Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Declares Silicon Valley A 'Gallery Of Rogues And Thieves'

from the not-like-the-old-days-when-you-got-screwed-by-your-label dept

I've been a Pink Floyd fan for most of the time I've been alive, so it was rather disappointing to see band leader and professional misanthrope Roger Waters recently come down with a terrible case of "get the hell off of my lawn." Speaking to a reporter earlier this month, Waters, the man who once blasted oblivious, recording industry bean counters in "Have a Cigar," assailed Silicon Valley as a corrupt den of "rogues and thieves." Rogers also pined for a simpler age -- one when musicians and artists were screwed more directly by their music label:
"Most of all I feel enormously privileged to have been born in 1943 and not 1983, to have been around when there was a music business and the takeover of Silicon Valley hadn't happened and, in consequence, you could still make a living writing and recording songs and playing them to people,” the bass guitarist and singer said.
Right, because as this outlet has covered extensively, the Internet has destroyed the music industry, and it's simply impossible to make any money off of art in this day and age. The fact that the Internet and piracy effectively turned albums into promotional material to sell merchandise and concert tickets is a very difficult idea for older generations to grok, but it's still kind of painful to see a rock hero of my youth fall victim to aggressively rigid neurons.

Waters doesn't stop there, and proceeds to trot out a litany of well-tread conflations, distortions and other flimsy arguments, joining folks like U2 manager Paul McGuinness in no longer understanding how the music industry he's a part of (kind of, since he hasn't released a new album in 23 years) actually works:
"When this gallery of rogues and thieves had not yet interjected themselves between the people who aspire to be creative and their potential audience and steal every f***ing cent anybody ever made and put it in their pockets to buy f***ing huge mega-yachts and Gulfstream Fives with. These … thieves! It’s just stealing! And that they’re allowed to get away with it is just incredible."

Waters went on to say that music lovers must take some responsibility for this parlous situation. “I blame the punters as well to some extent, a whole generation that’s grown up who believe that music should be free,” he said.

"I mean why not make everything free? Then you could walk into a shop and say ‘I like that television’ and you walk out with it. No! Somebody made that and you have to buy it! 'Oh, I'll just pick up few apples.' No! Some farmer grew those and brought them here to be sold!"
And here you were foolishly thinking that the Internet managed to open a massive new universe of music distribution possibilities and business models, helping countless artists connect more directly with their fans. As we've noted probably more times than can be counted, "free" isn't the business model -- free is part of one potential business model, and when done right, resonates incredibly well with consumers.

It's certainly fine if you don't like that, but that doesn't really change reality in the age of broadband and piracy. Of course if it makes Roger feel any better, the same wolfish recording industry Roger used to mock is still there at the end of the gravy train, working tirelessly to prevent artists from seeing their just deserts in the Spotify age. There's certainly plenty to criticize about some specific new Internet-based business models where artists still get screwed; but Waters doesn't really do that -- he just shakes his cane at the general direction of the Internet and "pisses and moans," as my grandfather used to say.

I'll of course never stop loving Pink Floyd ("Animals" in particular), and Waters' lessons on critical thinking, empathy and alienation are pretty much bone-grafted to my personality. Sadly though, he's also now a perfect example of the dangers of letting your aging synapses get so rigid you can't see new forest growth for the trees -- since I'd like to believe, maybe foolishly, that's not an inevitable symptom of aging. Of course I was one of those deviant rogues who helped destroy the music industry by swapping free tapes like this one:

Filed Under: business models, copyright, innovation, music, new business models, pink floyd, roger waters


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 6:54am

    Techdirt's Ninja declares Roger Water a dinosaur that forgot to lay down and die when the innovation meteor hit. Ahem.

    I guess it's predictable that people get extremely resistant to new things. It requires people to leave their comfort zone which is increasingly difficult as one ages. So let's just giggle at this old man's antics and not let them obfuscate the great, creative things he did in the past.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 8:53am

      Re:

      I guess it's predictable that people get extremely resistant to new things. It requires people to leave their comfort zone

      This is ultimately the problem with the performers that made it. He had a great career and made millions but forgets the thousands of bands that didn't get past the gatekeepers. Now the gates have been torn down and gives everyone a chance they never would have had before. He is so far removed from the business now that he forgets what it was like to beg the gatekeepers to open the gates for him.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 9:07am

        Re: Re:

        The other problem is that the gatekeeper system encourages a wide disparity in income among performers: a tiny number make a lot of money, and the rest make very little, if any.

        Tearing down the gates means that the available money will be distributed more evenly. This is a win for most artist, but will reduce the income for a lot of the huge artists.

        If you're a huge artist, it would be very easy to see that loss and believe that it's what all artists experience.

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      • icon
        Nastybutler77 (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re:

        To quote one Roger Waters:

        "Tear down the wall! Tear down the wall!"

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 8:17am

    Huge Pink Floyd fan here, and this is breaking my heart. When he came out against SOPA, I thought that maybe he got it.

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    • icon
      tqk (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      I'm a longtime fan too, but be realistic. They're musicians and poets. They're not philosophers, or pragmatic and practical.

      I suspect the label's guy took Waters' business manager out to lunch and harangued him with the MafiaAA's party line, and now it's been passed on to Waters to be his talking points. I doubt he even suspects his good name is being used, or for what.

