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Old 06-08-2004, 06:23 AM   #41
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I worked in the marketing department of one of the 5 'major' record companies for 4 years up until about 2 years ago, and still a lot of my good friends are music industry people. This by the way is here in Australia. At these companies you have to remember that 95% of the employees are like you and I: massive music junkies. They just get to live a dream and spend their lives around music. The orders for clamping down on downloads etc come right from the top and have little genuine support. I know here in Australia the orders come from the US (take legal action, campaign against it at every opportunity etc) and while the local heads comply with the orders (if they didn't, they'd get the boot obviously) they don't agree with it.

Sales of cd's are only down by a minor amount. The difference though is in two areas: Singles are dead and buried, and the sales are spread across a wider range of titles. Lets say in 1994 110 CD's were sold on June 8th. In 2004, 100 CD's were sold. Slightly lower %. In 1994, 10 CD's sold would have made you #1 for that day and only 30 titles were bought. In 2004, only 4 CD's sold makes you #1 but 80 titles were bought that day. Make sense?

It's not hurting CD sales in total, but it's killing the massive sales figures on single albums. Music downloading is broadening peoples tastes and sales are showing it. It's really about access and choice.

So why don't the CEO's in New York, LA and London like it? One is the relationship between big business entertainment and media companies. They need big selling mega-artists. From magazine covers to radio stations to tv shows, they need those (remember at the top, most of these companies are all owned by the same people - Sony music, tv, film etc, Time AOL Warner, Vivendi Universal etc). Having 5 huge artists and 100 medium size artists on the bench is what they like. Not 105 medium artists. Particularly the relationship between radio, music tv (MTV etc) and record company. The other, and it is the big one, is quite simple. Record companies like every other business now care mostly about one thing and one thing only: share price. Music downloading takes control away from the record companies, radio stations and music tv and puts it in the hands of us. What they push isn't always what we notice and buy any more. They have to at the very least show they have control. They have always had an insane amount of control, literaly picking and choosing what it is we will buy, and then hyping it to the satisfactory sales levels all on their own. They have lost that. It makes their business look bad.

I think there will be more, greater upheaval in the music industry in the future. I think it's an awesome time for young music entrepreneurs. I think it will take huge balls for the major record companies to shift their thinking to what will be succesfull in the future. I don't expect to see any of the Big 5 do it, but I think it's important that people know that it is only a small handfull of executives in a boardroom in New York who don't want it to happen. The vast majority of record company employees know better than anyone else what the way of the future is, but obviously just tow the line, and you can't blame them. They have their dream jobs and they ain't about to throw them away.

Record Companies have to become 'Music Communities'. Still be the service that brings us our music. CD's won't die for a little while, and paying for music doesn't ever have to die. A band will still need a large and powerful company behind them if they are to record, manufacture and distribute their music to record stores all over the globe. They will still need a large and powerful company behind them if they are to be known, heard and popular. And music will still always be a 'sold' product. There will always be promotion, marketing etc. There is a place for record companies. What they need to do though, instead of throwing up the walls and locking the doors and trying to fight the consumer, they should be opening up further and further. People will still buy what they like, but they expect more choice and better access. Basicaly, the consumer has taken control of the market, and they can either keep fighting it and lose (and they will), or just simply ask, what do you want now? What would be better than the p2p systems you use? What do you want, as a U2 (or whoever) fan, to get from U2? How do you want to get access to, and 'browse' new music?

Blah, it's getting late...... I could rant for pages.

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Old 06-08-2004, 07:41 AM   #42
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Apart from catering the teens/MTV audience too much, the labels need to look at the CD prices (especially their own profit). Surely lower prices, with more varied/quality music, would draw costumers back to the stores. Also, new technology (internet) and a new format with DVD are competition - just like CD destroyed the LP.
(yet blank CDs and CD burners are perfectly legit - how come no one put 2 and 2 together that most popular music would get dowloaded the most?)
Also I think singles' sales aren't what they used to be, nor are albums. IMO these days the money is in touring.

Over here, the prices went up 30% in the last two years or so, for the most popular artists. It's interesting that people who make LOTS of money and big names complain most about downloading. (for example, Metallica & napster, Britney etc...)

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Old 06-08-2004, 08:09 AM   #43
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I buy most of my cds used because the new ones cost too damn much. And I'm not exactly poor compared to kids in high school or college.
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:18 AM   #44
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I still think that the title of this thread is the high point of all these points. A classic, could've come from The Onion.

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Old 06-08-2004, 08:19 AM   #45
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Outstanding rant Tyler!

People do not realize how "big business" the music industry is - unless they are insiders or are very intuitive.

The bands themselves get SCREWED often in their pursuit of a "major label"

I wish my signature for zoney was still around...a Hunter S. Thompson quote about the music industry that is right on.
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:03 AM   #46
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I enjoyed your rant, Tyler. Thanks for giving us that perspective. If you had ranted for pages, I probably would have read the whole thing.
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Old 06-09-2004, 02:42 AM   #47
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I agree that illegal downloading of music has not ruined the music industry, and most of the people who get press for being against it aren't hurting for money. But I like many much smaller bands, the members of which actually do count on album sales to make a living. For these people, illegal downloading isn't merely an irritation, it's a hardship.

