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Author Topic: The "death" of the music industry  (Read 12731 times)

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The "death" of the music industry
« on: 22 Feb 2011, 14:43 »

So last week Business Insider posted the following chart:

http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-music-industry-sales-2011-2

which seemed to indicate that the profitable nature of the CD age was an anomaly and now things have had a correction and are back on track, so the RIAA can shut its whiny derp derp ass up.

However, apparently the guy who made the original chart was a pretty shit analyst who just translated raw data into a chart without taking into account anything that would make the data useful.

In this article:

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-charts-explain-the-real-death-of-the-music-industry-2011-2

an actual analyst takes the raw figures, adjusts them for inflation and population increase, turns them into per capita dollars and notes that the industry is not looking so crash hot at the moment.

If you take a look at the Revenue Distribution chart halfway down, and cross-ref that with the Single Sales per Capita chart a little bit further down and extrapolate a little bit based on human behaviour then I think it's pretty obvious what is happening.

Old model for mainstream music:
- people hear a song on the radio, or on some top 40 TV show, or a friend plays it for them
- they go into the store to buy the song they like, but some of them buy the album because the it's about $20 for 10+ songs instead of $5 for 1 or 2.
- the label gets 4x the money for that 1 song the person liked

New model:
- people hear a song on the radio, or on some top 40 TV show, or a friend plays it for them, or they see it online someplace
- if they didn't originally see it online, they load up youtube or last.fm or something to check it out, and check other songs by the same artist out while they are at it
- some people like the other songs, buy the album online
- some think the other songs are a load of shit and buy just the one song they like as a single
- still others say "fuck it" and download the song/album/band's whole catalogue without paying


I think that the main change here is that the audience has more choice, and more information to go on when they are considering their purchase.  Used to be that you heard a song you liked (maybe the single, maybe not), then maybe heard another song by the same band a bit later and thought "yeah ok, I'll go buy the album", because buying two songs from the album would take you up to half the album's cost and you'd take the gamble on the rest.  Nowdays you can listen to basically every song off a band's album before you buy it, and make a decision as to whether or not you think it's worth your money.  I can't see what is bad about that from the consumer's perspective.
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Johnny C

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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #1 on: 22 Feb 2011, 14:56 »

well sure but can you see what's bad about it from the album-focused artist's perspective
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #2 on: 22 Feb 2011, 15:27 »

the fact that they have to make every song on their album worth purchasing?

yeah man that's a real bummer



this cheap shot joke is not a reflection of my actual opinion on the matter


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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #3 on: 22 Feb 2011, 16:28 »

well sure but can you see what's bad about it from the album-focused artist's perspective
To the extent that artists ever see any real money from record sales at all, as opposed to winding up in debt to their record company...

Quote
I can't see what is bad about that from the consumer's perspective.
It certainly is nice to have the option of not buying "B sides" and filler tracks. Does the idea of an album actually have any value at all, or is it simply a legacy of physical distribution? Yeah, I know some albums are supposed to have an artistic "concept" or "theme", but how often is that anything more than marketing piffle?
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Scandanavian War Machine

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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #4 on: 22 Feb 2011, 16:39 »

Yeah, I know some albums are supposed to have an artistic "concept" or "theme", but how often is that anything more than marketing piffle?

All the time?

Ramona Cordova - The Boy Who Floated Freely
Of Montreal - The Gay Parade
Jon Rae Fletcher - Oh, Maria
Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails
DJ Frane - all his records

and so and so forth into infinity


I, for one, welcome the death of the music industry. hopefully something that make sense rises from the ashes.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #5 on: 22 Feb 2011, 17:21 »

the fact that they have to make every song on their album worth purchasing?

