The New Middleclass Musicians: I Fight Dragons

from the yet-another-example dept

Obviously, we've been covering various stories of content creators who are making use of new methods and new ideas to build a successful business model in a very changed world. We get lots of content creators contacting us about what they're doing -- but so many are doing cool things these days that just what they're doing is becoming less interesting than the details of how well they're working. So it's great to see Ariel Hyatt, over at Music Think Tank, provide a fascinating interview with Brian Mazzaferri, of the band I Fight Dragons. While I think the interview leans a little too much towards the concept of 1,000 True Fans (which I believe gets people way too focused on the "number" rather than the concept of true fans and how to build them), there is plenty of interesting information provided.

I also find it a little disconcerting that in what appears to be a clear success story, Mazzaferri seems to keep acting as if it hasn't been a success. He talks, repeatedly, about how difficult it is to build up enough true fans to be successful -- especially with a larger band (I Fight Dragons has six members). And yet, then he admits that the band is making enough money so that it's his full-time job. So clearly, the band has built up a strong enough fan base, combined with creative enough business models that it works. And they did this in less than a year! To me, that's really impressive, and it suggests the band has gotten off to a fantastic start. Yet, Mazzaferri keeps insisting that the 1,000 True Fan idea (and, again, I think it's a mistake to focus on the number) only works for a solo artist or a duo, while also admitting that as a band, they've probably only got closer to 500 true fans. It just feels like something is missing. Why is he so down on the concept when it appears to be working?

It's also interesting to see how the band has been making its money. He admits that for them, a lot of it has come from CD sales -- often CD sales done at live shows. He notes that because of the venue choices they've made, they don't make that much on live shows, but it has helped sell more CDs. But it does seem like the band realizes the benefit of offering really valuable scarcities like what we've seen work with other musicians as well -- and, of course, working hard to connect with fans through things like email and Twitter. When asked to break down where the money comes from, Mazzaferri highlights one unique offering that was a huge success for the band:
Making limited-edition, very high-value stuff is awesome. We sold 100 Lifetime Membership USB drives for $100 each (lifetime admission to any IFD show, free digital content for life), and that was a huge $10,000 boon for us.
All that said, it appears that he still thinks the only way to become a success today is to do a deal with a label -- and preferably a major one. I've always said that if bands don't want to really do what's necessary on the business side, there's nothing wrong with working with a label, though I think most musicians who end up signing a standard record deal may end up regretting it. It may speed up the ability to get attention, but it may make it more difficult to actually build a sustainable career. Oddly, he seems to suggest the opposite, noting:
My last big concern about the 1,000 true fans model is longevity. Most of the people using it work through the internet, and everything on the internet has an exponentially shorter shelf-life than it's Real Life corollary.

I just think there's very little data right now on how long an internet music career can last. Most traditional music careers, even people with a hit record, are lucky to last more than a decade, and so traditional music business literature says to make as much as you can while you're hot and save it up for when your career's over.

What's the new model for that? Is the expectation that an internet music career is longer than a traditional one? I suppose one could argue that, but it's a tough sell for me. The internet is fickle, and tastes change. I guess we'll see the truth of that as time goes on too.
The problem is that on a typical record label deal, things don't really work that way for most musicians, either. It may work for the top of the top -- the ones that catch on quickly and become big. But for the majority of bands that sign with a major record label, they fail to really get big enough to matter, and the labels very quickly drop all support and the band becomes yet another unrecouped wonder. That's not a sustainable model at all, and it's certainly not a model of "making as much as you can while you're hot," since many signed bands never actually get hot enough to really make that much money anyway. It seems like a bottom-up approach that relies on building a strong relationship with the fans has a lot more chance of being long-term sustainable than a career fueled by a sudden rush of major label hype, followed by being dropped into the obscurity bin.