      The littler artists out there should just ignore what these kept prima donnas babble on about. They're not relevant.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 8:24am

    Waters doesn't like it when the market equalizes and he sees what his work is really worth.

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  • icon
    charliebrown (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 8:28am

    Pink Floyd

    Gotta remember, their first few albums weren't even hits. Until "Dark Side Of The Moon" it was Pink Who? How much did they "owe" EMI before that album?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 8:45am

      Re: Pink Floyd

      Speaking of "Dark Side Of The Moon":

      Is that album still showing up on Billboard's album sales chart?

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    • identicon
      Rich, 12 May 2015 @ 8:47am

      Re: Pink Floyd

      That's not even close to being true. Most of there hits were from their earlier albums. Their first album was hailed by Rolling Stone as a master piece. Oh, wait, you believe the US is the world. Oh, gotcha.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re: Pink Floyd

        Dang, Rich. You beat me to the punch, and to the point. However, since this individual said their first albums were not hits, which is untrue even in the US, where Pink Floyd had four albums in the Billboard top 100 albums prior to "Dark Side of the Moon." Maybe charliebrown lives under a rock?

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        • icon
          charliebrown (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 10:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Pink Floyd

          Maybe charliebrown lives under a rock?

          Close: Australia. Small town Australia at that.

          Those albums may have been hits but they didn't spend years floating in and out of the sales chart. Even "The Wall" doesn't have the sales of "Dark Side". I do wonder, though, how much did they "owe" EMI for each album up to "Dark Side" considering their next album was with CBS/Columbia?

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          • icon
            James Burkhardt (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pink Floyd

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Floyd_discography#Studio_albums

            Given that all of their records were certified at least gold, and several were certified platinum, and in the UK charted in the top 10, they likely were hits.

            and according to this: http://riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?artist=%22Pink+Floyd%22 The Wall has reached 23x platinum certification, while Dark Side is only 15x. So its unlikely Dark Side outsold The Wall.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 2:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pink Floyd

            charliebrown:

            Frankly, there are NO albums that have the longevity of "Dark Side of the Moon" on the charts. If you accumulate the time that "Dark Side" was on the Billboard 200 and Top Pop Catalog Albums, it totals 31 years, which includes a record 773 weeks on the Billboard 200. The second closest album is Bob Marley's with Legend, which clocks in at a combined 975 weeks.

            If "Dark Side of the Moon" is a standard for being a "hit," nothing else measures up.

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        • identicon
          JEDIDIAH, 12 May 2015 @ 11:23am

          Re: Pink Floyd

          You just don't fully comprehend the full implications of the claim you're making. Speaking in terms of the "top 100" is hardly compelling. Each of those albums could have debuted at 100 one week and been gone the next.

          There's also singles to consider. Most bands of that era considered successful also charted with singles.

          By way of comparison,the Beatles have an entire album dedicated to nothing but #1 songs.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 3:07pm

            Re: Re: Pink Floyd

            Jedidiah:

            I refer you to James Burkhardt (profile), May 12th, 2015 @ 11:38am, who provided EVEN MORE claims.

            However, I contend top 10 is top 10, and a bona fide hit, even if it was in and out of the top 10 in a week. Pink Floyd's first 8 albums were in the UK charts for a total of 179 weeks, though the smash was "Meddle," two albums before "Dark Side," with 84 weeks on the UK charts. Six of the eight albums were on the UK charts for 10 weeks or more. Hits?

            Of course, it would take a fair amount of effort to track down chart positions for each country and each album, but I think that is unnecessary for the purpose of this discussion. It is clear from only the UK data that Pink Floyd had hit albums before "Dark Side."

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 8:57am

      Re: Pink Floyd

      *Scratches Head*

      What is your definition of a "hit," charliebrown? Pink Floyd's first 7 albums were top 10 in the UK, with "Atom Heart Mother" hitting #1. Their 2nd through 7th albums were top 10 hits in other countries, including 4 times in France, 5 times in the Netherlands, and 1 time in Germany. Most of the same 7 albums were top 40 or top 100 in 8 countries total, including the US.

      It is true that the 8 albums from "Dark Side of the Moon" to "Endless River" were MEGAHITS, which makes Pink Floyd one of the few groups able to have a new album consistently top charts in multiple countries. Regardless of Pink Floyd's megahits, I believe most artists would consider Pink Floyd's first 7 albums to be hits.

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  • identicon
    Christenson, 12 May 2015 @ 8:49am

    "The Wall"

    We don't need no computerization
    We don't need no financial control
    No clear accounting or amounting
    Internet leave them songs alone

    Hey! Internet! Leave them songs alone!

    All in all it was just a brick in the wall
    All in all,it was all just bricks in the wall.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 9:00am

      Re: "The Wall"

      Double-corp accounting: Like double-book accounting but made legitimate by scrawling different company names on the front and posting transfers of debt or wealth as desired.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 12:43pm

      Re: "The Wall"

      Funny! Just needed something different in the end... Maybe "All in all it was just a bit in the packet"

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 8:51am

    The Internet did it

    Music artist whose career is past it's prime, blame the Internetz.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 9:06am

    It's kind of a stretch to refer to Waters as their "band leader" considering that 1. for a considerable amount of time he wasn't even in the band 2. prior to that he was at best "co-leader" sharing those contributions with David Gilmour. All in all Waters has a history of being a pompous self-entitled ass at times much of which lead to his departure from the band, so this doesn't really surprise me so much. Gilmour seems to be a little more sane. I would be sad it were him shooting his mouth off like this but I don't really see that happening. Waters on the other hand this is just Waters being Waters.

