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Author Topic: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry  (Read 5474 times)

I Am Not Amused

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Now, I know this is going to sound self-serving or whatever. However, I am currently a Music Industry student on my way towards graduation this year. For a class project this semester, I am attempting to create a presentation that sets forth a new business model for the music industry that allows for free downloading AND allows artists, etc. to make money.

Basically, what I'll be doing is nothing more than asking questions about what you, as a music fan, would like to see from the music industry and asking if any of the new music industry model ideas that have been put forth (see: Radiohead, Girl Talk, Nine Inch Nails; see: The Future of Music) are of any value to you as a music fan.

So. I've got a facebook group for any of you that use that called "Change the Music Industry." (Admin is Chris Bosman)

If you don't have facebook but would be willing to contribute anyway, send me either a pm on this board or e-mail me at [email protected]

So, sorry you consider this cramping the music board's style or anything. Just looking to gather information from as many people as I possibly can. Thanks so much!
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #1 on: 15 Sep 2008, 17:05 »

As a listener I am far more concerned about the trend in decreasing sound quality on albums. Over compression of files and waveforms in order to make music sound more loud and to fit more songs on people's iPod. Not to say downloading isn't an issue, but I would also like to see a return to high dynamic range recordings in types of Rock music.
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tommydski

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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #2 on: 15 Sep 2008, 17:12 »

Would you be prepared to expand on your ideas here also? If you can do so briefly.

I'm confused as to how this would be different. Bands are still making money, despite the fact that downloading it basically the norm now. As always, they make money from touring and merchandise on the road. Hopefully this will eventually be the end of the major record labels which have become rightly ostracised as unnecessary middle men. Since this appears to be a natural evolution, why would a 'business model' be required? Isn't that kind of thinking the very thing that has brought the music "industry" to this point in time?
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #3 on: 15 Sep 2008, 17:18 »

I've heard a lot of people say that the way Radiohead did their newest album is the way of the future - because they made lots and lots of money off of people who downloaded it and paid for it. I'm not so sure about that.

More to the point, Radiohead are essentially exempt from this discussion based on the fact that they built a sizable worldwide audience using the existing infrastructure of the old music "industry", so to speak.

Many record labels have tried such a scheme before (Infinite Chug for example) with little fanfare, simply because they didn't already have a massive audience.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #4 on: 15 Sep 2008, 18:13 »

Recording labels are becoming less and less the middle man really, when you consider the mainstream. The label and it's employees will do 99% of the work for the artist, including writing, production and promotion, and they have people employed purely to predict upcoming trends so they can capitalise on the market and have "the next best thing". This is what needs to change, really, but I doubt it ever will.
Radiohead were only able to take a chance with In Rainbows becasue they already have a massive fan base who would pay for the album anyway. Try doing that with a relatively new band. People wouldn't pay nearly as much, if anything. Same with Trent Reznors "Pirate all my shit" tirade. He's set, he's never going to lose money because of merch and touring and the like.
No, the future is with online record stores, as CD sales continue to slow. Eventually more and more artists will forsake record labels altogether, and do their own recording and promotion, and the labels will be left with their mainstream artists that wouldn't exist if it weren't for the label doing the legwork.
« Last Edit: 15 Sep 2008, 18:19 by look out! Ninjas! »
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #5 on: 15 Sep 2008, 22:04 »

One, make it as organic as possible.  Innovation and originality were never achieved through playing by the rules and following the books.  Don't try to alter their music or make them appeal to a certain crowd, and don't try to pressure them into making a better album than their last (in your standards, at least).

Two, make it as little about money as possible.  It corrupts everything about their artistic ability to produce music, and we will be able to tell that it was on the band's mind.

Three, be alright with downloading music, please.  Accept that it happens anyway and that no amount of encryption will stop us, the masses.  Don't think of it as selling the music, but the CDs that they are on, and that if we want to distribute information that is physically worthless, it's basically free advertising for the artist's concerts.

Four, make moar vinyl.  God, I love me some vinyl.

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tommydski

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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #6 on: 16 Sep 2008, 01:03 »

So - remove the major record labels and leave the independents?

