Trent Reznor Explains What A Musician Needs To Do To Be Successful These Days

from the good-job dept

Pretty much every other person who's ever read the site has sent this one in today, so I figure it's worth writing up. We've talked for a long time about how unknown/up-and-coming artists can embrace new business models to be more successful these days. In fact, five or six years ago the only artists who were doing these kinds of experiments were the up-and-coming ones. And when we did that, people complained that "well, sure, this works for the unknowns, because they have nothing to lose, but it's not a real business model." And then, in the last couple of years, with folks like Trent Reznor and some other well known artists embracing new models, suddenly the refrain changed: "well, sure, this works for them because they already have a huge following... but it'll never work for everyone else." What was silly was that they were both effectively doing the same thing: better connecting with fans, and offering them something of scarce value to buy. In my more recent presentations, I've been careful to show how artists big, medium and small are all successfully embracing new models based on this formula:
Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = The Business Model

And those who are embracing it are finding that it works and works incredibly well in many cases. Yet, still people want to insist that it can't work. In fact, Reznor himself heard this when he mentioned that the Beastie Boys new offering (built on the Topspin platform) was "how you sell music today." In response, the second wave of naysayers listed above came out to complain, so Reznor decided to respond by explaining how new artists get noticed, build a following and build a business model these days. And the formula is basically: connect with fans and give them a reason to buy... and use free music to do both of those things. He does note, that if you want to be a superstar, you probably need to sign with a label, but doing so will mean giving up pretty much everything: control, profits, ownership. However, if you just want to be a success...
* Forget thinking you are going to make any real money from record sales. Make your record cheaply (but great) and GIVE IT AWAY. As an artist you want as many people as possible to hear your work. Word of mouth is the only true marketing that matters....

* Parter with a TopSpin or similar or build your own website, but what you NEED to do is this - give your music away as high-quality DRM-free MP3s. Collect people's email info in exchange (which means having the infrastructure to do so) and start building your database of potential customers. Then, offer a variety of premium packages for sale and make them limited editions / scarce goods. Base the price and amount available on what you think you can sell. Make the packages special - make them by hand, sign them, make them unique, make them something YOU would want to have as a fan...

* The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact - it sucks as the musician BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So... have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process (plus build your database)....

* Have your MySpace page, but get a site outside MySpace - it's dying and reads as cheap / generic. Remove all Flash from your website. Remove all stupid intros and load-times. MAKE IT SIMPLE TO NAVIGATE AND EASY TO FIND AND HEAR MUSIC (but don't autoplay). Constantly update your site with content - pictures, blogs, whatever. Give people a reason to return to your site all the time. Put up a bulletin board and start a community. Engage your fans (with caution!) Make cheap videos. Film yourself talking. Play shows. Make interesting things. Get a Twitter account. Be interesting. Be real. Submit your music to blogs that may be interested. NEVER CHASE TRENDS. Utilize the multitude of tools available to you for very little cost of any - Flickr / YouTube / Vimeo / SoundCloud / Twitter etc.

* If you don't know anything about new media or how people communicate these days, none of this will work. The role of an independent musician these days requires a mastery of first hand use of these tools. If you don't get it - find someone who does to do this for you. If you are waiting around for the phone to ring or that A & R guy to show up at your gig - good luck, you're going to be waiting a while.
Great stuff, as usual, and certainly reinforces the point: it's certainly hard work, but it is doable. If you're unknown, use this process to get known. Once you're known, you can start to implement all different elements of the business model, using the music to make scarce goods much more valuable and start earning that way. Great advice for artists big, medium and small...


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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    One change

    " Collect people's email info in exchange..."

    Um, no. Offer it as an option, but don't require it. If I'm testing a new artist, I don't want to get in bed from the get-go.

    The artists I'm fondest of have just thrown stuff out there for free. There's another bunch that I keep hearing I have to check out, but they demand my addy for the privilege. No thanks. I'll call you.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

      Re: One change

      I don't see why this is a problem. All they'd be asking for is a way to contact you with information about new giveaways/gigs/whatever in the future - a small price to pay for free, legal music.

