RIAA Insists That Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

from the funny-how-that-works dept

Ah, the RIAA blog. It's a never-ending source of entertainment. In the past, they've tried (and failed) to address some of my arguments directly, but as someone noted, one of their recent posts again appears directed my way (not just me, but a few others as well). In it, the RIAA tries to suggest that alternative business models can't possibly work. Since many of the arguments the RIAA tries to debunk sound sorta like the arguments I make, it seemed worth responding -- especially given how badly out of context the RIAA takes them in an effort to convince itself that it's still necessary. Let's start with the title:
IS TOURING ALONE ENOUGH?
First of all, there aren't that many folks who claim that touring alone is enough of a business model, and the rest of the post doesn't focus on "touring alone," but on a variety of alternative business models, which makes it a weird and entirely misleading title. In fact, a year ago, we explained why (just like the RIAA is pointing out) touring alone probably isn't enough to replace the revenues of the recording industry -- but that if you combined touring with other business models, it certainly could work quite well. But by using "touring" as the peg, the RIAA can debunk touring alone and pretend (falsely) that it's debunked the entire space of alternative (smarter) business models. Neat trick, but easy to see through.
Some industry observers like to suggest that efforts to address the theft of music online are somehow tantamount to efforts to maintain an "outdated business model" rather than to address forms of unfair competition based on illegal acts.
Now, I am one such "industry observer" who has pointed out that the RIAA has made a Herculean, if ultimately self-defeating, effort to maintain its outdated business model. But that has nothing to do with "theft of music online." It has to do with the changing economics of creating, promoting and distributing new music. Some of that may involve some amount of copyright infringement, but the business model of the RIAA was outdated even in the absence of infringing uses -- and, of course, such infringement is not and never has been theft. Of course, the RIAA knows this, but this blog is a weak attempt at painting itself as a victim, after decades of denying musicians money that it actually owed them. So, the best they can do is pretend that these new technologies represent "theft." Weak.
The suggestion is there are ample alternative mechanisms for generating revenues from music -- money from touring, selling merchandise like t-shirts, licensing music for commercials.
Yes. Indeed. But it's not a suggestion. There's a fair bit of evidence to support that. In fact, we've shown multiple studies from multiple sources and multiple locations all showing this is true. So, it would take quite a debunking from the RIAA to prove this wrong. But, of course, the RIAA doesn't do so. Because it can't.
Completely ignored are the pleas for enhanced copyright protection from artists and unions
A bit of a non sequitur, but not ignored at all. In fact, it's no surprise that artists and unions would want gov't-backed monopolies that mean they have to work less hard to obtain royalties. Who wouldn't want that? But a bunch of self-interested folks begging the gov't for protectionist policies is hardly evidence that copyright isn't being abused to prop up an outdated business model. If anything, it supports that view even more.
Instead the handful of established artists for whom Internet anarchy works as an effective marketing tool are cited.
Wait. That's just a lie. For years, we pointed out unsung artists who were making this work -- artists like Maria Schneider, and in response folks like the RIAA told us that "sure, this model might work for no names who have nothing to lose by giving away their works, but it'll never work for the big artists, like those we represent." Yet, now that it is working for those artists too, the RIAA wants to pretend it only works for them? Nice try, guys. But, as we've demonstrated over and over and over again, with a large and growing list of artists (not just "a handful"), this model works for artists up and down the music food chain. The RIAA says it only works for "a handful of established artists" but doesn't explain the success stories of folks like Corey Smith, Motoboy, Matthew Ebel and others who were hardly "established" when they began using these methods for their own success.

No one has ever said that everyone can succeed with them. However, one thing we have seen is that pretty much every artist who has embraced these models and principles has done better than they did trying to go about things the old way. Those who were on big labels found that they made more money this way. Those who weren't on big labels also found they made more money this way. And, we're not saying this is anti-label. There are lots of smart music labels that are embracing these principles as well. Just not the ones who run the RIAA.
Even more importantly, the reality of the marketplace is ignored in favor of theory.
There's only one party in this conversation ignoring "the reality of the marketplace... in favor of theory," and considering that we've posted numbers on most of the artists we've talked about, and the RIAA is best known for either not sharing or totally making up numbers, take a wild guess who's in reality and who's focused on "theory."
While touring and merchandise sales will work for some bands -- most notably big bands that "made it" in the 80's, 90's or earlier (and built on the back of touring support from music labels) -- it is exceedingly challenging for other bands to generate sufficient income just from touring, and touring support from the labels is rapidly disappearing.
See what the RIAA did there? Now it goes back to pretending this is just about touring. Of course, it's not. Most of the models we discuss don't focus just on touring.
Check out this article in BBC News about UK rock band Doves. And of course, without brand/name recognition, merchandise sales are commercially irrelevant.
That BBC article is quite one-sided, and basically says that the labels aren't providing tour support any more. And that proves what? It proves that the RIAA itself is screwing this up, by not supporting one part of the business that is making lots of money. I'm not sure what that proves other than that the RIAA is really bad at figuring out how to adapt to the changing world.

But, more to the point, the idea that bands can't tour without support from a major label is just silly. There are all sorts of new and more efficient ways for bands to find gigs and create tours. Sites like Eventful, SonicBids, Songkick and lots of others are making all sorts of useful tools around touring, that make it possible to do shows on a much more efficient and cost-effective basis. Yes, the big labels provided lots of money for tours in the past -- and they did so in a wasteful manner. But rather than become more efficient, now they're just hoarding their cash and blaming everyone else!

As for the lack of "brand/name recognition" making it impossible to sell merchandise, that's true. But the RIAA seems to be implicitly stating that the only way to get brand/name recognition is through a big RIAA label. Yet, the examples we've shown over and over again have focused on musicians figuring out how to connect directly with fans themselves. Without the need for massive marketing from the RIAA.
One last question: how is generating revenue from licensing of music to sell other products more socially useful than the sale of music itself?
Ah, yes. The "socially useful" question. It sounds great, but is entirely meaningless. After all, how is generating revenue from smelly automobiles that break down more socially useful than selling horses and buggies? Or, perhaps a more apt comparison: how is having all your phone calls connected directly more socially useful than having operators manually connect each call? Social utility doesn't matter. Economics doesn't care about social utility, and in the long run, in every single case, people tend to discover that there is more social utility in embracing progress rather than denying it.

Cars became more socially useful than horses and buggies by making travel more efficient and faster -- even if it hurt those who relied on the old system (horse shoers and buggy whip makers, for example). Automated telephone switching created a much better phone system, and other advancements including the internet -- even if it meant a lot of operators lost their jobs. And generating revenue from alternative means by selling other products is more socially useful than the sale of music directly because it's more efficient. It allows for less expensive creation, promotion and distribution of music -- meaning it brings more music into the world, helps more people hear more music more quickly for less cost -- and, in doing so, opens up tons of more efficient and socially beneficial business models.