    And yes, I know Waters was a founding member when Gilmour wasn't but that was before they really created anything that gained them critical acclaim and success.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 9:12am

      Re:

      This is all true. By all reports, Waters is a bit of a dick.

      The real genius of Pink Floyd came out of the tension between the styles and personalities of Gilmour and Waters. That's why the music that Pink Floyd made after Waters left was not nearly as good, and why Waters solo albums were likewise not nearly as good. The two need each other.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 9:26am

        Re: Re:

        I think what was done after Waters left was just as good but slightly different as Waters neurotic outlook was no longer there. And that tension was still a driving factor. Hell, the entire Division Bell album is about the their tensions with Waters that persisted over the fact that Waters didn't want them to continue on without him. All in all though I think had it been Gilmour that had left instead of Waters, whatever followed wouldn't have been nearly as successful as what was produced after Waters left.

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    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 10:51am

      Re:

      "It's kind of a stretch to refer to Waters as their "band leader"
      It's funny, because I actually paused on that word as I was writing it. I almost had just "bassist" in there.

      But Animals through the Final Cut, I don't think there's really much debate that he lead the band, whether or not they wanted to be lead in that general direction -- and whether or not he was a huge ass about it.

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  • icon
    jameshogg (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 9:12am

    See this is what happens when you believe in copyright: you end up being frustrated again and again when technology keeps moving forward.

    And who's to say the internet will stop where it is now? Soon enough (if not already), GBs worth of videos will be as quickly downloadable as MP3s, and on phones to boot. Are copyright advocates the least bit prepared for the new speeds Moore's law is going to provide? Of course not.

    I'm still laughing at things like Dropbox's hash-define content-ID system and how easily bypassable it is. As well as YouTube's and others.

    I'm still laughing at how Apple's iTunes and App Store are hailed as examples of what a corporation can do when it "respects copyright" when I can still choose to use their internet browsers to download pirated content all for Apple's profit.

    I'm still laughing at BitTorrent - the mighty monster that no copyright advocate can tame via any kind of practical suggestion to stop it at all.

    I'm still laughing at the fact that the tracker files of the entire Pirate Bay website are only about 10MB in size.

    I'm still laughing at the image-search websites that supposedly gives photographers means to find infringing images when these sites' hash-systems can be bypassed by one pixel and/or encryption and/or anything else.

    I'm still laughing at the ISPs who will profit from all the piracy one way or another. Even toppling Google entirely won't do anything about that.

    I'm still laughing at China's exporting of pirated goods to reap in the profit of foreign currencies in a way that would make Al Capone drool with envy. I'm not so sure if there has ever been a better time to be a prohibitionist profiteer.

    I'm still laughing at deviantArt which strictly speaking makes a ton of profit out of piracy too.

    I'm still laughing at anime conventions which strictly speaking make a ton of profit out of piracy too.

    I'm still laughing at the fact that radio stations don't pay musicians properly - a very basic house that should have been in order by now. These people are meant to be trusted to enforce copyright on the internet?

    I'm still laughing at the fact that copyright advocates would have stopped dissidents of the Soviet Union from reading pirated (and punishable by show trial) material to fight back against their authoritarianism, and would have stopped them in the name of "property rights".

    I'm still laughing at recent Buzzfeed articles suggesting that national holidays (fucking Mother's Day) ought to have been copyrighted all the way back in the early 1900s because how else are movements meant to keep their original meanings? How else do folk preserve their right to choose what people think of their movement? Don't you realise that going out to celebrate your mother on a day of the year is PIRACY? Especially more so when you engage in activities that distort the original meaning of the day? Such as buying a card? (Look it up. I am not making this up.)

    But don't worry I'm sure that when photographers finally find that a textbook on the other side of the world has been pirating their photos for 30 odd years solely because they could get away with it, their eventual suing will prove the system works. Plus you just know that copyright needs to last life plus X years because if it were reduced to 14 years, any sudden profit over a work for an artist would just vanish unfairly! How else are artists meant to make a living from idly waiting 14 years on no food before any profits come in?

    It's a world of wish-thinking. What do you expect when you want to bombard the internet with legal content while removing such bombardments when it becomes illegal? It's hard enough for police to remove stuff from the internet when it's ALL illegal never mind half-illegal. And these guys depend on puny lawyers instead?

    It's like if you were trying to make a country's money out of JPEGs and genuinely expecting nobody to cheat the system.

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    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      I'm with you on the intent of this post, but I don't feel its well stated. Notably:

      I'm still laughing at how Apple's iTunes and App Store are hailed as examples of what a corporation can do when it "respects copyright" when I can still choose to use their internet browsers to download pirated content all for Apple's profit.
      Not sure what you are going with here. I could see if you were trying to make a point about the old Apple DRM and how it got done away with, but you aren't. You seem to be stating that its laughable that Apple created a music store when i can get on Safari and pirate music, and that somehow Apple profits from that act. I just don't follow, unless you are somehow claiming that I bought a highly expensive Mac just to pirate music.

