Cee Lo Green: Making Millions Even If His Albums Don't Sell

from the how-it's-done dept

A whole bunch of you have been sending in the recent NY Times article that details how singer Cee Lo Green is making $20 million this year, even as the sales of his album have been considered just so-so, based on traditional industry metrics. The article is really much more about Primary Wave Music, a music publisher/management firm that seems to totally get the economics of the music business today -- that by selling the scarce they can make a hell of a lot more money than just by selling music.

We've actually talked about Primary Wave's work in the past, in some of the things they've done to help Mariah Carey make money. And the story with Cee Lo is pretty similar: focus on selling the things you can't pirate, the real scarcities. And we're not talking (as our critics always insist) about tangible goods like t-shirts, but selling the person. Primary Wave may be positioned as publishing and management, but it's real business is marketing.
When Primary Wave took over Cee Lo’s management, shortly before the release of “The Lady Killer,” he still had a relatively low profile as a solo artist. But the company seized on the early viral success of “Forget You” to make Cee Lo a ubiquitous face.

His over-the-top performances at half a dozen award shows -- performing with the Jim Henson Company puppets at the Grammys, playing a piano that spun 360 degrees above the crowd at the Billboard awards -- proved highly successful. His television campaign for the year has also included “Saturday Night Live,” an appearance on the NBC comedy-drama “Parenthood” and his own talk show on the cable channel Fuse (“Talking to Strangers”).

Primary Wave also booked numerous commercial endorsements for Cee Lo, in traditional TV spots like a 7Up commercial that has been running since October, as well as a Web video series for Absolut Vodka and personal appearances for Duracell and Pretzel M&M’s.
And, no, this doesn't just mean complete selling out (I can already hear the critics...), but finding campaigns that match Cee Lo's personality. They note they've turned down a ton of deals that didn't fit.

Either way, it looks like Cee Lo is earning a ton of money from all of this: commercials, sponsorships, TV appearances and (of course) tons of live performances. The article notes that actual direct music sales are the smallest slice of the pie.

But the key point here is that these and many other opportunities are much more wide open to artists today, and it helps if their music is more widely known. That is, artists like Cee Lo, with the help of companies like Primal Wave, are recognizing that if you use the infinite goods -- such as the music -- to make the scarce goods (like Cee Lo himself or his endorsement) much more valuable, you can make a lot more money than ever before. And when you look at the overall market that way, you realize that there's lots more money to be made in the music industry today than ever before. The only part of the industry that's hurting is the part that was based on selling plastic discs, which has become obsolete. Everything else is booming.


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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    "how singer Cee Lo Green is making $20 million this year ... The article is really much more about Primary Wave Music, a music publisher/management firm ... that by selling the scarce ..."

    but mike ... what about the rich [strikethrough] poor middlemen [strikethrough] lawyers [strikethrough] artists. How are they going to make any money?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      Mike, you don't care about artists and you don't want them to make any money!!!

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re:

        Did you READ the post? $20 million is NO money?

        Gimme a break. His management company is selling both him and his music in, as it turns out, remarkably conventional ways and succeeding.

        Elvis wasn't sold on his music as much as by his personality and performance. Same with Jerry Lee Lewis until he actually went over the line instead of just singing about it.

        Brian Epstein sold the Beatles as much on their personalities as he did their music and the emerging songwriting genius of McCartney and Lennon as a team and individually. The Stones on Mick Jagger, Mr Big Lips. The Who for their destruction of instruments and amps (all paid for by the time they hit North America by the companies that sold what ended up being destroyed on stage), Buddy Holly as much as Mr Geek with the horn rimmmed glasses as his wonderful songs and on it goes. In their world you could make billions on record sales. That world doesn't exist now.

        There's no way of turning the clock back to when you can sell enough records to make millions.

        But what Mike is describing is very conventional in terms of management and how to sell the artist AS WELL AS the music as a single package like the acts above were. Just drop the sales of CDs as the main driver behind getting the artist known. It's still performance both on stage and in the studio and the personalities.

        Keep in mind that individually and as a band The Beatles are such a part of Boomer legend that while their music can be used in ads it's often the worst mistake an advertiser can make even if they have permission of the current copyright holder if, say, McCartney and Yoko Ono go public that they don't want it used like that. Just ask Nike. Should Paul and Yoko say "it's ok to use the music for this product" then the virulent reaction doesn't occur because Boomers, for whatever reason, trust them not to endorse something bad or something made by slave/child labour, for example.

        Good management companies sell the music AND the artist(s) as a complete package. Or the art AND the artist(s) having as a complete package. You get both when it's done that way. An, hey, that can even sell more shiny plastic discs too if only idiots like the RIAA could understand that.

        Now tell me this: how does that NOT make artists money????