      Afraid of spam? Open a junk Gmail/Hotmail/whatever and use that when you sign up for these kinds of offers.

       

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    "it's certainly hard work, but it is doable"

    I just wanted to add. It is hard work. It is doable. And it's not only possible, it's highly probable.

    In the old days, you could work your ass off recording and touring and get nothing out of it. Heck, there are thusands of artists that worked, recorded, and toured, got signed, and still obtained no success.

    However, nowadays if you create good music (i.e., music people want to hear) it's highly probable that you can gain a large following.

    Will you get your face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine? Probably not. Will have you thousands of fans throughout the world. Almost certainly.

     

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      Michael Arnold, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:04am

      Re:

      sup man i'm trying to get a bunch of music together and record a demo but i was just wandering is LA the place to go or is it overrated?

       

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    Alex Michel, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Mike, I love your model of infinite and scarce goods. Genius. Well explained.

    Here is the key question that is haunting me:

    Your model suggests that making the content free will expand the size of the market. But it seems to me that the market for content consumption (music, books, whatever) is limited more by human attention (on the part of the content consumers) than by the amount of money the buyers have to spend. So while I agree that in a world of free music, it would be easier for more people to have more songs on their ipods than in a world of paid music, it seems that the total number of songs people can listen to per day is more limited by time than by money. And the amount of attention people can direct toward the consumption of the scarce goods associated with the music is also scarce and not subject to significant expansion. I might be more likely to discover (for free) a new band I love and then pay for their concert or fansite as opposed to U2's. But that would be a shift in the market rather than an expansion of it. The market will change--money will flow toward the scarce goods rather than the infinite goods, and there will be different winners and losers, but I'm not clear on how the market expands. Won't the total amount of content consumption attention remain largely the same, and won't the total amount of content consumption dollars stay roughly similar?

    Please let me know what you think about this. This is the only thing I'm confused about in your elegant well-explained model.

    Thank you!

    Alex

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      This seems to be relevant, given the topic of limited time/attention.

      http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/070809howmany

       

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      Ima Fish (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

      Re:

      "But it seems to me that the market for content consumption (music, books, whatever) is limited more by human attention (on the part of the content consumers) than by the amount of money the buyers have to spend."

      I don't know if this helps or not, but this is how I think of it. The biggest obstacle for any musician is not piracy, but is obscurity.

      In the old days, the only way to overcome obscurity was via a label who got your music on the radio or on MTV. Millions of people would hear it, and if it was good, would buy it. (Sometimes they'd buy it even if it was not good!)

      Mike is not saying that anyone can gain a large fan base with their music. You still need talent. You still need songs that people want to hear. But nowadays if you have those songs, you no longer need a label, radio, or MTV. You can connect with fans and build a fan base without them.

       

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      Ryan, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

      Re:

      Those are Reznor's words, not Mike's, but the core of it is basically just the necessity of action imposed by the new economics.

      You bring up a good point; the market is ultimately limited and will probably become increasingly saturated, while the supply of music choices has exploded. However, that point has not been reached yet; obviously, as the average price of songs continually drops, every segment of consumer will listen to more. Music lovers will try more because its free, casual listeners will listen more because its free, non-listeners will start listening because its free and there's so much more easy exposure to new music. Additionally, the population continues to grow at a good rate, and there are many markets globally that are probably underserved.

      Either way, it makes no difference to the business model--the audience is limited by time, yes, but this just means they will focus their time on the cheapest(free, basically) music to the exclusion of others. You still need to get as many people to listen to it as possible, and you do that by making it as easy and available to hear as possible. There is a lot of money to be had, even without the market changes mentioned above, because music has been very cartelized, with humongous business labels taking the majority and only distributing significant shares to their top artists. It will be harder for superstars to pump out a few songs and ride the couch as they live off royalties in the future, but this is a good thing for most musicians who need that market share, as well as for the public.

