record collection into mp3's. Honestly those Idiots are what is driving people like me away from buying music more than anything else.

     

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    Iron Chef, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Re: so.....

    Hi, Weird Harold!

    Do you know Superdude by chance? I mean, he's taking such personal reservations against Mike withouut even knowking him must be difficult.

    Mike's a great and fascinating guy, which you don't know.

     

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    wheatus, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again you betray your ignorance h h h Harold....wheatus are all full time musicians. Art doesn't come out on a quarterly basis because that's not how it's made...but I wouldn't have to say that to you if you knew the subject at all.

    Oh and the phrase you're looking for is 'gas money'. Again...you are so obviously not engaged in these activities and need to STFU.

    "Stuff like....?" What credentials do you have to discuss these matters?... How many records have you put out? I have sold over 3 million records, toured the world, written and produced and engineered hits...and I have been a full time musician since 1999 owning and controlling my own copyrights and actively licensing them to like minded artists so when I speak of these things it's because my life depends on it and I feel the need to expose trolls like you and make sure your propaganda has equal time with an informed opinion.

    There are no more centralized markets for "making it", so I'm guessing that you are old.

    What starving artists have you had experience with?

    Seriously dude? Stop looking me up on the internet...I don't your fluid on me.

    bbb
    wheatus.com

     

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    superdude, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: so.....

    Iron Chef
    I am not attacking mike, and I don't know Weird Harold at all really. What personal reservations? I don't see where. Seriously point out the loopholes in my rants, I am not above criticism. I would love music to be free in price, but if they must bitch charge much less for it is all I was saying.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 10:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All the while, the buzzards circle waiting for the beast to fall, so they can feast for a few minutes. It is pretty disgusting to watch. Considering the beast has been ripping off artists for decades, I'm rather enjoying the show.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: so.....

    "When it gets to that point, musicians will end up doing office jobs, getting careers as used car salesmen, and they won't have the time to make music. Sort of sucks that way, and that is how you find out that the music actually had value and you wish you had paid for it. When Jay-Z is only running a clothing company, and Timbaland is just some dude in the office, and Rihanna is just some girl working at the bar in an all inclusive resort... then you will know the value."

    Unfortunately it's been that way for most musicians even before P2P.

    What has happened since MP3s is that now there isn't much more money for most artists, but there is more exposure. You can put your recordings on MySpace and hope to reach potential fans around the world. Music, for most creators, is about self-expression, not money. Sure, a lot of kids dream of being rock stars, but it won't happen for most of them. The ones who quit their day jobs for a full-time career are likely storing their stuff in someone's basement and living very cheaply on the road. Then when they want mortgages and to raise families, they give up the idea of rockstardom and they play their music on weekends with friends, and get on with their lives.

    I've lived the life, both as the former wife of a musician, and also working with full-time musicians. If there are musicians who you believe are talented enough to do music full-time, and you believe in them, support them like you would a cause: go to their shows, buy their merchandise, buy their CDs, sponsor them. People who don't love their music won't, but if you do, help them out.

     

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    Iron Chef, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: so.....

    Hi superdude.

    I am not attacking mike, and I don't know Weird Harold at all really. What personal reservations? I don't see where. Seriously point out the loopholes in my rants, I am not above criticism. I would love music to be free in price, but if they must bitch charge much less for it is all I was saying.

    *Sigh* You think your so smart. Kinda cool because my family is filled literally with rocket scientists! While I entertain you. Such fun!

    It reminds me of my times trying to figure out how my brother and sister think. Sweetness resides anyway.

    But the more I look at it, the more it seems like Entertainment will be the next industry to need a major retooling, like the US auto industry. You keep saying it's a legal and piracy problem that is causing people to not open their wallet. But someday people like you in the industry will wake up and just like Wallstreet, you'll have your bailout cash, and not know what to do with it.

     

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    Colin, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:25pm

    musicians or artists who are talented enough to make living off their art NEED too get paid so they can continue producing art! It's not right to put a monetary value on art in the first place, but if they choose to do so, then you should support their efforts. Many people don't realize the huge amount of time, money and effort needed to produce exceptional work. How can you demand something for free when the artist had to use up their own resources just to make it?

     

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    rjk, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:36pm

    If Google / youtube / whoever puts a good enough bottom line proposition in front of the record companies, they may go with it. But saying "give all your stuff away for free, and we aren't paying you either, but we are going to make money off it anyway" is crap and entirely disresectful of the process.

    uh? The record companies have been 'giving away' videos for years, the whole point of making videos is to 'give them away'. YouTube is providing the record companies with a simple, free way to give away these videos to a global audience.

    Think about it. Would it be any more logical if ticketmaster said "we are going to give away your tickets, and only collect our usual fee, and we will keep all the money, because we are giving you FREE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION"?

    Not quite... just because the record companies are charging consumers $0.00 for videos doesn't mean they are entitled to a portion of YouTube's profits. If the record companies want to make money from videos they should create a business model to do so.

    How logical would it be for the record companies to complain about TicketMaster making huge profits on selling concert tickets and demanding a portion of TicketMaster's profits?

    Perhaps network TV should be like that. NBC shouldn't be mad if I set up a TV station and broadcast their stuff with my commercials, because I am helping them get free distribution.

    It is not completely clear in this example if NBC has a choice in whether or not you broadcast their content. If NBC has no choice, they would have a right to be mad... but then this example becomes meaningless to the discussion because the record companies do have a choice whether or not to use YouTube's services. If NBC does have a choice then they would have no right to be mad. They are looking for a way to broadcast their content, you are providing them with that service and if you can make a ton of money doing that, good for you.

     

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    aikanae, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:46pm

    Re: No one gets paid

    I liked your comments and I think your correct in many ways -but not entirely.

    People enjoy making music. If anything, the internet and new technology have made music more accessible than it has ever been. It's inviting people to create what pleases them and share it. A few become popular (maybe due to management). Even more deserve to be in music. Most should just enjoy the moment.

    Just like going to Hollywood to become a actress or actor. Some get a break but many more that "deserve" credit for their skills, for whatever reason never get their moment. They enjoy acting.

    Artists enjoy creating too. Same with film-makers. There are no guarantees in the profession of success or a right to get paid. It is not 9 to 5, highly competitive and very subjective. If security were the priority, then maybe they should have become an accountant or gone into business doing something else. It has been that way since I can remember reading in history. All arts as a field are a gamble because most people are creative and enjoy creating in some way.