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      • icon
        jameshogg (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 2:21pm

        Re: Re:

        There are claims going around that because anybody can upload anything to the App store and Apple reviews the stuff before it is put on the store, that therefore proves that copyright can be respected in a way that doesn't involve the Google/YouTube approach of stuff being uploaded first and checked afterwards, with the addition of no respect for copyright due to "whack-a-mole" and DMCA methods of takedown.

        My response was to say that it's fecicious considering how Apple still profit from piracy in some way in another if the machines and the OS take part in it - that YouTube should be expected to have ContentID and take down copyrighted content while Apple is under no such obligation to fill their OS with ID checking software and reporting mechanisms to inform artists of breaches of copyright.

        Apple also hosts a YouTube app, which according to hysterically-anti-Google logic makes Apple just as guilty.

        Though, if Apple really DID try all of the anti-copying measures I described above it would look ridiculous to any thinking person. Though when it comes to copyright believers I'm not so sure.

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        • icon
          JMT (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 7:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "My response was to say that it's fecicious considering how Apple still profit from piracy in some way in another if the machines and the OS take part in it - that YouTube should be expected to have ContentID and take down copyrighted content while Apple is under no such obligation to fill their OS with ID checking software and reporting mechanisms to inform artists of breaches of copyright."

          Apple doesn't "profit from piracy", it profits from selling hardware and software that can perform many different functions, including, if the user desires, piracy via the internet. Your claim makes no more sense than claiming Ford profits from its cars being used as bank robbery getaway vehicles.

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          • identicon
            eol, 12 May 2015 @ 11:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Apple doesn't "profit from piracy", it profits from selling hardware and software that can perform many different functions, including, if the user desires, piracy via the internet. Your claim makes no more sense than claiming Ford profits from its cars being used as bank robbery getaway vehicles.

            Exactly. So why there exist things like piracy taxes for devices that supposedly can be used to pirate content? Someone profits from it, maybe it's not apple, but someone does.

            I doubt it's the artists, though.

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            • icon
              James Burkhardt (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 8:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You have two contridictory comments in there.

              Exactly. So why there exist things like piracy taxes for devices that supposedly can be used to pirate content?
              Here you appear to express support for the removal of the piracy tax.

              Someone profits from it, maybe it's not apple, but someone does.

              I doubt it's the artists, though.
              And then here you seem to express some of the rationale behind the pirate tax. So Im not sure what you are getting at. But in fact, very little profit (id say none) is directly made via digital piracy. Thats really not the goal of pirates. Any profits that are made are generally made by services whose platform (and profit) is agnostic to the use and generally respond to legal requests to remove content protected by copyright. These again are like blaming Ford for supplying the getaway car. There are truly bad actors in the scene, but they aren't generally gone after, with giant scapegoats being the regular targets (Google, MegaUpload, YouTube). To assert that massive incomes are being made by piracy is disingenuous.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 11:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "So why there exist things like piracy taxes for devices that supposedly can be used to pirate content?"

              It's far easier to punish end users and large legitimate businesses than actually go after the people who make money from piracy. They're also not ignorant of the fact that most "piracy" is simply people sharing music with each other as they always have, and you can't shut down social human behaviour with mere laws.

              "Someone profits from it, maybe it's not apple, but someone does."

              Bingo, which is why those taxes and Waters' ignorant claims are the bullshit that they are. Apple doesn't profit, but it's easier to attack them and their devices than the people actually profiting from piracy.

              "I doubt it's the artists, though."

              Keep reading, you'd be amazed at how little they often profit from legal listening as well.

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      • icon
        tqk (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 3:29pm

        Re: Re:

        You seem to be stating that its laughable that Apple created a music store when i can get on Safari and pirate music, and that somehow Apple profits from that act.

        It's true, they did profit from it, but only incidentally. He's complaining that shovels don't have to be used to dig holes. You can kill people with them. He wants you to not be allowed to infringe with a computer.

        Reality doesn't work that way.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 9:19am


    "When this gallery of rogues and thieves had not yet interjected themselves between the people who aspire to be creative and their potential audience and steal every f***ing cent anybody ever made and put it in their pockets to buy f***ing huge mega-yachts and Gulfstream Fives with. These … thieves! It’s just stealing! And that they’re allowed to get away with it is just incredible."

    "Most of all I feel enormously privileged to have been born in 1943 and not 1983"


    I don't get it. Those who were born in 1943 had no option but to go to a record label to get to their audience, while those who were born in 1983 could skip those thieves and connect with thier audience (almost) directly.

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  • icon
    dfed (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 9:28am

    Roger, I know you're an up and coming act, but I think it may be time to re-evaluate what the labels tell you. They may call it protecting artists, but we call it 'Riding the Gravy Train' and it usually doesn't mean the labels are generous with their acts' pay.

    But, just to be clear: I've always had a deep respect and I mean that most sincerely. The band is just fantastic that is really what I think...

    Oh by the way, which one's Pink?

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  • identicon
    Any Moose & Cow Herd, 12 May 2015 @ 9:32am

    "I mean why not make everything free?"

    Indeed, why not? What would be so bad about living in a world where the accumulation of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives? Imagine having to no longer worry where your next meal came from or whether you'll still have a roof over your head tomorrow, things a lot of folks take for granted. And why does that scare some people so much? Ego maybe? Most free countries claim they strive for equality, right up there with liberty for all, yet any time we get close to truly realizing those as every day truths, the 1% freak out and get all up in arms for .