       

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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

        Re: Re:

        "There is a lot of money to be had, even without the market changes mentioned above."

        I've been trying to monitor disposable income (which is what would be available for music purchases) nationally and internationally. I'm not as optimistic as you about how much money people have to spend on anything that isn't a necessity. I see spending cutbacks in many areas.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

      Re:

      The idea isn't to expand the level of consumption in general, but to expand your own personal market. The amount of money spent is basically set in place (it increases and decreases, but really can't be forced by producers), but what you as an individual need to do is grab a larger portion of that share.

      Yes, all this implies is a market shift, and not an expansion. The idea behind most of these articles isn't to make the market grow, but to have the market shift in your direction.

       

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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

        Re: Re:

        "The idea behind most of these articles isn't to make the market grow, but to have the market shift in your direction."

        Yes, unfortunately it becomes something of a promotional arms race. Everyone is trying to compete for attention and the fans get flooded or have to put up filters to avoid all of it.

        Fame tends to be a filter of sorts. A lot of people only seek out music they have heard on the radio, on American Idol, when the celebrity dies, and so on.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Or, y'know, things their friends recommend. I think you overestimate the power of fame, especially when considering a generation (like the current teens and twentysomethings) who view celebrities as inherently flawed, rather than heroes or role modles (the way today's 30- and 40-year olds thought of the stars of their time).

           

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      Mike C. (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

      Re:

      "So while I agree that in a world of free music, it would be easier for more people to have more songs on their ipods than in a world of paid music, it seems that the total number of songs people can listen to per day is more limited by time than by money."

      The basic flaw with your thinking here is that you are assuming people will listen to the SAME songs every day. In this era of digital music, nothing could be further from the truth and I'll use myself as an example.

      I'm a programmer and spend my work day on the computer. In between phone calls and meetings, I probably listen to 5-6 hours of music a day. If each song was 4 minutes, that's 75-90 songs. My collection, however, is thousands of songs and I take advantage of both (a) playlists when I'm in the mood for something specific (Rock, Classical, etc) and (b) the "random play" features available in just about every media player. It's very rare that I will hear the same song twice during the week. This is exactly how I want it - varied. Otherwise, it just gets boring... :-)

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 4:55pm

      Re:

      Your model suggests that making the content free will expand the size of the market.

      Yes. Despite what some are saying, I believe there is ample evidence to support this. In fact, that recent Harvard study showed that a much larger amount of money is going into the music ecosystem from consumers than ever before.

      But it seems to me that the market for content consumption (music, books, whatever) is limited more by human attention (on the part of the content consumers) than by the amount of money the buyers have to spend.

      Yes, again. But human attention is an important scarcity (remember the model is all about balancing scarcities with infinite goods).

      And the amount of attention people can direct toward the consumption of the scarce goods associated with the music is also scarce and not subject to significant expansion.

      Yes, the amount of attention is scarce, but we're nowhere near saturating it.

      I might be more likely to discover (for free) a new band I love and then pay for their concert or fansite as opposed to U2's. But that would be a shift in the market rather than an expansion of it. The market will change--money will flow toward the scarce goods rather than the infinite goods, and there will be different winners and losers, but I'm not clear on how the market expands.

      Ah, that's a good question, and here's where understanding Paul Romer's models of economic growth come into play. His model recognized that it's the infinite goods that create economic growth -- so the more infinite goods you dump into a market, the larger that market grows by *making the scarce goods more valuable*.

      For example, if we're looking at the music ecosystem today, the iPod is a large part of it. But it's, in part, the rise of free music that made the iPod so valuable.

      So I'd argue the market is getting larger, not just shifting.

      Please let me know what you think about this. This is the only thing I'm confused about in your elegant well-explained model.

      Yeah, this is definitely the stickiest point, and I keep meaning to dive more deeply into how Romer's growth models apply here, because I recognize it's not clear enough and most people (rightfully so!) don't want to just take it on "faith" that the market expands. I need to come up with a simpler way of showing it though... will work on that...