    From my perspective (as a listener) the music field has never been healthier. There are more releases than I can keep track of and more genres than I could list. The market is flooded! That's the first time I've experienced such a wide choice in 45 years of paying attention to the music field.

    What's happening is that instead of funding the entire industry on the backs of a handful of multi-millionaires (or billionaires) like major labels were required to do to cover their overhead - a whole lot of people are able to make money. Just not as much. But without the overhead, they don't need as much either. Even 1% of what a major star makes per year would provide a comfortable living comparable to a small business owner.

    I got those figures off an independent bands website and they are doing pretty good now. They put a lot of work in, not so much with social sites or videos, but in touring and newsletters and fan stuff. They did sign with a major label to do just distribution in the US last year. They have chosen to follow the Marillion model where it's a mix. They also haven't toured the US because it's just too expensive and now venues want a cut of tshirt and cd sales. There seems to be a growing trend of bands skipping the US when touring.

    The idea that TRADE associations (like the RIAA) represents musicians or the majority of music sold in the US (RIAA's website says "90% of legitimate music sold - meaning legitimate is from their corporate members only) is HOGWASH. Bands loose rights to their music and see about $1 per album (nothing from lawsuit settlements and based on what I've heard about SoundCheck, they require a lawsuit and audit to get money from).

    There are many non-industry supported, independent or academic studies that show "file sharing" amounts to sampling for the public. That can lead to a 30% increase in sales similar to advertising. I know that must come as a shock to a lot of people because it seems the "dire" news of the demise of the industry has been publicized so heavily in the media (owned by the same people). Just within the last 5 years, the Grammy's were awarded to 50% independents and earlier, only 1% or less were independent.

    The signs are everywhere that RIAA claims are not true. Look at the success of SXSW. Outside of labels, the music industry is booming. People are paying several hundred dollars for players, thousands for home theaters (which sound crappy on 128kps mp3's) and since when have college students ever owned more than a handful of albums-tapes-cd's anyway? The ones they did have were usually traded, used and not part of RIAA's "legitimate sales" figures.

    Younger than that and the RIAA lost those kids to video games. They have more competition.

    Just looking at the most requested on P2P it's bands that are independent or over 20 years old. Those aren't college kids downloading. College kids are easy targets making lawsuits more about publicity than copyright protection.

    The labels didn't want to release back catalogs. They are very pro-active about removing out of print material. They want to stem the tide of competition that's outside of their control. Okerail River was signed - and then dropped without releasing anything. The reason? "Didn't want the competition" and getting rights to their music was one way to 'compete'. Quite honestly, RIAA can't give their music away for free (Nickleback episode, Paris Hilton). The choices labels offer is extremely limited and stale. Labels wouldn't touch an innovative band like Frank Zappa now. Smart? No.

    A study was done and 80% of music on radio overlapped between the genres. Clear channel controls what rock music is played and they accept payment from labels.

    How else is the public going to hear music without radio?

    The labels killed radio and they want to do the same to the internet. That's what the copyright fight is about. Talent has no way to raise to the top under the current model used by labels.

    Ambrosia and Asia have reformed due to fan demand. Their labels had no interest in their older music. If it weren't for fans ripping vinyl's, their music would have been forgotten. That's a story Jan Ian put on line also. They deserved to make a living at music and fans were supported them. The labels didn't.

    The RIAA deserves to go bankrupt and it would be reflective of how well the industry is doing - not the reverse. The music industry has never been healthier, with more choices and more people making money in music than ever.

     

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    Iron Chef, Apr 4th, 2009 @ 11:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: so.....

    If you want to build it, let's do it.

    I have the team, I just need one (or preferably three) content partners to work with that can be a main investor during the initial stages.

    Even though I could, I don't want to seek VC. We could all do this in house.

    I want to do this right. Otherwise, don't contact me.

    (646) 395-1245
    I will return calls on Monday.

     

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    aikanae, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Wow again

    I think you hit the problem. With the labels out of the way, the major ways people used to use for discovering new music are gone. There are no filters between what someone likes and dislikes. A 30 second cut at the beginning of a song doesn't do it. That's the primary reason people download.

    I am not interested in streaming music. It's ok, but way too limited to have value. I can't stream it in my car, on a walk, on vacation and ways to put it on my stereo are limited. I want to OWN it. I don't want to pay for it 2, 3, 4, or 5 times to play it in different ways on different systems. I want to make ringers if I want to. I want to use it as a background if I want to. I want to have it 10 years from now.

    A 20 year old isn't going to think of music in the same way. But then they haven't tried to track down an out of print recording or haven't discovered the devastation of a hard drive crash yet. The music industry squabbles have already lost them to competition anyway - like gaming. They aren't going to get them back unless someone develops something new for them. Right now I've got a kid hung up on ... polka music just because it's "new" (to them) and drives me batty. Oh well, what goes around comes around.

    But the music industry has not offered anything really new for a couple of decades and that's not natural. That's monopoly.

    I do not have a way to discover new music without downloading. I do not consider 128kps digital mp3 is equal to a mastered cd that I can OWN and play on my stereo. Downloading is sampling. Google the 'sampling effect'. It is not killing the music industry.

     

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    aikanae, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re: Wow again

    I just recorded myself singing a new tune in the shower that I wrote. How much do I get?

     

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    Lost American, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 12:40am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Everyone has the right to be paid for their work. The obligation to pay is created by contract, by law, or both Says who? If I decide to make music, and distribute it freely, does that mean I'm disregarding my "right" to get paid for my talent? Since when did anybody have a "right" to get paid for anything? Getting paid/Making a profit, is not a right. Its a privilege. You provide something, be it a service, an article, or even an opinion, and if you market it as "for profit" then you have a CHANCE to convince the general public that what you are offering is of a certain value. Only then do you see profit. Nowhere in the Capitalistic/Consumerist society does anybody have a RIGHT to get paid.

     

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    Lost American, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 12:49am

    Re:

    Someody even Better: Tech Nine (rapper out of KC, MO) Has only done it his way.. He's now the poster child for Strange Music, and doesn't charge an arm and a leg for his albums.

     

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  94.  
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    aikanae, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 1:24am

    who pays who?

    http://techdirt.com/articles/20090312/0334064088.shtml

    These kind of squabbles are the result of 19th century thinking in the 21st century.

    http://www.phonozoic.net/n0155.htm

    The most successful model that I've seen have been the ones that attempt to form a tight relationship with their fan base. I get some sort of freebie every month from NIN. Marillion sends out free cd's of out-takes to fans. Fans help pay for new releases, tours and volunteer to help find venues, etc. Another band offers a free download every month. One I've been following for awhile doesn't do physical cd's or tours (very new), but sells tshirts online (catchy name). The end result is that bands need to form tight relationships with a core group of die-hard fans because that's their best form of marketing.