This is actually an interesting point in regards to "filler" content.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #6 on: 22 Feb 2011, 17:30 »

Yeah I know that was said as a joke but I kind of agree with it. Filler content, or "that song everyone skips," bugs the living fuck off of me. If I'm paying upwards of $15 for a record I'd like to enjoy it in its entirety, or close to it.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #7 on: 22 Feb 2011, 17:38 »

That is one thing I was taking as a given.  There are some albums I can listen to time and again from start to finish, but they are rarities and appreciated for that fact.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #8 on: 22 Feb 2011, 17:53 »

Yeah that is basically Okkervil River's The Stand Ins for me. And guess what, kiddos? I actually bought that one even after listening to it for a whole month prior to its release!
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #9 on: 22 Feb 2011, 18:02 »

you've all also hit another weird side-effect of the contemporary moment which is the idea of like spending time getting to know those records. and to like really, really think about them. i mean are you even going to buy a record like joan of arc's the gap, if your attitude towards music is "well i'm not spending money on filler"? or i mean imagist since you brought this record up, what if you itunes preview the stage names trio of ambient tracks and decide they're filler rather than important breaks in the record-length experience?

i try to drag the conversation onto these topics all the time but i'm going to try to explicate the questions i'm actually trying to ask here since i think that might speed the process up a little, and because it's also a dfw trick and i've read like a hundred pages worth of his essays in about two days so it's rubbed off on me considerably.

QUESTIONS I AM ACTUALLY TRYING TO ASK:
why is it, when we have conversations about the ways that purchasing of music has shifted in the early days of this millennium, we always term ourselves "consumers" and try to reduce things into pure baseline capitalistic transactions? is it that necessary to point out that major labels are beginning to, in fact, eat shit, and why when we do do we not consider whether smaller labels are affected by the changes in purchasing habits that have afflicted major labels as well, the same purchasing habits that have caused said majors to eat said shit? and why here is the question that perpetually stymies me are we still so fascinated, in an age where the concept of music as a set of ideas rather than a product has in fact exploded across the globe and been refracted by a heartening and staggering number of people, with whether or not we are getting our "money's worth" in what we inexplicably choose to call a product? what does "getting our money's worth" mean, here? how does it affect the way we think about the things we consume? is it entirely possible that in framing things this way we are developing rather entitled attitudes towards texts, attitudes we can see in wondering "well why didn't they do x in this book/movie" or "why don't all the songs sound like x on this record" which are rather decidedly not what the texts have set out to do? is it entirely possible that maybe barthes had it backwards and that it is ultimately the reader who is tyrannical in nature?

i'm not trying to be a pessimist because i see cool things going on all the time online and because arcade fire sold enough records to win a freakin' grammy. but the epistemological perspective people bring to "death of the music industry"-type stuff makes me fret the more i read it, and all those questions above start buzzing around in my head. i'm not clear on what the answers are to several of them. i'm not sure there are answers to a couple. but i think they're all fairly worth considering, you know?
« Last Edit: 22 Feb 2011, 18:04 by Johnny C »
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #10 on: 22 Feb 2011, 19:50 »

All the time?

It always seems suspicious to me that some tracks from an album can be snipped out and packaged separately as "hits". If that can be done, where is the value in the collection? I'm sure it was fun to compile that list, but what actually was it supposed to convey? Other than that you're cooler than I am, which I do not doubt...  :-D

you've all also hit another weird side-effect of the contemporary moment which is the idea of like spending time getting to know those records. and to like really, really think about them. i mean are you even going to buy a record like joan of arc's the gap, if your attitude towards music is "well i'm not spending money on filler"?
I'm totally confused. Maybe we mean different things by the word "filler". A slow movement, or a quiet or minimalist passage, or one in an unfamiliar time, or whatever, isn't filler in my book, if it is good, and makes sense to me (yes that is a subjective judgement, but we are talking about music here). Filler is stuff that I think is bad, or at least markedly less good than other tracks on the same album. I took the trouble to listen to some tracks from "The Gap" since you mentioned it (thanks for the tip BTW, I'm going shopping when I get home), and don't understand why I would be expected to call them filler. Is the idea that if I expect value for money from a record, I'm too crass and materialistic to appreciate Joan Of Arc or something?