       

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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 8:37pm

        Re: Re:

        I went looking for that Harvard study to see if it addressed all sources of income in the music ecosystem. In the process I found this.

        "There is much anecdotal evidence – even cited in the recent Page/Garland paper on P2P’s long tail – that says middle-tier touring artists are less well off today than they were ten years ago. It makes sense. Krueger’s work indicates the number of tickets purchased had fallen over the period he studied. With fewer tickets sold but higher prices on the most popular tickets, artists in the middle are no better off. If more of them are touring (because recorded music revenue is lower), they are competing harder for the same or less consumer spending. It’s the same thing with recorded music. There are more albums released but fewer albums sold. The hits get the same percentage of total sales – if not more – while a larger group fights for what’s left of consumers’ wallets."

        http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3id499f8aa1018de833c851c4b1f9b 7e21

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 10:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That one falsely assumes that the business model is all about touring. It's not. And if you don't embrace the first part of the equation (the CWF part) then it's no wonder that your touring revenue will drop.

          But if you do, and do it well, you're likely to see it grow.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re:

        Just to nitpick here, but better music models will expand the music market, not the entertainment market (which I believe was the question asked).

        The entertainment market (or more correctly, the consumption level of entertainment) is increasing, but not because of business decisions (not directly, at least). Changing a business model does not change the amount of spare cash your consumer has to spend.

         

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    Bright man

    Trent Reznor Hooah to you

     

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    Michael Kohne, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    Superstar

    I think the age of the superstar is pretty close to over. It's getting to be MUCH easier to make a living as a musician, but I don't think we're going to see many more old-style superstars in the future.

    I've thought this way for years, and every day something else tells me that I'm right.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    "There is a lot of money to be had, even without the market changes mentioned above."

    I've been trying to monitor disposable income (which is what would be available for music purchases) nationally and internationally. I'm not as optimistic as you about how much money people have to spend on anything that isn't a necessity. I see spending cutbacks in many areas.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

    Beasties indeed get it.

    All digital downloads are completely DRM free and available in 320kbps MP3, Apple lossless, or FLAC. I was actually on the verge of torrenting Paul's Boutique, but since it is available in HQ digital audio from the band themselves, they just made money.

     

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    Jeremy, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:38pm

    ... and ENTERTAIN!

    This is good sh!t. And it's good because it's true. Usenet and Napster and torrents have exposed me to WAY more bands than I ever could have imagined otherwise - cheaply and efficiently for my pocketbook. And, as a result, I've rewarded these bands by throwing down BIG bucks these days to see them live. Multiple times. Give away the music. Charge me to see you live. Charge me for goodies. Charge me for rarities. And keep every dime of it for yourselves. But just lemme listen to your tunes for nothin'. :)

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

      Re: ... and ENTERTAIN!

      "But just lemme listen to your tunes for nothin'. :)"

      Is this really a debate anymore? Seems like most bands are making music available for free, or you can listen to entire albums on Imeem, or you can find the music for free somewhere. So I think free music is a given these days.

       

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    Mike, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:44pm

    who are the music consumers?

    Alex, you make an excellent point regarding the time/money issue.

    And on top of that...

    I'm still wrestling with the fact that a HUGE contingent of potential music consumers between the age 35-50 are only listening to the music they grew up on. They might invite one new artist into their listening world per year.

    Also, this contingent is not going to seek out free mp3's to download to their iPod (most can't even load songs).

    Anecdotally, I would say about 50% of the people I know in that age group are basically afraid of technology. The only way they will be introduced to new music will be someone handing them a CD.

    Someone tell me why I'm wrong.

     

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      Shawn (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 1:58pm

      Re: who are the music consumers?

      I think your age range is a little too low. Your argument may apply to 45+ but i know quite a few 35-45 yearolds that have a started their MP3 collection 10+ years ago with ftp sites and napster when they were in their 20's and 30's.