Yeah, I would vote for that.  :wink:
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I Am Not Amused

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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #7 on: 16 Sep 2008, 06:32 »

Honestly, that's the way things are going, ptommy.

Anywho, this isn't about saying this one specific idea is the future. It's more, "Hey, here's this idea, this idea, this idea and this idea. You tell me how much this idea appeals to you and from that we all kind of decide as a whole group which idea is best. So, there's a lot of ideas being tossed around. Just a couple of examples:

Music as a utility:
Packaged with your internet fee, more than likely. For, say, 10 or 12 bucks a month flat fee, you download all the music you want.

Pay-What-You-Want with escalating incentives:
The Radiohead idea, expanded. Offer incentives to donate money. Higher quality files at $1, bonus artwork at $3, individual tracks at $5, bonus tracks at $10. It doesn't even have to be directly about music. A band could get as creative as they want with this by offering, I don't know, a flash game they made or they could give away autographed vinyl, or a webcam interview with the band, or concert tickets. You know, whatever.

Music taxes:
Kind of a play off of the taxes they have in Germany that keep Opera there running 24/7/365. Built into the federal tax to fund touring musicians in the United States. This is a long shot but, hey, if enough voices got behind this, why not?

Other ideas are more than welcome to be discussed and added. Like I said, this isn't about saying "DO THIS IDEA" it's more, "Here are a bunch of ideas, music industry, you have to change, here are some statistics that back up saying IDEA B is the one most likely to continue making you money, and it would make your disenfranchised music listeners a bit happier."

So, yeah.

Thanks again!
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #8 on: 16 Sep 2008, 11:07 »

How about music is free and bands subsist from touring, merchandise or day jobs?

I mean obviously I want the independent labels to continue selling physical versions for those who want actual records and artwork but I think we should just leave the downloaders well enough alone. The benefit of this scenario is it completely weeds out those who are making music for reasons of commerce. Since this is how most good bands operate already, it won't be much of a change.
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I Am Not Amused

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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #9 on: 16 Sep 2008, 11:16 »

It's a possibility open to discussion.

If you're willing to be part of the process, I encourage you to pm me, e-mail me or join the aforementioned facebook group. Then we can discuss all of these things in more detail and in the context of participation in the project.

Like I said, this isn't about saying what ideas will or won't work. It's about gathering the necessary information to see what ideas have promise and which don't.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #10 on: 16 Sep 2008, 11:28 »

I am for the Pay-What-You-Want with escalating incentives option.  Reason being, they get paid for what they deserve, not how much they want *cough* people who sing about having a lot of money *cough*.  Or artists could use the donation angle, where an investment will increase the chances of them releasing another album.  I have other thoughts on this, but I need to do some homework.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #11 on: 16 Sep 2008, 12:49 »

Well, if you would like to participate, please PM me, e-mail me or join my group on facebook. I need as many people as I can for statistical purposes. All you would have to do is answer a few questionnaires. I'd also be providing you with various items of interest that you can take as you will, or give your opinions on.

For this to truly work, what I need is numbers. So, please, come out and support.

Thank you.
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KharBevNor

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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #12 on: 16 Sep 2008, 12:52 »

Silly kids, with your grand schemes!

We don't need to change the Music Industry.

WE NEED TO FUCKING DESTROY IT
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #13 on: 16 Sep 2008, 18:44 »

Dimmukane: There's one problem. I didn't pay a fucking cent for In Rainbows, despite it being one of the better records of last year. Why? Because I could. People don't care what the artists deserve, majority of people reckon they get far too much money anyway.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #14 on: 16 Sep 2008, 19:06 »

Yeah, but if you use the donation angle, I think more people are likely to pay.  Most likely because they deserved it.  I'm not just talking about Radiohead, though, in any case.  Many independent artists are releasing their music for free and selling merch and hard copies on their websites, which in turn supports tours and more merchandising.  Asking for donations, while not generating a lot of income, would probably generate enough income to cover the cost of producing the merch.  Maybe even touring costs, too, and website maintenance.  Which gives the artists themselves the profit from selling the merch/tickets rather than taking some money out to pay for it. 
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #15 on: 17 Sep 2008, 07:02 »

Dimmukane: There's one problem. I didn't pay a fucking cent for In Rainbows, despite it being one of the better records of last year. Why? Because I could. People don't care what the artists deserve, majority of people reckon they get far too much money anyway.

