Dear Rock Stars: Please Stop Claiming You're Just Interested In Helping Up-And-Coming Artists
from the you're-not dept
However, Steve Lawson, whose thoughts on the music industry we've discussed in the past, has penned something of an open letter to all these rock stars, noting that the up-and-coming musicians don't need their help:
So, dear Rock Stars -- the problem here is not with the internet. It's not with how it 'hurts' the little people. WE LOVE IT! It's you. You and your expectations of wealth-beyond-measure are screwed. And I don't care.Shane Richmond, who pointed Lawson's post out to me, notes that (of course) some will respond (as they always do, every time we post an example of a success story) that musicians like Lawson are "outliers" and successes on the margin. But, Richmond, notes, the true outliers are the folks like Bono and McCartney:
Here's a headline for you -- in the 3 weeks since I made 'Behind Every Word' available for free download, I've sold more CDs and downloads that in any one month since 6 months after it first came out.
This a four year old album. I've done no gigs in that time, I've taken out no ads, I've not given away a single bit of physical anything that cost me money. I've just talked about it, and invited people to listen to it. And guess what? They listened, and those who really liked it THEN PAID. And they paid more for the 'free' download they they do on iTunes.
I couldn't possibly have done it without 'free music', without the internet, without sharing, without streaming. Nor could I have done it within the insanely restrictive copyright terms of a standard recording contract.
Steve -- and the growing number of artists like him -- will probably be dismissed as outliers taking a path that works for a lucky few but not for everyone. The thing is, that's true of the record industry too. A lucky few artists get rich while the majority are hoping just to break even before they have to give up their dreams and go and get a proper job.Indeed. This is the very point that we've been trying to make so long. So many of the artists that we highlight as success stories would never have been successful at all without the internet and embracing what it allows. Because the old system was entirely about outliers. The traditional recording business was a lottery ticket. A tiny few made it. And everyone else failed. With what technology allows today, plenty of musicians will fail to make a living. It's no guarantee that anyone can be a success. But there are much greater opportunities, and (the best part) musicians have more control and say in how their careers go, giving them a greater chance to actually be successful on their own terms, not the terms of four large (but shrinking) companies, and the very small number of rock stars they helped succeed in the past.