My spending money represents hours of my effort working at my job. Why is it wrong for me to use it to buy things of value to me, and not buy things that don't appeal? Surely any artists who expects to be paid for their work can hardly complain. Unless they're packing some sort of "my work so fabulous that you (horrible little consumer that you are) cannot possibly appreciate it, but you should pay me for it anyway" attitude. What was that about entitlement?

Edit: On rereading, I realised I misunderstood part of Scandinavian War Machine's post, so I've adjusted that part of my posting. Sorry.
« Last Edit: 22 Feb 2011, 20:20 by Akima »
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #11 on: 22 Feb 2011, 20:26 »

Honestly I think that's just the result of the monetization of anything. The minute you put a price on something, people are going to think of it in terms of its value relative to whatever good or service they provide others in order to make money, and the amount of money it takes to purchase other things. It's really hard to make a disconnect between the art of something when that same thing shares a commercial identity as merchandise, especially when the thing is subject to mass production and consequently mass consumption. I mean, honestly, if I had to purchase all the music I've ever listened to just to hear it, I'd probably be thinking the same thing, but I think that's one of the great things about recent trends in the industry, because you don't have to. So many things I can stream and listen to and digest in their entirety, and then make the decision that I really want to lend monetary support to their creators in the hopes that I'll receive more quality pieces of their work, that through their efforts I can further connect with the universe and human experience or whatever it is that I value about the thing.

And, to be fair, I think talking about the "death" of the music industry here is a bit of a misnomer. Really we're discussing a change in paradigm, or a metamorphosis, as the old model centralized around major labels is being shed with more and more releases for alternative models of distribution. And while, certainly, that is lending itself to a breakdown in the album as a format, I don't think it's going to necessarily preclude people from producing cohesive albums meant to be seen as a whole. I mean, it's not like that was necessarily a popular thing to do in the 90's mainstream, either.

As for the point about "they should have done that part this way, I think it comes down to a fundamental difference in the way people view a product. I think most people (read: the kind of people who are probably not going to be on this forum) approach music, just like movies, as a source of entertainment rather than some meaningful artistic message from the author. And when you see it that way, inevitably you're going to say "well that part wasn't quite so entertaining" and think of ways in which you might have enjoyed it better. This may be missing the point in many cases, but well, I don't see how it's tyrannical per se. In the end, the artist made stuff the way he or she intended and that's not going to change. It's up to the artist to decide if they have the integrity to continue making future stuff according to their own whims or public criticism, and there are plenty of people who have maintained at least the same level of success sticking with the former, so it's not like there's some kind of totalitarian "MAKE THIS THE WAY I WANT OR YOU DIE" business going down on a large scale.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #12 on: 22 Feb 2011, 21:14 »

you've all also hit another weird side-effect of the contemporary moment which is the idea of like spending time getting to know those records. and to like really, really think about them. i mean are you even going to buy a record like joan of arc's the gap, if your attitude towards music is "well i'm not spending money on filler"?
I'm totally confused. Maybe we mean different things by the word "filler". A slow movement, or a quiet or minimalist passage, or one in an unfamiliar time, or whatever, isn't filler in my book, if it is good, and makes sense to me (yes that is a subjective judgement, but we are talking about music here). Filler is stuff that I think is bad, or at least markedly less good than other tracks on the same album. I took the trouble to listen to some tracks from "The Gap" since you mentioned it (thanks for the tip BTW, I'm going shopping when I get home), and don't understand why I would be expected to call them filler. Is the idea that if I expect value for money from a record, I'm too crass and materialistic to appreciate Joan Of Arc or something?

I think the reason Johnny C chose to use Joan of Arc in his example of things being misconstrued as "filler" is because Joan of Arc are a notoriously difficult band. I remember the first time I'd heard of them was a post that tommydski made in which he stated that he had to listen to one of their albums a good 200 times before it began making real sense to him, which is remarkable -to me at least, seeing as I'm not sure I've listened to anything 200 times on purpose.