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    • icon
      Teamchaos (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 9:50am

      Re: Why not make everything free?

      How would that work exactly? Say I'm a farmer, I grow food for my family and some extra that I can sell to pay for other things my family needs. In this Utopian economy you describe, why would I bother to plant anything more than my family needs? I can get whatever I need for free, so why work that hard? Heck, why should I even grow any food at all. Easier to sleep in than to work from dawn to dusk. Everything is free, why work at all? I think I'll become a painter. Much more fun than farming. I'll never have to worry about where my next meal will come from, but if all the farmers decided not to work...

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 10:49am

        Re: Re: Why not make everything free?

        I would see it two ways. Necessities would be free, luxuries would not. You would still sell your excess but it would be in exchange for luxuries. The second way is that if you would have land taken away from you if you are not farming it. Then that land would be given to other families that need it. As long as we are a society that uses ownership there will be currency.

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        • icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 12:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why not make everything free?

          A wonderful utopian dream - but it doesn't consider greed, corruption, class disparity, power, inequality, and human nature, which means it could never happen - at least not in the utopian manner you'd want it to.

          If you're going to devise a new economic or political system, it has to consider all those negative factors and presume they will be part of the system.

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          • identicon
            Any Moose & Cow Herd, 19 May 2015 @ 4:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Why not make everything free?

            Evil, as you've described, has its roots in money as the saying goes. How much of that would be eliminated if money was no longer a necessity for our survival and overall happiness? For those whom still choose to act out in evil ways, there would still be a justice system. So long as human nature doesn't change (it can with time and the will to do so btw), a system of justice will always exist.

            As to the comment about farmers, it wouldn't be a problem. Everyone would be free to be what they want to be, to do what they truly wish to do. If you want to be a painter, then be a painter. Someone whom wants to be a farmer will simply take your place.

            Imagine how much happier everyone would be if we all chose to do what's truly in our hearts, rather than choosing careers based on monetary pressure as is often the case. I already know a few people who love their job so much, they'd happily do it for free. Plus the development of artificial intelligence is a given IMHO. How long will it be until none, or at least very few, of us have to work?

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

            • icon
              Uriel238 who broke his old tablet. (profile), 19 May 2015 @ 6:39pm

              The danger of utopianism is not in the dreaming...

              ... but the belief that such a society will work without a hitch.

              To be fair, we don't need a society to work perfectly, to work as an utopia. Rather we just need it to work better than the last iteration.

              Still, the foibles of human nature have been mapped out to great lengths (and hardly completely) only in the last twenty years or so, and it is still too easy to imagine that things could be better if only the people would... (say, stay informed of and vote according to their best interests) or (very commonly) if only we could get rid of those other people who are only a burden on society.

              I think a society in which no-one had to work -- in which we could automate all incidents of tedious or odious work and people could do what they wanted, or at worst tasks they didn't find offensive -- would be a happier one. But I can't imagine it would be free of discontent or dissent.

              So long as there are people capable of hatred, someone will be there to hate the established society. The most we can do is work to reduce resolve those grievances that are legitimate.

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

  • icon
    RocRizzo (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 9:35am

    Silicon Valley? What about Wall Street?

    The REAL rogues and thieves are on Wall Street. The day traders, are the aces of this. THEY are the ones who caused the collapse of 2008, not the rogues and thieves in SillyCON Valley. They are candy stealers in comparison!

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

    • icon
      Teamchaos (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 10:49am

      Re: Silicon Valley? What about Wall Street?

      I thought the crash of 2008 had something to do with mortgages. You're saying it was day traders, sounds like the media have misled me again. DOH!

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

      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 12 May 2015 @ 11:29am

        Re: Silicon Valley? What about Wall Street?

        It wasn't day traders but that's not far off. It was investment bankers that invented new ways to obscure the fact that a sub-prime mortgage is a piece of garbage.

        It wasn't foreclosures on bad mortgages that caused the 2008 implosion. It wasn't even the resulting crash in junk bonds associated with those loans that caused the 2008 implosion.

        Although it wasn't even really the investment bankers inventing a new form of junk bond that fueled the bubble and led to the crash.

        No. It was the ratings agencies that lied through their teeth that caused the implosion. They misrepresented what were essentially junk bonds. When that particular sh*t hit the fan, the entire bond market imploded. Trust in ratings of all kinds collapsed.

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

        • icon
          Teamchaos (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 12:02pm

          Re: Re: Silicon Valley? What about Wall Street?

          The points you mention were contributing factors but the root cause was collapse of home prices which caused those mortgage backed securities to be worthless.

          "At the height of the housing boom, homeownership hit an all-time high of almost 70 percent. I had supported policies to expand homeownership, including down-payment assistance for low-income and first-time buyers. I was pleased to see the ownership society grow. ...: This precarious structure was fated to collapse as soon as the underlying card—the nonstop growth of housing prices—was pulled out. That was clear in retrospect. But very few saw it at the time, including me."

          POTUS 41

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

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 12:49pm

          Re: Re: Silicon Valley? What about Wall Street?

          No. It was the ratings agencies that lied through their teeth that caused the implosion. They misrepresented what were essentially junk bonds.

          Yes, and they were paid to rate those bonds by those who were floating the bonds. I don't think that's changed, has it? The agencies took a little egg in the face and carried on.

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

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 12 May 2015 @ 9:42am

    All in all, just another brick(head) in the wall...