    What is broken is the distribution - with digital music that's more like filters for what music fans like and what they don't like. To sort out the good from the bad.

    There are bots bands can pay to give them hits on my space and paid reviews in amazon. The hit charts aren't relevant anymore. There is some great stuff online -legal and free, but no one source to pull it all together.

    One of the biggest problems is that when a band does well as an independent, passing out freebies, doing the interviews, developing a fan base, the label they sign up with will come through and issue take down requests for everything done previously from fans. It's a burn and leaves a very bad feeling behind. An mp3 doesn't even need to be involved for a whole website or blog to disappear without warning and the owner naively thought they were operating within their rights.

    I've seen that happen so many times I can't count. No one can set up anything reviewing new music for up and coming artists. It your not familiar with take down requests, look up the website Chilling Effects. They are nearly impossible to fight even if your the legitimate content owner and operating fully within your rights.

    That has had a chilling effect on trying to set up any sort of filtering process to sort through all the new music available. This is the problem. The labels are doing that for a reason and it has nothing to do with copyrights or payment. It has everything to do with limiting the availability of what they view as competition.

    Honestly, if you want success I'd suggest seeding your music on P2P. It needs to be heard before you can get demand or fans. Then do everything you can to cultivate a core fan group - giving away even more. It's a hard road, but it can be done as long as you've got something to give. It will pay off.

    If you don't or if you don't enjoy the business enough to love doing it for just doing it, then you'd probably feel better in a different field. A friend of mine had an unbelievable voice and could knock socks off - but she didn't love it and didn't want a career in music. I thought she was nuts at the time. But now I realize she was very wise in doing something else.

    Any field in the arts has always required an inner drive to do it just because the person enjoyed doing it. They'd do it anyway -without pay. I'm NOT advocating no payment. I'm just saying that's the level of inner drive required in such competitive fields like any of the arts. I'm a visual artist and it takes being over the top good for moderate success. And that's not a guarantee.

    But I'd do it anyway. It's part of who I am. I can't help it or stop it and I wouldn't want to. I worked for 30 years doing other "stuff" to support my no-income habit. Some people take a 9 to 5 somewhere and sacrifice their vision. I could waitress and make more money that supported my ability to do what I wanted. Choices. Why would music be different?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 1:35am

    Where's Mike?

    Usually he finds some excuse to chime in by the 20th comment.

    Must be a lot of crap here.

     

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  96.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 1:42am

    Re:

    His adopted dog found a way through the fence he built.
    Crazy doggy!

    So they've been trying to find it and his wife remains mad mad at him.

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 1:54am

    Re: Re:

    Liar! That's not true.

     

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  98.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 1:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, it's actually quite true.

     

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  99.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 1:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know liars go to hell?

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 2:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What do you want from me, man? Mike's sitting in my freaking lap.

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 2:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know, this doesn't really count.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 2:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I know. It's fun though, eh?

     

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  103.  
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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 5th, 2009 @ 3:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Piracy

    I know what a sponsorship is. :) I just don't like it.
    There are other ways. A lot of other ways.

    Think of it: if I like your music I finance your next CD ... together with a lot of other fans. I like and finance it, I don't want company names to be spammed around.

     

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  104.  
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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 5th, 2009 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: You're skipping important points again

    They have the RIGHT to charge for their music. But do they have the right to forbid anyone from sharing the things they have bought?

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 3:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Holy crap.

    RIGHT doesn't mean OBLIGATION.

    The artist group is saying (quite correctly) if there is going to be taxation on blank media or whatever, that the money needs to come to them.

    Seriously, learn the difference between RIGHT and OBLIGATION. This whole discussion is getting really screwy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How can you have an obligation to get paid? He said "privilege" and that is in line with the discussion. Getting paid is not a right when you are creating an artistic work. That assumes a value has been predetermined. This is only true if you are creating something on contract, the price already agreed upon. Since that is rarely the case...

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You go to a store. You buy milk. Price says "$1.79". You are obligated to pay.

    That is obligation. You want something that has a price, you are obligated to pay.

    If the price is free, you are obligated to pay nothing.

    The artist / company has a right to charge what they think the public will pay for the product. That is their right. They also have the right go give it away for free. If they put a price on it and you want a copy, you are obligated to pay. You have the right not to buy it, and then you aren't obligated to pay.

    rights vs obligations.

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 6:10am

    Re: Helping artists to be paid

    So, you haven't been reading TechDirt over the last year? Look around, I think you'll find ample examples of business models that work. They might not work for everyone, but isn't that really how it works?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re: And yet...

    This is why we love you, WHTrollie. Because you can't come up with an intelligible response, you revert to your simian relatives' solution and fling your excrement.

     

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    Luci, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    While I love your comments, and find a lot of what you've posted on this thread to be informative and entertaining, you will find that the 'if you aren't in the business, shut up' tact doesn't work around here. Most of us are not in the music business, and yet we will continue to discuss it. Why? Because as consumers it impacts us. Discussion has to be open to everyone, even our resident Troll.

     

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    Melvin Durable, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Good Stuff

    This is so true. Keep up the good work.

    Melvin Durable
    melvindurable@gmail.com

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: You're skipping important points again

    Stop playing word games. I know, it's about the only thing you do well, but there is no 'right to be paid.' What you're discussing is a 'right to charge.' Not the same thing. And stop throwing around the damned 'obligation' argument. It's old, withered, and useless.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    Services and the Intrinsic Worth of Art.

    The problem with Weird Harold is that he is an "opiate of the masses" type, dedicated to the idea that wage-slaves are supposed to fantasize about being rock-star rich, as noted by 1369ic (# 22), instead of taking concrete action to improve their condition, like going to night school, learning a trade, etc. You know, the peasant girl digging up turnips or whatever, and the prince is supposed to come and carry her off, da, da, da... One realizes that for Weird Harold, music is simply incidental to the fantasy of wealth and fame. In another time and place, he would be fantasizing about buried treasure maps (one is reminded of Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo).

    Now, of course you can't sell electronically reproducible goods very well, and it makes more sense to sell services. The most important service is teaching. People commonly do pay thousands of dollars for tuition, at the rate of so much per lesson. The catch is that you have to convince them that whatever you teach is worth learning. That usually means worth learning without reference to economic prospects.