You didn't, but a lot of people did. I could be wrong, but I think I heard that people paid on average about $3 for the album. I think that must be considered a success. It doesn't matter that you didn't pay for it, as long as the musicians make enough money to continue making music.

It's better for Radiohead that you have the album for free, than that you don't have it at all. Now they have the chance that you play it for someone and create a new fan, who might in turn spend money on concert tickets, merchandize or albums. Of course, they'd rather see you pay for it, but that's out of their control.

Overall though, I think artists need to start looking at recorded music as marketing materials, rather than as the primary product in itself. There might be services that people would be willing to pay for, I'm thinking off-site storage of music collections for example, but I'm not sure that kind of business model would work with current laws. At the very least, major labels would have to be in on the deal.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #16 on: 17 Sep 2008, 11:18 »

Dimmukane: There's one problem. I didn't pay a fucking cent for In Rainbows, despite it being one of the better records of last year. Why? Because I could. People don't care what the artists deserve, majority of people reckon they get far too much money anyway.

What do artists deserve?

I figure they deserve the ability to make art. Beyond that, we're beyond the realm of art.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #17 on: 17 Sep 2008, 11:22 »

You can also walk in to most public museums without making the suggested donation. Most people still do make the donation because they believe the museum should continue to be their. Of course, that's in public, so social pressure has to be taken into account.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #18 on: 17 Sep 2008, 12:43 »

Dimmukane: There's one problem. I didn't pay a fucking cent for In Rainbows, despite it being one of the better records of last year. Why? Because I could. People don't care what the artists deserve, majority of people reckon they get far too much money anyway.

What do artists deserve?

I figure they deserve the ability to make art. Beyond that, we're beyond the realm of art.

I don't think "ability" is the right word, as it applies to the artist's skills and/or abilities and not his/her opportunity to make art. What you basically mean is that artists deserve to be able to make art, whenever and wherever, right?

As far as what Radiohead wanted with In Rainbows, it was a reaction to a certain moment - a proposition ie. How much do YOU think we deserve? "I like the people at our record company, but the time is at hand when you have to ask why anyone needs one. And, yes, it probably would give us some perverse pleasure to say 'Fuck you' to this decaying business model." They are not going to publish their music like that again, though, according to Yorke. In Rainbows made, in the first month, over 3 million dollars; so I ask you? How many of those people thought Radiohead deserved something for their art?
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #19 on: 17 Sep 2008, 13:29 »

My question was posed due to my dislike of the notion of artistic entitlement.

If you make art, you are an artist. That is all you need do to claim this title. Financial ramifications are another concern. You do not have to and more importantly, are not entitled to make money or a living from said art.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #20 on: 17 Sep 2008, 19:20 »

Moving to the free-but-money-gets-you-cooler-stuff part kind of acknowledges that, I think.  Instead of demanding a price, like a businessperson, they let the public decide, like an artist.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #21 on: 17 Sep 2008, 20:25 »

Market forces dictate price, and as much as you and I want to think we're somehow important, we're a really, really small part of the market. Most of the record sales go to the mainstream acts that are essentially owned by the label, and the people who buy those records are generally happy to pay the AUD$25 for a new release.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #22 on: 17 Sep 2008, 20:33 »

Believe me, I have no illusions about how much influence people like us have, I'm just hypothesizing.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #23 on: 18 Sep 2008, 01:28 »

To be fair, I would really like to make a living from art.

I don't view that as society's debt to me, and I doubt a lot of people do. That's why Will Sheff worked at a Blockbuster. That's why Polymaths have or are getting degrees.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #24 on: 18 Sep 2008, 06:21 »

Although I am very for this, I believe having one internet service gain enough popularity and having enough artists embrace this would be the best thing they can do. I'm not talking about a website, and I'm not talking about a commercial store. I'm speaking of a database that would take all old and all new works, upload them, those that are free would be free, and since some artists don't allow companies or elsewise to 'give away' their music, those musicians can instead sell it, or an alternative may be listed.