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

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 9:44am

    he just shakes his cane

    LOL!

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

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 9:46am

    Would you expect anything less from one of the recording industries biggest cash cows?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 9:56am

    TV's and oranges.

    I mean why not make everything free? Then you could walk into a shop and say ‘I like that television’ and you walk out with it.

    Well, that doesn't work out quite the same way... if I were to walk into a store and just take the TV, the business would now have one less television to sell, which may end up meaning that overall availability of televisions (for purchase) has gone down potentially driving up perceived demand.
    Now, say I go and download a song from the internet... the place I acquire the song from will still be able to offer it to others and now that I have a copy... overall demand goes down, but supply remains the same.

    I'm oversimplifying and I'm certainly not an economics expert, but I'm pretty sure that lower demand and higher availability tend to lead to low costs (or no costs).

    We no longer live in a world where meeting a demand can be met without affecting the supply.
    We can keep using references to the past where a disruptive technology changed the balance of supply and demand; where supply and demand were both variable. We now live in a time where demand is vairable but supply is a boolean (it's either available or not).

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 10:21am

      Re: TV's and oranges.

      I spent a long time trying to explain this to someone else recently who insisted that scarcity was still a thing with digital goods. They never understood that with a digital good, scarcity is no longer a thing, and 'supply curves' are equally meaningless.

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

    • icon
      Teamchaos (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:02am

      Re: TV's and oranges.

      I was with you until the last paragraph:

      We no longer live in a world where meeting a demand can be met without affecting the supply.
      We can keep using references to the past where a disruptive technology changed the balance of supply and demand; where supply and demand were both variable. We now live in a time where demand is vairable but supply is a boolean (it's either available or not).


      I can see how this applied to digital goods, but for physical goods supply is still variable.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 11:31am

        Re: Re: TV's and oranges.

        Yeah, 'Digital' was in my head but somewhere between there and the keyboard it was lost...
        That last sentence was supposed to have a 'at least for digital goods' in there.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 7:34pm

      Re: TV's and oranges.

      As soon as someone trots out the "why can't I just take this randomly selected desirable physical object" argument, you know nothing of any intellectual worth will be gained from that person's arguments.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 10:16am

    you could still make a living writing and recording songs and playing them to people

    What he should have said is that the few picked up by the music labels could maybe make a living, and a few of those actually made it rich. What he is ignoring is all the musicians that never got anywhere because they could not get a label to sign them.
    These days many more musicians are making some money off of their music by using the Internet, and that competition hurts the label artists.
    Also I just checked, Amazon wants more for the MP3 at $12.99 than the CD at $11.19 of Dark Side Of the Moon, what kind of business logic is that?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      I believe that's from the 'Screw you, we'll price the digital version even higher, and give you even less rights over it than the physical version, because we can and because you idiots will buy it' school of business.

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

      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re:

        I think it's mostly "because you idiots will buy it" that's driving the price.

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

        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I place it more because demand for disc based music is low (it might not be for you, but in general music discs aren't selling as well as digital), and amazon wants to get rid of the stock, because its value is low.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 2:18pm

      Re:

      Even better, it may be worth checking to see if the MP3 files are included with the disc purchase. If so it would seem to imply that the physical discs have negative value.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 10:44am

    Tech blog writes about the music business. Hilarity ensues.

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 2:15pm

      Re:

      Tech blog writes about the music business. Hilarity ensues.

      I assume you laugh at those clowns who write about tech companies over on The Trichordist too.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 5:35pm

      Re:

      Musician writes about the tech business. Idiocy ensues.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:29pm

      Re:

      Anonymous idiot tries deflecting away from the actual story (musician rants about the tech industry), but refuses to indicate what might actually be wrong with anything said by others.

      Hilarity? Only from those of us laughing at desperate morons and people who wish it was still 1973.

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

  • identicon
    Jon, 12 May 2015 @ 10:44am

    He's right. As a musician today (and I am one) your chances of making a living are way less than they were. People don't want to feel guilty about using Spotify and the rest, the fact is musicians are screwed by streaming. If you disagree with this then look at the revenue, look at the facts. And look at how many bands and musicians have made it on to the scene in the past 10 years, who weren't top 40 corporate drivel (or hip hop).

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:01am

      Re:

      "your chances of making a living are way less than they were"

      I would love to see some stats to back this claim up. I have none to dispute it, but judging by the musicians that I know, this doesn't seem true at all.

      "look at how many bands and musicians have made it on to the scene in the past 10 years, who weren't top 40 corporate drivel (or hip hop)."

      I am. It seems like there's more than there used to be, or at least there aren't any fewer. I suppose it might depend on what you mean by "the scene", though...

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

        • icon
          Teamchaos (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          From a survey conducted at Northwest Law School "Money from Music: Survey Evidence on Musicians’ Revenue and Lessons About Copyright Incentives" (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2199058)

          Rather than providing marginal incentives to create to all musicians at all times, copyright law mostly affects the revenue of the highest-income musicians in a direct fashion. This is not a surprise given the prevalence of winner-take-all markets in the entertainment industry.

          One could conclude that Roger Waters is correct in that HIS income has been affected negatively, but incorrect in assuming that all musicians are suffering.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 12:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I couldn't find the part of that that supports your assertion. In fact, my reading of it seems to support my assertion instead. I'm genuinely curious about this: can you please point out the part that I must have missed?

