Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

What We Know

Machine Head is a premium metal band. They have earned their spot through killer releases since 2003. Slipknot did sell more with their new one however the quality of the music this year was with Machine Head while Slipknot became an institution like Metallica.

Big Corporations fail to learn. Sony got hacked in 2011 and did nothing to tighten up their security or to encrypt their data. In the 2011 hack, all of the Playstation user names, passwords and credit card details were stored on a text file with no encryption. Fast forward to 2014, and a lot of the sensitive information around salaries, payroll numbers and social security numbers were stored on a text file with no encryption.

No one cares that Chris Broderick or Shaun Drover left Megadeth. In the same way no one cared that Jason Newsted left Metallica. Hell no one cared when Dave Ellefson was not a part of the band. Just because they can write riffs it doesn’t mean they are any good. And there is no doubt that Chris Broderick can play and is very technical. But can anyone name a definitive song or riff that he wrote in Jag Panzer or in Megadeth.

The most pirated TV shows are also the most successful commercially and financially. And seriously isn’t it any surprise that the most locked up show behind paywalls and corporate deals is the most pirated. For anyone living under a rock, that show of course is Game Of Thrones.

The most pirated movies this year are movies from 2013. So when are the movie studios going to make these movies available on proper streaming services. The Wolf Of Wall Street finally made it to Netflix just a few weeks ago and it is a 12 month old movie.

Vinyl. Do you see dial-up internet and analog mobiles coming back or Amiga 500’s?

Speaking of vinyl, the fans as usual are getting ripped off. Vinyl is way overpriced, and if you purchase a vinyl record, you don’t get a digital download code. Some bands do it, especially in Pledge Music campaigns however if you purchase vinyl from an online store or a brick and mortar store, you get nothing.

Hellyeah’s “Blood For Blood” is a very underrated album and Tom Maxwell rose to the occasion as a songwriter and a guitarist.

Making money in music is still the same as it has always been. Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage provides some truths.

Irving Azoff and Global Music Rights (his company) is representing artists in their demands that YouTube take down their music. If YouTube doesn’t comply they will be suing YouTube for billions. And the reason why they are going after Google is that they have been the least co-operative and that Google has failed to license the works properly, while Goolge maintains it has. Yep this is another lawsuit to protect the 1% and nothing else.

The streaming argument is always loaded with emotion and no intelligence. Look at the facts. Pandora pays differently, Spotify pays differently and so does YouTube. Artists get a different payday and the songwriters get a different payday. If the artist is also the songwriter then they get a different payday. But when you add into the mix the record labels (who normally get the monies as the copyright holders) and the Publishing groups (who get a share) and the Performance Rights groups (who also get a share) and the Managers and the Accountants and the Legal teams and you get to see how decent payouts trickle into low payments back to the artist.

To prove my point a silent album experiment earned an independent band $20,000 for a 3 month period. And there stream counts had nothing on the numbers that the bigger artists generate. Goes to show what can happen if you cut out a lot of middle people.

Old men attached to the old ways are still running the music business. Take away their radio lifeline and the labels would be clueless as to what to do.

Data is sales. Why do you think Metallica and Iron Maiden hit markets and sell out straight away? Hell, Metallica is going to hit the road again in 2015. When a band can see huge numbers in certain cities from P2P traffic, streams, Shazam look up and they have the means to hit the road, they do.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Educate Yourself

It’s the same old debate. An artist puts their “heart and soul” or their “blood, sweat and tears” into a body of work only to see it end up on p2p sites, on YouTube unlicensed or just plainly ignored.

First thing first.

No artist is guaranteed to make any money from recorded music. This was the rule of thumb 50 years ago and it still is now. Once upon a time the record labels invested in an artist only after the artist invested in themselves and got a decent following/buzz happening. Today, the artists are investing in themselves and the record labels are sitting in the wings, watching and waiting for what they think is the sure bet.

So what you have is a lot of artists on independent labels or their own labels self-funding their recordings and press, without recognition. And they don’t like it. The thought that maybe they are just not good enough doesn’t even come into their thought process. Sort of like the stars of the past complaining that piracy killed the recording business. My answer to all of that was, no, piracy didn’t kill the recording business. The recording business like all great empires committed its own downfall. Since the price offered by record labels didn’t correspond with the value that consumers have for the music, the record labels were seen as an irrelevant part of the music industry. The adoption of the Internet and newer technologies lowered the value of music and consumers were willing to pay even less for music or in a lot of cases nothing at all.

Which leads me to Spotify.

On the one hand, we have Spotify users who are happy with the service and on the other hand we have content creators who are complaining about it.

And the story that has been doing the rounds for a while is that Spotify rips off artists.

NO, P2P rips off artists.

Take away Spotify or YouTube and then what does the artist have?

If they think that sales of recorded music would start to happen again, then they are mistaken. Napster got shut down and sales of recorded music still continued to decline. Spotify by the way pays more to the artist than YouTube does however it’s funny how people trump up high YouTube counts as a marketing coup, while a high Spotify stream count is seen as “I had a billion plays on Spotify and I only made X amount of dollars”.

Spotify pays, while P2P does not pay at all.

Sure, sales still continue, but for how long. Each year the sale numbers show a decline. Each year the numbers show an increase in streaming revenue. MP3 sellers are dying. In Australia, BigPond music is gone and iTunes is bleeding around the world. In some European markets, monies earned from streaming have overtaken monies earned from mp3 sales.

And yes the labels in the U.S do own a share of Spotify, however that income comes from the 30% that Spotify keeps from the artist royalty payments. It’s not a bad deal at all if you are a record label. They get a percentage cut of the 30% cut that Spotify gets and when Spotify pays them the other 70% as royalty payments, it looks like they more or less keep that as well. All this power that the record labels have amassed is due to the artists. The artists created the works and sold their copyrights for next to nothing, because at the time they sign a contract, no one has any idea how big a song could be.  The great rip off record label freight train just keeps on rolling on.

The truth is all artists need to be informed. Don’t take the spoon fed information as gospel. Do your own research. You’re responsible for educating yourself, all the info is online. There is no excuses these days.

And if you put the content behind a paywall, well just look at the newspapers to see how that turned out.

Streaming is here to stay.

Revenues will go up if the pot is increased however every artist needs to be aware that the barrier to entry is so low that artists today are competing with many more competitors plus they are also competing with the complete history of recorded music.

And we the fans are overwhelmed that we do the only thing we know, which is tune out and listen to the classics that we grew up with.

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