Besides, isn't it just a little ridiculous for the recording industry -- who has filled landfills with non-degradable plastic discs to start talking about how "socially useful" its business model is?
It seems to me that this is the worst of all worlds, one in which all artistry will not be rewarded -- and one in which only music that works well in selling diapers and cars will be commercially produced. Is this supposed to sustain the diversity of music that we want? Would we have Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols under this kind of system for compensating artists? Not remotely.
Ah. and now the shift. Suddenly the RIAA is pretending that this is all about product placement and commercial licensing. Except, it's not. And, uh, last I checked, Bob Dylan was shilling for Victoria's Secret, so apparently, he's perfectly happy with such a system.
Exactly what kind of product licensing would have sustained the Smiths or Nirvana? Was there anything on Springsteen's first record that would have drawn the attention of advertising companies? In fact, we never would have had Elvis (either one)! This is an alternative universe in which I would not care to live.
Now this is rich. This from an industry that kicked all sorts of fantastic bands to the curb, because their music "wasn't commercial enough" for the major labels... and now it's complaining about how music will be "too commercial" under this new system? Except, of course, that's not true. If you listen to the music from different artists who have embraced these models, you'll find all kinds of music -- and much of it isn't commercially driven at all. In fact, that's why fans like it so much, because it's not being programmed by some exec in New York, but directly between the musicians and their fans.

Sorry, RIAA, you are protecting an obsolete business model, no matter how much revisionist history you cite and how many out of context arguments you make. Of course, we're more than willing to help your members figure this stuff out. They can just give us a call. In fact, more than a few already have. This might explain why they're questioning the value of continuing to be members of the RIAA.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 7:39am

    touring without being known through record releases radio airplay internet play etc is almost useless and very expensive. the value of concerts is set by demand and demand is created by exposure. all the alternate business models in the world dont have a hope until they can generate exposure like college radio did for corey smith.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 7:41am

    Hmmmm.......

    "Some industry observers like to suggest that efforts to address the theft of music online are somehow tantamount to efforts to maintain an 'outdated business model' rather than to address forms of unfair competition based on illegal acts."

    Seems like they're trying to conflate 'illegal' with immoral here.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 7:42am

    To Funny ...

    The Only problem is RIAA cant make money without the artists not the other way around.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 7:47am

    Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    Actually, between the RIAA and the collection societies, it would be more accurate to say "Musicians Can Make Money Despite the RIAA."

    The collection societies have made it very hard for young musicians to find venues. Streaming music, even if it is in the public domain, costs too much to make it easy for emerging artists to get their music heard. The recording industry controls the radio market well enough that new musicians are shut out of the medium that has been the #1 marketing form for decades. If you do manage to get a contract, the recording industry makes sure that you are unlikely to see a penny of the money that comes from album sales.

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 7:48am

    haha

    ask Springsteen if hes been paid for stuff in Canada buy the riaa arm in Canada called the CRIA

    NOPE
    so its not about artists
    and it isn't about product placement and licensing
    its about lawyers and men with yacht building programs that need YOUR MONEY EVERYONE'S

    useless
    just utterly not needed by mankind

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:00am

    Re: Hmmmm.......

    Seems to me they are trying to "conflate" illegal with illegal.

     

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    Big_Mike (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:00am

    I have said it before in here. The people that form bands don't form them to get rich, they form them, to play music and as with any form of work "Hope to make it big"

    Now, music can be recorded at home in a basement with a computer, software, and the equipment used to play a gig. No longer do people have to go to a studio to get their music to a CD.

    What does that mean? CDs can be given away in hopes that more people will hear the music and come see the show. Music can be put on memory sticks that can be reused and therefore a second reason to "Buy" the music. Music can be put on websites so they can find more fans. All of this can be done, by the band, for a little amount of money, making the record labels less important.

    As for the record labels, this is especially good because now it is extremely cheap to do what they do. A CD produced by a record label in the past cost them a penny per CD and they sold them for $10-$20. now it cost a penny per 100 but they still want to charge $10-$20 each. The thing is, people will still buy the CDs, they still do. Now the people who didn't buy them before are now hearing the music and adding it to their collection and telling more people. The bands are getting MORE fans because of it. Fans buy CDs, shirts, hats, and memorabilia as well as go to concerts or performances.

    Think about this. A band is going to play at a bar where people can smoke. I have heard people say "I want to go see them but I hate breathing and smelling like smoke." Now add this to the advertisement, "Band So and So, performing Thursday night at Blah Blah Bar, First 100 get a free CD of So and So's music." People are more willing to brave the smoke, the Bar has more patrons that night, food and drink sales go up. The band plays the music (The whole reason they formed a band) The bar asks them to return and play again. People play the CDs and other people say "I like that who is it?" Fans say "It's So and So, they are playing to night at the Blah Blah Bar, I got this CD free at their last performance. They don't even have to offer a CD the next performance. People are going to go hoping they might. Add in a few random CD give-aways during performance (less then 10)and the band is off and running

    Where was the record label in all that? There is still a place for the record label in this scenario, just in a larger capacity, Concerts instead of bars, Bars in other towns and cities, Doing all of this stuff for the band so the band can concentrate on just the music (The reason they form a band in the first place.)

    Wow, I went on and on there huh?

     

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    Big_Mike (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Hmmmm.......

    It's only illegal because they have the money to push politicians to make the law. Take away the money they give to politicians and actually debate the issue and the laws would change.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:10am

    How can you steal 1's and 0's? Reminds me of sesame street with Ernie, Pssst wanna buy the letter L?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    Gee, I wonder how an artist can get exposure. It must be by selling overpriced plastic discs, right, TAM?

     

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    scott mc laughlin (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:18am

    brand name recognition etc.

    As for the lack of "brand/name recognition" making it impossible to sell merchandise, that's true. But the RIAA seems to be implicitly stating that the only way to get brand/name recognition is through a big RIAA label.


    This is the crux of the point, and their real worry.

    The recording industry (like any other middleman) sells itself as being crucial to success in that area of business, and its business entirely depends on the creators and consumers seeing it as essential. Their old business model is a control model of "we will tell you what is good, we will tell you what to buy". They're used to having complete control over what can be sold and by whom, that's what's changing. Without being the sole controllers of "what you can buy", they start to become less relevant, and ultimately become much smaller players, because the space expanded around them. They're desperately trying to reverse that expansion by whatever means possible.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re:

    hi mike.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Re: brand name recognition etc.

    nobody else has put forward a reliable system that can get exposure to artists in a way that can be repeated. lightning striking examples such as corey smith are apparently not repeatable no matter how much the masnick goes on about him. stand up and show your business models that work and can be repeated. answer is none so far.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:26am

    "but the business model of the RIAA was outdated even in the absence of infringing uses"

    True as all hell, the business model went belly up with the invention of the compact disk. The CD put an end to the labels ability to resell the same Item over and over as records and tapes tended to wear out.

