Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Music Is Art, However The Price Point For That Art Ranges from $0 to ????? For Each Fan

The tech industry is excited about the music industry in the current day while others see it as a bad time for artists.

Which side is right or wrong is for another post. What I am getting out of it all are two very different arguments and experiences.

The techies see opportunities on a grand scale. They have introduced new revenue streams into the recording industry that did not exist previously due to the way fans started to accessed/get their music online.

The techies celebrate that they have created a direct to fan connection for the artists. People can now participate in the recording industry that previously couldn’t. Artists don’t need a record label however it can be argued that without the record label machine the artist more or less remains part of a niche. Their music can be up on all digital outlets without the need of a record label.

However, the artists, see a decline in revenue. I am sure everyone has heard the following comments;

“We made good money selling CD’s” or “Our music is worth nothing because of streaming” or “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” The last one is from Taylor Swift in her Wall Street Journal Op-Ed.

Spotify is talking about competing and killing off piracy. Spotify is talking about adding a monetary value to the recording industry that was not there before. At no point do they state that Spotify is a substitute for selling CDs.

“Piracy doesn’t pay artists a penny – nothing, zilch, zero. Spotify has paid more than two billion dollars to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to songwriters and recording artists.” Yep, that is what Daniel Ek said in his blog post response to Taylor Swift.

So what we have is the recording industry and misguided artists thinking about the “loss” and they keep doing what they did before which in the long run would end up hurting them more. What they forget is that without the public and the fans, they have no industry. So, yes I agree that music is art, however the price of that art differs from person to person and if an artist cannot cover all different price points then they are failing to service their customers/fans.

Seriously we are 15 years after Napster changed the rules of the game and we are still having the same conversation. The recording industry and misguided artists want us all to buy CDs again.

FAN: “But we only like one track.”
MISGUIDED ARTIST: “I’m sorry, but music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for, so hand over your one of payment of $10.”
FAN: “But I don’t want the whole album.”
MISGUIDED ARTIST: “How do you expect me to make a living if you don’t buy my CD’s. You fans are killing the music industry and the artists by not supporting us.”
FAN: “But I don’t want to own music, I want access to it. And all I am trying to change is the recording industry viewpoints. ”
MISGUIDED ARTIST: “I put my blood, sweat and tears into making this music and its important and rare and since rare things are valuable, you WILL pay for it.”
FAN: “No thanks, I will go elsewhere.”
MISGUIDED ARTIST: “But, wait a minute, I have my own download store available where I am selling MP3’s”.
FAN: “Are you serious, Apple stopped making the iPod and you are still pushing MP3’s.”
MISGUIDED ARTIST: “But”
FAN: “What stuns me is that you have failed to see that the game has changed. The past is gone, it is never coming back. You want me to buy CD’s and Apple doesn’t even have a CD/DVD/BluRay Drive on any of their computers. You want me to buy MP3’s when all I want to do is listen. No one wakes up in the morning and goes to themselves, gee, I wish I bought an MP3 or a CD today. We wake up in the morning thinking, gee, I would love to hear “King Of Errors” from Evergrey.”
MISGUIDED ARTIST: “But music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”
FAN: “Your job as a musician is to make music.”

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

The Labels Want To Be The Good Guys

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.

Why?

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.

http://theconversation.com/music-sales-slump-is-streaming-or-the-music-industry-to-blame-23901

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/5915732/spotify-drove-universal-musics-75-jump-in-streaming-revenue-last-year

http://torrentfreak.com/artists-think-instead-spewing-spotify-hate-140222

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