       

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        DJ (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

        Re: Re: who are the music consumers?

        I'd even agree to 40+, but

         

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          DJ (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: who are the music consumers?

          oops forgot the "less-than" ends the statement..

          ...but under 40 are in the age range of the information revolution. Also, 30-40 are not usually so much AFRAID of technology as unfamiliar with it, but once exposed and/or introduced to new methods they're usually all about it.

           

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            josh (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 10:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: who are the music consumers?

            I'm interested in knowing why you say that those of us in the 30-40 age range bracket are "not...AFRAID of technology...[but]unfamiliar with it."

            I seem to remember growing up with all of this technology, learning how it works and making it work for me. I seem to remember somthing about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs not being that much older than me (I'm 31, almost 32) and creating (or stealing, but making popular) all of the technology you see around you today.

            In my humble opinion, you would not have the level of technology you have today if the 30-40 year olds of today had been afraid or, hell, even unfamiliar with, technology.

             

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

      Re: who are the music consumers?

      The bigger problem, as I see it, is that once people get married and have kids, they don't have the time to go to live music shows as much as they used to, and they have other spending priorities.

      So if you are giving away the music in hopes to get them to a show, that probably won't work for anyone with kids. And if they are worried about buying school clothes every year, they aren't as likely to drop $300 on a limited edition music item.

      So the number of paying customers you can draw upon within the parent demographic in this recession is relatively small.

      I'm not bothering to debate the free music issue because like it or not, it's a reality. But the economics of the business beyond that does interest me very much.

       

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        Ryan, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

        Re: Re: who are the music consumers?

        Right, many consumers of this demographic do not go out to live shows, but neither do they spend any money on current artists' music. Their exposure to new music, in my view, is extremely minimal, so they just stick to their preferable tastes because one of the first things they hear when they switch to a popular modern station is a rap song like "I Need Me A Bitch". Nothing is lost to this segment by providing it free. On the other hand, exposure to new stuff is so much easier with Internet promotion without a credit card that I would think a lot of them, or at least some, might get back into it. Maybe its just resistance to change, and maybe they would never end up buying anything, but the payoff potential if they did seems pretty high.

         

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

      Re: who are the music consumers?

      Here's how I see the situation. (And I'm only half kidding.)

      Okay, so you give these parent consumers free music and you hope to give them a reason to buy.

      So they say, "Thanks for the free music. And I'll pay you to fix my plumbing."

       

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

      Re: who are the music consumers?

      I just saw this. It's about how parents are postponing purchases more than those without kids.

      http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/data-center/research/e3i70172e607ddc1be9af2e8906ee e3cd03

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re: who are the music consumers?

        That's shocking. "People with more financial responsiblities are more financially cautious." If the industry got ahold of this kind of information, imagine the chaos!

         

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      mertz, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 2:06am

      Re: who are the music consumers?