    "Those who were on big labels found that they made more money this way. Those who weren't on big labels also found they made more money this way. And, we're not saying this is anti-label."

    A large part of it is anti label as fans and artists are alienated, abused, threatened, sued, stolen from using creative accounting, and lied to. The UKs DEB and ACTA being signed and implemented will only accelerate this trend as the perception of the labels goes from one of caution to they are the enemy of all music fans.

    "Of course, we're more than willing to help your members figure this stuff out. They can just give us a call. In fact, more than a few already have. This might explain why they're questioning the value of continuing to be members of the RIAA."

    That is the only thing I got from the blog post. Members are questioning RIAA and its actions. The artists blogs I visit are showing a trend to be more and more Anti-RIAA and more Anti-Label. Last year it was about 50-50. It is an interesting trend, big name artists, unrecouped artists, unsigned artists all slowly turning Anti RIAA and Anti Label. Good on them!!

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    some artists seem to make their name using good quality music and advertising themselves using networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

    But I think the most important part is the quality of the music. If it's crap, that artist has a much smaller chance of making it in the musical ecosphere. And that's probably why the RIAA labels are running scared, because they know that what they are producing is NOT what the people want to hear.

     

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  16.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Re: To Funny ...

    What's an artist for the RIAA?
    You drag some eye-candy from the street, have him/her "sing" something that got pooped out by a two-bit songwriter, jack the sound up with a computer, polish, glitter, bling, and blast that 12 times an hour on every radio station that Clear Channel owns.
    Make a reality soap around him/her, and add extra bling!
    And make sure that Wal*Mart sells only those records.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why did you stop posting as TAM?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    And how are the RIAA's business models doing? They wouldn't be complaining so much if they were doing well.

    From an artist's point of view, how are the old RIAA business models any less "lightning strikes" examples? How many unsuccessful ventures did the RIAA labels have in their hey day?

    The upside to ANY ALTERNATIVE (no matter how hackneyed or unrepeatable) to the RIAA business models is that the artist is finally in control of his/her/their destiny.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hi question-dodging TAM.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    You can steal a collection of one's and zero's, but it's far more ethical to just copy them instead.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:37am

    Would we have Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols under this kind of system for compensating artists? Not remotely.

    Leonard Cohen? Seriously? You're citing Leonard Cohen?

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    Jonathon Coulton to name one. Started off as a computer programmer, who decided to release a new song for free on his blog for a period of time.
    Now full-time artist, able to live off of it. Without the help of labels.
    And there are many more examples to be had.

    Why don't you show proof that it DOESN'T work.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because he was proven wrong once and somehow thinks it's the end of the world.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:38am

    You can make semantic arguments about stealing versus copyright infringement all you want but neither one makes you any better a person. You're taking something that you are supposed to pay for without paying for it, there is nothing good or rebellious about that, you just don't want to pay for it.

    I agree with virtually everything said in this article and think it makes fine points against the RIAA. But lets not paint people who take music online as anything less than scumbags. If you don't like the RIAA's business model (and I don't), that's fine. But the fact is, they want you to pay for the music. If you don't think you should that's fine but then you don't get to listen to it and if you try to anyway, you're ripping someone off. If people stopped LISTENING to RIAA music as opposed to just stop PAYING for it, I think we'd all be shocked at how quickly they'd change. But downloading music without paying for it isn't some righteous act of "sticking it to the man", it's just because you want something for free and want to hide behind the cloak of moral rectitude. I hate the RIAA and therefore don't buy or listen to their music. That's how you force change.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    "nobody else has put forward a reliable system that can get exposure to artists in a way that can be repeated. lightning striking examples such as corey smith are apparently not repeatable no matter how much the masnick goes on about him."

    That is why the labels are panicing so badly. This isnt a cookie cutter business plan.

    The old business model went something like this...
    1) record album, run through filters, remix to make it sound good
    2) Payola to get air play
    3) promote artists in teen magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV shows
    4) make money because people are sheep

    There is no generic business plan for artists on the internet. In the end there will be hundreds of smaller business plan components that will have to be matched to the performer and his, her, or the bands personality. Slowly less and less cookie cutter type stars.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    Girl Talk. Oh, right, Girl Talk isn't an artist because collage isn't an art form. Silly me. But what do I know, I'm just an artist and not a lawyer so I shouldn't comment on making art.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    Are you suggesting that that is proof that it doesn't work?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    Re:

    Did you know that hundreds of millions of people infringe on the copyright of others everyday. That's the reality. How does one deal with that reality?

     

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    Joel (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    Ignorance is Bliss

    Neil Turkewitz can't understand that he needs to show proof to back what he is saying, sir you need to site multiple sources to give credit to your comments and opinions especially when dealing with something like the livelihood of the people you are supposed to be helping.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    No! Sorry, I was being sarcastic. Girl Talk cannot even put out a shiny plastic disc to sell to support himself. Girl Talk has to play live, which is fine and shows that art is still being made regardless of how many shiny plastic discs can be sold.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    " If people stopped LISTENING to RIAA music as opposed to just stop PAYING for it, I think we'd all be shocked at how quickly they'd change."

    What makes you think that thats not what is happening right now. All the numbers that come from RIAA are pretty much made up, from how much infringement is costing, to the number of people affected by infringement. Perhaps the numbers they are quoting about infringing downloads are highly distorted. In this case to say the majority are RIAA represented artists.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re:

    By quoting people, you basically are already infringing that person's copyright.

    By forwarding an email, you are infringing copyright.
    Does that make anyone a scumbag? (well only if it was a forward of a forward of a forward of some sort of chainletter-type email, then yes.)

    Yes, I know, fair use, but as the big media companies like to trot out: "fair use is a only defense, not part of the law."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Once? Don't be so conservative.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    TAM always used proper capitalisation.

     

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    Joel (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    So can I make a tape like back in the old days and then upload that into my computer and then put it into my mp3 player or cd?

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    >>nobody else has put forward a reliable system that can get exposure to artists in a way that can be repeated.

    Actually, from the musician's standpoint the traditional recording contract model is not a repeatable model. I assume by "repeatable model" you mean that there are a set of rules or guidelines like "You successfully do X, Y, and Z and you are successful." Getting a recording contract is at best a turkey shoot from the musician's perspective. There are plenty of good bands that have done all the right things to get noticed, but they do not happen to fall into a niche that some record exec thinks they need at the moment.

    From the record label's perspective, the old model has been highly repeatable, which is why they are so devoted to preserving it. The labels are very worried that artists will find a new model that works for them and reduces the need for middlemen. The one thing the industry does not want to do is compete for artists.

