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ARSCLIST  May 2007

ARSCLIST May 2007

Subject:

Re: Record Business vs. Music Business: The Shakeout Continues.

From:

Dismuke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 13 May 2007 22:22:33 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

--- Bob Olhsson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


> 
> And where exactly do you propose that artists are
> likely to get this money
> not to mention enough experience to learn how to
> communicate effectively? 


They will get the money from concerts and live
performance engagements which are ALREADY the primary
source of income for most musical acts.  VERY few
musical acts outside of the lowest common denominator
hit recordings put out by the RIAA lables make much
money on sales of CDs.  Indeed, many of them never see
a cent from CD sales because most recording contracts
deduct production and promotional expenses before any
royalties are ever paid.

Part of of my premise that the above question
overlooks is the fact that producing and distributing
such recordings is VASTLY cheaper than it has been and
the cost keeps getting lower and lower.   These days,
even tiny, obscure small time groups who probably have
no busniess being anywhere near the big time are able
to afford to put out their own CDs.

Now, it is very true that producing recordings and
promoting ANY business, be it a band or anything else,
is a specialized skill and not all musicains may have
that skill.   But so it is with cutting payroll,
keeping books or attempting to book engagements.  To
the degree that a band is successful, it is able to
hire a professional to take care of such things.  To
the degree that the band has yet to acheieve such a
level of success - well, the lack of a musicians's
ability to multi-task could very well impact his
ability survive in the marketplace.  Again, this is
nothing new.  Bandleaders such as Fletcher Henderson
were very talented artists but their careers were
limited by the fact that they were not very good
businessmen.

Musical acts, like any other business endeavor, have a
need for capital.  Earning and saving up that captial
through enough bookings or through having members work
day jobs in one way of getting it.  In the past,
record labels made such capital available. Indeed, the
ONLY reason an artist in his right mind would sign up
for a major record label is the promotional support
the label provides and the hope that it will result in
FM airplay and make him famous.  An artist gives up a
great deal of control with such a contract - and there
is nothing wrong with that because the record company
is the one taking the financial risk.  If (or, more
precisely, WHEN) record labels cease to exist, musical
acts will still have a need for capital.  And there
will still be investors who will wish to invest in and
share the profits of talented acts.  

The upcoming new era will be WONDERFUL for a great
many musicians.  The current system basically caters
to a handful of lowest common denominator superstars. 
There will probably be far fewer superstars in the
future. But musicians who cater to specialized
audiences and niche genres will have a much rosier
future than they have had in recent decades.  Venues
such as myspace, Internet radio and even p2p file
sharing enable new audiences to discover and find them
- venues which simply did not exist before and
audience which were impossible to reach on AM/FM
radio. 

Like I said, the vast majority of professional musical
acts make jack diddly squat in the scheme of things
from CD sales.  Many ALREADY view CDs primarily as a
way of gaining visibility and, therefore, interest in
their live concerts and other profit centers such as
sales of tee shirts and such.


> My
> guess is that most will choose a different career
> except for the few who can
> attract corporate patronage. To a great extent this
> has already happened and
> the result is the new music that nobody considers
> worth buying we hear on
> commercial radio.


Actually, the stuff you hear on commercial radio is
primarily the lowest common denominator stuff that the
RIAA lables are trying to push on people.   There are
LOTS of other musical acts out there who most people
have never heard of and who perform every night and
have loyal and dedicated fans.   Just go to
myspace.com sometime and you will see them - there are
LOTS of them out there, including some who play music
from the 1920s and 1930s decades.  Yet to someone who
only listens to AM/FM radio, they are all but
invisible.  Thanks to the Internet, such acts ARE
gaining visiblity and, along with it, new fans.   The
demise of the RIAA and the diffusion of traditional
AM/FM audience concntrations across thousands and
thousands of Internet stations and other venues will
be the best thing in the world for musicians - with
the exception of the small but fortunate percentage of
RIAA acts who have been able to  achieve FM airplay
and have benefited from such audience concentrations. 
Those artists will not benefit because there will
suddenly be many, many more competitors out there who
will now have ways open to them in order to gain
visibility and fans.   But if you are an act that
spcializes in something different or in a niche genre
- well, the future is very exciting indeed. 

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