         

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        Michael, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:56pm

        Re: Re:

        Your comment is without merit. I have never read anything by Mike that says anything of the sort.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:02am

    The "opportunity" to do commercials has always been there. It isn't new. Of course prior to now, no self respecting artist would do it because it had nothing to do with their art.

    But now that people steal their art, and lobby to keep such a situation permanent, artists have to do unartistic things to put food on the table.

    This is what talentless tech douchebags consider progress.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:05am

      Re:

      You mean like how Disney et al stole work from the public domain and then claimed it as their own?

       

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      Ninja (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      Yes, it's wrong! Artists should only make money from selling plastic discs! How dare they try to make money with live performances or by attending shows to get closer to their public! How outrageous it is to make money from ads, I mean, look at all those soccer players that only rely on what their club pay!! /sarc

      Troll harder.

       

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      MAJikMARCer (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:08am

      Re:

      If you are so talented, why are you Anonymous?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:11am

      Re:

      "artists have to do unartistic things to put food on the table."

      and they also have to do art. What's your point?

      Making money is often not just about only doing one thing, it's about doing multiple things. It may even require some actual work!!! Poor artists!!! Will someone please think of them!!!

      Even under the labels (and before the uprising of the Internet) most musicians didn't make money by selling albums, they made money via concerts, commercials, and other external activities. Basketball and other sports players have traditionally made money via being in commercials, what a tragedy, they are making money doing things other than sports. Big deal.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re:

        Yes! Like the Beatles! Who stopped touring in 1966 and never did ads!

        Idiot.

         

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes! Like the Beatles! Who stopped touring in 1966 and never did ads!

          Idiot.


          Yeah and the industry has always churned out Beatles on a daily basis. I can't turn around for all the Beatles-grade success stories surrounding me. I'd say it's likely that 90-95% of people could be the Beatles, and it's just piracy keeping them down.

           

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            TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:29am

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            Except that The Beatles were the real thing while those before and after weren't. Elvis was the real thing until the US Army go hold of him.

            You can't be a Beatles or Elvis unless you have the talent and skills to make you one of them and very, very few do.

            And both, as I note in another post WERE sold on the basis of personality as well as music. You bought an Elvis or Beatles record you got them both.

            And yeah, there's tons of Beatles and Stones and Elvis's out there. In their own minds at least. But maybe 0.1% of them have the talent or skill to ever get anywhere near that point.

            As for the Beatles doing ads, for most of their career as a band ad agencies and television would have considered it the kiss of death for a product using them as they weren't selling to Boomers but to depression-era Boomer parents who they could get Sinatra to sing an ad for which would work.

            But you're right Marcus. It's all that awful piracy keeping them down these days. And who knows -- someone might just "pirate" a well done ad featuring say, Michael Jackson doing the moon dance! Simply awful!!!

            (It is out there by the way.)

            So AC, you see it was the marketing of the time that kept the Beatles from doing ads, that and the fact that Northern Songs own(ed) the rights to their music so they'd not see much of it even if they could have done ads. (Ref: George Harrison -- "It's Only A Northern Song".

             

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Because you're addressing two people I'm having a hard time figuring out how much of my sarcasm you missed or didn't miss but, just to clarify, yes: most of what you said is totally my point. The Beatles were supremely talented, they had personalities that fit perfectly for the culture at the time, and a bunch of other circumstances came together - some within their control, some not at all. They are not a good example when you're discussing business models for the average or even above-average artist.

               

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                TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:39am

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

                You're way too good at sarcasm at times. It's aimed at the AC, not at you. Gave me a nice jumping off point, though.

                Sorry

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:44am

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

                  Heh dont be sorry - I often forget that the trolls will seriously assert such dimwittedly ridiculous things here that the rest of us have to be excessively blunt in our sarcasm.

                   

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          Ninja (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          hmmm... Bad example?

           

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            Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            hmmm... Bad example?

            His comment made me realize that the Beatles are pretty much always a bad example for music biz discussions, and I think I will try to avoid using them myself in the future in any case where I might be tempted. The fact is that the Beatles were an unbelievable convergence of talent and circumstance that is so far unique in music.

            The Beatles are a fine icon to aspire to, and there are surely lessons to be learned from them, but taken as a whole their career isn't going to offer a lot of practical analogues that work for most musicians.

             

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              TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The other part that will be years before it's duplicated (if ever) was the immense cultural renaissance in Britain at the time which enabled bands like the Beatles, Stones and The Who, to name far to many to actually be aware of and know each other so that a competition formed that made them all better. Something that had nothing to do with record companies or management.

              That and the influence of American black music which struck a cord with working class English kids who could relate to what the blacks were singing about.