    Much the same argument was made about the "Studio System" that the movie industry used to use. The industry argued that actors could not find work just by going from job to job; they needed the studios to provide them with a steady stream of work. The funny thing is that getting rid of the studio system helped both the artists and the studios. Maybe the labels will get lucky and the same thing will happen here. Twenty years from now we may look back on the label system in the same way we look back at the studio system.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    Re: Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    So, you meant: Musicians would make more money without the RIAA.

     

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  38.  
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    kirillian (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    The old system wasn't reliable...the industry just liked getting to be the lightning - whoever they struck made it. Now, hard work and effort actually has a measurable difference. Nonetheless, there is a threshold of talent/ability that has to be met by the artist to make it in this new world - something that wasn't necessarily true in the old...

    The music world is changing...now talented artists have an advantage over AutoTune/good looks...

     

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  39.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What I mean to say is, that indeed millions of people infringe on copyright today. Doesn't make anyone a scumbag.

     

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  40.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:51am

    Its Never Enough, We Always Need More

    The RIAA will never have enough. Its about the maximization of every conceivable type/form of revenue generation.

    This is similar to the motherhood arguments concerning social issues such as "safety". We will never have enough "safety" since perfect safety is an impossible goal. Nevertheless, people continue to demand that we dedicate ever greater resources to making our personal lives and the world "safe". In a Futurama episode, Fry laments - "If we only had 10,002 hulls" concerning a tanker oil spill. Currently there is even an ad spoofing the hypothetical request to use fire alarms in the forest to warn the wildlife in the name of safety. In the case of the RIAA, ever greater resources need to be devoted to generating revenue and protecting the revenue stream. The RIAA will never be satisfied.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:56am

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

    And improper logic.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re:

    plenty of people take herion smoke crack and molest children. should these things all be legal too because enough people do them? stupid argument from you.

     

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  43.  
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    www.eZee.se (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:00am

    Shame on you Mike, you tore the RIAA a new one.

    And to make matters worse, you tore ALL their arguments to shreds, couldn't you at least let them have one lie? Just one?
    No, you had to knock out all their testicles along with their tentacles from under them.

    Ruthless. Utterly ruthless.

    Dont you know its "be nice to the slimeballs" month?

     

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  44.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: To Funny ...

    Classic response, and agreed. I just realized something if the labels should stop trying to control everything by signing artist they intended to just shelve and put in the unrecouped bin. If they just focus on the trailer park trash bubble gum chewing idiots they promote to top 10 they would actually be doing pretty well.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:01am

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

    Oh yeah, you're right. Silly me.

     

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  46.  
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    NullOp, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Always...

    The bloodsucker always claims he is essential....

     

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  47.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Re: Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    "Streaming music, even if it is in the public domain, costs too much to make it easy for emerging artists to get their music heard."

    So is it the collection groups or the technology that makes streaming CC and public domain music so expensive?

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Copyright infringment is a governement-enforced monopoly. More people infringe on the copyright of others than molest children, wait, what the fuck are you talking about!?!

    Seriously, the molesting of children? You are dumb.

     

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  49.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:06am

    Re:

    The RIAA types do have one redeeming value ... as fertilizer

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I meant to say that copyright is a government-enforced monopoly but your stupidy infected me, briefly. So dumb.

     

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  51.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    >>So is it the collection groups or the technology that makes streaming CC and public domain music so expensive?

    The technology is cheap. The collection societies have a huge tax that has to be paid, even if you only stream music that the artist wants to have distributed freely. Sound Exchange charges a significant entry fee to get into the streaming business, and high rates after that. Businesses like Pandora were becoming very successful, but the fees have driven them to the brink of shutting down.

     

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  52.  
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    Matthew Ebel, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:23am

    Re: Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    I'm not sure what you mean by "collection societies", but if you're referring to BMI, ASCAP, Soundexchange, and other PRO's, I'd say they're the one aspect of the old music industry that still works for the artists. As a 100% independent songwriter and performer, I'm starting to see real royalties come from sources like Pandora and Rhapsody. They help pay my rent. I'm still a nobody in the eyes of the industry, but BMI, at least, is still working to keep me fed.

    Pax,
    Matthew

     

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  53.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Hmmmm.......

    could you define this "debate" you speak of? is it another way of saying bribe?


    (/s)

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Plenty of people drink alcohol? Should we repeal prohibition!?!?

    No! That would be horrible!

    Oh, wait...

     

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  55.  
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    mrharrysan (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    The Grateful Dead was one of the biggest revenue generating bands of all time, and they did it without radio support. They let their fans record and trade their music freely and even though they didn't sell many records, they made more money than almost any other artist of their time. Do not underestimate the income potential of touring and merch. Due to shady record company accounting practices, most artists don't make money from record sales anyway.

     

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  56.  
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    Thomas (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Is the RIAA necessary?

    No, it's not necessary. One success story is Joe Bonamossa. After starting his own label, and dumping the RIAA, he is doing better than ever. He says he has, for example, better touring budgets than he ever got from the RIAA label. I'd cite the Guitar World Magazine article in which he says that, but it's blocked here at work by the web filter because it contains "Intimate Apparel & Swimsuit" ??????

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did you know that if you drink enough alcohol it will poison you? Yet, it's still legal to sell it? And cannabis, which has a medicinal value and if you consume enough of it will not poison you, is illegal?

    That will never make any sense to me. Same with tobacco.
    But I guess it makes more sense than, "Copyright infringement is like molesting children!"

     

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  58.  
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    crade (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    The RIAA is doing their best not only to convince people that musicians need them, but to rewrite the laws to hamstring other business models so it is more true.

     

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  59.  
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    Mayor Milobar (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    Reminds me of Office Space

    Bob Slydel: "What you do at Initech is, you take the specifications from the customers and you bring them down to the software engineers."
    Smykowski: "Yes. Y--Yes. That's-- That's right."
    Bob Porter: "Well, then I just have to ask, why couldn't the customers just take them directly to the-- to the software people, huh?"
    Smykowski: "Well, I'll tell you why. Uh, because... engineers are not good at dealing with customers."
    Bob Slydel: "Uh-huh. So, you physically take the specs from the customer?"
    Smykowski: "Well... no. M-My secretary does that, or they're faxed."
    Bob Slydel: "Uh-huh."
    Bob Porter: "So then you must physically bring them to the software people."
    Smykowski: "Well... no. I mean, sometimes."
    Bob Slydel: "What-- What would you say you do here?"
    Smykowski: "Well, look, I already told you. I deal with the bleepdamn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?!"

     

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  60.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    I a Thief!

    I embrace that term 100%. i think it is even better than pirate was.

    If you think morals have anything to do with this, then that is your call. I prefer to not give a damn. morals are for the weak.