    If an art form is intrinsically worthwhile, it attracts amateurs, people who are willing to pursue the art form seriously without any expectation of becoming professionals, and who have other remunerative occupations. There are lawyers who paint, for example, even though a painter would have to be extremely successful in order to make as much as the average run-of-the-mill lawyer, the kind who handles wills and house sales, or chases ambulances. A good lawyer can make much more, of course, if money is what he's after (*). One even odder avocational painter was Yutaki Katayama, Datsun-Nissan's man in California in the 1960's and 1970's, and one of the major architects of the Japanese automakers' arrival in the United States. Katayama painted western scenes, and sent out his favorite work as Christmas cards to his entire contact list, which ultimately ran to 10,000 names. The whole point was that Katayama was a samurai, a hereditary aristocrat descended from the landlord class, and water-color painting is the kind of civilized thing that samurai do as a matter of course. It is what separates them form mere barbarians, the whole "silk and steel" business. Katayama went into Datsun-Nissan's export business in very much the same spirit that a certain type of noble Virginian or Boston Brahman would join the State Department. Katayama was a kind of mirror image of the finest American diplomats, the "China Hands," who were sent to China in the early twentieth century. (David Halberstam, _The Reckoning_, 1986)

    (*) Anecdote: sometime in the 1950's, the dean of Harvard Law School is supposed to have addressed his students as follows: "The A-students among you will become law school professors. The B-students will become judges. The C-students will merely become very rich."

    Some years ago, riding on a city bus in the Pacific Northwest, I heard an interesting story. There was a beautiful little girl, perhaps seven or eight years old, telling the entire bus (after the manner of Eloise of the Plaza) all about her ballet teacher. It seemed that the ballet teacher was dancing The Firebird with the local semi-professional dance company. Semi-professional means of course that the permanent soloists (principal dancers) get a small salary, and everyone else gets nothing. Most dancers make their livings by teaching heroine-worshiping little girls to dance, and the tuition is naturally paid by the parents. A successful ballet teacher, who can keep her class filled up, would make more than a waitress, salesgirl, etc., but less than a public school teacher. Why do parents pay for dancing lessons? The stated reasons turned up by a Google search run along the lines of: "make her less clumsy, more feminine, less shy."

    In the late nineteenth century, the great age of the symphony orchestra, every nicely brought-up little girl was expected to learn to play the piano. Every middle-class home had a piano, and the daughter of the house customarily performed for company. As for boys of a certain social standing, they went to religiously-oriented secondary schools or colleges. Such schools had daily chapel, in which the entire school sang hymns as a matter of course. The daughter of the house's boyfriend would be singing something suitably uplifting in the parlor while she accompanied him. The audience for the symphony orchestra was an audience of amateur musicians. The lowest strata of professional musicians were therefore people who made their living giving music lessons to all the amateurs. Similarly, for a schoolmaster, being able to function as an organist/choirmaster was as useful as being able to teach an additional subject, coach sports, etc.

    Times change, of course. Music is much less a part of our lives, notwithstanding the abundance of recorded music. One hardly ever sees harmonicas anymore. A harmonica is a simple, inexpensive little instrument, fairly easy to learn, that you can carry around in your pocket and play anywhere. But no one plays the harmonica informally. There are partial exceptions to the rule of few people actually being involved in music. There is a fairly active Classical MIDI scene on the internet. The major composers are of course in the public domain, but people sequence them (the MIDI equivalent of performing), and post MIDI files in much the same way as any other writings. They also compose their own music, and sequence that too. Classical MIDI involves music students, of course, but it also involves a new kind of amateur, one who cannot play any instrument, at least not well enough for public performance. In Classical MIDI, music has returned to being a living art, at the cost of dropping the performance aspect, becoming a kind of "sound painting." The better living classical composers tend to teach in music schools, or they produce theme music for movies and television, so they don't get too uncontrollably upset about gray areas. They are more likely to be interested in cost-of-living increases at the state university than they are to be about highly conjectural royalty revenue.

    Alternatively, you can do custom work. For example, an artist can paint a picture of the client's children, the way a lot of the artists sponsored by the Art Renewal Center do (Allan R. Banks comes to mind). Such a painting is uniquely valuable to the parents, and does not compete with all the other possible paintings of other children. Here's another possibility: a lot of organizations feel compelled to have a row of formal portraits of their successive presidents, more or less in the same style as the various portraits of George Washington. The organization needs to feel that it is eternal, hence the full treatment is required every couple of years, every time someone's term of office expires.

    A lot of this discussion seems to involve rock musicians who aren't musicians, who don't have any of the skills one would expect a musician to have. They don't play instruments, at least not to the level of being able to play straight instrumental music. They can perform only one style of music, hard rock, if that, screaming to the accompaniment of pounding drums. They simply don't have the musical background to be high-school bandmasters. I don't have exact figures, but there must be tens of thousands of high school marching bands. The high school football team absolutely insists on having its own band. Even if the bands don't all have full-time bandmaster appointments, and you have to teach English or History as well, it's a civil service job, with semi-tenure and a pension, and that is a lot better than working at McDonalds.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 8:41am

    Re: Services and the Intrinsic Worth of Art.

    One realizes that for Weird Harold, music is simply incidental to the fantasy of wealth and fame.

    Not really. I am reflecting what is out there right now. What was the 50 cent motto, get rich or die trying? The golden age of music for the sake of music is all but long gone. Music now is like football, baseball, or whatever you like: The measurement of success is how big your bank account is, how many goals your scored, how many units shipped.

    The masses love to get told what to love. A huge percentage of them follow along and go with it, and the small percentage rebels against it and in turn creates it's part of the mainstream (disco versus punk, example).

    But in the end, none of it stops a musician from wanting to get paid. Not matter the circumstance, if you are going to do something for a living, you need to make a living.

     

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    RD, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Just cant see it, can you?

    "But in the end, none of it stops a musician from wanting to get paid. Not matter the circumstance, if you are going to do something for a living, you need to make a living."

    Yes, but you arent ENTITLED to it nor is it a RIGHT. This is where you fail. You dont understand that being an "artist" (of whatever kind) doesnt mean you DESERVE to be paid for it. You can TRY to get paid for it (and should) but its not a RIGHT. If someone has something you want, and they charge a price for it, you either pay it, or you do without. Thats capitalism. Its not a RIGHT. If you charge more than what people are willing to pay, they dont buy (or not as many do) and you either lower your price, change your business, or do something else for a living. This is economics. But you are not ENTITLED to this kind of life, you have to EARN it and ADAPT to it. You seem to think that just because someone chooses to become a musician that the rest of the world OWES them a living from it by fiat. You and your industry pals had better learn the lesson: consumers TELL YOU what the worth is, and you better listen or its over.