While Mazzaferri may not be entirely happy with where the band is today and its prospects as an unsigned act, it still seems like this represents a pretty good example of the new sort of middle class of musician that couldn't have really existed in the same format not so long ago. In the past, the only way you could really get to the point where the band was your full time job was to get a label deal first and have them give you an advance. But by doing creative things like the "lifetime subscription" offering, I Fight Dragons has been able to reach that stage without having to sign a label deal. Now, it may, in fact, make sense for the band to now switch to a major label track, but I can't see anything in the band's experience that suggests that embracing a newer model of connecting with fans directly, and offering unique scarce reasons to buy, can't lead to a sustainable living.

Update: As is pointed out in the comments, just a few days ago, the band did, in fact sign with a major record label. This isn't surprising, given what Mazzaferri was saying in the interview, since he seemed to conclude he needed to do that, despite the evidence to the contrary. I wish them luck, but I've seen so many bands make similar statements when they first sign with a label:
"They were really interested in us from the get-go," singer Brian Mazzaferri tells The A.V. Club. "They're really interested in us keeping our creative control, as opposed to some other people, who were like, 'We really like what you're doing, but how 'bout we take out the chip tune?'"
I hope that's true, and I hope the were "really interested" in letting the band keep creative control, but so many of these stories end up poorly, with the band realizing that, once its signed, it loses pretty much all leverage on these issues. The article also suggests that this will mean the end of the band emailing out free tracks. This would be unfortunate, as it would be a mistake to go against what helped build your fan base.


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  1.  
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    Ry jones, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 4:19pm

    They signed with Atlantic last week.

    They just signed with Atlantic last week.

     

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    Big Al, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    "We sold 100 Lifetime Membership USB drives for $100 each (lifetime admission to any IFD show, free digital content for life)"
    I just hope that they negotiated that into their contract with Atlantic, otherwise I can see a lot of very pissed-off fans.
    Let's face it, if you get good service you tell a couple of people but if you get bad service you tell a couple of dozen...

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 4:47pm

    Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    Damn. A great example of a "new" band that gets it.

    A record label contract, that is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    I wonder is they'll get to keep their copyrights?

     

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    And a band that probably never would have gotten said record contract if they didn't get noticed by CwF + RtB.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Re:

    "I just hope that they negotiated that into their contract with Atlantic, otherwise I can see a lot of very pissed-off fans."

    When reading the "we signed with a label thing" the first thought was, did they put a line in the contract that said "Past sales, contracts, and agreements will be honored in their entirety". You piss off your top 100 fans with disposable income and you will lose.

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    In the past, it was called paying your dues, playing lots of shitty gigs, and getting your act together. Nothing is new under the sun, is it? It isn't like record companies were plucking random people off the street to see if they had talent.

     

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    Allen (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 5:45pm

    I can easily see a group making the right steps to survive in a new reality without "getting" that there is new reality in the first place.

    And lets face it while its possible to make a decent living in that new reality, only the labels still promise to deliver yesterday's dream of mega bucks, wild groupie sex, fame and all the trappings. However much they are in it for the music the old dream is still there in the background.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 7:51pm

    As an early supporter

    I hope they have found their medium.

    We'll see if that's the case.

    They're good enough to check out, BTW.

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 8:21pm

    Re:

    "getting" it really isn't important, as much as the band apparently realizing that the modern day system is just a small step on a long ladder, with a record label deal further up the ladder than selling t-shirts off the side of the stage at gigs.

    So apparently this "new" artist still aspires to be the "old" artist, call it "get rich or die trying".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    See: Sex Pistols

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Ah, the rock star. Having illicit sex with hookers and doing illegal drugs, with hookers. But the moment you engage in filesharing of their music and that's stealing and it's wrong!

    Ah, the rock star.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 9:02pm

    Lifetime memberships

    I've been curious how they'll pull that one off. Will they put 100 fans on a guest list for the rest of their professional lives? Or will they start buying 100 tickets for every show for these fans? (Of course, not every one of these fans will make it to every show, but they need to be prepared to have 100 tickets available.)