    There is no honor among thieves.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    records labels arent panicking they are upset by people who claim a business model when it is really just living off the back of the existing systems. without the existing systems the rest would fail. amazing isnt it?

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    Systems evolve. The change and mutate over time. Amazing isn't it? Shouldn't we be going forward as opposed to backwards? Amazing, yes. All systems progress. The ones that fail are the ones that attempt to regress. Amazing.

     

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  63.  
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    eagoldman (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    Please explain how the Grateful Dead, Phish, My Morning Jacket, etc. have managed to do so well without "record releases radio airplay internet play etc"

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re:

    Didn't the Grateful Dead own their music? Maybe that's why they were so successful? A corporation didn't own their original masters. No, that couldn't be it.

    Must have been magic!

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    People can criticize the RIAA (and other organizations representing content producers) all they want, but the simple fact remains that as of this date and well into the forseeable future the maligned "labels" will continue to the the dominant means by which music is created and distributed to the public.

    I give the labels credit that they are not stupid, no matter how many articles are posted here asserting otherwise. Love them or hate them, the music industry continues to produce products that many people obviously want, as shown to some degree by the most popular downloads via P2P. Perhaps at some point in time the dynamics will shift and groups following business models promoted here will start to make significant inroads in shifting income from the labels to such groups. As things now stand, however, those groups are hardly a blip on the radar.

     

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  66.  
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    neil turkewitz, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 11:35am

    RIAA Insists That Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    Mike:

    Just wanted to put you at ease that I was not in fact responding to anything you wrote. In fact, and I'm not trying to be mean, while I have heard your name, I don't think that I've ever read any of the materials which you reference. Someone sent me your response, so now I know where you virtually reside.

    I also wanted to let you know that RIAA does not have (or protect) any particular business model. Our mission is to ensure that the creators of materials have the ability to decide how their works are used. We take no view on the nature or result of their decision-making process.

    Finally, I do apologize about the title. It was not intended to be misleading--just the result of severe space limitations for titles on our blog. I would have hoped that the body of my thoughts clarified this, but at least some appear to have believed that it was deliberate. I can assure you that it was not.

     

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  67.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    @7

    um you make my point that no one needs labels at all
    you go on and on about how they price gouge and all that does is remove money from the "fans" to buy anything, food items for cars , and homes you name it.

    fact is imagine a linux opensource idea for music and movies , and even that donate for a tv series. YOU better off people don't yuo get a good feeling when you help others?
    OR is there so many arseholes in the world that you don't care about anyone?

    until it happens
    fuck labels
    fuck musicans
    fuck actors

    and all there scum sucking panzy lawyers

     

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  68.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    i see the riaa is here

    while your at it can you tell us why the CRIA
    your RIAA of Canada has rippd off 300,000 artists in Canada since the mid 80's onward and yes this even includes american artists?

    YEA keep the foot handy to shove in mouth...we're waiting for a public response to this 6 BILLION DOLLAR LAWSUIT the artists filed....

     

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  69.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    que the lawyers of the riaa

    my bet you won't have a comment cause you can't speak of "ongoing cases"
    YEA where you claim your about artists and in reality rippe doff hundreds a thousands of them including bruce springsteen himself.

    SO answer mister lawyer why , if your allowed as they said to have a 40 year pending list can't everyone else on earth do as you do,
    "we'll pay them eventually, they are on a pending list"

    so your advocating we all should drop everyhting in a dir called pending-list for 40 or more years.


    GOOD ONE
    haha

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Re: RIAA Insists That Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20002304-261.html

    In what appears to be a setback for Hollywood and the recording industry, the government said that it sees problems with the methodology used in studies those sectors have long relied on to support claims that piracy was destructive to their businesses. The accountability office even noted the existence of data that shows piracy may benefit consumers in some cases.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Re: RIAA Insists That Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    This is merely a request for an answer to a question I have been singularly unsuccessful in finding an answer.

    Are you by chance aware of the extent to which the "labels" are involved in "touring" by bands/groups/artists/etc.?

    For example, do "labels" serve as tour producers/promoters?

    Are there instances where "labels" are involved as passive investors, and if so is this a common or an incidental practice?

    Any insight you may be able to provide will be appreciated.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Re:

    Recording lables are great at marketing. Not so great at selling shiny plastic discs but it is the 21st century. The public is clearly moving on.

     

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  73.  
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    crade (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Re:

    They aren't stupid, they are self-serving and desperate.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Hey RIAA,

    Just pay up the $100 million, and you'll have peace and quiet for one year to do whatever the heck you want without Techdirt attacking your failing business model. After all, that's like... what?... One business suit? Two hair cuts?

     

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  75.  
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    Dementia (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re:

    If you don't think you should that's fine but then you don't get to listen to it and if you try to anyway, you're ripping someone off.

    Does this mean I'm a bad person because I listen to the radio without paying someone? And what if I record off the radio? Am I an even worse person now?

    Oh, wait a minute, listening to and making a copy off of the radio for personal use are LEGAL activities aren't they? So what was the issue again? Hmm, sharing it across the internet. That's different from broadcasting it on the radio how? Yes, I understand collection societies make money for songwriters and all from radio play, and if RIAA and their ilk have their way, the musicians(?) themselves may make some too, but from the consumer standpoint, this is different how?

     

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  76.  
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    BigKeithO, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 2:33pm

    Re:

    Where do you live that you have bars you can still smoke in? I didn't think they existed still!!

    Sorry, totally off topic but I am intrigued.

     

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  77.  
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    BigKeithO, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

    Re: que the lawyers of the riaa

    For the fine, literate people of Canada I apologize for the amazingly bizarre postings of the "Nameless.One".

     

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  78.  
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    Karl (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 3:04pm

    Selling music is a social utility...?

    how is generating revenue from licensing of music to sell other products more socially useful than the sale of music itself?

    Mike, I think you really dropped the ball when you didn't call them out on this one. The idea that the sale of music is "socially useful" is laughable. It turns music into a product like any other, so it's no more useful to society than licensing it to "sell other products."

    It certainly doesn't promote the production of higher quality music. It only promotes the production of more profitable music. If anything, emphasising the "sale of music itself" robs it of its social utility.

    Would we have Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols under this kind of system for compensating artists? Not remotely. Exactly what kind of product licensing would have sustained the Smiths or Nirvana?

    When I read this, it made me want to punch Neil Turkewitz in the face. Every single one of these artists did well precisely in the absence of the label system he endorses. It was only after they had done well that the labels even considered approaching them. How did they do well? By following Techdirt's business model.

    If they benefitted from being on a label at all, it was only because their music was licensed to endorse a product - that product being a physical release. That's "exactly what kind of product licensing" sustained them.

    And in most cases, that's "not remotely" what sustained them. That's what sustained the labels. The new millennium's Nirvana is still out there somewhere, playing crappy basement shows and sleeping on dirt floors just like Nirvana did, and you can bet that they're going to keep much more of their hard-earned greenbacks once the RIAA's clients go under.