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Re: Just cant see it, can you?

    RD, seriously - learn the difference between RIGHT and ENTITLED.

    The RIGHT to get paid means that they can try to get paid. There is no entitlement or obligation.

    Until you understand that basic concept, the rest of your post is just cow dung.

     

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    ryan, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But do the "infringers" have a right to dictate their business model to them?

    This is a good emotional/legal appeal, honestly, not sarcasm. However, a free market, like a river, pushes towards efficiency. The current legal situation that allows a few companies total control with government support is not the most efficient state.

    Look at prohibition. The legal reality was it was illegal to manufacture, sale, transport, import, or export alcohol. You could still drink it, but good luck acquiring it legally. A lot of people didn't like it, and enough people acted illegally long enough to get the amendment repealed.

    I don't care if you think that amendment was horrible or useless or anything, it took a lot of consensus among Congressional Representatives, Senators, and State legislatures/voters to pass the amendment. So just because there was a time when a lot of people agreed that copyright should grow and grow, doesn't mean that it was a good thing, just politically feasible.

    The time may be coming where the massive wall of copyright law is going to be pared down. And if you really want to make the argument that, "..but it's illegal now," that's fine. Just be sure to change your opinion entirely the day the law is changed. Not all law is good law.

    We are where we are today not because the bands / artists / record companies decided to be here, but rather because huge amounts of music has been taken and made available for free, without rights.

    We are indeed here, in part, because, "huge amounts of music has been taken and made available for free." But we are also here because the music industry decided that it was a good idea to continue to abuse their monopoly and charge considerably higher prices than necessary to cover costs and enjoy a reasonable profit.

    We are also here because those same companies did not see Napster as a turning point, nor as an opportunity. They could have bought it (remember it was made by a college student; I'm sure he would have sold it for the right price) and incorporated it into their business model. They could have used the P2P structure to push music to fans to get them interested, set up something akin to i-tunes, etc. They could have done something other than stick their heads in the sand and call the cops.

    So in the end, their right to choose their business model is limited by file trading. Is that really fair?

    Yes. At least as fair as having a gov't-backed monopoly has been for a long, long time. What is not fair is what has been going on to this point.

    ..

     

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    Weird Harold, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 11:31am

    Yes. At least as fair as having a gov't-backed monopoly has been for a long, long time. What is not fair is what has been going on to this point.

    Ryan, I can understand your point until you get here.

    There is no monopoly. Don't confuse copyright rules with a monopoly. That isn't the case. Nobody stops any band or musician from making music (at least not in the free world), nobody stops them from getting paid, and so on.

    In the end, it isn't a monopoly, but plenty of people have spewed that story over and over as justification for "infringing" music, movies, and software. At the end of the day, it's just a way of saying "I want a license to steal / take / infringe and I want to be able to hide behind a mod while doing it".

     

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    Pete Braven, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Original vs Fake

    As a musician and songwriter myself, I frequently go out and play for free but those performances invariably result in paid gigs. I also produce recordings and sell those with the rather painful knowledge that every single copy I sell, will generate a load of copies itself,.. for which I get nothing other than more people who like to listen to my music. (Fans)
    Having my performances 'taxed' by any form of licence shows that the people who administer these get-rich-quick-off-the-backs-of-other's-labours schemes have absolutely no idea what goes into putting on a live gig or recording an album in the first place!
    The cost of simply getting myself and my gear to a gig with the cost of fuel is crazy. Add the advertising and promotional stuff and most of the money goes in expenses. I don't play any cover versions, just my own music which also takes hours of work to make it presentable and sound original. Licensing always used to be for things like discos, piped music and commercial cover-version bands,.. it never used to apply to original artists. It's a bit like saying that because there are poster prints, post-cards and JPEG versions of a famous picture, the original on canvas is worth peanuts even if it is in the Tate Gallery!
    The cost of putting on a live performance is now ridiculous in the UK, security, safety, promotion, all have to be met and even for a completely original band, the license fees go where? To the local council,.. from them to God knows where because we, the performers, never see a penny of it.
    Taxing entertainment is a really sad idea, musicians pay more out in taxes and costs that if we were manufacturing weapons to sell to third-world countries. Maybe I should go for that instead and have the benefit of investments from all the numpty MPs who hate rock 'n' roll anyway?

     

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    Lucretious, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re:


    Out of curiousity, what's your major? When do you graduate?


    Major = Industrial Design

    No graduation date.

    Thats right, I'm an art school drop out.

    I'm a self employed building contractor. I pound nails.

    anything else?

    The point of my post is that people like yourself seem to think that there is some kind of battle to be won over music distribution. That time has long since passed (if it ever existed). You can either deal with reality and move on and try something different or you can argue about what was. One has a better chance at getting a musician paid, the other turns you into a forum sideshow. You make some salient points Harold but it means nothing to the industry as it is now. Even if you ARE right in terms of ethics you're still wrong.....understand?

    Someone will ALWAYS find a way to make money from music. It may not be in the same amounts as we've seen in the past (and, lets face it, much of it wasn't worth the asking price) but people will eat either way. Anyways, the truly good music is nearly always from someone who is making music for creativity's sake and not to fulfill a contractual obligation, no?

     

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    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 5th, 2009 @ 7:01pm

    Re:

    It is a monopoly, you shouldn't like at it from a complete market standpoint, but instead on the single creation.Copyright is government granted monopoly on the distribution of that particular artwork. Till a while ago nobody could do it, simply because the government revoked them of that right.
    But guess, the internet has come, and even now your grandmother easily without ever getting get.

    It isn't destroying the music industry, live performances and the creation of music are still a scarce good. You can still sell that. There has been more good music than ever, you only have to find it. And no 'American Idol' isn't it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re: Actually, why *do* musicians have a right to get paid more than once per performance?

    "Amazingly, many of the highest paid music acts in the world have not recorded a CD in years. See the wave of the future."