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

          • icon
            Teamchaos (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 1:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I wasn't challenging your assertion (this time). The data backs up your assertion.

            The paper does point out that the highest income musicians are the most affected by changes in copyright law. Roger Waters is in the category of "highest-income musicians". Would you disagree that, based on the data and the conclusions of the study, his income would be negatively affected by the changes taking place in the music industry?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 1:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The paper does point out that the highest income musicians are the most affected by changes in copyright law.

              I suspect that the highest income musicians are the one who lose the most due to the Internet allowing many more musicians into the market. It has little to do with copyright, and a lot to do with competition.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 2:09pm

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

                Too bad that "study" is unscientific and a total joke.

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

                • icon
                  Gwiz (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 2:22pm

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

                  Too bad that "study" is unscientific and a total joke.

                  I disagree. The methodology of that study is laid out for all to see and critique. I put more weight on the figures from that study over twenty MPAA/RIAA sponsored studies where they hide the methodology, come to some predetermined result and say "Trust us!"

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

                  • icon
                    James Burkhardt (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 3:11pm

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

                    WEll, given that the study itself says not to rely on its results because it didn't take into account a lot of stuff, I would agree with the AC that it's use is a bit of a problem.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      People don't want to feel guilty about using Spotify and the rest, the fact is musicians are screwed by streaming.

      Just like they get screwed by radio play? In either case the per-listener payout is tiny(and in fact I'm pretty sure if you crunch the numbers radio play is notably worse than streaming), so I take it you also think people should feel guilty for listening to music via the radio?

      If you, or any other musician, can't figure out the difference between streaming and 'buying' a song, and how the differences between the two is going to lead to a drastic difference in payouts, that's your problem, not theirs.

      Don't like the payouts that a streaming service offers, don't put your music on it, and while you're at it, you'd best also make sure your music isn't played on radio either, given how bad the payouts for that is too.

      But hey, don't worry, I'm sure once no-one knows who you are, because they've never heard any of your music due to you eliminating any option other than 'Buy the song/album' for people to encounter your music, the money will just pour right in.

      If you disagree with this then look at the revenue, look at the facts. And look at how many bands and musicians have made it on to the scene in the past 10 years, who weren't top 40 corporate drivel (or hip hop).

      Done, and those facts are not on your side.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      I don't get this. A guy living down the hall from me just got a recording session and cut an album. I suggested he put two tracks up on YouTube, and you'd have thought I was an axe murderer coming at him. WTF? It's free advertising and marketing. If they like the two tracks, they might want the full CD he's selling. No, to him, it sounds like he's being robbed.

      I don't get it.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re:

        Sounds like someone who's bought into the idea that unless you're getting paid every time someone listens to your music, you're getting ripped off. I can only guess people like that think that your average person buying music regularly spends significant amounts of money on bands they have never heard of, and who's music they have never heard, because why not?

        Yeah, I don't get it either, how people like that think that they're going to sell anything if no-one's heard of them, or is able to sample their music to see if they like it before buying, is a mental conundrum that just baffles the mind.

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 12:35pm

      Re:

      People don't want to feel guilty about using Spotify and the rest, the fact is musicians are screwed by streaming.
      Sure, but lets try to compare apples to apples. Pandora and traditional radio. Pandora allows you to tailor a station to your tastes, but you can't directly decide what you listen to, causing a wide variety of musicians to get exposure, to a receptive audience. They pay 2 types of royalties, recording and publishing. They pay more per play for publishing rights (1.85%) then Traditional radio (1.7%). Pandora also pays a royalty for the specific recording they use. THey pay infinitely more then Traditonal Radio, which pays zip. In fact, Traditional radio gets paid to play recordings. a good breakdown of how traditional is a worse deal for artists can be found here: http://theunderstatement.com/post/53867665082/pandora-pays-far-more-than-16-dollars.

      So clearly, internet radio isn't the boogyman, which is why its moved to Spotify. But people like to equate 1 stream with one sale. But in no way are they similar. I brought up radio for a reason. Pandora's small terrestrial radio station regularly brings in 18,000 listeners. Meaning one play on that radio station is equal to 18,000 streams. For which Traditional radio pays jack shit. Streaming pays you something, and pays you each and every time someone wants to listen to your song. Spotify pays out 70% of revenue (not profit, revenue) as royalties. The big artists are on track to make millions from Spotify, at least before everyone gets their bite of the pie.

      The big elephant in the room is how that money makes it to your wallet. First it goes through a collection society, ether SoundExchange or ASCAP/BMI depending on what type of royalty it is, and they take their cut. Then they pay out, either to the Artists record company for soundexchange, or the writers for ASCAP/BMI. In ASCAP/BMI's case, Up until late 2012 they wouldn't even bother to think about paying you unless you were in the top 200, and its questionable how their payout structure works even now. In the case of the royalties for the recording, the payout gets cut by your contract, which might actually get treated as a licence, which means you might earn a cut of as much as: 50%. Of the net, not the gross. Probably less, because your not a big name like Weird Al. Every step of the way these gatekeepers and collection societies are potentially massaging numbers to screw you over, as can be seen in lawsuit after lawsuit by artists against recording companies.

      TL;DR: There are a lot of people eating your slice of pie, and you blame the lack of pie on the person trying to give you more pie.