     

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    Big Al, Feb 8th, 2010 @ 9:14pm

    Re: Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    And effectively becoming another indentured 'unrecouped band', seeing all earnings from their albums going into the pockets of the labels and likely never earning a cent from their creativity (or copyrights).
    Great step up, guys.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 9:18pm

    There have always been working musicians

    While Mazzaferri may not be entirely happy with where the band is today and its prospects as an unsigned act, it still seems like this represents a pretty good example of the new sort of middle class of musician that couldn't have really existed in the same format not so long ago. In the past, the only way you could really get to the point where the band was your full time job was to get a label deal first and have them give you an advance.

    There have always been unsigned musicians and bands who have been able to make a living at this full time. Every town has had them. Often it isn't that glamorous and can involve stuff like playing weddings and giving lessons, but it's been happening for at least the last 100 years.

    The problem now is that more artists are being told they can be their own mini-labels and if they give their music away for free, they will be able to make up the difference some other way. Get enough musicians hoping to do this and the average amount any of them makes goes down. I've been seeing it happen.

    People use to aspire to getting label deals. Now they aspire to make a middle class income by working social media and selling stuff other than their recorded music. Just as most weren't going to get label deals, now most won't make enough to live on. A band of four needs at a minimum $100,000 to $120,000 a year to pay everyone $20,000 a year and have something left over to pay all band expenses. A lot of bands don't make that. That's pulling in an average of $10,000 a month. You need to sell a lot of merchandise or sell a lot of show tickets on a consistent basis to do that.

    I've worked with musicians who do gross $150,000 a year. I've also worked with extremely talented musicians who have trouble getting that.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 8th, 2010 @ 9:43pm

    A great resource for working musician

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    "It isn't like record companies were plucking random people off the street to see if they had talent."
    erm. What about XYZ Idol, XYZ got talent, Popstars, So you think you can dance, and all those other audition-type tv-shows?
    Random people basically plucked from the street (because I can't believe that that many delusional people would sign up), to see which one's got 'talent' to offer them a contract...

     

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    Gunnar (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re: Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    They probably would have. They have great songs and an impressive live show, and they were willing to sign with a major label, something that's not exactly in vogue anymore.

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 5:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: They signed with Atlantic last week.

    Actually, all the Idol style shows do what record companies do normally, except they are done in bulk and in front of the public: They look at a ton of acts, and select a very few.

    Oh, yeah, that many delusional people do show up. Next time there is a tryout in your area, go check it out, it's wild.

     

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    yozoo, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 5:19am

    Not really that new

    "the only way you could really get to the point where the band was your full time job was to get a label deal first and have them give you an advance. But by doing creative things like the "lifetime subscription" offering, I Fight Dragons "

    This really isnt true, Grateful Dead, Husker Du and REM are all bands that achieved "no day job" success long before they had any real record deal.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 5:20am

    "I wish them luck"

    They'll need it. The vast majority of bands who are signed to major labels never have any hits so they end up in debt trying to pay back their advance.

    Some of the luckier bands have hits, but it's rarely enough to recoup the advance and their follow-up releases rarely sell as well. Thus, they end up in debt trying to pay back their advance.

    Some even luckier but fewer bands sell music over a long period of time. However, they still don't make any money from those sales. Roger McGuinn once said, "I never received a dime from the Byrds." And of course despite selling 11 gold records in a row, the band Grand Funk never saw a dime from those sales.

    The only hope Brian Mazzaferri has is too win the lottery of music and become so established that he's able to sell music on his own label or work out amazing deals with his labels so he's able to actually keep some of the money he earns, e.g., U2, Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.

    If Brian Mazzaferri seriously thinks his career will reach that level, he'll need all the fricken luck he can get.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 6:25am

    Disappointed about record label deal

    I like these guys. Now that they have signed to a major label though I shall not be buying any CDs. That would go against the boycott rules.

    @Suzanne L
    The problem now is that more artists are being told they can be their own mini-labels and if they give their music away for free, they will be able to make up the difference some other way.
    Why is this a problem? Is it a problem because you work for a label? I really see no problem with musicians going direct to fans. It feels way more authentic and real and cool. Take I Fight Dragons for example ...
    Although now that they have signed, they better not change or I will stop listening altogether.