This ties into his original statement about taking time to let records sink in, in that there is a concern that things might be labelled "filler" or just passed over because they aren't immediately gratifying, and this in turn leads to a lot of good stuff getting passed over when there is a) so much choice available to listeners that it's entirely likely that something that doesn't immediately grab a listener is going to be passed over on the way to the next Youtube vid or 30-second sample on Amazon or whatever and b) album-based songwriting is being stripped of it's context by being presented on it's own in the abovementioned Youtube/Amazon format et al.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #13 on: 22 Feb 2011, 22:04 »

This is basically the reason why I used the scare quotes.

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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #14 on: 22 Feb 2011, 22:32 »

I think the album as a unit of art still has its uses, and it seems to be at a fairly stable equilibrium as far as length goes, both on the creative side, and the listening side. It also marks epochs in an act's career in a way that very little else does. While the system now could easily support a Single based system, with a new song once in a while to keep the interest of fans, the impact still seems to be greater to have that complete set, whether in a label system or independently. I'm sure there are acts experimenting with this right now, and it would be interesting to see the results.

I used to be tied to the album as a whole listening experience because my early music listening occurred when that was the available format (mid 80s). I heard a couple songs on the radio or saw a couple videos, and bought the rest of the album unheard, then played through the whole thing on tape at first, then quickly shifted to CD as my format of choice.

And yet I've personally moved over to an almost completely song-based listening habit because of the ability to put my music all on the computer, and a selection of that on an mp3 player for portable use. Back in the day, my younger brother's computer was faster than the family computer, so at one point, I bought a 20G HD to add to his 8G Win95 machine just so I could rip my CDs to MP3s then put the whole collection on shuffle. There was even a time when the fact that I had 5000 songs on my computer impressed the college-aged kids I worked with! But anyway, the point is that now when I get a new album, the "highlight" tracks quickly get put into a higher rotation and the rest of the songs only come up when the filter to the top of the big playlist on random.

Man, these discussions are always frustrating because there's topics about the industry I'm definitely interested in discussing, but I get caught up in so much background laying, and now this post is already too long. Hopefully more later.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #15 on: 22 Feb 2011, 22:51 »

Honestly I think that's just the result of the monetization of anything. The minute you put a price on something, people are going to think of it in terms of its value relative to whatever good or service they provide others in order to make money, and the amount of money it takes to purchase other things.
Yes. Or to put it another way, if you don't want to be judged by commercial criteria, don't enter the marketplace. If you ask for money, expect to give value for it as judged by your customers.

I think the reason Johnny C chose to use Joan of Arc in his example of things being misconstrued as "filler" is because Joan of Arc are a notoriously difficult band.
Personally, if I find a piece of music "difficult", I'm less likely to think it filler, not more. "Filler" doesn't mean "music I don't like immediately" to me. I fully accept that some music takes time, and multiple listenings, to absorb, but music that doesn't make you want to spend that time the first time you hear it, is probably bad. Why would you want to buy music that didn't engage your interest at all? Because Pitchfork said it was good?

So many of our ideas about the way music is packaged, and how much music "should" be in an album, are simply artefacts of obsolete music-distribution technology. An album is still, pretty much, the amount of music that would fit on two sides of an LP, regardless of how little music might be bought in that format now. If, as some of the postings here suggest, an album groups songs in a way that has artistic value independent of mechanical constraints and marketing convenience, there's really no reason why it should be any particular length.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #16 on: 22 Feb 2011, 23:00 »

This is such a weird conversation we're having, what with how, as far as the population of this board is concerned the "average" music "consumer" is pretty much a purely theoretical construct.