              They brought about a similar renaissance in music and the arts in the United States which kicked off what may be looked back on as an incredible explosion, mixing and melding of white and black music there and in other art forms that still echos today. I'll go to my grave considering the period of 1964 to 1976 (to apply dates badly to it) as the most creative musical period in western civilization. One which spilled over into every other art form.

               

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                Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:55am

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

                to actually be aware of and know each other so that a competition formed that made them all better

                That's precisely what's happening right now - but bigger, on a more level playing field. The culture forming on SoundCloud, for example, is amazing and a glimpse into the future of music.

                I'll go to my grave considering the period of 1964 to 1976 (to apply dates badly to it) as the most creative musical period in western civilization.

                I'd keep your mind open to the period between 2010-2020. The scene is only just now approaching a new boiling point - unbelievably good new music is already being created, and things are just getting started.

                 

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                Richard (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:15pm

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

                I'll go to my grave considering the period of 1964 to 1976 (to apply dates badly to it) as the most creative musical period in western civilization.

                Uhhh what about 1780-1830 Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert etc....

                Plus - copyright law was much less advanced then - and didn't cover music in many countries - particularly the ones where the most successful composers worked.

                 

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          Richard (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Doing ads and making music are not mutually exclusive - see for example:
          Brian May's Ford Commercial

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You mean Paul McCartney never did an ad?

          Quote:
          I'm not sure that the concept of selling out has much traction anymore. The battle is over, and the sellouts have won. At this point, about 97 percent of Who songs have been used in automobile ads. The Rolling Stones appear in ads for Ameriquest, a mortgage-services company. Bob Dylan made a cameo in a spot for Victoria's Secret underwear.

          Those are all geezers, you protest—not fierce and uncorrupted young bucks. But when I talk to younger people, the sellout label seems not to exist anymore. They expect TV ads to introduce great new music. They don't care when Oscar-winning actors turn up in spots for Diet Coke. To them, endorsement deals just seem like a natural byproduct of fame, and nothing to get worked up over.

          Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/ad_report_card/2005/09/paul_mccartney_is_that_you.html

          Joh n Lennon never did an ad?
          http://www.fanpop.com/spots/the-beatles/images/7383736/title/john-lennon-guitar-ad-photo

          Geo rge Harrison and Ringo Starr?

          You are misinformed.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:15am

      Re:

      I guess that's why no one makes art anymore. Too much technological progress.

       

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      Richard (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      The "opportunity" to do commercials has always been there. It isn't new. Of course prior to now, no self respecting artist would do it because it had nothing to do with their art.

      No "self respecting" artist should sign the record company contracts that force them to lose all artistic control and turn out trash. Doing a few commercial endorsements is a much smaller price to pay than the loss of freedom that goes with the vast majority of record deals.

       

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      The eejit (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:22am

      Re:

      WEll, it's a damn sight better than not having the rights to the works YOU MADE. And then, not getting paid properly for it until you're dropped, because "you didn't make enough for us".

       

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      Mozart (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:24am

      Re:

      Only a fool puts all his eggs in one basket, no matter how artistic they might be.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      "Of course prior to now, no self respecting artist would do it because it had nothing to do with their art."

      You have no clue of what being an artist used to be. Today, any kid with half-decent talent can upload a video to youtube and get a few million views. All artists have to do is capitalize on that attention.

      In the old days, you had to play in some crummy bar or some other shitty venue for years, getting paid next to nothing, until someone noticed you. And then you had to get lucky to score some decent contract and be even luckier to get paid.

      I haven't been there myself, but I have members of my family who have. All of them tell me something along the lines of how lucky kids these days are for having the internet and how easy it is today to grab people's attention and make money. It used to be much much harder.

       

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      tsavory (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      But now that people steal their art, and lobby to keep such a situation permanent, artists have to do unartistic things to put food on the table.

      20 million is doing way more than putting food on the table. I would be happy to make 100,000 in a year and that puts food on the table and a roof over the head.
      I will guarantee that I have put in way more hours working in a year. Now I don't begrudge him for making that its life and I am not good writer have no music talent or any real talent so I don't expect millions but it gets under my skin when people say 20 million is to put food on the table. No it is not its putting extra non-essential comforts at their disposal. Let us not confuse food and roof over head with comforts.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:45am

      Re:

      The "opportunity" to do commercials has always been there. It isn't new. Of course prior to now, no self respecting artist would do it because it had nothing to do with their art.

      Yeah, but he wouldn't have earned nearly the same amount if his tracks hadn't gone viral. That's what made the scarcity of his appearance worth so much more.

      Furthermore, you're full of it if you think that "no self respecting artist would do it" in the past. I love the fact that you think we're so against artists getting paid, and the second we point out that artists are getting paid you jump on the "sell out" bandwagon. You really hate artists, don't you? So transparent.