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 7:30am

    Re:

    Some even luckier but fewer bands sell music over a long period of time. However, they still don't make any money from those sales. Roger McGuinn once said, "I never received a dime from the Byrds." And of course despite selling 11 gold records in a row, the band Grand Funk never saw a dime from those sales.

    Here is some logic for you: A record deal is a "FREE!" between a band and the label.

    Scratching your head? Well, think about it. Roger McGuinn isn't exactly couch surfing or checking trash cans for bottles to recycle, nor did the guys from GFRR exactly live like hermits. To this day, if either of these acts decides to give concerts, they could very likely attract a decent crowd, exactly as a result of the deal with the labels that made them famous to start with.

    Many bands make plenty of coin off of their record sales, not always directly from the selling of the records but from residuals (airplay), performance rights, etc. How much do you think a band like The Transpants made off of licensing their music to a series of shampoo commercials? Do you think that would have happened without the song being out there getting played on the radio, on a label deal?

    The vast majority of bands who are signed to major labels never have any hits so they end up in debt trying to pay back their advance.

    in the end, that is the market saying "your product isn't good enough". All the marketing and all the experience in the world can't make a bad song good.

    Oh yeah, let me add this: Even the bands that don't make back their advances often sell plenty of records, and get plenty of fans. As a distribution system, they get a much wider exposure than they can any other way. Would you really know who Facepalm Palmer was if the Dresden Dolls didn't have record releases and worldwide distribution?

    I still think that the top of the online heap is just short of the first rung of the label ladder. Sort of "big fish, small pond" stuff.

     

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    mrharrysan (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    Re: There have always been working musicians

    All of this plays into the myth that in the past, musicians with label deals were able to make a living wage. For the vast majority of label acts, this was NEVER NEVER true.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re:

    "A record deal is a "FREE!" between a band and the label."

    Gee, thanks for proving my point. Back in the 60s and 70s you'd be right. In order to get popular to such a level you'd need a major label to get your music heard by the masses. With the internet you no longer need a label to do that.

    "Would you really know who Facepalm Palmer was if the Dresden Dolls didn't have record releases and worldwide distribution?"

    With the internet you can release your own "record" on Amazon and have immediate worldwide distribution. Once again, what purpose does having a label serve?

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    if distribution was the only part of it, every website on earth would be as popular as every other.

    Labels do much more than just "release" stuff, they promote. In fact, it was just that sort of promotion Facepalm turned down because she wasn't willing to allow them to edit out her paunch.

    What the label provides (and fronts the money for) is the sort of things most small bands would die for: exposure in multiple markets, radio (and last.fm style) airplay, interviews, magazines, newspapers, etc. Labels often pair up their bigger and smaller acts on tours, giving the smaller acts higher level exposure, or work with other labels and promoters to get their acts on better tours.

    It's all the stuff that is done to get a band known, to get them in front of the public, to get the old hype machine going, to get people exposed and interested in the band, to get to know them a little bit as people (not just musical droids), etc.

    Just having a product isn't enough, as most will tell you. If nobody is looking for it, it doesn't matter.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Re: Disappointed about record label deal

    Why is this a problem? Is it a problem because you work for a label? I really see no problem with musicians going direct to fans.

    No, I don't work for a label and label deals are a non-issue for most artists. They won't be offered them.

    The problem is setting unrealistic expectations. The best way to survive as a musician is to keep your expenses down and be prepared to make some sacrifices. I know people who have made it. But often it starts out by having roommates, or living with your parents, or having a significant other who will support you. If you have a day job, don't quit it until you know for sure your music will generate enough income to support you.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Labels do much more than just "release" stuff, they promote."

    You're right they promote. So could an agent. The difference is that an agent can only take 10% while the label takes everything.

    "It's all the stuff that is done to get a band known"

    You seem to be under the impression that labels sign complete unknowns. I'll admit, that occasionally it can happen. The success of Mariah Carey was created by a carefully designed and orchestrated media campaign which started before she even recorded one note for sale or performed a single concert.

    However, that's rare. The vast majority of bands get signed after they've built up their own fan base. The band has to work and work to get those fans. The label takes over and (as I've said) you might get a hit. Even though he vast majority of bands that do get signed never have a hit.