I could be wrong though. Is there anybody here that actually does "consume" music in the way this thread has described?
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #17 on: 22 Feb 2011, 23:23 »

I'm just wondering what's so vital and essential about the album, which after all is something that's only been around for a bit over half a century. There was music before that and they'll be music afterwards. There'll still probably be albums. But albums aren't 'the right way' to dsitribute or organise music. They're just one particular artistic solution; and the artist has to simply adapt to the fact that their work may not be consumed in the way they wish. This isn't exactly new. I have several CD's with petulant attempts to make it impossible or annoying to play the CD on 'random' (tracks that begin at the end of previous tracks, 40 seperate minute-long blank tracks after the actual music, etc.) But I'm afraid, the idea that one's art is some inviolably pure thing that must be experienced in a certain order, a certain way, given a certain amount of attention, thought of in such a way, etc. and not experienced in any other way is unconscionable arrogance. We can create (what we) consider to be the optimal conditions for understanding, and try and guide people towards them. Some people will engage with them, others won't. Art (in any format) is a bit like a toy for grown-ups, and evryone knows there's no wrong way to play with a toy. To some people (ie. Johnny, Tommy I imagine, a few others here) the album format and its integrity are incredibly important, but to others they mean less, or nothing. And none of these opinions is any more valid than the other.

I do find it interesting that, other the last decade, a love for 'new independent music' (a certain form of new independent music anyway) is becoming more and more associated with a conservative attitude to artistic and distribution practice.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #18 on: 23 Feb 2011, 00:27 »

i'm not exactly trying to defend the integrity of the Album-as-Form, and if that's how i'm being read i've probably shot myself in the foot with my initial comment up the page. what i'm trying to question is i guess what i always wind up questioning which is where and how we place value in art, and the reason we choose the site of value and the methods, and the semiotic & rhetorical structures that generate those things, especially those structures that have arisen in the last decade. i'm not really interested in talking about "paradigm shifts" and "the artist must adapt" because as a listener i find i'm not really interested, ultimately, in those things  i'm more interested in the actual stuff itself, and the way that's affected by those shifts and adaptations. just so we're clear.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #19 on: 23 Feb 2011, 00:35 »

(and because those other things being talked about inevitably strike me as seriously egotistical, again, on the part of the listener  an attitude that boils down to "well i've already changed and i'm not willing to think about and talk it over so meet me over on this spot and then i'm going to run away again" which like to me doesn't strike me as particularly discursive or engaged but rather as kind of petulant and demanding and unreasonably fickle for 21st-century adults)
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #20 on: 23 Feb 2011, 00:52 »

I think I might be Dovey's average music consumer because I'm a li'l buzzed right now and all I can keep thinking is that I never think about the stuff Johnny is talking about because all I usually want from music is something that sounds pretty or maybe some ass shaking music. And if I can't find that on the radio, I can pull it up on youtube for free right now. I don't really buy albums anymore, frankly. It's not even like I'm pirating shit all the time to make up for it either. I'm just surrounded by passable to good media all the time now without even trying. I don't even really bother to put a cd on when I'm playing video games anymore. That wasn't the case back when I was playing R-Type on my SNES.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #21 on: 23 Feb 2011, 00:53 »

It seems really obvious to me that the commodification of music is a result of years of major labels absolutely taking the piss with their actions. I started buying music a decade or so before downloading music became possible and I remember seeing all of these massive CD stores with albums which cost about 15 ($25cad, $25usd, $25aud) and were usually a couple of singles and loads of rubbish from an artist which was signed for looking good on MTV. When you weaken the value of something by diluting it over and over again for years, eventually you're going to affect the way people relate to it.

Also, I think that this preference of songs over records which sometimes occurs is just mirroring the old fashioned practice of singles, which were always a big share of the market going back forever. Remember in the 50s-60s, people genuinely decried the album format as a cynical market ploy and the reason you won't see particular singles on the UK pressings of Beatles records is because it was considered exploitative and callous to sell somebody songs they already had as singles. The abandonment of this practice is another example of the gradual erosion of ethics amongst the major record labels, which I think took a final nose dive at the point where they started to use compact discs as their primary means of retail. They were overly long and the artists they were signing were largely there on the basis that they were fashionable but couldn't actually produce much in terms of compelling music. Eventually they got found out and this is the result. Sure, the fallout has damaged independent record labels too but that seems fairly unavoidable.