    I beg to differ. Acts like Bon Jovi, and Motley Crue, both '80's hair bands, have been putting out albums regularly. However, with the case or Motley Crue, only one song from their new album was only good enough to get moderate radio play. They are however selling out stadiums on their past recordings, and reputations for good stage shows. Bon Jovi on the other hand, is getting new fans all the time, with the hit songs on the new albums, and not just packing the stadiums with middle-aged headbangers, but a younger audience also.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 10:18pm

    I start to hate you more and more weird harold

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    Re:

    I don't think that free music takes away an artist's RIGHT to get paid, but it sure puts a dent in their ability to get paid.

    Nice try. Nobody said free music. They said (repeatedly) 'alternative business models'. Like the 'pay what you want' plan that resulted in Radiohead making more from that album than from label-supported albums. Or Jill Sobule's tiered plan, which seems like a modern version of what art patrons did less than two-hundred years ago. Or... There are dozens. Hundreds. Maybe millions.

    Why should all musicians be forced to follow the same business plan? Any other service provider can market and adapt and charge what and how they want, but musical artists are all lumped in the same category and told to follow the same rules or they won't be paid. Why is that?

     

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    Rose M. Welch, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Whoops, that comment was me, sorry.

     

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    Cecil, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Actually, why *do* musicians have a right to get paid more than once per performance?

    "good enough to get moderate radio play."

    which means that it sucked, like everything else good enough to get moderate radio play.

     

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    Rose M. Welch, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 10:39pm

    Just an observation...

    People seem to upset that consumers might possibly expect musicians to do something other than create music. Make risk-analysis decisions? Run an office? Think about advertising? Oh, my God, no! They are 'art-eeeests'! (Insert fake French accent there.)

    Plumbers have to run their offices, or hire someone to do it for then. Jewelers have to. Hairdressers and barbers have to. Art gallery owners have to. Every other service provider has to. Why not musicians?

    With every other service provider, a bad business model can sink a good service provider. That is sad, but not the end of the world for musicians, especially when you consider that the current bad business model is sinking good musicians. (Amanda Palmer, for instance.)

    A musician is not a sacred cow. They are a luxury service provider, like a really good fashion designer or jeweler. In good times, anyone can give it a try and make a bit of money. In bad times, only the best can succeed.

    Deal with it.

     

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  128.  
    identicon
    Omega, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 11:05pm

    Re: They never had the right

    You want my music, YOU earn it... geez. Music is simultaneously becoming more a part of our life and yet consumers get indignant when musicians ask to be paid for their work.
    And the answer we come up with is... 'You figure out another way to get my money for the work you do.'

     

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  129.  
    identicon
    Fair go, Apr 5th, 2009 @ 11:36pm

    Re:

    "It's not easy to make come up with new business models, but the artists who are trying them ARE finding successes."

    -Just because Techdirt has trumpeted a couple of examples doesn't mean it is common, or the basis of a whole new industry. What you hear about is the few rare successes.

    And why do the same people who say musicians have no right to get paid seem to think they have a right to free music?

     

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  130.  
    identicon
    Chris In Utah, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 1:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    First off who told you life was going to be fair.

    With any economic system that is undercut with the government involved your not going to have fair and balance. That's called socialism.

    When we have the FBI knocking at or door for "illegal music trade" Then it's fair for your "musician".

    Somebody said it before, its EVERYONE'S rights your infringing upon if you enforce a "model" of strict royalties.

    Occums Razor answer to you Harold is get with the times man or be left by the wayside.

     

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  131.  
    identicon
    Easily Amused, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ahhhh... you can always count on a good back and forth over semantics when the actual issues at hand make Harold's brain hurt.

     

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  132.  
    identicon
    Easily Amused, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: 200%

    Brendan, you are obviously passionate about what you are trying to say... but it just isn't making sense.

    "Care to explain to us how the 200% of Publishers and writers shares works on a song...?" is not just bad grammar, it's unintelligible. Based on teh rest of your post I think I want to back you up here, but I honestly can't decipher your argument.

    Try writing again after doing some yoga or something to calm down.

     

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  133.  
    identicon
    KGH, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 7:53am

    Re: No one gets paid

    Bingo!!!

    People like Mike, don't work in the business and have no clue how everyone talks about "new business models", but I haven't seen one yet that EVERYONE can use.

    I have many friends in the business from Judas Priest to Disturbed, and it's EXTREMELY difficult to make a living for bands like that....what chance does an unknown have??

    The bottomline is....we have a whole generation growing up that feels they have the right to get everything for free. Free music was first....next they'll want free movies, books, etc.

    I think in some respects, we can blame the CD for the death of the music "business". When I grew up, I bought records because I wanted the art work, I wanted the lyrics, pictures, etc. I would spend hours listening to my favorite bands, reading ever word and studying the artwork. Sorry...but you kids have totally lost out on the magic of music....it's a click away now...you listen to the song until your sick of it...and you move on to the next.

    Now that you get it for free...you wonder...why most of the music sucks. Well...you get what you pay for.

     

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  134.  
    identicon
    ryan, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    Okay. Fine. Harold, replace "monopoly" with "oligopoly" or whatever the word is for when the government gives control of entire industries (music, movies, publishing, news - i.e. information) to lobbyists' companies.

    I apologize for misuse of a charged word (monopoly), and now you apologize for glossing over the rest of my sound argument, yes?

    Good. Have a nice day.

    ..

     

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  135.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: They never had the right

    The answer we (the general consumer base) come up with is "we'll pay you for something whose cost is inline with its price".

    No one is willing to pay hundreds or thousands (or infinite) fold for an item.

    It costs NOTHING to make a digital copy of an item, so the FUNDAMENTALS of economics say that its price tends to zero.

    Tell me one other item that costs NOTHING to make and you'd be willing to pay $1 for. If your only answer involves charity...then you know where the root of the problem lies.

     

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  136.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Re:

    Value is not being "pulled down" by the market...prices are.

    People continue to value music. In my opinion, the value of (good) music has gone up substantially in the passed while with the new wide availability and convenience of it.

    Price is coming down because of efficiencies in the processes used to create and deliver that music.

    I'm willing to pay good money to a band to perform for me. But I am not willing to pay money for an item that costs the creator/distributor NOTHING to make for me. I am, however, quite happy to pay to be a part of the process for the bands that I come to like...which I do by getting access to their advertisement (i.e. their music).

     

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  137.  
    identicon
    Former songwriter, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    I was a professional songwriter for thirty years and I lost my job last year because my music publisher decided that there was no money in writing songs for recordings any more because everyone steals the songs. So now I am out of work thanks to you free-tards... But at least I don't have to slave my life away writing the inane crap that the public,
    meaning you, appreciates. Now I spend my days playing jazz and laughing my ass off at how horrible the music is getting now that all the pros have been put out of business.