      But now that people steal their art, and lobby to keep such a situation permanent, artists have to do unartistic things to put food on the table.

      Artists have ALWAYS had to do unartistic things to put food on a table. It's called *making money*.

      This is what talentless tech douchebags consider progress.


      And you consider progress wallowing in failure and poverty? Insanity.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:13am

        Re: Re:

        If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend all your time trying to stop anti-piracy legislation?

        You're such a transparently intellectually dishonest fool.

         

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Damn, I thought that was satire for a moment. The comment was so blatantly wrong and stupid that it just had to be. Then I looked at the little green snowflake and realized that you actually believe that.

          How I pity you.

           

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          Shawn (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          because anti-piracy legislation hurts artists... assuming artists in questions are humans.

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend all your time trying to stop anti-piracy legislation?


          Because anti-piracy legislation WON'T MAKE THEM ANY MONEY. Instead it will stifle the new tools and services that WILL help them make money.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Thanks for replying.

            Oh, and you're wrong.

            I have sales figures that prove it.

            What do you have?

             

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              btrussell (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Show me yours and I'll show you mine.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

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

                If Masnick really believed the bunkum he writes, he wouldn't be so hysterically panicked by the blocking of pirate sites; it wouldn't be of any concern to him.

                But that's obviously not the case.

                If pirate sites are integral to his business model, that's a pretty bad business model, isn't it?

                Masnick is pathologically afraid of how the market might behave if it was primarily functioning in a legal manner.

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

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

                  Nice punt, "elf boy". I guess you don't have the sales figures you just claimed to have twenty minutes ago?

                   

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                  Jay (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:01pm

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

                  If pirate sites are integral to his business model, that's a pretty bad business model, isn't it?

                  I wonder what exactly these pirate sites are when the USTR can't even find 20...?

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

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

                  And you're clearly afraid that you might actually be the charlatan around here. Your "figures" are about as honest as the MAFIAA's accounting.

                   

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                  PaulT (profile), Dec 29th, 2011 @ 1:27am

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

                  "If Masnick really believed the bunkum he writes, he wouldn't be so hysterically panicked by the blocking of pirate sites"

                  If you read what Masnick actually writes, you'd understand that this isn't what he's "panicked" by. This has been discussed hundreds of times, and you people have been corrected in every thread. A shame that you still tilt at your fictional windmills instead of listening to the actual objections being raised, but not surprising.

                  "If pirate sites are integral to his business model, that's a pretty bad business model, isn't it?"

                  Explain how "pirate sites" are integral to his business model, and in what way. Include citations, and verifiable facts, please.

                   

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              Richard (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I have sales figures that prove it.


              No you don't - you just made that up.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

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

                http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2010/02/02/news/companies/napster_music_industry/chart_music.top.gif

                In the first half of 2011, Masnick posted 2 articles that tried to poo-poo the shutdown of Limewire, as any benefit from said shutdown basically renders his self-admitted ideology DOA.

                whoops.

                http://halfsharpmusic.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/since-limewire-the-restoration-of- control/

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

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

                  Oh, my mistake. When you said "I had sales figures" I thought you meant something interesting that would shed new light on the question. Instead you throw out the same tiny bump in sales that happened after the Limewire shutdown - a correlation where the causation is at best speculative, and one that is contradicted by far more studies showing piracy increases sales.

                  We've all seen those numbers. Try to keep up, would you?

                   

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                    Jay (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

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

                    And that's still wrong...

                    I weighed in here.

                    Chris Rhodes did some good commentary here.

                    Aaron Silvenis weighed in here.

                    Basically, our AC is debunked 3 ways from Sunday.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:17pm

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

                      debunked? LOL

                      There is no other instigating factor given for the jump over that long a period.

                      And pretending that people didn't actually use Limewire is hilarious.

                      I'm sorry this shatters so much of your freetard belief system.

                       

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                  E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

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

                  Oh look. Numbers from the RIAA. That can't possibly be biased in any way. Thank you for showing me the light.

                  Do you have any objective research into the issue?

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

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

                    LOL. You're a buffoon.

                    Are you suggesting that recorded music sales *weren't* cut in more than half?

                    That those doing most of the reporting- publicly held companies that are required by federal law to give accurate numbers, are lying?

                    That's how pathetic your side is.

                     

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                      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:38pm

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

                      Except those numbers weren't created for an IPO or any other SEC filing. Those numbers were created to give weight to their pleas to have the government do their policing for them.

                      The law does not require them to be truthful in their lobbying efforts. The Law requires them to be truthful in their IPO and SEC filings that show their income.

                      But just like those on your side, you like to mislead people into supporting your position.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:32pm

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

                        No fool, you're suggesting they're lying. So show me, for example, how WMG earnings *didn't* decline by half during those ten years. Go ahead, look it up and say that.