I believe the best way to have this start is small, with something dedicated to it, and to gain popularity. Now the problem with that, is it seems that since the iPod everyone needs to be as commercial as possible and as 'hip' in that sense relating to 'pop' as possible to gain any widespread popularity, which might kill a site that is trying to embrace both popular music AND indie music.

My main problem I see with most of it is the contacts and starting something up like that. Since near no revenue for the music will come in, you will have to have the site run on ads (very unattractive) to sustain itself, and it would take forever to be in contact with so many people all the time, that a regular joe couldn't start a site like this alone.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #25 on: 18 Sep 2008, 06:37 »

I posted this before but honestly, consider this very hard.

Think of the capacity of an iPod now, compared to the early MP3 players from just a few years back. Notice the enormous jump in terms of the amount of space you have to store music. Sooner or later, I'm talking for sure in the next ten years, there will be a portable media player which can play basically every song ever commercially released. Maybe it won't even have to store them, it will be like a portable conduit for online media such as Last.FM. Certainly you'd be able to store entire subgenres of music for sure, that isn't even debatable.

Then the downloading music debate is going to seem as hilarious as the "home taping is killing music" debate in the 80s.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #26 on: 18 Sep 2008, 16:58 »

I posted this before but honestly, consider this very hard.

Think of the capacity of an iPod now, compared to the early MP3 players from just a few years back. Notice the enormous jump in terms of the amount of space you have to store music. Sooner or later, I'm talking for sure in the next ten years, there will be a portable media player which can play basically every song ever commercially released. Maybe it won't even have to store them, it will be like a portable conduit for online media such as Last.FM. Certainly you'd be able to store entire subgenres of music for sure, that isn't even debatable.

Then the downloading music debate is going to seem as hilarious as the "home taping is killing music" debate in the 80s.
I agree with this wholeheartedly. WiFi will only last so long, eventually we're going to move up to satellite for basic everyday things, it just WILL happen.

As it is, I know that back when Zune Gen1 came out, you were able to(still are) swap the HDD out with a 200GB one. If the Zune can work fine and pretty much be a HDD with a case, you could say that within the next 5 years or so we will see 1TB MP3s (Current highest retail store HDDs?).

I'm fairly sure they'd move to more of an online database feel, especially because it also is a more valid attempt at trying to block out 'pirates', although it'll just mean they'll start they're on open source database xP
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #27 on: 19 Sep 2008, 20:32 »

So personally I think that for an interesting model as to one possible option on the horizon in the music industry, one should take a look at gotdarker.com.  It's pretty self-explanatory.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #28 on: 23 Sep 2008, 08:33 »

As someone who never downloads music (seriously, I don't... though I do burn a hell of a lot of stuff from the library, the more popular indie stuff), and probably spends $50/month ON music, I am disappointed not only with the increasing lack of sound quality on CDs but also the reduced effort put into the package itself. It's rare for albums to even come with liner notes anymore. In a world where downloading is the norm, I would like to see more special edition discs, more vinyl that comes with a free download of the album (already becoming increasingly popular, see most Matador releases on vinyl), just more effort put into the packaging. What happened to liner note posters you can fold out and hang on your wall? I think we're seeing more special stuff being done to the packaging of CDs, such as the "Skeletal Lamping Line" that Of Montreal is doing for the new album (the ability to buy the album "as" a shirt, a paper lamp, etc), or the limited edition sheet music that Deerhoof is putting out for their new album (if you pre-order it from KRS). Even if some of these things will be online eventually (such as scans of the sheet music, two songs have already been released I believe), it's not the same as having the physical copy. I just hate paying $12 and getting a disc jammed into a cardboard sleeve. Another option would be marketing a "standard edition" CD for $5 and a "special edition" for the normal $12. Make album-buying an event, not a transaction that goes from CD to mp3 then the CD getting tossed in a drawer forever.
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Re: A Call For Assistance in Changing the Music Industry
« Reply #29 on: 23 Sep 2008, 13:43 »

Only someone completely ignorant of music and sound quality would actually PAY for mp3s. Seriously, who the fuck pays for mp3s?? Even "high quality" mp3s. What a joke, how about you give us a nice audiophile quality CD/DVD if we're going to be paying for music. Some people actually want to listen on good quality sound systems, and not shitty iPods.
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