      i don't think you're wrong...i think you are mostly right. before trent's posting and before i found a link on the nin website for techdirt, i had already been reading about this topic and converging topics like this that all deal with the same issue of a broken model and what needs to be done. it wasn't about the music industry only, it was also about print, telvised media vs the internet/new technologies, news media, business, and so many other things. i'm coming from this whole thing because the industry i want to get into is also dying, has been for a while, and it just seems like everything i went to school and studied/all my future options all lead to dead ends because all these professions are going through never to return change. so i happened to read an article from a notable outlet, which included research, about how people in the age group you cited are not willing to search for new music and are stuck/pinning for the music that they grew up with or willing to use or learn about the new technology (mostly because they are afraid of this whole ever changing nothing fixated ultra fast push of everything new that they mostly have to relearn how to use something. they don't understand that once they have a basic concept of something, when some new technology comes up they can also just add on to their previous knowledge...but apparent from people who have done research on this matter, people in that age group have a harder time picking up new things/new ways unlike young people)will benefit them...instead of being a hardship. because to them something new isn't advertised as easy to master, and it takes too much effort...so basically no offense to old people, but i don't want to become that kind of person who embraces being stagnant and not stimulating my mind. based on the articles i've read about citing the same reason about this particular age group and they stored memory bank and nostalgia loyalty to the past, and based on my lurking of many websites and message board with people, strangers all over the world i don't even know citing the same thing you are mike, i don't think you're wrong at all. i think you have discerned something that is almost factual, because it is one sided, and i'm going to balance it out later by trying to defend that age group, but it's TRUE. i'm not even sure that people in that age group appreciate when someone hands them a cd, without them being suspicious about why they are recieving this or what is the intent behind the free cd, but the thing is that mistrust/hesitation is not only reserved for a certain age group, but it is more reflective of a certain demographic. there are two music stations here who have done an experiment over the years where they will go out on the street and they will put out free cd's of musicians (mostly recognizable musicians) that the outlet has purchased, leave them on the sidewalk and then observe by camera and a stopwatch if anyone notices the cd, stops and picks it up, how long it takes for all of this experience to happen...and there is audio. it's a funny experiment because the people on the street do not know that they are being observed by a national audience...or that there is evidence of their behaviour, but most people don't even stop to pick up the cd. they don't want it. even if it's free. and you'll notice that the older people are even less willing to bend down or cast their eyes down and look at the cd...because of course they cannot pick up a free cd especially if some one on the street saw them do this, but surprisingly young kids, and even 20 somethings shunned the cd...and i noticed that most of those kids and young people had EAR BUDS in their ears. but more young people picked up the free cd and appreciated getting a new record. the ratio was always 10 youths to 1 oldester. so here's my defence of the old people. there are some old people who have kids who allow their kids to keep them in the know of things, young, hip to technology, urban, who are all knowing, probably more so with using the various networking sites and downloading sites than i am. sometimes when i go to concerts that aren't always a willie nelson type of show, but mostly uhm (what's a band i can reference) maybe like an avril lavigne type of show (never been to one, but i need an example of some younger artist), i always see kids and their parents at the show. so i know there are older people out there who are not letting their minds become complacent with the way things are and are utilising new technologies to serve their needs. i know there are old people who use macs, use kindles, use itunes, etc...and consume matter through new means. so there are hip old people in this world who are progressive. but you're not wrong. and it's sad. i'm currently educating my parents and getting them to use the internet. but it's hard. they are in their 50's and i notice that the information i tell they do not retain as quickly or as long as say if i was learning something new. but that doesn't mean that age bracket needs to go the way of the dinosaur silently, without anyone fighting for them. it just means that the approach has to be tailored to them. i agree with you and with trent and with many of the other people out there. i'm sure that with a minds all thinking about the same issues, some good ideas can emerge. i actually like the newer models better than the older models.

       

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    AJ (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    What if it's not our song to give away?

    I sing in a professional choir; while we do perform music composed by our director, in most cases the stuff we sing is by living composers, whose publishers all charge per-copy royalties to record their songs. We couldn't afford to pay those fees ourselves on copies that we give away for free, so those recordings are not infinite goods. I imagine that any band recording cover songs that are not yet out of copyright would have the same problem, but I've never heard this being discussed.

    I would love to be able to put up a whole bunch of our past performances as MP3s on our website, but I can only do that legally for the limited amount of our output where the compositions are no longer in copyright. Any ideas?

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

      Re: What if it's not our song to give away?

      A clever, but sneaky solution would be to leak them. Then point to them and complain "some guy in china posted our private recordings to XXX site".

      Complain often, with hyperlink.

      Please don't do this, though, because it would be wrong.

       

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 4:06pm

    Hey, That's What I Said

    Reznor's writing is good, because it addresses one of the current arguments of the "free" naysayers, such as the Anonymous Coward who said:

    "none of the examples cited on Techdirt ever explain how the transition from nobody to somebody would occur in the new music marketplace"

    Well, I answered him in the Techdirt comments at http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090623/2337095343.shtml#c1714

    but Reznor has basically said the same thing to a wider audience. Good.