                         

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                          nasch (profile), Dec 29th, 2011 @ 3:38am

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

                          So show me, for example, how WMG earnings *didn't* decline by half during those ten years.

                          Tell us why we should care about how much the middlemen at WMG are earning? Also, is there a plot of executive pay, revenue, and profit at WMG during that period? Could be interesting.

                           

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                      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:32pm

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

                      Recorded music sales are not an accurate view into earnings of actual artists. Recorded music sales only show profits to the middle-men who are the true pirates in all of this.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:37pm

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

                        Look at the lying thief trying to rationalize his stealing.

                         

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                          Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

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

                          Look at the lying thief trying to rationalize his stealing.

                          Look at the sad narrowminded dinosaur trying to excuse his failure.

                           

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                          Richard (profile), Dec 29th, 2011 @ 2:33am

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

                          Look at the lying thief trying to rationalize his stealing.
                          You need to watch out making that kind of comment - some of us are from the UK - have you seen UK libel laws?

                           

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                      PaulT (profile), Dec 29th, 2011 @ 1:38am

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

                      "Are you suggesting that recorded music sales *weren't* cut in more than half?"

                      No, he's suggesting that RIAA figures don't give an independent overview of the market as a whole. Even if accurate (and the industry *does* have a history of massaging figures), they wouldn't reflect the whole industry as any increases in non-RIAA revenue wouldn't be counted to offset RIAA losses.

                      Why do you try to twist words to attack people for things they didn't say? Are you afraid to address their actual words, lest they be true.

                      "That's how pathetic your side is."

                      First sign of a moron: considering this to be a team game where you have to support your "side" rather than what's best for artists and/or the industry as a whole.

                       

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                  Richard (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:35pm

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

                  http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2010/02/02/news/companies/napster_music_industry/chart_music.top.gif

                  In the first half of 2011, Masnick posted 2 articles that tried to poo-poo the shutdown of Limewire, as any benefit from said shutdown basically renders his self-admitted ideology DOA.

                  whoops.

                  http://halfsharpmusic.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/since-limewire-the-restoration-of- control/


                  None of that is anywhere near statistically significant - plus we've seen it all before. If we thoguht it convincing we would have been convinced last time - why do you bother to trot it out again?

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

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

                  You dishonest prick.
                  Why don't you chart the same graph for 8-Track, cassette tapes, vynil and other technologies that came before and compare that to the actual tech being used today(i.e. MP3).

                  And what is that crap about Limewire?
                  Crap, my blood pressure was up too when Limewire was shutdown does it mean Limewire was the thing holding my blood pressure down?
                  What the pathological liar Sherman doesn't say is that that bump can be attributed to statistical error margins, is not significant and has since evaporated.

                  I dare you show otherwise.

                   

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                  PaulT (profile), Dec 29th, 2011 @ 1:31am

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

                  Yet again, you seem to attribute the increased sales to one correlating fact, while ignoring the others (increased legal download and streaming channels, the quality of the product being sold, price reductions such as the Lady Gaga/Amazon deal, etc.). You seem incapable of considering more than one factor in any of this, and cling to this correlation as though it's gospel.

                  What *evidence* do you have that your preferred narrative is true, other than the timing of a blip in increased sales?

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The sales figures for CD sales, MP3 sales, cassette tapes sales, VHS sales, vynil sales, 8-Track sales, TV sets sales?

              Because anything that doesn't take into account everything that helped the final sale is probably lacking.

               

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 29th, 2011 @ 2:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Oh, and you're wrong.

              No, actually, I'm not.

              I have sales figures that prove it.

              Uh, no you don't. What you have is some figures that suggest that record labels got a small boost after Limewire shut down. That has little to do with artists.

              What I have is the actual data on how much *artists* themselves have been earning over the last decade. You know what it shows? As piracy has increased, their earnings have gone up in *every* area except royalties -- which was always a small part of overall musician earnings anyway. From 2002 to 2010, revenue to musicians went UP by 16%. Live revenue: way up. Licensing revenue: way up. Publishing revenue: significantly up.

              So when we talk about how these laws don't help artists, we have the facts on your side.

              Pointing to numbers about how the LABELS get more money doesn't show anything about the *artists*. It's a neat trick but anyone with two brain cells can understand the difference.

               

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend all your time trying to stop anti-piracy legislation?

          I love this AC. In his head he's always saying "Checkmate!" while everyone else hears "Durrrr....."

           

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            Jay (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No, at this point his zombie dead horse is eating him alive.

             

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, at this point his zombie dead horse is eating him alive.

              That just gave me a vision of a Walking Dead midseason premier featuring One-Handed Merle riding Zombie Horse-From-The-First-Episode.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

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

                Nice punt, elf boy. You were apparently baffled by my question, as you didn't seem to be able to answer it.