    (My vote is for Lightning Bolt being the next Nirvana, but that's just me.)

     

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  79.  
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    Karl (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Selling music is a social utility...?

    On a different subject...

    Does anyone else find it the least bit ironic that all of the software they used to write that blog is open source?

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 3:33pm

    Oh, and lets not forget that piracy somehow undermines the humanitarian efforts in Haiti too.

     

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  81.  
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    Karl (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Springsteen

    Also, it's pretty hypocritical to mention Bruce Springsteen in that RIAA post, seeing as Springsteen recently demanded his name be removed from a copyright lawsuit:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/02/04/2010-02-04_bruce_springsteen_demands_his_na me_is_removed_from_lawsuit_against_midtown_bar_c.html

    ...Sorry to keep posting these things, but this article really pissed me off.

     

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  82.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: To Funny ...

    "Classic response, and agreed. I just realized something if the labels should stop trying to control everything by signing artist they intended to just shelve and put in the unrecouped bin. If they just focus on the trailer park trash bubble gum chewing idiots they promote to top 10 they would actually be doing pretty well."

    That would marginalise their market. As it stands the 'bargain bin' artists who may have actual talent give the suggestion that the 'bubble gum' artists are there because of their talent rather than their stupidity. Ofc, you may still be right because they may not need this air of sophistication to make a bundle out of people who are happy with pot luck pop.

     

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  83.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: brand name recognition etc.

    "Much the same argument was made about the "Studio System" that the movie industry used to use."

    For anyone wondering, look up United Artists. Damn you, I have the tune for Mary Pickford in my head now.

     

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  84.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re:

    "If you think morals have anything to do with this, then that is your call. I prefer to not give a damn. morals are for the weak."

    Morals are like science, deny them all you like but they're still there.

     

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  85.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    Re:

    "You can make semantic arguments about stealing versus copyright infringement all you want but neither one makes you any better a person."

    Who are you, Saint Peter? No one has to make semantic arguments to decide whether what they are doing is right or wrong, they just choose. If you want people to agree with you and make the same choices then you're going to have to try harder than 'I'm better because I do what others tell me', which is the summary to your argument.

    Expand on it a little, why do you pay for something of infinite abundance and no physical presence just because people ask you to? I spend lots of money on music, because I make the choice that supporting artists would be beneficial to me. Are you incapable of making that decision?

     

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  86.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 4:42pm

    Re:

    "I give the labels credit that they are not stupid, no matter how many articles are posted here asserting otherwise. Love them or hate them, the music industry continues to produce products that many people obviously want, as shown to some degree by the most popular downloads via P2P."

    Hang on, I thought you were talking about the labels. When did the rest of the industry get dragged into this? Musicians are popular, yes. Personally, I lament every artist I enjoy who is signed to a major label. Happily, nearly all new music I listen to is from artists who are not on major labels.

     

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  87.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 13th, 2010 @ 4:50pm

    Re: RIAA Insists That Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    "I also wanted to let you know that RIAA does not have (or protect) any particular business model. Our mission is to ensure that the creators of materials have the ability to decide how their works are used. We take no view on the nature or result of their decision-making process."

    My mission is to ensure the world keeps spinning. I do this by shooting a gun repeatedly in the opposite direction. Anyone who happens to be standing in the way is obviously trying to stop the world spinning.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 5:10pm

    More web 2.0 snake oil, must be Tuesday...

    But, as we've demonstrated over and over and over again, with a large and growing list of artists (not just "a handful")


    What a joke. The list of "successes" is very small and is growing very slowly. Take away the big label expatriates and the folks who made little more than scraps and you indeed have nothing more than a handful -- and a handful that STILL pales in comparison to the successes seen on the other side of the proverbial pond.

    As another anonymous poster couldn't have said better:

    But where are the massive successes with these new business models? The Rolling Stones and Beatles of the new models are raising at the very low six figure range (or less) through crowdfunding. I think the best example I've seen on this site is a guy that pulled in $1M in a year. So we're moving toward a world where the most successful musicians can pull down almost what a middle manager at a big company makes, only with orders of magnitude greater risk and higher expenses.



    And generating revenue from alternative means by selling other products is... more efficient.


    Absolutely idiculous. I would love to hear you explain how it's more efficient to sell tangential gimmicks and gizmos (and all the opportunity costs that go with them) than it is to sell the actual, initial product upon which the gimmicks and gizmos are based? Having to demean yourself by giving foot massages to well-heeled fans will never be more efficient than it was to just make good music and offer it for sale.

    Or, as Chris Ruen so succinctly put it:

    The big issue here is that the commodity system, albeit an intellectualized form of it in the digital age, is the most efficient, convenient and appropriate means of compensating artists for their work. It's also a statement of value for music, art and expression rather than a statement of value for empty wine bottles, per your Amanda Palmer example. So while we search and search for new models that have relatively few examples of success, models that in large part haven't worked, the commodity system sits there waiting to be rediscovered.



    The bloodsucker always claims he is essential....


    ...says the bloodsucking pirate.

    Love them or hate them, the music industry continues to produce products that many people obviously want, as shown to some degree by the most popular downloads via P2P.


    Exactly.

    Perhaps at some point in time the dynamics will shift and groups following business models promoted here will start to make significant inroads in shifting income from the labels to such groups. As things now stand, however, those groups are hardly a blip on the radar.


    Exactly.

    The new millennium's Nirvana is still out there somewhere, playing crappy basement shows and sleeping on dirt floors just like Nirvana did, and you can bet that they're going to keep much more of their hard-earned greenbacks once the RIAA's clients go under.


    Keep telling yourself that. It's already been more than a decade and you don't have ONE example that comes even remotely close to the success of Nirvana. In fact, you don't even have ONE example in ANY of the big creative industries (movies, music, books, videogames etc) that comes close to the massive successes seen by the incumbent players. Where's your web 2.0 Beatles? Where's your web 2.0 Stephen King? Where's your web 2.0 Spielberg? Where's your web 2.0 World of Warcraft?

    Girl Talk? Cory Doctorow? Nina Paley? That dungeons and Dragons MMO? Please.

    The answer is, of course, nowhere. They are nowhere. They don't exist. Which is why you are forced to continually trot out the same handful of modest-at-best, abject-poverty-at-worst "exceptions" and then bloody your fingers trying to spin them as sure signs for a revolution long since overdue.

    Optimism is great but don't hold your breath.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    RadialSkid, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 5:23pm

    "Take away the big label expatriates and the folks who made little more than scraps and you indeed have nothing more than a handful -- and a handful that STILL pales in comparison to the successes seen on the other side of the proverbial pond."

    1. "Other side of the pond" is not a proverb.