     

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    Corey, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    "it sucks as the musician BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS (for now)"

    - That sounds ominous. Almost as if he doesn't quite drink all of his own kool-aid. That being said, I a huge fan of Reznor's music and new methods.

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 9th, 2009 @ 4:41pm

      Re:

      That's the reality, unfortunately. Most artists will not make a living at this. So if they find other ways to make a living, and just do music for fun (and most likely for free), then their expectations will be realistic.

      It's like blogging. Most bloggers never make any money at blogging. So if you aren't doing it for personal fulfillment or to promote some sort of non-blog business, then you'll probably lose interest.

      These days everyone can be a musician, everyone can be a writer, everyone can be a videographer, everyone can be a photographer. There really isn't a business plan that will generate much money for most people who do these.

       

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        mertz, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 2:19am

        Re: Re:

        this is true. i'm an advocate of being multifaceted, but this is exactly what is killing professions, the mentality that you can do anything, everything is at your fingertips and that you don't need to have any background, knowledge, expertise to do anything anymore.

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    That's ridiculous. If you were a musician, and someone said "what would you prefer: people buying your music or people getting your music for free?", which would you pick? What Reznor is saying is, that's not the question any more. The question is "what would you prefer: people getting your music for free from you, or people getting your music for free from somewhere else?" Then he goes on to explain the benefits of people getting their free music from you (i.e. a database of email addresses, goodwill with the audience, marketing opportunities via your website, more accurate tracking of your listeners). It's not a new idea that there is value to be had in giving stuff away for free - that's the model network television was built upon. Reznor is just saying that you don't have the OPTION of choosing between selling/giving away your music any more. It's going to be free one way or another.

     

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      mertz, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 2:28am

      Re:

      this is also true and the question you posit is better. i think if you read through the thread in the nin forum some people have a better questions and reponses than trent does/based on what trent wrote. it also deals with the person who was asking about accounting for the limited time of the consumer. the do it yourself, networking model is nothing new and it indeed how some well established brands/businesses started back in the day, and currently too. the market has the potential to be saturated, but like someone on the nin forum said, the way trent phrased it gives way to the way of the indie label or the indidual artist who does everything themself, or an indie label under a big company...so the actual question because it is more about the fan, the consumer of music (a buyer or a free loader), is for the consumer...how do you want to recieve your music, directly from the musician, a third party website, from a label/record store affiliate, etc...and as we know people want free music without constraints, there are people like one person who posted already, that you can give them free music and they will repay the artist by buying merch, going to shows, participating in forums, etc...so there are all types of consumers out there. the model needs to adress them all in a specific yet generalistic way that is beneficial to everyone involved.

       

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    Jesse, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 1:03am

    FREE

    I've always loved Trent Reznor's music and his ideas. But aside from giving his content away for free, he also gives away a great business plan for free. Complain and pick apart his ideas all you want, but he is still doing something positive for other artists while at the same time giving a big middle finger to the silly record labels and the evil RIAA. Screw them. Good on Trent.

     

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    kse (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 3:47am

    NIN Free

    Everything must be connected:

    fans+artist+music+stage+free+fans+fans = Success

    My hope is everyone will put on their creative hats and revise Trent's method to make it even better.

    Trent & NIN have establish a sound baseline....Who's wants to 'kick it up a notch?

    My personal suggestion is most indie successful careers will be linked to a loyal fan base using the Power of 5. Grow it and keep them happy by forming great relationships.

    Successful careers are ultimately about giving your fans what they want, which will increase your TBFB. Successful careers are not about are ultimately not about the artist or their music. The later are important and a factor, absoutely!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    Buy What?

    A reason to buy WHAT? Don't just say "stuff." Be specific. List examples. Remove from that list things which can be pirated.

     

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    identicon
    Richard, Jul 11th, 2009 @ 1:58am

    nothing specific

    http://www.vimeo.com/5490871

    this probably relates to everything and nothing for the next century

     

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    identicon
    Domino, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    We fix ourselves the value of the music while leaving it available on all the public.