    When you get your music for free you get what you pay for.
    Your generation will NEWVER have the great music mine did.
    Serves you right you cowardly little anonymous sneak thieves.

    Now, go play 'Guitar Hero' and dream about a life you will NEVER know.

    *Grin*

     

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  138.  
    identicon
    former songwriter, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Actually, why *do* musicians have a right to get paid more than once per performance?

    Buggy whip manufacturers were not put out of business by theft, (like I was).

    Your logic is flawed, the recording is NOT the value, the SONG is the value and it is NO cheaper to write a song today than it was three hundred years ago.
    Technology has only made STEALING songs cheaper. It is still a life's work to write one great song...

     

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  139.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re:

    No one is saying they have a right to free music. They are saying that the proper PRICE for music is a function of its COST...and the COST of a digital copy is ZERO.

    The problem is that the music industry as a whole is stuck in the culture of the past. There is no place to make money on digital copies in a free market environment. Add value to that digital copy beyond its ZERO cost of production, and you now have the ability to drive a successful business model.

     

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  140.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Helping artists to be paid

    Sounds like a huge opportunity to me, which is something that Techdirt has been pointing out for quite some time.

    If the labels would pull it out of theirs, they'd see the opportunity to quit fighting the fans and instead focus on servicing the bands by managing these new business models.

    Instead they are failing, turning to legal maneuvering and lobbying politicians in order to stem the withering of their cash flows.

     

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  141.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

    Re: music isn't business

    However musicians tend to quickly sign up with the first business agent that flashes them some skin.

    The issue here is that musicians are getting fleeced. Nothing copyright can do to stop that. Under the current regime, not only do the musicians get abused by the business agents, but typically they lose control of their own works too.

    As I just posted, I think there is a HUGE opportunity for savvy (and honest) business people to make musicians happy and be profitable too.

     

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  142.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    Do you have a solution?

    I want musicians and artists to be able to make a living at this. Unfortunately most won't no matter what we do.

    But I am curious, for those of you arguing that "free" is taking money away from artists/musicians, what you think we should be doing?

    What has been done so far to stop piracy hasn't worked all that well, and given the world's economic needs right now, I can't see a lot more resources being thrown at the problem.

    And you have lots of artists willingly giving away their music for free, so you'd have to pressure them to stop, too.

    Saying "free" is bad is all well and good, but what difference will it make?

    I've been a professional writer in some capacity since 1979. At best, rates for freelance writers have remained the same for the last 30 years. The problem hasn't piracy. The problem has been a combination of lots of people willing to write for free, the recent decline of print publications, and the lack of enough advertising to support all the online publications. I know professional writers who argue that no one should write for free, but it happens all the time. So you just have to deal with it.

     

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  143.  
    identicon
    Casey, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    The post (and some of the comments) kind of miss the point

    No one is saying anyone has a "right" to be given money for their expression — the market decides that. And where possible, the market should decide the price.

    What the principles DO say, however (and keep in mind they're principles, not dogma), is that where there's an established market and price for the use of an artist's work, there should be equitable and transparent mechanisms to pay the artist for that use.

    It's wonderful that technology has enabled musicians to go direct to the fans. But it's somewhat telling that Nine Inch Nails' success was accrued in music industry 1.0 — that model clearly can't apply to every single one of today's acts, even the deserving ones.

    Whether we like it or not, the major copyright holders benefit from their ability to bulk license their catalog to new services. Now, it can be argued that the going rate (or ransom) for these licenses is too high, but that's not part of this exercise. What we're talking about here is the "right" for the artists who comprise the catalog to be paid SOMETHING from whatever business model uses their work to attract listeners or dollars.

    So it's not a silver bullet solution, but rather an an acknowledgement of the need to compensate artists in any monetization experiments between rights holders and tech entrepreneurs - which WILL continue, like it or not. You can discuss free versus paid versus culture versus copyright all you want (and I might agree with a lot of what you say), but this is about something different. Namely, promoting creator value (and not just users') in an evolving marketplace.

     

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  144.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 6th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    So now I am out of work thanks to you free-tards...

    Wrongly placed blame. You're out of work because you worked for a company unwilling to recognize when a market had changed and how to change with it.

    Don't blame the folks explaining economics to you for the impact of those economics.

     

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  145.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Re: The post (and some of the comments) kind of miss the point

    ...that model clearly can't apply to every single one of today's acts, even the deserving ones.

    That's not clear. Please explain it.

     

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  146.  
    identicon
    wheatus, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 200%

    Easily Amused, you CAN'T decipher it.....!

    Yes indeed...and this particular piece of flawed math has lead many an unsuspecting artist to his or her financial grave. And WH spews about this stuff without knowing the 1st thing so I had to say something...Don't worry I'm plenty chill...no yoga required...It works like this:

    A song's IP is made up of 200%...that's right...I know, it makes no sense, and it is the cornerstone of the songwriting royalty equation.

    100% = Writers Share, BMI, ASCAP, etc...

    100% = Publishers Share, EMI, Universal, SONY MUSIC etc..

    Typical Publishing deals used to split 50% of the Publishers share (so, 25% of the whole) with the artist and leave the writers share untouched...not any more.

    The 360 deals that labels are insisting on now are exactly that...you must recoup your advance, if there even is one, from ALL revenue streams. These deals are insidious as the publishers role is taken on and paid out to the record company...they have NO EXPERIENCE WITH THIS SIDE OF THE BUSINESS, not to mention the conflict of interest....so the deal is extremely inefficient. When Harold talks ass about this stuff it's just insufferable.

    Sign a 360 deal with a label and you will likely NEVER make any money...even if you do recoup...they'll find a reason to put your ass back in debt...after all, how else will they pay for the Barbara Steisand and Bob Dylan box sets these baby boomers are clamoring for? And where will they get the money to pay out to the RIAA Nazgûl?

    How do I know this?...I was signed to Columbia records for 4 years and to EMI for most of this Decade.

    I am a rarity in the business...both my record deal and my publishing deal recouped the respective advances...AND when I left the label I received some of my crucial masters ownership rights back...so I am a Publisher, Record Label and a songwriter/content creator/owner all in one. I can cook too.