      P.S. Please list how many bands and musicians made it 'onto the scene' in the 50 years before that who weren't top 40 corporate drivel. Just because an independent Artist hasn't reached the superstardom associated with a gatekeeper backed and funded artist does not indicate whether an artist is making money in the music business.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 1:16pm

      Re:

      As a musician today (and I am one) your chances of making a living are way less than they were.

      Just because your chances may be lower does not mean anything with regard to other musicians chances. What has changed is that it is now more important to attract fans, rather than a label and producer. Also, as a general note, the more people involved in the payment chain, the harder it is to make a living, so a self publishing musician can make a living on sales that would result in a label dropping a musician.

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

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 3:21pm

        Re: Re:

        ... so a self publishing musician can make a living on sales that would result in a label dropping a musician.

        Now there's a good sideline for a geek. Offer a service to area artists, get 'em a web page, record a couple of tracks (or examples of their work), flog them around hoping they sell a few CDs from the website. Forward fan mail to the artist. Could even do it on spec.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 1:49pm

      Re:

      A musician in any era had a tough time making a living.
      Composers (which are probably musicians, but not the other way around) had (have) it a little easier.

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

    • identicon
      Zonker, 12 May 2015 @ 4:18pm

      Re:

      If you as a musician are not making money from streaming then maybe you should take it up with your label. Because they are making more money from streaming music now than from song downloads and they have been making more money from streaming than CD sales since March. If that money isn't getting passed on from the label to you then they might just be the ones who are really screwing you, not Spotify and the rest.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 7:48pm

      Re:

      "People don't want to feel guilty about using Spotify and the rest, the fact is musicians are screwed by streaming."

      I don't feel in the slightest bit guilty about using Spotify or other streaming services, any more than I would listening to the radio. Spotify gives the bulk of its income straight to the record labels, so it makes my blood boil when people like you accuse streaming services of screwing artists instead of talking about the tiny fraction of money that labels pay out.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 9:01pm

      Re:

      The idea that anyone should ever feel guilty for listening to music is simply beyond bizarre. It's that religion thing--you can't debate that.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 11:37pm

      Re:

      "your chances of making a living are way less than they were"

      Utter bullshit, unfortunately. You might not make millions in royalties, but you probably wouldn't have done in the past unless you were a successful artist signed to a major label in the past - and even the like of Prince and George Michael had to fight in court to get paid. If you mean live music, there's plenty of options unless you suck. But, what a surprise, yet another self-proclaimed musician who won't identify himself or his work to prove his point. Yawn. Waters is wrong, but at least he's not afraid to stand behind his opinion.

      "People don't want to feel guilty about using Spotify and the rest"

      I feel no more guilt than I did over listening to radio back when I used to do that, especially since I pay more per month for my subscription than I often did to buy music back in the 90s. Should I? Why?

      "the fact is musicians are screwed by streaming"

      False.

      "And look at how many bands and musicians have made it on to the scene in the past 10 years, who weren't top 40 corporate drivel (or hip hop)."

      Which scenes? The EDM/dance music scene? Dubstep? Black metal? Prog rock? Indie rock? Folk? Reggae? There is a valid hip hop scene, several in fact. If you refuse to state your parameters, nobody can prove you wrong so there's that, I suppose. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of "scenes". Which are you referring to?

      As for corporate drivel, is that somehow Spotify's fault, or the major labels you're so valiantly trying to defend here?

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

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 12 May 2015 @ 11:53am

    Pink Floyd proves they belong in the `ancient rockers' category. Nothing new there.
    Al least Syd Barrett remains untainted by this label.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 12:50pm

    Like a plane ride.

    At first they start at ground level. After they take off, people seem smaller and smaller the higher you get. Then people disappear entirely. Then everything at ground level where you used to be becomes distant and tiny until all you can see when you look down are clouds.
    I just think that some of these people have been above the clouds for too long and the lack of oxygen have made them forget the ground.

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

  • icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), 12 May 2015 @ 12:50pm

    An even better idea

    "Most of all I feel enormously privileged to have been born in 1943 and not 1983, to have been around when there was a music business and the takeover of Silicon Valley hadn't happened and, in consequence, you could still make a living writing and recording songs and playing them to people,” the bass guitarist and singer said.

    Too bad he wasn't born back in the good old days, when he would have been a wandering minstrel and would get paid every time he played... and only when he played... by people tossing coins at him *while* he played.

    It amazes me how entitled "artists" are now. I wish they would take a couple of history classes so they would know how incredibly lucky they are to be living and working in this day and age.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2015 @ 5:06pm

    Yes, you can write songs for free, and here's the proof:

    Hey! Rogers! Leave the fans alone!

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 10:31am

    Is Mr. Waters ignorant of the gazillions of artists who were completely scewed out of their cut by the gatekeepers?

    I mean, c'mon people. The evidence here on TD alone has piled high about how many artists didn't make a dime because of Hollywood accounting.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 11:34pm

      Re: Is Mr. Waters ignorant of the gazillions of artists who were completely scewed out of their cut by the gatekeepers?

      "many artists didn't make a dime "

      Waters was one of those who actually benefited long term from the old system, and he's probably been fooled into thinking it was mere talent that got him there when so many musicians of his generation didn't. Add a complete misunderstanding of new technology and a pinch of "old man shouts at clouds" syndrome, and we have the above misinformed, ignorant rant.

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


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