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

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

                  You were apparently baffled by my question, as you didn't seem to be able to answer it.

                  Yes, exactly. "Baffled" is a good word for it. You could have asked why monkeys aren't the same colour as happiness and it would have made more sense than the question you asked.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:51pm

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

                    Checkmate.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

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

                      Yes, in Freetardville, punting on a simple question like:

                      "If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend all your time trying to stop anti-piracy legislation?"

                      is considered checkmate.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

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

                        Hey asshole, the register called; they're going to sue you for Copyright infringement on the world freetard you stole from them.

                         

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                        Richard (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

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

                        "If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend all your time trying to stop anti-piracy legislation?"

                        We don't try to stop anti-piracy legislation - we try to stop technology crippling anti-freedom, censorship legislation.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:54pm

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

                          Don't bother Richard, the AC is full of shit. Notice how he repeatedly attacked every single artist from Ashton, to LCK, to 50cent to CeeLo today that don't support his twisted world. And then he has the nerve to call Mike and the rest of the commentators here anti-artist? The fuck does he think? We're stupid or something? Hey loser AC, nobody is buying your FUD, go fuck yourself with a rusty baton you leech on life.

                           

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                        Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:07pm

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

                        It's hilarious that you keep repeating your question as if it was some stroke of genius you had. You do realize the rest of us are laughing at you right? Because that question is really, really stupid and everyone can see it but you apparently...

                         

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            Atkray (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Such a concise analysis. Well done.

             

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            Ninja (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Silent Hill 2 Parody-style. Check it out on youtube ;)

            He's actually twisting the stuff because he can't argue with the fact that the guy made shitloads of money (in his view) out of a drm-free and widely available video.

            Have mercy Marcus.... =/

             

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          The eejit (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And yet, you won't reveal who you are.

          Fucking cowardly hypocrite.

           

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          Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Here are a couple more examples that are equally as valid as the one you just put forth:

          1. If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend so much time making sandwiches?

          2. If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend so much time responding to my posts and making me look like a fool? (excellent question but a completely false comparison)


          Now here's a good comparison:

          If you care about artists making money, why do you spend so much time trying explain how to connect with fans to give them a reason to buy and leverage the scarcities that can be used for profit. Also, on an unrelated note, it would seem that you also spend a lot of time discussing problems with extremely poorly crafted and problematic legislation.

          See how much more sense that makes when you avoid the false dichotomy and ask a relevant question?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend all your time trying to stop anti-piracy legislation?"

          This legislation isn't being pushed by artists very much, it's mostly being pushed by self interested middlemen who don't care about artists. It's not for the artists, it's for the middlemen. No one is fooled.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "If you care so much about artists making money, why do you spend all your time trying to stop anti-piracy legislation?"

          Opposing intellectual property laws and caring for artists are not two mutually exclusive possibilities.

          If the government cares so much about me and the people, why are you not giving me/us a million dollars (each)? Why are they not giving me free healthcare, free food, free televisions, free housing, free cars, free everything?

          Just because we oppose a government that grants everyone their every (free) monopoly privilege wish and their every wish that they ask for hardly means we don't care about anyone. The government isn't giving me a (free) monopoly on drinking water, they don't care about me!!!! Why don't they care about me? They don't give artists a million dollars each just for being artists because they don't care about them!!!

          You're raising a false dilemma and if fallacious arguments are the best you can come up with then this just demonstrates how intellectually bankrupt you and those who hold your position are.

           

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        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't think he is against artists necessarily. He is FOR the labels that screw the artists. In his mind (what there is of it) they (the labels) are always the rights holders, and uses the euphemism of 'artist' when he really means 'rights holders'. He doesn't believe that an artist can also be a rights holder.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:06pm

        Re: Re:

        "and the second we point out that artists are getting paid you jump on the "sell out" bandwagon."

        Yet signing away their copy protection privileges over to record labels is somehow not being a 'sell out'. If anything, it's much less of a 'sell out' because by signing over your privileges you are signing away your legal power over your hard work to a ruthless, purely profit driven entity. If anything, that's being a sell out.

         

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      To truly succeed in virtually any field, you must diversify your skill set. It's a fact of life that only the best of the best of the best of the BEST at certain things will be able to get ahead based solely on that skill - everyone else needs to make an effort in areas above and beyond the core of what they want to do.

      The fact that you don't get this, and in fact balk at it, may explain why you have found so little success.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      Ahhh, touring became so expensive for big acts that by the late 70s bands were seeking sponsors to help defray the costs. Pink Floyd and U2 spring to mind and no one would call either as sell out. Nor were the Stones accused of it when they started that trend.

      All this long before internet "piracy".

