Copyright, Music, My Stories

How Valuable Are Things?

I just helped my in laws move a lot of stuff out of a storage facility and into their new house. They’ve had their stuff in storage since Feb, 2013. Over 6 years.

And guess what happened when we started to move their stuff out of storage.

Most of it went to the rubbish tip. I threw a tonne out for $390 in tipping fees

So I was curious as to how much my in-laws would have paid for storage over these six years and I almost drowned on the water I was drinking when they told me $33K.

$33K to store things which they thought as valuable years ago and it ended up in the tip.

I said to em, “you know how nice you could have fitted out your house with new furniture for $33K.”

Would you pay $33K to store stuff?

I wouldn’t.

I’m either a seller or a giver to the local charity or a tipper. The only thing I’ve moved from each house move has been my record collection.

And it got me thinking about my record collection (Vinyl, CD and Cassettes). I saw them once as valuable. I had all of it under lock and key in an alarmed room, once upon a time.

These days, I don’t have them secure at all. While I still love listening to the music, having the record in hand doesn’t have the same feeling as it once did. Maybe because my eyes can’t see the lyrics anymore, especially when they are tiny. I still collect them because I am a collector, but in the end what’s the point, I’m thinking.

My Dad has a pretty massive record collection and after he got his stroke and faced death in the face, his priorities became very different.

In the end, value is in the eye of the beholder. What I see as valuable, another person won’t. And I remember reading an article about how Elvis memorabilia has gone down in value because people who normally buy it, are dead or they have enough of it, which they are also trying to sell.

So how valuable will our collections and the artists works be in 40 years time?

That’s why the Copyright Corporations like the record labels are trying to lock up the rights of creators works for their whole life plus 70 years after death (and they are trying to get laws passed to make it 90 years after death).

Because there will be value to some.

A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

People Create Value

When are people going to realise that music doesn’t create value. Customers do. People. The people who listen and consume the music are in charge of the value tree. They decide what song or album is valuable and what isn’t. And it’s a cold hard truth for any creator out there. You might have a record deal and a massive PR machine, however if no one is interested in what you create, it’s back to the drawing board. 

Do a few more releases that fail to connect and the downward spiral is real. It doesn’t mean you can’t make it back, however when people are in a downward spiral they have a tendency to cut corners and dumb down their art for the sake of making it back. And for a little while, it might pick you back up. But then, demand for your art goes down again, which means you lose again. The great artists are aware that writing a song that connects with millions is magical but it’s not scalable. No one can write hit songs forever. In the 80’s and 90’s, Desmond Child was the hit making machine, along with Diane Warren and Jim Vallance. Today, it’s Max Martin and Dr Luke and others. Even bands like U2, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Ratt and Bon Jovi couldn’t sustain the “hits”, albeit they had a pretty good run which guarantees them a victory lap after a victory lap.

The key to success is random. It’s unexpected when a song connects and breaks through. But instead of having the mindset to keep showing up and creating in the same way you did before, creators try to recreate the unexpected success. Writing songs that become hits is a different mindset to writing a “hit song”.

And artists got those unexpected hits by being imperfect. By paying their dues and honing their craft. By being willing to speak their truth and taking a stance on issues. We need people to believe in. And we believe most in those whose risks resonate. 

The record labels are worried about their stock price or their greatly compensated executive salaries while they underpay creators and drop them at will. Meanwhile we all pay taxes while they pay none. So don’t think the label will have your back when people are not interested in your product. 

Today’s story is about artists who are unable to get traction. It’s because they think the music they create has some value. But it doesn’t. It has no value at the start. It might later, if people decide it’s valuable. 

But the space for attention is cluttered and your new song is competing with the history of music, which is at people’s fingertips. But it can rise to the top. There just needs to be a message to it, instead of the usual clichés. Remember, people create value. It’s not the other way around.