Independent bands will survive because there's always going to be people like me or JC or John (amongst the many hundreds on this forum who also do, I'm sure) who actually want the records in our hands. Plus digital sales and physical sales from people who either don't like or don't understand piracy, not to mention touring and merch etc. Stuff like Bandcamp can be utilised in a way which allows bands an unprecedented minimum of disconnect between themselves and their audience in terms of revenue. The other day I made a thread on this forum, some other people posted links to Bandcamp and the artist in question had a sudden spike in sales. I was pretty shocked but very happy that people were still willing to kick out a few bucks for a good band who are working really hard. I think Paypal is going to revolutionise the way bands make money through micro-payments in the same way that it did for web commerce, including apparel companies and webcomics like this one.

Yeah, it's never going to be like it was but the old model was fucked and it's dying for a reason. Eventually it'll return to something like normality and the unwelcome element (major record labels) will have to adapt to the point whereby they can't realistically be fucking absolutely everybody involved in the process over so visibly without repercussions.
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KharBevNor

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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #22 on: 23 Feb 2011, 01:26 »

Personally, I would never buy (or sell) a digital copy of anything. I'm increasingly querulous about paying for digital subscriber services and so on as well. I suppose it's because I'm a materialist, but in the stricter sense (rather than the lazy, 'LIKES MONEY ETC.' sense).
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #23 on: 23 Feb 2011, 03:14 »

It always seems suspicious to me that some tracks from an album can be snipped out and packaged separately as "hits". If that can be done, where is the value in the collection?

That's a bit harsh.  Taking examples from classical music, is Handel's Messiah any less of a valuable unit because people often extract the Hallelujah Chorus or He Was Despised? Or Purcell's Dido and Aeneas because of Dido's Lament? Or Wagner's Ring cycle because of the Ride of the Valkyries?  Highlights can have their place and even sometimes draw people in to the greater whole.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #24 on: 23 Feb 2011, 04:09 »

Also, I forgot to mention that at the point where you decide to sell something, it's a product.

You don't have to do that but once you do, I'm not sure you can earnestly complain about it happening any more.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #25 on: 23 Feb 2011, 16:49 »

A lot of stuff that I agree with completely.

I was coming in here to make a proper reply, but now I don't need to.  Thanks!
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #26 on: 24 Feb 2011, 14:10 »

The talk of vinyl is nice, you guys, but considering the overwhelming popularity of digital sales due to the simple practicality of it all, it isn't much of a stretch to predict that that medium will die with the labels. The less of a disconnect between artist and listener, the less need for the labels to even exist. And like it was mentioned before, sites like Bandcamp are killing the means to even make the disconnect possible.

And considering the contrast of the relatively extreme impracticality of the vinyl medium (which can be measured by how long it takes to access and play any given recording), and considering how these things affect every preceding recording medium, I'm pretty sure vinyl LPs and EPs and singles are all dead as soon as the existing ones are too worn out to play anymore.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #27 on: 24 Feb 2011, 15:37 »

They can make new vinyl, you know.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #28 on: 24 Feb 2011, 15:48 »

They can only make so many new vinyl listeners though
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #30 on: 24 Feb 2011, 18:14 »

They can only make so many new vinyl listeners though

and nobody born after 1983 has bought anything new on vinyl

ye gods. what have we been doing this whole time?
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #31 on: 25 Feb 2011, 00:24 »

The only vinyl I've bought since 1983 has been older disks whose content has not become available any other way.  The chief benefit of physical formats is that they have a slight chance of surviving into the future.
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"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #32 on: 25 Feb 2011, 00:29 »

I only buy vinyl because it's bigger and cooler-looking than cds... I have a record player, but every time I try to listen to anything on it, it just skips every few minutes and drives me crazy.  I tried balancing a dime on the needle and I'm pretty sure that it messed something up because now the sound is all wonky.