A little story:

I frequent a chat room set up for fans of a band I like, and a few days ago this guy dropped in gloating about how he was able to download the brand new cd of one of the members of the band. Not only was did he download it, but he was actively seeking to spread it ever further. Now before you say "So what?" let me remind you that this cd is released through a tiny label (and no, it is not merely a front for a major label). There is no huge corporation sucking up monster profits from this, just two guys trying to support their families.

I just do not understand how anyone, especially anyone who considers himself (or herself) a fan of these guys, can do something like that. I did ask him why he would do such a thing -- his reply? The cd was too hard to obtain (only available from the label in Australia right now, but should be in some stores in a month or so) and he said it cost too much ($31 AUD + $10 AUD shipping, about $31 USD right now). True it's not a cheap cd, and some might find ordering online and waiting for it to arrive more difficult than running down to the local store (then again I have never found this guy's solo or collaborative work in any store near me...), but are those good enough reasons to steal?
He kept saying he was standing up for his principles, but I was never quite able to ascertain just what those were.... (Plus the "fan" was bragging about how much money his business was bringing $31 USD shouldn't be a problem.)

What really made the conversation strange however, was that midway through another person dropped of the guys who made the album. Now he always comes in under a different nick, and he doesn't tell who he is directly, but if you are there often enough when he is, you get to know. Anyway, what should happen but the evil downloading "fan" asked the singer if he wanted a free copy of his own album! He said "No. I own it." In one way it was a hilarious and surreal situation, but I also found it very sad. I found it sad that an artist who puts out consistantly strong material and honestly cares what his fans think about his music watched a "fan" steal his work and encourage others to do the same the same and not really be able to do a thing about it. And I also found it awful that this "fan" didn't even care. In fact, when the singer asked the "fan" (very politely) not to bootleg intellectual property because thats how these guys make their living, the "fan" called his comments the "same bleeding heart shit" I and several others had been telling him (that night and other nights).

I felt tarnished just being in the same chat room (and the jerk lives in the same state I do. Yuck.). Luckily the singer does know who I am, and also that I would never purposely do anything to hurt him, but I'm still irritated that people do that (download/steal) and can so easily justify it.

I guess I just wonder what the justification for this type of thing is. I mean if you feel that by "sampling" a few songs you will then go out and buy the cds of those artists you like, does that also mean that you would steal a shirt from the local store and if you like it you might go back and buy one later?
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Old 06-09-2004, 03:02 AM   #48
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Honestly, most indie labels have flourished since the advent of filesharing. Small label artists are getting more and more press and their songs are being heard by countless more people than they ever were 10 years ago. The majority of indie labels I've read about have had sales they never would have dreamed of before filesharing. The article I posted discusses this a decent amount, and even has #'s and stats. I suggest people check it out, it's a fascinating study. Lets get real here, it's a Harvard/USC joint study, I think they usually tend to know their stuff..... (at least they're a little more objective than the record industry....)

As for buying albums to help artists..... Honestly, I buy albums left and right. I currently have 423 CD's, and feel like I do my share to support the music industry. That being said, I dont think that my buying CD's is helping the artists as much as it is helping the record labels (which ticks me off). I think anyone who watched the Napster hearings should know that the majority of artists are lucky if they make $1 for every cd sold, which is why there are huge #'s of artists who completely support filesharing. I know that smaller artists or artists who just signed a contract with big labels often make even less. If you really want to support your favorite band, go to their concerts, buy their t-shirts there, that sort of thing. The record labels are more to blame for artists getting ripped off on CD sales than file sharing. That being said, buying the CD does help the artist in that it shows the label that there's a reason to keep them on their roster and promote them.
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Old 06-09-2004, 03:24 AM   #49
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Oh yeah, the tiny label I mentioned had three of the 11 songs on the album available for free downloads -- I think that's quite a decent sample. Do you really need any more to get a feel for the sound of the material? And I really wouldn't mind those three songs on file sharing networks as they have already been released by the label, it's the file sharing of the entire album that irks me so much. A few songs (a true sample) on a file sharing network can be useful publicity, but the whole album? (I still think it should be up to the artists to determine how and where they publicise their work though.) Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
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Old 06-09-2004, 03:27 AM   #50
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Originally posted by indra
Oh yeah, the tiny label I mentioned had three of the 11 songs on the album available for free downloads -- I think that's quite a decent sample. Do you really need any more to get a feel for the sound of the material?
I totally agree. That's a great # of songs to check out to decide if you like them or not

I dont know how many countless albums I've bought because I really liked 2 or 3 songs I downloaded (that being said, I know that there are far more people out there who will never buy the albums, even if they like the songs)

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