    2. The artists mentioned make more than a sustainable income just for writing and performing music. As the label system dies out, the money they can potentially earn will only skyrocket.

    Are you familiar with the "God of the gaps" argument against theism - that God or gods only exist in the gaps of human knowledge, and that as the gaps close, the needs for the belief in these entities shrinks? Your logic is the same way. You think that just because the labels have all of this leftover influence from a decade ago, that this somehow "proves" their system still works, ignoring the FACT that said influence decreases every day.

    "...says the bloodsucking pirate."

    HAHA, oh man oh man. You DO work for the industry, don't you?

    "Love them or hate them, the music industry continues to produce products that many people obviously want, as shown to some degree by the most popular downloads via P2P."

    That's because they still release nearly 80% of the music released. But again, their influence is dwindling, and will continue to do so.

    "Keep telling yourself that. It's already been more than a decade and you don't have ONE example that comes even remotely close to the success of Nirvana."

    Depends on what you mean by "success." Artistic success? There are bands that have gone above and beyond that overrated little grunge jam band. Financial success? When less money is being spent on music and less of it is going to artists than ever before? Not likely.

    Nor should there be. If you aren't content to $3-$4 million because it isn't $100 million, then you're a greedy prick and don't deserve success.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Re: More web 2.0 snake oil, must be Tuesday...

    "Love them or hate them, the music industry continues to produce products that many people obviously want, as shown to some degree by the most popular downloads via P2P.

    Exactly."

    If by exactly you meant to admit that you do not understand what value and price are, sure.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 6:26pm

    Re:

    Which is another reason why public airwaves and radio stations shouldn't be a commercial giveaway where the government allows a monopoly on both the communication platform (the public airwaves) and the content. Instead, the government should seek to allocate public airwaves in the public interest, not in the interest of private entities.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    But if everything they stream is CC. If everything they stream is CC Sound exchange can't do anything. However, in the case of public airwaves, I completely agree, and this is one reason why I propose the government should never grant a monopoly on both the public airwaves and on the content. There should NEVER be monopoly on both, which there currently is. The government needs to allocate public airwaves in the public interest or else I want the FCC disbarred. Force all music on public airwaves to be CC music, if it's on public airwaves it should be in the public domain PERIOD. No one has an inherit right to those airwaves and everyone has an inherit right to record anything that comes down those PUBLIC airwaves and do what they want with it and that includes freely redistributing it. It's the public airwaves, the public should be able to do whatever they want with whatever comes from it.

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    What's your name? You're an artist, you should have no problems with people knowing who you are after all.

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    "I'm not sure what you mean by "collection societies", but if you're referring to BMI, ASCAP, Soundexchange, and other PRO's, I'd say they're the one aspect of the old music industry that still works for the artists."

    Forget providing your name.

    I would like artists to be able to sell albums without these collection societies if they so choose to. Why can't an artist choose who manages their money or how they manage their own sales distributions? Why should some third party do it?

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Musicians Can't Make Money Without The RIAA

    basically for the BMI et al to be the only ones allowed to manage artists and to not allow artists to sell their own music is anti capitalism.

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 7:14pm

    The old system.

    The RIAA is basically a Casino where musicians come to gamble. Since the RIAA run the game, they make off like bandits. Some lucky few musicians might manage to hit a big jackpot here or there but most just leave the Casino broke, broken and used up.

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 7:22pm

    Re: More web 2.0 snake oil, must be Tuesday...

    > Where's your web 2.0 Beatles? Where's your web 2.0 Stephen
    > King? Where's your web 2.0 Spielberg? Where's your web
    > 2.0 World of Warcraft?

    Where's old media's new versions?

    A lot of those examples are pretty ancient.

    They are hardly compelling examples of why the old methods are better than the new ones. If anything, they clearly show that the old methods aren't really any better.

    If you have to stretch back into the 60's and 70's to find your shining examples of the things to beat then Old Media hardly looks terribly compelling either.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2010 @ 1:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Even if you can't prove it exists, it still does" -- actually, that sounds more like religion to me.

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2010 @ 1:09am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, now that's just crazy talk...
    I bet they'd poison anything you tried to grow with them.

    Maybe you could use them as a salt substitute when "salting the earth"?

     

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  100.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 14th, 2010 @ 2:00am

    China-Syndrome

    I also wanted to let you know that RIAA does not have (or protect) any particular business model. Our mission is to ensure that the creators of materials have the ability to decide how their works are used. We take no view on the nature or result of their decision-making process.

    Right!

    BTW, just got an email from a friend studying in China. The RIAA has sunk so low they already turned up on the other side of the earth.

     

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  101.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Apr 14th, 2010 @ 3:46am

    Re: More web 2.0 snake oil, must be Tuesday...

    Take away the big label expatriates

    Hold on a sec. A bunch of artists (Radiohead, NIN, etc) were on labels, and became fairly successful. They then left the labels and followed new business models, and were much more successful. And you think this proves that new business models are worse?
    I would love to hear you explain how it's more efficient to sell tangential gimmicks and gizmos (and all the opportunity costs that go with them) than it is to sell the actual, initial product upon which the gimmicks and gizmos are based?

    I agree. But considering that physical releases are those "tangential gimmicks and gizmos," I'm not sure what your point is.
    ...says the bloodsucking pirate.

    You really should stop talking to yourself. At least assuming you're defending record labels, whose entire purpose is to be "bloodsucking pirates." Labels are businesses first and foremost, and it simply makes good business sense to screw over musicians and consumers if you can. They were able to do this for a long time because they held a monopoly on public communication. Now that they don't, they can't get away with it anymore, and that's why they're starting to fail.
    It's already been more than a decade and you don't have ONE example that comes even remotely close to the success of Nirvana.

    The band that became popular because of the underground music scene, which thrives on alternate business models? The one whose singer took a good hard look at his "success," and decided it would be more fun to blow his face off? The singer whose widow says record labels are bigger pirates than filesharers?

    Yeah, that's a great example.

    You've also got a very lopsided view of "success." Consider that for every Nirvana, there are a couple thousand bands who will remain in debt to their label for their entire lives, who will never make a penny from record sales, and who will never hold the rights to their own songs. Under the old business model, success was only possible through the wholesale theft of artists' labor.

    If a new business model means the majority makes a couple thousand dollars per year, and the most successful earn a million or so, then the music industry is better off under the new business model.

    That's the flaw in your argument. The "success stories" may not be as successful as Nirvana, but all of them are more successful than they would be on a major label.

    Besides, it's not as if anyone has a choice in the matter. The old model is selling physical copies of recorded artworks. That model is rapidly becoming a niche market. If you stick with the old model, you'll lose money. Labels know this, which is why they're trying to monopolize the marketplace through legislation. In the long run it won't work, but a lot of terrible laws will be made along the way.