Oh, uh, rahr rahr the music is dead long live the music.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #33 on: 25 Feb 2011, 01:14 »

On the other forum, everybody just chipped in to create our own Singles Club and record label which exclusively produces vinyl. The first quarter is already out, looks and sounds incredible.

Sam and Johnny C's bands (Half Mile Fox Fur and These Estates respectively) are appearing later on in the series.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #34 on: 25 Feb 2011, 02:45 »

Yeah, from what I remember there's not a very great price difference between getting runs of vinyl and runs of CDs pressed (CDs are cheaper for very short runs but it evens out the more you do, iirc). I know several tiny bands and artists who aren't on any label who release physically exclusively in vinyl format.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #35 on: 25 Feb 2011, 02:56 »

Of course, I'm sure you realise that (apart possibly from archival durability) there is no technical audio advantage to vinyl over CDs or uncompressed digital downloads.  The difference is that they are mastered with due sympathy to the medium, i.e. better;  this mastering could as easily be distributed digitally (as it was almost certainly generated anyway) if the bloody stupidity of the loudness wars could be hit on the head.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #36 on: 25 Feb 2011, 03:49 »

I think vinyl just has nicer artwork opportunities and I like the ritual of playing records. I feel like between reasonably encoded digital files and vinyl, I have everything I want or need.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #37 on: 25 Feb 2011, 03:56 »

Yeah, pretty much. If I'm going to splash on a physical product, I want it to be something that the digital is incapable of giving me.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #38 on: 25 Feb 2011, 03:57 »

The artwork thing is sort-of valid, though actually there's no reason that a CD can't be packaged with decent large artwork - I have a couple which are inserted in a coffee-table type of book, and several in ordinary-sized books, both hard and soft cover.  I can happily do without the ritual, though.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #39 on: 25 Feb 2011, 08:44 »

I think vinyl just has nicer artwork opportunities and I like the ritual of playing records. I feel like between reasonably encoded digital files and vinyl, I have everything I want or need.

Everything Tommy just said.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #40 on: 25 Feb 2011, 11:02 »

The artwork thing is sort-of valid, though actually there's no reason that a CD can't be packaged with decent large artwork - I have a couple which are inserted in a coffee-table type of book, and several in ordinary-sized books, both hard and soft cover.  I can happily do without the ritual, though.

That's usually what inspires me to buy a cd. If the artwork and packaging is good and unique, then I know the artist is at least trying a little and wants me to buy this object they made. If it's just a plastic case with a useless picture in it, what's the point? I already got the songs for free online.

Black Moth Super Rainbow has always been able to make me buy their records, because they make them actually desirable.

Same thing with Portugal. The Man's cd "The Satanic Satanist," which has an awesome fold-out cover that's super intricate and psychedelic. It folds out into this big upside down cross shape with the cd tucked into the middle, and it's really cool.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #41 on: 25 Feb 2011, 20:59 »

Man I can't stand either of those bands. To each his own though.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #42 on: 25 Feb 2011, 21:24 »

I've seen ltd edition CD runs, but they tend to be peculiar - packaged with topography maps and hand-stamped / numbered. But it has to be something really interesting to get me to bite. I've had portable hard drive-based media players for long enough that a CD is nothing more than a fancy bag that holds .mp3s. It is worthless after ripping to my external drive - especially nowadays with media hosting being what it is, loss of a hard drive when you've thrown away all your CDs is not the catastrophe it once was. They're clutter. But people still buy them.

All that said, being a fringe / DJ music geek, vinyl (and in the case of the former, casettes) is sometimes my only avenue of collecting music. I have several white labels and special editions that contain music that simply isn't available in any other format. It's generally fairly rare for a tape release to see digital reissue - it's usually the kind of music, like improvised guitar work or procedurally generated modular synth music, that isn't really going to make anyone any money in any case.
« Last Edit: 25 Feb 2011, 21:27 by KvP »
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #43 on: 26 Feb 2011, 06:16 »

I just read this the other day. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/feb/16/richard-russell-xl-recordings-dizzee-rascal-prodigy