    Ola
    Provoking a trip or a bad trip according to the person, your person...This is the most original yet productive label we’ve ever met in the music industry. They sell or give away their music catalog !!! It’s just up to the client to decide whether he’s going to pay or not. And it’s not as obvious as it seems because a choice has consequences… www.mingapop.be

    TRIP: By bying our music for 0,01 euros a seconde in mp3 format, you reward us for what we have to say throughout our songs. The heartbeat reasons with those who make this vibrating music. It's the promotion of this particular experience that brings people together.

    WAY UP: Comic in a sense, a perception of eternal joy accompanied by moments of pure laughter, poetic hallucinations of a world apart, with a hard on for concentration, sexual dilatation, experiencing the sensation of being an energetic bomb, an eruption of emotional balance. It's this emotional transpirations that will give you a kick up the butt and finally realize your aspirations. Ego meets nausea.

    WAY DOWN: There is no down, ONLY TOTAL ADDICTION!!!!

    PREPARATION: Take back your thoughts, raise your chances, open your wallet, close that zipper called fear, and enjoy the fun. Consider the well-being of others just as much as your particular personal well-being and vice versa. Clap your hands and say yeah!

    BADTRIP: We are very much aware of the fact that not all of you necessarily have the money required to accomplish this collective orgasm (always beneficial to both parties). That's exactly why we propose you to send you the stuff under a false name (pseudonym). This way the music won't get affected by downloadable bad vibes while listening!

    It is not because we consider donations a good vibe that you have to think the same
    It is not because we consider free downloading a bad trip that you have to think the same
    We are tired of the monopoly. We live what we believe in. It gives us energy and a proper engagement. The MINGATRIP rocks!!!!!

    The MINGATRIP ! and you're rippppped : )

    Type your first name and activate our TRIP
    or
    Type an alias and activate our BADTRIP

    Spread the word and join the quest for MINGATRIP.

    Here you can download or buy our brand new website -beta001- template in order to create your own. It enables you to propose your trip and badtrip o the entire universe.

    If you dig our idee of creating your own site, please make a reference by creating a proper link to the www.mingapop.be

    This is the best way to do a smashing hit :)
    Torkoito Domino
    mingapop@gmail.com

     

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      identicon
      wap, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 6:06am

      Re: We fix ourselves the value of the music while leaving it available on all the public.

      Hello
      i love that spirit !!!

       

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      identicon
      gucci, Apr 17th, 2012 @ 5:30am

      Re: We fix ourselves the value of the music while leaving it available on all the public.

      i love this spirit... you must do an application!

       

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    identicon
    Chris Terschluse, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Say Goodbye to the Record Label

    There are so many useful tools out there on the web now that there really is no need for a traditional label. Check out this good list of useful tools for DIY musicians: http://www.interactiveincite.wordpress.com

     

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    identicon
    miguel gonzales, Mar 20th, 2012 @ 6:26am

    damn dat shit is tight as fuck!!!!

     

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    jonathan orona, Mar 20th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    miguel that is soo inapropriate.may u please remove it?? and yes it is nice..i guess my first piano was when i was seven. it was a little yamaha. umm i started to play a song named "Balad for Adeline" by Richard Clayderman. right now i am trying to find people who play instruments. i want to form a band to amuse people.

     

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    identicon
    jonathan orona, Mar 20th, 2012 @ 6:32am

    miguel that is soo inapropriate.may u please remove it?? and yes it is nice..i guess my first piano was when i was seven. it was a little yamaha. umm i started to play a song named "Balad for Adeline" by Richard Clayderman. right now i am trying to find people who play instruments. i want to form a band to amuse people.

     

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    identicon
    Yolanda Ramirez, Mar 20th, 2012 @ 6:35am

    I can play piano with my tits and i can also play the flute with my asswhole. i love music and i love when people shove clarinets up my pussy!!

     

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


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