    And they when your time in the limelight is over the label loses interest and will not spend a dime promoting you because your advance is all used up. You can't sign to a different label because you're contractually bound to your first label who is under no obligation to release you.

    At that time you might just wish you said no to that label. That you continued doing what you loved, creating music, playing music, and winning over fans through your hard work. Instead, the songs you've wrote and played are owned by some conglomerate and are used to sell toothpaste.

    I'll say it gain, Brian Mazzaferri, if this is the dream you have, I wish you lots and lots of luck. That and a five cents will get you a nickel.

     

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    chris (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Re: There have always been working musicians

    People use to aspire to getting label deals. Now they aspire to make a middle class income by working social media and selling stuff other than their recorded music. Just as most weren't going to get label deals, now most won't make enough to live on. A band of four needs at a minimum $100,000 to $120,000 a year to pay everyone $20,000 a year and have something left over to pay all band expenses.

    so why not reduce "band expenses"? why not figure out how to live on middle class incomes? why not figure out how to build a community around your content and leverage that to make money?

    and what's wrong with middle class incomes? every kid who wants to be an athlete, actor, writer, or musician gets told by his or her parents that they should have something to fall back on in case they don't make it. parents tell you that because those professions are crap shoots.

    it sounds like you are stuck with that lottery mentality that prevents a lot of music types from seeing the writing on the wall.

    outside of the world of showbiz, working for a living sucks too. sure it's a bit safer when you have a real job, and it's easier to make those middle class wages, but real jobs, even the truly great ones, are not much fun.

    if i could make $20k a year doing something i loved, i would sacrifice pretty much everything so i could do it. if i could work 9-5 and spend weekends traveling and meeting people that loved me and my work, i would do whatever it took to make that a reality.

    so rather than lament the fact that the average income for a musician is falling, why not help musicians figure out how to make that money go further, by reducing costs, or help them do things that generate more income, like connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: There have always been working musicians

    and what's wrong with middle class incomes?

    Absolutely nothing. But you missed my point. Most musicians can't even make minimum wage from music-related income. I said that a band would need to make at least $100,000 to $120,000 a year to pay each band member $20,000 a year. So band working full-time might have trouble giving everyone $20,000 a year.

    I've worked with bands. I've run those figures. I knew someone who grossed $150,000 a year. $45,000 of that came from CD sales. She played 200 gigs a year, contracted with her band, and paid them a set rate when they played with her. The total that went to the band was $45,000 because she also played lots of solo gigs that didn't include them. Each band member had a day job, and got an average of $13,000 a year from this band project.

    The reason I interject as much of this into Techdirt as I do is that for the most part the Techdirt conversation is non-musicians talking about how to make money in music. I just try to fill in the holes. That working musician website I cited is a good source of practical info. Working musicians often have to consider jobs like working on a ship, teaching, playing weddings, etc. to bring in enough money to everything.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Wow, someone signed with a major label...doesn't this happen everyday?

    From my perspective, major label deals are less and less attractive because the labels don't have as tight a grip on distribution, promotion, and all the other necessary ingredients in developing an entertainer's career as they used to.

    If my band was offered a record deal (fat chance), I'd be worried about the horror stories of getting ripped off, getting into debt, losing control of our work, etc. and balancing that with the potential benefits the label could offer.

    Label or no, there are no guarantees...either way, you have to work hard and hope your efforts pay off. That much hasn't changed. What has changed, it seems to me, is that the labels are much less in control.

    This whole question about labels seems so passe, doesn't it...what year is it again? 1964? 1977? 1987? 1995?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    This whole question about labels seems so passe, doesn't it...what year is it again? 1964? 1977? 1987? 1995?

    Yes, there really isn't much to say. Most musicians won't be offered a label deal. Among those who are, many of them take it because it comes with a lot more promotion than doing it yourself.

    The reason people don't worry about making any money from labels via recorded music sales is that has never been the reason to sign a deal. If you are going to make your money on merchandise and touring, then what does it matter if you make no money from the label selling CDs or if you make no money giving away your own music? Either way, the recorded music just serves as a promotional tool.