      Authors such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut and many others make their mark as much by sheer force of personality as by what they wrote. http://www.quotationspage.com/

      I could go on but if you've got two brain cells to rub together you've got the point by now. And it you haven't there's no hope for you.

       

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      Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      But now that people steal their art, and lobby to keep such a situation permanent, artists have to do unartistic things to put food on the table.

      Yeah. I can't imagine where the stereotype of the starving artist could possibly have come from.

       

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      Paul`, Jan 2nd, 2012 @ 6:13am

      Re:

      Artists always made the lions share of their income from live appearances and endorsements.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    But... But... P... pretzel M&M's? YUM! Nomnomnomnom

     

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    Mozart, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Plastic discs.

    Yeah, you know, I'm a musician. The thought of suing fans sickens me. I'd much rather be actually playing music and writing songs than worrying about fans or critics downloading my songs. Selling plastic discs as income is a false economy. The advertising power is far greater, and people say "hey, this guy wants me to listen to his music, he must have something to say," rather than "hey, this guy is a jerk who is gonna force me to pay money, I'll pirate it anyway."

     

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    Ninja (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    I can bet my kidneys that if he had an easy way for the fans to donate money directly (ie: Paypal, the ability to choose how much to pay for a song) he'd have another significant slice in that (bigger) pie).

     

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    nasch (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 11:39am

    That will only work for talented artists who were previously unknown and then picked up by a savvy label! What about the artists with no talent, the ones who are already big, and the ones who never get noticed?

    Seems like we haven't had much Masnick's Law lately, I thought I'd bring it back.

     

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    Eric Toribio (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Selling out...

    "selling out..." is just a poor excuse used by arrogant people who can't accept the fact that a musician that is also a celebrity can do what they want to win money and expose their material, that's their work. But of course, the endorsements have to fit the artist's style.

     

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    NullOp, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    Boring!

    Sell the sizzle, yeah, yeah,...

     

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    Ryan Diederich, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    oh I get it...

    There are actually some people out there that believe a drop in music sales can be attributed to the increasingly popular internet, instead of a change in what the consumer wants.

    We had walkmans before, now we have smart phones. More than just sound.

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    OMG, I broke the comment system! I guess my last comment was just too sarcastic for it, I clicked Submit and now all the comments are gone!

     

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      chillienet (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 3:44pm

      Re:

      Dear God, what have you done?!?
      My google reader says there are 81 comments on this article so I click through to laugh at the trolls but I'm greeted with your comment only. I've been robbed of 80 comments!! (Unless of course techdirt believes your comment is worth 81 standard comments....)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

      Response to: Jeffrey Nonken on Dec 28th, 2011 @ 3:24pm

      Well, that's just so Righthaven.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

      Re:

      OMG, I broke the comment system! I guess my last comment was just too sarcastic for it, I clicked Submit and now all the comments are gone!

      We had a little screwup. All the comments are back now. :)

       

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        nasch (profile), Dec 29th, 2011 @ 3:36am

        Re: Re:

        We had a little screwup.

        I would like to see this used more, especially in political and world affairs.

        "We had a little screwup. We'd like our spy drone back now."

        "We had a little screwup. Turns out there were no WMDs."

        "We had a little screwup. We'll clean up the oil later, promise."

        "We had a little screwup. Looks like those derivatives weren't that great after all."

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 3:44pm

    Let's go get some tacos!

     

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    nasch (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 3:58pm

    Missing comments

    Better fix it, or AC will claim you deleted everything to cover up his massively successful attack on your positions.

     

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    Chancius, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

    This is proof that yet again the major labels are still in full control of the industry. Of course major label artists will have the exposure to obtain these kinds of deals, but indie artists still won't be able to.

    Free album download at www.facebook.com/chancius

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    "how singer Cee Lo Green is making $20 million this year ... The article is really much more about Primary Wave Music, a music publisher/management firm ... that by selling the scarce ..."

    but mike ... what about the rich [strikethrough] poor middlemen [strikethrough] lawyers [strikethrough] artists. How are they going to make any money?

    Mike, clearly you don't care about artists and you don't want them to make any money!!!

     

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    Chris, Dec 29th, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    You all missed 1 BIG POINT. If this artist didn't have a Major record label to help him get noticed in the first place. Non of the sponsors or the commercials would of happened. Im very happy for him. And I think its great what he's doing. But lets remember 99% of new up and comming artists don't have a way to get sponsors. Because sponsors want people with a huge following, and that my friends takes a record deal or a lot of marketing a promotions. For the most part.