Its pretty inspiring, it shows the disconnect between actual talent and margins, and that major labels have outgrown their own use. the music industry isnt declining at all, its just manufactured fucking Bullshit. if a label like this can release wildly popular music and maintain itself than the industry should be reflecting this. unfortunately everything is growth without consideration.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #44 on: 26 Feb 2011, 08:20 »

They can only make so many new vinyl listeners though

and nobody born after 1983 has bought anything new on vinyl

ye gods. what have we been doing this whole time?
I'm 16 and I'm hoping on getting a Pro-Ject turntable and some nice shiny black discs to play on it, so go figure. But then I am sadly in the microscopic minority of music-listeners my age.

As for the usefulness of labels... I think that until there is an actual alternative to them then they will just survive, and continue to be necessary. Really, there needs to be a viable and satisfactory alternative way of obtaining and listening to music before the label release model can die, the problem is that record companies just keep avoiding the problems and trying to pretend they can carry on in the same way and still release a whole ton of shit (that and somehow Simon Cowell has been allowed to still live for some reason I can't fathom).

Perhaps we'll see the recording industry performing a more and more niche role, releasing physical media as a luxury product. In that sort of context, vinyl makes perfect sense and is actually more valid than CD if it wasn't for the relative obscurity of vinyl now (despite vinyl systems hands down out-performing similarly priced CD systems). The majority of music, then, would be released by the artist directly to the fans.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #45 on: 26 Feb 2011, 08:40 »

You'd think there would always be room for proper studios but sadly those are being let down by record labels too. Abbey Road is one of the last studios in Britain that you can fit a full orchestra in and so it gets a lot of work recording soundtracks, but even that was in danger of being sold off by EMI, and it's all because of the ease of computer recording now. I don't think you can argue that the recording industry isn't becoming more niche.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #46 on: 26 Feb 2011, 15:15 »

that was a joke, everyone
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #47 on: 28 Feb 2011, 12:39 »

Ran into this big long video of Syd Butler of French Kiss records talking about independent music here. Touched on a few things we discussed in this and the Arcade Fire thread.
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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #48 on: 08 Mar 2011, 16:08 »

The record industry has slowly replaced the album with the single as the focal point of music in popular culture since the introduction of the music video and now they're apparently bleeding money because your average consumer barely values music above a cheeseburger as a result of this. The structural framework for bands to create their music and share it with others is still completely intact as far as I can tell.

I just don't see the problem, to be perfectly honest.
« Last Edit: 08 Mar 2011, 16:12 by MC_Eating_Disorder »
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paltic

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Re: The "death" of the music industry
« Reply #49 on: 12 Mar 2011, 19:22 »

there are always two types of the so-called "musiclovers" out there: 1.) fan of the artist/band's singles 2.) fan of the band and all of its materials(even if the newer mat'ls are weak). The fan of the singles go to the concerts of the artist/band to raise his/her lighter on his/her favorite song played by the artist/band that night... and later shouts for an encore(hoping for a repeat of that same single or another song from the charts). the other one will sing to most of the artist/bands setlist and most probably payed/earned for the better concert seats. As you can all see there are different degrees of being a "fan". Now to debate over this matter is like comparing apples to oranges.

IMHO an artists should release an album every now and then to serve as a creative exercise and at the same time to have new materials to play on concerts. an artist cannot have "just" singles repeatedly performed in a concerts or mere cover songs. The real artists should dictate their setlist to their viewers/listeners rather than just follow what the fan wants...that separates artists from mere showbands and that's credibility for me.

the new medium  of mp3s and online music:
good - more variety of artists online and are more accessible, the independent artists have a chance to be "known" due to the new platform and venues of music(like myspace or youtube or "gulp" ellen)
bad - the change of trends and hits are faster. the level of fandom and loyalty to artists has decreased in time. the level of love the fanboys of Led Zeppelin in the 70s will never be the same - with say the adoration of the younger generation with Fallout Boy (since their new favorite band changes from day to day or their opinions are affected by forums like this)
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