    Now...I'll make this part short. I believe that:

    Musicians, Songwriters, Artists must EARN the right to be paid...specifically...in this environment, where things are free you must win the emotional allegiance of your fans....They will pay if they believe in you. If they don't then you have failed and you deserve nothing. There is little to no overhead cost in making records these days so people who complain about it are whack...or old....in fact it is such an exciting time...artists have nothing to loose going about it on their own...! The part about this that bothers people like Weird Harold is that there really isn't any need or room for middle men.

    That is why on June 1st at wheatus.com we will offer The Lightning EP, Pop, Songs and Death: Vol 1 for DRM Free download via an optional donation download system....Pick your Price, Pick Your Format.

    You can donate whatever you want...0$ or a millionty dollars. Donations of $5 or more will get the Lightning Comic in full res PDF.

    All the major formats will be available plus 1 never offered before in the history of rock music downloads.....DSD for Playstation 3 and Korg MR-1...That format is better than vinyl....Our full res lossless DSD masters can be downloaded and burnt onto a DVD and played back in the PS3...This is the ultimate Audiophile experience but you'll only pay if you care to.

    Also Harold...S T F U Y D

    brendan b brown
    wheatus.com

     

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  147.  
    identicon
    wheatus, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 11:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 200%

    Harold....again, if you knew what you were talking about then no degree of perceived or actual grammatical incoherence could confuse you when I say:

    A SONG'S IP = 200%....(See Explanation in response to Easily Amused)

    ....Now, I know, just as everyone else who learned math in school knows, there is no such thing as 200% EXCEPT if you have experience in the IP of songs, which you apparently DO NOT. If you did know anything about the IP of music, a subject on which you pontificate here at Techdirt to no end, then you would know that there is at least one commodity that is accounted for using a 200% convention....(INDUSTRY WIDE).

    Since it is clear that you do not understand or have any experience on the subject of Song IP I would ask you to please refrain from making any more statements about songwriters being paid, record labels, "the recording industry" or anything else you have no tactile knowledge of and go troll somewhere else, perhaps a site where the discussion pertains to your own occupation, the way that this one pertains to mine.

    Was that clear enough for you grammar boy troll blaster?

    bbb
    wheatus.com

    PS...the way public performance royalties are accounted for when it comes to a musicians performance is much more complicated so don't talk about that either please.

     

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  148.  
    identicon
    wheatus, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 11:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Luci,

    I think you are right....but Harold doesn't seem to be offering opinion as much as stating what he thinks he knows to be true...which implies experience....I don't want anyone to shut up but him, and only on the subject of song IP.

    I certainly do not want those who are not in the business (whatever that constitutes these days) to shut up, nor have I said that....rather I have pointed out assertions that WH has made that have no foundation and told HIM to shut up....

    All of this STFU talk is hyperbolic rhetoric of course....well, I assumed all would take it as such...especially Harold, who I'm fairly certain will not STFU no matter what I type.

    much love,
    bbb
    wheatus.com

     

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  149.  
    identicon
    wheatus, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 12:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Also Luci,

    I am certainly guilty of taking WH personally and making a bee line to expose him using a relatively obscure (and in fact, nonsensical) music industry standard formula...To be honest, his comment style had led me to believe that he in fact might have known his subject....although now, I know he doesn't....and maybe some of the people who do care about music can benefit from this public exchange. I sure did get my back up when he dissed our release and our profile...Them's fightin' words.

    I have been actively engaged in the discussion on this topic because it effects me so directly...When I talk about music and copyright I'm not just talking about something I can choose to make or buy or steal or what have you...I'm talking about my life's purpose...which makes WH's uninformed bloviations on my career sting all the more.

    There are obviously many people here who actually do like music. I'm certain that they will gladly support the bands they love with their hard earned money if they knew that:

    1...The band actually gets that money (not a guarantee!)

    2...The band actually needs the money to continue....a generalization would be...if they're not playing 1000 seat venues or higher they do.

    BMI and ASCAP Payments come in 4 times a year...EMI 2 times a year...You never know how much those checks will be for.

    My royalty statements have some countries still accounting for the year 2003....try running a business with an accounts receivable 6 years behind...No Harold, these problems don't go away if you are on a major label...they get worse...much worse. Think, incompetence and ego laced with red tape.

    If you have 4 people (average) in the band then you must make those checks last....in my experience, fans do not like line up changes so keeping people on board is a big part of the business plan and fiscally imposed hiatus' are killer....wheatus has 6 band members.

    The obvious questions may be: why do it then?....that's for another forum....and my hatred of long posts is already driving me to a dangerous degree of self loathing.

    But there is SO MUCH MORE about this that I wish people could be privy to.

    To the point....In my personal experience the only people actively trying to stop artists getting paid are the middle men of the industry....managers, lobbyists, law groups etc...they are shocked, nearly to death by what has happened...their gravy train has dried up...they never saw it coming.

    They are scapegoating and prosecuting the only people who are still interested in their shitty product...I don't blame people for lumping artists in with the rest of these no tech bastards...which is why I am here and making an effort to plead my case and share my experiences and ideas.

    I think donation download models are the only way to offer people a reason to try your music out. If they like it then a voluntary, monetary relationship can begin...directly from fan to artist.

    thank you techdirt for providing an uncensored place for me, AND HAROLD to spew vitriolic geysers of bovine scatology.

    bbb
    wheatus.com

     

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  150.  
    identicon
    ryan, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    Your generation will [never] have the great music mine did.

    Also, it's a bit egotistical and presumptuous to say that music will go downhill now that former "professional songwriters" such as yourself are out of a job.

    The Beatles wrote almost every song they ever recorded and had no formal musical training and oh the horrible music they made, so sad how they never made any money.

    Isn't it funny that popular music has become all engineers and canned schlock (in my opinion) while professional songwriters have been at the helm? Perhaps the artists should be involved in the song creation process. Novel idea, no?

    The cream floats to the top. The best will get recognized. If you are as good of a songwriter as you let on, then it is (honestly) a shame that you were let go. But, if you're that good, I don't see why you cannot continue to write songs for profitable artists/businesses.

    ..

     

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  151.  
    identicon
    nasch, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do you even see how you changed your position Howard?

    First claim: everyone has a right to get paid for their work

    Second claim: everyone has a right to set a price on goods or services they try to sell

    Do you understand how those are meaningfully and significantly different?

     

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  152.  
    identicon
    nasch, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    Re:

    Put your money where your mouth is, if you really believe in these alternative business models, put your money up to support artists in this regard and see what happens to your time and money.

    What makes you think he doesn't? For all we know, Mike spends a great deal of money on music in these ways.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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