The labels want to be the good guys. They really do. However their lobby group the RIAA does not carry itself it in public in a manner that is acceptable. They put across an image that all the labels are focused solely on the now and what money can be made now. They put across an image that all the labels have no interest in planning for the future. Then the labels follow suit, flying the bullshit flag from the RIAA.
Regardless of the labels motives and business sense, they will survive.
Read the financial reports on Universal Music Group. Spotify has propped up their bottom line and that bottom line will get better each year. And with money, comes power and relationships. So how do the major metal and rock labels rate in relation to influence and relationships.
Century Media Records and Nuclear Blast are still independent labels. While Century Records lost their cash cow “In This Moment” to Atlantic, Nuclear Blast gained a new cash cow in “Machine Head”. Looking at the rosters, Nuclear Blast has surrounded themselves with a stronger group of artists however Century Media are the ones out there trying to identify new talent. Both labels will be around for a long time.
Frontiers have become a major player in the classic rock, melodic rock and hard rock scene. Frontiers kept the flag of melodic rock flying high since 1996, when all of the other major labels put their monies into grunge first and then industrial rock/metal and then nu-metal. Now that they have traction, I am just confused as to what their business model is.
Let’s sign up all the classic popular artists from the Eighties and get them to re-record some of their classics along with new music. CHECK.
Let’s get artists from different bands together to do a super group project. CHECK.
Let’s get female singers to re-record melodic rock songs that the label president likes. CHECK.
What about identifying new talent and breaking that new talent to the masses with creative and innovative ideas? NOT CHECKED.
Metal Blade is still independent however with strong ties to Sony Music and Warner Music Group in relation to distribution while Roadrunner used to be owned by Universal between the years, 2000 and 2006 and after that, they are under the control of Warner Music Group.
Roadrunner is still the major player here, however with ties to Warner, expect them to be “RIGHT NOW” profit driven and be all about the HYPE. With all the corporate deals they organised on the new Dream Theater album, they would have made up the advanced money plus the recording costs and more.
Spinefarm Records is part of Universal Music Group, with a lot of power to operate independently. They are getting out there and signing new talent. However, like all of the above labels, they are stuck in the old way. And that is the ALBUM.
They just need to realise that it is not about the sales anymore. While Steaming numbers and revenue are still small today, in the long term the labels will be able to reap the benefits.
Because streaming is a regular recurring revenue business.
For example, I have been streaming “Strife” from Trivium non-stop. Each stream is regularly producing revenue for that song. If I purchased that same song as a download, the revenue produced would be at the time it was sold. Every time that I would have listened to “Strife” at home or on my iPod or on my smartphone would not have produced a cent. All that the band or label would have made from me is the sale of the downloaded song. However with streaming they will continue to make money long after the album is released.
So if anyone believes that streaming is bad for music and that it is going to kill the incentive to create new music, tell them they are uneducated. If bands or artists are complaining about their payments, then they need to negotiate better deals with their labels or get back their Copyrights.
Let’s put it this way, if Metallica is on Spotify, then the rates paid back to the COPYRIGHT HOLDERS (and Metallica do own their Copyright) must be good, because Lars Ulrich and Cliff Burnstein would not allow Metallica to enter a business arrangement that is not in their favour.
The real truth is that there is much more music out there than there has ever been, so the issues that are present to artist and labels is how do they get people’s attention directed towards that new music.
Personally, I don’t even know anybody who pirates music anymore. There is no reason to pirate and legitimate customers/fans would always turn to legal alternatives.
In relation to sales figures and charts. Goneski. No longer relevant. Sales (as a stand-alone measure) no longer means anything. Focusing on recording sales is old school thinking. It’s all about everything else today.
“Recording Sales Revenue” plus “Streaming Revenue” plus “YouTube Ad Revenue” plus “Ticket Revenue” plus “Merchandise Revenue” plus “Corporate Deals Revenue” plus “Sponsorship Revenue” plus “Publishing Revenue” plus “Licensing Revenue” and then decide if you are winning or not.
Again, if you are not seeing a lot of revenue, then you need to be speaking to your label, because if you have numbers in all of the above Revenue streams then something is a-miss contractually.
Another thing that the metal and hard rock labels need to understand is that they reside in a niche. The heyday of when that niche was mainstream is long gone. Today, certain artists might have a crossover song that many people will latch onto and then it is back to the niche.
“Adrenaline Mob” released “Men of Honor” last week and by the end of the second week it will be forgotten. The songs are great, the musicianship is great, so what is the problem. The hard core fans picked it up and everyone else doesn’t know about it. It’s a twenty four seven job staying in the public eye and it’s god damn hard. It’s the labels job to figure out it out, however the labels don’t want to spend the money to innovate, so what they do is get most of the hate directed towards them because of their monopolistic extortion like practices from back in the day.
If the labels want to be the good guys, they need to be more transparent. They need to call out the RIAA when they spin shit. They need to do be realists and sensible. And the main thing they need to understand is that the days of when they had control of the distribution channel are long gone. The profit margins from the CD sales are never coming back. So don’t dwell on the past and start to move forward.