    And if you are the songwriter, you get money from radio plays. If the label can get you those, you make money on that.

     

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    jdub (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: There have always been working musicians

    "Working musicians often have to consider jobs like working on a ship, teaching, playing weddings, etc. to bring in enough money to everything."

    Join the freaking club!!! What do you think the rest of us have to do. Even us Non-Musical people have to hold down 2 jobs to make ends meet sometimes. Why should musicians be so special that they should have this entitlement?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: There have always been working musicians

    Join the freaking club!!! What do you think the rest of us have to do. Even us Non-Musical people have to hold down 2 jobs to make ends meet sometimes. Why should musicians be so special that they should have this entitlement?

    That's my point. There isn't a great middle class income for most musicians without holding down a variety of jobs. Music isn't more lucrative than other jobs and often is less lucrative.

     

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

  35.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The trick is that bands often build up fans pre-signing in a very small area, and they are stuck. They don't have the money to expand their influence easily, without being known outside your area it is hard to get paying gigs or get to be an opening act on someone's tour, etc.

    Yes, an agent can do that, sort of. Most agents don't have the influence out of their area to get anything done. Record labels are worldwide webs of connections, contacts, and promotions people.

    And they when your time in the limelight is over the label loses interest and will not spend a dime promoting you because your advance is all used up. You can't sign to a different label because you're contractually bound to your first label who is under no obligation to release you.

    Yet they can still play gigs, they can still do what they always did, and they can still cultivate fans. Nobody is stopping them from being musicians.

    Plus, the label has already spent way more than a dime promoting you. Sorry, but if you didn't hit it this way, it is unlikely that your marginal music would have made it online either.

    Label deals are all about scale and scope, which few people can handle themselves. Most acts also don't happen to have the $$$$$ on hand to get the show on the road to start with, nor do they have the contacts to get proper distribution, tour support, and all those other things that happen to a label act.

    the songs you've wrote and played are owned by some conglomerate and are used to sell toothpaste.

    If they are, you are likely making money, at least a song writer.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Dave Kaufman - Techlife, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 7:12pm

    1000 Loyal Customers

    I linked to this article in my syndicated column about 1000 Loyal Customers, great information. The discussion's comments are nearly as valuable as the content itself. Musicians are a bit different than an organization but still useful to read. http://bit.ly/9NrJrg

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    J.Goodwin, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    Atlantic

    Atlantic long had a reputation as a label that actually DID leave a lot of creative control in the hands of the artists. I don't know how accurate that is anymore. They went through a period where they shed a lot of artists that appeal to niches but who had crossover potential as well (King's X for example). A quick look down the list of former Atlantic Artists over on Wikipedia (and trusting that this is at least reasonably reliable) shows a lot of bands that are still out there, doing their thing, so you have to wonder how those split ups happened.

    That can be just as damaging as wresting creative control from artists. The fact is that when you have a contract with a label, you have to deliver a product, you have to deliver it on time and on a strict budget or you end up paying for it yourself, and the label often has the ability to unilaterally terminate the contract, leaving the artists in the lurch. That happens with even the best labels.

    It's the "big time" versus living within your means. You're taking a gamble. The alternative for some solo artists is to record complete albums on their own, then shop those finished albums around, while making ends meet with home shows, webcasts, etc.

    If you have a single patron, you occasionally have to shine their boots.

     

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

  38.  
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    jan_shaw (profile), Jun 15th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    I Fight Dragons fans!

    Check out this interview with all six members exclusively from ARTISTdirect.com! http://bit.ly/9k2DY6

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    I Fight Dragon Interview, Jun 16th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Nice interview! I really like how he explains how there's little data right now on how long an internet music career can last. It really depends if the music is GOOD, if the musicians are talented, and the music sounds as if it could touch the soul of every fan no matter what mood they're in, such as "Gouge Away" by the Pixies!

    Found another awesome I Fight Dragons video interview!
    http://www.artistdirect.com/entertainment-news/article/interview-i-fight-dragons/7292082

     

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


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