     

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    alexbenjamin (profile), Jan 1st, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Cee Lo Green: Making Millions Even If His Albums Don't Sell

    I thought this would be pertinent since peer-to-peer sharing is being commented on here. I read a Rolling Stone interview with Bob Dylan in 2006 where he briefly discussed the poor quality of present-day recordings. He didn't have a problem of everyone "gettin' music for free." His reasoning was that "It ain't worth nothing anyway." Through Dylan’s own words, it seemed that he didn't have a problem with music sharing. Why should it bother him? He is worth millions and probably owns more than one home. I didn't think about that specific article since I initially read it until recently.
    I began to process many thoughts after watching the Nightly News coverage on November 8th of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. That day specifically stood out because it was the moment that Crosby and Nash visited the protestors to show their support. They were singing their old songs from the 60’s, amid a sea of people. Recently, many artists came together to compile "Occupy This Album" in support of the OWS movement. I went to the Internet to look for more information about the project and who was involved. I visited various websites and scrolled down the pages reading the info and watching the videos. That is when three small words opened the Pandora's box in my mind. "All Rights Reserved." At the very bottom of virtually every webpage was the copyright stipulation that stuck out like a sore thumb. On that cue, I started visiting some of the websites of artists that participated on the "Occupy This Album" project including Crosby and Nash and Jackson Browne. Although, Bob Dylan did not participate, I visited his website as well to confirm what I suspected. I noticed that all their internet sites had copyright restrictions reserving their rights. That's when I made the connection that some of the corporations lobbying Washington’s politicians to manipulate laws in their favour are the same companies giving support to these artists through recording contracts. It's great for these musicians that their rights are reserved. However, how can they be credible representatives and justify speaking for the rights of others when they are actually perpetuating the social problem of greed they are voicing to condemn? They are saying one thing but doing another by accepting royalty checks from their record companies. This is a valid question. Along with the investment banks, speculators, and the oil business, the entertainment and media conglomerates, recognizable by name, have taken part in rigging the political and legal systems by lobbying politicians for favourable legislation, enhanced profits and the redistribution of wealth. For example, the Sonny Bono/Mickey Mouse Copyright Term Extension Act extended copyright terms by 20 years allowing for greater maximization of profit. This is similar to the law that protects the anonymity of speculators in the oil commodities market. The rich get richer through the manipulation of legislation.
    Crosby and Nash led me back on that day in November to think of the other icon of the 1960’s, Bob Dylan. I started thinking again about that Rolling Stone interview from 2006. What if artists began revoking the rights of corporations to use their music and creative works to make money and freely forfeited their own proprietary ownership for the sake of the public. If there are really artists out there that truly believe that music "ain't worth nothing" and that the greater importance should be placed on transparency, human compassion and sharing then something spectacular could truly be accomplished. It is a fact that artists, writers, musicians, and inventors have the ultimate right to forfeit their intellectual property to the public domain. In other words, creative individuals do not need to either copyright or patent their works. They have the option to give up their accomplishments to the public at any time they feel appropriate. Some original works residing in the public domain are all of Shakespeare's plays, every composed symphony by Mozart and Beethoven, and Einstein's Theory of Relativity. This is good company indeed. Shakespeare made a living and became famous during his lifetime long before copyright law, instituted with the Statute of Monopolies in 1623, and the ability to collect royalties. Cee Lo's 20 million salary is more proof this. One critical point that needs to be stressed is that artists can give up their intellectual property rights while they are still alive. They can also forfeit the copyright to either a single artistic work or to their entire library. This is a simple fact hidden by spin and legal jargon. The obvious reason not to place works of creativity into the public domain is for the sake of generating money.
    Until inventors, artists and musicians voluntarily forfeit their proprietary rights to either some or all of their creative works and allow it to become part of the people's domain we will continue to remain in an economic status quo. Popular artists wouldn’t be affected by this forfeiture, as they would still make an abundant amount of money through touring. Corporations, politicians, and lobbyists would seriously be affected if they began to lose their moneymaking assets to the public. Artists like Crosby and Nash, Jackson Browne, U2, and Bruce Springsteen who proudly claim to have a social conscience and who all have made millions of dollars in royalties throughout the years, can afford to release their music freely to the public while forfeiting all restrictions. They only reason they would decide not to do this is for the selfish need to retain control and to direct money to their bank accounts. Greed will continue in our society until notable musicians, artists, inventors and authors begin to generate real change by freely forfeiting their intellectual property rights and directly releasing their works to the public domain. Great artistic, musical, and literary works should be for sharing and for generating human creativity in others. When did everything become a scheme for making money? Presently, the blatantly illegal act of downloading music and movies is the general public's only real defense against corporations maximizing their profits. Peer-to-peer networking is an absolute necessity for society to spread artistic works regardless if the content being shared is deemed illegal. All rights to the following letter are forfeited to the public domain by the author.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    t d h, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 1:22am

    Cee Lo

    The company is referred to as two distinct names, "Primary Wave", and, "Primal Wave", which one?

     

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


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