    Incidentally, this same debate has been going on in computer science for much longer than ten years. Some "new model" success stories? PHP, MySQL, Apache, Linux... In other words, the software that made Neil Turkewitz's blog possible.

     

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  102.  
    icon
    Modplan (profile), Apr 14th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Update the link

    Mike, you need to update the link for the RIAA music notes blog post in the older article you linked, it now leaves you at a "This post has temprarily been removed" page.

    http://www.riaa.com/blog.php?content_selector=Techdirt-On-Performance-Rights-Act

     

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  103.  
    identicon
    Michael, Apr 14th, 2010 @ 6:35am

    Re: More web 2.0 snake oil, must be Tuesday...

    It is interesting that you hang the success of an industry on having another Nirvana or Rolling Stones PAYDAY.

    There are small bands arguably just as good that never made anything of themselves because they could not get a record contract.

    Today, it is much more likely that these bands will produce music and get it out to fans. They may not become super rich in the new model, but the new model gets far more music in the hands of fans and makes some kind of living for more musicians.

    That sounds like a win-win. Instead of bands hoping for the golden ticket, they now stand a much better chance of making a reasonable living at what they do.

    The new model seems to put more focus on bands producing good music that fans like. The old model was 1% good music and 99% being in the right club at the right time so some useless executive that knows nothing about music could write you a check.

     

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  104.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 14th, 2010 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    '"Even if you can't prove it exists, it still does" -- actually, that sounds more like religion to me.'

    Morals are essentially the choices we make every day. It doesn't matter whether we think we're making moral choices, the word can still be used by others to describe our actions.

    That isn't religion, just language.

     

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  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: More web 2.0 snake oil, must be Tuesday...

    1. "Other side of the pond" is not a proverb.


    You got me there. It's an idiom. How about I bring you an apple tomorrow before class and we'll call it even?

    The artists mentioned make more than a sustainable income just for writing and performing music.


    You will have to be more specific than "the artists mentioned" and whether or not their income was "sustainable" depends on many factors.

    That's because they still release nearly 80% of the music released.


    Little bit redundant there teach, and something like this definitely calls for a citation. I do not think the major labels "release 80% of the music released". They do however seem to release the vast majority of the music being pirated/downloaded off torrent sites.

    Depends on what you mean by "success." Artistic success? There are bands that have gone above and beyond that overrated little grunge jam band.


    You can't eat "artistic success". You knew exactly what I was talking about.

    Nor should there be. If you aren't content to $3-$4 million because it isn't $100 million, then you're a greedy prick and don't deserve success.


    I wonder if you hold the same opinion about high paid Silicon Valley executives? Should the top brass behind Google only make $3-$4 million a year? If they make more than that, are they greedy?

    If you have to stretch back into the 60's and 70's to find your shining examples of the things to beat then Old Media hardly looks terribly compelling either.


    I didn't have to, they were simple a few names off the top of my head. There are numerous, more modern examples that could be substituted for any of them. Coldplay. J.J. Abrams. J.K Rowling. Hell, you don't even have to look at the top earners, there's numerous names in the middle rung that you have no web 2.0 equivalent for.

    But speaking of ancient examples...I wonder if I looked back through your post history on this blog, would I find you had raised this same critique every time Masnick brought up Edison, Michelangelo, Shakespeare or Mozart? My guess is "no" and that you are, first and foremost, a hypocrite.

    A bunch of artists (Radiohead, NIN, etc) were on labels, and became fairly successful. They then left the labels and followed new business models, and were much more successful. And you think this proves that new business models are worse?


    Their success was predicated upon decades of major label marketing which itself was predicated on the sale of copies. You have yet to produce a web 2.0 equivalent of Radiohead or NIN without this kind of corporate history.

    But considering that physical releases are those "tangential gimmicks and gizmos," I'm not sure what your point is.


    CDs, digital streaming and MP3s are not "gimmicks or gizmos". Especially not when compared to foot massages, mini golf play dates, personal assistant duties, vials of the bands blood or any of the other numerous and incredibly demeaning things that your ilk love to celebrate as "progress".

    At least assuming you're defending record labels, whose entire purpose is to be "bloodsucking pirates." Labels are businesses first and foremost, and it simply makes good business sense to screw over musicians and consumers if you can.


    I agree with this to an extent. I just don't think Silicon Valley aggregators or pirates are going to be any better. Out of the frying pan, into the fire, meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

    Under the old business model, success was only possible through the wholesale theft of artists' labor.


    And it was nothing compared to the "wholesale theft of artistic labor" occurring right now by tech companies and "fans".

    If a new business model means the majority makes a couple thousand dollars per year, and the most successful earn a million or so, then the music industry is better off under the new business model.


    I disagree. The rewards would no longer match the risks. Back to the quote I supplied earlier:

    But where are the massive successes with these new business models? The Rolling Stones and Beatles of the new models are raising at the very low six figure range (or less) through crowdfunding. I think the best example I've seen on this site is a guy that pulled in $1M in a year. So we're moving toward a world where the most successful musicians can pull down almost what a middle manager at a big company makes, only with orders of magnitude greater risk and higher expenses.


    That's the flaw in your argument. The "success stories" may not be as successful as Nirvana, but all of them are more successful than they would be on a major label.


    Only because of pandemic levels of illegal freeloading.

    I do appreciate your honesty however. You'll never hear Masnick admit as much as you just did.

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    Tony Martin, Apr 15th, 2010 @ 7:52am

    Is Touring Enough?

    I'm an ex recording artist who ended up doing a long stint at a major record company as a senior executive (responsible for new tech strategy across Europe). I just wanted to add that yes, of course touring can be a major tent pole in generating revenue, but by no means is it a solution for all musicians.

    I made dance music for many years and sometimes played to tens of thousands of people, but usually in the context of dance parties/raves etc. There is a huge contingent of musicians out there that make great recordings, but are way more capable in the studio than on a stage. We need models that can cater for these people. Great music can't always tour easily and translate to the live circuit.

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    Matt, Apr 15th, 2010 @ 9:01pm

    Re:

    It's ironic the site Cohen as he had all his earnings swindled from him by a crooked manager.

     

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  108.  
    icon
    mrharrysan (profile), Oct 14th, 2010 @ 9:38pm

    Re: More web 2.0 snake oil, must be Tuesday...

    Where are they? Radiohead? NIN? You think the Rolling Stones make their money from disc sales these days?

     

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  109.  
    identicon
    Chris, Nov 20th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    Re: More web 2.0 snake oil, must be Tuesday...

    Web 2.0 Nirvana? - Arcade Fire

    Web 2.0 Beatles? - Radiohead

    Where's your web 2.0 Stephen King? - Dunno

    Where's your web 2.0 Spielberg? - David Thomas Anderson

    Where's your web 2.0 World of Warcraft? - Guild Wars

     

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


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